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 A Powerful Prophetic Word: God And Mammon by Zac Poonen


It is interesting to see that even though Jesus referred to Satan as "the ruler of this world" (John 14:30). He never referred to Satan as the alternative master to God, whom people have the choice of serving. When Jesus spoke of two masters whom men could serve, He said that the two were God and Mammon (Luke 16:13). In Christendom, generally speaking, preachers have always urged people to choose between God and Satan. Jesus however urged people to choose between God and Mammon.

Satan is a master schemer. He knows that if people are told to choose between God and Satan, no one will choose Satan. But when the choice is between God and Mammon, Satan knows that even believers will find it difficult to make a decisive choice.

Satan knows that most Christians choose their jobs and their place of residence, etc., based on their passion for Mammon (property and money) rather than on any desire for the promotion of God's kingdom. Satan knows that all such believers are useless for God's purposes, irrespective of the amount of religious activity they engage in.

Satan also knows that most of the Christian work in the world is more dependent on Mammon (money and property) than on the power of the Holy Spirit. Satan knows that all such Christian work will not have any eternal value - even if the reports of such work appear impressive when presented attractively by "public relations experts" in colourful Christian magazines!!

We must not be ignorant of Satan's wiles. It is against Satan's wiles that we are told to stand firm, and not against his wrath (Eph.6:11). Satan's wrath has never hindered the work of God at any time. Persecution has only made the church of Jesus Christ flourish in every country and at all times. But Satan has often succeeded with his wiles, where he has failed to accomplish anything with his wrath (see Rev.12:11,12).

Satan is happy to be hidden out of sight, because he knows that he can deceive people better that way. He knows very well that when a believer is influenced by the love of mammon in his decisions, he is actually serving the prince of Mammon, even if he imagines that he is serving God!!

When a believer's attitude to Mammon is wrong, he will be wrong in every other area too - because he then becomes a part of this world system that our Lord came to destroy. Such a man is a traitor to the Lord's cause on earth, even though he may not realize it. He is actually working on Satan's side, without knowing it. This is the fundamental problem with many believers today. They have not understood Satan's schemes.

Before Jesus went to the cross, He told His disciples, "The prince of this world comes and he has no power over Me" (John 14:30 - Living). Mammon had no power over Jesus. And so Satan could find no foothold in Him and could not touch Him in any way. But Satan finds plenty of foothold through Mammon in the lives of most believers. Thus he is able to divert them from God's perfect plan for their lives.

Throughout the last 20 centuries, the greatest opposition for the Lord's servants has always come from "Christians" and so-called "believers" who are Biblical in all their doctrines except the doctrine of "the love of money"! It is not at all surprising that "believers" who worship Mammon oppose God's true prophets. Jesus Himself faced such opposition from the leaders of the Pharisees who had all their other doctrines right (Matt.23:3), but who loved and served Mammon (Luke 16:14).

Christians who pursue after Mammon have plenty of money to travel whenever they like, and wherever they like. They also have enough to buy whatever they like, whenever they like. Only lovers of Mammon can afford such expensive habits. But those who have an extravagant lifestyle can never be witnesses for the Lord in the midst of a suffering world.

It is dangerous to have money far beyond what we need. It was because Jonah had plenty of extra money that he could afford to buy a ticket to go to Tarshish - in plain disobedience to the Lord's command. How safe Jonah would have been from such a temptation, if he did not have any excess money available with him at that time.

It was to save His apostles from such temptations, that Jesus left them poor in the world. The Lord Who made Job, Abraham and David rich could easily have made His apostles rich too. But He didn't. Why? Because new-covenant apostles, unlike Old Testament saints, had to wage war against Satan. And when Satan came against them, it was essential that Satan should find "no love for Mammon in them"? Otherwise the Lord's purposes could never have been fulfilled through them.

What about you? When Satan comes against you, does he have power over you, because he finds the love of Mammon in you?

The battle against Satan is not fought on earth, but in "the heavenlies" (Eph.6:12). It is there that Satan's power has to be bound by us (Matt.18:18). Only those who are heavenly-minded can fight this battle. Those who love Mammon are earthly-minded and are useless in this battle. Satan knows that very well, even if believers don't.

In heaven, the saints walk on golden streets. Heaven has been prepared for those who have learnt to put gold under their feet even on earth. Our fasting and praying cannot accomplish God's purposes, if we love Mammon and are earthly-minded. It is only the prayer of "a righteous man" - one who has been freed from attachment to earthly things, like Elijah - whose prayers are effective before God (James 5:16,17). This is why God allows us at times, to lose large amounts of money - to deliver us from the love of Mammon and to make us effective for Him.

It will be very difficult for a disciple of Jesus, if he is totally honest and wholehearted, to become rich through his business in a world that is under the dominion of Satan. To become a wealthy man in such a world, one would have to follow Satan's principles in some area or the other, and disobey the principles of God's Word. The Bible clearly says,

"Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction." (1 Tim.6:9). One who seeks to be "rich towards God" can never become "rich in this world" (Luke 12:21; 1 Tim.6:17).

This applies also to preachers who become rich through preaching the gospel and selling Christian books and tapes. Another gimmick these days, is to conduct tours to Israel ("the holy land"??). If a preacher can gather 10 people for a trip to Israel, the travel agent will give him one free ticket. All such preachers are worshipping "the golden calf" and are servants of Mammon, and not of the Lord Jesus Christ. [Someone asked me once if I had ever been to the holy land. I told him I was walking there every day!]

The "prosperity gospel" was invented in the latter half of the 20th century by Mammon-loving preachers who had to find some "Scriptural" explanation to justify their extravagant lifestyles and the immense amount of wealth that they had accumulated from the tithes and offerings of their "devotees". So they hunted up Old Testament promises that God had given to Israel and began to proclaim those promises as the unfailing mark of God's blessing today. And money-loving believers gladly lapped up this new gospel!

A secular journalist in the U.S.A., who heard of such a church where the "prosperity gospel" was being preached, wanted to find out if this teaching really worked. So he went to the church's parking lot and checked out the makes of the cars parked there. He found that the cars parked in the spots reserved for the "Pastor" and "Assistant Pastors" were expensive cars!! But most of the other cars were cheap ones! He concluded that the "prosperity gospel" did work - but only for those who lived off the tithes and offerings of the congregation!! The rest of the congregation remained in the same condition that they had always been in!

Even in poor countries like India, preachers are becoming rich, off the tithes and offerings of poor people, through this counterfeit gospel.

What must the Lord think of the Christian "church" and its leaders today, who have pursued after Mammon, become tolerant of sin, and thus made themselves powerless in the battle against Satan. The gates of Hell have prevailed against this "church". And that is the clearest proof that this "church" is not the church that our Lord is building - for the powers of darkness can never prevail against that church (Matt.16:18).

Whenever a genuine Holy-Spirit revival comes anywhere, it will be a revival that delivers believers from the love of Mammon. Only such a revival will drive the prince of Mammon out of the church.

Any other so-called "revival" is a counterfeit.

He who has ears to hear, let him hear.


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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2011/9/24 11:09Profile
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 Re: A Powerful Prophetic Word: God And Mammon by Zac Poonen


FEATURED QUOTATION

"Water is useful to the ship and helps it to sail better to the haven, but let the water get into the ship, if it is not pumped out, it drowns the ship. So riches are useful and convenient for our passage. We sail more comfortably with them through the troubles of this world; but if the water gets into the ship, if love of riches gets into the heart, then we are drowned by them." - Thomas Watson

FEATURED SCRIPTURE

"For we brought nothing into the world, so that we can take nothing out of it; but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains. As for those who in the present age are rich, command them not to be haughty, or to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but rather on God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment." - 1 Timothy 6:7-10, 17


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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2011/9/24 11:13Profile
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 Re: A Powerful Prophetic Word: God And Mammon by Zac Poonen

Amen!


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Travis

 2011/9/25 22:02Profile
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 Re: A Powerful Prophetic Word: God And Mammon by Zac Poonen

I am not at all impressed by this Sermon. His view is extreme to the degree of absurdity. (IMO)

Zac writes: "But when the choice is between God and Mammon (i.e. wealth), Satan knows that even believers will find it difficult to make a decisive choice."

This is a loaded definition. The choice does not have to be between God and Mammon, Mammon meaning 'wealth', and by extension meaning 'the ability to be able to buy a home, clothing, food, gifts, etc.'.

Had Zac quoted Matthew Mt 6:30-33 or Luke 11: 22-32, He would have to admit that Jesus further added:

"Mt 6:30-33
"But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31 "Do not worry then, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear for clothing?' For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for YOUR HEAVENLY FATHER KNOWS THAT YOU NEED ALL THESE THINGS. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." NASU

So the choice for Christians is not between God and Mammon (i.e. wealth), for our heavenly father knows that we need God and we need mammon too. The choice we Christians have is God first, and He will provide the mammon too that God assured us that He will provide to those who serve Him. Mammon to meet our needs and to assist others (e.g. the poor and needy, our local church, missionaries, etc.).

And another important point that Zac Poonen left out was that Jesus was not speaking at all to Christians, for there were no Christians when Jesus spoke these words. He was speaking to His fellow Jews, and in particular, those Pharisees who coveted mammon (i.e. wealth). Context is always important when reading the scriptures.

Jesus overall point was that we should choose to be a slave to God, and not a slave to Mammon (wealth). It is a matter of what takes priority in the goals of our life. And there are wealthy people who are Christians.

Sadly, I am simply not one of the wealthy ones. :)

Yet, God does provide, I am grateful and thankful.

I join Zac Poonen in totally rejecting the Prosperity Gospel (i.e. God guarantees all Christians wealth and health in our current life if only we have enough faith in Him to provide us with wealth as we earnestly seek them).

As for Zac Poonen's comments about Satan, Satan has nothing on me, for I am a Christian, thus I have the indwelling Holy Spirit in me, and He who is in me is greater than he who is the world. And I'm in love with God and God loves me.


And just for the record, I am not sinless, but I am holy in that God dwells in me via the Holy Spirit.






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Arthur Biele

 2011/9/26 12:00Profile
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 Re:

ArtB, you seem to be confused. The word of God does say we cannot serve both God and riches or wealth. There is a choice. There is a real difference between mammon, which is an excess, and God's provision of what we need. That is not mammon. We do need God but no one needs mammon.

"Those who want to be rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires."

"The riches of this world choke the Word and make it unfruitful."

"How difficult it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

 2011/9/26 14:23Profile









 Re:

I think what Art was trying to say and correct me if I am wrong Art, is that we do indeed need money. Its not money thats evil, its the love of money, the desire to be rich, that is where so many people lose it ( its especially complicated in America becuase of the " American dream.")

Its difficult for men who do not work in the traditional sense to make this argument I believe. For they rely on people who do work to support them and their families. How many of God's "ministers" who would claim they hate money but turn right round and beg for money? I love the apostle Pauls attitude to money, he, for the most part, was a tent-maker. If they were going to accuse him of preaching for money, even although it was not true, then he simply would not take peoples money for the sake of the gospel. Not too many Paul's nowadays. One more thing, you can make a case for shepherds to be supported, but there are thousands of people who have " ministries,' today whether online or elsewhere and are constantly asking for money, where is the Biblical support for that? ......brother Frank

 2011/9/26 15:02
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 Re:

deleted


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Michelle

 2011/9/26 15:13Profile
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 Re:

Frank, thanks for your input. ArtB did not just say that we need money. He said that we need wealth and that Zac Poonen was extreme. Zac may have been extreme as far as rich people are concerned, but the only valid question is whether he was Biblical.

 2011/9/26 17:31Profile









 Re:

Hi Koheleth, I agree that we do not need wealth, its just really hard to define. Where is the line drawn? Certainly not in Scripture. I have known wealthy people who could care less about money and give lots of it away, mostly to ministries. People are often born into wealthy families. I think if we are zeroing in on Scripture, we come to the conclusion that it is the desire for riches that get people into the most trouble. Now, that is very bad news for a country like America where their system is built on that very desire and it is considered a virtue. In fact, capitilism needs the fuel of greed to fire the engine of commerce. And of course most Christians in America are aligned with the political forces that represent capitilism, which in its essence is buying things we do not need with money that we do not have.

So, in order to walk in freedom and not in bondage to money , either to have it or not to have it, we have to care less about it knowing that our Father has promised to meet all our needs. Let it be held loosely in the hands like sand. There is the minefield of bondage on either side of this issue. There is on the one hand the prosperity gospel advocates, extreme right wing to put it in political parlance, then there is people who would take a vow of poverty on the other hand, the left wing if you like. And then of course there is everything in between including peddlers of the Gospel, hirelings, idle people. It is cerainly a mine-field, yet the Gospel itself frees people, it does not bring them into bondage. So when you hear people rant about how evil money is, or people who would claim God would have us all rich, you can ignore both of these purveyorys of bondage. Walk in a simple spirit, obey God and His word, work hard and live quietly. Bring honor to God in all that you do, this is freedom. Beware of those who get fixated on any subject and would bind people up, there is balance in all things........brother Frank

 2011/9/26 18:12









 Re:


I wondered at first why this was titled "Powerful and Prophetic" but got that gentle reminder how this message will hit home when we'll need a 'mark' in order to buy and sell. The greatest test of our stand on 'money' that has ever been, I suppose.

 2011/9/26 18:40





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