Whose God Is Their Money

Whose God Is Their Money
Original Publication 8/1/2011
Robert Wurtz II


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And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. (Luke 6:33-35 NKJV)


Our passage is taken from what is known as the Sermon on the Plain, and is complementary to passages from the Sermon on the Mount. These sermons laid the foundation for what would come to be known as The New Covenant. In them, the Lord Jesus outlined what the Christian life is all about. All Christian teaching ought to begin with a heavy dose of the Sermon on the Mount and the Sermon on the Plain. The disciples began their instruction here, and we ought to follow that pattern. What use is it to understand the great doctrines of salvation if we have not yet learned what it is to be sons of the Most High?  

This particular section in Luke 6:33-35 deals with the essence of genuine Christianianity, and more specifically, what John called “the heart of our compassion.” He asked a riveting question in his first epistle that is relevant to our discussion, But whoever has the world’s goods, and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? (1 John 3:17 NASB) John’s emphasis is on love. For example, he penned, by the Holy Spirit, John 3:16. However, love is not a fuzzy feeling we get when we like something. It is much deeper than that. 1 John 3:17 is saying that if a professed Christian can see their brother in need and then close their heart so that they neither feel — nor act to help, the love of God is not in the person. There is no need to ask any more questions. You have your answer. Nevertheless, we see it happening all the time in the West. People too often love in word and in tongue, but not in deed and in truth. In other words, they love very well until it costs them something. 




Samuel Chadwick once said that “Covetousness is the disease that is withering our church life in all directions.” I concur. Moreover, I never cease to be amazed at how even the most “spiritual” of Christians can skirt around this straight-forward passage in Luke 6:33-35 as if it doesn’t apply to them. How can this be? Even a child could read and understand. They would not need a degree from Seminary or Bible College to put together the nouns and the verbs. It is simple and straight-forward. What does the passage say? But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return. 


It is a generally true statement that God’s children, who have means, will give when they see a legitimate need and not expect repayment. Even under the Old Covenant God gave directives along this line. The poor were to be taken care of by those who had means. The blessed were to lend to the unfortunate — even if the year of release was at hand. In other words, they were to give even if they knew the person’s debt would be cancelled by God’s decree before they could repay. (Deut. 15:7-10; Deut. 24:10) They were not only to lend, but were not to grieve for it. Why? Because for this thing the LORD your God will bless you in all your works and in all to which you put your hand.” (Deuteronomy 15:10 NKJV) Imagine that! God was saying that if they lend to the poor and not demand it back, then He will bless everything they put their hand to. This is true prosperity preaching. 

Dancing Around the Scriptures

And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? (Luke 6:33-34) Nothing. Absolutely nothing. How many people do you know who make personal loans at interest? Probably none. Things have not changed. Most sinners loan someone $50, and they expect their $50 back. They loan $5000 and want their $5000 back. Institutions lend at interest, but people generally do not. Moreover, why use the term sinner? Because that’s what Jesus said that sinners do; for even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. That is as clear as anything. How is a Christian different than a sinner if all he or she is willing to do is what the ungodly are willing to do? Moreover, ask a sinner if they are willing to give and expect nothing back. You will find they generally are not and are highly offended at the proposition. The typical response? “Are you crazy?” 


The NIV renders the passage, And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. Our Greek word here is repaid ἴσος and it means repaid “equal.” We find it used similarly with money in Matthew 20:12; Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day. The workers got equal pay in spite of their having worked an unequal amount of hours. The sinner loans and wants his equal amount back. This is a very simple and straightforward affirmation of Deut. 15:7-10. If God expected this attitude under the Old Covenant, how much more from those who under the New Covenant are partakers of the Divine Nature. 

Mastering the Excuses

Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. (Luke 6:30)

Who is “every” man? The Greek word employed is the same as in Matthew 4:4; But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. How do we sidestep this command? I have heard it cynically asked, “What happens if someone comes up to you and asks you for everything you have?” Well, I don’t know of it happening yet. These are merely foolish excuses meant to straw-man God’s commandment. You and I typically know when someone has a legitimate need. If they are willing to ask, we ought to accommodate their need to the best of our ability. Indeed, I can already hear another hundred scenarios about abuses; nevertheless, we have to reckon with these verses. We are either going to obey God, or we will explain away the text. It all depends on our attitude towards money and possessions. 

Sin Under The Radar

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Matthew 6:19-21)

Focus on that last statement, for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Two sins that rarely get talked about: greed and gluttony. The smoker gets slammed, the alcoholic and pornographer gets chastised, and rightly so; however, greediness and gluttony are unreproved. Nevertheless, clearly in Matthew 6:19-21, a person’s earthly treasure can have their heart as surely as God can. Thomas Manton once stated that, “There are two sins which were Christ’s sorest enemies, covetousness and envy. Covetousness sold Christ, and envy delivered him.” Judas kissed the door of heaven” and betrayed our Lord because of his thieving and covetous heart. How many will be as Judas and come into a sober mind just in time to see the finality of their greedy ways — but it will be too late? Jesus talked about the sin of greed and covetousness many times,  and Judas let it go in one ear and out the other. He tried to serve God and mammon and ended up betraying the Prince of Life. As George Barlow put it, “Covetousness is a sin that comes earliest into the human heart, and is the last and most difficult to be driven out.” 

An Evil Eye

Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked heart, saying, The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand; and thine eye be evil against thy poor brother, and thou givest him nought; and he cry unto the LORD against thee, and it be sin unto thee. (Deuteronomy 15:9 KJV)


Here we have God warning the children of Israel about what is known in Hebrew idiom as “an evil eye.” In Proverbs 23:6 we learn that a person with an evil-eye, as translated in the KJV, is actually a miser (stingy person) as translated in the NKJV. The NET has this translators note: In Hebrew an “evil eye” is the opposite of the “good eye” which meant the generous man. The “evil eye” refers to a person who is out to get everything for himself (cf. NASB, NCV, CEV “selfish”).  Notice how they are described by Jesus in Matthew 6:23, if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! A greedy, stingy person is capable of anything. They do not care who or how they offend because of money. Everything bows to money in their darkened heart. It is a great darkness. The rich man lifted up his eyes in hell — tormented in the flame — only to look over at a poor beggar that he dissed on a continual basis. I wonder how many excuses he made to sear his conscience into stepping over the dear impoverished man as he laid there in his sores?

Nothing darkens Christian sensibilities quite the way that greed does. A greedy person is full of darkness no matter what their profession of faith. Darkness implies blindness, and when the blind lead the blind both fall into the ditch. Imagine being blinded by greed and trying to bring revelation to others. Moreover, understand that greed and the Holy Spirit cannot live in the same house — any more than could Jehovah and Baal. Many have set up a god to money in the temple of their own body and sacrifice their affections to it. They feel passionately about wealth in a way they ought only to feel for God. This is why we are told that covetousness is idolatry. (Colossians 3:5) Show me a professed believer who is serving money and I will show you a person who is bringing a reproach on the Kingdom of God. 

Some Christians believe that their “Christianity” and their “business” are separate matters. They believe they can act unchristlike when it comes to money and not sin because it is “business.” If ever a lie came forth from the bowels of Hell, that is one of them. It is the excuse of one who would try to serve both God and mammon. It is impossible. 


The slave of mammon will obey mammon while pretending to obey God. (A.T. Robertson) Whereas the Christian, born of His or Her Heavenly Father, views this worlds goods as a means of expressing love towards their fellow man, the idolaters see wealth as a means of comforting and exalting themselves. A rich man’s wealth is his strong defense; whereas for the Christian, as was with Abraham, God is our shield and our exceeding great reward. Many people are worshipping mammon (money and wealth) and do not see themselves as idolaters. Their allegiance is to their money and their stuff — even at the expense of right Christian behavior. This is why Jesus said plainly that we cannot serve God and mammon at the same time. You will hold to the one and treat the other as nothing. One may give lip service to the other, but in the darkness of greed one cannot tell road from ditch. Nevertheless, this has not stopped multitudes from trying to be slaves to both. 


“I have heard thousands of confessions, but never one of covetousness.” (Francis Xavier)

Covetousness is Idolatry?

Most people in the civilized world would not think of bowing down to an manmade idol or dancing around a fire doing some native ritual; but at the same time they practice idolatry and have no idea the are doing it. Here we read from Colossians 3:5, 6:

Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:   

Notice what we said earlier about greed and gluttony being sins “under the radar” — here is an example of how covetousness is on the same level with fornication and lust. In fact, fornication is bad enough, but covetousness is full-on idolatry. We know we are to flee fornication, but did we also know that we are to flee idolatry? (I Corinthians 10:14) That also means we are to flee covetousness. This is effectively adultery against God. I have to wonder, how could such a serious sin run under the radar like that? I mean, if a man was caught with a prostitute he would be tarred and feathered, but a man can be overtly covetous and suffer no reprimand whatsoever. This ought not so to be. 

Can’t Make a Dime make a Nickel

John Blanchard once said that “Greed of gain is nothing less than the deification of self, and if our minds are set on hoarding wealth we are being idolatrous.” Preoccupation with making money is a serious sin. This bondage of Satan, not only ensnares the sinner, but effects all around the person. The mind is so fixed on money that their every decision is based on whether or not the pursuit will be profitable monetarily. In other words, if it doesn’t make money — it doesn’t make sense to them. John Calvin once said, Greed and ambition are the two sources from which stems the corruption of the whole of the ministry.” He went on to say that, “a lack of faith is the source of greed.” When people don’t trust God they trust their wealth. Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. (James 5:4 ESV) God hears the cries of the oppressed workmen even if the employers are deaf. (A.T. Robertson)


Summary

God sees greed as surely as He sees lust. He see the stinginess as surely as He sees the alcoholic. He sees believers that serve mammon and despise Him. He hears the excuses for why they don’t have compassion enough to give when they see a need. How awful! He sees those that live in a perpetual greediness.  (Ephesians 4:17-20) He sees all the money spent on ‘self’ while shutting up the bowels of compassion on the ones who should have been loved like we would love ourselves. He saw the Corinthians suing one another for money. He saw Balaam running greedily after the reward of wickedness. He hears the ministers preaching things they ought not for filthy lucre sake. He has seen these things and much more. We must realize once and for all that we cannot serve God and money. We are either going to love our resources or express our love with our resources. We are either going to serve mammon or make mammon serve God. 

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. (1 Timothy 6:10, 11)







  





Flirting with the Devil

Flirting with the Devil
Robert Wurtz II

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. (2 Corinthians 6:14-18)


Our passage is a reference back to the Old Testament where God commanded Israel to enter the Promised Land and commence throwing down all the altars and idols, even driving out the Cananites from the land. We read this sobering passage, “And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants.” (Leviticus 18:25) Is this God saying that these people were as vomit? That’s right. They were as that thing that would enter your belly to kill you, but as a natural God-given response you system heaves out the deadly contents before it has a chance to do the job. The land had vomited the people out for their evil, but according to Judges 2:1-20 the people of God refused to utterly throw down the alters and drive out this people. Instead they began to fellowship with them.

Unequally yoked  

Samson used a phrase in Judges 14:18 that comes front and center; … “If ye had not plowed with my heifer, ye had not found out my riddle.” (Judges 14:18) The story is common so we will not visit it in detail, but Samson had given a riddle to the Philistines and his wife was privy to it. She told the Philistines the secret and Samson expressed this betrayal as the Philistines “plowing with his heifer”. The trouble with that is that Samson should not have been plowing with her himself. Why? Because God warned the people of God over and over not to become romantically involved with the Philistines because they will draw the people of God to their false idols and gods. He had been “unequally yoked” with this woman and it was he in fact that was “plowing with the wrong heifer”. But Samson loved to yoke up with such figures as her and he will eventually give in to Delilah that will ultimately divulge not the secret of his riddle, but the secret of his power. 

Drunk on compromise

The people that were to be driven out of the land, that the Israelites were keeping around were some of the most evil people that ever drew breath. This area of the world was notorious for wickedness. Sodom and Gomorrah was once in this area, appropriately situated near the very lowest spot on earth, the Dead sea. This sea of death is rightly so called because that’s what it is, “dead”. It is over 8X saltier than the ocean. Lot pitched his tent towards this area and soon was living in Sodom. Figuratively and quite literally this place was on the very edge of Hell. These people were deliberately situated as far from God as they could get. If serving God can be viewed as a mountain-top experience, what are we to make of a city built at the exact opposite end of the topographical map? They wanted to be as far from God as they could possibly get. Lot, apparently under the delirium of compromise, marched his family right in to this devil infested, sin intoxicated, high-handed and rebellious assembly. 

An invitation to Satan

Satan does not pass up invitations. If you flirt with him, he will take the bait every single time.He doesn’t discriminate, he wants to plow with every soul he possibly can. I recall as a child that homes would be set up a “safe houses” so that on our walk home from school, if we were being harassed or were hurt, we could walk up to the door and get help. These homes were identified by a sign in the lower window of the house. All the signs looked alike. He said to us children, “you are welcome to come here and you are safe here.” The sign identified the home as a safe house. Likewise, we identify ourselves with the thing we want to be friendly with. If we want to be friendly with the world we will identify ourselves with the world. We communicate our intentions by what we identify ourselves with. Nobody has any trouble identifying Amish folks. They are identifying themselves a certain way to communicate their intentions. For some, they will feel a camaraderie and will be drawn to the identity; others will be repelled and have nothing to do with them. Why? Because they telegraph their intentions by the way they carry themselves. Common sense really.    

Symptoms of destruction

The question most people ask about these type things is, “what’s wrong with it?” What’s wrong with Samson marrying a Philistine? What’s wrong with dressing like a Goth or tattooing skulls and demonic symbols on my body? Noting at all if you want to identify with darkness. But what did Paul say? What communion hath light with darkness? Some people seem to almost get a high off of flirting with the demonic. They bring all manor of devilish things into their lives and then have the nerve to blame God when their lives are destroyed and their family is demon possessed. God told Israel to throw down and ruthlessly destroy the altars and idols. Understand that a pagan idol is not a decoration for your home. Dream catchers, pentagrams, occult symbols, etc. ad infinitum, have no place in the Christian’s life. It is no different than the sign I used to see in the windows walking home from school shouting, “You are welcome here!” The devil knows where he is welcome; all he has to do is look at you and see what you are identifying yourself with. It’s too late to play dumb once your life is ruined. 

Fashionable evil

We live in a time like unto Sodom and Gomorrah. People will fragrantly identify themselves with Satan and darkness and then wipe their mouth as if they have done nothing wrong. They are only fooling themselves. The devil knows when he is welcome some place. For example, we woke up a few years ago and it was suddenly “OK” to watch people suck blood and engage in all manor of occult activity as long as we could attach the behavior to a seductive and romantic story line. What are you saying? “Come here Devil and bind thy neck with me; be my heifer that we might plow together.” What madness. What invitation to total destruction. I recall as a young child a woman being on the late night television that dressed herself as a seductive witch. Black hair, black dress, black eye-liner, black fingernails, black everything. When I think of that woman I think of Jezebel that was thrown down before the man of God and trampled to death for her evil. It was bad enough in the home of a sinner on late night TV, but what happens when all this is done in the name of fashion and expression? Why would a Christian want to identify with God’s sworn enemies. Do you like to flirt with darkness? You are opening yourself up to devils. You are begging to be demonized. If they who practice such things could see the demons swarming around them when they entertain evil and identify themselves as his bride they would not sleep at night. Demons are pictured even as scorpions in the book of Revelation (Revelation 9:3). Would you walk into a room with life sized scorpions for a night of entertainment? This is mere picture language meant to arrest our attention that these creatures mean business and their sting will devastate. God told Israel in Judges 2 that he would not drive their enemies out from before them because they refused to stop the compromise, but that the enemy would become a thorn in their side. How much closer can a messenger from Satan get than “in your side” (2 Corinthians 12:7)? Not because you were being persecuted for the purposes of God, but because you opened the door to the Devil and he walked right in. 

Run for your soul

Many people today are simply in denial. The enemy has them duped into thinking that there is nothing to all of these things. Symbols don’t mean anything, how I dress don’t mean anything, etc. Really? Then why is the Bible loaded with symbolism? From numbers to objects the Bible is loaded with symbols. From the brazen serpent in the wilderness to the golden lamp stands in the Revelation, we have symbols. We are warned not to touch evil things. Why? Because we are telegraphing our desires and intentions by what we identify with and what we entertain. The devil can take a hint. His song is as the old tune goes, “Just give me some kind of sign girl (boy)…” and he’ll come a running. It’s too late once the enemy gets a foothold in your mind and he wins you over to his cause. By the time you start justifying all these things you are already under his delusion. If you are involved in these things, flee even now! Run for your soul! Not as Lot’s wife who turned back to see one last time, but turn and run while there is still hope and you are still reachable.     

 

Commercial Christianity

Commercial Christianity
The ‘selling’ of ones self
Robert Wurtz II

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. (Philippians 2:3 NKJV)




 In our previous study entitled Televangelicalism, we gave an overview of the rise of mass communication as it has been employed by evangelical Christian ministers. In this entry I wish to explore some of the ways the use of modern media has been exceedingly destructive to Christianity. I wish to show that the very nature of modern television is to militate against Philippians 2:3, a state of mind essential to any Christian minister. We will first examine the root cause and some of the consequences and then we will return to our text.


Helevision


In the 1960’s and 70’s certain old-timey preachers adopted a nickname for the television; they called it helevision. Though some have disregarded their views and written them off as backwoods preachers, I doubt that there is one single thing that has been a greater source of trouble to Christians and the churches of God than the Television. It is more than we can even cope with in our times. 

Beyond the immorality and violence that exists on TV, there are mindsets that are being conveyed in every program and commercial. Understand that Television is about capturing an audience and retaining it. This is how ratings are built and commercials are valued. Programs and people have to be ‘sold’ or ‘promoted’ in order to gain a following. This means that programs can only survive if they attract the most possible viewers. There is little room for niche programming. Popularity is king. Simply put, you have to sell yourself to a viewing public. This phenomena has captivated the masses and I dare say Believers are not exempt. For over 60 years folk have been taking pointers on how to promote themselves from methods employed on TV. To find success would almost guarantee a mega ego infusion.  


Market yourself?


I believe it is impossible to calculate the negative effects of this philosophy of ‘selling’ (promoting) people and programs in this way. The strategy appeals to the pride of life and can subtly enter our thinking process almost unchecked. Why? Because pride is the most difficult of all sins to detect in our own lives. Being ‘proud’ is not just normal in this present evil world, it is greatly encouraged. 


Popularity


Popular culture is just that, “the expression of what is made popular by or within the culture”. The whole concept was popularized by Edward Bernays just after WWI. It was a huge money making scheme that we dealt with in the entry titled Chasing the Wind.  Pop culture, when allowed to influence the churches of God, leads to pop preaching and pop trends within the churches of God (if allowed to go unchecked). Soon the philosophy in the youth department of the church in one generation becomes the philosophy of the adult church in the next. 


The sad thing is that everyone living today has lived through cycles of pop-culture. It is normal to almost everyone in the West and is therefore accepted. No one questions the process. But the effect is that everything ‘old’ is ditched for the ‘new’. People actually think this is how life is supposed to work, even in the churches. It is to the point to where there is almost no continuity with the past. Old things are typically shunned as outdated. The consequence is that the masses have become “performers” that echo and imitate what they see on TV. Too much of what we do is becoming plastic Hollywood pretense devoid of any real expression of the heart. We are a culture of imitators. 



And though we can talk about the positives of modern media, I must say that we would be much better off without the influence of TV. It is hard to even know where to begin on such a vast subject, but I want to target in this second entry one area as it relates to the wholesale distribution of “love for this present evil world”. 

The primary trapping

Do not love the world nor the things in 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 and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever. (1 John 2:15-17 NASB) 

Let us first observe that if anyone is moving in the three things listed in verse 16 then they are in the cross hairs of verse 15. That is to say, if anyone is moving in the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life then the love of the Father is not in them. These three are sometimes simplified to pleasure, possessions and personal pride.This makes for a very sobering passage. The very thing that constitutes enmity with God is being pumped out of networks at a wholesale level. We cannot entertain two lovers at once; God says if a person loves the world then He and His love is effectively not in the person. This means that the person is not moving in the love of God or the leading of God, but they are moved by worldly ambitions and desires.  They may seem to have a great zeal for what they are doing, but the source of the zeal is all wrong.  

The lure of popularity

It has been said that pride is the one sin for which the devil will not make you feel guilty. It is the snare and condemnation of the devil. The New Testament speaks of ministers being lifted up with pride. We are warned to take practical measures to prevent this. Why? Because pride is the most dangerous of all sins. Once a person is in a position of popularity, they are immediately in danger. When God looked for a man to take on the task of leading His people out of Egypt, He chose Moses, the meekest man on the earth. (Numbers 12:3) He was reluctant to do it, almost to a fault. If God had lined up a thousand men and asked for a show of hands as to who wanted to be the leader of His nation, Moses would have been last to volunteer. God did not want the first volunteer, he wanted the person that could walk before Him in meekness. 


Kicking and screaming

Television has been a primary source for the lust for popularity that exists in our times. Who can deny it? We even have programs designed to make people an ‘idol’, where lines stretch for blocks with people waiting for their shot at fame. This has crossed over into modern Christendom. The great lie of our times is that we can use God as a means to our own personal fame; but God is not going to be the means to any one’s end (P. Reidhead). I believe Moses would have to be drug into a studio kicking and screaming unless he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, and with no desire for personal ambition, that it was God’s perfect will that he do it. Not today. Many have a “pass me the microphone” mentality. This is dangerous. Personal ambition has always been one of the greatest dangers to the churches of God. This is likely why Corinth was divided. It is why Paul wept and cried when he left Ephesus in Acts 20:31f. If the devil can find a person with personal ambition, he has a beachhead into the churches.

God’s perfect will

God’s perfect will for a person’s life cannot be improved upon. If we are led of the Spirit we will carry out that will; but if we are driven by personal ambition we will do all kinds of things in the name of God that had little to do with Him. Some preach Christ out of envy and strife, nevertheless Christ is preached; but we must move in the will of God. We cannot seek to “win souls for God” in a way that will get our name in lights. We are not here to lead disciples after ourselves. We are to point people to Jesus. We have to be prepared to have the mind of Christ; who being in the form of God did not think equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made Himself of no reputation. When John the Baptist stated, “He must increase and I must decrease” he was not mouthing soundbites. This was his heart disposition. If God calls us to minister to a small group of people for the rest of our lives, we have to truly be prepared to do that. GOD doesn’t want me to do great things for Him; He wants me to live by every word that is proceeding from His mouth. He wants me to walk in the Spirit and move in His perfect will. Doing “great things for God” can often be a cover for “making a name for myself.” God forbid.

The sin of electioneering

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. (Philippians 2:3 NKJV)

Maybe it would be a good time to write sentences again to drive home the force of this truth:

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit 
Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit
Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit
Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit
Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit
 
Our Greek word for ‘selfish ambition’ means ‘electioneering’  or a self-seeking pursuit of political office by unfair means” (BDAG). Paul here exhorts the church to be one in the mind of Christ not putting self forward or being selfish. James uses the same Greek word and it is translated as ‘strife’. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. (James 3:14) This is a sobering warning. A.T. Robertson rendered the word meaning to “put forward to personal ends.” James 3:14 speaks against having selfishness or self-promoting in your heart. (Wayne Steury) Paul said, “Let nothing be done through it.” Rather, in lowliness of mind let us esteem others are better than ourselves. By contrast with the world’s self seeking and exaltation, we are to humiliate ourselves by comparison; not in a foolish sense, but in a lowly view of ourselves that is devoid of conceit. 

Building a name

To cut against the grain of the paradigm of this devilish age we have to radically insulate ourselves from it’s mindset. We can’t think like the world and do anything for God. We have to have the mind of Christ. Self-promotion, self-glorification, etc.have no place in the Kingdom of God. For those that are inwardly seeking such, God sees it and so does Satan. The enemy sees in the person a platform from which to influence the people of God and promote all manor of lies and ungodly practices. Once a person gets “I want to be an idol” in their blood, they are dangerous to the churches of God. 

This TV, Hollywood, celebrity, glamour, spirit is one of the most dangerous things to the churches we can discuss. Once a person gets a little fame, they often become a law unto themselves. They are legends in their own minds and their followers shout their praises. Who can reach them? As we mentioned in our previous entry, they esteem popularity as a gage of authority. This party spirit and electioneering is contrary to God and His work. It is at enmity with God and His will for the churches. Paul said it best,  But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man’s person:) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me. (Galatians 2:6) Man may honor a person for being popular, but God does not. Keep that very clear.
              

Corrupted thinking

There is something wrong with us when we view the Kingdom of God as a multi-level career opportunity. That ‘something’ is the corruption that is flooding our minds everytime we turn on a TV or admire a celebrity. God is not looking for celebrities that will maximize their talents and abilities to build their own name and kingdom, in the name of building Christ’s kingdom. God does not anoint people to build their own little kingdoms. He anoints us to do His perfect will for our lives. It is all He expects of us. Too many Christians are discontent with what God has them doing. They want more. They want to be seen by more and heard by more. But God has certain people that He has equipped us to reach. We must be content with that knowing that God judges not on quantity of exploits, but on obedience to His will. All we can ever be are good foot-soldiers taking orders. If God chooses to use us on a grand scale, let us be like Moses and move forward reluctantly and in the fear of the Lord. We are not here to market ourselves. As Paul said plainly, Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. (Philippians 2:3 NKJV) Amen