“For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy…” II Timothy 3: 2 NKJV.
Paul, an Apostle, by revelation and insight gave a description of what shall characterized the end time. The events as predicted are becoming the reality of the day. The prophecy is fast being fulfilled by each passing day. The entire society beginning from the individuals to the family units, the community and national life are all under siege. Paramount among the evils plaguing all areas of human endeavours of our day is the lust for money with its hold on both men and women, young and old.
Mammon, the god of money is highly exalted and enthroned in the heart of many. It is one irresistible force and motivation behind every major move and action in all spheres of life. A vast majority had been captured and captivated by the deceitfulness of riches. Most efforts of people in business, political and even religious circles are money-driven. The few in the society who are yet to be victims of this modern day tyranny of life are engaged in an on going internal battle against its seduction, passion, intimidation and harassment. The spate of decadence, corruption, violence, killings, rituals and human sacrifice as are presently experienced in our society are offsprings of this deadly desire for money and all its deeds. The whole land is filled with its message, well embraced even by youth and teenagers.
Unfortunately, the Christians and the Church life are not spared of this evil. The average Christian and a larger proportion of the Church today worship and bow to this god. The Church now uses the guage of money and riches to measure spirituality among members. Progress in the Christian life has become a matter of how fat or lean the believers’ purse and bank account is. A good show of affluence and countables that money can buy are used as indices of spiritual advance within the Christian circles. Tithes and offerings accruing to a church and the ‘man of God’ is an emphasized factor of growth. A greater number of preachers and men on the pulpit are mammon crusaders. They unfortunately use the opportunity of the altar of God to propagate and advance the course of mammon employing all kinds of tricks and gimmicks to squeeze their gullible and unsuspecting congregation and audience of their money. They quote and emphasise scriptures like “money answereth all thing” out of context in their bid to satisfy their evil desire for money and its works.
Nevertheless, the foundation of God stands sure. The scripture with its message cannot be broken. There is no other foundation that can be laid, except that which is already laid; no other teachings and submission from the scripture can be the truth except that which conforms in its entirety- content, context and motive to the life and teachings of Jesus. He is the only begotten of the Father on whom there was an attestation and affirmation over His life on earth saying: “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, hear ye Him.” (Matt. 17:5). No preacher is great enough in his anointing and charisma regardless of the crowd around him to have his teachings to replace that of The Lord Jesus. Jesus forever remains the chief cornerstone. He is the pillar from whom we must take our bearing both for life and ministry.
Let us now hear Him and the men who truthfully followed Him:
“And he said to them, “Take heed and beware of coveteousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.” (Luke 12:15 NKJV).
“And he went on to say to them all, “Watch out and guard yourselves from every kind of greed; because a person’s true life is not made up of things he owns, no matter how rich he may be.” (Luke 12: 15 GNB).
“Speaking to the people, He went on, “Take care! Protect yourself against the least bit of greed. Life is not defined by what you have, even when you have a lot.” (Luke 12:15 The Message).
“Do you want to be truly rich? You already are if you are happy and good. After all, we didn’t bring any money with us when we came to this world, and we can’t carry a single penny when we die. So we should be well satisfied without money if we have enough food and clothing. But people who long to be rich soon begin to do all kinds of wrong things to get money, things that hurt them and make them evil-minded and finally send them to hell itself.” (I Tim. 6: 6-9 NLT).
These scriptures and the likes taught by the Lord Jesus and revealed by elders in the faith who had obtained a good report, are no longer features of the sermon and preaching of many today. Yet every interpretation of the scripture that does not have Jesus as its central focus will tend to false teaching and heresy. I will sincerely want to counsel with you to have a rethink on your untamed appetite for money and all it gives which is the driving force of your labour out there and within the church before it finally send you to hell according to the scripture that cannot be broken. See how the love of money causes your love for the Master to decline and your zeal and commitment to follow Jesus is no longer genuine but is now dictated by what in terms of physical substances you can get. Your lustful desire for money is the reason for your compromises, the reason why you cannot hold fast and forth the truth of the word of God that you know. Is your heart gradually departing from the Lord as a result of pressure to be rich? Or you probably have gone into sin, unholy relationship, courtship and partnership under the pressure of wealth and riches. Hear again the Master’s response and counsel to this desire of yours: “Take heed and beware of covetousness”, “Watch out and guard yourselves from every kind of greed”, “Take care! Protect yourself against the least bit of greed.
Take heed, be careful, and watch out. Guard yourself against the least bit (every kind) of greed. The growing love for money in the society today is a deliberate scheme and device from hell to deceive you and make you depart unsuspectingly from the Lord. If only you will lift up your spiritual eyes as you move on in this deadly route of mammon, you will see a signpost- CAUTION, danger ahead!! The rate at which I hear your heart pant and long for money is dangerous. You seemed to have been trapped. But before you are finally delivered to the dungeon through this route, Jesus says to you, “Watch out and guard yourself”. Think of the severe damage that this drive for money has brought to your soul and your relationship with God. Do not go on in this deceitfulness of riches.
“…take heed that no one deceives you. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.” (Matt. 24: 4, 11)
Do not allow your heart to be sold out to money. Jesus was very explicit in His response to the request of the young man who wanted Him to divide his father’s inheritance between him and his brother. He made it clear that His mission on earth was not for that. He warned the man and the other people around to take care and be on guard against every kind of greed. He stated very categorically that a man’s life has nothing to do with how much or less of the physical possession he has. “Beware! Don’t always be wishing for what you don’t have. For real life and real living are not related to how rich we are.” (Luke 12:15. Living Bible).
This request for material possession was from one of the crowd. “Then one from the crowd said to Him, Teacher tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me” (Luke 12:13).
He was of the crowd, the multitude; of the signs and miracle seekers. These are People whose reason for following after Jesus is to grab the physicals that often drop from the Him as He goes about His Father’s business. That man and his request was a representation of many today in the Church. They look to Jesus not for that which is eternal and permanent but for the temporal and ephemerals that will make them significant on earth before men while they amount to nothing before God and in eternity. Where are you brother? Who are you sister? Are you among the crowd seeking for the goodies or one of the disciples following the Master Jesus for life? What is the reason for your calling on Jesus every now and then? Men of the crowd have little or no desire for the real though invisible riches of eternal value. They are men of sight and not of faith. They cannot endure core teachings on the Kingdom life and principles.
The request for physical inheritance by this man was a distraction to the matter that Jesus was teaching His disciples. Such matter of Kingdom value was not the concern of this man. Rather than seizing the opportunity of his being around Jesus at such a time to also benefit from the teachings (Luke 12: 1-12), his heart could not endure and follow. He was a captive of riches. This teaching was sounding boring to him, as it is the characteristic of the crowd. He felt bored of matter of eternal value. He was only waiting for when Jesus will minister to their physical needs. So out of anxiety and worry for earthly gold and silver, he called out. He did not mind to interrupt such a moment of divine impartation.
Dear brothers and sisters, what is your attitude each time the teachings coming to you is on holiness, righteousness, following Jesus as a true disciple no matter the fist? Do you grumble and say in your heart, is this all that we will hear today and all the time? And as soon as it is time to pray and call on the Lord, what does your heart call for in Jesus? What is the content of your prayer? Money! Money! Car! Houses! This thing! That goody! For what do you make request from the lord each time you the opportunity? Solomon had such opportunity and he used it to request for a kingdom matter. He was kingdom concern. Could this be the reason why you left the place of sound teaching to join the crowd of prosperity seekers in the other church? The man from the crowd thought he could play a fast one. He wanted to make the most of the opportunity of the presence of Jesus to satisfy his lustful desire. He wanted to appeal to the kindness, fairness and equity attribute of the Teacher to accumulate wealth unto himself. He was like many now who uses the presence of the Holy Spirit in a gathering to ask for riches and wealth, for they say “And He will grant the desire of my heart” The Master says to you “Beware!! Who made me a judge over you to decide such things as that? My presence, my ministry is not for such perishables. I came for something else; to let men know what real life is and understand the constitution of true riches and enduring treasure.”
Perhaps you are out there saying, I have always been getting these riches from Jesus. Congratulations!! While I will not bother to ask you if they actually came from Jesus or they were rewards of your manipulations and schemes but which you came to share the embellished testimony in the church, I want to however inform you that it is never an indication that all is well with your life. That is not the measure of real life. It may be well with your business, job, body, finances etc. and yet it is not well with your soul. The question is, is it really well with your relationship with Christ despite these riches you claim to have received from Jesus? Don’t forget that the multitudes on many occasions in the bible were not denied their request from Jesus. They had their healings, deliverances and miraculous provision of bread, yet they joined to say “Crucify Him”. They got His miracles but missed His life. Many in spite of His miracles they received still perished. Such was the experience of the fathers in the wilderness; they ate manna but missed the Promised Land. God did not brought them out for manna sake. He brought them out for His own name sake. That He might have a people unto Himself.
Take heed and be not deceived. Miraculous provision does not guarantee life forever in His Kingdom. All who tell you that your material possession is an index of spiritual growth are deceivers or messengers of the deceiver, the devil. It is a cunning way to enrich their purses at the expense of your real life in Christ Jesus. Do you notice the conclusion of every of their preaching: ‘sow a seed’, ‘give all that is in your pocket for God to bless you’, ‘your offering will stop your suffering’. They confuse you and take undue advantage of your ignorance and gullibility to rake you.
There was one man who once thought and walked the way you are thinking and walking. Through the deceitfulness of riches, he thought his wealth which was in abundant could secure a future for him. He hoped enthusiastically into the future with a false assurance and confidence based on his riches. The verdict of God on him was, “Fool, this night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?” (Luke 12: 20 NKJV).
And his story is written for your warning. Won’t you then be warned now? Should you end up an eternal fool the way that rich man ended, be prepared to answer question from that man when you would have met him in hell. He is likely to say you, ‘Didn’t you read about my case? Why should you come this way, when I have served as a warning and caution for you? You are a bigger fool!!’
Beloved, why do you use up God’s given resources of life, physical abilities, time, intellect to acquire and build up things that cannot secure for you a place with God in eternity? Whose will they be is the question heaven is asking you. This message is also to you using the gift of the Holy spirit for a yield of temporary, visible but perishables at the neglect of the glorious, never fading inheritance; beyond the reach of change and decay that is kept for the faithful. The sorrow and regret that await such use of divine resources and grace will outweigh whatever pleasure is derived from it now. God is calling you to repent. Turn to Jesus and say:
Just as I am
Without one plea
But that thy blood was shed for me
And as Thou bid me come to Thee
O! Lamb of God, I come, I come.