Please pray – Lord God in heaven; We praise you Lord, we magnify the Holy name of Jesus. Father I pray to seek You and place You first in my life. Forgive me Lord of my iniquities and give me the compassion to seek out the lost. Allow the Light of Christ Jesus shine as a beacon for those who have fallen and need Hope. God, keep me from the enemy, guide me and lead me to Your Holy and precious Love, in Jesus name, Amen.
Did you know: While several options have been proposed by scholars, the best argument places Obadiah in the 840s BC, making him the earliest writing prophet, a few years prior to Joel, and a contemporary of Elisha. The biggest piece of evidence for this early date comes from Obadiah 1:10– 14, which indicates an Edomite invasion of Jerusalem. The country of Edom was founded by Jacob’s brother Esau. He picked up the nickname “Edom” or “Red” when he sold half of his massive inheritance for a simple bowl of red bean stew. (A sermon for another time). Obadiah was commissioned by God to attempt to turn Edom away from their prideful and disobedient ways. They didn’t listen to the warnings and to this day Edom does not exist.
Matthew 6:24 No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
The word “mammon” is in the Bible four times, and three of those times Jesus said it. But what does it mean?
I think it’s crucial to having a biblical view of money so let’s take a look at what money means and why there are many who are not happy due to the lack of it as well as those who do have money and are still not happy. There is a lack of fulfillment either way, with money or without it. WHY!? “Mammon” an Aramaic word that essentially means “riches.” New Testament Greek “mamōnas”; wealth regarded as an evil influence or false object of worship and devotion. At its core meaning, there’s an attitude that says: Man, doesn’t need God—we’re self-sufficient as long as we have wealth. This is what the spirit of mamōnas tries to tell us; “you don’t need God, trust in riches”!
Did you know all money has a spirit on it? Well, it does! Money that has been blessed in prayer, given thanks for and used for His purposes has the Spirit of God on it. On the other hand, money that has not been properly thanked or recognized by God has the spirit of mammon by default, meaning it has a selfish spirit attached to it already as it passes from one hand to the other. It either has the Spirit of God or the spirit of mammon, no two ways about it. Mammon is basically the spirit of the world—and that spirit is a liar. We live in a fallen world, deceit and selfishness is where the spirit of mammon lives and thrives. People are misled to think money can bring them happiness or fulfillment and that Saints is where the lie begins.
In our dedicated verse, Matthew 6:24, Jesus said it is possible to serve mammon instead of serving God, but Jesus also identifies it’s impossible to serve both God and mammon at the same time. As Jesus clearly suggests, mammon tries to take the very place of God. Pastor Jimmy Evans, founder of Marriage Today, once said, “Mammon promises us those things that only God can give—security, significance, identity, independence, power, and freedom. Mammon tells us it can insulate us from life’s problems and that money is the answer to every situation.”
Clearly, this is the opposite to the Spirit of God. Mammon says to buy and sell; God says to sow and reap. Mammon says to cheat and steal; God says to give and receive. The differences between these two spirits seem very clear; however, it’s possible for believers to become influenced by the spirit of mammon without realizing it. Mammon wants you to think, If I just had more money, I could start helping people and giving more to the kingdom. I’ve felt this way too, and still, deep within, believe as long as I serve God and have a righteous heart doing it, I could do more. It’s easy to get caught in this trap but money is not the answer, God is. He can and will provide for us in all things. Now, don’t get the wrong idea—money and mammon are not synonymous. Mammon is by definition a spirit of darkness. Money is not inherently evil, the spirit attached to it can be. One of the most frequently misquoted verses in the Bible is:
1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil…
Notice the Bible doesn’t say money is the root of all evil. It says the ‘love of money’ is the root of all kinds of evil. One of mammon’s biggest trick is getting us to trust in money rather than God.
When you feel financial pressure, notice how the spirit of mammon tries to position itself as a substitute for God. It says, “You need more money.” This is simply a lie. We need God, that’s it, period. He will provide.
That’s what Jesus is saying in Matthew 6:24. You can’t serve two masters. You can’t rely on both God and money to be your security and comfort. God said He would provide for us and doubting Him only works against us and in the favor of the mammon spirit. So, you may be wondering what this has to do with the title of this message, “A thief in the house of God”? Please follow me to a deeper understanding of obedience.
The Holy Spirit wanted us to have a clear understanding of money and its character to receive the message the Father has put in my heart to deliver. It is ok to want money, it’s ok to realize the need for it and have a desire to work and earn it. There is no issue with this according to the Word,
Proverbs 10:4 Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth.
By the context of this verse, God said it is ok to work and reap the fortunes of your labor. So, let us get the wrong ideas out of our minds and learn to separate the good things about money from the bad.
Is it fair to say that money is good or bad depending on what we do with it? Sure, if I were to use it to purchase drugs or use it for immorality, then yes. Money can be used for good but with ill intent also and with a reluctant spirit, meaning, an unrighteous heart or with heartless gifting. This interferes with the way God set things up for us to be blessed fully.
You see, we are conditioned to think by our human nature, that we need every dime we make and giving it away to a church or a ministry or to other good or great causes, is something we can’t afford even though we can. The lie (mammon spirit) begins its stronghold with these lies. Here is where you have to separate yourself from the flesh and start looking at this from a more faithful and spiritual perspective. One with a righteous and joyous heart and Christian servitude.
To begin with, rebuke the mammon spirit and listen to the truth that God has so clearly spoke.
Proverbs 3:9-10, 9 Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops; 10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine. (NIV)
Let’s look at this verse a little more closely and we can see very profoundly how the title of this message is suited perfectly. In every translation, the verse, “Honor the Lord” is the same. How is this significant? To start with, “honor” is translated from the Hebrew word “timi” and because of the translation and culture gap between English, Greek and Hebrew, I will simplify this definition for the sake of this message.
(Noun) – High respect; esteem: privilege; pleasure; pride; joy; compliment; favor.
(Verb) – Fulfill (an obligation) or keep (an agreement): regard with great respect; fulfill; observe; obey; heed; follow; carry out.
Because of the context, we have to wrap our heads around both the “noun” and the “verb” definitions to fully grasp the meaning of honor being translated here. This is significant because of the definition. God said to “honor” Him, which is fulfill our obligation and to obey His command with joy and high respect. “Honor Him…” which simply put, to fulfill an agreement we made when we accepted His Son as our Savior. That is honoring the King of kings, but He doesn’t stop there, God goes further with His instructions. Not only do we honor Him but we honor Him with our wealth; the first fruits of our harvest. This is biblical, Saints, the first of our harvest are to be given up to “honor” the one that sent His Son here, to this place where He is sometimes not respected or taken serious. But because of His great Love He allowed His Son to die for us. How obedient are we? Really?
How is this significant with the title? Glad you remembered to ask. You see, God didn’t stop there with honor Him with our wealth and it’s not the money He wants, but if we do so, He would pour out His blessings to overflow our lives. People have told me, “I’ve given to the church and I don’t see anything back from it” or “I don’t trust where it goes so I’ll just use it where ‘I’ think it should go”. I can punch holes in all of this and I’m sure you can too, (if it’s not you saying it). First and foremost, we have to trust God. He knows what He’s doing better than we do. Secondly, we cannot do what God can do with our offerings. He is the Master of all things great and small. Our faith is lacking when giving excuses for disobeying Him and frankly its childish. Read verse 9 again,
Proverbs 3:9 Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops;
Did you catch it? Allow me to unpack this for us. Honor, (obey) your Lord God and give of your first fruits, (the first earnings). Those who are not receiving the blessings from God are those who are doing it their way and not His. He said, honor Him with the first of your earnings and He will bless you immeasurably.
Proverbs 3:10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.
He said, “then” which is translated, afterward; after that; next, and not before and not if later. It means, to give your first earnings, before your light bill, before your credit card payment, before anything else, God has to come first. This is what it’s all about and I don’t want you to miss it. If you are not giving Him the first of each of your harvest, then you are not honoring your Lord God first. You are covering your earnings with the mammon spirit. He commanded the “first of your harvest” and if not, you are robbing God, not of money, but the opportunity to bless you abundantly. Do you really think God needs your money? NO! But He does want you to show your faith in His word and to depend on Him.
Do you trust God? Do you believe the Bible is true and faultless? If so, then why would you rob God of the opportunity to do what He said He wanted to do? To bless you with more than you can hold. Please hear me, it’s so important for you to get this so you are not missing out on what our God has promised us.
Let me address a position some have taken in their misled argument. After the death of Jesus fulfilled the Law, nowhere in the New Testament does it command, or even recommend, that Christians submit to a structured tithing system.
It doesn’t say a percentage of income should be set aside, but only says gifts should be “in keeping with income”
1 Corinthians 16:2 On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.
The Bible mentions money over 800 times and of all of Jesus’ parables, more than half of them talked about money. Why? Because that is where so many people get tripped up!
Tithing is defined as one-tenth part of something, which is where we get the 10 percent from. The New Testament talks about the importance and benefits of giving. We are to give as we are able. Sometimes that means giving more than 10 percent; sometimes that may mean giving less, but we are to give none the less and it needs to be the first of our earnings not the second or the last. How much depends on the ability of the Christian and the needs of the body of Christ. Above all, all tithes and offerings should be given with pure motives and an attitude of worship to God and service to the body of Christ, (the church and congregation).
2 Corinthians 9:7 Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
The main principle behind tithing and giving is the fact that what we do with our money shows where our heart is.
Matthew 6:21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
When we are able to give of our income instead of keeping that money for ourselves, it shows that our heart isn’t tied to our money and that we love and trust God more than our money.
God is pleased with the giver who understands that all he possesses belongs to the Lord. Such an attitude allows him to give generously, cheerfully and according to his prosperity. Such giving cannot be forced or demanded as a debt which is due, instead a gesture of love and commitment to our Lord. Do you believe God will keep His word and is faithful to those who are faithful to Him? Show your faith and believe; put it to the test as He clearly wants us to do.
2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Can’t you see for yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you — unless you actually fail the test?
Giving in faith is a joyous and rewarding act of love. It brings us closer to God and He rewards us for doing it. The idea of being able to be a part of something that is bigger than ourselves and it’s truly doing good is more than gratifying, it’s profoundly fulfilling. Your church, the ministries that are in place or those that are trying to get started are all blessed with the gifts from the faithful. Put yourself in the position for being blessed to the overflowing amount the Lord God has said He would do. When we are able to release the first of our earnings back to God, our money doesn’t have as tight of a hold on us because we realize that God is in control of our finances. We remember that everything we have has been given to us by Him. The way for us to be in God’s favor is to be obedient in tithes and offerings and before you put it in the offering plate or mail it out, ask the Holy Spirit to cover your gift with His approval and ask Him to bless and multiply it for His Glory. I am telling you, it works! I’m living proof of it; thank you, Lord!
Father, thank You for the understanding of the mammon spirit. Thank You for allowing us to see how the mammon spirit can taint a gift that we are so caringly and lovingly offer. Lord, I ask that You help us condition our hearts to be joyous in our; bless the sacrifice the giver has made to honor You Heavenly Father. I ask that you pour out your favor upon those that give in Your name and are putting their faith and trust in You. I ask dear Lord, that we are able to become walking, living testimonies of Your Grace; Your Mercy and Your Love, in Jesus Mighty Name, Amen.