Tag Archive: wealth

‘Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. . . ‘  (Matthew 7:15-16)

(Fame and fortune are not fruits of the Spirit of God!!)

Many people believe that if a person, who says they are a Christian, is rich and famous, that is the mark of God’s approval and blessing. While it is true that God may bless some people with wealth, riches and honor, the devil sometimes does the same.

‘Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.’ (Matthew 4:8-9)

But Jesus repeatedly warned us of the effect that riches can have on us:

‘No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.’ (Matthew 6:24)

‘It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.’

(Mark 10:25)

‘And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.’ (Mark 4:19)

King Solomon warned us too:

‘ . . . give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny [thee], and say, Who [is] the LORD? . . . ‘ (Proverbs 30:8-9)

The devil knows the intoxicating effect of riches. Just as a drug dealer may give out free samples, knowing the person who samples may become addicted, so Satan also knows that money is often a snare. It is the bait that he has used to ensnare the souls of many men.

SPIRITUAL FRUITS are intangible things that result from either doing the will of God, or doing according to our own will.

‘I am the vine, ye [are] the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.’ (John 15:5)

Good fruit is the result of the Holy Spirit living in us.

‘But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance . . . ‘ (Galatians 5:22-23)

The fruit of living according to our own will and sinful nature are

‘ . . . Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like . . . ‘ (Galatians 5:19-21)

These are the fruits that people will produce. If a man calls himself a prophet, we will know whether or not he is a false prophet by the fruit that is manifest in his life. Which fruit has he produced: ‘love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, and temperance’ or ‘Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings,’ etc.?

‘Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.’ (John 7:24)

‘And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him. And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.’ (Luke 16:14-15)

We must judge as God judges, according to His word, not according to what is esteemed by men.

I was saddened recently.  Someone I have come to respect, for his willingness to seek and share truth, is seemingly being ensnared.  As I listened to him extol Donald Trump, his reverence for him was obvious.  It centered on the fact that Trump is a billionaire–and his apparent assumption that to be a billionaire implies that a person has attributes that we should admire.  (I’ll break it down for you–that fact that a person is a billionaire means that he has a lot of money–nothing more, nothing less.)

Yes, I will pray for this man.  As I’ve said before, we all have our ‘blind spot’ and our ‘Achilles heel’.  My intention here is not to criticize him, but to illuminate a way in which the thinking of many Christians does not line up with the perspective that God wishes us to have.  Instead, I would venture to say that most Christians have the same attitude toward money that ‘the world’ has.

Jesus made it clear that while we are on Earth we are stewards of what is God’s.   God decides how much to entrust to each of us.   If we prove faithful in little things, He will entrust us with more.  However, that does not mean that everyone who has a lot has proven himself faithful.

God chooses how much to entrust each of us with.  Not only does He entrust those who have proven faithful with more, sometimes He chooses to entrust a lot (at the beginning) to those who will merely squander it–or to entrust little to one who is worthy of more.

While God promises to bless those who are faithful, one cannot assume that all who are blessed are faithful–or that all who seem not to have  His blessing are not.  (And God’s blessings do not all involve money!!)

This reminds me of Jesus speaking about someone who was crippled from birth, and saying that some wondered who had sinned–the man, or his parents.  At that time, it was understood that those who sinned would see consequences, so this thinking was perfectly logical.  The problem was, that not everyone who had the ‘consequences’ had sinned–sometimes people are just ‘born that way’.   Although b may follow a, a does not always precede b . . .

At the risk of overstating it, here’s one more example: all apples are fruit–but not every fruit is an apple.

Many wealthy men have nearly (or literally) ‘sold their souls’ to acquire that wealth.  Many have trampled, oppressed, and exploited others along the way; cast aside their wife; and neglected or alienated their children.

We cannot assume that a man is good, merely because he has wealth.  Yes, you can ‘know them by their fruit’, but take care that it is the fruit you are examining!  Jesus was not referring to wealth as being fruit.  He was referring to how we treat God and other people!

My fear for this man, however, is that this wrong perspective towards wealth is only one aspect of the problem.  It seems to me that those in ministry have a tendency toward a particular temptation–and I believe it has been the root of destruction for many men of God.

After God gives them a ministry and blesses them with some measure of success, they begin to grow restless and think of how many  more people they could reach–if they just had more money.  Slowly, imperceptibly, their focus changes from seeing God as their source, to contriving ways in which they can obtain more money.

As they scheme for ways to raise more money, they begin to relate differently to people.  Suddenly, it seems prudent to them to make friends with those who are wealthy.  (The early church was admonished for showing favoritism to the wealthy.)  In wooing the wealthy, they seem to have a sort of tunnel vision, focusing on the best qualities in the other while being blind to things that aren’t convenient to see.

Of course, that is what we all tend to do when we make friends–but the danger of a Christian leader doing it is that they are giving spiritual credibility to the wealthy man, and leading their flock to do the same.  Often, because of wrong assumptions regarding wealth (as I first explained), and eagerness for a benefactor, they do not take the necessary time to get to know the wealthy man and prove his character.

Make no mistake, many who are wealthy are clever and have an agenda of their own.  Often they are willing to part with some of their money in turn for more credibility.  If they are strategic as to who and what they donate to, they can manipulate the assumptions that people make about them.

While it may be true that the average Joe donates to causes that are close to his heart, the same assumption should not be made about the wealthy.   Donations are a form of advertising, a means to marketing themself–a business expense, if you will.

Just because a wealthy man donates to a ministry, doesn’t mean he supports what they say or believe in.  He may be trying to purchase spiritual credibility in the eyes of men.  (Or, he may be trying to buy God’s favor.)

Whatever the case, a pastor who provides credibility for a man, without really knowing his character, may be allowing a wolf in sheep’s clothing into the midst of his flock.

As the old saying goes ‘a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush’.  Who Pastor, is really more valuable–the Christian man in the pew, whom God has entrusted to your care, or the man you might reach in the street?

American church, you have lost your way!  You are a ship, adrift at sea, cut loose from your moorings.  Great storms are coming, yet you have been rocked to sleep and are drifting unaware into the eye of the hurricane.

You call your prophets alarmists, and in your hearts you mock the messages God sends to you.  You shun words of correction, but chase after those who will flatter you and say what you want to hear.  You adore those who tell you that you can live as you wish and still inherit the kingdom of God.  (In this case, who is the God, and who is the servant?  By living this way, you exalt yourself to be God and relegate God to the position of a genie who grants your wishes whenever you rub his bottle in prayer!) You pick and choose what to believe, casting aside whatever doesn’t suit you.

Some of you have ‘chosen God’ as a means to wealth, power, unlimited blessings, unending grace and supernatural protection.  I’m not just speaking to the leaders!  Most of you see Christianity as the way to a blessed life here on Earth.  What will you do if He takes it all away?  If He strips you to your bare skin and all you have left is His outstretched hand and His invitation to walk with Him?

God is fully able to keep those who want to walk with Him.  He will guide them so that they stay on the path, and help them up when they stumble.  But, unlike the adversary, God holds no man against his will.

When you, who are Christians, choose to live in sin, you abuse the generosity of God and insult his gift of grace.  If you continue to live that way, His anger will burn hot against you.  You were chosen to be a cleansing, preserving salt, and a light of wisdom and hope to the world around you.  Many of you are neither.  Of what use are you then to God?  Step aside and let another take your place, lest He sweep you away in His anger!

You have been given the choicest meats, the finest grain, the most fertile and beautiful lands, yet you take it all for granted!  Many of you even think you deserve it.  On what grounds?  What makes you any better than the man in India who will never sleep one night in a bed?  Or the filthy little orphan children who dig their food out of a garbage dump, and are never rocked to sleep in the arms of a loving parent?

Don’t you know you are balanced on the head of a pin?  All that you hold dear was given you by the grace of God–yet  how many of you even remember to thank Him?  If a little breeze should blow, you would topple to the ground!  God chooses who to humble, and who to exalt.  Don’t make the mistake of thinking your position is secure!!

Do not practice sin, it will not release you from its grip. Make no mistake, it is ‘him who endures to the end’ who shall be saved.  If, after knowing Christ, you resume a life of sin–there is no sacrifice left that will cover your sins!

Examine your heart and your motives!  Do you really love God, or merely the gifts He gives His children?  At dusk, He will come and take His children by the hand.  They will gather up their toys and take them from you, then they will head for home.  All that will be left for you is silence, and the vision of their backs as they walk away into the deepening night.

If you have let your zeal for God grow cold, if you are living a life of sin, BEWARE!  You are standing on the edge of the abyss!  You are in very real danger of eternal damnation!

It is not that God cannot forgive your sin, it is that you may soon be unable to repent–unable to feel sorrow, shame or regret, or to even summon the motivation to seek forgiveness!

Sin deceives you, sears your conscience, takes away all shame and modesty, hardens your heart and mind, and closes your ears to the invitation of God to return to Him!  You don’t know which stab of guilt will be the last you feel–which will be your final call to repent, before sorrow can no longer penetrate the hardness of your heart, and ceases to strive with you, leaving you to practice your sin unbothered.

Don’t be deceived, God is not mocked–a man reaps what he sows.

A ‘Sleeper’ Doctrine?

‘Buy Gold From Me . . . ‘ (Jesus, To The ‘Lukewarm Church’)