Sell Me A Lottery Ticket, Why Don’t Ya?
What is it that we see in the world today that is
particularly disturbing? Why am I more
concerned about the current condition of the world than I have ever been
before? Do world events really mean
anything in the great scheme of things or are they just events? Did anyone ever foresee what may be happening
today and provide a glimpse of its significance?
In the 24th Chapter of Matthew in what is
commonly known as the Olivet Discourse, Jesus Christ was approached by His
disciples and questioned about the end of time.
Apparently anticipating that the world would not continue forever,
Jesus’ followers questioned the one person who could provide the answer to
their most pressing concerns.
** New International
King James Version
3 As Jesus was sitting on
the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to
him privately. "Tell us," they said, "when will this happen,
and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?" 4
Jesus answered: "Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will
come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many.
And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him
privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the
sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? 4 And Jesus answered and
said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5 For many shall come in
my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
Starting in verse four of this passage, Jesus makes it
clear that there will be those who attempt to deceive the elect. He states that there are many who will
come in His name claiming to be Him and that they will be able to deceive
many. Many will be led astray binding
themselves to doctrines that tickle the ears of those who hear; unfortunately,
these doctrines will only lead to destruction.
What doctrines was Jesus referring to when He made these
statements? What was going through His
mind when He warned His disciples of those who would come after Him? Was He referring to those belief systems
classified as “cults” by the mainstream churches? Was He talking about those religious leaders
such as Jim Jones and David Koresh who led their followers down a path of death
and destruction? Was He talking about religious
movements that are more concerned about the money they collect than they are
about the salvation of the lost?
Yes, He was talking about all of them and much more. The key to recognition of deception is not
identifying and understanding what they profess but rather, it is recognizing
what they do not profess. Jesus was
saying that any teaching that did not proclaim Him as (1) the Son of the Living
God, (2) born of a virgin, (3) crucified on Calvary’s hill, (4) raised from
physical death on the third day, (5) prophesied throughout the ages, (6) the
Creator of all (John 1:1), (7) “the way, the truth and the life”, and (8) the only path to salvation through a
profession of faith was deception.
How many “religions”, “denominations” or “belief systems”
make no mention of Jesus Christ relying instead on man-made mechanisms to pave
the path to heaven? How many religious
leaders talk about Jesus in terms of being a “good” man, a teacher or a prophet
but never comment on His divinity? Are
there those who want you to believe that you will be measured by your good
works and that if your good works outweigh the bad, then surely St. Peter must
let you through the pearly gates? Why do
others want you to consider that possibility that all paths eventually lead to
God? Is there no absolute truth anymore?
All of these ideas have taken hold in today’s world. We have become so concerned about
confrontation and political correctness that most people will not take a stand
when it comes to moral standards and patterns of conduct. We are afraid that we will be criticized or
worse yet, labeled as intolerant. “Live
and let live” is the cry. No one is
ultimately accountable for their actions because we do not have the right to
establish limits and guidelines for conduct.
Truth is relative. And slowly and
surely we continue down the road leading to destruction.
Just as damaging as these deceptions are those ideas
cloaked in the guise of righteousness and faith. Many “people of faith” are actually “wolves
in sheep’s clothing” whose primary desire is to acquire riches and power on
this earth while their egos are stroked by their followers. In reality they are nothing more than false
prophets who are leading their congregations astray. Jesus warned us about these individuals; He
knew that they would come with the sole intention of devouring their followers
leaving destruction and brokenness in their wake.
** New International
King James Version
"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but
inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize
them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17
Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18
A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19
Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the
fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in
sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 Ye shall know
them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17
Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree
bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19
Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the
fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
These passages make it clear that the “wolves” can be
recognized by their “fruit.” When you
see a person who professes to be called of God, you need to examine him closely
to see if his life demonstrates such a calling.
I respectfully submit that a person who asserts that God will only act
if you will only give out of your need is a huckster and a charlatan. Likewise, if they contend that you must have
a (fill in the blank, e.g. prayer shawl, bottle of holy water, clay pot filled
with oil, miracle seeds, miracle this or
miracle that) before God will bless, then they are literally stating
that God is limited in what He will and can do.
If they make financial blessing the cornerstone of their teachings
predicated upon giving to God (through them of course), then you should take
everything they say with a grain of salt (metaphorically speaking). If they challenge you to “give the devil a
black eye” by giving to their ministry, take a moment to examine the fruit
before giving anything to their cause.
Likewise, miraculous healings that cannot be documented are deceptive
and lead many of the truly desperate astray.
Ultimately, we must always question the motives of those whose lives do
not demonstrate a love for God and the lost but instead evidence greed and
gluttony. Does the televangelist reach
out trying to bring the lost to Jesus Christ or does he reach out trying to
bring money into the storehouse (which is then used to buy a life of opulence)?
Jesus Christ specifically addressed these individuals in
the passages following those listed above.
** New International
King James Version
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of
heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many
will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many
miracles?' 23 Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me,
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of
heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy
name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many
wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you:
depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
There are many making their living on television who fall into this category.
Turn on the television any given time of the day or night and you will
find these people. They are there
hawking God’s promises for money. They
cry out to God on your behalf and claim that miracles are being performed as
they speak but in the end, the only thing they want is your “seed money” or
“pledge of faith.” It is a modern-day
racket, a legal way to shake down the masses.
Miracles are for sale but only if you give. The term for this activity is “simony” and it
originated in the early first century church.
** New International
King James Version
Now for some time a man named Simon had practiced sorcery in the city and
amazed all the people of Samaria.
He boasted that he was someone great, 10 and all the people, both high and
low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, "This man is the divine
power known as the Great Power." 11 They followed him because he had
amazed them for a long time with his magic. 12 But when they believed Philip
as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God
and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 13
Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere,
astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw. 14 When the apostles in Jerusalem
heard that Samaria
had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. 15 When they
arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16
because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply
been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then Peter and John placed
their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. 18 When Simon saw
that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered
them money 19 and said, "Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom
I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit." 20 Peter answered:
"May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the
gift of God with money! 21 You have no part or share in this ministry,
because your heart is not right before God. 22 Repent of this wickedness and
pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive you for having such a thought in
your heart. 23 For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to
But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city
used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself
was some great one: 10 To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the
greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God. 11 And to him they had
regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries. 12
But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ,
they were baptized, both men and women. 13 Then Simon himself believed also:
and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding
the miracles and signs which were done. 14 Now when the apostles which were
at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto
them Peter and John: 15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that
they might receive the Holy Ghost: 16(For as yet he was fallen upon none of
them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) 17 Then laid
they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. 18 And when Simon
saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands
the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, 19 Saying, Give me also this
power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. 20 But
Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee,
because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. 21
Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in
the sight of God. 22 Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God,
if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. 23 For I perceive
that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.
In this instance Simon believed that the Holy Spirit was
for sale and he apparently intended to make a profit from the laying on of his
hands. Do you see any similarities today
with certain individuals who transmit their message of healing and financial
blessing all over the world? These
teachings are heresy to the Word of God; however, many clamor after them,
chasing a delusion instead of relying upon God’s inspired word.
Deception is alive and well on Planet Earth. There are many out there who will be more
than happy to take your money and promise you that God will provide a miracle
as a result. I do not deny that God can
and does act miraculously but I firmly believe that God does so according to
His purpose and not according to a particular person’s promise.
Before giving, it is always advisable to do your research
and ask, “What fruit does this ministry exhibit in furtherance of God’s
kingdom? Are they spreading the Gospel
of Jesus Christ and ministering to the body of believers or are they simply
ministering to themselves?” The question
revolves around our duty to be good stewards of what God has entrusted to
us. Are you being a good steward with
your assets? Or are you, in essence,
buying a lottery ticket by giving to someone’s ministry hoping that your gift
will obligate God to act on your behalf?
Think about it. Then be
responsible for your sake, if nothing else.
** A modern language quote is provided for readability together
with the accompanying KJV version which is believed by many to be a more
accurate representation of the original scripture.
Comments or questions may be directed to the author at firstname.lastname@example.org. Given the nature of this topic, the author
has purposely failed to specifically disclose the identities of certain
individuals who were the inspiration for this article due to their propensity
to use the legal system to attempt to quiet any discussion concerning their
activities. Instead, the reader is
encouraged to independently research certain prominent individuals who use
physical healing or financial blessing coupled with giving as a cornerstone of