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  • This is a production of World Video Bible School.

  • To God be the glory!

  • Let's talk about gambling.

  • Is it an innocent pastime?

  • Is it a way to fund education or something that helps our community?

  • Something that you can do just for extra income?

  • Or is it something with far reaching consequences?

  • Is it merely a recreational activity,

  • or is it a serious moral problem?

  • A man approached me one day and he said,

  • "I have a friend who likes to play the lottery."

  • And he said, "I was telling him that that's wrong. My friend asked me why."

  • And he said, "I got to thinking, and I couldn't come up with a single verse

  • in the Bible that addresses it."

  • And, he said, "I started searching,

  • and," he said, "quite frankly, there's not one."

  • He said, "I've always been told that gambling is wrong, but I can't come up

  • with a single verse in the Bible that addresses this topic."

  • Well, you know, it's true. There's no verse in the Bible that says, "Thou shalt not

  • play blackjack."

  • But it's not the case that the Bible doesn't address gambling.

  • There are a number of Biblical principles that come into play to answer

  • this question,

  • and that do, indeed, teach that gambling is wrong.

  • I want to go over some of these principles

  • that I think clearly deal with this issue.

  • Because I've heard arguments at times that I thought were very weak.

  • And, I've heard people argue, "Well,

  • gambling is wrong because the Bible teaches that we're to work for our money."

  • Well, that's true. We are to work for our money, to make a living. But you know

  • if that argument is taken at face value,

  • it would also condemn someone giving you a gift.

  • But that's not right.

  • We help poor people, we help people in need. But,

  • are they wrong because they accept money from

  • a friend or from a church and

  • they didn't work for it? Of course they're not wrong for that.

  • Or someone might say, "Well,

  • gambling is wrong because of the risk factor."

  • Well, gambling is not wrong because of the risk factor. Risk,

  • in and of itself, is not wrong.

  • You know, life itself

  • is a risk.

  • When you get in your car and go to work in the morning, you're taking a risk.

  • Being a Christian is a risk, especially in the first century being a Christian

  • was a risk.

  • In the Bible in Matthew, chapter 25, the one talent man was condemned

  • because

  • he wouldn't take a risk.

  • When a farmer

  • plants crops, he's taking a risk.

  • That doesn't mean that he has sinned.

  • When a man buys stock in the stock market, that man takes a risk, but that

  • doesn't mean that he's sinned.

  • Risk is not what makes something sinful. And

  • so, we've got to be very careful about the arguments that we make.

  • And I think, oftentimes in Christianity,

  • I believe the truth suffers because we make weak arguments.

  • Alright. Let's begin by giving the definition of gambling.

  • What are we talking about exactly. There are three basic elements

  • of gambling.

  • Number one:

  • there's an uncertain, arbitrary event.

  • Number two: there's the wager, something of value, like money, that's

  • deliberately chanced on a particular outcome. And number three:

  • there's a winner

  • and there's a loser.

  • And the winner wins at the direct loss

  • of the other gambler or gamblers. When you have all three of these things

  • present, then you have gambling.

  • Okay. Let's talk about

  • some of the reasons why gambling is wrong, some of the Biblical reasons

  • why gambling is wrong.

  • Number one:

  • covetousness.

  • First, just ask yourself what is it that motivates men to gamble?

  • Just think about that for a minute.

  • When I think about the question, "What motivates men to gamble" two things

  • immediately come to my mind:

  • greed and

  • covetousness. You know, in the Old Testament, under the Law of Moses,

  • one of the Ten Commandments was "Thou shalt not covet."

  • And that means I don't lust after,

  • don't long for, don't desire something that belongs to somebody else. Exodus

  • 20 and verse 17 says:

  • "You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife,

  • nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything

  • that is your neighbor's."

  • But, what about his money that's on the table?

  • How are you going to sit around the table and gamble over a poker game, and not violate

  • this passage?

  • In Luke 12:15, Jesus said:

  • "Take heed and beware of covetousenss, for one's life does not consist in the

  • abundance of the things he possesses."

  • Now, why is gambling wrong?

  • Because of what it motivates men to do.

  • Now, here's a second reason. Reason number two:

  • Gambling preys on the weaknesses of others.

  • You know, Christian principles are just the opposite of this.

  • Christian principles teach, "... As we have opportunity, let us do good unto all men..."

  • that's

  • Galatians 6:10.

  • Now, that would involve helping those in need,

  • not taking their money.

  • Christian principles teach us to help the poor and to feed the hungry.

  • But gambling does the opposite. It steals from the poor and robs the hungry.

  • In fact, I have read that the busiest day in the Atlantic City casinos,

  • is the day after welfare checks are sent out.

  • Now, that means that people who can't afford it

  • are in the casinos hoping to strike it big.

  • And a gambler may win at the loss of one who can least afford it. It preys on

  • the weaknesses of others.

  • A disproportionate number of the people who play the lottery are very poor,

  • and they take food out of their children's mouths

  • hoping to win the lottery.

  • In fact, one study found that the poor

  • bet

  • approximately three times the amount wagered by persons

  • in the middle and upper

  • income areas. Another study

  • concluded that, "The lotteries in Connecticut and Massachusetts

  • were equivalent," now listen to this, they "were equivalent to a state sales tax

  • of over 60% on lower-income groups."

  • Gambling preys on the weaknesses of people.

  • It profits from the pain of others. It's exactly opposite

  • of what Christianity teaches.

  • Reason number three, here's a third reason. Gambling is wrong

  • because of what I'm calling

  • the "fruit test."

  • In Matthew 7, 15 through 20,

  • Jesus laid down a principle, a test, by which every activity, every philosophy

  • could be measured.

  • He said,

  • "... Every good tree bears good fruit,

  • but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor

  • can a bad tree bear good fruit." Now,

  • I know this is written discussing false teachers, but

  • certainly there's a principle here that's true with regard to other

  • activities of life. Now, let's ask this question,

  • "What kind of 'fruit'

  • does gambling produce?"

  • When legalized gambling arrives in a new community,

  • does it raise the moral standards of that community?

  • Does it help to lessen the hardships of families in that community

  • or is it just the opposite?

  • I want to tell you, it's just the opposite.

  • I know that

  • many times, if you drive into a state that has legalized gambling,

  • whether it be the lottery or

  • a casino field strip, or whatever. Many times you will see

  • the faces of $10,000,000 winners smiling brightly on a roadside

  • billboards.

  • And you might be tempted to think, "This is a good thing."

  • It's not a good thing.

  • Gambling doesn't pass the "fruit test."

  • Eight months after casinos opened in Gulfport, Mississippi,

  • the Gulfport police department noted the following. Now, listen to this.

  • Murder increased

  • by 75%.

  • Rape increased by 200%.

  • Robbery increased by 311%.

  • Assaults increased

  • 64%.

  • Burglary increased by 100%. Vehicle theft

  • 160%.

  • Three years after

  • the casinos arrived,

  • Atlantic City went from 50th

  • to 1st

  • in per capita crime.

  • Well, what about the great state of Nevada, the home of Las Vegas, probably

  • the gambling capital

  • of the United States.

  • I read that Nevada ranks first in suicide;

  • first in divorce;

  • first in high school dropouts;

  • first in homicide against women; near the top of the list for gambling addictions;

  • third in bankruptcies;

  • third in abortion;

  • fourth in rape;

  • fourth in out-of-wedlock births;

  • fourth in alcohol related deaths; fifth in crime; sixth in the number of prisoners

  • locked up;

  • last

  • in voter participation.

  • Now, somebody might say, "Well you know, all of that's not due to gambling. They have

  • prostitution and drinking and other things that might be contributing.

  • And I don't doubt that for a second.

  • But, isn't it interesting how these things go together? You know,

  • these statistics show a completely different billboard from the one that we

  • mentioned

  • just a few minutes ago.

  • You know, you can see very clearly gambling

  • miserably fails the "fruit test."

  • Alright, number four. A fourth

  • reason I would suggest

  • that gambling is wrong,

  • comes from the Bible in Proverbs 13 and verse 11.

  • One thing that sometimes people say is

  • there aren't any verses in the Bible dealing with gambling.

  • But, you know, there's a very interesting verse in Proverbs 13 and

  • verse 11.

  • Now, the King James says it this way:

  • "Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished:

  • but he that gathereth by labor

  • shalt increase."

  • Now the word vanity here caught my attention, because

  • that word means "emptiness." It means "nothingness."

  • And I thought, "Wealth gotten by emptiness,

  • that sounds like gambling."

  • And so, I did some searching.

  • And I looked in some other translations.

  • The English Standard version says, "Wealth gained hastily will dwindle..."

  • But, it has a footnote that says, "Wealth gained by fraud."

  • And I thought again, that sounds like gambling.

  • Another translation says, "Wealth from get-rich-quick schemes

  • quickly disappears;

  • wealth from hard work grows..."

  • Another translation says, "Wealth from

  • gambling

  • quickly disappears, wealth from hard work grows."

  • I think there's a principle in this particular verse which directly reflects

  • on gambling

  • in a negative way.

  • Now, here's another reason, reason number five.

  • Another argument against gambling

  • is that it's addictive.

  • You know what happens to people when they win at gambling?

  • Of course you do. They want to win again. They want more and their greed and their

  • covetouseness gets out of control until it just takes control of their

  • lives.

  • Now, do you know what happens when people lose at gambling?

  • Well, they gamble more because they want to win back

  • what they've lost. It's addictive. That's the point.

  • The Nevada Observer references one very interesting piece of information from

  • The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

  • It refers to gambling, listen to this, as being

  • "recession-proof."

  • Now, what would that indicate?

  • It would indicate that people gamble even when times are hard, even when they

  • can't afford to do it.

  • Why? Because gambling's addictive.

  • You know, so many people

  • fall prey to this addiction that we have organizations in this country, such as

  • Gamblers Anonymous.

  • I read that one preacher in Texas said that

  • in that state, in Texas at least at this point in time, on the back of

  • lottery tickets

  • there was a phone number for the gamblers helpline.

  • That's very interesting to me.

  • He said he called the number,

  • and he asked them to send him some information about gambling problems.

  • And very interestingly, according to this information he received,

  • do you know what the biggest gambling problem was in Texas?

  • It was the lottery.