It has often been said that if you want false teaching out of the church just remove the money. Money attracts false teachers and preachers like it used to attract the false prophets of old. “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber” (2 Pet 2:1-3). They know that if they tell the congregation what they want to hear as opposed as to what they need to hear, they will continue to get great accolades and get paid an absorbent amount of money.
Greed is the cause of all the evil in the world. Greed causes mankind to kill, lie, cheat, and steal, perform abortions, and to engage in prostitution, etc. Solomon said, “He that is greedy of gain troubles his own house; but he that hates gifts shall live” (Prov. 15:27).
Achan’s greed brought his house to destruction when he decided to disobey God and take the costly possessions of Jericho, a country God allowed Israel to defeat, and bury them underneath his own tent. Subsequently when they lost a war with Ai, a country much smaller than Israel, Israel knew that there was sin in the camp, and it was God who guided them to the tent of Achan. They took Achan and his household and stoned them and burned their remains and all of their possessions (including the booty he had taken from Jericho) (Josh. 6-7).
Nabal’s greed caused him to be turned into a stone when he refused to share food with David’s army. Nabal was a man who possessed many sheep and was wealthy and had a prudent and beautiful wife, Abigail. When David sent men to Nabal requesting food, Nabal refused. This he did despite David’s army protecting this man’s land with his army. David was determined to destroy every male in Nabal house the very next morning. Abigail, being a woman of understanding, sent food to David and sought that his men destroy them not. Nabal during this same time had a feast in his house, the size of a king, and was happy. The next morning after his drunkenness had worn off, Abigail told him all she had done and his heart died within him and he became as a stone. Ten days later God struck Nabal and he died (vv 36-38). David after his death took Abigail to be his own wife (v39) (1 Sam 25).
Greed can even cause us to practice false doctrine. The apostle Paul warned all preachers and teachers of the gospel that greed can cause them to preach false doctrine. In fact, the “love of money is the root of all evil” was intended for those who preach for worldly gain.
“If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself. Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Tim 6:3-10).
Paul had learned from his own experience that money can influence God’s Word. It did then, and it does today. This is why Paul who said that a preacher was “worthy of his wages” (Lk 10:7) and should “live of the gospel”, (1 Cor 9:15) also said, “What is my reward then? That when I preach the gospel, I may present the gospel of Christ without charge, that I may not abuse my authority in the gospel.” (1 Cor 9:18) He also said the same to the Thessalonians that we should follow in his steps in this regard. “For you yourselves know how you ought to follow us, for we were not disorderly among you; nor did we eat anyone’s bread free of charge, but worked with labor and toil night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, not because we do not have authority, but to make ourselves an example of how you should follow us” (2 Thess 3:7-9).
Taking money to do God’s Work was nothing new, for even the evil leaders, teachers, and prophets of Israel did the same. “Her heads judge for a bribe, her priests teach for pay, and her prophets divine for money. Yet they lean on the Lord, and say, “Is not the Lord among us? No harm can come upon us.” (Mic 3:11) This is why Paul warned a young Timothy that men will preach falsehood when brethren no longer endure sound doctrine. “Preach the word; be urgent in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure the sound doctrine; but, having itching ears, will heap to themselves teachers after their own lusts; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and turn aside unto fables” (2 Tim 4:2-4) Most every congregation has sound and seasoned men who are qualified to preach the Word and are willing to preach for free, but are rejected because the congregation wants a highly educated man to preach what they desire to hear. Truly brethren there is sin in the camp and it has destroyed the church from within. Therefore, if it is evil we wish to remove from the church, then remove the money, and watch false teachers and preachers runaway like the scavengers and thieves they truly are!