IGNORING THE SCRIPTURES
YOU BELIEVE THEM
I Tim.6: 5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.
7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
10 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.
11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
This portion of Scripture is extremely important and reveals something that is not only germane to how a disciple thinks and behaves, but it points directly to the very essence of the eternal faith. Money is the supreme representative of the temporal and the fallen and it is the pursuit of the carnal mind. The early believers were well aware of the powerful influence of wealth. And most times believers who were wealthy were born again with riches and not having accumulated great wealth while being a believer.
The seven verses above encapsulate a very arresting and profound teaching which when taken literally unmasks the fraudulent and pervasive ecclesiastical climate in the western church. Even those who loudly and self righteously proclaim to be literalists and hold to the inerrancy of Scripture severely dilute these kinds of teachings in order to provide capitalistic comfort to the evangelical masses. Who do you know who even strives to be content with food and clothing? And when was the last time a shepherd pressed his congregation about their lack of contentment and their thirst for more and better in the material world?
Christianity in its purest and most Scriptural form as it pertains to how its adherents live and interact with the surrounding culture is at its foundation a philanthropy. It is a life of determined good works based upon a faith that seeks to emulate the life and teachings of Jesus. This kind of faith which embraces certain written doctrines as the litmus test for legitimacy is foreign to the preponderance of the New Testament revelation. To be sure redemption itself comes solely by faith alone in the work of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. But of what value is a faith which professes Christ and then settles into an unremarkable life which has its Sunday morning excursion as its most defining feature?
Our master said for us to “Count the cost” as we thought about following Him. Today men present the reward of heaven as the exclusive carrot and avoid any mention of any so called cost. Unwilling to put anyone off the presentation of the faith comes without any warning about starting without finishing. And so sinners say a prayer, receive unqualified assurance of their eternal destiny, and are given a box of tithing envelopes. They are now members of the innocuous club we call church.
But who are the important voices in the world today? Who do people exalt and listen to as if they had special wisdom? Why are Donald Trump and Bill Gates and Ted Turner and others lifted up as fountainheads of knowledge? Is it not just because they are wealthy? And how does a person get elected here in America? Ninety per cent of nationally elected officials raised more money than their opponents. This past presidential election alone spent nearly 1 billion dollars. You see, the world operates on wealth. It is what people seek from the janitor to the oil tycoon. Money is a god. It is worshipped and served unlike any other god.
But the tragedy is not that the world loves money. The tragedy is that the church and professing believers love it just as much. Living within a culture which openly and unashamedly seeks and loves money, the church has left Christ for the allurement of material things. Even the ornate and sophisticated and expensive buildings where professing believers meet are in step with the technologies of the times. And even though a church has to borrow money and pay unimaginable interest to secular financial institutions it will gladly do so if it means building a better place in which to meet.
And these congregations are filled with people who borrow money just like the world, and save up money just like the world, and work to support their lifestyles just like the world, and seek higher salaries just like the world, and enjoy expensive entertainments and vacations just like the world, and rejoice when they come into some unexpected money just like the world. And in a stunning display of spiritual treachery the church has rejected the teachings of the New Testament and crafted a more capitalist friendly kind of evangelical faith which not only allows the love of money, but encourages it in many ways. And this phenomenon is not something hidden under a rock. It is prominent and openly displayed in the American church.
It is very difficult to be born into a system and raised within that system by men and women who are genuine and care for you and then have to examine that system objectively and even as an outsider. Of course this ecclesiastical system allows churches to do some very good things and many people who love this system also do good works for Christ. That is not in dispute. But this system cannot be measured by some good works within it. Even corrupt governments do some things for the poor.
But the standard must always be the Word of God. When we compare ourselves with ourselves we inevitably create a system which by design continually makes all kinds of room for the influence of the culture. And one compromise opens the door for another until the atmosphere is so compromised and corrupted that it no longer practices a faith which can honestly be associated with New Testament teachings. And instead of fervently seeking the face of Christ to purify our hearts and minds we arrive at a place where the machine runs itself. And when we have reached that place we no longer need God. All we need are more people.
Mk.12: 41 And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.42 And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.
43 And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:
All of us have heard the story of this poor widow who gave proportionately more than all the rich men gave. But do we really understand and do we really wish to follow her example? That is not just a cute story which warms our hearts about the widow but has no application among us. Much of the ministry of Jesus spoke about greed and the power of wealth over a human heart. It cannot be denied that Jesus, as well as the early believers, were very concerned about the poor and felt that giving to the poor was a core element of a disciple’s life. That concept has long since evaporated in the arid atmosphere of a hedonistic culture.
Although we have grown accustomed to it, the teaching of the prosperity movement is an open source of doctrinal sewage and part of the antichrist system. It cannot be overstated just how opposed it is to the clear teachings of Christ and the overarching theme of New Testament living. It is not just a slight alteration or even a substantial departure from historical Christianity. It is an all consuming enemy of Christ and all He lived and taught. But it is a product of what is thought and practiced at a lesser and more clandestine level in most American churches. It is not a part of the true faith and is a poisonous imposter.
John Wesley was used mightily of God. There were several events which changed his life and gave him the power to go deeper in Christ. And he understood how money could derail a ministry and a believer’s pursuit of Christ. John Wesley wrote, “When I die if I leave behind me ten pounds ... you and all mankind may bear witness against me, that I have lived and died a thief and a robber.” What was he saying? When he died in 1791, the only money mentioned in his will was the miscellaneous coins to be found in his pockets and dresser drawers.
While at Oxford, an incident changed his perspective on money. He had just finished paying for some pictures for his room when one of the chambermaids came to his door. It was a cold winter day, and he noticed that she had nothing to protect her except a thin linen gown. He reached into his pocket to give her some money to buy a coat but found he had too little left. Immediately, the thought struck him that the Lord was not pleased with the way he had spent his money. He asked himself, Will thy Master say, “Well done, good and faithful steward?” Thou hast adorned thy walls with the money which might have screened this poor creature from the cold! O justice! O mercy! Are not these pictures the blood of this poor maid?
Oh my brothers and sisters, are we not cut to the quick when we read those words or are our hearts so jaded by this world that we find Wesley archaic and outdated? Do we even care about the teachings of Scripture anymore or is our perspective imprisoned by the culture in which we now live? Money is a harsh taskmaster and it demands our full attention and care. It will not take second place, and when it sets up a place within our hearts it lives as a relentless demagogue. And if given enough time it will change the very faith that once controlled a believer’s heart and mind. Who among us has not felt the powerful lust concerning money?
Worry is it staple of money and pursuit is its sustenance. Money is a siren which calls with an exciting voice in order to first create a fondness and then a true love. And once our hearts are in love with money it becomes a solid stronghold. But with the clever deftness of a glass blower the lust of the flesh drapes itself in a false revelation of the faith and controls professing believers by helping to mentor people to separate their earthly lives from Scriptural truth. The teachings like the verses I first provided are so unlike anything in this culture as well as modern thought and reason that they surely cannot be taken too literally. They go against any capitalist rationale.
But I submit to you that ministering to the poor should be a sacred obsession to the church and each believer. Even when Pastor James of Jerusalem finally saw the light and understood that the law was not part of grace he still insisted that believers should remember the poor.
Lk.4: 18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
Jesus said that He Himself was the fulfillment of these verses. What does it mean to preach the gospel to the poor? What did Abraham mean when he told the rich man that he had received good things in his lifetime and Lazarus received evil things? Was He not saying that he had been rich but Lazarus had been poor? And when Christ shares the parable of the sheep and the goats what were the characteristics of the sheep? Jesus said to the sheep, “ For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.”
Now what does that tell us? We know that we are saved by faith because it is a consistent theme in the New Testament, but as it pertains to the authentic revelation of a true believer the ministry to the poor plays a prominent role. And one does not even have to be a believer to see quite clearly that the teachings of Jesus are antithetical to the culture in which we now live. The two are exact opposites in every way and yet the church has presented a dastardly lie which ignores that fact and outlines something which calls itself Christian but which is far from it. What is practiced toady in the evangelical community is what the culture dictates with a thin layer of religion.
I hope that intensity of this post can be felt in your spirit. I hope that what I have outlined has sunk into your consciousness and you have come to an understanding of just how deeply we have been deceived. When will you come to an understanding that what you have believed and what you have been told and what you have been living is not the faith which believes in and follows Jesus? Do you truly comprehend the immensity of that statement? I do not mean to just give it a little thought and move on. Do you actually realize what has happened to the true faith in this hedonistic culture? All the buildings, all the advertisements, all the church staff, all the statements of faith, all the relevant teaching, all the youth groups, all the Christian schools, and everything which is now considered part of the evangelical community is meaningless to God unless the foundation is Christ, His life, and His teachings. Ultimately we are following Christ or following ourselves.
We have two and only two choices.
Either the teachings of Jesus in the New Testament are a lie...
or the church is.