IN LAST week’s edition, we carefully looked at this verse of Scripture: “You see, we are not like those hucksters – and there are many of them – who preach just to make money. We preach God’s message with sincerity and Christ’s authority. And we know that the God who sent us is watching us” (2 Corinthians 2: 17, NLT).
From it, we discussed two main groups of ministers who preach in the name of the Lord. The first group who are many in number preaches just to make money for themselves. They do this by distorting the truth of God’s Word thereby deceiving people to pay money for consultations, prayers, healing and concoctions in the form of water and oils. Others preach merely to excite people to give their monies against the principles of sound biblical giving.
We know that true Christians are great givers. We give willingly and freely without compulsion or trickery. God commands us to give our money, time, gifts, love, strength, knowledge, wisdom, skill and any other thing He has blessed us with for the building of the Church and improving the lives of our neighbours who are in need.
However, false Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Bishops/Pastors and Teachers of the Gospel beguile ignorant people who fall prey to their deceptive teachings and miracles and exploit them. These ministers have no burden to lead people to the sound knowledge of Christ for their eternal salvation. Their false teachings and ministrations produce false Christians – people who appear to be following Christ, but have no genuine intimate relationship with Him.
By their extreme love for money, these ministers always preach and teach about money. Of course, it is very important to encourage Christians to work hard to make money; we all need money to provide our needs and the needs of others. But genuine ministers of the Gospel put God above money. They are devoted to God and not money. And they serve God not money. In other words, their purpose of being in the ministry is not to adulterate God’s Word and exploit people to accumulate worldly goods and boast about them.
A true minister of the Gospel is cautioned not to be a lover of money (1Timothy 3: 3). This means even though money is very important for living in the world, a Bishop or Prophet will not be greedy, but be content with what he has. He is convinced in his heart that God is greater than money. He knows that money can be stolen; it can ‘fly’ but God cannot. Money can finish, but God cannot; it is not everlasting, but God is. There is absolutely nothing comparable to God.
However, fake preachers hold contrary opinions and beliefs about the aforementioned because of the spirit of error that is at work in them. They are the ones the apostle Paul wrote about, saying: “For as I have often told you before, and now declare even with tears: Many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and their glory is in their shame. Their minds are set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3: 18- 19, BSB).
A fake man of God can even be a theologian or lecturer in a Bible School, College or Seminary. He is devoid of the Holy Spirit, the great Teacher of Scripture. As a result, many like humanists read the Bible, understand and teach it like a textbook. The holy Bible is not a textbook. It is an inspired Word of God.
One verse of Scripture which greatly irritates false ministers is Matthew 6: 24. The Lord Jesus said: “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money” (Matthew 6: 24, ESV).
These words of Jesus Christ were not spoken to the world, but the heirs of the Kingdom of God – Christians including men of God. Christians are in the world, but they are not of the world. A true Christian does not see things the way an unbeliever sees them. Why? Because they have the mind of Christ. You cannot have the mind of Christ, the Spirit of Christ and not have the attitude of Christ.
Christians are not ignorant. They know God and understand that a manufacturer is greater than his products. A teacher is above his students. A master is a greater than his servants and a king is above his subjects. Thus a Christian understands that the kingdom of God is a Christian’s greatest possession. That is why the Lord Jesus tells us in Matthew 6: 33 to first seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. Earthly goods are just additions.
Indeed, God’s ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. Thus, to understand God, we need to be assisted by God. This is why the Spirit of God comes to Christians as their greatest Teacher. He reveals and teaches the deep things of God, things natural men cannot receive and understand. For instance, it may sound foolish in the ears of an unbeliever that God is the greatest possession man must work hard to have.
FROM James Quansah, Kumasi