[anzac] The FIGHT AGAINST MAMMON

Message: < previous - next > : Reply : Subscribe : Cleanse
Home   : June 2006 : Group Archive : Group : All Groups

From: "REVIVAL List" <prophetic@...>
Date: Thu, 22 Jun 2006 12:09:57 -0500
"The FIGHT AGAINST MAMMON"

PLEASE READ FIRST! - by Marc White:

If Jesus preached against anything, He preached against mammon.
Estimates of the New Testament record tell us that the single
most recorded topic of our Savior is, you guessed it, money. The
most challenging issue to Christian community worldwide in our
time is the love of mammon and the fierce independent spirit it
breeds like a runaway deadly cancer. Jesus said it is impossible
to serve both Him and money. Impossible. No way. Although more
than a few of us are trying to do both. Let us repent of that idolatry.

Remember that story He told of counting the cost of discipleship?
Let’s look again at the “context” of the story, that is, what the “big
idea” Jesus was trying to get us to see:

Luke 14:25-33~
Now large crowds were going along with Him; and He turned and
said to them, "If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own
father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters,
yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. "Whoever
does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My
disciple. "For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower,
does not first sit down and CALCULATE THE COST to see if he
has enough to complete it? "Otherwise, when he has laid a
foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to
RIDICULE him, saying, 'This man began to build and was not able
to finish.' "Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in
battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong
enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming
against him with twenty thousand? "Or else, while the other is still
far away, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. "SO
THEN, NONE OF YOU CAN BE MY DISCIPLE WHO DOES NOT
GIVE UP ALL HIS OWN POSSESSIONS.”

What?

He didn’t really mean that, did He? As I’ve wrestled with this over
the years, it’s dawned on me and others who have pondered His
words here that it means SOMETHING. And that something is
something we need to deal with, to radically obey in order to love
Him and please Him as He commands.

The following piece by Eberhard Arnold is profound, and quite
unsettling to those who really care about what God cares about. I
find it both encouraging and disturbing to my life. To those in the
body chasing more and  more personal significance and “purpose,”
it will most likely be dismissed as an old, out of date theology. But
Brother Arnold, who was a part of the non-resistant, love-your-
enemy Bruderhof, knew the secret of the strength when he penned
this almost a 100 years ago – Jesus in His simplicity of life in
order to care fully for those who needed the most care: the poor,
blind, lame, crippled, widows, and orphans.

Note I don’t advocate all of us living together on the same piece of
land, but let us not be too quick to discount the New Testament
value of close, daily contact, prayer, and servanthood. We see so
little of it in affluent Christian circles.

I submit this article to your heart for consideration. Let us not be
those ruled by the materialistic, aggressive, and demonic
American gospel. But in contrast like the rich, young ruler,
obeying Jesus by selling all to follow Him who saved us from His wrath.

If some of you vehemently disagree with this as you might, please
read and pray earnestly through the words of Jesus and Paul about
money before you respond.


"The FIGHT AGAINST MAMMON"
-Extracts by Eberhard Arnold.

Two powers are at work in the world: the power of love that leads
people to associate with each other, and the power of death that
separates people and destroys the fellowship of love. This power
of death poisons the organism of humanity, making it sick and
corrupt. It murders and kills. It covets and isolates. It attacks all
that holds life together. It destroys the coherence of all living things.
But alongside this power that murders and enslaves, a constructive
and creative power is still at work.

Not all who call themselves Christians are connected to the same
center, nor are they motivated by the same thing. The religion of
many who confess to the name of Jesus Christ has nothing to do
with God or the coming kingdom...

Is not the great world organization that names itself after Christ
serving a god other than the God whom Jesus confessed? Has not
the institutional church sided with wealth and protected it;
sanctified mammon, christened warships, and blessed soldiers
going to war? Has not this church in essence denied him whom it
confesses? Is not the Christian state the most ungodly institution
that ever existed? And are not the state and the organized church,
which protect privilege and wealth, diametrically opposed to what
is to come: God’s new order?

Nobody can serve two masters. Nobody can serve God and
mammon. The message of Christ had to do with the “trans-
valuation of all values” - the coming kingdom of God. His first
witnesses testified to a radically new order, an order concealed
from those blinded by the god of this world. This god - the god of
greed and murderous possessiveness - stands opposed to the
kingdom of justice, unity, and love.

Mammon is the rule of money over people. It means dependence
on income and finances instead of on God. We recognize that
mammon is the enemy of God, but we cannot apply the lever that
lifts it off its hinges: we ourselves are so dominated by it that we
lack the strength to rebel.

The deepest human relationships are based not on mammon, but
the spirit. No one of us can live in isolation; we are all
interdependent. All of us are interrelated in groups, families,
classes, and trade unions; in nations, states, churches, and all
kinds of associations. And through our humanity we are
interrelated in an even deeper way: through the love of God that
flows from spirit to spirit and heart to heart, leading to organic,
constructive fellowship.

But there is a devilish means that seeks to rob us of heart and
spirit and God. This means is money. Money reduces human
relationships to materialistic associations. It destroys the highest
human goals. At first it may be just a means of barter, but later it
becomes a commodity in itself. It becomes power. In the end, it
destroys all true fellowship.

Money and love are mutually exclusive. Where mammon rules, the
possessive will is stronger than the will to community. The struggle
to survive becomes stronger than the spirit of mutual help. Where
mammon rules, matter is stronger than spirit, and self-assertion
stronger than solidarity. Mammon never motivates people to work
in a creative way for a life of fellowship. Instead, it engenders the
enslavement of the soul to circumstance. It is the spirit of lying,
impurity, and murder, the spirit of weakness and death.

Jesus, the prince of life, declared war on this spirit, and we must
declare war on it too. When our inmost eye has been opened to
his light, it can no longer respond to what mammon demands.
When our hearts are set on the future - when we expect God’s
kingdom - we can no longer accumulate property. We will turn our
backs on everything present and live instead for freedom, unity, and peace.

Jesus entered the temple with a whip not to strike people, but to
show his contempt for money: his father’s house belonged to God,
not to mammon. In the Gospel of Matthew, he exhorted the
otherwise blameless rich youth to confirm his love by selling
everything: “Give all you have to the poor, and come follow me.”
And when he was shown the coin of the emperor, he answered,
“Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and to God what belongs to God.”

This attack on the order of mammon resulted in his death. Yet life
had the final victory. The men and women who had gathered
around him in life waited for something new after his death. They
waited for the Spirit. They knew that the spirit of love, order, and
freedom was the spirit of God’s kingdom. And this Spirit came
upon them, bringing about a church: a fellowship of work and
goods in which everything belonged to all, in which all were active
to the full extent of their powers and gifts.

This church succumbed to the process that destroys life. Just as
individuals die, so this church also died. But in the course of the
centuries a new church rose. Time and again small communities
were formed in which men and women declared war on mammon
and took upon themselves the poverty of generosity. In choosing
this poverty, they chose the richest way.

It is self-deception to think we can overcome mammon by violence,
for violence is of the same evil spirit as mammon. We cannot drive
out poison by means of poison. The new can be born only of the
new; only out of life comes life; only of love can love be born. Only
out of the will to community can community arise.

And community is alive wherever small bands of people meet,
ready to work for the one great goal, to belong to the one true
future. Already now we can live in the power of this future; already
now we can shape our lives in accordance with God and his
kingdom. The kingdom of love, which is free of mammon, is
drawing near. Change your thinking radically so that you will be
ready for the coming order!   [~Lecture, 1923].

SOURCE:  "Walk Worthy" - http://walkworthy.injesus.com
----------------------------------------