Holy or Hypocrite?

On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the benched of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations?’ But you have made it ‘a den or robbers.’” Mark 11:15-17

An influential Atlanta-based bishop recently reached an out of court of settlement with young men accusing him of sexual misconduct. Although unconfirmed, sources claim the settlement to be $15 million. A recent tabloid television investigation reported the opulent lifestyles of several of America’s most popular television evangelists. One allegedly has a fleet of airplanes (in the name of the search) housed at his personal airport (not in the church’s name) built near his estate. When approached and asked why he had the airplanes, he huffily told the investigator, “That’s none of your business!” Then, there is the preacher falsely prophesying the end of the world.

No wonder the masses have such a negative view of Christianity. Thankfully we, the church, cannot be dismayed or led astray. We who study know that Jesus warns us against false prophets and religious leaders. He teaches us that anyone who preaches against His instruction should not be trusted. His Word has held true since the time He walked among us. And they hold true forevermore.

There is nothing wrong with being wealthy. The wealthy have the same opportunity for salvation as everyone else. Unfortunately, with the wealthy, money and possessions become their gods. As is human nature, the more you have the more you want. There are not many people who would willingly give up their luxurious lifestyles to follow the Lord, illustrated in Matthew 19 when a wealthy young man asked Jesus what good thing he needed to do to get eternal life. When Jesus instructed him to sell his possessions and follow Him, the young man was greatly troubled, prompting this response:

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, 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.”
When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things possible.” Matthew 19:23-26

This passage does not mean everyone should sell his or her possessions. We have responsibilities and families to support. However, we should be willing to give up everything for God. There should be nothing separating us from Him, including money. It is impossible to serve two gods.

While I will never doubt the sincerity of anyone’s love for God, I am disappointed in the reported actions of the aforementioned and countless other preachers, pastors and evangelists. Let’s rededicate ourselves to the teachings of Jesus. Let’s meditate on His Word. Let’s be true Christians and not bow down to worldly gods.

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