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“The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.”[1]

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.[2] Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.[3] But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.[4]

It is often preached, Christ has set us free from sin by becoming a sin offering that we might be the righteousness of God. That is true, for Jesus has set us free from the effects of all sin that comes through disobedience of God’s command of not eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. As a result of that, the sins that come highlighted by the Old Testament of God no longer have any power over us because Jesus fulfilled the Law and His blood washed us of these sins. However, we have forgotten and neglected this one truth: sin is sin, not because we say it is sin, but because sin is defined as disobedience to God’s command. Two identical actions: Cain killing Abel and Phinehas killing the Israelite man and the Moabite woman: one is a sin and another is an act praised by God. Whilst the Nicolaitans and Judeaizers have turned the church’s attention to the definition of sin as defined by the Law of Moses, we have forgotten that failure to listen to Jesus has put the entire camp into sin.

Disciples of Jesus Christ were given only one command by the Father, “Listen to Him!”[5] And it is not just what Jesus said, but find out from the Holy Spirit how He said it and why He said it until you recognise His voice. Ignorance and disobedience of this command, however well meaning the motives are, is SIN. Peter meant well when he opposed Jesus and rebuked Him harshly for saying that He was going to Jerusalem to be killed, but Peter still sinned and became Satan, according to Jesus.

Yes, Jesus has set us free from sin and death, but those who have drawn men after themselves to listen to their doctrines and theologies have put those who were set free from sin from disobedience of the commands of the Old Testament straight back into sin by causing them to disobey the command of the New Covenant. In fact, by directing the attention of the church to obedience of the Old Covenant commandments as being as important as obedience to the New Covenant commandments, the understanding of the importance of the sin of disobeying the Father’s command of Matthew 17:5 was diluted.

Now, look at John’s letter in this light. If anyone sees his brother commit a sin that does not lead to death, he should pray and God will give him life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that he should pray about that. All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death. We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him. We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know Him who is true. And we are in Him who is true—even in His Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.[6]

There are two types of sin – a sin that does not lead to death… and there is a sin that leads to death. John does not specify which death – the first death or the second death, for at the time of his letter, he was not aware that there is a second death called the Lake of Fire into which Hades is thrown. But now, we do. In that light, John was referring to blasphemy of the Holy Spirit as the sin that leads to eternal condemnation, the second death, and all the other sins can be forgiven, even blasphemies against the Son of Man.[7] However, anyone who does listen to Jesus, though they sin, has been set free from the second death and if they listened carefully enough to believe John 11:26, they have also been set free from the first death as well.

The failure to recognise what is truly considered sin now in God’s eyes, compared to what He considered sin in the Old Testament, is what has been killing and causing disciples of Jesus Christ to become ill. Sin is sin, but there is a sin that leads to death, the sin of not listening to Jesus as God said, “If you listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His eyes, if you pay attention to His commands and keep all His decrees…”[8] No one has listened carefully enough to Jesus to realise that John 11:26 is available for all who do not want to die. “… and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die.”

Now John wrote in the last line of his first letter, “Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.” What is an idol? A false god? A false image? Or any god that we should not worship? It includes loving someone you do not know, even that is a form of idolatry. As such, the keeping of ourselves from idolatry begins with getting rid of our ignorance of God and Jesus, and the coming to know Him and Jesus so that we may truly love Him.[9] It is also any god or god-like system that we were commanded not to worship. The Old Testament has a multitude of idols and false gods, but if you listen carefully to Jesus, He only ever mentioned one false god – mammon or money. The sign of not listening to Jesus has put us all under a multitude of yolks, which we are only beginning to recognise and are in the process of getting rid of. One such yolk is the yolk of money.

Jesus said clearly, “You cannot serve both God and money.”[10] It is one or the other, yet, we are all dependant on earning, making, receiving, and the getting of money so that we can buy food, clothing and finance the preaching of the gospel and so on and so on.

Now listen carefully, I know you have chosen to serve God and not money, but what does that really mean? What does it mean not to serve money? Firstly, the standard understanding about serving God is to live a moral life, help a few people and die, go to Heaven and praise God forever. It speaks of nothing about helping God establish His will and His Kingdom wherever He wants it. To truly serve God, for you and I, is to be a servant in the establishment of His Son’s Kingdom here on Earth as well as in Heaven, which includes preparing the Earth for His Millennial Reign and to serve Him through the Millennium as one of His private servants in whatever position He will have us do. It is to establish and perpetuate His way, His Kingdom and His truth.

Secondly, the standard understanding of not serving money is to take a vow of poverty for yourself and live off the charity of others if you are Catholic, or if you are Pentecostal or Protestant, to live by faith so that you preach the gospel as others go and earn money to support your ministry. We fail to see the real meaning of ‘not serving money’ as meaning to make every possible effort to destroy the whole system of buying and selling, for which money has its function as a measure of scarcity, something the wise and learned call ‘supply and demand’. So far, the denominations have successfully perpetuated the church’s need for money, from our charitable fund-raising to our building funds with all their fancy names. In perpetuating our need for money, we have in truth, given immortality to money and we have served to make money a god. To not serve money is to destroy all use of money as a tool and since money is a measure of scarcity in the supply and demand of goods and services in an economy that is run by merchants to buy and sell, then the destruction of scarcity through abundance and the refusal to sell that abundance, but to give it away freely, negates the need of money as a tool and destroys its function as a god that man can worship.

When Jesus Christ said, “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in Me will do what I have been doing, and greater things than these shall he do…”[11] it should be abundantly clear that He was referring not only to the spiritual things that He was doing, but also to the physical things. Indeed, in the spiritual realm, He did something that no believer can do. He died for our sins and now lives forever as our Intercessor, giving us power in His Name over unclean spirits. It should be apparent then, the things that we can also do as He has been doing are more likely to refer to physical things rather than spiritual things, for in the spiritual realm He has done things none of us can do. But by giving us the Holy Spirit through whom we received power,[12] it is obvious that had we only listened carefully, we would have seen He was referring to physical things like changing water to wine, raising the dead, healing the sick, feeding the 5000 and 4000 from loaves of bread and a few fish, calming the storm, walking on water, and even more.

Because He could do what He could do, Jesus never did two things. He never bought and He never sold. He received offerings, helps, water, and even borrowed a donkey and an upper room, but He never bought or sold. When Peter gave Him a tax problem with his mouth, Jesus asked Peter to catch a fish to get the drachma coin. Jesus did not catch the fish Himself. He did however give freely from what He had, and by His power, changed what was available into what was needed; water to good wine, five loaves and two fish to fish and bread that would have needed eight months worth of wages to buy. He received freely what He was given, never paid for it and gave freely what He had, but never charged a penny for it. He showed us a glimpse of the fulfilment of the prophecy given through Zechariah: “And on that day there will no longer be a Canaanite [merchant] in the house of the Lord Almighty.”[13] No more merchants who are idol worshippers, which is what a Canaanite is, and not just idol worshippers, they were breeders of the Nephilims as well.

The King has shown us that His Kingdom is a Kingdom free from buying and selling that runs on giving and receiving the abundance that is generated by the power of the Holy Spirit. When we can change water to good wine, where is the need for buying good wine? When we can multiply five loaves and two fish to feed 5000 with the power of the Holy Spirit, there is no need to start a business to earn the money to buy the fish and bread. Our lack of power because we have sinned against the only command we were given by the Father, has meant that no matter how well we were able to observe and abide by the Old Testament commandments, we still needed to buy and sell.

The rich young man abided by the old commandments, yet he still had to buy and sell. Indeed, Jesus told him to sell all he had so that he could have treasure in Heaven.[14] This young man was NOT RICH ENOUGH TO FOLLOW JESUS because he only had earthly wealth, not heavenly wealth. Those who are wealthy by worldly wealth have to continue to buy and sell. The only people who do not buy and sell are the poor because they have nothing to sell and nothing to buy with, and the Son of God who has no need to buy and sell because He has such abundance that He gives away freely what He has so that He may receive freely as well. At the feeding of the 5000, do not forget Jesus had been healing all their sick and driving out all their demons freely, which is why He could be given five loaves and two fish freely by the little boy.

Therefore, true prosperity in the Kingdom of God is not about having enough money to build a 5000 seat auditorium; it is about being able to give away the 5000 seat auditorium. It is not about having 3000 tonnes of gold, it is about giving away 3,000,000 tonnes of gold for free. It is not about receiving a $1,000,000 offering, it is about being able to give away healing worth millions and billions of dollars first.

Jesus came to set us free, and one of the curses and yolks He sought to set us free from was the curse of buying and selling and the yolk of money. Indeed, if the Law of the Old Covenant carried a curse, in that Paul wrote, “All who rely on observing the Law are under a curse.”[15] The observance of the Law also demanded the exchanging of cattle and sheep for silver and gold so that the Israelites could travel to where God had asked for a sacrifice, and there they were to “use the silver to buy whatever you like: cattle, sheep, wine or other fermented drink, or anything you wish. Then you and your household shall eat there in the presence of the Lord your God and rejoice.”[16] Thus arose the money changers and dove sellers in the Temple of God, His House of Prayer, whom Jesus drove out.

Jesus’ disciples and especially the women looked after His needs, indeed we read: His disciples had gone into the town to buy food,[17] and also Jesus told them to take a purse if they had a purse[18] when He was about to send them out without Him being present anymore. That we do not deny; but we forget that although they came with their purses to supply His need, by the time He was leaving, He had shown them His power could supply their need without a purse. But, we didn’t see that, and we didn’t listen.

When the new generation of believers raised by Acts 4:32 began to bring money from the sale of their land to the disciples, they forgot to show the believers that the power they had didn’t just heal the sick and drive out demons, but that, like Jesus, they could meet their needs without their purses. When they failed to do that, they allowed Ananias and Sapphira to fall into the idolatry of money. Ananias and Sapphira sold their land to give because they thought the apostles held those who gave large amounts in high regard, and when they kept some of the money back, they were still dependant on the power of the money to meet their needs. Why? Because the apostles had not multiplied the food to meet the needs. The common gene of the yeast of the Pharisees, Sadducees and Herodians had snuck in, that is the love and the need of money.

Jesus had specifically used the multiplication of the loaves and fish at the 5000 and 4000 feedings to warn them against the yeast that they might understand. He freely gave out the healings, deliverance and teachings by His power and freely received an offering, and by His power multiplied it to meet the need. No buying or selling, except one little boy may have had to buy it or someone had to buy the barley to make the bread. But in the scheme of things, the role money played, the role buying and selling played, was miniscule. However, we kept taking it back to the value of money, eight months’ wages or a year’s wages…

The role money played in meeting the needs of those who were poor led to the first split in the church by Acts 6 with the Greek Jews complaining against the Hebraic Jews, and that led to the appointment of the seven, and as glorious as Stephen’s ministry was, it also meant Nicolas was brought in to give rise to the Nicolaitans. Ouch! The rest is history.

So, what are we to do? Repent and recognise how far we have strayed. And once more, like the early disciples with their purses, bring them to buy food for Jesus, but see that Jesus has food we do not see. See that Jesus has wages to supply, which completely bypasses buying and selling and completely destroys the need for money. See that the Kingdom of God includes proclaiming freedom to those who are held captive by money and the slavery of buying and selling. See that we can, when we succeed in doing what He has been doing and even greater things than this, do away with buying and selling through giving and receiving freely because of the abundance we have by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Therefore, in order to serve only God and not serve money, we must seek not only to see the establishment of God’s Kingdom, but also the destruction of the Kingdom of Mammon, the only idol we are commanded not to serve by Jesus. AMEN


 

[1] Luke 4:18-19 [Isaiah 61:1-2]

[2] Galatians 5:1

[3] 2 Corinthians 3:17-18

[4] Romans 6:22-23

[5] Matthew 17:5; Mark 9:7; Luke 9:35

[6] 1 John 5:16-21

[7] Matthew 12:31-32

[8] Exodus 15:26

[9] John 17:3

[10] Matthew 6:24; Luke 16:13

[11] John 14:12

[12] Acts 1:8

[13] Zechariah 14:21

[14] Luke 18:22

[15] Galatians 3:10-13

[16] Deuteronomy 14:26

[17] John 4:8

[18] Luke 22:36

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