The problem and subtle deception today is that when preachers equate their wealth and influence to their blessedness and favor with God and find their identity therein, they enter into a kind of darkness which originates from the wisdom of Satan. There is nothing wrong with having wealth, a prosperous business, or an influential church or ministry, as long as those things do not create an identity in your heart about who you are and how you measure yourself against others. The moment you use those things as evidence of your blessedness and anointing from God, you have entered the realm of mammon worship and a subtle covetousness the Scriptures warn us about. God calls it iniquity and for this reason Jesus refers to some ministers as “workers of iniquity” (Mt. 7:21-23). While performing miracles these ministers were rejected because they were doing it for their own name and fame. Their identity was in themselves and in their ministry, and they mistakingly equated the miracles to God’s favor and blessedness.
Many modern day ministers are hirelings or misguided shepherds who preach the carnal prosperity message, who manipulate the scriptures on tithing and sowing and reaping, who use gimmicks to extract money from people, who twist the Word for selfish gain, and wrongly require seed offerings in exchange for the anointing, or who use any other such practices to steal from God’s sheep. They are the den of thieves Jesus spoke of when He cleansed the temple. These impurities are contaminating today’s Church and diluting the true glory and raw power of God.
These seducers are guilty of teaching doctrines of demons and stringing a few obscure scriptures together that make up a be-all, end-all gospel of riches. To these people, it’s disrespectful to not want to become extremely wealthy, since Jesus died that we could all have wealth. They say that Jesus was made poor so we could be rich—as if deliverance from poverty was the proof of our spiritual salvation. Is that really the sum of what the Bible teaches? This is the American gospel, my friends and God has shown me that much of the excess and covetousness so common in the West today is rooted in this evil system. Let’s remember that Jesus did not say, “Without money you can do nothing.” He said, “Without Me you can do nothing.”
Consider these facts:
Jesus said no one can serve God and mammon. He even said it would be very hard for servants of mammon to enter the kingdom of heaven (Mt. 6:24, Mk. 10:23-24).
Paul said to withdraw from those who preach gain is godliness. He told Timothy to flee the troubles, sorrows, and dangers that derive from this deceptive teaching (1 Tim. 6:5-10).
Here’s something else: Have we forgotten that Lucifer fell from heaven because of merchandizing or trading what God gave him and who God made him for power. He traded holiness for wealth. He traded his lofty position to attempt to go even higher and be an independent god. Furthermore, he disseminated that thought into Adam and Eve and they, too traded their birthright and marriage to God to become gods themselves.
Lucifer was once a perfect being; he was very rich, existing in the same domain as God, and having everything he could ever desire. According to Ezekiel 31, he was the greatest tree in the garden of God. When his heart was lifted up in his stature, iniquity flooded his being and it corrupted him; thus, he fell from his holy position and heavenly abode.
Since money did not exist in the Garden of Eden, we can substitute money for anything that would be a substitute to our marriage to God. The belief that something outside of God can replace or satisfy our union with Him is the iniquity mentioned here, expressed as the love of money or merchandise.
And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!” (Jn. 2:16). The house of prayer meant to provide the satisfaction and fulfillment of intimate communion with God had been traded or substituted as a business or worse, a den of thieves.
OTHER FACTS TO CONSIDER
Judas made a practice of stealing money from the treasury thus giving access to Satan to enter his heart and betray Jesus for even more money (Jn. 13:2). A covetous heart will always prefer money and power more than the Master.
Satan filled Ananias and Sapphira’s heart to lie about money so they could be esteemed in the eyes of men (Acts 5).
Simon the sorcerer offered money in exchange for the power of God for the same devilish reason (Acts 8).
If Lucifer, who was perfectly created and beautiful in every way moved in and out of the presence of God, and Judas who walked with Jesus for over three years both allowed their love of money to destroy their eternal destiny, what makes you think that you will not succumb to the same evil and covetousness that comes from serving mammon and not God?
This is an excerpt taken from my new book, The Cleansing Of The Temple: From A Den Of Thieves To A House Of Prayer. Look for its release sometime in the Fall of this year.
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