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Particulars of Christianity:
310 Pentecostalism,
the Charismatic
and Faith Movements

Christians and Material Wealth (Part 2)

Specific Doctrines of the Charismatic Movement/Faith Movement
Kenotic Theology
The Anointing and Being Under Authority (Part 1)
The Anointing and Being Under Authority (Part 2)
Sickness and Healing (Part 1)
Sickness and Healing (Part 2)
Prayer, Asking and Receiving (Part 1)
Prayer, Asking and Receiving (Part 2)
Christians and Material Wealth (Part 1)
Christians and Material Wealth (Part 2)
Christians and Material Wealth (Part 3)
The "Rhema" and "Logos" Word (Part 1)
The "Rhema" and "Logos" Word (Part 2)
Those Who Speak in Tongues Necessarily Understand Themselves

Section 1 | Section 2 | Section 3 | Section 4
| Section 5

As we move on from Jesus' teaching in Matthew 6 and Luke 12, we find more instruction in the New Testament that acquiring wealth is not to be something Christians are concerned with or take time and effort to accomplish.

Acts 20:33 I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel. 34 Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me.

Paul did not seek material gain in life but he worked with his own hands to provide for himself and those who traveled with him to preach the Gospel. Neither should the rest of us seek material things either.

1 Corinthains 5:11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. 12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? 13 But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

Here in 1 Corinthians 5, Paul instructs that church not to keep company with those who call themselves Christians but are covetous of material things. He also says that while Christians are not to judge those outside the Church, they are supposed to judge those who claim to be Christians concerning such matters. And in the particular case at hand, not only were they to judge, but they were to take action and expel the offending party.

What is interesting also is that in Luke 12:15-21, Jesus defined covetousness as the desire or effort to store up material possessions in abundance to the extent that we could rely on the material goods we had stored up for years ahead of time instead of relying on God day to day. Once part of our focus in life becomes either to acquire an abundance or to store up enough wealth that we can rely on what we've stored up for our future, we are going beyond the instructions of Christ. And here Paul uses almost the exact same Greek word "covetousness" (Strong's No. 4123) as Jesus uses (Strong's No. 4124.) And Paul lists covetousness as one of the things Christians should judge each other for and even cease fellowshipping with each other over. This becomes even more important when we realize that Paul's definition of "covetousness" was no doubt the very same definition given by Jesus. Paul did not make up his own definition for this word. He would have been going by the Lord's definition of it.

And Paul has a lot to say about covetousness and the desire for gain, including that Christians should not give out of a motivation to gain in 2 Corinthians 9:5, which we have already covered. Considering the following verses, including also those in 1 Timothy 3 and 6 as well as Titus 1, which tell us that a person cannot be a Christian leader if they are eager for material gain.

1 Corinthians 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

2 Corinthians 9:5 Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren, that they would go before unto you, and make up beforehand your bounty, whereof ye had notice before, that the same might be ready, as a matter of bounty, and not as of covetousness.

Ephesians 5:3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; 4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

Colossians 3:5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:

1 Timothy 3:2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; 3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;...8 Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;

1 Timothy 6:5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.

2 Timothy 3:1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,...5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

Titus 1:7 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;

And both Peter and James also make similar statement condemning covetousness and Christians who pursue abundance.

2 Peter 2:1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. 3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not...14 Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children:

(Notice Peter's reference in verse 14 back to Jesus' statement about the eyes in Matthew 6:22-23.)

James 5:1 Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. 2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. 3 Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. 4 Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth. 5 Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.

(Notice in verse 2, James' reference back to Jesus' statements in Matthew 6:19-20 where Jesus speaks of storing up treasure and the moth destroy that destroys treasure on earth.)

All of these men, Paul, Peter, and James, are echoing Christ's own teaching concerning storing up wealth and covetousness. Covetousness can disqualify us from our inheritance in the kingdom of God. Still, some will argue that the word "covetousness" does not mean it is impossible to pursue riches while keeping God first priority in your life. But even without arguments over what it means to be "covetous," the New Testament is clear that material wealth is an obstacle to serving God.

Matthew 19:22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. 23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. 24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

Mark 10:22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions. 23 And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! 24 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

Luke 18:23 And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich. 24 And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! 25 For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

Here Jesus is asked by a rich young man what he must do to make into the kingdom of God. Knowing that he is rich and wanting to push this man to love God above all else in his life, including his riches, Jesus' tells him he must give away all his wealth. The man goes away sad because he is very rich and he does like the idea of giving up his wealth. Instead of being glad that he was so close to being able to enter the kingdom of God, this man counted all his worldly possessions as a heavy price to pay to enter the kingdom of heaven. So, he was sad. He had so much love for his possessions that this was not an easy decision for him. He was torn between his desire to enter the kingdom and his love for his material possessions.

And that is why Jesus says that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. It's not that God has something against rich people. It's because those with riches have their love divided between their wealth, which brings them leisure and enjoyment in this age, and God, who will bring them reward in the coming kingdom of God. They are torn between the two. This is the dilemma of the two masters spoken of by Jesus in Matthew 6 and Luke 12.