WORLDLY WEALTH VERSUS THE TRUE RICHES
Copyright © 2017 Robert B Thompson. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? (Luke 16:11)
I have been reviewing Dan Irving's fifteen video segments concerning some of today's Christian preaching and teaching:
To me, reviewing these videos has been like a descent into Hell. In fact, it affected me physically. I am the pastor of a small church, so what was taking place in the mega assemblings was not known to me.
When I first became a Christian, while in the Marine Corps, I was discipled by some of the men who were followers of Dawson Trotman. They had one credo: "The whole Scripture is the unerring Word of God. Do exactly what it says and do not depart from it."
Since I had not been a churchgoer and did not know any Christians personally, I assumed that all Christian people were faithful to the Scriptures, so Dan's video segments were shocking to me. What was being taught with great gusto clearly was not supported by the Scriptures.
In fact, no one said it was scriptural. The teaching and practices were validated by the experiences the ministers were sharing.
There is a great deal of the leaders touching people and having them fall to the floor. I do not see this practice operating among the Apostles of the Lamb, as recorded in the New Testament. do you? Yet the touching and falling appeared to be common to the representations I saw.
I know that people do fall under the power of the Spirit of God. Yet in the examples I was reviewing, this occurrence seemed excessive.
The scenes, in my opinion, were not "decent and in order," as the Apostle Paul exhorted. The ones I saw were more pandemonium than decent and in order. Just my opinion. Obviously, others see them differently.
The primary message in several instances was that God is going to remove the money and lands from non-Christians and give them to the faithful followers of the Lord. This is not taught in the New Testament. Also, it is not clear how this actually could come to pass. Yet the listeners appeared to receive this teaching as very good news.
I never have viewed the Gospel of the Kingdom as being a way to become rich. Just the opposite. Our Lord said that no person could be His disciple until they denied themselves, took up their cross, and faithfully followed Him every day of their life, obeying Him strictly, cheerfully, and promptly all the while.
What this has to do with becoming rich in worldly wealth, I do not understand. It kind of sounds like the opposite! The congregations, following the advice and example of their leaders, seem to view the assembling of believers as a time of fun.
Sometimes, when I view the Christian people laughing hysterically, I think of the boys and girls in Iraq who were rewarded for not being willing to deny Christ by having their heads cut off. Can you imagine how their parents felt, holding a headless corpse of what once was their happy little boy or girl. I don't believe they would be in the mood to listen very long to someone preaching the "Prosperity Gospel," the path to success and enjoyment in the world.
But laying aside for a moment the "fun" of having someone touch us so we could fall to the floor, what does the Apostle Paul have to say about our using our faith to become rich:
Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (I Timothy 6:9-10)
My Navigator friends would counsel me to believe this exhortation and not vary from it. Would that be good counsel? How do you feel about this?
Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. Is Jesus saying this to us? Is it still true today? How, then, can Christian ministers tell us that we should have faith to get rich? Are they attempting to plunge us into ruin and destruction? Did Jesus ever tell us to pursue money, or did He say to seek the Kingdom of God, and God would supply our needs?
On the whole, does the Gospel of the Kingdom advise us that if we have faith we will receive money and lands, and other kinds of success in the present world?
Then we have those who now are teaching that we Christians are to "occupy" our culture until it becomes the Kingdom of God, so it will be prepared for the Lord Jesus when He appears. Find that in the Bible if you can.
How is it, if we are to be prosperous and successful in the present world, the early Apostles of the Lamb, who had known the Lord Jesus personally, were martyred? Did they not have faith?
Let me tell you about the thirteenth chapter of the Book of Revelation. In this chapter you will read about two "beasts." The first beast is Antichrist. Antichrist often is referred to in the Christian churches as someone who will come some day and give us trouble. Of course, we are not worried because we all, even the casual churchgoers, will be carried up to Playland so we can have fun during the tyrannical rule of Antichrist.
The truth is, the Antichrist spirit abounds in the United States of America. That spirit is the love of money, perhaps the chief god of our country. We are deathly afraid of Antichrist and hope we are "raptured" soon. How ridiculous, and how characteristic of casual Christians!
But there is a second beast, and we do not hear much about him (or them). The second beast consists of Christian people who are not carrying their personal cross but are seeking to find as much pleasure as they can in the present world. Sound familiar?
It is our personal crucifixion, our death with Christ on the cross, that keeps us from being deceived.
According to Revelation, Antichrist occupies himself with buying and selling. The deceived Christians, the second beast, do all in their power to assist Antichrist. Do you see where I am going? The Christian people will immerse themselves in the acquisition of money.
The Christian people will demonstrate miracles. They will have a double portion of the power (two horns) of the Lamb (Jesus). They will show signs and wonders, all in the support of money, the Antichrist.
They have the two horns of the Lamb, but speak with the voice of Satan.
Based on this prophecy of Revelation, I look for the day when Christian people come into great authority and power in our culture, perhaps in all the cultures of the world, even calling down fire from the heavens in the sight of people. All in support of the Antichrist love of money.
Isn't that taking place today as the prominent evangelists urge us to use our faith to call down money from God?
Sometimes these money-lovers say that when a miracle takes place in the name of Jesus, that means Jesus is here. We do not have to bring the New Testament admonitions into play because the miracle is here in our presence, the proof that Jesus is approving what we are saying and doing.
Do miracles done in the name of the Lord Jesus actually prove that He agrees with what we are saying and doing?
Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!' (Matthew 7:22,23)
Given the above statement by the Lord Jesus Christ, how can we then say that a miracle done in His name is proof that we are pleasing Him, and therefore we do not have to obey the admonitions of the Scriptures?
If my reader is a sincere, intelligent disciple of our Lord Jesus, I do not believe I need to say more. But I would suggest that you find a church that teaches the New Testament, expounding the passages faithfully, even if the people are not rolling on the floor, pretending they are drunk, or making animal sounds.
So much for Satan's riches. How about the true riches? What does the New Testament say about them.
The most important of the true riches is the forming of Christ in us, and then the Father and the Son coming down from Heaven and placing Their Throne in that which has been formed in us.
We find in the last two chapters of the Book of Revelation a description of the new world of righteousness, which is on the horizon.
The new earth is occupied by those people from the nations, the "sheep" who assisted the Lord's "brothers and sisters" during their days of trial while being trained on the earth.
Also on the new earth is the new Jerusalem. The new Jerusalem is the Royal Priesthood, the glorified Christian Church, including believers who were Jews or Gentiles by natural birth.
The new Jerusalem is Mount Zion, the eternal dwelling place of the Father and the Son, and Their Throne. The task for eternity of the members of the Royal Priesthood will be to bring the Presence, blessing, and judgment of God to all of God's creatures, except for those consigned to the Lake of Fire.
If we are called to be a member of the Church, the Body of Christ, then many of the true riches are available to us already. The resurrection of our body is one of the riches that must await the return of Jesus to the earth.
There is a great wall that separates the Royal Priesthood from the saved people from the nations. God's priests always have been kept separate from the rest of mankind. Notice the following:
Anoint Aaron and his sons and consecratethem so they may serve me as priests.Say to the Israelites, 'This is to be my sacred anointing oilfor the generations to come.Do not pour it on anyone else's body and do not make any other oil using the same formula. It is sacred, and you are to consider it sacred.Whoever makes perfume like it and puts it on anyone other than a priest must be cut offfrom their people. (Exodus 30:29-33)
The true anointing of the Lord only is upon the fervent members of the Church, of the Royal Priesthood.
The seventeenth chapter of the Gospel of John illustrates the purpose of the great wall, by speaking of how the members of the Church have been called out of the world just as Christ is not of the world.
The following passage points to one of the greatest of all riches:
For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. (John 17:2,3)
The knowledge of the Father and the Son, and fellowship with them, is the greatest of all the riches that are given to the members of the Body of Christ. I think you are marching along with me on this point.
Eternal life does not refer primarily to immortality but to a kind of life, a life filled with righteousness, holiness, obedience to God, love, joy, and peace. Can you imagine anything more wonderful than that? Talk about true riches!
The Lord Jesus gives us Words from God that are not given to other people. What are they worth!
Jesus prayed that we would have the full measure of His Joy.
Jesus prayed that the Father would protect us from Satan. The future for us in America is grim. It is of the utmost importance that God keep His hand on us, as Jesus prayed.
And then Jesus prayed a most marvelous prayer. It is that all of us who are members of the Royal Priesthood will be one as the Father and Christ are One, and that we will be one in Them.
I never have heard anyone speak about this oneness of the Church in Christ and the Father.
We understand that the Father is Supreme in all matters. He has brought forth from Himself an Expression termed the "Word."
At some point the Father announced that He would be the Father of the Word and the Word would be His Son. This new relationship came into being when Jesus was born of Mary.
I will proclaim the Lord's decree: He said to me, "You are my son; today I have become your father." (Psalms 2:7)
The word "today" indicates there was a specific instance when the Word became the Son of the Father.
The Word became flesh. Throughout His ministry Jesus declared that He did nothing He did not see the Father do. Thus He was and yet is the image of God.
Now it comes down to us. We were human beings, the descendants of Adam and Eve. Now some of us have been reborn.
Who is our Father? God. Who is our mother. I don't know, perhaps the Church. At least the Church brings us up, one might say.
The fact is, we are sons and daughters of God, and His Divine Life is in us. So is our adamic life.
Then Christ circumcises us.
In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, (Colossians 2:11)
We now are responsible to cooperate with the Holy Spirit as He seeks to put to death every trace of our sinful nature. The end result of this operation is that we think, speak, and behave in concert with the living Christ; just as Christ thinks, speaks, and behaves in concert with His Father.
When we practice this transformation, after having been born again and received into the Oneness that is God, we have become part of an enlarging Godhead. We are being made the eternal Tabernacle of God.
In him (Christ Jesus) the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. (Ephesians 2:21,22)
This is exactly what God desires, so He will have a house, a home, a resting place, and a location for His Throne.
We can see from this how utterly important it is that we live a righteous, holy life and obey the Lord Jesus Christ at every point of decision.
The Father remains supreme, and has made Jesus the Lord of all in Heaven and upon the earth. We are becoming an integral part of the Lord Jesus, in that we are His body.
Here are the true riches of which Jesus spoke. These, rather than money, are what we should be pursuing.
It seems to me that while we are desirous of leaving the earth and finding our home and rest in Heaven, God is desirous of leaving Heaven and finding His home and rest in the earth. He wants to be here among His creatures, so He and they can enjoy the wonderful new world of righteousness He has had in His mind since Adam and Eve forfeited their right to live in the Garden of Eden, that is, in Paradise.
Worldly wealth cannot be compared with such spiritual wealth. The believer who spends his time and energy pursuing worldly wealth while ignoring the development of his or her new Divine Life is making a foolish choice indeed.
Would you agree with me in this?
Now we can see that the ministers who are preaching about gaining material wealth through faith really are of the False Prophet. They are turning our eyes away from the true riches. They are robbing us of our inheritance as sons and daughters of God.
As Revelation, Chapter Thirteen tells us, they are the ones who support Antichrist. While Antichrist occupies himself with buying and selling, the self-serving Christians who compose the False Prophet are teaching—and in some instances, forcing—the people of the world to worship and obey Antichrist, the god of money.
Please think carefully about what I have written, and see if you come to the same conclusion and will march along with me.
But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. (Colossians 3:8-10).