Is gambling a sin? If someone in your church played the lottery and wanted to give 10% to the church, would you be able to take it knowing how it was got? If the church did take the money, wouldn’t it be the same difference if it was turned around and they come to ask the church for money to gamble on?
From this question, the questionner appears to have known that gambling is a sin. Any money gotten through gambling has not been worked for. You gamble to make such money. Let’s look at the dictionary meaning of the word “gamble” so that we can appreciate the integrity that the word connotes. “Play games of chance for money; take great risks for the chance of wining or making a profit”. This is the way Oxford Advanced Dictionary of Current English by A S Hornby renders it.
It should be appreciated that God commands us to work. He said He who will not work should not eat. He appreciates that we eat from our labors – II Thessaloniasn 3:11-12.
A game of chance is played in obscured places. It is being played with people of no driver for righteousness – people without testimony. People of doubtful characters are involved in the game of chance. It is indecent for a child of God to be involved in such a means of making money. God is not pleased with gamblers because he is a holy God. If this is not right for a child of God, I believe a living Church of the New Testament would not encourage His members to engage in such indecent practice of making money. The Church is to set the pace for the world to follow.
GIVING IS PART OF OUR WORSHIP
John 4:24 “God is a Spirit and His worshippers must worship Him in Spirit and in Truth”. God demands from us only one thing. To worship Him. To worship him in truth and in Spirit. He is not interested in our houses because He doesn’t stay in houses built with hands. He is not interested in our cars because He would never ride one with us. He is not interested in our clothing because He would never wear one with us one day. He demands that we offer Him our worship and this worship must be without dissimulation. Without deceit.
Act 5:1-11 “Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet. Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.” When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. Then the young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him. About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?” “Yes”, she said, “that is the price.” Peter said to her, “How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also. At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.
If God would deal with the above couple that lied keeping back part of the proceeds from the land, I believe God is unhappy that we get money from sources that are not of God. If the apostles would not take the money because it has been lied upon and brought in deceit, I would not take any money ill gotten from lottery, gambling or whatever. God would not be pleased with such an offering from the giver and the church that receives it. God is a God of order and would not want anything unholy to come into His house. The testimony above should tell you more about the Living God Who is without fault. He desires that we should be perfect even as He is perfect – Matthew 5:48.
I have had occasions to reject even gifts that come from people whose stand were doubtful. One of such instance was a time when a brother came to give me some loafs of bread. He is a baker and a member of our church whom I have reprimanded about adultery several times. When He brought the loafs of bread specially baked for me, I told him that I was not interested in his gift but would appreciate it if he could go and reconsider his stand with the Lord. He fell down and was begging. Gifts the Bible says, blinds the eyes. If you would not rebuke sinners who is continually engaged in sins, he would succeed to blind your eyes and you would loose your message. I have vowed that I will speak the truth no matter what it would cost me. God who called me into the ministry will make provision. God does not give vision without provision. He is a faithful God. The church must be alert to her responsibility of rebuking sins and refusing money from gambling and preach earnestly against gambling.
God who called us into His work would give us all that we need to do His work. We pastors should know that we can never work for God but we can work with God. If we would realize that, everything about Ministry would be easier. We would not adore money at the expense of the truth of the Word.
THE MINISTRY OF THE CHURCH
Acts 2:42-47 “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
It is important that Pastors must know what we are called upon to do as follows:
(a) To preach the Word in season and out of season
(b) To rebuke sin in all its forms
(c) To refuse to adore money.
When we are committed to doing the above, God would send money to execute His work and expand His Kingdom. He will make all grace to abound for us.
Finally, let us look at Galatians 6:7-8 “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”
What is it that you are sowing today? Are you born again?. It is important for you to sow into the Spirit so that you can have hope for eternity. Except you are born again, you will not see the Kingdom of God. Repent of your sins today and promise God not to go into it again. Tomorrow may be too late for you to take this stand for God.
God bless you.
Rev Debo Adeyemo
Yes. Gambling in any form is a sin.
Gambling is “playing a game of chance for stakes” (Webster).
It involves the “betting of money or valuables on, and often participation in, games of chance” (The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition, 2001).
Gambling violates Godly work habits, prudence, thrift, and principles of fair play with reward for effort. Gambling is even referred to as a “Sin Tax.” Although tossing a dollar down for a lottery ticket may not be as drastic as gambling your lifes fortune away in some casino, the Lord looks at gambling as gambling. There are no little sins. Sin is sin no matter if it’s a $1 lottery ticket or a $200,000 drop in a casino. One is as bad as the other to the Lord.
Gambling hurts the poor because most betting is done by lower-middle income individuals who can ill afford to waste their money trying to strike it rich. Studies have shown that poor are three to seven times more likely to bet on the lottery than the rich. Lotteries are in effect a regressive tax soaking the poor.
Although there is not an exact point in the Bible that comes right out and speaks of gambling, scripture are given, allowing us to draw proper spiritual conclusions. The Lord gave us a brain to use and to choose right from wrong. If we read His word, we should be able to figure out right and wrong!
Samson wagered 30 shirts and changes of garments with the Philistines to see if they could guess his riddle, Judges 14:12-13. Due to Philistine pressure on his bride, he lost the bet and in anger Samson slew 30 Philistines to pay off the debt, verses 14-19. There were a lot of bad repercussions from this one bet. In spite of his sins, the Eternal used Samson to free His people from the Philistines. The garments of the impaled Messiah were parted by lot, Psalm 22:18, Matthew 27:35, Luke 23:34, John 19:23-24. Haman, the enemy of the Jews, cast lots to fix the time of execution of the Jews, Esther 3:7, 9:24. The enemies of Judah and Jerusalem cast lots for God’s people, Joel 3:3, Obadiah 11. These are additional examples of wrong use of games of chance, of gambling.
Some other scriptures are Proverbs 13:11 ~ Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow.
Luke 12:15 ~Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
Hebrews 13:5 ~Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
1 Timothy 6:7-10 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is]certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
I John 2:15-17 “Love not the world neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”
Gambling is the opposite of love. Its prime motive is to ‘get’, which is Satan’s way. An honest day’s work for honest wages. Constructive, honest and productive labor builds character. Gambling builds lust, greed, cheating, and selfishness. There are no positive attributes of gambling. Any “charity” that resorts to gambling for fund raising is wrong. MAY ALL BE BLESSED.
Dr. Bill Bennett, a man whom I respect, recently admitted to gambling. Two members of my family were addicted to gambling, so I understand something of the problem. We need to pray for and support those who are addicted–not merely condemn them. Is gambling an innocent recreation, a vice, or a sin? Is it illegal? If so, for whom is it illegal? I attempt to answer these questions in my essay: http://jrcm.faithweb.com/truth/i_gambling.html . (See article below.)
Dr. John E. Russell Chaplain (COL) AUS Retired P O Box 374 Fair Grove MO 65648-0374 http://jrcm.faithweb.com/goodnews
No Product No Service No Way! By Dr. John E. Russell It is the child of avarice, the brother of iniquity, and the father of mischief. (President George Washington) The advertising for legalized gambling is deceptive advertising and should be illegal.
First, if there is no product or service involved, the enterprise is illegal. There is no product offered. And there is no service offered. Therefore gambling is illegal.
The United States Postal Service would put a stop to any U S citizen operating a lottery or any form of gambling through the mail. At the least, you or I would receive a Cease and Desist Letter from a postal inspector, or at the most, we would go to prison.
The Federal Trade Commission could also become involved in such an illegal activity, and prosecute. The deceptive advertising that implies that it is easy to win in gambling, is illegal for the private sector. However, it does not seem to be illegal for the government.
There is a better chance of being struck by lightning than winning a lottery!
One ad begs, “Missouri people are already gambling out of state, so we should make it legal here.” This is the same “logic” that organized crime uses: “People are going to use drugs and prostitutes anyway, so we may as well get the profit as any other group.”
As for the rationalization that profits will go to a good cause, gambling fails here also. Is gambling a charity? In order to qualify, it must pass on at least 85 percent of the money collected to qualified recipients. An average of 33 percent of lottery funds went into state treasuries in 1996. (“Lotteries are no big prize,” Keplinger’s, February 1997, p. 18). In my denomination, we have a program whereby 100 percent of donations go to the recipients in third world countries. The general program passes on 95 percent to the recipients. Any charity that exceeds 15 percent administrative costs is unethical.
As for the rationalization of creating new jobs, gambling fails here also. Since there is no product or service, the new “jobs” are a waste of manpower and money.
Some rationalize that gambling is “entertainment.” So are “Snuff” films, to the jaded! Immoral “entertainment” is still immoral and gambling is still unethical.
Actually, there is a “service.” Some victims become gambling addicts. Most victims are given false hope, which keeps them in poverty. Instead, people need to know the truth. The truth would wake them up and motivate them to become productive members of society. Then, they would gain wealth slowly.
Games and gambling devices are designed with the odds for the house. Simply put, gambling hosts do not gamble! They take the gambler’s money! And, in the final sense, gamblers do not gamble either–they give their money away to the gambling hosts!
Gambling establishments appeal to the customer’s greed. The gambler wants to get something for nothing. The house (or the government) actually gets something for nothing!
Here are the main motivations in gambling: The house covets money, and breaks the Tenth Commandment: “You shall not covet.” The host then tempts the gambler to covet. The gambler then acts on his covetousness, breaking the Tenth Commandment. Then, the house (or the government) breaks the Eighth Commandment: “You shall not steal.”
Essay 53 from my eBook, Essays Exposing the Myths of Political Correctness. Download this book free at http://BusterSoft.com/JRCM/
© John E. Russell 1993-2003.
I believe that gambling in and of itself is not a sin. I have read the Bible through a few times and the only place I can think of that might something against gambling is Proverbs. I do know that it says in Ecclesiastes to drink & in Ephesians it says not to get drunk. Common sense tells us that it is ok to eat, but that overeating damages our body, God’s temple. Masturbation is not addressed in the Bible, but when combined with lust or if controlled by it, something is wrong, Biblically. Therefore, I gamble about $4 a year. It does not get the chance to control me.
Some denominations have rules forbidding giving the winnings from gambling to the church. I believe that the Methodists & Church of God (Anderson, IN) are two of these. I do not think that receiving winnings from gambling is an encouragement to gamble unless it is made known publically. I am also not a pastor or elder & may need to be on that side of the fence to see it differently. I do believe that alot of money is earned sinfully in people’s daily jobs. Many people lie, cheat & steal their way to bigger paychecks and then give God “leave me alone/guilt money” on Sunday morning.
As to whether the church leaders should give money for someone to gamble with, I think is a completely different issue. The church leaders should realize and preach that gambling is a real bad investment. It is well known that the odds of winning are very much against you. The church as a whole, whether in our personal lives or in helping others should realize that giving to the poor always wins with God.
A friend once joked, while we cleaned someone’s house for them, that his labor that day was going towards his hot tub in heaven. It was a joke because we knew it was not literally true. It was encouraging because it reminded me that our money and time given to the needy accumulates rewards in heaven if done selflessly (not for the hot tub in heaven). The lottery has much worse odds than God does, but I don’t think I am losing rewards if I play the lottery twice a year, just $4.
Bottom line: Do not put your faith in gambling; trust God to provide for you.
When we accepted Christ as our Savior we owned a bar. we would tithe and give love offering to the church from our income. Now, many said we could not be Christians and own a bar. But, the Lord was faithful and used us there and send a buyer within 8 months. As for using money from the lottery to tithe with, one needs to be careful that they do not get so puffed up that God can not use this for his glory. I do not approve of gambling but as my husband always says, “God says, you catch them and let me clean them.” It is the attitude of the heart. Thank the Lord that He looks at the heart while man has a tendency to look on the outside. Just my thoughts on this.
My answer to this is “Yes! The 10th Commandment says Thou shalt not covet”
I simply do not believe gambling is a sin. I regard it as a fun pastime. Granted that if I were to indulge in it to the extent that it hurt my family then that would be wrong. To leisurely indulge in the sport of gambling per se is not harming yourself, your family or society. So yes I would share the winnings and hope that the share will do good for God’s mission.