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Sermon No: 86-The Kingdom of God - Part 7B - Positive Confession and Prosperity



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SERMON TOPIC: The Kingdom of God - Part 7B - Positive Confession and Prosperity

Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 5 April 2009

Topic Groups: PROSPERITY, PROPHECY, KINGDOM OF GOD

Sermon synopsis: Jesus taught 7 consecutive parables in Matthew 13 about the kingdom. The parables, if understood, reveal the secrets of “the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 13:10-11). The 7 parables refer to 7 church ages. The seventh parable of 'The Dragnet' covers the period from approximately 1900 AD - present or the 'Apostate Church'. What is the Biblical perspective on the widespread teachings of Positive Confession and Prosperity? We need correct teaching based on the Bible, not psychology, humanism or cultic philosophy.
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The 7 parables of

the kingdom - Part 7B

The 7 Church Ages

No.

PARABLE

+/ - PERIOD

CHURCH AGE

1

The Sower

AD 30 – 100

Apostolic Church

2

The Wheat and Weeds

AD 100 – 300

Persecuted Church

3

The Mustard Seed

AD 300 – 600

State Church (Constantine)

4

The Leaven

AD 600 – 1500

Papal Church (Roman Catholic)

5

The Hidden Treasure

AD 1500 – 1700

Reformation Church (Protestant)

6

The Pearl of Great Price

AD 1700 – 1900

Missionary Church

7

The Dragnet

AD 1900 –

Apostate Church

Jesus taught 7 consecutive ‘kingdom’ parables in Matthew 13. The parables, if understood, reveal the “knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 13:11).

The 7 parables refer to 7 church ages. Like the other kingdom parables, the Dragnet parable also represents a period in Church history from approximately AD 1900 onwards, which can be classified as the “Apostate Church”.

The 7 Church Ages

No.

PARABLE

CHURCH

+/ - PERIOD

CHURCH AGE

1

The Sower

Ephesus

AD 30 – 100

Apostolic Church

2

The Wheat and Weeds

Smyrna

AD 100 – 300

Persecuted Church

3

The Mustard Seed

Pergamum

AD 300 – 600

State Church (Constantine)

4

The Leaven

Thyatira

AD 600 – 1500

Papal Church (Roman Catholic)

5

The Hidden Treasure

Sardis

AD 1500 – 1700

Reformation Church (Protestant)

6

The Pearl of Great Price

Philadelphia

AD 1700 – 1900

Missionary Church

7

The Dragnet

Laodicea

AD 1900 –

Apostate Church

The 7 parables of Matthew 13 have a parallel with the 7 churches of Revelation 2 and 3. They are typical of the 7 periods of Church history.

The 7 Church Ages

No.

CHURCH

PRAISE

REBUKE

1

Ephesus

Hard work, perseverance, doctrinally sound

Lost first love

2

Smyrna

Persecuted, materially poor but spiritually rich

3

Pergamum

Lived where Satan had his throne but remained true to Jesus’ name

Intermingling with false religion

4

Thyatira

Love, faith, service and perseverance. Some did not hold to Satan’s “deep secrets” doctrinally

Some tolerated pagan corruption & influence

5

Sardis

A few people who had not “soiled their clothes”

Reputation of being alive, but were dead

6

Philadelphia

Little strength, yet they kept Jesus’ word and did not deny His name

7

Laodicea

Lukewarm, materially rich but spiritually poor

Laodicea (1900 - )

The Church of the Laodiceans presents to us the 7th and last Church. It is the state of lukewarmness, indifference, materialism and apostasy which characterizes the Western Church today.

This is the only church which receives no praise from Jesus.

Positive

Confession

=

Mind

over

Matter

We saw in our last study how the “self-esteem” gospel draws its roots from secular psychology and not the Bible.

We also saw how the “positive confession” message teaches that “what you say, you get”, provided you are very positive. We noted that this is not Biblical.

David says “I am poor” and becomes a king; Satan says “I will ascend to heaven” and gets thrown out of heaven. Positive Confession theology says that David and Satan should get what they are saying, but they actually get the opposite!

However David qualifies his statement “I am poor” by calling on God to help him, “come quickly to me, O God. You are my help and my deliverer” (Ps 70:5). It was not positive (false) confession, but a true statement of the facts and an appeal to God which helped him.

So if its roots were not in the Bible, where does the “positive confession” message come from and why is it so widespread among charismatic Christians? 1

1 According to Dave Hunt in “Occult Invasion”, Hagin complained that people often thought he was teaching Christian Science

Positive confession

Q: What are the roots of the “positive confession” message?

A: It’s roots are indirectly in the cult of Christian Science as propagated by Mary Baker Eddy. Well-known pastor and Charismatic leader of Calvary Chapel, Chuck Smith wrote a book, “Charisma vs. Charismania”, where he writes, “The latest wind of pernicious, unscriptural doctrine to blow through the ranks of some Charismatics is the ‘what-you-say-is- what-you-get’ teaching”. He condemns the teaching of “negative and positive confession” and states that these teachings “sound more like Mary Baker Eddy than the Apostle Paul”.

Christian Science

Mary Baker Eddy (1821–1910)

Chuck Smith (1927- )

Q: Why is it so widespread among charismatic Christians?

A: E.W. Kenyon, pastor of the New Covenant Baptist Church, first taught “the positive confession of the Word of God”. Kenyon studied at the Emerson College of Oratory in Boston, a hotbed of the emerging New Thought 1 philosophy. His teaching about “the power of words” and his warnings never to make a “negative confession” deeply influenced Hagin and many others who are today leaders of the Word-Faith movement. Kenyon also taught that man is a little god “in God’s Class” and therefore can use the same faith-force that God does. We allegedly create our own reality with the words of our mouths: “What I confess, I possess.” 2

1 Mary Baker Eddy was influenced by Phineas Quimby, an unschooled Maine clockmaker and inventor who believed that he had rediscovered the lost healing methods of Jesus. The loosely organized movement that began with Quimby eventually became known as ‘New Thought’. 2 Source: Occult Invasion – Dave Hunt

Word-Faith movement

E.W. Kenyon (1867–1948)

Many of the phrases popularised by present-day prosperity preachers, such as, “What I confess, I possess,” were originally coined by Kenyon. Kenneth Hagin… plagiarised much of Kenyon’s work, including the statement, “Every man who has been ‘born again’ is an Incarnation … The believer is as much an Incarnation as was Jesus of Nazareth.” 1

Linked to the Positive Confession movement is the concept of Positive Mental Attitude (PMA). PMA has become the major link between sorcery and Christianity. It is the human potential movement that incorporates the age old Eastern mystique that all men can acquire godhood, that “we can achieve anything we conceive.” 2

The PMA that is promoted in today’s New Age, however, is based upon humanistic psychology’s first article of faith: “Human potential is infinite!” The real Christian is happy and positive in all circumstances because he believes that God, who alone is infinite, loves and cares for him. These two concepts - Christian and PMA - are mutually contradictory, in spite of the sincere people who believe they are the same thing expressed in different language.2

1 http:// endtimespropheticwords.wordpress.com 2 www.rapidnet.com/ ~jbeard/ bdm/ Psychology/ posit.htm

Positive Mental Attitude (PMA)

Those directly responsible for bringing PMA into the professing church are Norman Vincent Peale and Robert Schuller. Napoleon Hill and W. Clement Stone, the originators or the PMA concept, talk about ‘God’ in their books, but their ‘God’ is a metaphysical ‘Divine Power’ that can be tapped into through mind-power techniques (from visualization to positive self-talk and other forms of self-hypnosis and self- image psychology). Hill and Stone don’t substitute PMA for faith, but promote an even more dangerous idea: that PMA and faith are one and the same, that believing in the power of the mind is somehow the same as believing in God; that the human mind is some kind of magic talisman that wields a metaphysical force with infinite potential because, somehow, it is part of what they call Infinite Intelligence. This is the ‘God’ of the mind-science cults and of the New Age. 1

1 www.rapidnet.com/ ~jbeard/ bdm/ Psychology/ posit.htm

Televangelist Robert Schuller

PMA in the church

We need correct teaching based on the Bible, not psychology, humanism or cultic philosophy:

Eph 4:11-14 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY?

Confession – Biblical perspective

The Bible only speaks of confession with regard to ‘confessing sin’ and confessing the Lord’s name.

CONFESSING SIN (i.e. we first make a negative confession to be saved.)

Confessing their sins, they were baptized… (Matt 3:6, Mk 1:5)

Acts 19:18 Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed their evil deeds.

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

CONFESSING THE LORD (This is the only positive confession Scripture instructs us to make.)

Rom 10:9-10 That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.

Phil 2:10-11 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord…

WITH REGARD TO HEALING THE BIBLE NEVER SPEAKS OF CONFESSION BESIDES THE CONFESSION OF SIN

James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.

The Bible doesn’t teach that healing comes from positive (false) confession. Faith is based on true confession of the situation (which is negative), but believing and confessing that God is able to heal despite the situation (positive).

Confession – Biblical perspective

Lam 3:37 Who can speak and have it happen if the Lord has not decreed it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both calamities and good things come?

Jesus commended the Canaanite woman for her “great faith” (Matt 15:28) so let’s consider her example:

A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.” (Matt 15:22)

“My daughter is suffering terribly from demon- possession”: This is a negative but true confession.

“Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me”: The positive confession is that Jesus is Messiah (Son of David) and Lord (i.e. he is able to heal). These are followed by a plea for mercy.

Her great faith was evidenced by her persistence in asking for her daughter’s healing even when Jesus seemingly discourages her. 1

1 Again some teach that to ask more than once indicates a lack of faith. Jesus however commends this woman’s persistence.

Confession – Biblical perspective

When sentenced to the fiery furnace, Daniel’s 3 friends in their statement to Nebuchadnezzar acknowledge both God’s power to deliver them, but also his sovereignty in the matter.

Dan 3:16-18 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

God’s sovereignty & His will

One televangelist writes: “… healing is the will of God for you. Never, ever, ever go to the Lord and say, ‘If it be thy will…’ Don’t allow such faith-destroying words to be spoken from your mouth. When you pray ‘if it be your will, Lord,’ faith is destroyed. Doubt will billow up and flood your being. Be on guard against words like this which will rob you of your faith and drag you down in despair. It is His will. 1

1 Benny Hinn, in his “Rise & Be Healed” (Orlando: Celebration Publishers, Inc., 1991)

God’s sovereignty & His will

Yet Jesus prayed “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42). In this case - we all know that God did not take the cup away, because that would have prevented his will (i.e. man’s redemption) being accomplished.

Faith by itself is of no value if it is not placed in something that it faith-worthy. It is not our words that create the reality – it is the God we pray to who does – subject to His sovereignty and will.

Only God can call the things that be not just as though they were. Romans 4:17 when speaking of Abraham’s faith makes it clear that it was not Abraham, but the “God, in whom he believed” who “calls things that are not as though they were”.

Confession – Biblical perspective

Romans 4:17 He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed -the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.

Prosperity

Material wealth, spiritual poverty

YOU ARE RICH, YET YOU ARE POOR

Jesus is outside the door of the Laodicean church because He is not needed. The Laodiceans say, “I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.” (Rev 3:17)

Despite their material wealth and sense of self-sufficiency, Jesus (who has been left outside the door) says that “you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.” (Rev 3:17)

YOU ARE POOR, YET YOU ARE RICH

Contrast this with Smyrna who were materially poor, but spiritually rich, “I know your afflictions and your poverty – yet you are rich!” (Rev 2:9)

Appeal to greed

An ‘evangelist’ says, “If you give $100 you’ll get $1000 in return. If you give $1000, you’ll get $10000. If you give $2000, all your debts will be cancelled.”

They appeal to the greed in people. The mentality is if you want something from people show them how they will profit from it.

Some prosperity teachers use the words of Jesus “he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor” (Luke 4:18) to say that the good news (i.e. “gospel” 1) was that they could be rich.

Paul’s definition of the gospel (i.e. the good news) is “… the gospel… is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes… For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.’” (Romans 1:16-17)

The following passage is often used out-of-context about giving money,

Luke 6:37-38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

1 Wikipedia: The word gospel derives from the Old English god-spell, meaning “good tidings” or “good news”. It is a word-for-word translation of the Greek word εὐαγγέλιον, euangelion (eu- “good”, -angelion “message”). The Greek word “euangelion” is also the source of the term “evangelist” in English. The authors of the 4 canonical Christian gospels are known as the 4 evangelists.

but the context is clearly about giving forgiveness:

Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.

A false gospel

Are the

prosperous

more

godly?

Was Jesus or his family rich as some prosperity preachers allege?

In the law God commanded a woman who had given birth to sacrifice a lamb, but if she was poor she could sacrifice 2 doves or 2 pigeons.

Lev 12:7-8 These are the regulations for the woman who gives birth to a boy or a girl. If she cannot afford a lamb, she is to bring two doves or two young pigeons, one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering.

Note what Joseph and Mary offered (i.e. they could not afford a lamb.)

Luke 2:22-24 When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”), and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”

Speaking of herself, Mary said that God “has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.” (Lk 1:53)

If Jesus was rich, why would he ride on a borrowed donkey and be buried in a borrowed tomb?

Was Jesus rich?

If Jesus was rich from the gold given at his birth (as some claim) he would not have needed to work as a carpenter.

Archeological excavations of Nazareth from the 1950’s show the village of Jesus’ day was occupied by poor agricultural people. As Jesus grew up he worked in the trade of a carpenter, not a trade known for its wealth. 1

Prosperity teachers say, “Jesus was not poor… Jesus had a nice house! John 1:38 says that Jesus turned to those that were following him and said, “Come with me.” And they said, “Where dwellest thou?” He said, “Come and see.” And Jesus took that whole crowd home with Him to stay in His house. That meant it was a big house!” 2

An examination of John 1:37-40 3 reveals that Jesus invited only 2 men into the house and not a crowd. A house does not have to be very large for Jesus plus 2 men. Also there is no indication that he owned the house – it simply says he stayed there.

1 www.demonictimes.com/ Was%20Jesus%20Rich.html 2 “Our God is Rich.” (www.livingknowledge.ca/ tian/ financialSuccess.htm) 3 When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?” They said, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.” So they went and saw where he was staying, and spent that day with him.

Was Jesus rich?

Did Jesus even have a house?

Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” (Matt 8:20)

If Jesus was rich, why did he get Peter to ‘fish’ for a coin to pay their temple tax; he should have already had it? (Matt 17:24-27)

In John’s Gospel, the Roman soldiers who crucified Jesus are depicted gambling for his ‘seamless’ undergarment. 1 Prosperity teachers claim that they were a nobleman’s garments. “If his clothes were a poor man’s clothes, why would centurions gamble for it?” they ask.

“It was ordinary for prisoners to be stripped naked and looted by soldiers,” says Sondra Ely Wheeler, an ethicist at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.

“It ill becomes the servant to seek to be rich, and great, and honoured in that world where his Lord was poor, and mean, and despised.” (George Müller)

1 John 19:23-24 When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. “Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.”

Was Jesus rich?

Despite the conjecture of many, the Bible gives only one motive for Judas betraying Jesus – money.

Matt 26:14-15 Then… Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty silver coins. 1

One prosperity teacher says, “The Bible says that He (Jesus) had a treasurer-a treasury; that they had one man who was the treasurer, named Judas Iscariot; and the rascal was stealing out of the bag for three-and-a-half years and nobody knew that he was stealing. You know why? Because there was so much in it, He couldn’t tell.”

Read the gospel of John. Nowhere does it say that they didn’t realise Judas was a thief. John attributes Judas’ comment about Mary’s anointing of Jesus feet to the fact that he was a thief, “He (Judas) did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.” (John 12:6)

Besides if there was so much money in the bag, why was Judas tempted to betray Jesus for money? He already had a supply.

1 This was a sufficient sum for Judas to purchase a field (Acts 1:18)

Was Jesus rich?

A Prosperity teacher says, “He [also] wants His children to eat the best, He wants them to wear the best clothing, He wants them to drive the best cars, and He wants them to have the best of everything.” 1

Yet Paul writes “To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. We work hard with our own hands.” (1 Cor 4:11-12)

The apostle Peter said to the lame man, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” (Acts 3:6)

Most Western churches today cannot say, “Silver or gold I do not have”.

Neither can they say, “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”

1 Kenneth Hagin

What about the early Church?

Imagine the modern message going to the 2nd to 3rd century Church?

Friends, your best days are not behind you. They’re still out in front of you.

The more you kill, the more we are. The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.

The pleasure of those who injure you lies in your pain. Therefore they will suffer if you take away their pleasure by not feeling pain.

But according to the diversity by which we are distinguished from them (the pagans), it is fitting for us to lay down not our soul for money, but money for our soul…

What Tertullian actually said

And what of the martyrs who died to give us the Bible in our own language?

Choose to start your day by declaring what God says about you. Declare, “I am blessed. I am prosperous. I am healthy and strong.’’ Friend, when you start speaking like that, all of heaven takes notice… Blessings are set in motion. Before you know it, you are living the good life He promised and moving forward into the destiny of blessing He has in store for you!

Declare, “I am blessed. I am prosperous. I am healthy and strong.’’

“My overcoat is worn out; my shirts also are worn out. And I ask to be allowed to have a lamp in the evening; it is indeed wearisome sitting alone in the dark.”

(William Tyndale -in prison before being martyred).

What Tyndale actually said.

And our missionary martyrs who died fulfilling the Great Commission?

Ed McCully, Peter Fleming & Jim Elliot

You are destined for blessing! Are you living the good life that God has prearranged for you?

What Jim Elliot actually said

Martyred in Ecuador in 1956 along with Nate Saint and Roger Youderian.

He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.

One of the reasons that Torrey listed in his sermon, “Why God Used D.L. Moody” was Moody’s “His entire freedom from the love of money”:

The fifth secret of D.L. Moody’s continual power and usefulness was his entire freedom from the love of money. Mr. Moody might have been a wealthy man, but money had no charms for him. He loved to gather money for God’s work; he refused to accumulate money for himself. He told me during the World’s Fair that if he had taken, for himself, the royalties on the hymnbooks which he had published, they would have amounted, at that time, to a million dollars. But Mr. Moody refused to touch the money… Millions of dollars passed into Mr. Moody hands, but they passed through; they did not stick to his fingers. 1

Hudson Taylor wrote to his wife during one difficult time in the work of the China Inland Mission, “We have twenty-five cents – and all the promises of God!”

1 R.A. Torrey

What of the Missionary century?

D. L. Moody (1837 - 1899)

The fastest growing churches in the world today are in China and Africa, yet these are the most persecuted and poorest churches. The Western church is in decline.

One cannot reconcile the prosperity teaching with the persecution we see of believers who are very pure and dedicated Christians.

What about the persecuted church?

“The path of following the Lord Jesus Christ is not an easy one. Along the way lies suffering and hardship, but nothing we experience will ever compare to the suffering Jesus endured for us on the cross. I have a problem with the ‘prosperity’ teaching prevalent today, which tells us if we follow the Lord we’ll be safe and comfortable. This is completely contrary to Scripture as well as to our experiences in China. In addition to serving years in prison, I’ve been arrested about thirty different times for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ. To follow God is a call not only to live for him, but to die for him also.” (‘The Heavenly Man’ Brother Yun)

The net worth of Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft Corporation, soared over $100B in the 90’s. For 13 years he topped the Forbes World’s Billionaires list until 2007. In 2008 he dropped to No.3, being worth a more modest $57B. In 2009 his net worth dropped to $40B but he regained the No.1 position (Warren Buffet dropping by $25B to $37B and Carlos Slim Helú dropping by $25B to $35B). 1

In a 1995 interview, he was asked, “Do you believe in the Sermon on the Mount?” Gates responded, “I don’t. I’m not somebody who goes to church on a regular basis. The specific elements of Christianity are not something I’m a huge believer in. There’s a lot of merit in the moral aspects of religion. I think it can have a very, very positive impact.” 2

Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matt 6:19-21)

1 According to www.associatedcontent.com if he worked 16 hours a day, every day of the year, Bill would make almost $9M per hour. That’s more than most people make in their life. He earns about $116,000 per minute, which turns out to be almost $3,000 a second. He makes more in a minute than most people do in a month 2 www.theamericanview.com

The world’s richest man (1995-2007)

According to TIME magazine:

Melinda is Catholic, goes to church and wants to raise Jennifer that way. “But she offered me a deal,” Gates says. “If I start going to church - my family was Congregationalist - then Jennifer could be raised in whatever religion I choose.” Gates admits that he is tempted, because he would prefer she have a religion that “has less theology and all” than Catholicism, but he has not yet taken up the offer. “Just in terms of allocation of time resources, religion is not very efficient,” he explains. “There’s a lot more I could be doing on a Sunday morning.” 1

Jesus said, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?” (Matt 16:26 - NASB)

Jesus also said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” (Matt 24:35)

1 www.time.com

The world’s richest man (2009)

Indeed many unrighteous men prosper. This was something that initially troubled Asaph until he “understood their final destiny”:

Psalm 73:2-26 But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. They are free from the burdens common to man; they are not plagued by human ills… This is what the wicked are like— always carefree, they increase in wealth. Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure; in vain have I washed my hands in innocence. All day long I have been plagued; I have been punished every morning. If I had said, “I will speak thus,” I would have betrayed your children. When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny. Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin. How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors! As a dream when one awakes, so when you arise, O Lord, you will despise them as fantasies… Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Why do some ungodly men prosper?

It’s easy to preach a prosperity gospel in the affluent West. Try preaching it to Christians in a Communist, Muslim or Third World country.

There are many faithful believers who live modestly and will never have more than the basic necessities of life. Yet they are content to have what they have. The prosperity teachers ridicule such and say that they only have that little because they don’t trust God for more; the fact of their contentment (which is highly regarded by God) is looked upon as a lack of faith. And they are chastised because they haven’t got the faith to get more so they can give more. 1

1 www.rapidnet.com/ ~jbeard/ bdm/ Psychology/ posit.htm

Are the prosperous more godly?

Prosperity:

Biblical perspective

Concerning the last days, Paul writes, “There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be… lovers of money” (2 Tim 3:1-2).

Paul warns of a false doctrine of those who “think that godliness is a means to financial gain” i.e. the prosperity doctrine:

1 Tim 6:3-10 If anyone teaches false doctrines… men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain… For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.

Yet the pastor of the largest American Mega church says “God wants us to prosper financially, to have plenty of money, to fulfill the destiny He has laid out for us” and “It’s God’s will for you to live in prosperity instead of poverty.”

Note the Biblical requirements for elders (i.e. overseers) and pastors (the word pastor means “shepherd”):

“Now the overseer must be above reproach… not a lover of money.” (1 Tim 3:2)

“To the elders among you… Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers - not because you must, but because you are willing… not greedy for money” (1 Pet 5:1-2).

Money – Biblical perspective

There is much in Luke’s gospel about money.

Luke 18:22-25 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

Money – Biblical perspective

When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth. Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

While the rich ruler in Luke 18 turns away when Jesus tells him to “Sell everything you have and give to the poor” in Luke 19 the wealthy, but sinful Zacchaeus says to Jesus, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” Jesus took this as evidence of his repentance and responded, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham.”

Jesus said “You cannot serve both God and Money” (Luke 16:13). The young ruler had money as his God. While he claimed to have kept the 6 commandments concerning his relationship with people, he had failed in his relationship with God, “You shall have no other gods before me.” (Ex 20:3)

Money – Biblical perspective

You cannot serve both God and Money.”

2 masters

CHALLENGE: Complete the following half-quoted verse:

Luke 16:13-15 “No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.

After indicating that some people serve money in place of God, Luke goes on to say:

The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.” (Luke 16:14-15)

Listen to what Jesus had to say to a man who brought what may seem like a reasonable request to us – his brother refused to give him his share in the inheritance and he wanted Jesus to intervene:

Luke 12:13-14 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

Highly valued among men

Luke 12:16-19 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’

The rich fool

Luke 12:20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ 1

Matt 16:26 “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?”

1 PICTURE SOURCE: “This was your life”: Chick Publications

The rich fool

When Jesus talks of the beggar Lazarus and the rich man, it’s the poor Lazarus who goes to paradise while the rich man goes to hell. While the poor man never went to heaven because he was poor, Jesus clearly shows that the poor are not under God’s curse.

Luke 16:19-25 There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side.

Prov 21:13 If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered.

The beggar & the rich man

Then Jesus commends the ‘poor widow’ in contrast to the ‘rich people’.

Luke 21:1-4 As he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. “I tell you the truth,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”

Mark tells us that “many rich people threw in large amounts” (Mark 12:41-44). Yet there is no rebuke from Jesus because the widow was poor.

The poor widow and the rich people

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth…But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven… (Matt 6:19-21)

I’ve seen many a hearse, but never one with a trailer behind.

When he lost his wealth, Job said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart.” (Job 1:21)

Solomon said something similar, “Naked a man comes from his mother’s womb, and as he comes, so he departs. He takes nothing from his labor that he can carry in his hand.” (Eccl 5:15)

1 Tim 6:7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.

Naked we come, naked we go

Luke also records Jesus words, “But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort. Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry.” (Luke 6:24-25)

Wealth is one of the things that can make you unfruitful and spiritually immature:

Luke 8:14 The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.

Matt 13:22 The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.

The love of money can cause you to wander from the faith:

1 Tim 6:10-11 Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.

“When I have money, I get rid of it quickly, lest it find a way into my heart.” (John Wesley)

Spiritual barrenness

The more wealth – the less sleep

Eccl 5:12 The sleep of a laborer is sweet, whether he eats little or much, but the abundance of a rich man permits him no sleep.

Riches tend to make people greedy and self-indulgent:

James 5:1-5 Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter.

Sleep, greed & self-indulgence

This year the world’s billionaires have an average net worth of $3B, down 23% in 12 months. The world has 793 billionaires, down from 1,125 a year ago… $1.4 trillion vanished… Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson came in at 261, with his fortune shrinking from $4.4B to $2.5B during the year. 1

Prov 23:4-5 Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint. Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.

Prov 11:28 Whoever trusts in his riches will fall…

1 Tim 6:17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God….

James 1:10-11 But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower. For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business.

1 Source: www.forbes.com

Riches are fleeting

One of the richest men who ever lived was King Solomon. He wrote in Ecclesiastes 2:4-11:

“I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards. I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. I bought male and female slaves… I also owned more herds and flocks than anyone in Jerusalem before me. I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces. I acquired men and women singers, and a harem as well… I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for all my labor. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained….”

Money cannot give your life meaning

A very wealthy man was once asked how much more money would it take to make him happy? He answered, “One dollar more, always one dollar more.”

Reminds us of what Solomon wrote, “Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless.” (Eccl 5:10)

MONEY WILL BUY:

A bed, but not sleep.

Books, but not brains.

Food, but not appetite.

A house, but not a home.

Medicine, but not health.

Pleasure, but not joy.

Makeup, but not beauty.

Companions, but not real friends.

A crucifix, but not a Saviour!

Money can’t buy happiness

Dangers of the

“health & wealth”

gospel

If people have a poor foundation (or root) in Biblical doctrine and believe that they should always be “healthy and wealthy”, when things go wrong, they can become disillusioned and fall away. This is why sound foundational doctrine is important

Matt 13:20-21 The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away.

Matt 7:26-27 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

Let’s look at some views on positive confession and prosperity from:

The Assemblies of God

Charismatics

The Word-Faith pioneer Kenneth Hagin

Dangers of “health & wealth” gospel

A/ G perspective

… the Assemblies of God issued an official statement in 1980 on “The Believer and Positive Confession”. It is a sound, balanced view of the issues of faith, healing, miracles, prayer and the life of a believer. The statement demonstrates how the excesses of the word-faith theology “are in conflict with the Word of God”. It correctly points out that true biblical faith considers the will and sovereignty of God which can be discerned from a sound hermeneutic (i.e., rules of Bible interpretation). In admirable pastoral concern, the statement concludes with, “God's Word does teach great truths such as healing, provision for need, faith, and the authority of believers. But these truths must always be considered in the framework of the total teaching of Scripture. When abuses occur, there is sometimes a temptation to draw back from these great truths of God's Word. The fact that doctrinal aberrations develop, however is not a reason for rejecting or remaining silent concerning them.” 1

1 Source: Watchman Fellowship, Inc (www.watchman.org/ reltop/ charisma.htm) - Watchman’s staff is comprised of Baptists, Presbyterians, Assemblies of God members, etc. They state, “Our staff knows that God does heal and does the miraculous. Most of Watchman’s staff believe in the continuance of the miraculous gifts for today… To drive this point home it is important for the follower of the word-faith teachers to know that many Pentecostals and Charismatics are very critical of the word-faith theology.”

Dr. George Wood wrote about the many people he has seen who have experienced “devastating spiritual and psychological damage caused by the positive confession movement.”

He observes that there are 3 basic faulty assumptions controlling the “positive confession” theology.

God wills perfect health, total healing, and complete prosperity for every believer.

God has obligated Himself to heal every sickness and to financially prosper those who have faith.

Any failure is caused by a lack of faith or sin in the individual’s life.

Dr. Wood comments that these teachers “have missed the Bible in three ways: They twist particular verses out of their plain meaning; they refuse to deal with Scriptures which plainly have different meanings than those of the ‘positive confession;’ and they fail to let the Bible speak for itself”. 1

1 Dr. George Wood, Mountain Movers, July 1988 (www.watchman.org)

Dr. George Wood - current General Superintendent of the US Assemblies of God

Well known charismatic, David Wilkerson (of “The Cross & the Switchblade” fame), writes in the late Keith Green’s Last Days Ministries newsletter, that he too has seen many Christians “throughout our nation, whose faith is shipwrecked” because of the ‘faith’ movement.”

He writes that they began to “believe that getting every desire of the heart depended simply on getting their formulas correct. They were challenged to launch out in God for prosperity, perfect health, and whatever else their minds could conceive. Conceive then believe. That includes removing from your vocabulary any negative thoughts, words, or confessions.”

Wilkerson comments, “My friends, that kind of theology is silly,” and proceeds to present the correct teaching about God’s nature and loving relationship in the believer’s life. 1

1 www.watchman.org/ reltop/ charisma.htm

David Wilkerson

A Charismatics perspective

Of course one of the most thorough, scholarly works done in this area is the book “A Different Gospel”, written by D.R. McConnell of Oral Roberts University, himself an unapologetic Charismatic. 1

Dr. Gordon Fee, theology professor at Gordon-Conwell seminary has dealt with the exegetical and interpretive errors of the health and wealth teachings in two articles, one published in The Pentecostal Evangel and the other in Agora, which have been combined into a booklet titled, “The Disease of the Health and Wealth Gospels”. Fee points out in passage after passage that those who accept the word-faith teaching are doing so because they want to and because it appeals to man’s base selfish desires. No one can possibly come to their conclusions based on an accurate exegesis and historical view of the Bible. 1

Dr. Charles Farah, Jr. was Professor of Theology and Historical Studies at Oral Roberts University and wrote an excellent article for Pneuma: The Journal of the Society for Pentecostal Studies titled, “A Critical Analysis: The ‘Roots and Fruits’ of Faith-Formula Theology”. He summarizes his article by noting, “The movement… shares many of the goals of present day humanism, particularly in regards to the creaturely comforts.” 1

1 Source: Watchman Fellowship, Inc. - www.watchman.org/ reltop/ charisma.htm

Charismatics perspective

Before he died in 2003, the revered father of the Word-Faith movement corrected his spiritual sons for going to extremes with their message of prosperity. Charismatic Bible teacher Kenneth Hagin Sr. is considered the father of the so-called prosperity gospel. The folksy, self-trained “Dad Hagin” started a grass-roots movement in Oklahoma that produced a Bible college and a crop of famous preachers including Kenneth Copeland, Jerry Savelle, Charles Capps, Jesse DuPlantis, Creflo Dollar and dozens of others - all of whom teach that Christians who give generously should expect financial rewards on this side of heaven. 1

Hagin taught that God was not glorified by poverty and that preachers do not have to be poor. But before he died in 2003 and left his Rhema Bible Training Center in the hands of his son, Kenneth Hagin Jr., he summoned many of his colleagues to Tulsa to rebuke them for distorting his message. 1 1 Fire In My Bones - Lee Grady (2008).

Kenneth Hagin’s Forgotten Warning

Kenneth Hagin Sr. (1917-2003)

He was not happy that some of his followers were manipulating the Bible to support what he viewed as greed and selfish indulgence. Those who were close to Hagin Sr. say he was passionate about correcting these abuses before he died. In fact, he wrote a brutally honest book to address his concerns. The Midas Touch was published in 2000, a year after the infamous Tulsa meeting. Many Word-Faith ministers ignored the book. But in light of the recent controversy over prosperity doctrines, it might be a good idea to dust it off and read it again. Here are a few of the points Hagin made in The Midas Touch: 1

Financial prosperity is not a sign of God’s blessing. Hagin wrote: “If wealth alone were a sign of spirituality, then drug traffickers and crime bosses would be spiritual giants. Material wealth can be connected to the blessings of God or it can be totally disconnected from the blessings of God.” 1

People should never give in order to get. Hagin was critical of those who “try to make the offering plate some kind of heavenly vending machine.” He denounced those who link giving to getting, especially those who give cars to get new cars or who give suits to get new suits. He wrote: “There is no spiritual formula to sow a Ford and reap a Mercedes.” 1 1 Fire In My Bones - Lee Grady

Kenneth Hagin’s Forgotten Warning

It is not biblical to “name your seed” in an offering. Hagin was horrified by this practice, which was popularized in faith conferences during the 1980s. Faith preachers sometimes tell donors that when they give in an offering they should claim a specific benefit to get a blessing in return. Hagin rejected this idea and said that focusing on what you are going to receive “corrupts the very attitude of our giving nature.” 1

The “hundredfold return” is not a biblical concept. Hagin did the math and figured out that if this bizarre notion were true, “we would have Christians walking around with not billions or trillions of dollars, but quadrillions of dollars!” He rejected the popular teaching that a believer should claim a specific monetary payback rate. 1

Preachers who claim to have a “debt-breaking” anointing should not be trusted. Hagin was perplexed by ministers who promise “supernatural debt cancellation” to those who give in certain offerings. He wrote in The Midas Touch: 2 “There is not one bit of Scripture I know about that validates such a practice. I’m afraid it is simply a scheme to raise money for the preacher, and ultimately it can turn out to be dangerous and destructive for all involved.” 1

1 Fire In My Bones - Lee Grady. Grady is editor of Charisma. 2 The Midas Touch is available from Kenneth Hagin Ministries at rhema.org.

Kenneth Hagin’s Forgotten Warning

(Many evangelists who appear on Christian television today use this bogus claim. Usually they insist that the miraculous debt cancellation will occur only if a person “gives right now,” as if the anointing for this miracle suddenly evaporates after the prime time viewing hour. This manipulative claim is more akin to witchcraft than Christian belief.) 1

Kenneth Hagin’s Forgotten Warning

Hagin condemned other harebrained gimmicks designed to trick audiences into emptying their wallets. He was especially incensed when a preacher told his radio listeners that he would take their prayer requests to Jesus’ empty tomb in Jerusalem and pray over them there - if donors included a special love gift. “What that radio preacher really wanted was more people to send in offerings,” Hagin wrote. 1

Hagin told his followers: “Overemphasizing or adding to what the Bible actually teaches invariably does more harm than good.” If the man who pioneered the modern concept of biblical prosperity blew the whistle on his own movement, wouldn’t it make sense for us to listen to his admonition? 1

1 Fire In My Bones - Lee Grady

MONEY:

The Balance

However we mustn’t let the prosperity excesses detract from the fact that God does expect us to give and does bless some materially so that they may have a special gift of giving:

Rom 12:6-8 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift… is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously…

There were wealthy men in the Bible like Abraham, Job and the godly kings of Judah. However the Bible doesn’t teach that all the godly must be rich or that all the ungodly are poor.

After having warned Timothy about the dangers of “the love of money” Paul the gives this instruction showing that there were also some wealthy Christians in the Ephesian church:

1 Tim 6:17-19 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant… Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

Money – The balance

In 1 Corinthians 9, Paul does use the principle of sowing and reaping to refer to a material harvest and to indicate that full time ministers are entitled to support. (He does take pains though to indicate that he himself had forfeited this right to prevent any hindrance to their ministry.)

1 Cor 9:4-14 Don’t we have the right to food and drink?… Or is it only I and Barnabas who must work for a living? Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its grapes? Who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk? Do I say this merely from a human point of view? Doesn’t the Law say the same thing? For it is written in the Law of Moses: “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.” Is it about oxen that God is concerned? Surely he says this for us, doesn’t he? Yes, this was written for us, because when the plowman plows and the thresher threshes, they ought to do so in the hope of sharing in the harvest. If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you? If others have this right of support from you, shouldn’t we have it all the more? But we did not use this right. On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ. Don’t you know that those who work in the temple get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.

Money – The balance

Likewise in 2 Corinthians 9 Paul uses the seed analogy when collecting money to help the struggling church in Jerusalem. (Note how some believers were struggling financially while others were blessed).

2 Cor 9:5-6 So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to visit you in advance and finish the arrangements for the generous gift you had promised. Then it will be ready as a generous gift, not as one grudgingly given. Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.

There should be no coercion used:

2 Cor 9:7 Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver…

Money – The balance

Paul continues to show that when God blesses us financially it is so that we “can be generous on every occasion” i.e. it is not so that we can self-indulge in extravagant lifestyles, but for “supplying the needs of God’s people” and helping the poor.

2 Cor 9:10-12 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.

Prov 19:17 He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward him for what he has done.

Prov 14:31 He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.

“Do not think me mad. It is not to make money that I believe a Christian should live. The noblest thing a man can do is, just humbly to receive, and then go amongst others and give.” (David Livingstone)

Money – The balance

We are simply stewards i.e. our money belongs to God and we administer it. Jesus uses the parable of the shrewd manager to emphasize our stewardship with regards to “our money”:

Luke 16:9-12 I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?

After telling the parable of the rich fool, Jesus again refers to the fact that we are stewards:

Luke 12:21 But God said to him, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?” This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.

Money – The balance

The secret is contentment, not riches

Phil 4:11-13 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

1 Tim 6:6-9 But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.

Heb 13:5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

Agur prays “… give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God. (Prov 30:8-9)

Money – Biblical perspective

A warning

and

an invite

Living in Laodicea

During his farewell speech, Thomas E. Trask, the former U.S. Assemblies of God General Superintendent, encouraged the largest Pentecostal denomination in the world to uphold righteousness and reject all forms of sin. “What many churches are offering America is a new religion that guarantees no hell and requires no holiness,” Trask said. “It is a limp, spineless Christianity that does not confront sin for fear of being judgmental. It is an impotent gospel that tells people everything is OK.” 1

1 www.charismamag.com

Thomas E. Trask

Warning about continuation in this condition.

Rev 3:16 So, because you are lukewarm -neither hot nor cold - I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

Exhortation

Rev 3:18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

Still loved

Rev 3:19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent.

The warning

What is the special word Jesus has for our rich, materialistic & lukewarm churches?

Rev 3:20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.

Rev 3:21-22 To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

The invite

COPYRIGHT INFORMATION

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are taken from the NIV: THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. (http:// www.Lockman.org)

Scripture quotations are taken from the ESV: Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.




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