Sunday, May 29, 2016
“Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself” (1 Timothy 6:5 KJV).
Their pockets are full—their teachings are vain.
Recently flipping through a religious magazine, the following tidbit caught my attention: “When he requested early retirement due to reasons of health in late [year], Bishop [name] gratefully acknowledged that, despite difficult times, the last five years of his service to the people of [location] was marked by a 35 percent increase in offertory collections throughout the diocese.”
Friend, the above paragraph justifies people’s claims that religion is all about money. This bishop, who had served his parishioners for many years, “gratefully acknowledged” one accomplishment in particular. Notice it was not that he ensured that the Gospel of the Grace of God was clearly preached throughout the hundreds of churches that he oversaw. Notice it was not that he guided his people into the truths of God’s Word, the Holy Bible. Notice that it was not that his diocese had glorified Jesus Christ. Nay! He was most proud of the fact that the diocese’s income increased 35 percent with him as leader!
When instructing young Timothy how to operate a local grace church, Paul reminded him not to let materialism corrupt his ministry (today’s Scripture). God’s ministry needs funding, no doubt, and we should give to sound Bible ministries. But, ministers should exercise great caution that they not worship wealth (see 1 Timothy 3:3,8; Titus 1:7).
Remember, Israel’s religious leaders had made God’s religion of Judaism into a “lucrative business.” They were cheating people in the name of “JEHOVAH” and—adding insult to injury—they were doing it in His house, the Temple (Matthew 21:12,13)! Jesus fittingly called them “thieves.” He could easily say this about so many professing “Christian” churches and ministers today (go back to the “bishop’s” noteworthy accomplishment!). They focus on installing ornate woodwork, fine paintings, stained-glass windows, and “state-of-the-art” electronics. Meanwhile, they are less concerned about teaching sound Bible doctrine and handling God’s Word God’s way. Their church buildings appear nice and godly, but are full of unsaved, spiritually ignorant people. May we have enough Spiritual grounding to avoid them!
Our latest Bible Q&A: “‘Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated?’”