Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Money Changes Everything



I Tim.6: 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 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.

Greed is a powerful force. It will lead men into expending all kinds of energy in order to get more money. People will lie and steal to get money. They will study techniques and attend exhilarating conferences and they will get up early and stay up late in order to gain wealth. They will sacrifice their family. And millions will live in houses and drive cars and put on clothes above their means just to feel as though they have wealth. The power of earthly wealth is a great temptation and in America this temptation is pervasive and palpable. And when a culture is literally built upon the industriousness and ingenuity that leads to material prosperity then the undertow of that culture is almost overwhelming.

Almost everything in America is fueled by money. Sports and Hollywood and education and drugs and prostitution and radio and television and the music industry are all built upon and sustained by the pursuit of money. And let us not forget politics which is a money whore. All of these things and more are offshoots of greed and the love of money. We in America live in great activity where money changes hands very rapidly all around us. We all have watched the frenzied activity on the floor of the stock exchange. People are glued to interest rates, and the national debt is only rivaled by the growth of personal debt. The force of greed and avarice is now a part of western life.

But living within this culture of greed and hedonism are professing believers who say they love and follow Jesus. And these believers formed local groups where they can meet with like minded people and worship Christ. At least that is generally the stated purpose as well as reaching out to others and having some kind of missionary program. And judging by the teachings of Jesus and the entire New Testament we could expect these groups to be different than the average secular business because these groups are made up of believers whose lives are very different than those that do not follow Jesus. We should expect that, right?

Well we would be wrong. The average local church is set up as a non-profit business and operates like a small business. When it borrows money it applies to a secular bank just like a business, and if approved it pays interest just like a business. It has by-laws like a business. It even has business meetings. And this kind of construct and mindset reflects its members whose lives are run like little businesses. One of the most important barometers in this culture is your credit rating since people borrow money or buy things on credit with regularity. And even if you have poor credit you can always get a co-signer. This is a symptom of the culture and it has found its way into the lives of professing believers and into the church at large.

Money changes everything.

Jam.2:  My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.
For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment;
And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool:
Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?
Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?

Have you ever meditated upon these verses? This teaching by the Spirit is very profound and indicates just how our Lord feels about the spiritually debilitating influence of wealth. The allure of money and wealth is so great that men can actually read these verses, and others, and yet teach that God Himself is interested in seeing you gain great wealth. And millions of people who follow these false teachers see nothing of the sort even though they have given and given over the years to these prosperity ministries and yet they still give. Why do they continue to give? Because they are caught in the power of greed.

Just what does it mean when the Spirit says that God has chosen the poor of this world rich in faith? I would ask you to read this amazing article.

You see what this atheist is saying? Being an atheist is a luxury most poor people do not have. The religious overtures by those homeless people does not necessarily indicate they know Christ, however it dies indicate they know there is a God. Money hardens hearts and changes the way people act and think. A poor person is happy to have one bite of a steak while a rich person will send his steak back if it is not done to his specifications. A poor person will live with a squeak under his car while a rich person will not tolerate the slightest anomaly in his car’s performance. A poor person is not overly concerned with his apparel while a rich person must present himself within a certain context.

You see, money changes everything. Donald Trump (as an example) is an openly arrogant and self promoting man and yet he is very popular among millions of people including professing believers. And the overriding reason is because he is very wealthy. A poor person who is arrogant and self promoting and petty would be given no audience, but because Trump is a billionaire he is listened to as if he were a wise man. But he is just an example of how money changes things in a culture which loves and pursues money. It is predictable and observable.

The allure of money is powerful and it finds its way into almost every area of our hearts and minds. It is open and yet subtle. It manipulates the entire culture. The evil one has defined greed in narrow terms. We think of King Midas or some miser when we think of greed. We never associate greed with the common lifestyle of a capitalist culture. We use the term “investment” when defining the stock market or borrowing hundreds of thousands of dollars for a house, but we never say greed.

A man will have a good job and he is happy in his church and his family has many friends and ties in the community. He is, as they say, blessed. But then this same contented man gets an offer for a job which pays him a lot more money. But this job is a thousand miles away. The greater salary is too much for him to resist so he packs up his family and moves to a place where he has no guarantee that he will find the same contentment. He usually buys a larger house with a larger mortgage, and a new chapter begins. And the transition was fueled by the prospect of making more money.

The love of money is not just restricted to the rich. There are many poor people who seek money. But the entire American culture is built on the seeking of wealth and prosperity. And the church overwhelmingly has bought into that same culture. Even the word “blessings” has come to have a financial meaning. And when a church grows in membership it is always seen as God’s blessings. When a church gets approved for a secular loan to build it is God’s blessings. It is impossible to identify and articulate all the ways that this culture has influenced and now controls the church.

As I have said many times if we truly read and believed the New Testament without cultural perspectives we would see clearly that New Testament Christianity is not practiced in America except for a few individuals and a very few congregations. That is not hyperbole. We all must answer to God one day. But let it be known that the church in America has embraced the Babylonian system even while pretending to follow Jesus. This is a great sin. Money changes everything, and it has changed the western church substantially. To seek poverty is unbiblical and probably self righteous on some level. But to seek prosperity is an open sin and it will change everything in a person’s life.


michael said...

There are a few from many places in Scripture I'd draw attention to in light of your current article:

1 Samuel 2:6 The LORD kills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up.
7 The LORD makes poor and makes rich; he brings low and he exalts.
8 He raises up the poor from the dust; he lifts the needy from the ash heap to make them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honor. For the pillars of the earth are the LORD's, and on them he has set the world.

Proverbs 13:7 One pretends to be rich, yet has nothing; another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth.
8 The ransom of a man's life is his wealth, but a poor man hears no threat.

But the following one captures most, for me at least, what I know about both rich and poor people in the world. I live in. Apparently the Scriptures are meant for every generation?:

Ecclesiastes 9:14 There was a little city with few men in it, and a great king came against it and besieged it, building great siegeworks against it.
15 But there was found in it a poor, wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city. Yet no one remembered that poor man.

Anonymous said...

I had a very weird dream last night and I am not advocating that this is a spiritual dream at all. No way. I usually dream about my troubles in my subconscious and they usually are funny.

This one, however, must be the underlings of my subconscious of what I've been grieving over with the prosperity movement. I almost got caught in that prosperity movement net once. It upsets me when I read about tele-evangelists or authors who continually print out "how-to" books on how to be a better (insert improvement) christian, etc.

The dream was about me, (of course) being in this house we rented and it had a POOL!! I was so delerious with joy, and the house was in a warm climate and it was sunny and beautiful out. I look out a window to see this turquoise sparkling new pool and I got ready to jump in. Next scene, I was approaching the pool and 5 or 6 kids were standing around it. Two babies were perched right on the edge, ready to fall in. No adult was around. I picked up the babies, searched for the parents, who were inside our house, turning it into a ministry, and people were milling around the house and the mom and dad, were busy with people. The dad had a suit on and was asking for donations. They hadn't even watched their kids and babies who were running around undisciplined neglected. I searched my walled and pulled out a $5 bill (I'm even stingy in my dreams LOL) and gave it to the man who was all set up behind a desk with receipt books and ledgers and was taking people's money.

Next scene, I enter a room and two of the adult sisters of the evangelist were practicing some type of nefarious things with candles, and some kind of massage parlour. They had creepy demonic-looking faces, the walls of the room suddenly turned wavy and spiritually evil-looking and I cried out "I rebuke you in the Name of the Lord Jesus" - the room went back to normal but it returned again to evil-looking and I cried out just "JESUS" where the room was struggling to get back to it's normal state......I remembered the verse about "this only comes out by prayer and fasting"........I left the house, was bewildered, roamed these strange streets and woke up.

Just kind of laughing a bit as I write this, and to say, it reminded me of this post, where the greed of our culture is so caught up in making money, at the expense of young kids being completely abandoned or neglected by parents who are preoccupied with making money. I'm not talking about two-income couples, but couples who work at living off other people's money. This thought occured to me also, that in this culture where the church prides itself on being advocates for unborn children, some (sadly) have become so focused on their ministries, that their children suffered. We never hear ministries talk about raising up a child biblically. Young men and women seem to find themselves roaming for answers and live under the same roof of their evangelistic parents. When I woke up I felt this sickly grief of how hoodwinked many christians are and how imitators and wolves are operating right under our noses. And we wonder why there is no discernment.

Just sharing. Tonight I won't eat so late.

J. .

Cherie c. said...

I didn't get a chance to comment on Sorrow. And I am filled with sorrow most of the time. For people, for events going on, for those who profess Christ, but are actually carnal, for the lost and dying, for our brothers and sisters in persecution.

I am filled with sorrow for those who have an alliance with the things of this world and that includes money. We are still embracing the temporal! We are still trying to do it as the world does. WHY? Does no one read the Word of God!? Does no one shake with the idea that Jesus could turn us away? Does anyone take an honest look at who they are and what they believe?

Tonight we had the "Debate" with Ken Ham and Bill Nye. I know I posted the information. But I was naive. Stupid me actually thought Ken Ham would preach the Gospel somewhere in this debate. NO! He sure promoted his museum. And Bill Nye was allowed to promote secular science.

What hit me is this must be for promotional sake. It cannot possibly be for the sake of God and His Word! It certainly was not for fulfilling the great commission to preach the Gospel to every creature. It was a train wreck for so called Christianity. What a stupid head I am to have thought Ken Ham would do as the very Word he says he believes literally.

Oh well, carnal men addressing the lost men of this world. Both are the same. Ken Ham made a mockery out of a Holy God and His Word while promoting his business, and Bill Nye got to input doubt in Scripture to thousands of "on the fence" believers. All I can do is pray. Pray for God to work through this debacle for His Glory. Deeply sorrow filled this evening. There is no debating with anti-Christ spirit. How can no one see that?

Didn't Jesus say that darkness has nothing to do with light? Didn't the Word say there is no fellowship between dark and light?

No one heeds the Word of God! May God forgive me for wasting my time watching this "debate"

your sister in Christ Jesus,

Gary Beebe said...

Anytime we find someone defending prosperity with scripture, one can see they fail to grasp what true riches are. Good word Pastor Rick.

brcorcoran said...

To me, a most sobering statement coming from the Lord is -

Revelation 3:17
For you say, I am rich; I have prospered and grown wealthy, and I am in need of nothing; and (you do not realize) and (understand) that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.

This group had "no idea" of their spiritual lives...

That's sobering...thinking we are doing the right thing and have no idea we are doing the wrong thing...

Some believe this was just a church, others believe it was a church but also a prophetic outlook of an age...

If it is also talking about an age, and it's the last church listed, then possibly meaning it's the age we live in right now...

That's the condition of those seeking materialism...blind

Cherie c. said...


this church in Rev 3:17 is the future is it not? Since the Revelation of Jesus Christ is yet future, this could be a church we are seeing now. Perhaps the American Christian Church? God let us know the events yet to be, so I would not be surprised if this was something we are seeing today.

May God have mercy on me, I do not want to be included in that group. No one has to tell me that I am wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I remind myself everyday. I am only worth something because of Jesus. Thank you Lord God.

your sister in Christ Jesus

Rick Frueh said...

The churches described in Revelation 2 and 3 have four applications. They were literal churches in John's day, the describe individual churches throughout church history, the describe the spiritual lives of individuals, and they also describe some church eras. It would be accurate to see our current age as Laodicean.

brcorcoran said...

A portion of Apostle Paul's prophecy concerning the last days

2 Timothy 3
But understand this, that in the last days will come (set in) perilous times of great stress and trouble [hard to deal with and hard to bear].

For people will be lovers of self and [utterly] self-centered, lovers of money and aroused by an inordinate [greedy] desire for wealth, proud and arrogant and contemptuous boasters.

In my early years I use to think the difficult times to come was tribulation...

Yet, I'm finding the difficult times to come is dealing with Christianity in these last days...

Fellowship in Christ is hard to find...talking about all the rhetoric of the world in areas of business, sports, hobbies and so forth is what you find after the Amen in a service...

Many are caught up in "how to draw" people into the Church...I would hope the "Word being preached" is what people are looking for, but it's the hype, the buildings, the programs and everything is driven by (MONEY)...

Not across the board of course...but this is becoming more and more the norm...

Anonymous said...

Didn't get a chance to say thank you to Rick for this post. The article from the Guardian really shows the truth of the matter.


Anonymous said...

Very good and correct observations from Brcorcoran. When man's heart is still unclean he will allow himself to get caught up by everything except truly trusting and obeying God. I agree with Rick about this modern day Church. It displays all the symptoms of a currupt Church that Christ would vomit out.

There are many exceptions to this worldwide but yes the modern day Church is laodician. The word Laodicia comes from the Latin language. Instead of God having the say in this laodician Church fallen man has the say!

And when man has the say and the true Christ is rejected true Christians will find themselves hated and persecuted when they lovingly bring the true Gospel to the untaught and unreached.

Reine Gnade

Anonymous said...

An unsaved person says in their heart, I am rich; I have prospered and grown wealthy, and I am in need of nothing; and they do not realize and understand that they are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.

An usaved person is spiritually blind, for God hasn't yet given them sight. All unsaved people stand naked before Him.

God teaches us about this starting in the Garden of Eden. The more we love God the more we are desirous to praise Him for righteous Christ.

When we wholeheartedly trust and obey Him and have pure praise for His atoning sacrifice and long for His soon return we will find we are blessed to go into the world and boldly preach the Gospel of Christ to the glory of God.

Reine Gnade