PROSPERITY GOSPEL (A FALSE TEACHING)
By Pastor Timothy D. Roberson
By The Grace Of God Home Bible Study
CONTINUING TO GET RICH OFF THE POOR AND BRAINWASHED (SATAN’S MINISTERS)
Proverbs 8:10-11 “Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold. For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.” Materialism has overcome a large percentage of Christians in the Body of Christ. Many Christians, preachers in particular, like to drive Cadillacs and Lincolns, and other luxury cars, as if a luxury car is evidence of God’s blessings, and somehow validates their ministry. That’s distorted thinking from Satan my friends. Proverbs 30:7-9 “Two things have I required of thee; deny me them not before I die: Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.” This passage contains very important truth that is being totally overlooked, not only by the prosperity preachers but also by many saints in the Body of Christ. King Solomon wrote this passage here in Proverbs 30:7-9. He understood the corrupting influence of wealth; therefore, he knew that people can have too much wealth. Solomon knew that wealth deceives people into becoming materialistic; it deceives people into depending on it for security rather than God.
COVET: To covet something means that we desire to have it. It suggests that we’re not content with what we have, that we’re not fully satisfied with the Lord and with what He has given us, and that we need something else in order to satisfy us. To desire (what belongs to another) inordinately ( exceeding reasonable limits). To want (something that you do not have) very much. So seeing this definition of the term, we see that so many of us in the Church are guilty of covetousness –of desiring a better car, a better house, a larger bank account, of increasing our material worth. It is truly sin in God’s sight.(1st Timothy 6:6). “But godliness with contentment is great gain.
First of all, let us make it absolutely clear: It’s not a sin to have a large income and be financially prosperous in this world. My friends let us never make the mistake of thinking that because someone has a large income that they are in sin. It is easy to judge such people and be wrong because even though we may know that they receive a lot of money, we don’t always know what they are doing with all that money. Apostle Paul said to the young preacher Timothy, “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded; nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life” (1 Tim. 6:17-19). Paul doesn’t tell him to outright rebuke those who are rich just because they are rich, since it’s not a sin in itself to be rich, but he tells Timothy to command them not to be proud because of their riches, not to trust in their riches. In the Body of Christ, we will have those who are rich or well off.
The Word of God encourage good works and generous giving with their finances, so they can be generous with what they have and help the poor, the widows and orphans, and give to those in need, and promote the work of the ministry. But this message is about the misuse of God’s Word to get rich and abuse saints in the Body of Christ. Jesus spoke on money and material things often, but the thing that prosperity preachers won’t tell you is that whenever He spoke of it He almost always spoke against it, that is, against desiring it in any way. This is because the Lord Jesus knew that “the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil” (1 Tim. 6:10). He knew that money competes for the heart and affection and devotion of man in a way that no other thing does and therefore, He constantly warned that it was an imminent trap waiting to snare the soul of any man at any moment. He knew that the desire for money and worldly things would cause a great many of His professing followers to stumble and fall. My friends do not be duped into thinking that if you give to these preachers, God will make you rich enough to give lots of money to them and also have plenty of money for yourself, so you can buy a speed-boat, a BMW, and a big nice home. There are many preachers and teachers in this movement who are motivated by greed, but many local pastors who are teaching the prosperity gospel are just deceived because they want the false teaching to be true.
Many times we hold to traditions, mindsets, or beliefs that aren’t Scriptural, and when we do, there comes a time when God is faithful to confront us with truth and bring us correction. Whether we are obedient to the Lord or not, and whether we will continue to walk with God or not, is largely determined on how we respond to the correction He gives us. It is important to realize that He doesn’t correct us because He wants to rub our errors and misguided teachings in our faces, but because He loves us and wants us to walk in truth. When we are confronted with the Word of God rightly divided and it teaches us that we are in error on some point, then we need to humble ourselves, and correct our views. Colossians 3:2 “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” If we are laying up financial abundance for ourselves on earth for the purpose of enjoying ourselves in this world then we are in disobedience. 2nd Corinthians 4:18 says “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” Lets look at what‘s happening in the Body of Christ. The poor and afflicted members aren’t shown as much favor as those members who are wealthy and always have everything going well for them. And this false teaching of prosperity gospel is shaming the poor man and making him think that he must be in sin, not because there is actually sin in his life, but because of his poverty. And those churches that are large and wealthy are seen as particularly blessed, while those churches that are small and struggling are seen as not so blessed.
Yet, this is what these prosperity preachers are doing. They are living extravagant lives, living in luxury, self-indulgence, buying the most expensive hotel suites, driving in the most expensive luxury cars, living in the most lavish multi-million dollar homes, feasting on most expensive dinners as a lifestyle. They are in clear disobedience to the Word of God by being friends of the world: “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (Jam. 4:4). It is sad but true that many in the Body of Christ show favoritism to the wealthy and treat the poor as if they’re not as worthy of respect and honor. They uplift the rich by giving them the best seats in the church but shaming the poor by making them sit on the floor or give up their seat to the rich. It’s sad that many honor the rich but shame the poor. Please wake up and see what this false teaching of prosperity gospel is doing. It honors the rich as if they’re blessed by the Lord and it shames the poor as if they’re not blessed and treats them like they aren’t living right or don’t have enough faith to get out of their poverty. This false teaching mocks the poor by saying it’s their own fault and lack of faith that causes them to be poor. This “gospel” of prosperity is a rotten abomination in the eyes of the God whose word says, “Whoever mocks the poor reproaches his Maker” (Pro. 17:5).
Frequently the impression is given which ultimately makes people think, “God wants me to have more money”. And so believers start praying and asking God for more financial prosperity and even begin to seek after increasing their economic status in this world. Spreading this false teaching of prosperity gospel has become a very profitable business for Satan’s ministers. It is affording them the opportunity to live in mansions, own private jets, take exotic trips, relax in hotel rooms that cost thousands per night, and even own second and third homes. The prosperity gospel (False Teaching) goes by many names: Word of Faith, Health and Wealth, Name It and Claim It. These false teachers teach that God provides rewards, including personal happiness, financial wealth and physical health, for believers who have sufficient faith. My friends do not believe this false teaching, the Word of God points out in the Bible that Christians are assured persecution (2 Tim. 3:12) and suffering (Acts 9:16). Romans 8:18 “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” These false preachers and teachers take scripture and twist it. These false teachers will tell you that if you “Give $10, you will receive a $1,000; give $1,000 and receive $100,000. Many who are weak in the Word of God buy right into these scams and send their utility bill money in the mail or give their money for food to these false preachers and teachers. This false teaching is one of the biggest hindrance to the spiritual growth of Christians in the Body of Christ. It is one of the most dangerous and ruinous false teachings in the Church today; it is not just harmful, destructive, and dangerous, it is the opposite of the true gospel and, therefore, an evil lie from the pit of Hell.
“Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience” (Col. 3:5-6). Here the sin of covetousness is grouped in the same level with fornication, with lascivious living and practicing immorality. We are commanded to mortify, or put to death, any desire within us that we find desiring to covet anything. It doesn’t matter if someone calls themselves a “Christian”, it doesn’t matter if someone is a preacher, it doesn’t matter if they have a large ministry and many people like them; if they are given over to a covetous heart they will held accountable. God hates covetousness just as much as He hates fornication and murder. Those who desire to increase their material worth and desire the things of this world will fall into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which will drown them in destruction and perdition. Many Christians look up to these famous preachers with huge ministries who are living in luxury and extravagant abundance, who openly say that they want more money and continually ask their congregation and audiences to give them money. Many Christians look up to them as great men of God, but the true God of Heaven is not pleased with their behaviors and sinful acts.
A particularly enlightening Scripture on this subject is found in Hebrews 13:5: “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” It commands us to have our conduct free from desiring money or material things, and on the flipside commands us to “be content with what you have”. In other words, we are either one or the other; we are either content with what we have, or we are covetous. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3). This is a much greater deal than mere temporary, physical riches on earth. Our lives are passing away on this earth and will soon be gone. We’ll be in eternity where only that which is eternal will remain. Eternal riches are truly what are important. What we really need to focus on receiving is not earthly prosperity, but heavenly, and to be rich in all spiritual things in Christ Jesus. What a shame to put so much trust in money, rather than God to supply our needs. But the fact of the matter is, when we give money for the purpose of getting lots of money back, which is the whole doctrine of the prosperity preachers, then we are giving with wrong motives.