Filthy lucre is mentioned several times in the New Testament, especially in regards to ministers. Filthy lucre is dirty money, or money obtained through greed. Ministering with a motive for money would qualify, or dishonorably motivated by the advantages and profits belonging to a ministry office. Love for money disqualifies you for ministry and from the kingdom of heaven.
Not only is the love of money the root of all evil (1 Tim. 6:10), but money in itself is also deceitful. The deceitfulness of riches is one kind of thorn that Jesus said chokes the Word and causes it to be unfruitful in one’s life (Mk. 4:19). Money by itself is not bad or evil; it’s a tool and we all need it, but it’s deceitful.
Paul warned Timothy about it and told him not to fellowship with anyone who considered gain to be godliness. Sounds like what many preach today, doesn’t it?
“…supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. But godliness with contentment is great gain. 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” (1 Tim. 6:8-9).
THE JEWS EQUATED WEALTH WITH GODLINESS
In Bible days the Jews equated wealth with godliness. To them it was a sign of God’s blessing. In other words, if you were blessed financially it was because you were righteous and good. So you can see that from this doctrine and belief system of that day many rich Jews thought they would inherit eternal life and go to heaven based on their riches. This is the reason Jesus told the story of the rich man and Lazarus. This is not just an account of the reality of heaven and hell, but the main subject here is money (Lk. 16:19-31). That is why the rich man seemed surprised when he found himself in hell (v. 25).
“But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented (v. 25).”
That is also the reason the disciples were greatly astonished when Jesus told them that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven (Mt. 19:23-26). The back drop to this teaching was when they heard Him tell the other rich young ruler to sell everything he had and give it to the poor and then follow Jesus if he wanted to inherit eternal life (Mt. 19:16-22). As they say, money makes a great servant but a lousy master. Unless you become a bond servant to Jesus and can give it all away if He asked you to, money could just be more of a master to you than you thought. Be careful. Recently the Lord dealt with us about being in a fully consecrated position so that if He decided to bless us with large amounts of money we would not be ensnared or fall into temptation. If you want to be rich and desire wealth it can be a great temptation and a snare or trap that could hurt and destroy you.
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. 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. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness” (1 Tim. 6:8-11).
Can it be any more clearer than this?
THE CHURCH OF THE LAODICEANS
The Church of the Laodiceans had the same problem. They trusted in their riches and believed they had favor with God because of it. They thought they were rich, increased with goods, and had need of nothing, but Jesus told them that they were wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked (Rev. 3:17). What a deception!
Many Bible scholars believe the Laodicean church is the apostate church of the last days just before the return of the Lord. Just like the two rich men, they equated wealth, riches, and possessions with the blessing of God. They didn’t know their true spiritual condition. Yet all that was necessary for them was to know what the Scriptures really said concerning money, instead of just believing what the rabbis and spiritual leaders of that day told them. Then they could’ve gotten in touch with their own hearts on the matter by communing with God, and He would’ve revealed the true condition of their hearts.
Isn’t that what we are seeing in our day? Many Christians believe more what the elevated teachers in our Christian culture say than what the Bible really teaches. I can tell you right now that some of the most popular teachers and preachers in the marketplace of Christianity today are on their way to destruction or will lose their reward if they don’t experience a rude awakening. Wealth and riches have become a snare to them and they are falling into foolish and hurtful lusts and erring from the faith, and piercing themselves through with many sorrows. May God have mercy on their souls and help them to recover from this snare.
Here’s what’s happening on the earth today.
Both citizens of heaven and hell are being numbed and dulled by the effects of their flesh and senses, so that they cannot feel the full force of the atmospheres of their respective kingdoms. There is a spirit and an effect in the atmosphere of this world that stops conviction, and this effect is in the worldly church as well.
THE YOUNG DEMONIAC THAT I CAST THE DEVIL OUT OF
I don’t have time to go into the details of this marvelous deliverance, but I will share the high points. Several years ago I cast the devil out of a 19 year boy while conducting meetings in the nation of Gambia, West Africa. We brought him to Jesus, got him filled with the Holy Sprit, and enrolled him in Bible school afterwards. Praise the Lord!
Immediately following his deliverance I interviewed him. I discovered that evil spirits had visited him since he was seven years of age and enticed him to enter into a covenant with them. For a dozen years or so the devil would grant the boy pleasures and then inflict pain upon him and beat him, more pleasures and then more pain, until it became almost unbearable for him. I asked him if he had sought freedom and help from other Christians and churches. He said he had, but none were strong enough to help him. In one incident the evil spirit in him ransacked the office of a large Charismatic church and slapped the pastor in the face when they tried to cast the evil spirit out of him. Here’s what the evil spirit spoke: “This church has no power because they don’t live holy and all they talk about is money!” Can you believe a devil said that? Demons know churches. Demons know men.
“And the evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?” (Acts 19:15)
This church had no power over the evil spirit in this boy because they were unholy and full of greed and covetousness. Their powerlessness was due to these impurities. Don’t think that these things don’t matter because they do. A house divided against itself cannot stand. I know that God’s gifts and callings are irrevocable and God may use individuals for a time even when they are living in sin, but soon judgment catches up with them if they don’t repent. But when it comes to the corporate anointing and power in a church, money impurities and greed dilute it and make the church ineffective.
We’ve got to repent and drain the swamp in the church of dirty money before true restoration can come. God’s house must be a house of prayer and not a den of thieves.