When studying the Bible, it is very important not to take any one Scripture out of context and try to apply it to any and all situations. When we do this, we miss much of its meaning. Over time, we can get wrong information and reach incorrect assumptions because we made this mistake. This leads to wrong thinking and wrong living. Taking Scriptures about money out of context is especially risky, because every time Jesus talked about money, it was really about trust. The condition of a person’s heart is often revealed by how they handle money, because wealth always seems to magnify character traits already present. Money is just a tool, but the spirit of mammon tries to use this tool to destroy our trust in God and redirect it into material possessions.A. The spirit of mammon is actually the spirit of the devil himself.
- He who is faithful in that which is least is also faithful in much, and he who is unjust in the least is also unjust in much. If therefore you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And the Pharisees, who were covetous, heard all these things, and they derided him. He said to them, you are they who justify themselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For that which is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God (Luke 16:10-15).
- Everything about our lives is based on how we are influenced by money.
- God is a spirit, but so is mammon. Mammon is the spirit behind a wrong relationship with money, and we must choose which spirit we will serve.
- Covetousness is related to greed. Greed causes a person to do everything they can to get material possessions, and then everything they can to hold on to them.
- Then Peter took him and began to rebuke him, saying, be it far from you, Lord. This will not be unto you. Jesus turned and said to Peter, get behind me, Satan. You are an offense to me. You do not savor the things that are of God, but those that are of men (Matthew 16:22, 23).
- This was the same thing Jesus told the Pharisees when he rebuked them for not being mindful of the things of God. Jesus sees straight into people’s hearts, and he knows when the spirit of mammon is influencing them. He rebuked Peter because he recognized that spirit in him and knew it was causing him to say what he said.
- On the surface, Peter’s comments sounded noble and religious, but Satan was motivating him.
- As Christians, we must know the word of God well enough to discern when we are being influenced by the spirit of mammon.
- Do not love the world, neither the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the father is not in them. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the father, but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust thereof, but he who does the will of God lives forever (1 John 2:15-17).
- The spirit of mammon is the spirit that operates in the world. This spirit will pass away, but God will not.
- He said to them, when I sent you out without purse, and scrip, and shoes, did you lack anything? Nothing, they answered. Then he said to them, but now, he who has a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip. And he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one (Luke 22:35, 36).
- Jesus asked this question of his disciples to test them, and get them to realize in whom they could trust.
- Once they realized they lacked nothing because God was taking care of them, Jesus told them to retrieve their earthly possessions.
- When Jesus had gone forth, someone ran up to him and asked what to do to inherit eternal life. Jesus told him to obey the commandments, but he also told him to sell all he had, give to the poor to have treasure in heaven, take up his cross, and follow him. The man went away grieved, because he was rich. Jesus said to his disciples, children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! (Mark 10:17-24).
- Jesus tested this young ruler’s character by telling him to give away his money. This was the same test he had told the disciples about in Luke 16:10-15. The young man’s reaction revealed what he trusted more.
- He did not have riches; riches had him. Mammon was controlling his life, and he saw giving as a loss instead of a gain.
- Jesus told the parable of the man traveling to a far country who gave his servants talents according to their abilities. When he returned, he learned that two of them had multiplied their talents, but the third one had buried his in the ground and done nothing with it (Matthew 25:14-30).
- The man who received only one talent and kept it hidden displayed covetousness. He admitted he was afraid; mammon is fear-based.
- Judas Iscariot was operating under the spirit of mammon when he betrayed Jesus for money, but this spirit was at work in him even before the betrayal.
- Mary took a pound of costly spikenard and anointed Jesus’ feet and wiped them with her hair, and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment. Then Judas said, why was this ointment not sold for three hundred pence, and the money given to the poor? He said this not because he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and took what was put in it (John 12:3-6).
- When Passover came, the chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill him, for they were afraid of the people. Then Satan entered into Judas, and he went his way and communed with the chief priests and captains how he might betray him to them. They were glad, and covenanted to give him money. And he promised, and sought opportunity to betray him in the absence of the multitude (Luke 22:1-6).
- Ananias and his wife Sapphira sold a possession, but kept back part of the price. When Peter asked Ananias why Satan had filled his heart to lie to the Holy Spirit, Ananias fell down dead. The young men carried him out and buried him. Sapphira arrived later, and she lied when Peter questioned her about the price. She also fell dead, and was buried with her husband (Acts 5:1-11).
- The spirit of mammon will leave us buried in a grave. Following it always leaves us in a ditch.
- The love of money is the root of all evil. Some have coveted after it, erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows (1 Timothy 6:10).
- Money itself is not the enemy, but rather the spiritual influence behind it.
- When God is our choice and our source, money is our slave.
- It is God’s will that we have possessions and money, but only if they are under his influence.
- Wealth and riches will be in his house, and his righteousness endures forever (Psalm 112:3).
- The blessing of the Lord makes rich, and he adds no sorrow with it (Proverbs 10:22).
- Charge them who are rich in this world that they not be high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy (1 Timothy 6:17).
- One of the group said, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me. Jesus said to him, man, who made me a judge or a divider over you? He told them, take heed and beware of covetousness, for a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of things he possesses. He told them the parable of the rich man who had plenty of fruits and goods, so he tore down his barns and built bigger barns to store all he had. But God said, you fool, tonight your soul will be required of you, then who will own all your things? So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God (Luke 12:13-21).
- This is a warning against greed and the mindset that life consists only of material wealth. Many people take this out of context and assume God does not want us to have money.
- Religion tells us we are materialistic if we believe God for money. Materialism does not mean having material things; it is the attempt to use materials to replace God. This is a form of idolatry.
- Religion also tells us that everything should be in moderation, but heaven itself is excessive.
- Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice. Let your moderation be known to all men. The Lord is at hand (Philippians 4:4, 5).
- The dictionary defines moderation as the avoidance of extremes or excesses. However, the Greek word here that was translated “moderation” means unselfishness, consideration, and forbearance. Most people take this word out of context.
Matthew 16:22, 23
1 John 2:15-17
Luke 22:1-6, 35, 36
1 Timothy 6:10
1 Timothy 6:17
Philippians 4:4, 5