Scripture: 2Cor 6:14-18
A. In recent weeks and months gambling has been in the news media quite a lot.
B. Many of our civil leaders are looking at various forms of gambling as a means of raising funds for the state
C. It seems that some have the idea that Bingo used as a fund raiser for non-profit organizations (not just the child's board game) is a fine way to raise funds for various organizations. "Americans spend $10 billion a year at charity--sponsored bingo and casino games. But only 10% goes to help the needy." Money (magazine) October 1993. Many say that the percentage is steadily declining and in some cases the charity only receives a fraction of 1% of the profit.
D. From US News & World Report, March 14, 1994 in an article titled "America's Gambling Craze". "The casino boom is growing daily. But it might not last forever, and its ill effects are Potent." "No one howled in protest last month when H&R Block set up makeshift tax-preparation offices in four Nevada casinos and offered gamblers same-day 'refund-anticipation loans.' And few people cared recently when a Florida inventor won a U. S. patent that could someday enable television audiences to legally bet on game shows, football games and even beauty pageants from their homes. "What's the deal? Not that long ago, Americans held gambling in nearly the same esteem as heroin dealing and applauded when ax-wielding police paid a visit to the corner dice room. But moral outrage has become as outmoded as a penny slot machine. In 1955, for example, baseball commissioner Ford Frick considered wagering so corrupt he prohibited major leaguers from overnighting in Las Vegas. Last year, be contrast, Americans for the first time made more trips to casinos than they did to Major League ballparks -- some 92 million trips, according to one study. "It took six decades for gambling to become America's Pastime, from the legalization of Nevada casinos in 1931 to April Fool's Day 1991, when Davenport Iowa, launched the Diamond Lady, the nation's first legal riverboat casino. The gradual creation of 37 state lotteries broke down the public's mistrust, conveying a clear message that the government sanctioned gambling; indeed, is even coming to depend on it as a tax-revenue source. Corporate ownership of casinos helped in its own way, too, replacing shady operators with trusted brand names like Hilton and MGM. Casinos now operate or are authorized in 23 states, and 95 percent of all Americans are expected to live within a three or four-hour drive of one by the year 2000."
E. We must then, realize that legalized gambling is already a part of our civilization and is rapidly expanding. So what should be the Christian's attitude toward this. Is it just another form of recreation in which a Christian can participate, regulated by good judgment?
F. As a Christian we have put on Christ Gal 3:27
1. Christ lives in us; our life is hid with Christ in God Gal 2:20; Col 3:1-3
2. Thayer: "To become so possessed of the mind of Christ as in thought, feeling and action to resemble Him and, as it were, reproduce the life He Lived."
I. SO, WHAT IS GAMBLING?
A. Webster - "To play a game for money or other stake; hence to stake money or any other thing of value upon the uncertain event; to hazard, to wager."
B. Usage of word "gamble" from Thesaurus in computer with some scripture added to illustrate Bible usage of some of these synonymous terms
1. a possibility of danger or harm=chance Eccl 9:11; risk; hazard Acts 15:26
2. a venture depending on chance=bet; speculation; wager
3. to make a bet on=put; play; lay; bet;; lay down; post; stake; game; wager
4. to put up as a stake or speculation in a game=go; set; lay, bet; risk; venture 1Ki 22:34; stake; wager
5. to take a risk in hope of gaining advantage=speculate; venture
C. Two essential elements involved in gambling
1. A stake involved whereby one stands to gain at the loss of others depending upon the outcome of some selected element of chance
2. The element of chance is arbitrarily determined by the parties involved
D. Don't confuse with risks such as farming, driving, playing sports, investing in stocks, etc. In farming, etc gain is not sought at the loss of another; these would be happy if no risk were involved.
E. There are many different types of gambling: check pools, raffles, punch boards, bingo for money, cards for money, betting on sporting events, etc.
F. What about "casting lots" as used in the Bible? similar to drawing a name out of a hat
1. Casting lots=choosing Lev 16:7-10
2. Determining who got Jesus coat John 19:23-26
3. Determining God's will Acts 1:26, (24)
II. GAMBLING'S EFFECT ON SOCIETY - A MENACE
A. The gambling picture in the United States
1. Americans legally wagered $330 billion in 1992 -- a 1,800 percent increase over 1976 (U.S. News & World Report 30 May, 1983) Americans wager a trillion dollars annually, or $4,500 for every man, woman and child in the nation
a. Population of U. S. in 1990 248,709,873.
b. $330 billion averages out to about $1300 a year for each man, woman and child in U. S.
c. $330 billion can pay $40,000 a year to 206,250 preachers for 40 years
2. Robert Goodman, professor of urban planning at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, says that Atlantic City, the faded New Jersey resort that ended Nevada's monopoly in 1976, is a prime case of what can go wrong. "During a 16-year period," Goodman said, "they pulled in revenues of $44 billion--more than $1 million for every man, woman and child in the place. It was a major benefit for the casinos, but the community lost 26 percent of its population and 100 of the 250 restaurants that were there when the casinos moved in. On top of that the city has the highest unemployment in the state and a lot of homelessness." Mclean's (magazine) May 30, 1994
3. Fifty-one percent of American adults now find casino gambling "acceptable for anyone," and 35 percent describe it as "acceptable for others but not for me," according to a recent Yankelovich Inc. survey paid for by Harrah's casinos. The attraction is simple. "The action for them is the thrill of what's going to happen in the next pull of that slot-machine handle," explains Harrah's president, Phil Satre. US News & World Report, March 14, 1994
4. There are only two states with no legal gambling of any kind: Utah and Hawaii
5. There is gambling in churches, homes, schools, government, recreation, everywhere
B. Produces nothing of value and adds nothing to the economy
C. Not everyone is amused. "The country is flying blind," says William N. Thompson, a professor of public administration at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, who studies gambling policy. "State legislators think this is free money," says Thompson, "but it's not free. It's just taken from other parts of the local economy." Fortune (magazine) November 1, 1993
D. States frequently overestimate the financial impact of gambling revenue, too. "Legalized gambling is never large enough to solve any social problem," says gambling-law professor and paid industry consultant I. Nelson Rose. In New Jersey, for example, horse racing alone accounted for about 10 percent of state revenue in the 1950s. Today, despite the addition of a lottery and 12 casinos, the state earns only 6 percent of its revenue through gambling. "Atlantic city used to be a slum by the sea," says Rose, "Now it's a slum by the sea with casinos." US News & World Report, March 14, 1994
E. It promotes crime and traffics in immorality and destroys citizens (Christians also)
1. It causes men and women to kill, steal, mortgage homes, starve and half clothe their families, lose jobs and many other ills upon society
2. Statement by gas station attendant in Las Vegas: "Everybody in town at one time or another has been offered to share a wife in trade for gas or repairs
III. I BELIEVE GAMBLING VIOLATES DIVINE LAW
A. If gambling is a violation of divine law why are religious people not more vigorously opposed? This quote from US News & World Report, March 14, 1994 "The sky is not falling yet. Apart from a handful of academics and the odd politician, few Americans are seriously questioning the morality of an industry that is expected to help gamblers lose a record $35 billion in 1995 alone. Religious leaders have been oddly silent, perhaps because so many churches and synagogues rely on bingo revenues. 'The biggest things we have to help people are churches and temples and the government,' says Arnie Wexler, executive director of the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey. 'And now they're all in the gambling business.'"
B. Gambling is not mentioned specifically in the Bible. However, not all sinful acts are specifically mentioned
C. General terms and principles cover specifics
1. The terms "rape," "suicide," "abortion," etc are not specifically mentioned
2. However, one is able to "discern" their error Heb 5:14
IV. BIBLE PRINCIPLES WHICH GAMBLING VIOLATES
A. Industry (work) - encourages laziness See Gen 2:15; 3:19
1. Slothfulness and prosperity at the expense of others is not the will of God Prov 6:9-11; 1Tim 5:8; 2Thess 3:10
2. Gambler profits at expense of another's labor - is non-productive and parasitic
B. Economics - 3 legitimate means of transferring property
1. Law of labor and capital - money or worth paid for physical or mental effort expended Eph 4:28; Lk 10:7; 1Cor 9:9,10
2. Law of exchange - a commodity is exchanged for its value in money or goods Matt 13:44-46; 25:27; Lk 22:36
3. Law of love - value given without expectation or desire for return Rom 13:10 as a gift or to relieve physical distress Eph 4:28; Acts 2:45; 11:29
4. Gambling violates all three of these
a. Gambling is essentially covetousness, because it seeks rewards for another's labor
b. Covet is to "long inordinately for something that is another's" and is condemned Col 3:5
C. Gambling places an unequal yoke on Christians 2Cor 6:14-17
D. Gambling wields a bad influence on others Matt 5:16
E. Gambling is a corrupt tree Matt 7:16-20
F. Gambling is not conducive to Godliness
1. Can you picture Jesus financing his work in a card game or shooting dice, even betting on a horse race or having a raffle in view of 1Pet 2:21-23
2. Gambling is not true, honest, just, pure, lovely, etc as per Phil 4:8
A. Gambling does not involve gain by reason of labor, exchange or love and does not fit into God's scheme of thing reflecting his nature
B. For reasons both temporal and spiritual, gambling is a sin and as such Christians cannot participate in it.
C. If it is a sin, then it is a sin regardless of the amount wagered
D. The sincere child of God will keep himself from all appearance of evil 1Thess 5:22; keep himself unspotted from the world Jas 1:27; will not love the world 1Jhn 2:15-17
By Jerry L. Henderson
Return to the Sermon Outlines page
Home / Bible studies / Bible Survey / Special Studies / General Articles / Non-Bible Articles / Sermons / Sermon Outlines / Links / Questions and Answers / What Saith The Scriptures /Daily Devotional / Correspondence Courses / What is the Church of Christ / Book: Christian Growth / Website Policy / E-mail / About Me /