THE DECEITFULNESS OF WEALTH: YOUR BEST LIFE…LATER
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.” 1 Timothy 6:5-11 KJV
14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. 19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent.” Revelation 3:14-19 KJV
The above passages, especially the one in Revelation, are speaking, without doubt, to a huge portion of what passes as the “church” today. So many of our teachers and preachers have become rich, powerful and famous preaching a “gospel” of wealth, happiness and success. This, of course is no gospel at all – and their deceit and flatteries have stolen the hearts of many away from the things of God. The word is clear – while Jesus is concerned about every single detail of our lives, His focus is not on whether we are rich or happy, whether we like our job, whether we get a big Christmas bonus check – or even if we have a great marriage. He is primarily concerned about the deep, eternal things of the heart – because He knows that if we seek our best life now, we will forfeit a far better life with Him and His Father in eternity. And if we truly, in the deepest places of our hearts, seek HIM first…all of those things will be added to us as well (Matthew 6:33). While “these things” might not look quite like, say Joel Osteen’s $10 million dollar house or Kenneth Copeland’s Gulfstream 5, since HE is first, whatever you have…will be enough.
Jesus Christ frequently taught that the material things of this world are inconsequential when compared to the glory He has in store for those who love Him. He, Himself, came to earth in the form of a man, not to conquer…but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many. He also promised us that, in His Father’s house are many mansions, and if we love and obey Him, we will dwell in those mansions with Him and His Father forever (John 14:1-3, 15-24).
Jesus and Paul placed absolutely no value on earthy possessions, and simply lived each day trusting God to provide for them as He saw fit – because, in Paul’s case, he knew with great certainty, that at death he would receive a crown of righteousness, which can never perish, spoil or fade away. Jesus also knew that, after completing His mission on earth, He would receive a name that is above every name and that at the name of Jesus, every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue will confess that He alone is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:5-11).
What is important to Jesus Christ is that we, as believers, understand exactly how wicked and deceitful our hearts are before a perfect, holy and omnipotent God (Jeremiah 17:9). He wants us to know, in the innermost places of our being, that we deserve hell for rebelling against our glorious Creator who gave us the stars, and the still, quiet night sky, the soft, slowly-floating clouds, fiery burnt-orange sunsets, rich deep-blue oceans teaming with trillions of colorful fish, blazing-white mountain peaks, lush tropical jungles, fields of pink and yellow wild flowers, a myriad of rich tropical corals, white sand beaches, powerful frothing ocean waves, perfectly designed snowflakes, springs of clear cool water, cute, playful animals, precious innocent children, friends to laugh and cry with, and many different types of food and drink to taste and enjoy.
God has given us so many glorious tangible things to delight in each day. All of those things are an important part of His loud, loving voice (See, Psalms 19:19 and Romans 1:18-20), calling every man and woman to love and worship the One who first loved us. Yet the blessings of those God-given gifts are often obscured by our selfish, material pursuits. Many times each day we fail to recognize the beautiful blessings placed before us, as we wander from home, to work, to the grocery store, on a jog or walk, to a restaurant, and back to our homes again. How much more do we fail to recognize the depth of our sin and the marvelous gift of the death of Jesus Christ, God incarnate, on the cross for us…cold, broken and in agony…and His triumphant resurrection?
What we want, and have been taught to want, directly or indirectly by our pastors and our Christian mentors are: a second SUV, a bigger house, influential friends, children who excel at sports or academics, lavish vacations, a bigger bonus check and a fat retirement account. Why isn’t God giving us these things, we ask? We deserve them! My pastor and the deacons are all very well-off – and the pastor says we should expect to be wealthy too if we are truly in God’s will – and we need to give more (to him) to receive God’s blessing! Is God punishing me or is He just not listening to me? Am I a bad person? Does God not love me?? Is He a bad God?? These are all scandalous and outrageous lies propagated by the false church!
The scriptures below specifically address what Jesus and the Apostles said about wealth, material possessions, and temporal success, thereby instructing us how to view them as well. The message from all of these men is eternity…eternity is what matters to God. These men lived their lives for God’s everlasting kingdom, and they proved their beliefs by their actions. Jesus himself lived a life of deprivation upon deprivation upon deprivation, showing us that a life not centered on material wealth, but focused on obeying God, can be lived, even by a king. We, with the help of the Holy Spirit, should be eager to give up whatever we are asked to give up as well- whether it be money, possessions, reputations, or relationships – all for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
In Matthew 5:42, Jesus teaches us to give to anyone who asks us for something, and to lend freely to those who seek to borrow from us.
Our hearts should not be tied to our possessions, which will ultimately burn…instead, our eyes and hearts should be set firmly on Jesus, loving Him and those He sends us to love – not just with our mouths, but with our time and with our possessions. It is not easy, but it is our calling in Christ, and we can grow into a more selfless heart with the help of the Holy Spirit.
In Matthew 6:19-21, Jesus teaches us to not store up for ourselves treasures on earth where moths and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But instead, we should store up for ourselves treasures in Heaven, which can never be stolen or destroyed. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Rarely has a truer statement been spoken – what we truly treasure in our hearts we reflect with our actions. Do we care more about keeping our house perfect than we care about showing hospitality to friends and neighbors? I know I tend to care more about an orderly house than sharing it with others, sadly. Do we care more about how we as parents come across to other people by our children’s behavior and success (or lack thereof) then we care about their precious little hearts? There are many, many areas we all need to examine in order to determine where exactly our treasure is.
In Matthew 6:24, Jesus says that men cannot serve two masters, for they oppose each other. We cannot serve God and money. Therefore, we should not worry about what we will eat or drink, because life is more than food and clothing. The lilies of the field do not work yet they are beautiful. If God takes care of flowers, which are here today and are gone tomorrow, how much more will he care for us? Take no thought of what we will eat or drink, but seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be given to us as well.
We all at times seem to forget the “seek first the kingdom” part, and instead simply want to be “blessed” with more and more material things. As a result, we often only seek Jesus half-heartedly; looking over our shoulder for that material blessing we’ve been hearing so much about at church. The real blessing, my dear friends, is Him.
Seeking Jesus first means truly and deeply surrendering all of our wants and needs to Him and then walking closely with Him in trust, knowing that Jesus knows far better than we do what we really need in this life in order to accomplish His primary goal: remaining in intimate union with Him until death.
In Matthew 8:18-20, Jesus says that foxes have dens and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man has no place to rest His head.
Jesus did not even have a home. That is a fact that many of these prosperity pastors – and all of us really – should meditate on when we aren’t satisfied with our possessions.
In Matthew 10:9-10, when Jesus first sends out the twelve disciples, He tells them to take no money or clothes with them, since through their testimony, God will meet all of their needs.
In Matthew 10:37-39, Jesus says that, whoever loves their family more than Him is not worthy of Him, and whoever does not take up his cross and follow Him isn’t worthy of Him. He who finds his life in this life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for the sake of Jesus will find it. See, also Mark 8:34-37
This is a critically important scripture because it contradicts the majority of what is being taught in American churches today about wealth, prosperity, and even relationships. According to this passage, God is to be honored, even above our closest family members, and while Joel Osteen and company tell us to seek our best life now, Jesus Christ says, seek it later. Instead, we must lay down our earthly lives…all of it…and take up our cross and follow Him wherever He leads us. Then, when this short life is finished, we will join Him and our Father in paradise, where we will live and reign forever….
In Mark 10:24, we are told (only in the KJV btw) that it is hard for a rich man to enter into heaven: 24 “…Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!” Mark 10:24 KJV
Why is it hard for a rich man to truly be saved by the blood of Jesus Christ? Because wealth slowly and subtly steals our hearts from the things of God. The parable of the sower says it well. 22 “He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.” Matthew 13:22
Oftentimes, we think we are loving and serving God, but really we only “love him” if our business is successful and our reputations are intact; if our house is large enough and our vacations are frequent; if our kids are excelling in sports (or academics) and we are respected by our peers. All of these things will burn. Neither Jesus nor Pauls cared about such matters. They looked not to this life, but to the next one…the one that lasts forever. May we do the same.
In Matthew 11:7-8 (also in Mark 12:41-44), Jesus tells a crowd, who seem surprised that He is not dressed like a king, that men who wear fancy clothes are found in earthly palaces, and not in the kingdom of God.
This is another clear repudiation by Jesus of worldly values and the false connection between wealth and God. Paul specifically said in 1 Timothy 6:5-6(quoted at the top of this article, and only found in the KJV), that godliness and financial success are not connected.
In Matthew 13:44-46, Jesus says that the kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that is so precious that we should be willing to sell everything to obtain it.
Matthew 19:16-30, is the parable of the rich young ruler, where Jesus was asked by a young rich man what he must do to inherit eternal life. The rich man noted that he obeyed the law and thus, considered himself to be good. Jesus saw through his charitable deeds, and peered into the depths of his heart. Jesus saw the idols, which prevented him from loving God above all things, and thus, Jesus told him to sell everything he had and to give the money to the poor, and then he would be rich in the kingdom of Heaven. Jesus knew that only by selling everything would the man’s heart truly reflect his words and thoughts about himself. This man walked away from the Lord dejected because he had great wealth and in reality, he loved his possessions more than he loved God. Only Jesus could have revealed the lie he believed – that he was somehow a “good” man because he obeyed certain parts of the law. This parable teaches us in very clear terms that Jesus wants more from us than self-righteous obedience…He wants everything. He wants our hearts.
Jesus then went on to explain exactly how difficult it is for a wealthy person to enter into the kingdom of Heaven by using the well-known biblical analogy of a camel going through the eye of a needle. Jesus further states that those who are willing to give up everything they have on earth for the sake of the name of Christ, including relationships, possessions, or anything else that He may require will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. The powerful and counter-intuitive message of this is that our prize is eternity with God in His kingdom, and it is a reward that will never perish, spoil, or fade away. If only more pastors would share this message with their flocks, or at least teach it without telling their congregations to give up their earthly possessions…to them.
In Matthew 21:1-11, Jesus Christ, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Creator of all things, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End, triumphantly entered Jerusalem at the end of His journey to save mankind…on the back of a donkey, as prophesied approximately five centuries earlier by Zechariah. Isaiah 53 prophesied that Jesus would not be physically attractive lest he appeal to the flesh of men. Even upon victorious entry into His beloved city to win back the souls of men from the evil one, He came quietly, and humbly. By reverently submitting to the ways of His Father, He would take back the keys of death and Hell from Satan (Revelation 1:12-18), and all men would receive an opportunity to inherit paradise.
In Matthew 23:11-12, Jesus teaches the crowd that whoever wants to be greatest among them must be their servant, and whoever exalts himself will be humbled. But whoever humbles himself for the sake of the kingdom will be exalted – and like everything Jesus taught, He was the perfect example of these words. Jesus lived a quiet and humble life for His first 30 years, working as a carpenter and even during His ministry time, He wandered from town to town, city to city, on foot, without a home (Luke 9:58) and with no possessions but the clothes on His back.
In Mark 12:41-43, Jesus noted, when it came to money, like in the story of the rich young ruler, He sees deep into the heart of men. In this passage, both rich and poor were giving money to the temple, and a widow put in a single penny. Despite the fact that, in the world’s system of weights and measures, what she put in was almost nothing, in the eyes of Jesus it was everything because she had nothing more to give. She gave all she had, while the rich, who often made a show of their generosity and gave far bigger monetary sums, really only gave a tiny portion of what they owned. The heart of a man is what Jesus sees and it is all He wants.
In Luke 12:13-21, someone asked Jesus to tell his brother to split the family inheritance with him. Jesus responds by saying that the dispute in question is none of His business and notes that a man’s life does not consist of his possessions. The point of His response seems to be that Jesus did not come to resolve disputes among the rich. He came to give life – eternal life to those who will receive it, most of whom were poor.
Jesus then goes on to tell the tale of a rich man whose land produced plenty of crops, so he built huge barns to store all of his grain for the future. This man was very satisfied with himself, thinking that he was prepared for the future and could now relax and enjoy his life. Little did he know that the very night when he expressed his deep sense of security and self-satisfaction, that God required his life. Next, Jesus states that this is what happens to those who store up treasures for themselves on earth, but have not been rich in their hearts toward God. It is at this point in Luke when Jesus goes on to discuss how He clothes the birds of the air and the lilies of the field. He reminds His little flock not to worry, for the good shepherd is guarding them and it is His good pleasure to give them eternal life with Him.
The message of the parable of the rich fool is quite powerful. Frequently, we waste our lives building up wealth for what is ultimately, no matter how long we live, short-term satisfaction. We often neglect the important things that we have been given like the scriptures, our families, the glory and beauty of creation, and sharing the sacred soul-saving message of Jesus Christ with the people around us – all to build things that will one day burn to ashes. Why do we not instead, expend maximum effort building up eternal treasure in heaven? Where we focus our time and our efforts on this earth reveals where our hearts truly are, no matter what we say with our mouths.
In Luke 16:19-31, Jesus tells the parable of the rich man and the beggar Lazarus. Jesus describes how the wealthy man had a sumptuous life, full of fine wine, food and clothing, while the poor man Lazarus had nothing, and begged for food every day, desiring even to have the crumbs off the rich man’s table. Lazarus was also covered with sores, which were licked by the dogs as he lay on the ground in agony.
However, Lazarus must have loved and trusted God, because, despite his extremely difficult life, when he died he was taken to be with Abraham in paradise. The rich man, who had a life full of wealth and pleasures, also died. Obviously, he did not see any need for God because of his wealth and comfortable life, and thus, he went to Hell for eternity. While in Hell, he was able to see Lazarus and Abraham together in paradise and he asked Lazarus for just a single drop of water to cool his tongue. Jesus then explained that, because the rich man did not trust God, but instead trusted in his wealth, he is forever separated from heaven and must live eternally in the fire of hell. Lazarus on the other hand, had nothing in this life but agonizing circumstances, yet he ended up in paradise with God forever. The obvious implication is that, even though he was scorned and rejected on this earth, and suffered greatly (this sounds very much like Jesus), he loved God in the depths of his heart… and inherited paradise.
This parable goes on to emphasize exactly how hard it is for a rich man to enter Heaven. When Abraham is asked by the rich man to go warn his brothers about the deceitfulness of wealth and the reality of hell, Abraham tells him that if they do not learn the truth about what God requires from the scriptures, which were readily available to them, they wouldn’t listen to a ghost returning from the dead either. That my friends, is quite the warning about the dark and all-consuming power of riches.
I think, unfortunately, that we will see more and more of this as the end draws near, especially amongst the rich in the church who presume to be saved because of their temporal success, and attendance at church and Bible study. I know that I personally, was the farthest away from Jesus in my heart when I was the most successful in business…but God was merciful enough to take that success away from me, that I might seek His face more earnestly and come to know Him and his surpassing love better, building up treasures in heaven where moths and rust cannot destroy and where thieves cannot come in and steal.
My kingdom is not of this world. John 18:36 … and neither is ours, thank goodness.
In Acts 20:25-37, Paul warned the flock about false prophets rising up from among the brethren. He reminded the people that they were purchased with the blood of Christ and were building an eternal inheritance through His word. To prove his sincerity and the purity of his motives, he reminded them that he did not seek anything material from them but with his own hands provided for all of his needs and also for the needs of others. He reminded them that it is more blessed to give than to receive, and he was embraced by the people with great emotion as he prepared to head to Jerusalem where he faced certain imprisonment and eventually, death.
Paul certainly provides us with a stirring example of how to build love and trust with other believers. He did not seek anything of material value from any of them, but simply nurtured them and taught them in purity and in truth, forging bonds of love and unity that only God can create.
In 1 Corinthians 1:18-31, Paul speaks boldly and clearly about the sharp contrast between the ways of God and the ways of the world. Unlike men, and even most churches, Paul stated that God chose the weak and foolish of the world as followers, not the rich and powerful.
Jesus knew that rich men are often proud and full of themselves, so He chose the weak and the poor. Poor men, especially back then, are rarely as concerned about their reputation as the wealthy since they are focused on survival from day to day, and as Proverbs says, the poor are often glad simply to have a friend. Jesus is honored to be their friend.
In 1 Corinthians 9:13-19, Paul noted that, although he does have the right to earn a living through his preaching, he rejected everything material from the believers in order to avoid the appearance of improper motives. He was willing to risk living without his needs being met in order to make sure that the purity of the Gospel remained intact. Paul summarizes his Christ-centered view of life, and specifically his perspective on temporal things, in Philippians 3:7-14, where he so eloquently states that he considered every single thing that was a benefit to him in this life a loss for the sake of Jesus Christ. He truly wanted to become like Jesus in his death…and so somehow to attain to the resurrection of the dead.
Paul didn’t just say these things with his mouth; he lived them every single day. He suffered all kinds of depravations and indignities, because he knew that he was living for an unimaginably glorious and eternal kingdom, one that cannot and will not ever be shaken. Instead of seeking material comforts, Paul pressed on toward the goal to win the prize of an eternity with Christ Jesus in Heaven (vs. 14).
In Romans 16:17-19, Paul warns the church to watch out for false and divisive teachers who preach certain things to serve their own fleshly appetites. (i.e. They preach what will make them rich).
In 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12, Paul states that, despite his suffering in Philippi, he traveled onward to Thessalonica, where he continued to preach the Gospel which was a trust given to him by God. He, unlike preachers today, did not preach with flattering words or with a pretext for greed because he knew that God Himself was a witness to his actions. Instead, with gentleness among God’s precious people, he labored day and night so as not to be a burden on them in any way.
Once again, Paul proved with his actions that preaching Jesus in purity and truth was his only goal. He was not willing under any circumstances, to risk that goal by asking anything from the people he was caring for as an ambassador of Jesus Christ. The world desperately needs more leaders in Christ like this, who care nothing for recouping the cost of their seminary degree and then pursuing a nice middle class life on the backs of their flock, but instead consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus Christ our Lord.
In 1 Timothy 2:10, Paul states that he was willing to endure all things for the sake of the elect so that they may obtain salvation and eternal glory.
Eternal glory in heaven with God was the gift he knew that God had given him to share with those who would listen, and give it he did, no matter the personal cost.
In 1 Timothy 6:5-6 (only in the KJV), Paul tells Timothy to withdraw from men of corrupt minds who suppose that godliness equals material wealth.
3 If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;4 He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,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.
How many churches in the United States are filled with proud, wealthy men, who have far too much respect and influence from church leaders and parishioners, simply because they are successful businessmen? When one is wealthy, character and godliness are often presumed, while in reality, families, business partners, and Jesus Christ are frequently trampled under foot as the wealth and reputation of these men grow like terminal cancer. Their gospel of materialism spreads further and deeper into the church, and many hearts are drawn away from the things of Jesus to the temporary things of this world by these enticing lies. This is a foolish and wicked practice, which opens the door to heresy in the church by allowing in false doctrines, which appease the rich and bring in new attendees who hopefully become eager donors.
In 1 Timothy 6:17-19, Paul tells Timothy to command those who are rich in this life not to be conceited nor to trust in uncertain riches, but instead to trust in the living God who generously gives us all things to enjoy. The wealthy should be rich in good works, and generous in all things, laying up for themselves a good foundation for an eternity with God.
In Hebrews 10:34, Paul reminds believers about the persecutions they have suffered and he specifically reminds them to joyfully endure the confiscation of their property knowing that they have in Heaven better and enduring possessions.
In Hebrews 11:8-16, Paul notes that by faith Abraham obeyed God and went into a new country, not knowing where he was going, for he was looking for a city whose builder and maker is God. Furthermore, Abraham’s descendants, not having received the promise, had faith, and desired a better country – a heavenly one – therefore God was not afraid to be called their God and He prepared an eternal city for them.
In Hebrews 13:5-6, Paul states that we should live our lives without the love of money and should be content with the things we have for God has said that He will never leave us or forsake us. We may all boldly proclaim that the Lord is our helper and we should not fear. What can man do to us?
In Hebrews 13:17-18, Paul has the people to whom the letter is addressed pray for him as he prepares to leave, and he asks that they specifically pray that in all things that he may deal honestly.
I appreciate the fact that Paul is aware of his own potential bad motives and the deceitfulness of his heart, and he wants to make sure that in all things he honors the Lord. He is not afraid to look bad by asking for prayer for this.
In James 1:9-11, James states that the poor man and the man of low status should rejoice in the fact that in Christ they are exalted. On the other hand, the wealthy man is made low and will pass away like grass. As the sun burns and withers the grass so will a man who trusts in wealth wither away and come to nothing.
In James 2:1-9, James implores the brothers to have faith in Christ without showing partiality to a rich man or to a man of high position. A rich man should not be given a position over a poor man since that is a type of judgment in God’s eyes. For God has chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom He has made for those who love Him.
In James 5:1-6, James states that rich men should weep and howl for the miseries that they will suffer in eternity (See Lazarus and the rich man, above). Their wealth and their possessions are corrupted, and their gold and silver are corroded. That corrosion will be a witness against them and will eat their flesh like fire. The wages they have failed to pay the laborers who worked in their fields are crying out against them, and the Lord hears those cries. Many of the wealthy have lived in pleasure on this earth, straying from the path of truth.
1 John 2:15-18, tells us not to love the world, and that if anyone loves the world then the love of the Father is not in them. For everything in the world, the lust of the eyes, the boasting of what we have and do, comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires will pass away, but the one who does the will of God will live forever.
Many of the above passages are a stinging indictment of the wealthy – many of whom fancy themselves “believers,” yet they have abused and underpaid God’s precious children in order to store up more and more wealth for themselves. Those riches will ultimately condemn them, and, according to James, will eat their flesh like fire in Hell.
In Revelation 2:9, Jesus Christ Himself praises the church in Smyrna. Although they are living in poverty and are suffering great persecution, the church is rich in the eyes of God because of their works on His behalf and because of the tribulations they are enduring in His name. Unfortunately, the opposite is true of the church in Laodicea (quoted at the top of this writing), which closely resembles our prosperity-oriented churches today. Jesus sternly warns the Laodicean church that they are lukewarm, storing up for themselves earthly wealth rather than spiritual treasures; therefore, Jesus is preparing to spit them out of His mouth if they do not repent. They have sought riches in this world and have stored up good things for themselves thinking they are in need of nothing. Jesus tells them, that, despite what they think of themselves, they are wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked in His eyes. He then counsels them to buy FROM HIM the gold of the Spirit refined in the fire, that they may truly be rich. May this passage be a warning to us all.
In Revelation 18:11-17, at the end of days, when Jesus pours out his wrath on the earth, the rich merchants of the world and those who lived for material goods will watch as everything they have longed for and hoarded is forever destroyed…in an instant.
The Psalms and Proverbs also have numerous scriptures teaching us about the deceit of wealth and about true, eternal riches.
In Psalm 19:7-11, David states that the law of the Lord is perfect, right, pure, true, and is to be much more desired than fine gold, and that by obeying the word comes great reward.
Psalms 49:5, states that those who trust in their wealth cannot redeem each other on the day of wrath, nor can they pay a ransom to God. The fool will perish, leaving wealth to others. The rich take nothing with them in death and their glory does not descend with them. Men of worldly honor, without the understanding of God, will perish.
In Psalm 52, David writes that God will forever bring down the man who does not make God his refuge but instead trusts in the abundance of his riches, growing strong in wickedness. Trust instead in the mercy of God for as long as you live.
In Psalm 119:127, the psalmist writes that he loves the commandments of God above gold. Almost the entire 176 verse Psalm speaks of the eternal value of the scriptures in the eyes of God.
There are also many, many proverbs that instruct believers that wisdom and understanding are like fine silver and gold, and that wealth does not profit a man on the day of wrath. My primary point of this writing is to make it as clear as possible that Jesus was not wealthy, did not look wealthy, and did not seek wealth – and neither did Paul. They both taught all of us time and time again, to put our trust in the hope of the everlasting Kingdom of God rather than in material possessions, which rot, corrode, and ultimately will burn. Jesus Himself lived what He preached, humbly and in poverty, and Paul followed His example. We too should follow the examples of Jesus and Paul, and reject every single voice on this planet that says otherwise.
The road to heaven is narrow and few find it, yet according to Jesus it is even narrower for a rich man (camel/eye of needle). Yet how many rich men do we all know who think that God has blessed them, and that they are headed straight for heaven? Will they, and those they have influenced, discover, to their horror, at the end of days that, that, like the rich fool, in the deep places of their heart, they really trusted in their wealth, and simply honored God with their mouths? I challenge all of us to take this message, and the gospel message of sin, repentance, and the mercy of God through the cross to all of those we care about who are caught in the deadly trap of wealth. Perhaps some might hear, turn and be saved from the fire, where no lie will stand and where the rich man will dwell forever, in agony, from which no ransom or escape can ever be made.
Part 2: Heaven: Your Best Life…Later Part 2
And on money and pastors/teachers:
Teachers, Preachers and Mammon: Money and the Ministry
Favorite Scriptures #1: Paul’s Perspective On This Short Life (Philippians 3:7-14)
Favorite scriptures #3: Whether the Lord Gives or Takes away…Blessed Be His Name! (Job 1)