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Making Merchandise of You

Lots of "fulfill your destiny" type themes in the modern church world to lure in the gullible... but it's all self-centered and not Christ-centered. If it were according to the original Gospel, the destiny would be recognized as living a crucified life - consenting to death and burial so Christ alone can reign! Just another cross-less heresy peddled by what Paul calls "enemies of the cross of Christ." (Philippians 3:18-19)

(excerpt from the book Deceivers and False Prophets Among Us)

Greedy Gold Grubbers who Prey on Gullible Dupes

PAUL warned us that there are “MANY” who twist God’s Word in order to profit off of the people of God (2 Corinthians 2:17). Peter told us the same thing when he warned of those who “through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you.” (2 Peter 2:1-3). In the beginning and end of His ministry our LORD Jesus cleared the temple to express the divine mandate of holiness among those who name the name of Christ (Matthew 21; John 2). Discern biblically (Acts 17:11; 1 John 4:1). Are you funding a fraud?

“But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers AMONG you, who privily (secretly) shall bring in DAMNABLE HERESIES (lies that damn the soul to hell), even denying the Lord that bought them (apostates in leadership positions), and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And MANY shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned (fictitious) words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not…beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children.” 2 Peter 2:1-3, 14

The Spirit of the LORD speaks through His apostle here and reveals some details about the operation of “false prophets” and “false teachers” who are presently “among the people.” Let’s look a bit closer at this chapter dedicated to the exposure of the deceivers who operate in our midst. 2 Peter 2 teaches us that:

  • These beguilers are “among the people”
  • Their presence and the need to discern them is definite – “there SHALL be false teachers AMONG you”
  • They secretly and charismatically introduce/slip in deadly falsehood – “who privily (secretly) shall bring in DAMNABLE HERESIES”
  • They deny Christ by denying the truth He gave us in His words – “even denying the Lord that bought them”
  • They are going to reap destruction now and in eternity if they don’t repent before it’s too late – “and bring upon themselves swift destruction”
  • These are very well-liked, accepted, and affluent leaders, made popular by the desire of the masses to be financially rich in this life while throwing their eternity to the wind – “And MANY shall follow their pernicious ways”
  • These men twist the Word of God for their own purposes – “by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of”
  • The Holy Spirit shows us their motive and goal – “And through covetousness shall they with feigned (fictitious) words make merchandise of you”
  • Certain and eternal judgment is coming – “whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not”
  • These false prophets prey upon the unlearned who are not grounded in God’s Word – “beguiling unstable souls”
  • Again their greedy motive is identified – “an heart they have exercised with covetous practices”
  • These men are in the ministry for money. Some hide this fact better than others which makes them all the more deceptive and deadly.
  • The LORD makes no excuse for these men. He calls them – “cursed children”

In vivid detail, the Holy Spirit warns us here of how “false prophets” and “false teachers among you,” would seek to “make merchandise of you.” The term “make merchandise of you” refers to the exploitation of people perpetrated by deceivers for their own self gain. It means that they will make money off you or draw money out of you, through deceptive practices. This could also be called “fleecing the flock.” Such extortion is accomplished through deceptive persuasions, heretical teachings, testimonial claims and exaggerated stories. The phrase “feigned words” in this text is very important. This is the method of deceivers to garner money from people. The word “feigned” means “plastic, artificial, fictitious, or simulated.”

Any preacher who is tickling your ears with the old recycled, worn out word of faith heresies is merely regurgitating what he’s learned from his wolf handlers, puppet masters. He has no life in God’s Word for himself and never has. He’s a counterfeit doing “ministry” for his own self-serving purposes as he leads others to attempt to use God to get what THEY want. There is no cross in this greed-driven, self-worshipping false gospel. These are “enemies of the cross of Christ.” (Philippians 3:18-19)

The idea that someone has to give something (like money) to get God to bless them is the message of greedy wolves who deny Christ by saying His sacrifice was not enough to bless His people fully! They are making merchandise of gullible, biblically-illiterate people.  God provided the perfect salvation through His perfect, sinless, only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Christ Lives to Provide what He died to Purchase

Of course, this does not in any way negate the divine promises to those who give.

By design of our Creator, words are the basic building block and communication link of humans. We use them to communicate with one another. Deceivers also use words to communicate, but they use them for a different purpose – to manipulate the minds of people in order to obtain their desire. “Feigned words” are the keys that open the doors to the treasure chests of people’s monies. Deceivers know this and carefully craft their words to manipulate (influence) and beguile “unstable souls.” (2 Pet. 2:14)

Stable souls who are learning sound doctrine and have a sound heart and mind see these “false prophets” and “false teachers” in our midst for who they really are and refuse to fund their evil enterprises (2 Jn. 10-11). Whether we want to face it or not, each of us know personalities in the ministry whom we think are true to the LORD and yet they aren’t. In our judgment/discernment, we are forced to decide if we are going to be faithful and true to our LORD and His Word or personalities of mere men who come to us in the name of the LORD, but without the true knowledge of Him. So, the LORD warned us that it would be “through covetousness” using “feigned words” that “false prophets” and “false teachers” would extort monies from unsuspecting souls. It is through their deluding and manipulating measures, and systems of communications that they are “beguiling unstable souls,” extorting from them ill-gotten revenues (2 Pet. 2:14).

In their messages (written or spoken), these men reduce all blessings to a monetary or physical level. Yet, one must begin to look upon their teaching to truly begin to see who these men are and what they may be intentionally leaving out of their messages. The doctrines that are deliberately left out of their teachings (i.e., the need for personal holiness, sin of covetousness and greed, and the denial of the self-life) must be accounted for. Those who woefully do not know the Word, simply do not know what is being left out of His full counsel, so they go on being beguiled. This is exactly how deceivers are successful in systematically farming their audiences. They prey upon ignorant, unlearned souls. Those who withhold biblical truths are dangerous to your spiritual health. The money-mongers in our midst intentionally withhold the hard truths of God’s Word in order to manipulate people for their own purposes. They pick and choose points from God’s Word so as to posture people just where they want them in order to lure them to give the largest amount of money. This is beguiling and evil manipulation. When there was the misuse of ministry among the Jewish religious leaders of Christ’s day, He violently went through the temple, dumping their money coffers and upending their tables saying, “Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house and house of merchandise.” (Jn. 2:16)

It should be noted that Jesus cleansed the temple of extortion and the thieves in the beginning and at the end of His ministry on earth (Jn. 2:13-17; Matt. 21:12-16). This He did to establish His zeal and mandate for holiness upon all who will follow Him in spirit and in truth. Great judgment is coming. God will once again cleanse from among His people, all hirelings who chose to serve mammon instead of Him, especially those who utilized their ministry positions to do such.

“…false prophets…false teachers….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.” 2 Peter 2:1-3

Here the LORD promises us that “judgment” and “damnation” await all unrepentant thieves, namely those who operate in the ministry. Be aware that there are super-subtle, more creative ways that monies are being misused (paramount to thievery) in the church world today. Of course there is the intentionional laundering, but there are also those fruitless and frivolous things that are being done to misuse the LORD’s resources. I insert a question here for pondering: If there are five dimensions or gifts of eldership under the New Covenant (Eph. 4:11-12), then why is only one (pastor) of those five offices handling virtually all of the money given for the kingdom to grow? Why does it seem that the pastors share little or none of the finances with the other four? (apostles, prophets, evangelists and teachers) In light of the message of Ephesians 4:11-13, does this seem equitable and conducive to the full maturing of the members of the body of Christ? In today’s church-building-intensive world, there are numerous subtle schemes being used to siphon revenues out of the masses. When one takes personal responsibility to know God’s truth for himself, he will be aware, armed, equipped, and ready to discern. Therefore, he will be much less at the mercy of the enemy whose manipulating systems are utilized by the numerous smooth-talking false prophets and teachers in our day (Ps. 17:4; Hos. 4:6; Matt. 22:29).

Greed Frenzy

“…for every one from the least even unto the greatest is given to covetousness, from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely.” Jeremiah 8:10

These beguilers only exist because the people want to hear smooth things and things that tickle the sinful ears of their uncircumcised hearts which are bent upon serving their own sinful appetites. These people are paying to be pampered with smooth words and told they can live in the deadly sin of compromise and still go to God’s holy Heaven. Their carefully selected preachers of a new age, self-serving gospel are in place to further feed and comfort their already overfed bellies. Anyone not crucified to the sinful nature and pursuing God with a whole heart is dangling over the fires of eternal damnation by a spider thread. The Bible tells us that our central and foremost blessings are spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” (Eph. 1:3)

All “blessings” that are truly blessings from God begin with the “spiritual.” “Christ” and the magnificent salvation He alone wrought for us are the ultimate blessings for those apprehended by His love (saved; born again.) Beguiling seducers seek to “with feigned (fictitious) words make merchandise of you.” (2 Pet. 2:14)

Learn so you can discern.

Getting hold of and personally possessing the knowledge of the text at hand will help prevent our souls from being lured in by beguilers:

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.” Ephesians 1:3-4

We whom He has so graciously “blessed” with all “spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” have been “chosen in him before the foundation of the world” for the divinely-ordained purpose of being “holy and without blame before him in love.” (Eph. 1:3-4)

The messages of the false teachers and prophets are not toward Christ or His holiness, nor do they promote in the hearts of their hearers the fear of the LORD. Instead, they germinate and promote the “damnable” sins of greed and covetousness (Eph. 5:5-7).

These beguilers of unstable, unlearned souls preach a prosperity message apart from the cross of Christ which does not exist in the economy of the Almighty. When a person dies, the sum total of his net riches, when laid in the balance of His perfect justice, will be what of Christ his heart possesses.

Rich in Good Works

Paul addresses those in the body of Christ who are “rich in this world,” charging them to “be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God” (1 Tim. 6:17). The words God directs towards those who are “rich in this world” are frightening. Just when you covet to be rich in this life, beloved, you may want to count it a blessing that you are not, based on the temptations such power brings. Those rich in this world’s goods and monetary wealth are in a dangerous position. Jesus warned:

“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 10:25

In acknowledging His full counsel, let us also consider that Christ in addition told us in this passage that though it were nearly impossible for a rich man to enter Heaven, “with God all things are possible.” (Mk. 10:27)

James addresses the rich:

“Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. 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. 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. Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you.” James 5:1-6

Tell me when you have ever heard the “prosperity” teachers take their audience line upon line through these texts! It seems obvious that they purposely evade these incriminating texts because it brings about the fear of God in the hearts of the hearers instead of a giving atmosphere where they reap large dividends of filthy lucre (ill-gotten gain). Be not deceived, they are clearly after monetary gain, not your well-being in God. Obviously, being rich in earthly wealth in itself is not sin, yet being rich in good works with those resources is essential to remaining in the LORD. There are numerous passages that address the need for God’s people to stay clear of covetousness, which would prevent one from the eternal kingdom of God (Mk. 10:25; Eph. 5:3-7; 1 Tim. 6; James 2, 5).

The apostle Paul sternly warned those in the body of Christ, that no “covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them.” (Eph. 5:5-7) What could be plainer? Believers are to be “rich in good works.”

“Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” 1 Timothy 6:17-19

Leading people to covet or pursue earthly riches is the message of false prophets and completely contrary to what Christ and His apostles taught (2 Pet. 2). Covetous and greed are deadly sins of idolatry. Anyone who dies in such rebellion, regardless of their past experience with the LORD, is going to spend eternity in hell (Eph. 5:5-9). Ephesians 5:5-7 is surely another Bible text deceivers purposely avoid. Ever heard this text preached?

“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. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.” Ephesians 5:5-6

Jesus, in essence, taught us to empty our storehouses to build His house/kingdom in the hearts of men), so that the lure of earthly riches would not possess our hearts. His desire is that we would lay up treasure that is eternal, instead of feeding the iniquity of covetousness (Hag. 1; Lk. 12:13-40).

Less Is More

Less is more! Are you free? Is it not true, my friend, that the more we have in our possession, the more we worry that it will be taken away? Do the false teachers and false prophets tell us this simple reality? Never a mention. There have been some rich people, successful businessmen, who gave it all up to spend the rest of their days doing direct ministry. Every one of them will tell you how much more blessed they are now and how miserable they were on the hamster wheel of greed.

“…remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35

    “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose.” ~ Jim Elliott

Some invest in this fleeting world like it will be here forever, when the LORD told us over and over that THIS LIFE AND WORLD AS WE NOW KNOW IT IS ALL GETTING READY TO PASS AWAY! (See Lk. 12; 1 Tim. 6; 1 Jn. 2:15-17)

Those leaders who are true to the Son of God possess and teach this revelation of Scripture. In the fear of the LORD, the believer, true to His Master, seeks His face perpetually for His holiness (Ps. 51). This would include the purging of all greed and covetousness from his heart. This is what he has called every one of His people to. To deny such is to deny Christ.

“Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” 2 Timothy 2:19

“But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:15-16

As His blood-purchased children, we should personally resolve to “depart from iniquity,” to be possessed by His “spirit of holiness,” to be conformed to Christ’s holy image (2 Tim. 2:19; Rom. 1:4; 8:29). One can only be drawn in by beguilers and seduced into coveting this world’s riches, if he refuses to seek the LORD to purge this sinful iniquity from his heart (2 Tim. 4:2-4). All those who love this world and the things herein, do not have the love of the Father in them, but instead, have made themselves the enemies of God (James 4:4; 1 Tim. 2:15-17). Un-purged lusts give way to deception. Knowing and living out God’s Word guarantees escape from such deception and the bondage brought upon all who enter into these sins. All who do not possess a love and obedience for divine truth, will be ensnared, overcome and captured by the enemy of all souls (2 Thess. 2:10-12).

Smooth Operators 

Beguilers operate very smoothly and their deception is not detected by most. Many people do not know the Word of God and therefore they do not know or even begin to realize what is being left out of the messages they are hearing (fear of God, holiness). Smooth operating manipulators don’t convey the privilege and blessing of giving solely for the glory and love of God.

“Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.” Matthew 22:29

To allow this type of covetous deception is to blatantly disobey the LORD who bought us, and to actually fight against Him. All those who do not purge their hearts of love for this world and things in it, covetousness and greed, will be ensnared and ultimately damned (Eph. 3:5-7; 2 Tim. 4:2-4) for not loving the LORD supremely.

Donald Stamps, in the Life In the Spirit Study Bible writes:

    “The false teachers will commercialize the Gospel, being experts in greed and in getting money from believers to enhance their ministries and affluent lifestyles. Believers must be aware that one of the chief methods of false ministers is to use “feigned words” to tell impressive stories that are not true, or to give exaggerated statistics in order to inspire God’s people to give money. They glorify themselves and enhance their ministries with these fabricated stories (2 Corinthians 2:17). Thus, the unwary and sincere child of God becomes an object of exploitation. Because these ministers defile God’s truth and people with greed and deceit, they are assigned to doom and destruction.” (p. 1995)

These “false prophets…teachers” know that if they can get you to believe that what they are doing is truly “a move of God,” they can appeal to your emotions and you will give money to their ministry. This is exactly why they always say things like “this is God” or “this is a move of God” or “this is the anointing” or “Do you feel it?” Of course they say this – they are God’s special children and whatever they do is of God, right? Ever notice how all the “anointing” always revolves around them? How convenient! This is done in order to continue to direct attention to themselves for personal power and gain. Instead of truly exalting our LORD and Savior, they elevate themselves. They embellish themselves with theglory due only the Almighty (Ex. 34:14; 1 Cor. 1:29, 31). Our LORD told us plainly that when the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, came to live inside of every believer of the New Testament era, He would direct attention toward Jesus, not Himself or mere men:

“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me….” John 16:13-14

The temptation or test of false prophets can be treacherous at times (Deut. 13:3-4). Beware, beloved, our LORD is coming. While He will protect those who truly continue to love Him supremely, He will not protect those who do not love His truth (2 Thess. 2:9-12), and He is also going to harshly reward all deceivers with eternal damnation.

“The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished.” 2 Peter 2:9

The temptation to esteem earthly riches above heavenly riches, is the ploy of the father of lies which he propagates via his false prophets and teachers and their messages.

MESSAGE TO THOSE WHO LOVE THIS WORLD AND THE THINGS OF THIS WORLD AND HAVE SAT THEMSELVES UNDER A “PROSPERITY PREACHER” WHO IS ALWAYS TALKING ABOUT HOW TO GET MORE MONEY: In order to continue serving the purposes of Satan, make sure you continue to give your monies to the false prophets so they can keep building bigger piles of sticks and bricks while refusing to build the body of Christ by preaching the whole Word of God and winning the lost for which Christ came and died. Keep funding their temporal temples and fattening the bellies of the deceivers who refuse to hear the cry of people in need that sit right under their lying noses every Sunday morning. If you want to serve Satan, there could be no more effective way to do so than this.

Jesus Cleansed the Temple

As an eternal memorial of His righteous and holy judgment against thieving and deceitful monetary practices, the Son of God cleansed the temple at the very opening and closing of His ministry on earth (Matt. 21:12-17; Jn. 2:12-17). He violently overthrew the deceitful practices of those in leadership who were making merchandise of those who came to seek the LORD. Such deceit is a sure way of coming under His condemnation.

“And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence (get them out of here); make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise. And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up (ignited His holy wrath).” John 2:16-17

As soon as these things were removed, His power, praise, prosperity and healing blessings were reinstated among His people (Matt. 21:12-17). Jesus stated:

“It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.” Matthew 21:13

The unchanging God feels no different today than He did then concerning greed mongers and their deceitful practices in His name and among His people. Such deceivers are in the cross-hairs of His scope of holy judgment. As Christ cleansed the temple in His hour in the flesh, He desires to cleanse our hearts of all greed for fleeting gain, which has prevented in us the holy hunger for the true and eternal riches that only He can grant.

Blinded by Greed

“But if thine eye (heart’s focus) 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! No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Matthew 6:23-24

Covetousness and greed are sins of the heart and must be crucified. Many in the modern church spotlight today are simply running after greed to establish and build their own kingdom, and they therefore have been spiritually blinded. Many of them do not even realize this. These men are building their own kingdoms in the guise of building Christ’s. Jesus told us that He came to seek and to save that which was lost and sent His people forth to do the same. The Master builder Himself held no such ideal as becoming entrenched in this fleeting world, but rather to seek out each and every soul possible to become His and enjoy the forever world of Heaven, the place He is preparing for us (Jn. 14:1-6). This scenario in which men, who have hijacked His Church, use more subtle ways to make merchandise of others. All the greed and covetousness that underlies the latest building programs and expansion agendas of many kinds are mere expressions of a self-serving vision. This in part defines how they “make merchandise of you.” These men are exploiting God’s people for their own purposes. All this is done using Scripture, testimonials, stories, and various persuasions, to help people to give, give, give, to causes which are not governed by a clear understanding of the biblical revelation of what Christ came to do, and how such is to be accomplished. Many a vision today does not align with what Christ reveals in His Word as His kingdom purpose. These have forfeited the hearing ear and seeing eye to hear and see God’s Holy Spirit of truth and His direction. These are blind leaders who are leading their followers into the ditch of spiritual darkness.

“Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.” Matthew 15:14

There were those among the church at Laodicea who had this world’s goods and yet were weighed in the balance spiritually and found wanting – to the point of being rejected. Jesus told these self-deluded people:

“Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and [that] the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” Revelation 3:17-19

So, we see that it is possible to be rich in this world’s goods and under the judgment of God while thinking we are doing well. The LORD is calling us all to repent of our previous mindset and see things the way He sees them – to see riches the way He defines them, not the world’s way. When we get this understanding from Him, we will be able to discern those among us who would make merchandise of us. In effect, the charlatans of our day say through their message, “Sacrifice your money so we can spend it on our own vision.”

Seducing spirits are working through these men to garner monies that belong in the hands of true ministers of the LORD who truly do His work – building up His body, not merely physical orifices. Ministers and people whose hearts are steeped in the love of self wallow in greed and covetousness and are doomed to eternal destruction.

“Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core… Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever… walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling [words], having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage. But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.” Jude 11, 13, 16-18

“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. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them.” Ephesians 5:5-7

Many of these ministers claim that God has called them to emphasize a “prosperity” message which the Bible defines as covetous.

“Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children.” 2 Peter 2:14

The greed-inspiring, covetous message they teach does not align with the message of the prophets or apostles, other than being the message of the false prophets exposed in God’s Word. Since these beguilers have not fled their idolatry and covetousness, they therefore reduce their “prosperity” message to the same. Being consumed with self-gain, they do not follow Jesus in seeking to save the lost; instead they view the lost as an opportunity to make themselves rich misusing and misapplying a portion of Proverbs 13:22 which reads; “…the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.” All judgment, holiness, taking up the cross, the eminent return of Christ, hell, etc. has long been purposely deleted from their messages. Such biblical truth is intentionally omitted due to its effect upon the people they seek to further lure into greed and keep in deception. The more greedy the people, the more they will give to get, and the richer these men become.

“Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.” 1 Peter 2:11

Those who have the love of God in them flee the sins that would defile their souls in the eyes of God, looking for pasture among God-fearing under-shepherds who truly serve the LORD and preach His full counsel, disregarding what men think (Eph. 5:25-27). When confronted with criticism about their practices, some of these covetous leaders in our midst further attempt to insulate themselves from exposé by using as a shield (out of context) the Old Testament verse “Touch not mine anointed and do my prophets no harm.” (1 Chron. 16:22) God was speaking about His true prophets here, so the greed-mongers who would use this verse to their own advantage are excluded. They privately interpret this text, not regarding that the LORD was speaking about His people as a whole, of which they are not (Ps 105). These “false teachers,” identified by their teachings and practices, are doomed for destruction, so how could they be His (2 Pet. 2-3)? Therefore we can conclude that “mine anointed” simply does not include them. Even more subtle than the one who seduces souls in a flashy way for self-gain are those who write the books that are astoundingly the best sellers among Christians today. They use little Scripture and when they do, many times it is used out of context, to perpetuate their own agenda and not aligned with the whole of Holy Scripture. Does this not also qualify for making merchandise of God’s people?

Refusal to Disclose the Full Counsel of the Lord

The premise of the “false prophets” and “false teachers” will appear to the un-discerning to be a legitimate work of God. Only those who truly know the LORD and His Word will be able to escape such deceptions as are in our midst and increasing exponentially in this last hour. Those who seek to extort revenues from their audiences intentionally withhold the hard truths of God’s Word in order to manipulate people for their own purposes. These pick the things from God’s Word that they choose to emphasize so they can posture people just where they want them to be in order to cause them to give the most amount of money to their coffers. Paul charged Timothy to “Preach the Word.” (2 Tim. 4:2) “The Word” pertains to the whole of God’s written Word, embodied in the “holy scriptures.” (2 Tim. 3:15-17) Perhaps it can be concluded that those in leadership positions who refuse to instruct in the full counsel of the LORD are either not mature and fully orbed in the Word themselves, or are purposely withholding the fullness of what God has stated in His Word (Acts 20:20, 27). May the LORD make all of His children to love and seek out the full counsel of His precious Word and endeavor to hold forth His words of life.

PRAYER: Holy Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, please remove all covetousness and greed from my heart. Please replace these sinful traits of covetousness and greed with Your love in liberal giving of my life and resources to others and for the furtherance of Your kingdom. Grant my heart and mind to have discernment concerning those who would deceive and fleece Your people, that I may be kept from furthering the cause of evil against Your holy name and the body of Christ. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Discernment on Where to Give