The Minister’s Riches Rejection Part 5

5. Elements of “Free from Covetousness”

See also Pastoral Covetousness by Pastor David Cox

Summary: This post Minister’s Riches Rejection explains how a minister must reject riches as a foundation of his spiritual mindset towards the ministry, the people of God, the church, and what his part is within all of that.

When it comes to a pure discernment ability, most believers have a very hard time understanding what is a false prophet from what is a man of God. They both “sound the same”. Often the false prophet actually sounds more convincing that the real man of God. The issue here is simply this, if you are a consumer of doctrine or a teacher of some doctrine. If you are a teacher of a doctrine, you are studied enough to know what is good or not. But if you are not at that level, then you are a consumer, and you are following other people’s teaching because you “are not there yet” yourself.

So God makes some tail tale signs to help us out here. A teacher with the truth of God will always live and be a living example of that truth he teaches. Anybody, saved or not, can preach the word of God. Many false teachers have excellent studies on some things that are right on target, but while those tempting teachings seem very good, this is bait-and-switch for inserting and affirming other bad doctrines later on. Their plan is gain confidence on some doctrinal points so that they can “make hay” of others than are off. Most notably, they want control of people’s lives and especially of their pocket books.

The Motivation of the False Prophet

Mic 3:9 Hear this, I pray you, ye heads of the house of Jacob, and princes of the house of Israel, that abhor judgment, and pervert all equity. Mic 3:10 They build up Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with iniquity. Mic 3:11 The heads thereof judge for reward, and the priests thereof teach for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for money: yet will they lean upon the LORD, and say, Is not the LORD among us? none evil can come upon us. Mic 3:12 Therefore shall Zion for your sake be plowed as a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of the forest.

In this case, the false prophet is recognized by how his teachings are greatly conformed to what will bring him a reward. When you have a congregation of rich folks, and you preach against lusting after riches, you usually lose most of them at some point and end up with the poorer of the group in the end. False prophets “teach for hire”, and “divine for money”. Their words are closely watched so as not to offend those who would compensate their preacher. They constantly pump out the belief that “God is among us” and “God is blessing us”. What is just and right is evil in their eyes and ways.

Jer 6:13 For from the least of them even unto the greatest of them every one is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely.  Jer 6:14 They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace. Jer 6:15 Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the LORD.

There is being “given over to covetousness”. That does not mean that they are all rich. It means that the commonly shared goal is to be rich. Their minds are in accumulating for themselves riches, living in luxury, and pleasures. This is their mind’s eye, their life’s focus. They proclaim “peace” on themselves like it will impose itself on their lives if they just proclaim peace. They shun anything having to do with any kind of conflict, anything against their mindset, and especially anything against them meeting or enjoying their goal of covetousness.

Ezek 22:25 There is a conspiracy of her prophets in the midst thereof, like a roaring lion ravening the prey; they have devoured souls; they have taken the treasure and precious things; they have made her many widows in the midst thereof. Ezek 22:26 Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them. Ezek 22:27 Her princes in the midst thereof are like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, and to destroy souls, to get dishonest gain.

This passage clearly explains the difference in perception between a false prophet and true man of God. A false prophet is going to see the sheep as a means to get what he wants. A man of God sees the sheep as a charge he is responsible for as per God’s calling in his life. Yes, he lives by this ministry as any shepherd would do with animals. But his view of the sheep is their welfare, not transferring their wealth to him.

(These verses I took from this website which has some excellent observations on False Prophets.)