|God & Mammon - Destiner Press Topics|
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"Take heed, and beware of all covetousness, for a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." ( Luke 12:15)
"No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon." Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they derided Him. And He said to them, "You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God." (Luke 16:13-15)
"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." (Matthew 6:19-21)
"Come now you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming on you! Your riches are corrupted, and your clothes are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire." (James 5:1)
"Do not love the world or the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world - the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life - is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever." (1 John 2:15-17)
"For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the one to come." (Hebrews 13:14)
"He who says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked." (1 John 2:6)
God & Mammon
The Cost Of Discipleship
"...This is not some trivial doctrine of difference, or superstition, like which method of baptism is the "right" one, as though water had any power to save. This is the Lord's primary temporal condition for true discipleship, a result of the primary spiritual condition of genuine faith and repentance (turning around and away from worldly beliefs and pursuits). Claiming the inner change without the outer one is a sham..."
Author's note: Greetings readers. This material more appropriately belonged in The Truth Which Sets Free. Much of it was an omission due to a temporary weakness. I had thereafter intended to make it part of the book The Dark Powers That Bind but it became a subject in its own right so I decided to publish it separately (2004) in the form in which it developed, and as answers to many emails.
Thank you all for your responses and helpful corrections to this web page, stronger and more positive than any before, a sure sign that a chord has been struck in exposing a major source of religious sham. I had fully expected to get a verbal stoning but I also received much in terms of encouragement. Some remarked on never having heard this matter dealt with so clearly, if at all. Others stated disappointment that so few stand for these basic truths.
Hireling shepherds (paid "ministers" and "priests") will, of course, do no such thing to jeopardize their income and pulpits. Most pew-sitters will likewise try their utmost to avoid or slide around the plain meaning of these critical scriptures, and so remain bound in their love affair with the world and the church. Their "faith" is a transparent sellout in the Lord's name, and in their avid materialism they will consume and accumulate anything from scripture mints and holy golf balls to God-approved stocks and real estate. "Christian entrepreneurs have found their formula for success, and it is in stretching the traditional boundaries...In this age of market evangelism, the ring of the cash register can be sacred music." (Selling Faith, Reader's Digest 1000th Issue, August 2005, p.185)
Unless given ears they will not hear and cannot be taught. Indeed, churchmen and Sabbath-worshippers are the very ones most likely to revile those to whom God has given sight, and cannot learn from them. (John 9:13-34, especially verse 34)
"Mammon, noun. Wealth regarded as an evil influence or false object of love. Origin, New Testament Greek mamonas, from the Aramaic word meaning riches." (Compact Oxford Dictionary)
The word mammon used in New Testament times did not mean "bad" riches or corrupt gains or dishonorable assets or wealth with any inherently evil connotation, as it later came to be erroneously applied in English; it merely meant riches, material wealth. Therefore Jesus did not say, "You cannot serve God and bad wealth," he simply said, "You cannot serve God and riches." It's not about whether your soul is inclined toward wicked gain; it's about whether your heart is occupied with worldly wealth for self at all. (Author's notes)
"Mammon, noun. The god of the world's leading religion. The chief temple is in the holy city of New York." (Ambrose Bierce)
"Antichrist is Mammon's son." "Let none admire that riches grow in hell; that soil may best deserve the precious bane." (John Milton)
"Mammon is the largest slave holder in the world." (Frederick Saunders)
"All the powers of the earth seem combining against the slave. Mammon is after him, ambition follows, philosophy follows, and the theology of the day is fast joining the cry." (Abraham Lincoln)
Gaining earthly wealth is not to be feared, but stashing and using it for selfish purposes is most certainly to be feared, if you stand in awe of the living God. It’s not about what you earn; it’s about what you keep, or rather do not keep for yourself. If it is given to you to do so, earn as much as you may, but only in honest and clean pursuit, and then deny yourself in pouring it out to help others in need, and you will have the lasting treasure that can never be taken away. (Author's notes)
A fool and his money may soon be parted poorly and for the worse, but a wise man parts with his money well and gladly trades it for a much greater reward. (Author's notes)
"It is not so hard to earn money as to spend it well." (Charles Spurgeon)
"Money is like muck, no good unless it be spread around." (Francis Bacon)
"The use of money is all the advantage there is in having money." (Benjamin Franklin)
"Riches do not consist in the possession of treasures but in the use made of them." (Napoleon Bonaparte)
"What you keep for yourself, you lose; What you give away, you keep forever."
"Many men are contemptuous of riches; few can give them away." (Francois Rochefoucauld)
"If a man's religion does not affect his use of money, that man's religion is vain." (Hugh Martin)
"A man is usually more careful of his money than of his principles." (Oliver Wendell Holmes)
"Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, But righteousness delivers from death." (Proverbs 11:4)
"A man's soul may be buried and perish under a dungheap or in a furrow of the field, just as well as under a pile of money." (Nathaniel Hawthorne)
"The community which has neither poverty nor riches will always have the noblest principles" (Plato)
"Money has never yet made anyone rich." (Seneca)
"The essence of money is in its absolute worthlessness." (Norman Brown)
"There's nothing in the world so demoralizing as money." "Money is the worst currency that ever grew among mankind." (Sophocles)
"Money and morals are rarely on speaking terms." (Rex Stout)
"When I was young I thought that money was the most important thing in life; now that I am old I know that it is." (Oscar Wilde)
"The love of money grows as the money itself grows." (Decimus Juvenalis)
"There is nothing so habit-forming as money." (Don Marquis)
"The entire essence of America is the hope to first make money - then make money with money - then make lots of money with lots of money." (Paul Erdman)
"We ought to change the legend on our money from 'In God We Trust' to 'In Money We Trust.' Because, as a nation, we've got far more faith in money these days than we do in God." (Arthur Hoppe)
"The way by which you may get money almost without exception leads downward." (Henry Thoreau)
"Money - the greatest god below the sky." (Herbert Spencer)
"Some men worship rank, some worship heroes, some worship power, some worship God, and over these ideals they dispute, but they all worship money." (Mark Twain)
"The worship of Mammon may be vulgar or immoral, but it persists while other religions falter and disappear." "I love money, but will money ever love me in return?" (Mason Cooley)
"No matter how hard you hug your money, it never hugs back." "Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more." (H. Jackson Brown Jr.)
"When it is a question of money, everybody is of the same religion." (Francois Voltaire)
"Whenever people say 'we mustn't be sentimental,' you can take it they are about to do something cruel. And if they add, 'we must be realistic,' they mean they are going to make money out of it." (Brigid Brophy)
"Money is the last enemy that shall never be subdued." (Samuel Butler)
"When a fellow says it's not the money but the principle of the thing, it's the money." (Frank 'Kin' Hubbard)
"Women prefer men who have something tender about them - especially the legal kind." (Kay Ingram)
"People who don't respect money don't have any." "If you can count your money, you don't have a billion dollars." (J. Paul Getty)
"God gave me my money. I believe the power to make money is a gift from God." (John D. Rockefeller)
"If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to." (Dorothy Parker)
"For some thought, because Judas possessed the money bag..." (John 13:29)
"If Heaven had looked upon riches to be a valuable thing, it would not have given them to such a scoundrel." (Jonathan Swift)
"The Lord commonly gives riches to foolish people, to whom he gives nothing else." (Martin Luther)
"Man is small, and, therefore, small is beautiful." "The aim should be to obtain the maximum of well-being with the minimum of consumption" [rather than] "the idol worship of material possessions, of consumption and the so-called standard of living, and the fateful propensity that rejoices in the fact that what were luxuries to our fathers have become necessities for us." "... the modern private enterprise system is or has been the most perfect instrument for the pursuit of personal enrichment. The modern private enterprise system ingeniously employs the human urges of greed and envy as its motive power..." "Our ordinary mind always tries to persuade us that we are nothing but acorns and that our greatest happiness will be to become bigger, fatter, shinier acorns; but that is of interest only to pigs. Our faith gives us knowledge of something better: that we can become oak trees." (E. F. Shumacher, a leading economic proponent of "enoughness")
"Less is more." (Robert Browning. Also a root principle espoused by thinkers from the ancient Greeks like Zeno and Epictetus to modern theorists such as Mies van der Rohe and Buckminster Fuller)
"Many possessions, if they do not make a man better, are at least expected to make his children happier; and this pathetic hope is behind many exertions." (George Santayana)
"Why grab possessions like thieves, or divide them like socialists when you can ignore them like wise men?" (Natalie Clifford Barney)
"Dependence upon material possessions inevitably results in the destruction of human character." (Agnes E. Meyer)
"Your money, or your life. We know what to do when a burglar makes this demand of us, but not when God does." (Mignon McLaughlin)
"This avidity alone, of acquiring goods and possessions for ourselves and our nearest friends, is insatiable, perpetual, universal, and directly destructive of society." (David Hume)
"We go on multiplying our conveniences only to multiply our cares. We increase our possessions only to the enlargement of our anxieties." (Anna C. Brackett)
As you increasingly acquire possessions, you will find that it is you who are more and more in their possession. (Author's notes)
"They deem me mad because I will not sell my days for gold; and I deem them mad because they think my days have a price." (Kahlil Gibran)
"I cannot afford to waste my time making money." (Louis Agassiz)
Time is money but not in coinage or currency; it is the most precious asset in this world that can be spent on others or squandered on self. (Author's notes)
"There is no greater disaster than greed." (traditionally attributed to Lao-Tzu)
"There is no torrent like greed." (traditionally attributed to Buddha)
"The greed of gain has no time or limit to its capaciousness." (Rabindranath Tagore)
"Men and women are not yet free... The slavery of greed endures." (Sara Bard Field)
"Avarice is generally the last passion of those lives of which the first part has been squandered in pleasure, and the second devoted to ambition. He that sinks under the fatigue of getting wealth, lulls his age with the milder business of saving it." (Samuel Johnson)
"Truly, it is not want, but rather abundance, that breeds avarice." (Michel de Montaigne)
"There is no stronger craving in the world than that of the rich for titles, except that of the titled for riches." (Hesketh Pearson)
"With the greater part of rich people, the chief enjoyment of riches consists in the parade of riches, which in their eyes is never so complete as when they appear to possess those decisive marks of opulence which nobody can possess but themselves." (Adam Smith)
"No goat knew gluttony like his, no cat had felt his pride, no crow his avarice. Faithless he’d professed a faith." (William Gass)
"There is enough in the world for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed." (Frank Buchman)
"It is partly to avoid consciousness of greed that we prefer to associate with those who are at least as greedy as we ourselves. Those who consume much less are a reproach." (Charles Horton Cooley)
"Avarice and usury and precaution must be our gods for a little longer still." (John Maynard Keynes)
"The Devil begat darkness; darkness begat ignorance; ignorance begat error & his brethren; error begat free-will & presumption;... transgression begat superstition; superstition begat satisfaction; satisfaction begat the mass-offering; the mass-offering begat the priest; the priest begat unbelief;... church-livings begat avarice; avarice begat superfluity; superfluity begat fullness;.. about the time of the Babylonish captivity." (Martin Luther)
"'Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?' This Judas said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and
held the money bag; and took for himself what was put in it." (John 12:5,6)
"Those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare...for the love of money is the root of all manner of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows." (1 Timothy 6:9,10)
God & Mammon
We come now to a very subtle form of slavery, particularly enchaining those who claim to know the Lord: the love of mammon. (1 Timothy 6:10) Note carefully that according to the Word of God it is the root of evil, not the fruit. The fruit indicates the kind of root hidden below the surface which will appear sooner or later to reveal whether the tree is good or bad. The root is right at the base, like the cancerous religion which John the Baptist said (right to the face of the clergy, in a stinging attack exceeded only by the Lord Himself) was being hacked away by God in order to start anew with fresh seed. Because it is so truly radical (literally, "of the root") it is something the Lord deals with first, not last, in making his elect fit to serve. That is what happened with Zaccheus and all the initial disciples, except Judas, the counterfeit, who was specifically chosen for a different destiny.
It was also where the rich man failed, right at the beginning of his proposed discipleship, even though he seemed upright in all other ways and would appear to worldly eyes to have been proceeding well. But he was not up to the task, and Jesus made that plain to him right away, not further on down the line. "One thing is lacking," He told him. (Mark 10:21) Only one little thing? And yet so critical it undid him in all else. That is why John Bunyan correctly put this matter at stage one of the Pilgrims Progress, the first gate. It is a rock bottom, basic, ABC, foundational matter, a block over which one either hurdles to begin the journey, or trips. Those who stumble but would still claim discipleship have little recourse than to hide in a church. The Progress is full of them, a litany of religious professors who walk with the Pilgrim for a season but pull back when they suddenly realize that the Word he follows is much too demanding. They take another route, telling themselves they are still on the right path.
The church is a perfect repository for these lost souls. In that fellowship of goats they will easily find people of like belief all too ready to "interpret" away the plain words which spell out the cost of true discipleship. But Jesus made no such compromise. Indeed, like his disclosure of predestined election (at which many false disciples drew back and fervent churchmen attempted to kill him) the point blank declaration of the price tag also has the power to quickly reveal and cause bogus followers to withdraw. Perhaps it is even more powerful, for it is much harder to fake divestiture of material things than to pretend belief in Gods absolute sovereignty. Together these truths lay low the spiritual and physical self-centeredness of man. Jesus used both to weed out pretenders from his flock, and the method is just as valid and necessary today.
To offer the promises of the Word without clearly outlining the Real Deal at the beginning is a very serious error. I know, and have committed it with disastrous results. I had known these people 18 years beforehand but had drifted apart from them, as I had from most Christians I knew at that time because of their attachment to churchmanship or crass materialism. Indeed, concerning all of them their acquisitiveness far exceeded anything displayed by my non-Christian associates. The majority were medical professionals whose dinner conversation most often turned to carping about "catch-up pay" or cars and other cherished toys, gourmet meals, exotic and expensive vacations, real estate, business ventures or other means of amassing more money (can you imagine this kind of table-talk in the first Jerusalem ekklesia?). One in particular was a good friend for a time who had appeared to suddenly hear the Word in the most startling manner. I had high hopes for his completely coming out of bondage because he wrestled with what he himself jokingly (although it is no joke) called his "love of goodies and gadgets" and with the frustration of a truly terrible church he had chosen to attend. He knew both were very wrong, and that kept him away from my door, which was always open to him, because he understood that I would have no part in either futile pursuit. He visited only when times turned really bad spiritually, but all too soon returned to the unprofitable "fellowship" and inane talk of a foolish pastor and his own confessed materialism. He would not give up on either of these dead ends and sadly passed on at an early age. I thought at the time that God may have taken him out precisely because he was frittering his life away in such vanities when he knew the truth, but then I reconsidered because he both recognized and struggled with the sins, something most Christians do not do. But he did die clutching to them and that is an extremely perilous way to risk meeting the Lord, as it is for all who play these deadly Christian games. But that is another story because he knew my mind and my stand. The people I now speak of were some who did not know my full abhorrence of churchiness or materialism practiced in Jesus name, and I had a second chance to declare myself.
I displayed pathetic weakness, albeit temporarily, and dealt only with the church problem, not materialism. I pandered to the hearers, who had invited my views and appeared to be awakening dramatically and received the "good" news with gladness. Indeed, I put in well over 1,000 hours of my time in writing to answer countless questions which came at me, almost daily at first. But when circumstances finally forced me into declaring the true and total cost of discipleship I went from being a "prophet with authority" whose writing was "up there with Bunyan" to a lover of wealth (go figure that devious reasoning), likened to one who was "lazy" and "gutless" to little more than Baalams donkey, a dumb conduit for some of Gods truth, and then demoted to a "pain in the ass" habitually leaving "devastation" in his wake. This is a condition of the hearer I call being "pierced but not dented," where inward conviction is obviously felt, as made evident from the response, but no real outward change is manifested. If I had spoken mere folly I could be laughed at or pitied. But this reaction tells it all, a response all too familiar through history. One wonders how many times a "pain" like Jeremiah or John the Baptist received similar honors for the unwelcome part of the message. And such labels are indeed, in a way, compliments. As far as churchdom and the fakery of Christianity is concerned I am a menace, intent on laying waste. Those steeped in such a setting or background must be checked out thoroughly. I know, I have been taken in too many times. But by those who believe and take the Real Deal seriously, and sadly these are very few, I have never been called a destroyer. In this sorry case it was the fact that I postponed the hard part and when it finally came it undid what had been seemingly gained. Until this transpired, particularly the unpleasantness of the reaction, I was really excited about their apparent quickening.
Such is the illusion created by a half-baked message and I was the one entirely responsible for the delay that allowed a bubble to grow and then be burst. I apologized to them and will have to answer for my omission on the Last Day. I have no excuse. I know that if I had been faithful to the Word and straight to the point on my first visit to their very selfish (albeit tasteful) house there would have been no bubble at all. And I almost did tell them, when we were looking at a ridiculously huge and disgusting house being built next door, designed to house an individuals car collection and to be inhabited for a short time each year. They were admiring it and seemed happy that it would "raise property values" (how many times Ive heard that avaricious phrase). Indeed, this is one of the fundamental reasons why ordinary folk are being squeezed out of owning their own roof while "empty-nesters" are ever more greedy for an even bigger nest when they least need it, pricing out those who really do need a place for their young unless they move far away. And I know too many community-destroying Christian "developers" all too ready to supply this skewed "market" just as long as it makes them a fat profit. Yes, and single Christians living in million dollar homes in these "neighbourhoods" whose goal it is to build yet another church structure, thereby heaping up their coming condemnation, while blind to the struggle of the shop, office or restaurant worker who serves their convenience but has to live miles away.
Anyway, it was on my heart right then to tell these folks of the dreadful Judgment coming for such things, but I sensed the extreme offense this would trigger, and wanting badly to win them to the Way I decided to postpone the issue. Knowing from Scripture and from past experience "how hard it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom," especially when he is also religious, I held back. It was a huge error. I became a man-pleaser, speaking only of that which I thought they would accept at the time, and that is not the Way. I was the very opposite of the man approved in the basic lesson of Psalm 1. Once one "walks in the way of the Gentiles" (that is the literal term, meaning those living in a worldly, unbelieving or ungodly manner) it is only a short step to "standing" and then "sitting" down and condoning the whole scenario. Indeed, my omission and evasion of the cost tainted a great deal of what I said to them thereafter. If I had been faithful to the Word at the start it is clear I simply would not have been invited to tarry or visit again; my obligation would have been discharged, and my conscience would have been clear. It would have saved a great deal of pain on both sides. As a result of this whole episode I resolved never again to give slack to any who would teach their friends or their children, by word or example, such worldliness justified in the name of Christ. It is the exact opposite of a life of sacrifice and self-denial. This evil disease which binds both body and soul is in epidemic proportions in North America, and what an upset is in store for both those who espouse it and those they duped when the real Lamb of God arrives!
The cost is never a matter to be postponed, as though the hearers would somehow be better prepared for the shock at some later time. They are never ready, unless given ears to hear and radically softened hearts. Biblically it is a ground zero event. Jesus demands all, absolutely everything, including the harsh denial of father, mother, brother, sister and children, every close family member who would get in the way of the Way. "And he who does not hate his own life also, cannot be my disciple," says the Lord, "whoever does not take up his crucifixion stake and follow me cannot be my disciple," so "sit down first and count the cost...whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:26-33) Read the verse again and think about the words "all that he has" and "cannot be my disciple" very carefully. Do not sneak past it like a churchman; that is a doomed endeavor to enter the flock by another way instead of the Door. This denial is neither partial nor a one-time affair; it is an all-inclusive and perpetual process, described in the continuous tense in the Word. (e.g. Matthew 10:38,39; 16:24,25; Luke 9:23,24) The church will avoid this full explanation as a matter of course to keep its pews full. But that is a religious social club, Satans ace card, the imitation designed for the comfy professor in Jesus name. It is not the body of sacrifice, the house of living stones raised up by God.
Running the race is a deceiving waste of time without the exorcism of the love of worldly goodies at the starting post. Even pagans like Gautama Buddha recognized that such selfish "craving and clinging" was the base problem, the core of all error. His view of the origin of this evil was only partially correct, saying that the chains were self-imposed, whereas the Word ascribes such binding sin not only to the world and the flesh but also to the pull of the Devil, that ancient Deceiver and father of falsehood. And it requires the divine scalpel, major heart surgery, a massive inner change, yes, a miracle, especially for the religious or rich man, to truly escape this state. Regarding salvation of the wealthy, Jesus said, "with men it is impossible, but not with God, for with God all things are possible." (Mark 10:27) The miracle Jesus spoke about was not sneaking those with their treasure stored in the wrong place into heaven anyway, by some other gate (he never offered that option to the rich man or anyone else) but for God to fundamentally change hearts so that they can let go of the worlds goods and use them as required. That is a key result of regeneration, and when Jesus announces, "salvation has come to this house." (Luke 19:8-10) It is interesting that Buddhas "vision" was very similar to the realization that in order to break any of the first Nine Commandments one must first break the Tenth. He saw that coveting and clinging was the essential sickness of the soul, and that simply understanding that fact was not enough. It had to be overcome and the soul released from it. Without access to the Word he still put it very succinctly: right thoughts which do not lead to right actions are void. And yet Christians will comfort themselves in their belief that ideal doctrine will somehow benefit them when their real behaviour toward mammon clearly indicates otherwise. Watching them defend and die in their materialism is enough to depress me for life.
They will so quickly point to the wealth of a Joseph or Abraham or Solomon to justify their position, a stock excuse I have heard so many times, so I will labour the point in detail. Solomon is the worst example to choose. His great wisdom did not prevent him from perishing in the end, clinging to the idols of the world, which his wives so loved. God can use anyone He chooses to further His Word, even a fantastically rich Pharaoh or Babylonian Zzar, or wealthy knights taking it upon themselves to employ their assets to protect their prized Luther from the daggers of the church. But nowhere are the elect directed to emulate any of those people. Emulate the Biblical forefathers in true faith, yes, but not in their acquisitions. (Hebrews 11:17-12:2, especially 11:24-26 and 12:1, and note that Solomon, who did not endure to the end, is not mentioned in this list, nor commended as a good model anywhere in the New Testament)
Neither the Master nor his first disciples (nor Bunyan, nor Whitefield, nor a host of others in the roll of honour since the Word was made flesh) stored up wealth for themselves in this life or hid behind it or depended on bodyguards (that is the way of the Substitute or Anti of Christ; just look at the Son of Perdition in his ridiculous idol-laden church and Vatican abode and bullet-proof vehicle). The Lord and his apostles declared that all covetousness is idolatry, not just of stone statues but of all things. The abundant life promised by Christ has nothing to do with worldly possessions. That is not how to be rich or abound in Him. (Luke 12:15; Colossians 3:5; 1 Timothy 6:6-10; 1 John 2:15-17; 5:21; James 2:5). Indeed, Paul repeatedly puts such covetous love in the same bag as sexual uncleanness; it is a gross thing, a form of fornicating with the world. (Romans 1:29; Ephesians 5:3; Colossians 3:5) Put simply, the elect are not instructed to emulate those ancient forefathers in their accumulation of money, wives or possessions. They are called to be like the Son of God, who put aside unimaginable riches and "emptied himself" to become a servant, and also to learn from the example of His first disciples who were ready to "pour out" their very selves for others. (Philippians 2:7, 17, the terms quoted from these verses are the literal meanings and may be incorrect in your translation) The elect are to be like the author of the true faith, who, even though he was the Son and Heir, demoted and humbled himself in obedience. (Hebrews 5:8) "Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ," says the apostle Paul. (1 Corinthians 11:1)
Understand this: wealth is not intrinsically a sin. It cannot be so because God has immeasurable riches. It is where it is stored that will either bring reward or condemnation under the New Covenant. There is no mammon in heaven. What is stored there is real treasure. But the "treasure" you store here is mammon, not treasure at all. If you are holding on in this life to what you are so clearly unwilling or unable to give up and saying it is not interfering with your "walk with God" and that you "could" give it up "if" required by the Lord then you are living a lie. He has already made the condition. Once more, if you are trying to justify your clinging to the goods by pointing back to Solomon or Abraham or Job then your heart is still revealed, and the gate you are headed towards. Back then, God even tolerated David having a man killed in order to acquire yet another wife, or Israel (Jacob) amassing riches by pretending to be his older brother, lying to his father, and defrauding and stealing from his father-in-law. That was then, this is now. And today the Lord directs you not to lay up gains on earth by either honest or dishonest means. You are attempting to put new wine into an old wineskin and get away with it, but you will end up burst and ruined. (Matthew 9:17)
This is as deadly as building a church, filling a "house made with hands" with bound souls, as if it was something acceptable like the Old Covenant temple or synagogue. For a time the Lord granted and endured those things, which Israel coveted and asked for in their erroneous desire to compete with the pagans around them. But no more. Through His Son God has finished and done away with earth-bound "houses of worship" and treasures! Both churchianity and materialism are death traps, certainly off limits to the elect. Choose either one and you are walking to your doom. I am not speaking of a little slip-up here or temporary falling short of "walking the talk" as required by Jesus Christ. I mean confirmed churchmanship. I mean a state of materialism, espoused by so many Christians in a very determined performance, even to the bitter end, no different than if you are stubbornly remaining in an adulterous relationship except that in this case what you cling to and are in bed with are worldly goods. What is more, if others see you acting like this and justifying it as the Way of Jesus then you also lead them astray and act worse than one who does not claim to know Him. Where in the New Testament are the elect directed to go backwards and copy the likeness of any previous behaviour, custom, era or deal? Nowhere, because it has all been rendered obsolete by the all-giving sacrificial Lamb in person. New wine is for new wineskins! The command is to go forward to a greater reflection, to imitate Jesus Christ, to be conformed to the image of the Son. "He who says I know him but disobeys his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him he who says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked." (1 John 2:4-6)
Satan tried to bring Jesus himself down in this very pitfall, with twisted Scriptures, tempting him first with food, then security, and finally offering him the whole world (which he had no right to do, being a temporary landlord on a short lease). (Matthew 4:1-11) But Jesus, who owned little more than the clothes on his back and the sandals on his feet, would have none of it. If the dark lord of this world used this technique on the real Lord, you can be sure that his servants will employ similar strategies to substitute their distortion for the truth. Christians in particular will tempt the elect to justify their own illicit materialism, using the Word of God bent to suit their own souls, offering their "prosperous" life that in fact ends in eternal decay. They too are stamped on the forehead with a short expiry date. By attempting to store up wealth in the world they end up losing the entire inheritance with their last breath. Do not look at them for enlightenment. Avoid their counsel like a black plague that will infect and spread through your entire soul and leads inexorably to death, that final bereavement and fatal separation from true wealth: the outer darkness of unimaginable loss and grieving. Look instead at the Lord and his apostles. It is the meek (humble, not feeble, for this assignment requires great determination) who shall inherit. By turning down all the world that Satan could offer on this side of the grave Jesus secured everything on the other side; and this was not for himself (because he had already owned the world long before his incarnation into it) but for a redeemed portion of fallen mankind to inherit, for his elect disciples. Knowing this, how much did his apostles value or accumulate worldly possessions? Imitate them.
Listen again to the words of the Lord and put them together: "Beware of all covetousness a mans life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions do not store treasures on earth...rather lay up for yourself treasures in heaven he who does not hate even his own life forsake all that he has cannot be my disciple." You will not be able to excuse yourself to the Lord because you saw glowing Christians on TV boasting about how they gave $1,000 to the church and were rewarded in return with $1million which they stuffed in their pockets (what real disciple or apostle ever spoke or acted thus?) or any other of the shenanigans those clowns would teach you. The terrible joke is on them, and they will not be smiling when it all caves in on them. Get as far away from them as you can and meditate on the Word. Nowhere does it tell the disciple of Christ to store it up in this life on the wrong side of the gate. What Jesus demanded of the rich man who stumbled is no different from the "all" he required of every disciple.
I have met Christians who think I am joking when I tell them this. Some get angry, showing that they at least heard something more than the many who stare blankly, having no ears at all. Some even smirk condescendingly, knowing better. They imagine that they get the lesson of the rich man and that they are well informed and on the right track, but in fact they are way below him in perception. That man understood that Jesus was not joking, and he went away sorrowful because he knew he was choosing to cling to earthly wealth and miss out on eternal life. He did not kid himself like a churchman that he could have it both ways, or that he was somehow exempt. Christians do exactly this, walk away from the Lord's demand in a stupor, without remorse, thinking they are excused and still going to the right place! The Lord's words do not let anyone off this hook. Jesus did not say, "how hard it was for that rich man" in particular but "how hard it is for a rich man," any rich man. Any one at all for that matter, rich or poor, whose treasure is in the wrong place. Quite impossible unless God intervenes to change from within.
How many "ministers" Ive heard dance around this, saying that man was a "special case" or "exception" as they nervously eye the equally edgy pew-sitters on whom they depend for their hired pay. So they tell them instead to pay tithes, or tip God in the collection plate, much to the goats relief, and both speakers and hearers justify keeping 90 percent or more of their earthly hoard for themselves by clinging to a system that Christ died to supercede and abolish. The Lord does not direct his sheep to build let alone give to a church. That is the Dark Lords most subtle creation. Read again the section on clergy and tithes in Chapter 8, The Truth Which Sets Free. A tenth is a repetitive ritual, done away with by Christ but kept alive by hirelings and their goats. That is not the open channel described by the one true Shepherd, Priest and Mediator when he said, "Freely you received, so now freely give." But the goats will do anything to stop up their ears when they hear the word "all," and thus they perish in their religion and covetousness. Perhaps the setting of your heart is hidden in this matter. Your covetousness is unfulfilled because you cannot have, and so your soul is bound in base envy. Perhaps your covetousness is open for all to see in this life, fulfilled in abundant possessions. Either way, your heart and treasure are in the wrong place.
The apostle Paul repeats this doctrine of the Lord in his letter to Timothy, telling him to charge (command, commission, exhort) others to "not trust in worldly wealth but in God" by "laying up a foundation" toward "eternal life." (1 Timothy 16: 17-19) It is not about being poor, its about being rich in the right place. Paul is not saying anything different here from Christs directive to all men, to escape covetousness, let go of the clinging and grasping to this world, and instead lay up riches in heaven. He says, store up a foundation. Where? On earth? No way. Otherwise he would have been directly contradicting his Master. How should they perform this, with what good work? They should rather be rich in another way, by distributing, not by holding on to and therefore trusting in earthly riches, but giving to others, not keeping for self. Exactly what Jesus said, and, as the Word reveals, the more one earns the more one has to give. Conversion of earthbound riches to real wealth that lasts forever is one of the prime areas concerning the good works in which God ordained the elect to walk from the foundation of the world. This truth is exactly what Jesus used to hit both a rich man and lawyer between the eyes when they wanted to know how one obtains eternal life. He didn't say, just believe, or simply confess my name, but do this.
Do like this. Be like this. When the apostle Paul said, "Imitate me, as I imitate Christ," it was not an idle or arrogant claim, nor was he like the Pharisees who trumpeted their "good" works. Despite his fallibility and shortcomings Paul could genuinely point to his own self denial and service, losing his life for others, and say, this is the right way. How about you, reader? I know people naming the Lord's name who actually think that they are emulating Jesus and yet their lifestyle is so selfish and worldly it is farcical. If they wrote a letter saying, "Be like me, do the kind of things I do, just like Paul and Christ," the whole cloud of elect witnesses and the host of heaven itself could laugh them to derision. But in truth it is not at all funny. It is a witness that stains the truth, a stink that gives non-believers good reason to scoff and hold their noses. The right way is not easy but hard, very hard and narrow.
If the Lord had wanted to make his requirement less onerous he himself could easily have said that a man should forsake "some" of what he has, rather than "all." But he said all. That is good enough for me. How about you, reader? This is not some trivial doctrine of difference, or superstition, like which method of baptism is the "right" one, as though water had any power to save. This is the Lord's primary temporal condition for true discipleship, a result of the primary spiritual condition of genuine faith and repentance (turning around and away from worldly beliefs and pursuits). Claiming the inner change without manifesting the outer one is a sham. This separates the elect from the fakery of Christians with a bottomless chasm. If you cling to this world and its goods then that will be your fleeting reward. When the Lord sends or comes for you and catches you taking this dive He will make it a plunge that never ends. The Word says repeatedly that if you do not deny yourself and lose your life here then you will lose all in the next life and be denied for eternity.
Going to your "ministers" or favourite Christian authors to try and find a way to slide around this may comfort you temporarily but it will not work in the long run. They are indeed experts at explaining away or watering down God's word and will gladly give their listeners what is popular, what sells, and what they want to hear. They have been honing this skill for two thousand years and have helped build an unholy thing called the church with this practice, but it will not save them in the End, nor will they be able to help you then. They are bound in spirit to the world now and will be bound hand and foot when that great and dreadful Day comes. You need the truth which sets free to break the fetters of this dark power that binds. It is what you hear, believe and do that will count for you. Do you accept Jesus' words concerning the cost of discipleship or do you evade them, even search the Scriptures to find an excuse for keeping your life and your earthly treasures?
You cannot plead ignorance in this matter on the Last Day. For a start you have read about it right here. And you already know that you cannot point back to the old covenant fathers. Jewish money-lenders are still literally banking on that reasoning, and have been ever since the Lord overturned their temple booths in disgust. That time is obsolete, utterly superceded by the Word himself. They clung to their tables of coins and missed the Lord of Life. It is no use pointing at Joseph of Arimathea because he was a rich man and "disciple" who provided the Lord's tomb. (Matthew 27:57-60) Many are called "disciples" in the New Testament who later ceased following Jesus when the cost became too high. Even Judas, the money-keeper, was called a "disciple." We know very little about this Joseph of Arimathea's discipleship except that, along with previously nervous Nicodemus, he overcame his fear of the churchmen who had just handed over Christ for crucifixion, stopped being a "secret" believer and openly tended the tomb at a time when this could easily have cost him his life. (John 19:38,39) If this Joseph was indeed elect by grace (which I personally believe is so) he would most likely have either returned to his home town of Arimathea a changed man or have joined the Jerusalem ekklesia under the new covenant, after the Resurrection and Pentecost, and he would not have been a withholder like Ananias or Sapphira.
Another stock excuse Christians use to justify their hoarding is their hollow claim that "all that they have is at the Lord's disposal." Then why do they not dispose of it as He directs? Jesus says that his disciple is the one who forsakes, not the one who "keeps it for God's use." Using His name to justify earthly treasure does not alleviate but greatly compounds the sin. The word forsake means to abandon, renounce, relinquish, disown, deny yourself of, give up, turn your back on. Where is the "holding on" or "holding for" in this word? Nowhere. Those who say they are saving it for God are clearly keeping it for self. In whose hands will it be found when He comes for them, when they breathe their last? Those who presume to be God's earthly bankers, as though the Almighty needed such, are in for a terrible surprise.
Likewise the rich man who says he does not love money. Then what is he doing stuffing it away? Very few rich men will openly tell you that they love money. For them I have some respect, strangely, because they are at least honest about their avarice. The vast majority of wealthy people will assure you they do not love money, especially those who name the Lord's name. Then why do they not distribute as He instructs? Because they love their earthly treasure and cannot let go of it. If they could, constantly share as fast as it was gained, for this is not a one-time act but an integral part of the continuous Way, what a world this would be! But they will not. Only a handful will do so, and though this may hardly dent the world it will be to their everlasting reward. The vast majority will not obey, and so we will always have the poor, until He comes with His recompense. There is enough for all, reader. The reason we have the needy is not because God's creation is lacking in provision but because of the unregenerate hearts of the goats who amass and keep for self.
Learn well from the story of the widow who gave her "all" and eclipsed the wealthy who seemed on the surface to have given much more than her but who were in fact just percentage people. Her tiny offering would hardly have seemed to make a difference to anyone, but Jesus deemed this important enough to call his disciples and point it out to them. (Mark 12:41-44) Why? Because she was in fact doing exactly what he had described to them as the condition for his new covenant discipleship. Tithing was about to become history, for God's elect that is, and be replaced by "all," the service of God with all your heart, mind, soul and wallet. This would of course be unacceptable to most imitators. There are of course, and very sadly, those who lose their lives for the wrong body (nuns like "mother" Teresa for the church) or wrong Lord (monks for Buddha), or wrong cause (such as Marxism). But it is almost impossible to find an impostor who will lose his life for the real Lord and his flock. Most churchmen fall far short of pagans and atheists who give their all, and when Jesus was pointing out the righteous action of the widow to his disciples he would certainly have known that the successors to the worshippers of the house made with hands would never give up their partial game. Indeed, I once sat through a sermon I had seen advertised on the topic of this widow, to hear what might be said, and listened to a "minister" very eloquently explain to his relieved flock of goats that what she had done was an exception, not something that applied to others who would follow Christ. He sprinkled his message with several sugary jokes, the kind so loved by Christian pastors, to help his medicine go down. It was what I expected him to say. No doubt he realized his job was on the line, and to keep it he would gladly negate the Word of God. Let him try such smooth reasoning on the Lord on the Last Day. It is the exception that Jesus notes, commends and considers worthy of mention. Rich churchmen and obsolete tithers can be found anywhere, and will forever pass from memory soon enough.
Here is a sobering example of the wrong way. Once, when I first came to North America, I was standing beside a tennis court listening to two women brazenly discussing the importance of having chosen a Christian husband with the "right future income level" (doctor and dentist) and in the next breath declaring that of course they had never set out to be wealthy. Giggles all round amidst their next affirmation that they would advise and point their children in the same direction. I have heard this perverse reasoning many times, as though their money had fallen from the sky or appeared by some accident! As though God would be fooled by such twisted logic! They had made two catastrophic mistakes. They had indeed set their eyes on the wrong prize, in pursuit of treasure on earth instead of heaven, and they had each married a Christian spouse, one of the worst obstacles to finding true faith in the Lord. Their third error, with horrific eternal consequences, was their intention to teach this same game plan to children. This is not the freedom promised in the Word. What they were scheming in spirit was no better than the ancient Chinese practice of physically binding their own feet, and the feet of their children, in bandages for years, a terrible custom designed to make the foot appear more pleasing to the eye of man. Instead, when the wraps are finally taken off, the permanent fetter marks are revealed in a stunted end result, often crippling and misshapen, not at all what God intended. You cannot "walk with God" while you are bound thus in the world. You may fool others with your performance but He sees right through you, and all will be uncovered in the End.
For the elect person to have more money merely means he has more to give, a privilege I have had at times. Indeed, he should those given opportunities to be in a position where he can be the giver. If he is poor, or worse, below his means, then he has the "lesser blessing." As Paul puts it, "I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, It is more blessed to give than to receive." (Acts 20:35) It is not a question of how much money Gods redeemed make because those who have more will have that much more required of them. Christians (neo-pagans using His Name) are no better than outright pagans when they have enough and yet will change jobs, even from more worthy employment, in pursuit of more money. The true disciple should not conform to such worldly examples. The elect who earn more simply have extra to give, not more to keep. But that was not the plan in the hearts of those women. They fully intended to stock their additional wealth for themselves, except for the odd "tip" toward others, and claim they were disciples of Christ. They had no intention of engaging in life-changing and life-saving giving that would drain or deny themselves. That is what made them church goats in such good standing. The one who denies himself the bulk of his advantage and employs it in the service of others is the sheep who follows the Master and will truly gain his life. He who would be great on the other side of the grave must be the servant on this side, not pandering to his own needs but those of others. Unbelievers love to be in control like the master, to govern and be known as "benefactors" (Luke 22:24-27), just as much as churchmen love to claim this "gift of administration," but this shall not be so amongst Christ's true disciples. They will make themselves servants, even slaves. Does your lifestyle look like that of a servant or slave, reader? How about the lifestyles of your "friends" who name the Lord's name? Are you in the right company? (Matthew 20:25-28; 23:11-12)
How interesting that it is especially the testimony of the physician Luke that so particularly exposes the lover of money, a trait I have seen perfected amongst medical professionals throughout my student days and most of my working life. No doubt Luke was stunned by the life of sacrifice of the great Physician and equally familiar with the cupidity of doctors in those times. Nothing has changed. How many doctors do you know, reader, who are even remotely losing their lives for the Lord? Any at all? I can tell you they are extremely rare. What a tiny fraction of even one percent of them have the true and noble vocation. For the vast majority, especially Christians, their practice is not at all a calling but a self-determined, money-making strategy. No doubt you have seen those plaques in hospitals where deceased doctors are lauded for their "service" when in fact all they did was their job for very handsome recompense. That has nothing to do with the calling, service or sacrifice described in the Word and which will bring honours on the Last Day. Christ healed no one for profit, unless you count the food or roof he accepted as a fee. I cannot see Luke taking any more than any other elect disciple for any such services he rendered.
But for doctors there never seems to be such a thing as enough. I know, I used to design their houses and redesign their offices and clinics; new room arrangements to speed up the number of patients "marketed" every day, some at ludicrous "turnover" rates, and all in the name of "service." Even then how rarely they will see you at the appointed time. You can wait hours while part of your day, which is just as valuable as theirs, is wasted, but be so late or miss the appointment yourself and you might well be billed anyway. Imagine if patients billed doctors for failing the agreed meeting! Many times I have heard nurses remark on physicians avarice, like sad quips that the only time they all manage to turn up punctually is for their weekly real estate investment meeting, or some other activity in pursuit of earthly acquisitions. Their performance is little better than that of most modern lawyers, equally worshipping the dollar when they should be serving and defending those most in need, as the prophets of the Word have directed for thousands of years. But not for much longer. Neither of such "professionals" will be required inside the celestial city, and all those without true calling will remain with their worldly and corroding reward outside the gate.
"For whoever has (treasure in heaven, not on earth) to him more will be given (in heaven when the rewards are tallied), and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have (in heaven), even what he has (on earth) will be taken away from him." (Matthew 13:12; 25:9) Neither of these verses is an invitation to acquire treasures on earth, as the churches and "prosperity gospel" charlatans will tell you, because that would contradict the Word condemning this activity. You cannot cherish mammon and God. Your heart belongs to one or the other, and mammon shows exactly where your treasure and heart belong. (Matthew 6:21) You cannot have your feet in both camps and get away with it. "And that servant who knew his masters will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more." (Luke 12:47,48) Having more carries much more onus than having just enough or less, because what you do with it is critical, and it carries the extra temptation to use it for yourself instead of others.
Learn from the good Samaritan, reader. (Luke 10:25-37, every word in this example which Christ taught to a lawyer is as critical as his conversation with the rich young man who missed out on eternal life) The Samaritan (despised by Jews for not acknowledging the house made with hands, the stone temple in Jerusalem) turned aside form his own interests and laid it on the line for a complete stranger. He stopped where the churchmen slunk by on the other side of the road. He risked stopping where the same criminals might also have robbed him. He stopped for someone whose beliefs and lifestyle quite likely did not agree with his own. No doubt he had other appointments to keep, "pressing engagements" which he might have used as an excuse to walk by. Did he have other important expenses of his own: family, school and business? Of course he did, but he tackled them later, after the need at hand. Giving like that takes a chunk out of your life, takes away something you wanted for yourself, perhaps when you felt you most needed it. That is sacrifice.
Generosity that makes no difference to your own affairs and little difference to the receiver is not sacrifice but merely incidental giving, no better than the gratuities of collection plates or church alms. I have heard waitresses who understand this on a very basic level, when receiving such a paltry amount in proportion to the services rendered they said it would have been more dignified, even less of an insult, if there had been nothing at all. But Christians engage in this kind of giving all the time, and will even quote the Scriptures to announce their motive. They will read about the children of Israel having to trust for their daily manna, running out of food each day, and think they are somehow related to that state of affairs. But no way will they throw their own bread on the water in a significant amount they most definitely need for themselves in the faith it will return. Do not confuse this with the travesty of church money-grubbing pyramids and investment return schemes that appeal to Christian cupidity like Vegas to get-rich-quick gamblers. If you cannot see the difference then pray for ears to hear and eyes to see. The good Samaritan not only picked up a big tab but also left the tab open and running. Nothing suggests he expected to be paid back in this life. This not where the real treasure is or where the real payback is received. It is on the other side where the oil never runs out and the bread is unending in quantity and quality.
He who clings to the things of the world does not trust in God for his daily bread; his trust is in what he stores away. God permitted the Israelites of old to gather their manna for just one day at a time, with a second day layaway only for the seventh day. All else turned to worms. Why? To test their obedience to his commands. (Exodus 16:4, Deut 8:2) This is exactly where the phrase, "not by bread alone but by the Word" comes from. That is the prime message of this 40-year manna test, to keep His commands and trust to be provided for by Him, not by making one's own stash, before finally entering the promised land and promised rest. Jesus taught his disciples to pray "give us this day our bread" precisely because they had to leave all for him and were not permitted to lay up a store for themselves. Right after telling them about the fool of a rich man and his earthly stockup he told them this: "Do not worry about what you will eat or wear...Sell what you have and give to the poor; provide yourselves with purses which do not grow old, a treasure in heaven that does not fail..." (Luke 12:22-34)
Of course we need some daily bread, and some for the extra day. But that is not what wise and prudent Christians are talking about when they hoard and say that it is a result of God "blessing" them. They are just like the doomed fool in Luke 12:16-21 or the Israelites for whom "enough" was not sufficient (or those who say it is all relative, in their vain reasoning for an excuse) and yield to the craving for more. They do not want to deny themselves or lose their lives. They wish to "believe" and have a foot in Egypts security and stewpots. So God "blesses" them with abundance, rains down a months supply of quail until it comes out of their nostrils, and slays them even as they stuff their mouths full. (Numbers 11) Those foolish Israelites were buried in Kibroth Hittaava, literally, "the graves of those who crave." They perished not for silver or gold or an oversized house or bank account, but for a helping of meat! If He kills for that just imagine what is coming for what we are talking about here, especially for those who claim to know and serve Him.
Christians are all too ready to claim that they are willing to give up all for the Lord if required. That is exactly what the folks described above did, in word and in writing. But when it came to sharing in half a modest amount (well, moderate for me, a trifle for them) they balked. It was not that they declined to partake in something I was doing. This is a very important point so I will dwell on it. Polite refusal is always acceptable, for no one knows anothers giving commitments, which may far exceed ones own if they are kept discreet as the Lord instructs. Nor should they poke into another's business (what Australians so aptly term "sticky-beaking") or dole out guilt and obligation as so many "charities" do in this matter, standing in doorways with begging bowls outstretched. Indeed, the so-called Salvation Army will solicit right outside inns where the "demon drink" they condemn is served, blind to the fact that Jesus would have been inside, giving out truth and drinking wine as he did with his disciples (even creating it at a wedding party). Thinking that they are Gods "soldiers" these "army" members even wear literal uniforms to be seen of men (which no elect disciple would ever have done) and like most of these organizations they also make their giving public, even applauding themselves on TV under banners declaring that they are "Doing The Most Good," just like the mindless talk and game show hosts and their attendants who clap themselves along with their audience. This is classic Christian charity, utterly worthless in the eyes of God. (Matthew 6:1-3) If you want to do it right, reader, then be watchful for the man who falls into the ditch on your own road and help him as privately as you possibly can.
"Evangelists" like Oral Roberts will bilk followers out of millions, saying that if they do not hand over the dollars then God will take them out of the world (I wish the Lord would remove these hoodwinkers!). And countless organizations will use emotional levers like pictures of starving children in dark countries where in fact they make the long-term gloom worse, filling their bellies, yes, but poisoning their souls with the junk food of Christianity. No, it is not that one declines to give, for there are countless reasons to hold back from erroneous generosity, especially if it is toward a religion. It was not that which disturbed me from slumber but the dark spirit that came to light. I was trying to save the roof of a family that had come into hard times, but their reply was that such people "deserved to be renting" because of their "chosen lifestyle" (waitress and laid-off forest worker?) and that "in their experience" leaving them in that state might cause them to "learn something better out of it." Whoa! So many North American Christians rationalize keeping their treasure on earth and to themselves with exactly this philosophy. Nothing could be further from the Word and Way (e.g. Good Samaritan) if one tried to rewrite it so. At this I woke up, but still needed to be pushed by questions before finding my courage and finally declaring myself. Thereafter I was labelled mentally ill and then the rest of the "compliments" followed.
I have never believed any churched people who professed that they could give up all the goodies for the Lord if required. Almost every Christian I have known has said this at least once and I have tired of hearing the hollow claim, simply because they never do it and have not the slightest intention of doing so. They are all too ready to "claim the promises" for themselves as real (and sing it so piously to each other) but treat the price as theoretical. They would never have passed test 101 in the first Jerusalem ekklesia. They think they can skirt around the Real Deal and still collect the reward. They kid themselves that a voice must come from heaven before it is no longer hypothetical. But the Word makes it clear that for such people there is no discipleship, only churchmanship, and Gods promises of reward are null and void. Certainly they shall receive Gods promises, but of the other kind, that because they have kept their lives and clung to the goods they will now lose them and not enter His rest. They are caught in a death wish as tightly as mummified Egyptians bound in their wrappings, entombed and surrounded by the possessions they could not take with them but could not let go; and so, sealed into darkness forever, they perish with the material evidence of their unbelief in the Living God.
I am reminded of one of the most talked about non-sermons in London, many years ago, which I unfortunately missed. A "successful" businessman was the guest speaker, and was relating how he had been made so wealthy because he had once given all for God. A little old lady, tiring of it, and knowing that he spoke of a time when he was young and had so very little to give up anyway, stood up and simply said, "What makes you think its over? You must do it again, now." The man fled the pulpit and church, leaving the congregation, who came to hear the Christian prosperity message, in stunned silence. Churchmen think that the declaration of being prepared to do the Lords will is somehow the same as doing, but it is really empty conjecture to salve the conscience, and it does not fool God. (Matthew 21:28-32) The list of excuses is endless. They will conveniently assume that such a call will be deferred to sometime later, or are secretly confident that they will find a way to dismiss the message as erroneous anyway. They answer, "Well, we said IF required, and this is not the IF we recognize or accept." IF? What! Is the Word of God so insufficient for them they must require of Him a private revelation? The Lord has already made His instruction clear. The only private revelation in this matter will be on the Last Day when he questions the children of disobedience one by one.
They are so quick to proclaim the golden rule, but I have never seen a churched person love his neighbour as much as himself. He tips God a percentage (who cares how much or little) but keeps the overwhelming bulk of the gold in his own pocket, finding some reason why others should not merit it, even those in dire need. I would be well off in worldly terms if I followed this strategy. It is a guaranteed method of feathering your own nest. I remember as a boy when my father (an agnostic and very generous to his own detriment), working as an engineer for a company, went out to dinner with three multi-millionaire shareholders. He ended up footing the bill for all the food and drinks while they kept their hands tight in their pockets except to throw in a tip. "No wonder they are millionaires!" he joked when he came home. Just so the churchman. He might tip but has no intention of doing unto his neighbour anything like the degree to which he treats himself. But I have seen this in the unchurched many times, one painstakingly saving to buy his wifes sister and her husband (unbelievers, struggling on part time jobs and social assistance) a house before he could buy one for himself. As he said to his own wife, "First them, then us." That is the kind of soul I look for along the Way, and happy to know and proud to walk beside, those who can put anothers need first even when they are strapped themselves, the salt of the earth. That is ekklesia or fellowship I crave.
I have seen the elect in India share their last morsel of food (a single vegetable) with people off the street, giving thanks like it was a feast and there was no tomorrow to worry about. I have known the elect to give the shirts off their backs or shoes off their feet. But not gone rudely unclothed, for giving all is not to the extent that one is inappropriate or breaks the law. But this "all" is an eternity beyond the gratuities that churchmen vainly think "everything." Indeed, at this particular house meeting there was a Baptist pastor who had dropped in at my suggestion. After a short while he said, "I was sent here on a 'mission' form my church. Im supposed to be the teacher with the message, and Ive just realized Ive wasted my life. Ive missed the boat! I dont know anything about true discipleship at all!" Well, it his true that he had wasted his life in church membership but he had not yet missed the freedom train. As long as one has breath there is still time to escape the doom of the church and get on the real Way.
The elect are not in the wise and prudent business of keeping their lives: they are in the highly "unsound" business of losing them, be it in spent time or money. They are caught up in the unprofitable venture, as the world would deem it, of giving to others even what they deny for themselves. They might end up as a vapor from the sacrificial fire, left over after the pouring out of a libation, as Paul put it, nothing but mist. They fare like George Whitefield, magnificent preacher, literal helper of widows and founder of orphanages, who died with a few pieces of furniture to his name, while the evil professors of comfy Christendom said he hoarded or coveted for himself. Be like Whitefield. Do not be like me in my disastrous mistake of omitting the cost, of putting the cart before the horse. As a result I was heard gladly at first, and the hearers tarried for that, but when I finally got to the horse at the front, and its cost, the message went sour and caused heartache all round. Be like the early disciples who delivered the whole truth and moved on if the news of really losing ones life was not of interest to the inhabitants of the town. No doubt the elders there met quite quickly afterward and declared them unfit messengers, and everybody breathed a sigh of relief and went about their wise and prudent business as usual. Like churchmen today they would have no problem finding a fellowship that had the same view as themselves regarding mammon.
Be like Bunyan who was likewise vilified for this grand truth. He was called a "pestilent fellow," "crazy-head" and "brainsick," a real pain in the ass because he would have no truck with the peddlers of Christian materialism such as Mr. Love-the-world or Mr. Money-love. Bad tidings always bring out some method to shoot the messenger. Scribes and Pharisees followed Christs every move and word "that they might find a fault against him," and would even settle for labelling him as touched or demonic to ease their own souls. Why didnt they just leave him alone and go their own comfortable way? Perhaps because they were pricked, or suspected the "affected" fellow might be right? Listen to the words of Bunyan, concerning the real pain-in-the-butt pilgrim for you. Here he is at the very first stage of the required journey:
In this plight, therefore, he went home, and refrained himself as long as he could, that his wife and children should not perceive his distress; but he could not be silent long, because that his trouble increased: wherefore at length he brake his mind to his wife and children...At this his relations were sore amazed...because they thought that some frenzy distemper had got into his head; therefore, it drawing towards night, and they hoping that sleep might settle his brains, with all haste they got him to bed: but the night was as troublesome to him as the day; wherefore, instead of sleeping, he spent it in sighs and tears...He also set to talking to them again; but they began to be hardened. They also thought to drive away his distemper by harsh and surly conduct to him: sometimes they would deride; sometimes they would chide...He would also walk solitarily in the fields, sometimes reading and sometimes praying; and thus for some days he spent his time...
Now he had not run far from his own door, but his wife and children perceiving it, began to cry after him to return; but the man put his fingers in his ears, and ran on, crying, "Life! Life! Eternal life!" So he looked not behind him...The neighbours also came out to see him run; and, as he ran, some mocked...
"What are the things you seek, since you leave all the world to find them?"
"I seek an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fades not away...read it so, if you will, in my book..."
"Away with your book; will you go back with us or not?"
"No, not I, because I have laid my hand to the plough."
"Come then, neighbour, let us turn again, and go home without him: there is a company of these crazy-headed coxcombs, that when they take a fancy by the end are wiser in their own eyes than seven men that can render a reason...go back; who knows whither such a brainsick fellow will lead you? Go back, go back, and be wise!" (Pilgrims Progress John Bunyan, Chapter1)
When Jesus had finished telling his stunned apostles about the impossibility of wealthy people entering heaven, Peter immediately said to him, "See, we have left all and followed you." Jesus answered and said, "Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for my sake and the evangel, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time (houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life." (Mark 10:28-30) Read very carefully, because this discourse is greatly distorted by Christian lovers of the worldly prosperity gospel. They think that the reward in "this time" is something they can stuff in their pockets and keep for themselves (and they certainly do not want to hear about the accompanying reward of persecution). It cannot be, because this twist would negate all Gods dire warnings against laying up treasure on earth. Certainly God rewards here, sometimes dramatically, so the sower may reap a grand harvest. That is not for the receiver to hoard but entrusted to him to sow again, and again and again. That is why Jesus very next statement ends this conversation with the warning, "But many who are first will be last, and the last first." (Mark 10:31) The real apostle forsakes all and follows, start to finish, and is not popular. The fake apostle dies like the Pope, in a palace, with millions of duped followers mourning for him.
Another text that churchmen love to warp for the purpose of justifying their worldly accumulation is Jesus' words, "Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added to you." Check the context before you fall into this Christian trap. The "things" Jesus speaks about are not riches but very basic concerns; simply having clothes to wear and enough to eat each day! (Matthew 6:25-34) And this teaching comes just a few sentences after his warning not to lay up treasures on earth. (verses 19-21, 24) Those who stash it away make a very common and deadly mistake. When the returns become great, and the amount to be re-sown far outweighs what was given up the first time around, greed sets in, and when it becomes too much the fakes will show their true colours and cling to the goods. This can happen even after a lifetime of imitating real disciples. They are snared, chained to the world, and are finally bound hand and foot and thrown out of the great wedding feast of the Lord. Like the man at the end of Pilgrims Progress, they fall into the fire through a trapdoor right outside the celestial gate.
It is noteworthy that Christians will appear to accept the stature of early disciples who gave up everything but will consider those who do that today to be irresponsible or even ill. I do not speak of "deadbeat dads" who simply run away on the pretext of such Scriptures, or "promise-keepers" whose first vows did not suffice. No wonder onlookers cannot see a resemblance between the "called ones" in Scripture and those bound in the religion called Christianity. Nor do I speak of the sugar-coated emissaries in such ludicrous, make-believe TV episodes like "Touched By An Angel." Such models are no better than the "saints" invented by the Church. And if you have read The Truth Which Sets Free you will certainly know that I do not speak of those who go to "theological college" thinking this is sacrificing life like the disciples of old. All they are doing is being trained for a job in the business and worldly system of the church, to be hireling shepherds, positions no real followers of the Way took in Scripture or should touch now. I speak of those who discomfort the pew-sitters who do not want to be anywhere close to the real thing, those whose lives are a challenge to the churchmen who would rather relegate such "fanatics" to the history books and keep them as far away as possible.
Christians simply do not grasp the power or subtlety of the darkness that binds them, even to the extent that they will talk about Christ bypassing the priests and proceeding to the pub instead, but they cannot see that this very same principle applies to them. They will pass judgment on the elect who go into inns to sit and talk with the lost and cannot hear the echo of the scripture which says that Jesus did the same thing while the religious people despised him for it, calling him a wino and keeper of bad company. (Luke 7:34) I have had this pious criticism many times from Christians. They simply do not get it, even while they read it aloud, because of the plank stuck in their eye and the plug in their ears. Christ was not stalked or delivered for crucifixion by innkeepers or their patrons but by churchmen versed in Scripture.
The Son of Man came to heal sinners, not those who think themselves righteous, engaged in their "higher" conversation and "cleaner" lives, looking down their noses. (Luke 5:27-32) Read this passage very carefully. In no way is Jesus saying the Pharisees were righteous. The only good and whole One in this story is the Physician. The sinners Jesus sat amongst and chose were curable, even tax collectors like Levi (Matthew) who followed obediently when called. Or rather, they were elect, with names already written in the Book of Life, and Christ was pleased to cure them. The churchmen were not righteous. They thought they were better, but in fact they were incurable. Or more accurately, they were reprobate which means "passed by," those whom Jesus did not call or cure because their names were not in the Book, not those for whom the Father sent his Son, not in God's plan from before the foundation of the world. (Matthew 22:14; John 1:13; 6:37; 17:1-10; Acts 2:39; 13:48; 16:14; Ephesians 1:4-9; 2:5,8; 1 Thessalonians 1:4,5; 2 Timothy 2:25,26; James 1:18; 1 Pet 1:2; Revelation 13:8; 17:8; 20:15; 21:17)
If what you have just read is an enormous shock then you have not yet read The Truth Which Sets Free. Chapter 8 will tell you all you need to know about the "righteous" churchmen whom Jesus bypasses. True, he did enter their synagogues, but those visits resulted in his being cast out and vilified. The same would happen today, if he would even bother to pause to instruct such upright and respectable people on his way to the real saving action in the dens they consider disreputable. "The harlots and taxmen will enter the kingdom before you ever do," says the Redeemer to such idealistic and pious people, believers in word only, living in the imagination of their hearts, those who say they can do the Lords bidding but in truth will not do it. (Matthew 21:31,32) This is a classic mark of churchmen all the way to the top: "they say, and do not do." (Matthew 23:3) Theirs is not the bread of life. It stinks of mold, like the inside of so many cathedrals and churches. It is perishable, and it will be publicly exposed and destroyed. "Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known." (Luke 12:1-2) The New Testament eyewitness accounts are a veritable running word battle between Jesus Christ and the churchmen who clung to their priestly positions, possessions and privileges! (e.g. read Luke 11:42-54 for a taste of the openly declared hostility of the Word against the walking dead, both churchmen and lawyers.) That was what so often amazed his disciples; his tongue-lashing of churchmen and the offence it caused. So, let me put this in modern terms for you. Beware of Christian churchmen, they may have every orthodox doctrine in the book down pat but they will not obey or have the Son of Man rule over them, most especially when it comes to denial of self and letting go of the things of the world. In this they will rather discard their souls in obstinate disobedience while perversely naming Him as their "Lord." Tax collectors and prostitutes are much more inclined to both hear gladly and act rightly when the regenerating Word arrives.
A famous Wall Street stockbroker once said that people will forgive you anything including your religion, creed, culture or colour as long as you cause them to gain money; but they are quick to anger, not at all forgiving, when you cause them to lose it. That is one basic reason why the Word of the crucifying self sacrifice is such foolishness and a stink to those who are perishing (1 Corinthians 1:18; 2 Corinthians 2:16) especially to wise and materialistic Christians; nothing is more smelly to them than the message that they must actually lose their very lives, deny themselves for Christs sake and the gain of others. Nothing, except perhaps the revelation of predestined election, brings out instant hatred and venom more than this radical message and spawns every manner of invention to discredit the messenger or declare the message in error, unbalanced or worse. Smearing the emissary is an age-old ruse. (Matthew 11:18; 9:34; 12:24) In most churches the subject is avoided entirely, especially those preaching the "prosperity gospel," except of course for the giving of money to the church itself, its "building expansions," "missions" and "clergy," using any method that works, from God-tipping collection plates to the resurrection of obsolete tithes and other percentages.
Churchmanship is mere play-belief, the dolls house pretend variety, often played just once a week before returning to a life little different from that of the atheist in the house or office next door. That is why so many neighbours think Christianity is a joke, and they are right. But its not a funny one, its a dark power that binds, sick to the core because it names the Selfless One while practising the same (sometimes worse) selfishness and fondness for the world displayed by others who do not cite Him. So when He comes to "repay every man for what he has done" (Matthew 16:27) who will receive the greater punishment? He does not judge people on what they know or believe but what they have done with that knowledge and faith. Christians think that because the water of life is free that there is a free ride involved, or that the cost to be counted is a fraction of the whole. They could not be more mistaken. That is not the life or the cost Jesus spoke about. The entry fee is indeed nothing (because He pays for it for His own) but the annual dues are everything: all you have and will ever have; everything you are and will ever be. Christ repeatedly made this self-denial a cornerstone of discipleship, a daily picking up of the personal stake, a crucifixion of self to the world, and it is not part-time or half-hearted. "He who keeps his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it." (Matthew 10:38,39; 16:24,25)
Do you have ears to hear reader? Do you love or hate your own life? Is your life and way wide and easy or is it hard, striving for the narrow gate? Are you denying your self, losing your life, or are you keeping it for your self? Are you feathering your own nest, for you and your own, like Christians? Are you like the person Jesus spoke about? "But God said to him, Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have furnished? Likewise is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God." (Luke 12:20-21). If you store it down here you will lose it all in the coming fire. "For no sooner has the sun risen with a burning heat than it withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beautiful appearance perishes. So the rich man also will fade away in his pursuits." (James 1-11) Do you withhold help for one in need when you have the means to act? Do you walk by on the other side of the road, little better than the oppressor who put that person in the ditch? Do you think this passive stance will excuse you? That is exactly what the man who "lived well every day" (in this life, in terms of house, clothes and food) imagined before being sentenced to an eternity chained in the "torments in Hades." (Luke 16:19-26) He didnt put the homeless and hungry man in need; he just didnt do anything for him, treating himself instead. He thought that because the poor mans plight was not of his doing he could look the other way. Do you know people like this? I know hundreds of them, especially churched ones. Pray to God that you can take this into your head and let it proceed through to your heart. Read what Jesus said to this doomed goat and shudder. When the choice came to clinging to the worlds goods or storing wealth in heaven, he, and his brothers like him, had no ears to hear the Word of God. (Luke 16:27-31)
Are you bound in the vain belief that you are doing the right thing with your pockets and mouth stuffed full or would you rather store up treasure in the right place? Could you easily make do with a smaller house so that someone else with no roof could have one? Could you eat less or more plainly that another might have a decent meal too? Could you drive a less costly car so that someone else might have wheels to get to work or get a job that requires transport? These people are all around you. Could you be like the Samaritan and "go and do likewise" (continuous verb) as Christ commanded? (Luke 10:37) This is not a once-off act. This is a way of being. The Lord's "order of service" is "go and do likewise" and it has nothing whatsoever to do with "church service." This is the Lords answer to the lawyers all-important question, "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" (Luke 10:25) The rich young ruler asked the very same question except that he thought it might suffice to be a singular deed, revealing that he had a churchmans heart: "What good thing must I do to inherit eternal life?" (Matthew 19:16) Jesus told him to give his earthly goods to the needy and acquire true wealth in heaven, and follow in a lifetime of such discipleship. The principle is the same. It is not just one good thing; it is the whole thing, everything, a way of conduct set apart from the religious, selfish, acquisitive world. This is the key to life as described by the Door Himself. This is Jesus explanation of how you "love the Lord and your neighbour as yourself." (Luke 10:27)
Be warned: these instructions from the Son of God and his story of the churchmen who passed by on the other side of the road did not help the stubborn religious goats of his day. We are not told if it saved the lawyer (his title in Luke 10:25 literally means "expert in the law"). It is unlikely. Why? Because he also had a classic churchmans legalistic heart, as can be seen by his trying to wriggle and "justify himself." (Luke 10:29) The clarity and all-embracing demands of God were starting to pierce his soul. He resorted to semantics, playing with words, trying to redefine terms and meanings, a trick used by Christians every day to evade the Real Deal. Given this insight as to how his mind worked, and the history of the profession of lawyers, I very much doubt he changed in his heart or obeyed. Or rather, that he was permitted the turning around of repentance and saving faith, for both these are not naturally within man but gifts from above, supernatural, and result in the heart freed and inclined to do the right thing. All we know about the lawyer is that he had head knowledge of correct behaviour, because the teaching of Jesus finally extracted that from him. (Luke 10:36-37) Certainly what Christ said did not save the devout churchmen. They may have grudgingly admired Jesus or said he spoke well, as do pew-sitters today with their constant lip-service, but they stumbled, inwardly hated what he was saying. They still plotted to be rid of him, get him right out of their temple, nail him outside their city until he was silent. Do not look at them. Look at the true disciples who follow their Lord away from mans selfish houses, outside the earthly gates, bearing insults from religious professors who shrink at the real cost. (Hebrews 13:13,14) Look at the Samaritan on the road, nowhere near the church. Could you pick someone up off the floor like him, leave the tab of your life open and running? Or are you hanging on to your own life, money and possessions? If you are, and I do not care if you are a billionaire, that is all the paltry and fleeting reward you are going to get. Do you really want lasting wealth or is it just wishful thinking and Christian fraud? Are you going to be caught with the host of Christians pouring through the wide and easy chasm or are you ready to discipline (disciple) yourself in the hard and narrow Way? Ask yourself now. These, and many other piercing questions, will assuredly be asked of you when He wraps up the Day.
In the area of housing the love of the world brings itself to the fore with a vengeance. I know because I am an architect. I now avoid houses as much as possible, occasionally confining myself to small designs for people on tight budgets, but in the past I worked on wasteful homes for many. The last one was a huge place for a retired couple who wanted five extra toilets at various intervals so that they "didnt have to walk too far to tinkle." And in my experience Christians are the worst of all. Nothing brings out the fire of covetousness in their eyes like a new house for themselves and all its fixtures, trimmings and contents. Many times I have left a design meeting feeling sick to my stomach at the salivating which this process brings out. Do not misunderstand this; I like fine and lasting materials, not rubbish, and I despise poor arrangement and workmanship. It is not a question of quality but of quantity, of such focussed coveting and outright greed. As my one believing grandparent used to say, at table in her little four room farmhouse, in her quiet and earthy way: "Enough is as good as a feast, so graze simply, taking more than enough is what the pigs and foxes do." Yet how many times I have watched Christians with bellies distended insisting that their guests eat more food, one more helping, a bigger slice, even when they decline repeatedly and politely. That is not hospitality. It is just another form of gluttonous sin. No doubt the cajoling hosts feel more comfortable if their visitors join in. I have certainly seen them push almost desperately, telling others they need to put on weight, to the point where a guest feels very awkward, even guilty. No wonder North America has such an epidemic of obesity. Exactly the same thing applies with regards to pumped up houses.
I have passed by new subdivisions in Florida with signs literally advertising "oversized" houses, actually touting the fact that they are too much, and this within a stone's throw of migrant workers who live in sheds and sweat in the fields with bent backs, picking tomatoes or oranges for a pittance. In the driveways of these ludicrous "homes" are vehicles with bumper stickers like, "He who dies with the most toys wins." Such a saying might aptly be written in the death chamber of an ancient Egyptian, sealed into the darkness with his goodies strewn around him. He who dies with the most toys loses, not just all the toys but also his soul's entry into the place of eternal light. The shoe will be on the other foot, if shoes are even permitted in the outer darkness. God has sworn that those who so crave the world in their unbelief (and this applies in Scripture most particularly to those who do it while naming His name) will never rest but "bend their backs forever." (see Romans 11:9,10 and Hebrews 3:16-4:3)
Two minutes is all you need to discern an open declaration of worldly selfishness in a home layout. How many sitting areas and places to eat or sit on a toilet do people need when multitudes of others have next to nothing? Its bad enough that the atheist does this, although he is at least being true to his belief in survival of the fittest, or fattest. But for those who engage in this behaviour in Christs Name it is inexcusable. And indeed, it will not be excused; it will be used as concrete evidence when the Day comes, and its all over Christian North America, the biggest materialistic binge in history, with churchmen lapping up "stuff" as much as the next man. Never has there been such a generation that wallowed so grossly across the board. It is inconceivable that the early disciples would have done this (a sound test of right conduct) but Christians do not hesitate. What would the elect have done? We have little evidence of specific details, but it is quite easy to imagine if one simply applies the message to the structure, or looks at the layout of many ordinary Middle Eastern homes of the past and their reflection of the attitude toward the traveller and visitor. I know if I had the opportunity to build a home I would put a high priority on one good sized dining area for table fellowship, and as many bedrooms as I could possibly afford for guests and pilgrims on the Way.
Yet I know several large houses of "believers" that have every conceivable luxury and spacious convenience and all for a mere two or three people: multiple seating, dining and washroom areas, and yet only one or two bedrooms, so that visitors must even pay to stay in nearby lodgings. These "hosts" are completely blind to such self-centeredness. They would also prefer to select choice visitors to suit their own tastes, and people who have the means to return in kind; not those off the street, as the Lord commands, and those who cannot reciprocate. (Luke 14:12-14) At the other end of the scale I know of the Lords elect in very tight accommodations who regularly sleep on their living room floor or even outside in a tent when their guests visit, giving up their own bedrooms. Others will drive the hitchhiker home at night forty miles on from their own destination because they have no extra room. They quite literally give up their own cloak or go the extra distance. Its not hypothetical or wishful thinking for them, and they think nothing of it, as would be expected. That is what the Spirit works in the hearts of His own, the ability to really put someone else first, and do it almost effortlessly, part of the burden which Jesus said would be light.
Try suggesting this to the professor who revels in a grand home designed to pander to himself, not to others, and see what an extremely irate explosion that will ignite. There are times the offence caused by pointing out bad fruit cannot be avoided (Matthew 3:7-10; 15:12-14) and this is certainly one of them, a critical one. The detonation is much worse when these "blessed" churchmen have two or three such houses; some inhabited for just a few weeks each year. They are so easily "born again" in speech but manifest no regeneration whatsoever with respect to their love of mammon. How often I have seen this in the United States. They sit enjoying their gourmet foods in these mansions, and in driving to the house made with hands, to sing pious hymns in Sunday-best attire, they pass people living in drainage pipes a short distance from their luxury. And they actually think that they are illuminated and "saved by faith." Not that kind of faith. "Do not love the world or the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him." (1 John 2:15) Do not try to tell me that the early disciples, the sheep truly born of His Spirit, translated their knowledge into this kind of behaviour. The Book of Acts is nothing like this kind of report. No wonder that Christians have no resemblance to the elect in Scripture. Christianity is neo-paganism (if you have any doubt of this read the facts thoroughly in The Truth Which Sets Free) and that is why Christians look just like the pagans around them, bent on pursuing the same earthly goals.
Today we have "hobby" farms, a very strange concept which would have seemed so ridiculous and frivolous as recently as in the time of my grandfather, an extremely hard-working, no-vacation, one-man, hand-milking dairy farmer, using every square inch of his fields to make ends meet for three children. These pretend farms, for which I am ashamed to have designed several wasteful residences many years ago, are used by the wealthy to own more while benefitting from tax shelters, cheaper gasoline rates and whatever else they can procure. And Christians using His Name, ever quick to follow the world, scamper for such "breaks" if they can get them, under the justification of shrewd business, while ordinary folk unable to purchase land, let alone a roof of their own, no matter how hard they work, pay their dues in full and carry the greater burden. Do these professors own these places to feed or house the needy or make anothers life easier? No way. They "lay these treasures up for themselves" on the wrong side of the grave. (Matthew 6:19-21; 19:21; Luke 12:20,21; James 5:1-3) They deceive themselves that James condemnation will not apply to them because they are not directly mistreating the poor who are so conveniently out of reach and seemingly unconnected, or because they are acting "legally" in adopting the worlds ways. (Romans 12:2)
This two-face strategy of playing to both God and mammon (so aptly portrayed by the Roman god Janus, the false "Door" whom you can read about in The Dark Powers That Bind) is a cornerstone of the church from the beginning, quite literally and practically institutionalized by Emperor Constantine. It is the game Christians love to play, like Mel Gibson making huge sums of money from both kill-fest movies (can you imagine a real disciple in Scripture doing this?) and a film about the death of Christ (complete with Hollywood inaccuracies but guaranteed as blockbuster fodder for hundreds of millions of Catholics and other Christian cults who adore these "passion plays"). Such films will indeed initiate "conversions" to Satans ace card, the Christian church. The house made with hands is full of those who will think they can have it both ways, attend to two masters, serve the world and God, and keep their treasure in both places. Christians will listen to anyone who indicates to them that they can get away with this dual charade. It fills pews to the brim and multiplies that great horde destined for the wrong gate.
Woe to those imitating the worldly in such games in His Name, who think they can have a foot in both camps. Their spirit is nothing like that of the early disciples. Woe to those caught with such cards held openly in their hands (or stashed up their sleeves) when the Man of Scars comes, saying to themselves and to others, "I believe in the Lord and my heart tells me all is well." Ananias and Sapphira are classic examples of such professors. They were not obliged to join anything or give their all to anyone, as the other disciples had done, but they did not merely deceive. They withheld, knowing the others had not, and knew it was wrong, and so tried to hide it from view while pretending to display real discipleship. They wanted "in" without the Real Deal. They wanted to join the elect for a fraction. But instead of finding themselves in the right flock they perished. (Acts 5:1-11) How many times I have heard or read Christian "pastors" explaining this away as the "formative church" which had not yet sorted these things out. What an insult to the Counselor Who was leading them. For a start the elect were not the church, formative or otherwise; never have been and never will be. It was Ananias and Sapphira who represented the "early church." They were the very prototype of the sect soon to follow, called Christians, the holdbacks who would also call themselves followers of Jesus. Nowadays such believers do not need to lie, they are open about their prudent withholdings and investments, and being amongst others who are similarly clever, and glad to believe the same, they feel no unease. But their spirit is something else, because the Spirit of God convicts over such antics; even kills; He does not commend or placate. All will be turned upside-down when He comes. A very great upheaval and redistribution is coming, with recompense, when the last shall be first and the first last.
Its not too late until it is too late. Are you ready?