Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Blessings of New Covenant Grace

And God is able to make all grace (every favor and earthly blessing) come to you in abundance, so that you may always and under all circumstances and whatever the need be self-sufficient [possessing enough to require no aid or support and furnished in abundance for every good work and charitable donation]. 2 Corinthians 9:8

 In the last couple of posts I began discussing Biblical prosperity. I addressed the extreme error that poverty and insufficiency were God's best or design for His Church. I also began to address the opposite extreme of unScriptural practices concerning finances. In concluding this series I want to look at another extreme when it comes to prosperity.

 There exist the extreme of unBiblical teaching on wealth, and the corresponding works and performance based trappings that inevitably result from such teachings. I would like to briefly address  some of these teachings. I will also shine a light on the motivation of these teachings. 

The end time transfer of wealth?

 There is a certain teaching based on Proverbs 13 that in the final days God is going to plunder the sinners of their wealth and redistribute it to the Godly.
A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, But the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.  Proverbs 13:22

Is this teaching accurate? Is it Biblical? This doesn't sound like a loving reward for the righteous to "fund" the gospel. It actually sounds more like "The Communist Manifesto". Where God Almighty strips certain rich ones of all their possessions and redistributes it to those more "deserving".  Is this the message of the gospel to the World? Get right with God or else He is going to confiscate your wealth? 

 Remember the gospel is good news. It is the goodness of God that brings repentance not badness or property confiscation. All throughout the Epistles we are never told to long after the wallets of the lost but rather their hearts and minds! We should proclaim God's love for them and see hearts changed by His love.

This teaching is an erroneous idea based on bad interpretation. Proverbs isn't referring to some end time transfer of money but rather the consequences of unGodly means of obtaining wealth. 

The Hundredfold Return

 This teaching says if you give $100 God guarantees you $10,000 in return. Simply put this teaching said God obligates Himself to return whatever you give by 100 times. This is blatant misrepresentation of God's Word. This idea is gimmickry and trickery in order to gain more funds from the saints during offering time. It is completely rooted in greed. This greed dwells within the deceived one proclaiming it and the misled ones giving in order to obtain it. 

But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.” Mark 4:20
So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, 30 who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life.             Mark 10:29-30

To properly read and understand the Word of God we must rightly divide it. We must not add to it our own idea or own view. In context of Mark 4 and Mark 10 there is never a reference about an offering giving and an expectant return of 100 times the amount given. If anyone placed a newly converted Christian into a room and said read Mark's gospel they would never come out thinking that if they give an offering to their local church that God is obligated to give them 100 times the amount they just gave. 

  Mark 4 is addressing how God's Word when planted in our hearts will grow into fruitful living, if we guard it from tradition, religion, the lies of the devil, and the World's thinking and vain pleasures. No offering taught about here. I guess to these prosperity gurus Jesus was just confused or didn't finish His thoughts. 
The seed the farmer is sowing is the good news, God’s word...
20 But those last seeds—those sown into good soil? Those people hear the word, accept it, meditate on it, act on it, and bear fruit—a crop 30, 60, or 100 times larger than the farmer dropped to earth. Mark 4:4,20 VOICE
 Mark 10 is about us never losing out when we follow God's plan for our life. Notice the absence of the word giving, or gave in Mark 10. It states if you left all to follow Him you will not be disappointed. 

This is where I get rather disturbed at this teaching. It places the focus of our life and faith on gaining some astronomical figure of financial blessing that God never promised. I have heard some Christians speak about their lack. I also have been guilty of this in the past, (probably more so than most). We get on our smart phone or tablet inside our air conditioned home or apartment while watching Satellite TV and text out our prayer request for deliverance from lack because we want some new gadget or bigger screen TV.  We need to focus on what God has already blessed us with and be thankful. Come to the impoverished areas in Asia where children swim in sewage to find any loose change. I believe much of the prosperity gospel is solely greed driven.

 Now with unScriptural teachings and promises what inevitably occurs is the lack of fulfillment of said promises. This in turn makes us look inwardly and try to locate where we missed it. This introspection produces failure mindsets, disappointment in God and condemnation. Let me illustrate something about faith and God's promises.
 1. To partake of the promise of the New Birth what must we do? Believe in our heart and say with our mouth (agree with God) that Jesus is Lord. We receive Him as our Lord and Father.
 2. In order to receive the fullness of the Spirit (Baptism in the Spirit), what must we do? Believe in our heart and confess with our mouth (agree with God) that we receive it.
 3. In order to receive healing what must we do? Believe with our heart and say or confess His Word is true agreeing with God it is done. 
 4. In order to receive provision financially from God what must we do? Give, and keep giving. Search your heart for hidden resentments against others. Give some more above what you gave last time. Consider your way of living each and everyday, make sure you don't ever "blow it", your "harvest" depends on it. Name your seeds and give some more. Call in your money and keep calling. I know you gave but you may not have given enough so give a little bit more. Search yourself if you have a habitual sin. God won't bless you, you filthy sinner. 

 Do you see the graceless way provision has been proclaimed in the Church? Should we exercise faith in believing for provision? Of course! Should we give? Absolutely, without question. However, the why we give is what is at heart. We give not to get anything. He is our Father. In the finished work He took our lack and insufficiency. We give in genuine love as a pure response to His love outstretched towards us. 

  I know this may be difficult for some to hear but we need to stop looking at Old Covenant principles of provision. The "do good get good" and "do bad get bad" life is under Law. Jesus bore our poverty on the Cross. We should be feeding our faith the Word of God on New Covenant grace. On the finished work of provision. Passages like 2 Corinthians 8:9
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.
 It is His grace that is the source of our blessing. Our actions aren't the source of our blessings. Obedience is its own reward. Why? Because if I listen to Him and follow His plans for me I will avoid the hard way or the pitfalls. 

 I know we may believe some of the ministers that proclaim this extreme prosperity are good men. I have no doubt that most are honorable men in most areas of their life. I do believe though the honor stops when they misrepresent God and the Word about money. Brother Kenneth Hagin actually pulled several of these major ministries preaching money, money all the time, aside and tried to warn and correct them. If they were so honorable in this area why the need for correction?

 To conclude, don't fall for scams and schemes and "promises" of innumerable wealth if you give a certain amount. I know of a extremely well known minister who by eyewitness account told a congregation to give to their pastor. He said the Lord told him 10 people were to give $10,000. He then said he would give the first 10 grand. At the end of the service in the accounting room the "check" the minister wrote was never signed. Dishonest? Absolutely! This is the kind of things that occur because these ministers are not willing to be corrected. They leave a trail of broken dreams, shipwrecked faith and children of God broken and condemned.
9But those who crave the wealth of this world slip into spiritual snares. They become trapped by the troubles that come through their foolish and harmful desires, driven by greed and drowning in their own sinful pleasures. And they take others down with them into their corruption and eventual destruction. 10Loving money is the first step towards all kinds of trouble. Some people run after it so much that they have given up their faith and have turned from Christ— and they will live to regret it. Craving more money pushes them away from the faith into error, compounding misery in their lives! 1 Timothy 6:9-10 Passion Translation
Trust in the finished work of provision. There is never anything wrong with God or His Word and by the Blood of Jesus nothing is unacceptable with you. Just receive His blessings. 
 Lets, believe and receive freely His favor. Discounts, and deals. Jobs and better jobs. Provision from unexpected sources. Open doors of blessings are yours in Him. No one is saying we're going to be millionaires but we are His kids and we will not go without. Blessings in abundance to you and your loved ones!

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