Discern the Spirit of Babylon
Discern the Spirit of Babylon
Zac Poonen | 13 February 2022
Many of God's people are in Babylon today - as Revelation 18:4 makes plain. God says to them in that verse, “Come out of her, My people". The problem is with their leaders and pastors who lead the flock astray. As in Jesus' time, many of God's people today are “like sheep without true shepherds” (Matt.9:36). Think of all that Jesus must have seen in the temple at Jerusalem three times every year and at the synagogue in Nazareth every week, that dishonoured God, when He went to these places from the age of 12 to age 30. But He did not say or do anything about all that, because it was not yet God's time. But those years and those experiences were an important part of His education at Nazareth for His ministry later.
The essence of the spirit of Babylon is seen in the words of Peter to Jesus in Matthew 19:27 (Living): “What will we get out of it?” We too can wonder, if we have given up many things for the Lord, how He will reward us - here on earth and later in heaven. That would prove that we are thinking of godliness as a means of gain for ourselves and that we are self-centred in our thinking. Some may seek money or honour here on earth through their preaching and their service for the Lord. Others may seek a reward or a place in the Bride of Christ in heaven. Whatever it be, as long as we are seeking something for ourselves, we still have the spirit of Babylon within us. This is the filthiness of the spirit that we must cleanse ourselves from.
When Peter asked what he would get out of serving the Lord, Jesus replied with a parable in Matthew 20:1-16. There he spoke of two types of labourers: (1) those who worked for a reward (salary) - some for one denarius (v.2) and some for “whatever is a lawful hourly wage” (v.4) - but both for wages; (2) those who went to work with no promise of a wage (v.7). This second category of workers got the highest wage - one denarius per hour. All the others got less - the first ones getting only 0.08 denarius per hour, for they worked for 12 hours for one denarius. Thus, as Jesus said there, many who are last now will be first in eternity - because the Lord will test the “quality” and “motive” of each man's service (1 Cor.3:13 and 4:5) and not the quantity of their work.
Jesus never drove out those who were making money for themselves in the marketplace in Jerusalem. No. Because the marketplace is the right place to make money. John Wesley said that Christians should earn all that they can through hard work. I agree with that. Jesus drove out only those who were trying to get profit for themselves in God's house. Even so today; Jesus will cleanse out from the church those who seek honour or fame or money or any other type of gain for themselves in the church. The church is to be a place of sacrifice. The last verse of Zechariah states that when the Lord returns, “There will be no more grasping traders in the house of the Lord” (Zech.14:21 - Living Bible). We must never seek anything for ourselves in the service that we do for our Lord.
Even though the Lord has rewards for those who serve Him faithfully, as is promised in the New Testament from Matthew to Revelation, yet we must not work for reward. We work as an expression of our gratitude to the Lord for what He did for us on Calvary. Those who work for a reward won't get any!