The Consequences of Covetousness

February 2, 2008
by Steven Lambert

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As I stated on the previous post, I am convinced this whole matter I am discussing in these previous several posts is far from being a mere side-bar, but rather is a prophetic warning from God. I believe it is a critical Kingdom Matter that the Church must turn its attention to in order to be delivered from the dastardly and destructive spirit of mammon that now pervades the Church. Many individuals in the Church are obsessed with the spirit of materialism, and if they continue in their ways and in giving place to the devil, what is an obsession now, will continue to escalate and take more and more ground in their heart until materialism, the love of money, will totally possess them. Some who were once bona fide believers and members of the Body of Christ, have become apostate in their heart having yielded to the allure of purely material “wealth,” and as a result are already possessed by the spirit of mammon.

I believe the judgment that MUST begin with the household of God has begun, and will continue in the form of the economic collapse America and the nations of the world are facing. But, as I have written in so many words in so many of my writings, this judgment that God is bringing upon the Church precedent to the judgment He shall bring upon the world is a judgment of purification and refinement. It is a corrective and reproving judgment to purify the Lamb’s Wife for the imminent return of Christ to claim His Betrothed as His Eternal Bride and Helpmate suitable to partner with Him in the judgment of the nations in the Day of His Fierce Wrath.

The love of money, or covetousness, certainly is the root of all evil, and it causes a complete breach in one’s fellow­ship with God. Jesus said, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions” (Lk. 12:15). As we have already seen, Paul said those who have coveted riches, often “have wandered away from the faith, and pierced themselves with many a pang” (1 Tim. 6:10). Hence, we can see that covetousness and greed can most certainly cause a believer to “wander away from the faith,” that is, become apostate subsequent to salvation.

The Consequences of Covetousness
As Jesus said, no one can successfully serve two masters, God and money. He said that if you “love,” that is, attribute your affections to and expend the vast majority of your energies pursuing, money, you in effect “hate” God. As the Apostle John put it, “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 Jn. 2:15).

“Out of touch,” irrational, and unduly harsh, these undeniably Biblical Truths are considered in this day when the pursuit of riches has come to be regarded as a wholly noble and honorable pursuit, and when Christians have become indoctrinated with the concept that materialistic obsession is even godly. Moreover, anyone who dares to preach such concepts is subjected to scorn, ridicule, and contempt. Christendom today, for the most part, has lost sight of or does not want to recognize the Truth that covet­ousness is still sin for which there is a penalty if it is not repented from. The unadulterated Truth is this: anyone who fails to repent of covetousness will ultimately end up out of fellowship with God, will be disqualified from Eternal Life, precluded from inheriting the Kingdom of God, and ban­ished from Heaven unto eternal judgment. The following scriptures trumpet forth warnings to that effect:

Or do you not know that the unrighteous SHALL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor IDOLATORS, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor THE COVETOUS, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor SWIN­DLERS, SHALL INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD. (1 Cor. 6:9,10)

For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or COVETOUS MAN, WHO IS AN IDOLATER, HAS AN INHERITANCE IN THE KING­DOM OF CHRIST AND GOD. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things THE WRATH OF GOD COMES UPON THE SONS OF DIS­OBEDIENCE. (Eph. 5:5, 6)

Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are:…IDOLATRY…of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that THOSE WHO PRACTICE SUCH THINGS SHALL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD. (Gal. 5:19‑21)

But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murders and immoral persons and sorcerers and IDOLA­TERS and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. (Rev. 21:8)

Everyone should heed God’s warnings concerning the deceitfulness of riches and covetousness, including and especially believers, since it will most definitely choke the Word and prevent it from bringing forth fruit. Probably no warning in this regard is more poignant than the one Jesus issued through the medium of the parable of the rich fool:

And He said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.” And He told them a parable, saying, “The land of a certain rich man was very productive. And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘This is what I will do; I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’ So is the man who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” (Lk. 12:15‑21)

God called this man “a FOOL.” In his covetousness and greed he just stored up his goods, and as they increased, he merely built more barns to store up more goods. But, on the night his soul was required of him, he was spiritually bankrupt. He had stored up all his riches for himself, instead of being generous with it unto others in obedience to God. He was rich toward himself, but “not rich toward God.” God said to him, “You fool!”

The Word of God tells us to “give” (Lk. 6:38), not to “store up.” We are to be generous, giving to others who are in need and for the preaching of the Gospel. God Himself is generous, and is always giving. He gave the supreme gift of His only begotten Son, the best He had, to us for our salva­tion. A godly person, i.e., one who is like God, will also be a giving person. As a bonus, God says that whatever we give on behalf of Jesus unto the needy and for the sake of the preaching of the Gospel, will be returned to us in up to one‑hundredfold measure, NOW in this life and age, and in the age to come we will have the reward of Eternal Life (Mk. 10:29,30).

Jesus taught that the way to keep from being covetous and deluded by the deceitfulness of riches is to lay up our treasures in Heaven by giving on His behalf here on Earth. If we are covetous and greedily store up here on Earth instead, it will be constantly subjected to depletion by various forms of “thieves break(ing) in to steal” and eco­nomic modulation. If we are generous givers here on Earth, however, we will be storing up treasures in Heaven. But even greater than that, we will be demonstrating where our heart and what our “treasure” really is—things in Heaven, or things on the Earth:

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Mat. 6:19‑21)

Covetousness Not Exclusive to Rich
Having said all this concerning covetousness, it needs to be pointed out that there is a common misconception in this regard that covetousness is found exclusively among those who would be considered financially rich. But, that is a fallacy. You do not have to be rich to be covetous and caught up in the love of money. There are myriads with financial resources below the wealthy level who are covetous and deceived by the deceitfulness of riches. The fact is: there are many times more non‑wealthy people who harbor covetousness in their hearts than there are those who are rich and covetous.

The harsh truth is that their covetousness is often the very thing that keeps the poor reeling under the cruel curse of never‑ending poverty and financial lack. Sadly, the poor often stay poor because in their covetousness, or in some cases fear of lack, they never sow any financial seed, thereby precluding them from ever reaping a harvest. Those, on the other hand, who are generous givers, find the Law of Sowing and Reaping continually producing for them an abundant harvest that supplies their every need.

Summary
In bringing this series to a close, let me offer this summary concerning the second “thorn of worldliness.” Do not be deceived by the deceitfulness of riches. Place all your trust in God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. Riches will fail you; God will never fail you. Riches are temporal, and only indigenous to this life; Jesus Christ is the True Riches of Eternity. Do not seek riches, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these THINGS shall be added to you” (Mat. 6:33).

It seems to me that the best attitude concerning riches one can adopt is found in the Proverbs of Solomon: “Do not worry yourself to gain wealth, cease from your consideration of it”; and, “Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the good that is my portion” (Pr. 23:4; 30:8).

If we will seek the Kingdom and righteousness of God rather than riches, the Word of God will not be choked by the worldly “thorn” of “the deceitfulness of riches,” allowing it to produce the fruit of the Kingdom of God in our lives, that is, if we also remove from our lives the three thorns of worldliness Jesus warned about in the “Parable of the Sower. — “the desires for other things.” We examine that deadly thorn in the next chapter.[end]

The above is taken from a book I published in 1984 entitled, “The Mystery of the Kingdom.” Its message has turned out to be a timely prophetic message for every believer and the Church today. I urge you to read it. Click here for more information.

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