Prosperity Gospel – Part 1

Part 1 – The Prosperity Gospel

I live and work in South Africa. It is a beautiful country with wonderful people.  Some of the absolute best Christians I have ever met live here.

According to www.southafrica.info almost 80% of the country is Christian!

I work in the township, specifically KwaZakhele, in Port Elizabeth.  I truly think there are more churches in the township than there are in the Bible belt of the USA!  It is unbelievable.  I tell people you cannot throw a rock without hitting a church!

For example, our church is surrounded by two churches.  The property on the other side is apparently bought by a church and so soon we will be surrounded by three churches – RIGHT NEXT TO US!

On the same street or within just a few minutes walking distance there are about 5 churches.  (This is within a couple hundred yards)

We have churches.  We have gospel shows on T.V. all the time.  We have Gospel singing and preaching on the radio all the time.

Preachers are everywhere, women or men – there is no shortage.

Yes, “A GOSPEL” is everywhere.  There is a variety of gospels being preached in South Africa.  Jesus comes in many packages.  The devil has done a tremendous job of confusing the gospel here.

To get to the point I am extremely burdened about the perversion of the gospel here.  One of my chief prayer requests for true Christians in this country is discernment.  Today I want us to look at one of the more prominent false gospels preached here and see what the Bible has to say about it.

It’s called the prosperity gospel.

What is the prosperity gospel?

“a modern version or, according to some, perversion of the gospel according to which the full blessings of God available to those who approach him in faith and obedience include wealth, health, and power.” (World English Dictionary)

This false gospel, the prosperity gospel, is out there today and promises people prosperity if they only have faith and obedience.  In other words this gospel says that if you are “truly godly” then you will not be poor, sick and powerless.  Is this true?

Don’t take my word for it and don’t take any preacher’s word for it.  Take God’s word.  I am not trying to rain on your parade or kill your dreams.  But you need to be honest with yourself and recognize truth and honor it.

Lies need to be called out.  Liars need to be marked.  Those preachers, bishops, evangelists, and whatever else they may call themselves need to be called out.  They are leading people to hell because they preach a different gospel and a different gospel is NOT the gospel and therefore cannot save man from the penalty of sin!

Turn in your Bible to I Timothy 6:1-11 (I also pasted the passage at the bottom of this article.)

Context:  Paul is talking to Timothy about what relationships between slave masters, slaves, rich and poor should be.  He talks about money and the dangers that the love and pursuit of money can cause.  A good quote to keep in mind as you read this passage that talks about slavery is “Social goals should always be subordinate to spiritual values.”[1]

You have to realize that up to this point slave masters and slaves had no association other than the slave/master relationship.  But now in the church they were meeting together and worshipping together.  This caused many problems in the church that had to be dealt with wisely.

Paul taught that if you were a born again slave you should work harder now than ever before, and be more respectful.  He also taught that slave owners should love, respect and not abuse their authority.  This makes no sense to a lost person or to someone who puts people’s rights before God’s glory.

The goal for the slaves was not power, freedom, and health.  That is not what the true gospel is about.  No!  The goal was and still is that through their lives God would be glorified and the church, though extremely diverse (made up of slaves and slave owners) would worship in harmony with a common, selfless goal.

Doing the opposite of this would cause envy and strife.  Teaching the opposite of this would be teaching a false doctrine.  Paul says that people that teach otherwise “know nothing.”(v.4)  They are destitute (impoverished) of the truth.  (v.5)

Paul warns that some people would use the gospel for their own personal gain.  It is their ticket to a better life (v.2).  To them real Christianity, the real gospel means I will no longer be underprivileged! But Paul says WITHDRAW yourself from people that teach this.  Get away from them!  Don’t associate with them.  They are troublemakers. They are selfish, prideful and ignorant men and you are being disobedient if you continue in fellowship with them.

I am not trying to advocate slavery.  If that is what you have concluded then you have totally missed the point.  The point is that the gospel, the true gospel is all about God’s glory not about man’s health and wealth. 

Friend, there is no promise to you that if you become a Christian your problems will go away.  As a matter of fact you will most likely gain new ones.  (James 1:2-4)  Our health and wealth is promised in the life to come not this one!  Paul even wrote that “… I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

I love what the apostle Paul says in verse 10 and 11.  He says the love of money, or having prosperity as the goal is equivalent to “erring from the faith.”  So in other words the message that prosperity, health and wealth, name it claim it, word of faith preachers preach is in total conflict with the truth!!! It is an error!!!

My advice to you is to get out of that church if that is the gospel preached at your church.  Stop listening to their messages.  Stop associating with them.  Stop condoning the gospel that they preach.  If you do not then you are also guilty.  You are condoning what they are preaching by your attendance and association.

Paul told Timothy to “flee these things.” (v.11)

 

I Timothy 6:1-11 – “Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed. 2 And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort. 3 If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; 4 He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, 5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. 6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. 9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through sorrows. 11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.[2].


[1] Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures (1 Ti 6:1). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[2] The Holy Bible: King James Version. 2009 (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version.) (1 Ti 6:10–11). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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