Sunday, October 18, 2015

Paul's Prosperity Preaching.

     Paul, in his first epistle to Timothy, warns him that anyone who advocates a different doctrine, and does not agree with sound words, including the sound words of Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, such a person is conceited, and lacks understanding. These individuals cause controversy and divisions, envy and strife, and friction among men of depraved minds who are deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain (1 Tim 6:3-5). 
     Indeed, there are those in ministry today that teach this. Their message appeals to the carnal flesh of man. In their greed they will exploit you with false words (2 Peter 2:3). The heart of selfish man is aroused by the promise of money and possessions, given to us by Christ if we will only believe. Of course, they are the only ones getting rich as they exploit others with this false gospel.
     Paul goes on to say this about godliness and 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. And if we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. 
                                                  2 Timothy 6:6-8 NASB

     Paul speaks of contentment. We came into this world with nothing, and we will leave it in the exact same way. We need to be content! Can we say with Paul, that we too are content with the bare bone essentials of life, namely, food and covering (KJV translates this as raiment)? Would we still be content in Christ if we lost everything we owned? Now to be sure, there were New Testament Christians who owned homes and had other possessions just as is the case today as well. But we must also take notice of the fact that these Christians lived with open hands. They claimed nothing as their own, always ready and willing to give to a brother in need (Acts 2:44-45). To them life did not consist in the possessions they owned, but in loving others for the sake of Christ. To them, Christ was all! They knew how to be content (Phil 4:11-13).It is quite certain that the Apostles knew nothing of a name it and claim it, bless me, gospel. Consider the following,

     But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith, and pierced themselves with many a pang.
                                                             1 Timothy 6:9-10 NASB

     This is the exact opposite of what is being taught by prosperity teachers today. Paul warns us that those who desire to become rich fall into temptation and ruin. It is a trap that will destroy your soul. The one who loves money is a covetous being, and the covetous will not inherit the kingdom of God. Such a one is an idolater (Eph 5:5). The love of money lies at the heart of much of the evil in the world, and yet we see so many in the professed Church pursuing it as a "blessing" from God, twisting scriptures to somehow justify a teaching that is leading men into greed, and ruining their souls.
     Paul warns Timothy to flee these things! What would he say to us today? Flee the prosperity preachers? Turn off TBN? He urges Timothy to pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness (1 Tim 6:1). That is what we are to pursue as well. This is the opposite of the materialism and worldliness that has caught so many in the Church today.
     He instructs those who are rich in this present age not to be conceited or to fix their hope on their riches. Instead they are to place their trust in God, and live lives full of good works, generous and ready to share, laying up treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of life indeed (1 Tim 6:17-19). This is in keeping with what Jesus teaches about laying up treasure (Matt 6:19-20). Are we living for the temporal and material things of this present life, or are we living with eternity in view, letting go of the material things that will weigh us down to this earth? 



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