Over the years I have become weary of contending for the faith with the teachers of Prosperity Theology. For the most part I simply choose not to associate with them or be drawn into their web of deceit and lustful greed, but when my brethren in The Lord seek my counsel I’m once again drawn into the fight for Truth. These false brethren pervert the Scriptures and teach the philosophy of men and not the truth as taught by our Lord and His Apostles. Truly we were warned that such men are like ravenous wolves seeking to devour the flock and not feed the flock.
When the Apostle Paul met with the Ephesian elders for the last time he warned them, “I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.”
This is always a sign of a Cult and Cult leaders. They seek to make disciples of themselves and not of Christ. Their words and their thoughts are placed on an equal footing with Scripture. Their disciples go around quoting them and not the Word, they distort the Scripture and take verses out of context and in the end they bring about the destruction of the hearers.
Peter warned the church as well, “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.”
2 Peter 2:1-3
The Lord Himself foretold of these types and that we should be on our guard against them.
“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”
Then He said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.”
According to the fictional character Gordon Gecko in the film Wall Street, “Greed is good.” Well according to the Bible greed is not good, but it is the worship of possessions.
“Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.”
Now there is nothing evil in being prosperous, having an abundance of possessions or even extreme wealth, but to whom much is given much is required. Paul knew what it was like to live in abundance and to live in extreme poverty. To be well fed and to be near starvation from lack of food, but the lesson is to be content in whatever circumstance we find ourselves in.
“I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.”
Writing to his true son in the faith the Apostle Paul warned of such people who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. That their minds were depraved and that they themselves were deprived of the truth.
“If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.”
The key here is contentment with what we have. Not to covet what others have or set our hope on earthly riches which moth and rust destroy. We should not shirk our duty to do the good deeds which God has predestined for us to do, for these are divine appointments, but we need to be on our guard against those who would exploit us and make merchandise of us.
We looked at this verse, but I do prefer it in the King James Version. “And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you…” 2 Peter 2:3 Peter warned that these greedy, covetous false teachers would flatter and deceive the brethren. I will never forget the radio evangelist whom Pastor Chuck Smith identified right down to the white patent leather shoes he wore. This guy got so irate and complained to Chuck that he had ruined his ministry by what he had said about him on the radio. Pastor Chuck replied, “I’ve never met you or seen you before, but obviously what I said was true.”
This guy was just ripping the people off. He had no ministry other than to pay for his air space on the radio, his mansion in Newport Beach, his cars and his living expenses, but man if you wanted what he had you just had to give and if you did not get a blessing you needed to give him more. Forget good deeds or helping those in need just give to his ministry and his god would bless you.
There is this guy today on TV who reminds me of that man. His gimmick is green prosperity towels and for an additional donation you can get a small one that fits in your purse or wallet. Just rub it every time you handle money and The Lord will bring back an overflowing abundance to you. I’m not even going to go into just how pagan that belief is.
In a world full of real and imagined need it is comforting to know that the one thing which everyone truly needs the most is the light of the gospel of Christ. As Peter said to the man who sat begging in the gate called Beautiful, “Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.” Acts 3:6 KJV
There is an old story it may or may not be true, but some time after Christianity had become the official religion of the Roman Empire and had acquired their first elaborately ordained buildings, that a Bishop and a young Priest were marveling at the grandeur of a converted pagan temple. The golden altar vessels which sat upon the golden, jewel encrusted altar which Saint Helena had erected. As they walked through the central nave the Bishop said, “We can no longer say ‘Silver and gold I have none’.”
The young Priest nodded his agreement, and humbly replied, “But neither can we say, ‘Rise up and walk’.”
Oh how we need to increase our faith and empower the believers with the power that comes from On High to reach another lost generation. It is ok to have a mega church with all the creature comforts, stadium seating, coffee holders, professional worship teams, 50 foot tall Video Screens and all the programmed ministries your family could ask for, but without the power of the Holy Spirit it is all for show and one big empty show put on by actors.
It is often said that the church needs to be seeker friendly and that is true, but the One whom we need to seek first is the One God who will empower the faithful with His Holy Spirit and equip them to reach their communities for the gospel and that is how the true Church grew. Not by offering the finest in Christian entertainment or having a building that drew the awe and spectacle of man, but by having the power of the everlasting gospel proclaimed in the lives of the faithful.
To all those who earnestly desire the power of the Spirit of Christ in your lives please pray this prayer and believe. Father God you know my heart, I thank you for sending Your Son Jesus the Christ to be my Lord and Savior, Jesus come into my life and be my Lord empower me with Your Holy Spirit to come into my life, search my heart and guide me into the path of righteousness for Your Names sake. May the Holy Spirit who has sealed me for the day of Your visitation be upon me and in dwell me to be effective for Your glory. May my vessel overflow with Your tender mercies, open my eyes and let me see the need that only I can reach, the people who You have put in my path that they will not be lost, but find this great hope that is in You.
May The Lord bless you and may His Agape Love dwell in us as we go about living our lives for Him.