Beloved over the last 20-30 years the prosperity doctrine has overwhelmed the church and made many an innocent believer its bondage. The key premise of this teaching is that God wants you to be rich. The way to achieve this wealth is by confessing positive things and tithing which mandate God to grant you these riches. Is this biblical? Did Jesus die to make us rich? Is the abundant life He promised a life that is full of money, wealth and luxury? Does the Lord truly want His servants to live opulence and luxury like the world? These are some of the questions that will be answered through this article.
What is the Bible’s view on prosperity?
Psalm 35:27 is the most quoted verse to justify these teachings. Psalm 35:27 says ‘Let the Lord be magnified, who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant.’ Beloved yes it is the Lord’s desire that we should be blessed and not live in lack. Psalm 34:9-10 says ‘Oh fear the Lord, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him. The young lions lack and suffer hunger; But those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.’ Indeed when Jabez prayed ‘Oh, that you would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your Hand would be with me and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain’; God granted him what he requested (1 Chronicles 3:10). Proverbs 10:22 says ‘The blessing of the Lord makes one rich, and He adds no sorrow with it.’ Proverbs 22:4 says ‘By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches and honour and life.’ I can give many more verses like this to evidence what I am saying but I think it is quite clear to everyone that it is God’s will that we prosper, be blessed and lack nothing. However there is something very important that we must always keep in mind which is whenever God gives promises of blessing there is a condition preceding it or following it. He requires holiness, faithfulness, obedience, the fear of the Lord or humility from us. When God promised the Israelites in Exodus 23:25 that He will bless their bread and water and take sickness away from the midst them; there was a condition preceding that. That condition was ‘so you shall serve the Lord and your God, and He will bless your bread and water. And I will take sickness away from the midst of you.’ Serving God was the condition and then God said He will bless.
The problem with modern prosperity teachings
Most modern prosperity teachings in order to sweeten the message remove the need for repentance, holiness, faithfulness, obedience and the fear of the Lord. Instead they replace it saying faith and confession is all you need. However the Lord in different circumstances required different actions from His people in order to bless them. Now these same teachers will say that is the Old Covenant where works were essential to please God. Well beloved here again they get it wrong.
Beloved the main difference between the Old covenant and the New covenant is perfectly explained in Hebrews 7:18-19 ‘For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness, for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.’ The law could not save from sin. It showed what sin was but could not redeem mankind from it. Hence what did God do? Romans 8:3 ‘for what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh on account of sin’. Jesus came as a Man to die on a cross to bring us eternal redemption from sin. Hence now we are saved by faith through His Grace which was made available by Him dying for us whilst we were yet sinners. So now we receive the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus (Romans 3:22). However once we are born of God, Romans 6:1 & 15 says we cannot continue in sin. 2 Corinthians 7:1 says ‘Therefore having these promises, beloved let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.’ 1 Peter 1:15 ‘but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct.’ James 1:22 ‘But be doers of the word and not hearers only.’ I can keep on giving more and verses but the point is God did not remove holiness, faithfulness, obedience and the fear of the Lord out of the New Covenant. Those who are truly born of God are not only required to but will naturally because they are a new creation in Christ live holy, be faithful, walk in obedience and the fear of the Lord in addition to walking by faith and walking in the Spirit. Our salvation is not through good works but by grace through faith. However the result or the fruit of our salvation is that now we have a new life which will bear the good fruit of righteousness daily as we surrender ourselves to the work of the Holy Spirit and obey and put into practice the Word of the Lord.
A really bad characteristic of these prosperity teachers is that they cherry pick sections of the Bible just in order to justify their teaching. They take all the verses from the Old Testament which speaks of prosperity and say ‘see God wants you to prosper’. However all the other verses which talk of holiness, holiness, faithfulness, obedience and the fear of the Lord are ignored or not mentioned at all. The most common example they quote to justify lavish riches is Abraham. Let us look at Abraham’s life a bit more.
Why did God bless Abraham?
Why did God bless Abraham? This is a very important question to be answered in order to understand biblical prosperity. Hebrews 11:8-10,17-19 give 3 things Abraham did which pleased God. Abraham’s faith was not merely words but he put his faith into action.
1) Hebrews 11:8 ‘by faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out’ – Abraham obeyed the Lord always 100% all the times.
2) Hebrews 11:9,10 ‘by faith he dwelt in the land of promise, for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God’ – the land of promise in Abraham’s time was nothing more than desert and wilderness and he lived in tents. In fact Abraham gave Lot the best land in the plain of Jordan and settled in the not so nice part of the land. Abraham was patient, persevering and faithful to God placing his hope in what God had promised trusting in the fact that God knows best. Abraham never questioned God nor did he demand anything from God. Further Abraham’s eyes were fixed on God and not the blessing. Not even once did he ask God to bless him. Never did he ask for wealth. He lived in this place waiting for God.
3) Hebrews 11:17 ‘By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac’ – Abraham was willing to sacrifice anything and everything for God. Of course his faith made him know that God was able to raise his son up even from the dead. Abraham endured the testing and did not waver nor go back. Even when he did not see the fulfilment of the promise given that he would have a son; Abraham did not waver through unbelief but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform (Romans 4:20-21). Hence why his faith was accounted to Abraham for righteousness (Romans 4:22).
These prosperity teachers promise the blessing of Abraham to people but do not talk about what kind of a man Abraham was. Indeed Galatians 3:13-14,29 says that since we have been redeemed by Christ and belong to Christ we are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise. Yes these verses say it is our inheritance. How do we receive that inheritance into our lives? Through faith (Galatians 3:26). Is this faith just limited to hearing and not doing anything about it? James 2:17-26 describes how Abraham put his faith into action as well. Hence faith working together with his works made his faith perfect. Faith without action is dead. Faith in action however results in holiness, faithfulness, obedience and the fear of the Lord which makes our faith perfect and powerful. Now here’s an interesting point; Abraham never confessed or spoke positive words to get God to move. He listened to what God spoke and he obeyed, he patiently and faithfully waited and he trusted God’s Word. Prosperity teachers emphasize heavily on positive confession or confessing of positive words of faith. Is this biblical or is it something created by man to sweeten the deal and make the teaching sound more appealing to people?
Is Positive Confession biblical?
Proverbs 18:21 says ‘Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.’ Matthew 12:37 says ‘For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.’ In Mark 11:22-23 Jesus says ‘Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, Be removed and be cast into the sea, and does not doubt in this heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.’ John 14:14-15 ‘And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.’ Matthew 18:18-19 ‘Assuredly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.’ James 5:15 ‘and the prayer of faith will save the sick.’
According to the above verses, words of faith do carry power because we speak them in faith and with the authority granted to us by Christ. Jesus cast out demons with one word. He healed the sick with one word. So words of faith and the prayer of faith are effective in bringing to pass what we believe. That is a biblical truth. So now this gives rise to some questions. Does this mean that when we speak in faith God is obligated or mandated to act and do whatever we ask? Does this mean we can ask God whatever we want and He has to do it and He cannot say no to our requests? Does that mean God is not Sovereign but is subject to the words of faith spoken by man?
The best possible to way to answer such questions are through scripture. In the Word of God, there have been instances where God has heard the voice of man and done what man has requested from Him. In Joshua 10:12-14 when Joshua commanded the sun and the moon to stand still, it happened just as he commanded. Verse 14 says ‘and there has been no day like that, before it or after it,that the Lord heeded the voice of a man; for the Lord fought for Israel.’ When Moses pleaded with the Lord not to judge Israel, God heard him and relented from judgement. When Gideon and Hezekiah asked for a sign; the Lord agreed and gave them signs. There are more examples like this from Elijah and Elisha where the Lord heard the voice of His prophets. So there are many instances of which I have given a few where God has answered or listened to man and done what they requested of Him. Now we cannot jump to conclusions yet because there is more. Yes God answers prayer. Yes He listens to the voice of His beloved. Yet there have been instances of God not answering as well.
In one instance God listened to Moses but there was another instance where He flatly said no. Because he disobeyed the Lord; the Lord said Moses will not be going into the Promised Land. In Deuteronomy 3:25-26 we see Moses telling the people how he pleaded with the Lord to allow him to cross over but the Lord replied and said ‘Enough of that! Speak no more to Me of this matter.’ With respect to the nation of Israel, in Jeremiah 14:11 the Lord strongly replies to Jeremiah saying ‘Do not pray for this people, for their good. When they fast, I will not hear their cry.’ In the instance when David sinned and judgement was pronounced by God; when David repented he was forgiven but the judgement was not removed. David fasted, wept and prayed for the child to be healed but the child died. God did not answer David who was known as a man after God’s own heart. Beloved there is an important truth behind all the instances where God says no or does not answer even words of faith spoken. Did you identify this truth?
In all such instances there was unrighteousness, sin, disobedience involved. Isaiah 59:1-2 ‘Behold the Lord’s Hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God: and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.’ Sin separates us from God. Now you might say what about us who live under the New Covenant who have been reconciled to God through the blood of Jesus. Well continuous and habitual sin will have the same result for us and Hebrews 10:26-31 has some harsh words for us on the matter. So whilst living in sin and unrighteousness we cannot speak words of faith and expect God to honour them. God will not answer. However repentance and turning away from sin will make Him relent. For example Ahab was wicked yet when he repented God relented from judging during his life time (1 Kings 21:29). Ninevah lived in sin but yet when they repented at Jonah’s preaching the Lord relented from judging at that time (Jonah 3:10). However years later since Ninevah went back into sin and continued in it; the Lord spoke judgement over the city through the prophet Nahum and brought it to pass as well (Nahum 2:13).
Beloved God always hears the prayers of the righteous (James 5:16, 1 Peter 3:12, Proverbs 15:29, Psalm 34:17). However we must keep another couple of things in mind when we ask something of God. Firstly whatever we ask must be in accordance with His Will as well (1 John 5:14). If it is not His Will, He will not give it to you. Also what we ask should glorify His Name (John 14:13). If what you ask will put His Holy Name to shame; He will not answer. Sadly this aspect is not touched on by modern prosperity teachers. Their focus is exclusively on ‘you say it, God will do it’. They are preaching a half-truth. God is not going to bless you like an angel for you to continue living like the devil.
So yes speaking words of faith is powerful but it is contingent on whether you actually have a relationship with Christ. A Relationship with Christ is not merely limited to saying a salvation prayer and saying I am born again. A relationship with Christ is a life characterized by self-denial, surrender to Him, being filled with His Word and His Spirit and daily crucifying your flesh and walking with Him in obedience, faithfulness and holiness. John 15:14 ‘You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.’ Now just to remind you if you grumble, complain and remain negative all the time that will also be a block to your blessing. That is why scripture says ‘in everything give thanks for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus’ (1 Thessalonians 5:18). So live for Christ and speak in faith and our Lord is a God who will do wonders for His children. Jeremiah 33:3 ‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’
Now some might have a question as to why the Lord did not answer Paul’s prayer to remove his thorn in the flesh (2 Corinthians 12:8). Well the answer is given in 2 Corinthians 12:9 where the Lord says His grace is sufficient. God’s grace strengthened Paul to endure and go through and bear up his thorn in the flesh. We all will go through seasons where our faith will be tested. Everyone who walks with God will go through trials and tribulations in life. Sometimes God permits certain things in our life to strengthen our faith and make us rely solely on His Grace to carry us through it. You can learn more on this by reading my article on Christian Suffering found in this same webpage/blog.
Now you might be saying all the examples quoted above excepting Paul are from the Old covenant. We are the New Testament church and we live by a new covenant and hence you might be disputing me. Now I have already shown you the clear difference between the Old and New covenants but now I will show you what the New covenant actually says about prosperity which might shock a lot of you who have embraced these prosperity teachings.
What did Jesus say on prosperity?
Well what did Jesus actually say about prosperity? What does the new covenant tell us about prosperity? Interestingly the prosperity that our Lord speaks in His New covenant is 99% heavenly and spiritual prosperity. Yes that is true. The focus of Christ and the New covenant He instituted revolves around being rich toward God, storing treasures in Heaven, seeking first the Kingdom, self-denial and taking up the cross, setting your mind on things above and not on things on earth, hating the world and the things of the world, being content and receiving spiritual gifts of Holy Spirit. Basically it is 99% a spiritual focused covenant. When it comes to our earthly life the Lord in Matthew 6:25-34 simply says, do not worry about your life, I will take care of it all, what you eat, what you wear, all your needs I know it before hand and just like I take care of the birds and the flowers I will take care of you and you shall lack nothing. That is it. The prosperity that Jesus speaks of is no lack and that is what Jesus also experienced. All His needs were met. Luke 8:3 says many provided for the Lord from what they had. So He was never in lack. The meaning of the word ‘Peace’ found in John 14:27 in both Hebrew and Greek mean a wholesome life or a life where you lack nothing as God meets all your needs. When God’s peace comes upon us we receive His prosperity and His rest in life. Let’s now go a little more deeper into what the New Covenant says about our earthly life and prosperity.
Now 1 Timothy 6:17 says ‘God who gives us richly all things to enjoy.’ The same chapter however in verse 6 says ‘godliness with contentment is great gain.’ So whilst He does bless us He also wants us to be content with what He gives us. Further He warns us against being greedy and covetous. In Luke 12:15 the Lord says ‘take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.’ 1 Timothy 6:9-10 warns us not to have the love of money.
One of the main reasons the modern prosperity gospel is not from God and is from satan is because these teachings make people love the world more than God. It is a teaching that feeds on people’s greed. They make people lust after money, wealth, possessions and to live like the world. The Lord never promised to bless our greed. God knows we need a house. He will give us. Does that mean you need a 4 storied house with a swimming pool and electric gates etc? Is that your need or your greed? God knows you need a vehicle. He will give you a vehicle. Does that mean you need a Ferrari or a Porsche? Is that your need or your greed? God knows you need to dress well to work or when you go out? He will provide you with finances to purchase whatever you desire. Does that mean you buy only branded items or you wear something once and never wear it ever again simply because people have seen it? Is that your need or your greed and vanity? Jesus warns us to be on our guard against all kinds of greed. Greed comes in different forms. Sometimes pastors want to grow the numbers of their congregation so bad that they covet other pastors’ leaders and congregation. So they go for weddings, funerals or events of other churches just to get talking with people and one way or other get them to come to their church. The Lord hates greed. He wants His children to be content at every stage of life as He blesses them. Hebrews 13:5 ‘Let your conduct be without covetousness: be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, I will never leave you nor forsake you.’
Now most prosperity preachers teach saying that God wants you to be millionaires, wants you to have mansions, drive luxury cars, wear luxurious things and they justify even their own vulgar lavish lifestyles in the same manner. Most of them quote Abraham and Solomon as examples to justify this point. Now we already saw earlier the reasons why God blessed Abraham. However there is also one more reason why God blessed Abraham with wealth. Abraham was to be the father of a new nation and the wealth that Abraham, Issac and Jacob had would be the initial investment into that nation. Israel went to Egypt with enough wealth to build up a nation in Goshen and even when they came out after being slaves they had the economic capacity to build up a nation, an economy and a country for themselves. God had a purpose in mind for blessing Abraham. It was a purpose which went beyond Abraham’s lifetime.
Similarly why did God bless Solomon with so much wealth despite him not even asking for it? Solomon had to build the most glorious and beautiful temple for the Lord and he built it without even borrowing a cent. He paid for every item even for the logs Hiram king of Tyre sent, Solomon annually sent a huge amount of food supply to Tyre (1 Kings 5:12). If God blesses us with wealth there is a purpose for it. That purpose is for us to be a blessing to His kingdom and others in the family of God. That is why 1 Timothy 6:17-19 says ‘Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life.’ Through Solomon’s life we also see the dangers of having wealth, fame and prosperity. It can lead us away from God and into a life of sin and death. That is why 1 Timothy 6:8-9 says ‘but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.’ So be watchful and careful. Always keep your focus on the Lord even as He blesses and lifts you up in life.
Did Jesus die to make us rich with money?
Beloved, never look down on someone who is not financially as prosperous as you are because James 2:5 says ‘Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him.’ Now let me lay emphasis on something here. It is not God’s will for His children to continuously suffer without food, clothing or money. That would go against what He taught in Matthew chapter 6. Poverty is not God’s will because scripture is clear that He will take care of our needs. There might be seasons where our faith is tested through tough situations with regards to finances or for the sake of the gospel we suffer in such a way or God trains us to trust in Him no matter what the circumstances are. However we will always come through such situations as overcomers, victorious and stronger in faith. Paul explains this beautifully in Philippians 4:12-19 (NLT) – ‘I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Even so, you have done well to share with me in my present difficulty. As you know, you Philippians were the only ones who gave me financial help when I first brought you the Good News and then traveled on from Macedonia. No other church did this. Even when I was in Thessalonica you sent help more than once. I don’t say this because I want a gift from you. Rather, I want you to receive a reward for your kindness. At the moment I have all I need—and more! I am generously supplied with the gifts you sent me with Epaphroditus. They are a sweet-smelling sacrifice that is acceptable and pleasing to God. And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.’
Now the fact of the matter is that in this world there will be those of different income levels and for each person God has a plan and purpose in line with their calling in life. If everyone is going to be a CEO then who will be the employees in an organization. If all are going to be Directors then who will be the middle management and factory workers. So there is a purpose behind everything to achieve balance in this world. Some He calls into full time ministry and makes them trust Him for providence. So to preach and teach saying that all are going to be filthy rich is not biblically sound teaching. Preaching and teaching that God will bless you in accordance with His plan and purpose for your life and all your needs will be met and you will lack nothing is sound biblical teaching keeping with what Christ has said in His Word.
Now I know prosperity teachers quote John 10:10 and 2 Corinthians 8:9 and say Jesus came to make us rich. In John 10:10 Jesus says ‘I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly.’ Is Jesus talking about money? Is Jesus talking about our earthly life? What is Jesus talking about in that whole chapter? What does John 10:9 say? What does it say from John 10:11 onwards? Herein lies the danger of taking one verse out of its context and trying to justify your opinion. It misleads. The Lord Jesus is clearly and in detail speaking about eternal life. In John 10:28 Jesus says ‘I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.’
What does 2 Corinthians 8:9 say ‘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.’ Now I have listened to a lot of prosperity teachers self-contradict themselves in one sermon itself. They use this verse to say Jesus became poor so that we could become rich and then in another part of their sermon they will say who said Jesus was poor, Jesus was rich, He was not poor, He got gifts of gold as a child, He had Judas to manage His money and He wore an expensive robe and that is why the soldiers drew lots on it. When you try to clarify this point with them they confuse themselves with the response.
Now I told you before that Jesus during His life here on earth lacked nothing. All His needs were provided for. He lived and experienced what He preached in Matthew chapter 6. So what is 2 Corinthians 8:9 talking about then? Let me explain it this verse phrase by phrase, point by point.
Paul in this chapter is actually writing to the Corinthian church about supporting the work of the Lord with their finances just like how the Macedonian church was doing. The verse starts by saying ‘For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ’. What is the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ? Romans 5:8 says ‘in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.’ Ephesians 2:8 ‘for by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.’ We have received unmerited favour and a free gift from God to be saved by Grace through faith in Jesus. That is Grace.
What does ‘though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor’ mean? The answer for this is Philippians 2:5-8 ‘Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.’
What does ‘that you through His poverty might become rich’ mean? The answer for this is Ephesians 2:13-22, Hebrews 9:12, 10: 14 and Revelation 1:5-6.
‘But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God.’
‘Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood he entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.’
‘To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His Own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father.’
Beloved do you understand now what Paul was talking about in 2 Corinthians 8:9? He was talking about what great a sacrifice Christ has done for His church and what a great and eternal result it has brought for all of us. Further he was emphasizing to the church in that chapter saying since Christ has shown such great grace to you by what He has already done for you through His Sacrifice, as the church you’ll must come forward to help the growth of His work and His church. So 2 Corinthians 8:9 does not mean nor does it imply that Christ’s coming down as a Man makes us rich with money.
Beloved when you accurately handle and skilfully teach the Word of truth as 2 Timothy 2:15 instructs us to; you will not have confusion or self-contradictions. These prosperity teachers want to just prove their point that God wants you to be rich and hence they twist, misquote, ignore and take out of context verses resulting in much confusion and contradictions in their own sermons.
So the question now is why have these prosperity teachers most of whom are famous names and been in ministry for many years gone off track so much from the word of God. Well there is one simple reason for that.
What’s gone wrong with the prosperity teaching/word faith movement/confession theology people?
The answer is quite simple and amply visible. Sadly many have their spiritual eyes blinded and they do not see it and blindly follow these teachings.
The definition of prosperity for these prosperity teachers and God’s definition of prosperity as per His Word vastly differ. For most of these preachers their view of prosperity is an earthly and worldly one. They compare themselves to the rich businessmen, CEOs, actors and sportspersons and desire to be like them. They insist on wearing expensive branded clothing, they have palace like houses to live in, then they have another house called their summer house and another house for vacations, they own luxurious personal jets, yachts and they stay in only star class hotels. They cover themselves with jewels and expensive watches. Even for them to come and preach in a place some of them charge an appearance fee. They desire and love wealth and earthly possessions.
Beloved, our modern preachers have fallen into the trap that satan tried to lay even for Jesus. In Luke 4:5-8 the devil showed all the kingdoms of the world and their glory and said to Jesus ‘all this authority I will give You and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.’ Jesus replied and said to the devil ‘Get behind me satan, for it is written, you shall worship the Lord your God and Him only you shall serve.’ Get behind me satan! Jesus put the devil, the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life behind Him and put the Lord our God and Him only as His one and only focus and totally submitted to Him. Sadly today’s famous names have done the reverse. They have put Jesus behind them and put satan and all the worldly wealth, fame, name, position and pride he gives before them and they are serving satan whilst selling the Name of Jesus and making money off innocent people.
Isn’t it strange that whilst the preachers live in luxury the congregation has not even tasted even an ounce of that prosperity themselves? The congregation continues to remain in bondage though they are promised liberty because these preachers themselves are still under bondage to the world (2 Peter 2:19). Since the truth is not preached, there is no freedom for the people (John 8:32). These preachers are only preaching to make themselves wealthy (1 Timothy 6:5) and their god is their belly and their mind set on earthly things (Philippians 3:19). To achieve their selfish ambitions and fulfil their covetous desires they misuse and abuse one aspect of God’s Word to the maximum. That is the giving of tithes and offerings.
Tithes and offerings and prosperity
Beloved, the subject of giving has become the most abused subject matter in the Bible. Indeed giving of our tithes and offerings is an instruction from God’s Word. Sadly however man has brought in his own twists in order to make this a money making scheme for himself. I want to expose as false some popular statements you hear from Christian TV and preachers when they ask for tithes & offerings. Some believers actually have thought these statements are biblical.
1) ‘If you sow now God has to bless you. He has no choice’ – This is so false. God is not obligated to do anything for you. Yes He has said in His Word ask anything in My Name but the Word also talks about what we ask being according to His Will (1 John 5:14) and what we ask glorifying His Name (John 14:13). The Lord has His time and season to fulfil His purposes here on earth (Ecclesiastes 3:1). You cannot force Him, trick Him, bribe Him or do anything to get God to move to your will. The giving of offerings is an instruction in God’s Word and it is an act of thanksgiving for His blessing and an act of faith that He will provide for us in the future. Malachi 3:10 is a promise which says if we give God will bless. However Isaiah 59:1-2 clearly says sin blocks our blessing. God will not bless our sin. So whilst living in sin you cannot bribe God to do stuff for you.
2) ‘Sowing is the only way you can get God to bless you. There is no other way.’ – This is so false. Sowing is one of the ways in which we are blessed. Faith and Obedience brought blessings to Abraham. Love and loyalty to the Lord brought blessing to David. Prayer brought blessing to Jabez. A righteous life brought blessing to Enoch and Noah. Faithfulness brought blessing to Ruth. It is by the mercies of God that we are blessed beloved. It is by His Grace that He rewards the righteous. Psalm 34:8,9,10 ‘Blessed is the man who trusts in Him. There is no want to those who fear Him. Those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.’
3) ‘This is the season. Now is the time. If you do not give now, you will never get blessed’- False, false, false. There is no good time or bad time with the Lord. Luke 6:38 ‘Give and it will be given to you.’ Whenever you give there will in return be a blessing for you. Give cheerfully and liberally (2 Cor 9: 6,7)
4) ‘Go get your credit card and give now. Even if you do not have money in your account use your credit card, borrow, pledge – give now.’ – Does the Bible tell us to borrow and give tithes and offerings? The Old Testament is very clear the tithe and offering comes from your income be it what you harvest from the land or livestock or anything you earn or from the increase of your earnings. What about the New Testament? Paul instructs the church in Corinth with regards to collections/offerings in 1 Corinthians 16:2 ‘On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper.’ In the gospels we see the widow put all that she had into the offering box in the temple. When Moses called for people to bring their offerings to build the tabernacle people brought what they had their gold and other valuables. Proverbs 22:7 says the borrower is a slave to the lender. Beloved, scriptural giving is giving from whatever you earn – salary, harvest, sale of something etc. The Old covenants says 10% whilst the New Covenant says prepare your gift beforehand as a matter of generosity not a grudging obligation, he who sows sparingly will reap sparingly, he sows bountifully will also reap bountifully, give as you have purposed in your heart (2 Cor 9:6-7). The more you give from what God gives you the more you will be blessed. Also please note that the Old Testament 10% tithe does not apply to us who live under the New Covenant. The New Covenant is all about sacrificial giving with a cheerful heart what we have purposed in our heart. Giving is a covenant between you and God not between you and your pastor. Remember that. Nobody has the authority to demand you to give to them.
5) If you do not give God is going to curse you or if you do not give to this church God is going to curse you – This is a very common thing said in Sri Lanka too where preachers scare people into giving. First and foremost scripture saying to have a willing heart (Exodus 35:5) and a cheerful heart (2 Cor 9:7) when giving. It should not be an obligation nor should you give because someone is forcing you. Give because you want to give and you love to give. According to Malachi 3:9 a curse comes when we do not give. This however relates to the 10% tithe in the Old Covenant. Financial bondages may come when we do not give to God. However as servants of God we cannot use this verse as a scare tactic to make people to give. If you scare people into giving and they give out of fear then they will not be blessed because the Lord wants people with willing hearts and cheerful hearts to give. As servants of God we must not abuse our authority given to us in the Lord. In 2 Corinthians 10:8 Paul says ‘our authority which the Lord gave us for edification not for your destruction’. He also says ‘that I may not abuse my authority in the gospel’ (1 Cor 9:18). Do not abuse scripture to make money. Judgement will come on you one day.
Beloved giving brings great blessing. I encourage you to be liberal givers but give according to what scripture instructs and sow on good ground. Then you will receive a great harvest and the Lord will rebuke every devourer. I hope the eyes of your understanding have been opened and you will not be deceived by these prosperity teachers who have been speaking lies and making themselves rich.
Now I do sincerely pray that many of your eyes are opened to the truth. This prosperity theology has single-handedly destroyed the Western church over the last couple of decades resulting in now statistics saying that the body of Christ in USA, UK and most countries in Europe are not growing rather they are static or shrinking. This includes the Pentecostal Evangelical churches as well. Since they preach a carnal message that caters to greed; people’s eyes have gone away from God and gone towards money, wealth and possessions. Faith is treated like a jackpot machine to get whatever you want from God.
Beloved time has come to defend our nations in Asia from these wrong teachings or else we will suffer the same fate as the Western church. Our churches will start to shrink too.
Beloved trust God to supply your needs and the desires of your hearts in accordance with His will. Focus on building spiritual wealth and growing and maturing in the Lord. Strive to walk in righteousness and enter heaven (the narrow gate). The greatest treasure we have here on earth is our Lord Jesus and His Spirit living in us. That should be more than enough for us always. God bless you – Romesh Daniels.