How to get kicked out of church: greed

The #2 way to get kicked out of church is greed.
1 Corinthians 5:11But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one. NASB

All the Americans can now leave the room. Actually, wealth and greed do not necessarily go hand in hand. Greed is only an aspect of covetousness. I covered this topic as well in the 10 Commandment series. It's the 10th commandment.
"Do not covet your neighbor's house; do not covet your neighbor's wife, his male or female slave, his ox, his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor." Exodus 20:17 (The Complete Jewish Bible)
I wrote previously, In short, if God wanted you to have it you would get it. As a parent, I say similar things. Our children do not have many popular toys, at least at the same time as they are popular. When the popularity cools and the price drops, then they may get it, and, surprise, they aren't as interested in it. Why did they want it so bad? Lust. It gets everyone. Even if you could keep all the other 9 commands, they are external in their manifestation. But this one is internal. It proves our hearts are depraved.

I also wrote this, The issue with this command is not that I want something just like yours, rather, I want yours. It's not, I want a wife like yours, but I want your wife. This reveals an attitude toward God, ungratefulness. When we recognize God's blessing in someone's life, we should rejoice with them and praise God with them because, Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17 (NIV) Thus, the positive version of this command is: See my blessings in others as reminders to praise me for my generosity.

This comes back to my discussion on character and self-control. Yes, covetousness resides in all our hearts, but how do we respond to that sin of the heart? Do we repent and confess it to God, or do we act on it? Do we act like mature adults or impulsive toddlers? I again need to refer to my experience and practice as a parent. Previously, I compared church discipline to table discipline in my home. If a child is disruptive at the table during a meal, he or she will be reprimanded. If the behavior continues, the child will not be allowed to continue to eat with the rest of us and will have to remove himself or herself and eat alone in the kitchen. When they were younger, too young to toddle, but more at the crawling age, we would keep them in the dining room with us, while we ate. They were not afforded an opportunity to disrupt our meal then because they either stayed in their high chair, exersaucer, or playpen. If they wanted something from the meal they were taught sign language before they could speak so they could tell us "please" and "thank you." We;ve been teaching them self-control since they were tiny. But we've also been teaching them dependence on God. We can't afford everything they want. Whenever they ask us for something bigger than pocket money our first response is "Ask God." In fact, when my wife and I propose big ticket purchases to each other we'll say, "Ask God."

The definition of this Greek word by Strong is 1) one eager to have more, esp. what belongs to others 2) greedy of gain, covetous. Treasures typically give humans treasure fever, the compulsive desire to have more. Accumulation follows accumulation for the sake of accumulation. Jesus cautions us about treasure in his sermon on the mount at Matthew 6:19-24.
Do not accumulate for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But accumulate for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The eye is the lamp of the body. If then your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is diseased, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.
This is why the greedy person deserves being kicked out of the dining room in God's house, because his worship is split. He worships his stuff and God. He is an idolater. So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual sin, impurity, lust, and shameful desires. Don’t be greedy for the good things of this life, for that is idolatry. Colossians 3:5

Treasure on earth is like mud in your eye. It keeps us from seeing much. It results in a fruitless spiritual life. Jesus spoke of this in the parable of the soils. Luke 8:14. As for the seed that fell among thorns, these are the ones who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the worries and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature.

Jesus wants us to trust God who is generous. Luke 12:29-34
So do not be overly concerned about what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not worry about such things. For all the nations of the world pursue these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, pursue his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father is well pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide yourselves purses that do not wear out – a treasure in heaven that never decreases, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Greed is a heart problem that can be treated with physical actions. If you suffer from greed, get rid of your stuff and give it to those in need. Then you'll only have god. Then your spiritual eyes will see God clearly and your heart will be full of light. Unlike 401k's here on earth, heavenly treasure never decreases. Don't be like the farmer, as described by Jesus, who came into a windfall. Luke 12:13-21
Then someone from the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”But Jesus said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator between you two?” Then he said to them, “Watch out and guard yourself from all types of greed, because one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
He then told them a parable: “The land of a certain rich man produced an abundant crop, so he thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ Then he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to myself, “You have plenty of goods stored up for many years; relax, eat, drink, celebrate!”’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded back from you, but who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ So it is with the one who stores up riches for himself, but is not rich toward God.”
Money is not worth it from the perspective of eternity. Perspective changes our behavior.

As I watched the stock market melt down, I wondered about the lost opportunity of the money I've been setting aside for retirement. If I had invested that money in people and ministries, my treasure in heaven would have increased. Instead I have numbers on spreadsheets that, for some reason, caused emotional strain. I'm not condemning financial planning. I think that is Biblical. I need to provide for my family. 1 Timothy 5:8 But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (NASB) That's another way to get kicked out of church, which I'll discuss later. There is a balance. We have needs and wants. Greed is much more than our needs and even beyond our wants.

How is the church supposed to identify the greedy person? I don't know. It's a heart issue. Only friends can discuss heart issues. However, it is considered by Paul disruptive to the table. He warns the Corinthians. He warns the Colossians about it. He warns the Ephesians about it. Eph 5:3 But among you there must not be either sexual immorality, impurity of any kind, or greed, as these are not fitting for the saints.

Greed caused great disruption for the Israelites. When they were sent to completely destroy Jericho, they were warned to not take anything for themselves. One guy named Achan saw a really nice gold robe from Babylonia and some other riches he snuck them back to his tent. The story is told in Joshua 7.
vv20-26 Achan told Joshua, “It is true. I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel in this way: I saw among the goods we seized a nice robe from Babylon, two hundred silver pieces, and a bar of gold weighing fifty shekels. I wanted them, so I took them. They are hidden in the ground right in the middle of my tent with the silver underneath.” Joshua sent messengers who ran to the tent. The things were hidden right in his tent, with the silver underneath. They took it all from the middle of the tent, brought it to Joshua and all the Israelites, and placed it before the Lord. Then Joshua and all Israel took Achan, son of Zerah, along with the silver, the robe, the bar of gold, his sons, daughters, ox, donkey, sheep, tent, and all that belonged to him and brought them up to the Valley of Disaster. Joshua said, “Why have you brought disaster on us? The Lord will bring disaster on you today!” All Israel stoned him to death. (They also stoned and burned the others.) Then they erected over him a large pile of stones (it remains to this very day) and the Lord’s anger subsided. So that place is called the Valley of Disaster to this very day.
His sin resulted in the deaths of soldiers earlier that day. It's consequence resulted in his death and his family's.

Greed is still obnoxious to God. In the church age we no longer stone the greedy in our midst, but we are told to break fellowship with them. When fellowship is broken then Satan can afflict their flesh that their spirits may be saved. 1 Cor. 5:5


Anonymous said…
How about getting kicked out based on the lies of the pastor??

That happened to me.
John Umland said…
That might fall under him being guilty of verbal abuse. See this post,
I am sorry that happened to you.
Hang in there.
Jesus still loves you.
God is good

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