Many people today are turning to religion prosperity doctrines in search of economic wellbeing and to break free from economic slavery. Mostly in poor countries where the government and corrupt officials have denied the citizens of their basic necessities of life. It is a no wonder, poor people the world over are turning to a prosperity doctrine as a panacea to their economic problems. For example, in Nigeria every available kiosk, shops and flats have been converted to churches. The doctrine is either prosperity or miracles. In spite of numerous churches corruption, stealing, robbery, kidnapping, and religion terrorism continues unabated. All these people belong to one religion or the other. Why you may asked?
When people are hungry and their lives is at risk, they will do anything to survive, including robbery. You can hardly find a trusted friend in the church or an upright men and woman of God.
Many church leaders are now in dilemma of teaching prosperity as a Christian doctrine because that is what people want to hear. Bishop Oyedepo said, “Food is the goodness to an hungry person and employment is the goodness to the unemployed graduates”. This is true. That was why many Pentecostal churches are having overwhelming membership.
The fact is, the Bible truth is not about material prosperity. Satan the Devil was the first person to use materialism to lure Jesus for worship. He took him to an unusual high mountain and showed him the kingdom of this world and the glittering glory of it and said to Jesus, “I will give you all these kingdom and its glory if you worship me.” Jesus rejected the offer and said, get behind me Satan, it is written Worship only the true God.” (Matthew 4:8-10). Therefore, material prosperity is not a Christianity doctrine. Jesus did not teach it.
The fact is, God is our father and he has unlimited resources to give to his obedient children. Just like our natural parents, an obedient child will be provided with food, clothing, and shelter without struggle and crying. The truth is, anyone who practiced giving shall receive. Anyone who sow seed, must reap what what they have sown. If you plant a seed, you must harvest the seed regardless of your belief or religion. These are fundamental law of nature. It is not subject to religion, prayers, or fasting. If you give to the poor, God will repay you whether you pray for it or not. (Genesis 22:8)(Luke 6:38)
Abraham, King Solomon, Job and King David, all these men of God were not Christians and they were very rich without asking God for it. For examples, when God ask Solomon to ask for anything he wants, King Solomon ask for wisdom, discernment and knowledge to rule God’s people. Because of his humility and obedient, God add to him riches, glory and long life(Proverb 22:4). Our God never change, you will not lack anything if you obey divine instructions.
Therefore, the teaching of materialism is very misleading and can put unsuspecting Christians into spiritual drowsiness and sleep. Jesus said, the Lord ‘s day will come as a thief and many Christians will be caught napping, because they will be carried away with mundane things of life. Jesus further said, that day will be like Noah’s day when people are busy accumulating material things, dancing, making merry, marrying and been married and suddenly that day will come as thief.
Our modern day father of faith Bishop Oyedepo and the father of holiness, Pastor Adeboye have written many books on faith and holiness. They have given testimonies of how God supernaturally blessed them because they focus their attention on God’s Kingdom and Kingdom Advancement prayers(Matthew 6:33). The Bible says we should imitate their faith. If you can not imitate their faith and holiness don’t expect God to bless you supernaturally like them.
(Hebrews 13:7 GNB)
Before I became a born again Christian, I did not know about tithing and offering but I always give to the poor and to the work of God. Even when I was unemployed, I continued to give. Giving makes me fulfilled and happy. Thank God I did not know poverty either. The point is, God knows your heart condition and He will reward you based on that.
As a Servant of God, Jesus Christ, should be our role model. The Bible says, “Look unto Jesus, the perfecter and finisher of our faith.”
(Hebrew 12:2) Jesus catalogued all the signs that will mark his second coming, such as wars and false prophets and persecution of Christians but material prosperity is not one of those signs of the last days. (Matthew 24:3-50)
If Jesus Christ comes today, where would you be? What is your motivation for serving God? One thing I know for sure, God can not be fooled with your title or with our material possessions. God is not a respectful of persons, anyone whose heart conditions is agreeable with him and endured to the end shall be saved, regardless of their economic status or religion.
Some people are saying material prosperity is a sign of God’s blessings. What about those who did not know God and yet they are materially blessed? There are places in the world where the good news or Christianity have not been preached yet. Such as where Hinduism, Shintoism, and Islam are the dominant religion. There are millions of people who did not serve our God and yet they are multimillionaires. Therefore, linking material prosperity teaching to Christianity is very misleading. It is not necessary.nc. Cfff
The early Apostles did not accumulate material wealth and God counted them worthy of everlasting life. Some of these Christians died a painful death because of their faith in God. God did not prevent their painful death or physical affliction. People tend to asked,where is your God, when any man of God is undergoing some afflictions or test of their faith.
One lady asked, why would a man of God had a plane crash if it is true that he is serving God? I reminded her that the same reason why God allow his only begotten son to undergo a painful death on a torture stake. Does that mean Jesus was not serving God? She got the point. This comment shows their limited understanding about God . This lady may have been misled by prosperity teaching which focuses people to only a blissful life and material prosperity.
Jesus said, “If anyone wants to be my follower, let him or her carry their cross and follow him. Anyone who endure to the end shall be safe.” (Matthew 24:13) These statements put everyone on notice that endurance is a must for all Christians who desire Everlasting Life. Endurance is needed because Servants of God are the target of demonic attack. Endurance is what we need not Material prosperity doctrine. No one can use money to buy everlasting life. Otherwise, Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple Products would have been alive today.
Apostle Paul was highly anointed to the point that his handkerchief was taken to the sick and they were healed. Yet he was enduring painful afflictions himself. Three times he prayed to Jesus for healing but there was no relief. (2 Corinthians 12:7-9). Jesus himself prayed to his father, “If this cup can pass over me, but not as I will but let your will be done.” God allowed his only begotten son to die a painful death. His death opened the graves and the dead were resurrected. Mankind have the hope of living forever in God’s kingdom because Jesus endured to the end. Christians are not exemption. We must learn to endure to the end of our lives.
Again, Jesus, in advising his disciples about material prosperity, said, “Do not put your money on earth where robbers can steal, rather store up your treasures in Heaven, where thieves and robbers can not reach.”From what Jesus said above, accumulation of materials things can jeopardize our relationship with God if care is not taken. It can lead to spiritual drowsiness and spiritual death. The LOVE of money is the root of all evils(Matthew 6:19-20)
Poverty does not glory God either. All God’s servants are rich both materially and spiritually. But they don’t pray for it because God knows their needs before they ask. Preaching and praying for riches is not necessary. Why? The question is do your own children beg you before they eat food in the house, wear their own cloth and wear their own shoes? The answer is no. Jesus said, “Seek God’s Kingdom first and its righteousness and all these others things will be added unto you.” You don’t need to pray for what belong to your father in the Heavens. He knows that you need them before you ask for it.
Instead of teaching materialism doctrines, we should concentrate on preaching God’s requirements for salvation such as bearing the fruits of God’s Holy Spirit in our lives which is LOVE, JOY, PEACE, Kindness, Faith, Goodness and self control and reject the works of the flesh, which is stealing, enmity, rivalry and all form of greediness. The Bible says there is no law against the Fruits of the Holy Spirit. For examples, modern day God’s Servants like Bishop Oyedepo or Pastor Adeboye, never pray for material things things but they are supernaturally rich because they spend their time serving God. Let us emulate their good examples.
Many Churches today are in predicament between preaching material prosperity and have overflowing crowd of people in their church. Because everyone want to be rich and they want be identified with mega churches. Apostle Paul predicted, in 2 Timothy 4:3-4, “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”(2 Timothy 4:3-4)
This is the time Apostle Paul was talking about. Preaching only material Prosperity is damaging to our spiritual health and it can lead to spiritual death. A true man of God must strike the balance between telling people what they like to hear. Teaching the Bible truth is the only way to assist people to conform to God’s standards which in turn can lead to Everlasting Life.
Come to think of it, it is contradictory to be accumulating wealth on earth and at same time preaching Heaven, one can not have it both ways. Apostle Peter painted the picture of what to expect in the last days. (: 2 Peter 3:10-13 )
He said, the present earth and the heavens will melt by fire and destruction. And we are awaiting a new earth and a new heavens where righteousness will dwell. The present earth and the physical heavens has been polluted by man. God wants to create a new earth and a new heavens where only the righteous people will live.
To my understanding it is wasteful and foolishness for any Bible student to be accumulating materials things on this earth that will soon pass away. Someone may ask what shall we do with church money if we don’t spend it? Church offering and tithes should be used to help the poor, pay the full time Servant of God, such as, pastors and evangelist and organizing crusades, heralding the second coming of Jesus.
Winning Soul for Jesus should be our focus and we should pay the evangelist and the pastors who are taking the lead to win soul for Christ. Jesus said, in Matthew 24:14 that this goodness of the Kingdom will be preached AS A WITNESS to all the nations and then the END shall come. This means that our major concern is to inform people about God’s Kingdom and its requirements for becoming the citizen of God’s Government. Convincing and conversion belong to Holy Spirit and our God. Jesus said, “No one can come to me unless my father draws him or her.” (John 6:48).
Jesus Witness Ministries goals is to win a million soul for Jesus Christ annually. We would pay full time evangelists and the full time pastors for winning souls for Jesus. We would organized three to four crusades to meet our goals of a million souls for Christ. Our missionaries will take the good news of God’s Kingdom to all human race anywhere in the world. We would focus the attention of the new converts to God’s Kingdom and it’s righteous as permanent solution to all problems.
Pastor David Olaniyan
The Global Evangelist of JWM International