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 citizenry 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 into churches. The doctrine is either prosperity or miracles. In spite of numerous churches and Mosques, corruption, stealing, robbery, kidnapping, and religion terrorism continues unabated. All these people belong to one religion or the other. Why may you ask?
When people are hungry and their lives are at risk, they will do anything to survive, regardless of their religion. You can hardly find a trusted friend in the church or upright men and woman of God.
Many church leaders are now in the dilemma of teaching prosperity as a Christian doctrine because that is what people want to hear. Bishop Oyedepo said, “Food is the goodness to a hungry person and employment is the good-news to the unemployed graduates”. This is true. That was why many Pentecostal churches are having an overwhelming membership.
The fact is, the Bible truth is not about material prosperity. 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. When any man of God is undergoing some afflictions or test of their faith, some people tend to ask, where is your God?
One lady asked, why would a man of God have a plane crash if it is true that he is serving God? I reminded her that the same reason why God allows his only begotten son to undergo a painful death on the cross. Does that mean Jesus was not serving God? She got the point.
This comment shows their limited understanding of God. Many people have been misled by prosperity teaching which focuses people on 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 endures 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 the money to buy everlasting life.
Trust me your wealth cannot pay for your life either now or in the future, otherwise, Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple Products would have been alive today.
Anthony Bourdain job was to travel the world and to taste food from different part of the world for CNN. The recent deaths of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade by suicide shows that money is not the solution to all problems. Therefore, people who come to prosperity churches in search of economic wellbeing may be disappointed and if care is not taken they may be worse off if they did not work hard. Jesus says, those who endured to the end shall be saved.
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 has the hope of living forever in God’s kingdom because Jesus endured to the end. Christians are not exception. 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 treasures on earth where robbers can steal, but rather store up your treasures in Heaven, where thieves and robbers cannot reach, for where your treasures is that is where your heart will be” (Matthew 6:19-21).
Jesus advice was to put your heart in God’s Kingdom as the only solution to all your problems. Material prosperity is not the solution.
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, in Mathew 6:33 “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. The Bible says there is no law against the Fruits of the Holy Spirit. For examples, God’s Servants like Solomon, Job and King David, Bishop Oyedepo they never pray for material things but they are supernaturally rich because they spend their time serving God.
Let us emulate their good examples.
However many pastors today are in predicament between preaching material prosperity and have overflowing crowd of people in their church or preach salvation and have fewer people in the Church. Greed and ignorance makes people to want to become rich at all cost. Some people want to be identified with mega churches. In my ministries when I invite people to come for a Bible studies, their question is how many people are in your church? People are looking for where they will be entertained and to have their inching ears tickled.
Apostle Paul predicted this, 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)
Satan the Devil is the god of this system and he 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 this entire 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 as doctrine.
The fact is, God is our father and he have 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 sows 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 cannot be fooled with your with your 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.
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 and what Jesus wants Pastors to tell the flocks. 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 cannot 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 heaven where righteousness will dwell. The present earth and the physical heavens have been polluted by man. God wants to create a new earth and new heavens where only the righteous people will live.
To my understanding it is wasteful and foolishness for any believer to be accumulating materials things on this earth that will soon passes 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).
In summary, material prosperity doctrine is not one of Jesus teaching of repentance and grace of salvation. Prosperity is not among the composite signs of Jesus second coming.
Satan was first person to offer materialism to Jesus in exchange for worship. Jesus rejected that offer. The fact is anyone can become rich. Drug barons, unbelievers and anyone can become rich either by God blessing or by demonic powers.
Any obedient sons or daughter of God don’t need to suffer lack of provision because Jesus is a good provider and he will provide for you without problem, if you know your right as a child of God
God said, in Exodus 23:25-26 “you shall serve the LORD and he shall bless your food and water and he take sickness away from you. No one shall be barren and I will fulfill the number of your days”. Obedient in serving God is required to access God’s provisions and everlasting life.
The goal of Jesus Witness Ministries is to win a million souls for Jesus Christ annually and to prepare them to become a citizen of God’s Kingdom.
We would pay full time evangelists and the full time pastors for winning souls for Jesus. We would organize 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 races 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.
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Pastor David Olaniyan
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