Sunday, August 19, 2018

Is Not Prosperity The Will of God? If Yes, What Is Wrong With Prosperity Gospel?

Is Prosperity Preaching Causing Spiritual Cancers On The Soul Of The Hearers?

By Abraham Israel

Looking on the well dressed in nice suit, golden ring in one's finger, golden bracelet and quality shoe on one's feet never can convey the true spirituality of a person. A man can have all the wealth, yet can choose to be poor in the spirit and have a broken heart which the Lord loves
(Matt 5:3; Isa 66:2). Look at David and Abraham, they were wealthy, but their heart was not set on wealth but on God who gave them the wealth (Gen 13:2; 22:12; 1 Sam 13:14; Acts 13:22). God clearly conveys the truth that we should not judge by what we see but rather by what we hear from God (Isa 11:3-4; 50:4) as God says, "Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." (1 Sam 16:7). A human can be rich and yet spiritually very poor, or a person can be poor but yet spiritually rich in faith (Jam 2:5). A person who is rich has a tendency to trust in his riches rather than God, a poor person too has a tendency to trust God easily when there is nothing else in his life but to depend on God who provides to those who trust Him (1 Tim 6:17-19).

Is It Wrong To Be Prosperous?

It is not wrong to be rich, but to set one's heart on prosperity and riches is absolutely wrong because only God is worthy of filling our heart and its desire fully. God has given the rich all the riches so that he can use the riches he has to share his riches for good works like helping the needy, supporting for the extension of the Kingdom of God, being ready to give, willing to share, thus by doing they are storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on to the riches of the eternal life. Jesus Christ though was the richest person in the entire universe,
"yet for your sakes He became [so very] poor, in order that by His poverty you might become enriched (abundantly supplied)" (2 Cor 8:9, Amp), with all the spiritual blessings to help us live a effective life to fulfill the purpose of God for our lives (Eph 1:3; Acts 13:36). Poverty exists in the world because of the inequality among humans, which further exists because of the sin nature that acts through them (Prov 22:2, 16). So poverty and failure in itself may not be a permanent state for every person who is diligent to use His resources that God provides to build (Prov 10:4). It is not wrong to be born poor, but to stay poor is a crime of laziness of mind that must not be entertained. In other words, a person who is truly poor is the one who is poor in his mind. When a person knows the world and all the things that are in it belongs to the Lord, in a moment of time, by becoming a child of God, there is a chance for them to become rich with all the riches in all the world spiritually (Psa 24:1-3). Though God is able to make all His children rich, but he chooses to keep them supplied with the need and not the greed, because God concentrates to build His very own character of giving in his children and make them fit to receive the eternal riches for the life lived by them according to his purpose in this world. God knows that the very blessing of riches can become a snare to them to keep them from fulfilling his very purpose and will for their lives, so for the benefit of the spiritual life of his children now and the eternal dividend that is waiting to be received in the future by them for living a purposeful life now, God supplies the need of His children. 

The emphasis of the New Testament is not on the material, as the world with sin will have injustice until the Kingdom of God comes to take over it very soon at the Second Coming of Jesus, its emphasis is being rich in faith and then being rich materially with God supplying all the needs and not the greed of one's heart
(Rev 19:14-15; 20:4-5; Php 4:19; Prov 23:4; 3:5). But there is no pressure put on anyone by the New Testament writers to become rich, instead they have only warned against having the desire to become rich materially which leads them in to all unlawful ways of evil and losing the focus on the eternal life ahead which is more important for humans as only wholehearted devotion towards God can make them rich for eternity ahead (1 Tim 6:9-11; Matt 16:26). In the New Testament, it is not God or the Devil to choose, but the choice is rather between God or the Mammon [(i.e.) money, material wealth, or any entity that promises wealth, and is associated with the greedy pursuit of gain.] Whom will we serve is the question? So where does the prosperity Gospel of health and wealth stand? With God or against God? Is it speaking in favor of Mammon or against it? Surely the prosperity Gospel as we can easily identify is more tilted toward material accumulation and comfortable life, more than living sacrificially to fulfill the purpose and will of God for our lives. Jesus proved that being poor materially, does not restrain anybody from fulfilling the will of God and purpose of God for his life (Luke 9:58). In other words, you do not need tons of money to do a powerful ministry, and give that as a reason to the people of God for you receiving more and more money to feed yourself and your own desire instead of sacrificially doing ministry for the Glory of God. And this is what matters at the end of our life. Have we used what we have to serve God faithfully and fulfill His will?, if yes, then more will be given to fulfill the will of God in greater capacity in our lives (Matt 13:12).

Prosperity Theology And God Cannot Go Together, Only One We Can Choose To Pursue!

Prosperity theology
[(i.e.) sometimes referred to as the prosperity gospel, the health and wealth gospel, the gospel of success or seed faith] is a religious belief among some Christians, who hold that financial blessing and physical well-being are always the will of God for them, and that faith, positive speech, and donations to religious causes will increase one's material wealth. Prosperity theology views the Bible as a contract between God and humans: if humans have faith in God, he will deliver security and prosperity.

The so called prosperity of health and wealth which gets hotly pursued by people of prosperity theology, who instead of pursuing God with a whole heart, without their conscious knowledge because of deception they start to pursue mammon which then becomes the prime idol of their heart
(Ezek 14:3). These who believe atonement ((i.e.) reconciliation with God) to be interpreted to include the alleviation of sickness and poverty, which are viewed as curses to be broken by faith, though they are not wrong completely but the tainted motive behind the object of pursuit and devotion which gets shifted towards prosperity is automatically and wrongly taken by them as the will of God for all believers so that they can justify their unrestrained pursuit to gain health and wealth in this earthly life, forgetting the very warning of Jesus who said, "Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God." (Matt 19:24). This shows that the impossibility of pursuing both mammon and God at the same time, and it also teaches us that prosperity Gospel is a subtle test to the end time believers to stand for God and his will by rejecting the filthy lucre which replaces God in one's heart and dethrones him (Matt 6:24; Luke 16:13; 1 Thess 5:3-7).

Jesus through apostle John has warned the end time Church to be vigilant against the prosperity Gospel, or else they will die in their sins without ever coming to know that they were never saved at all by the blood of Jesus
(Rev 3:17-18; John 8:24). Religion does not save us, but our faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ saves us. When the unbelieving Goats mix with the believing Sheeps, the end time Church will become blind enough because of the prosperity Gospel not to know the difference between those who are saved and those who are not saved to just adhere to the confession of the statement of faith which does not save them. So let us not be lulled in to sleep by this false Gospel of prosperity which ruins the soul of the hearers (1 Thess 5:3), but let us heed to the end time warning of Jesus to stay awake (1 Thess 5:5-6), and "watch therefore, and pray always that we may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:36). Praise the Lord!

Prosperity Theology Is A Theology Of Financial Gain

Paul the apostle knew about this tricky doctrine of prosperity back in his days and said,
"3 If anyone teaches another doctrine and disagrees with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and with godly teaching, 4 he is conceited and understands nothing. Instead, he has an unhealthy interest in controversies and semantics, out of which come envy, strife, abusive talk, evil suspicions, 5 and constant friction between men of depraved mind who are devoid of the truth. These men regard godliness as a means of gain." (1 Tim 6:3-5). So there is a ungodly teaching in the mouth of the false prophets which understands within the recesses of their mind and soul which are depraved, that this preaching and teaching of the Word of God and their so called external form of "godliness [is actually used] .. as a means of gain", thus becoming now to be exactly like the false prophets of the Old Testament, who were as much called by God as the true prophet, but because of their wrong motive to use their calling as a means of gain, their own lustful imaginations and the deceiving spirits that operated in them were always prophesying through them peace and prosperity for all people who came to them, instead of pointing out their sin and helping them to repent of their evil deeds by looking to God and his salvation (Ezek 13:1-23).

God further says through His prophet Jeremiah that these false prophets,
"...offer superficial treatments for my people's mortal wounds [that has come because of their sinful lifestyle]. [Then,] they give assurances of peace when there is no peace." (Jer 6:14, NLT). In other words, people who had a external religion without a internal transformation were prophesied over by these false prophets for money sake, and the dreadful results that has come in to their lives because of sin were covered by them with nice prophetic words of prosperity and peace when the actual message from God to them is exactly the opposite (Isa 48:22). The unsaved were not told to repent and receive salvation, and the saved were not told to practice the truth and do righteousness, instead the prophets prophesied prosperity and peace to the unbelievers lives when they were not saved at all, and the wayward believer in sin were not told to repent of their evil deeds and look to the Lord for forgiveness of sin through confession and fellowship with God. O what a deceit that has been promoted! Because they were like white washed tombs themselves, they too white washed tomb walls of others which needed new life instead of a good word of deceit which killed them with poison of the prosperity gospel whose end will be according to their works when they are never saved at all (Matt 23:27-28; Jer 5:31; 2 Cor 11:15).

The Gospel In Itself Is Prosperous, But Make Sure The Priorities Are Right!!

The gospel in itself is prosperous that is why Jesus said,
“If you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you.” (John 15:7) and "Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name." (John 15:7). The joy of receiving freely is the very basis of the Gospel, all we do is to give our sins, worries, sicknesses, diseases, sorrow, pains, weaknesses, heart break, debts, chaos, God and in exchange by the prosperity that the Gospel provides, we receive provision, joy, peace, righteousness, health, healing, forgiveness of our sins, comfort, love, etc...which cannot be received if the Gospel is not prosperous.

But the true Gospel is not what we can get from God, but rather what we can give to God for what God has already sacrificially given in His Son which is the best he could give to the entire humanity as a gift to us, so that by following his example we can become a conduit of God's blessing to all the people around us and in all the world
(Rom 8:32). God expects us to realize the greatness of His gift which is the Lord Jesus Christ and give our own body as a living sacrifice for Him to use it, and bring glory to Him just as Jesus did when he was alive on this earth (Heb 10:5; 1 Pet 2:21-25). Now Jesus has become the shepherd and guardian of our soul, therefore the priority of prosperity that God values is not the temporal gain, but eternal gain that will stay with us for eternity ahead. So all the earthly provisions are promised by God if we seek first the highest priority of the Kingdom purpose, which is to be conformed to the image of His Son by dying to our self, and let God live through us (Luke 9:23; Matt 16:24), and then the saving of fellow souls around us and collect eternal treasures in heaven for our service on earth (Matt 6:19-21, 24-34). Earthly material survival is now taken care of God if we seek the Kingdom and his righteousness first to fulfill His purpose for our lives, but God never entertains greed but provides faithfully for our needs. Material things are a addition of blessings, to the already provided God's greatest spiritual blessings that he has already provided in the New Testament (Eph 1:3), unlike in the Old Testament where material blessings were the primary promise for obedience (Deut 28:1-14). In other words, even if we do not see anymore of the material blessings except the need which God provides us to live, we should learn to live contently with all the spiritual blessings we have already received in Christ Jesus and the need that God supplies (1 Tim 6:6-8; Heb 13:5-6). It is not because God is not interested in making us prosperous, no, he is interested in us gaining eternal prosperity than the temporal one that he keeps us like that, so that we may not become deceived by the deceitfulness of riches in this present life and lose the eternal rewards of our future life (Mark 4:19).   

Now the greatest force of the Gospel is not prosperity, but knowing intimately the God of all prosperity. So when the priorities are right, the true Gospel and its power will be seen through in the earthly realm, or else only the false prosperity message will deceive people in these end times. So let us be careful to watch and pray, and practice ourselves towards godliness for the Glory of God. Never forget, prosperity gospel is like the cancer of the soul that only brings death in the end.

True Prosperity

The first great thing about true prosperity is to become a partaker in the Divine nature, as Peter the apostle explains saying,
"3 For as you know him better, he will give you, through his great power, everything you need for living a truly good life: he even shares his own glory and his own goodness with us! 4 And by that same mighty power he has given us all the other rich and wonderful blessings he promised; for instance, the promise to save us from the lust and rottenness all around us, and to give us his own character." (2 Peter 1:4, LB). Sharing his Divine nature is the highest spiritual blessings that we have received from God as His beloved children (Eph 5:1). Yes, "the Lord be magnified, who takes pleasure in the prosperity of His servant." (Psalm 35:27, AMP). But this prosperity comes according to divine precedence in which His Divine nature in our spirit which we use to reform our soul stays at the top (2 Cor 5:17; Eph 4:22-24), after which other blessings like physical, financial and social blessings one by one are prioritized in eternal value to fulfill His purpose (Mark 8:35-38). In spite of the mistakes made by King David and Bathsheba, God forgave them and gave them promises which brought Divine Promises in to existence, which also in turn brought Solomon who became the foreshadow of Jesus Christ, who were born as the Son of David in to this earth for the whole world to be blessed through them (Matt 12:42; Luke 11:31; Matt 1:1; 9:27; 12:23; 15:22; 20:30; 21:5, 9; 22:42-46). The Son of David being the Messianic title through which Jesus identified Himself as the true Messiah has become a channel of God's blessing to the whole world, that is why God's priority for our prosperity starts with our spirit, then our soul, then our body, and then in to the areas of social and financial blessing.

God gives all things to enjoy but we should never put our trust in uncertain riches
(1 Tim 6:17), and when we continue to trust God, God has promised to take care of our every needs, and has guaranteed to provide all things to fulfill our purpose in this life if we continue to seek the Kingdom of God first (Matt 6:33). When our focus is on God and God alone, "....God can give us more blessings than we need, so that we will always have plenty of everything, and more than enough to give to every good work." (2 Cor 9:8, Paraphrased). God will bless us as we seek Him first in our lives! When we bless others, we will be blessed first by God automatically. God wants us to learn the art of giving, so that He can be able to give us more joyfully with eternal priority at the highest. The art of giving is true prosperity where everything that flows through us will flow to us and will keep us satisfied.

How To Find The Prosperity Gospel?

When repentance from sin, goes out of the Gospel, that moment the gospel will lose its power. So the most important thing to decide whether something is a prosperity gospel or not is which message someone is emphasizing the most, is it earthly blessings or heavenly blessings? Is it temporal relief or eternal reward? It is happiness based on our circumstances or peace that passes all understanding? Is it just healing of the body or the holistic healing that comes when we repent of our sins? Is it soul prosperity or material prosperity? Is it only the goodness of God, or it is preached along with severity of God? Is it adherence to the written word or the word written in the heart? Is it righteousness of the Law or righteousness of faith?, and the like... These are some of the questions we should consider to know whether the Gospel that is preached is prosperity gospel or the True Gospel of Jesus Christ. Saints of God, beware this prosperity gospel is cancerous to the well being of the soul for now and for eternity, so treat yourself with the truth that cuts the cancer before it spreads to cause devastation and destruction of your spiritual life for now and for eternity. Shalom!         

Much Blessings...


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