By Pastor Mike Taylor -
Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? . . . Therefore do not worry, saying, "What shall we eat?" or "What shall we drink?" or, "What shall we wear?" Matthew 6:25-26
These are the words of our Lord when He was teaching the multitudes what is important in this life, and to not worry about having what you need, as God knows what you need, even before we may ask Him in prayer. When pondering this great truth, that we trust in God for our very sustenance, and the breath we breathe, I think on people who ask me about Prosperity Gospel and the many tele-evangelist that speak of "Name it and Claim it" theology. Is it biblical and is God pleased with the so called "ministers" that drive fancy cars, live in expensive homes (sometimes several of them) and jet set all around the world spreading their "doctrine" purporting that we have a kindly "Grandfather in the sky" that just loves to make us all rich. Does He and is there something more than meets the eye for the followers of this aberration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? I won't speak for God if He is pleased, but you must determine that for yourself by their fruits. For an indepth examination of this movement follow this URL:
Newsflash: Benny Hinn caught in a awkward moment with Paula White, another prosperity gospel "minister". Won't these folks learn?
I believe that these ministers are taking scripture and twisting it into what I believe is a "fleecing" of the flock for the multitudes who desire riches in this life, instead of seeking riches in the next life. They pull scriptures as proof text to their cause such as:
"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it will be opened to you." --Matthew 7:7
Many-among them preachers of the "prosperity gospel"-believe that the focus of this verse is on receiving things, that is, that we will get whatever we ask for as long as we ask according to God's will. While this is a true principle, if put in terms of materialism, it misses the real point Jesus intended because He never appeals to our vanity or instructs us to satisfy human nature's selfish desires. I have a dear sister in Christ who laments that she is surrounded by false teachings of prosperity gospel and the dumbing down of the church with its feel good message, in direct conflict with scripture. It takes faith and courage not to be swept away by the lust of the flesh and the pride of life. This is what these modern churches are professing. It's not about reaching the lost for Jesus Christ, but making churches social clubs, or not churches at all, but a shopping mall and coffee shops, and "hey, if you like this shopping experience, come to church and we'll give you some more food for your fleshly appetite. Would you like some more coffee?" What is wrong with this picture?
God's Word is about "giving to others" not "getting rich". It's a give Gospel, not a get gospel. Leading that person to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ as their only hope for eternal life should be every Christian's priority focus. That is the way God has intended for each of us as Christians to work for His harvest of souls. We should be more concerned about reaching out to others to meet their needs, instead of hording riches in this life that will all eventually fade away, as so much dust in the wind anyway. What did Jesus say?
Matthew 6:19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
6:20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
6:21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Sunday Morning Tele-Evangelist or TBN
I see many of these preachers on the Satanic box we have in the corner of most living rooms, called your TV, come on with their fancy station call letters, ie. TBN, (paid with God's tithe) begging for more money. I remember back many years ago of PTL and Jim Bakker doing little preaching but begging for more money. Where was the instruction? Where was the teaching of the whole counsel of the Word of God? There was none of it. Then we went through the likes of Jimmy Swaggart and his indiscretions with a paid prostitute, twice. Today we have more wolves in sheep's clothing that have entered into our midst and have perverted the Gospel to their own riches. Tele-Evangelism is big business and has made these men fabulously wealthy. I think of people like Joel Olsteen, Benny Hinn, Paul Crouch, Creflo Dollar, Kenneth Copeland and just about anybody that comes on this station called Trinity Broadcasting Network (sic) and utter a lot of false statements. They make me shutter with their arrogance and demanding that God give everyone the goose that laid the golden egg, or the fancy house, or the big car, expensive clothes, fancy jewelry and they want that all for you? Really? God warned us in His Word of such men:
Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
7:16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
7:17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
7:18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
7:19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
These tele-evangelist today are not ministers of God's Word, but preach a "Purpose Driven Life" or Mo' Money! They are professors and purveyors of the human pride and the need for "stuff." They preach an aberration of God's Word, and another gospel that Paul warned us about. Galatians,
1:6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
1:7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
1:9 As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
When was the last time that you saw any of these slick preachers get up with open Bible in hand and preach the unadulterated truth of God's Word? I've seen many of them, most of them with headsets on and speaking for hours and never, never quote scripture. NOT ONCE!! Does a Berean study of God's Word support their oratory and fancy words? What do we hear if we sit in front of the box in your living room and listen to them for more than 5 minutes? We hear a social gospel and a feel good message of personal development, not Jesus Christ and Him crucified which they do not proclaim. They drone on about what you need to do to have the "good life" in this world, deal with depression that you don't have the lastest gadget or the newest car out there, or get whatever else that you may want. You need a purpose, and they give you one, "get mo' stuff".
There's only one catch, to get mo' stuff, you must send them your mo' money. Give till it hurts and hurts some more. Not just 10% or 20%, but give more as a sign of faith in the goodness of God. They call it "seed" money. Plant your seed and God will give you back more than you can give. They call upon this verse:
Luke 6:38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
Is this what our Lord was talking about that to give till it hurts to these ministries gives you a heads up on receiving from God whatever you can think of or pray for? I've heard so many people stand up and say that you just have to reach out and claim with both hands by speaking the words, and God will bring it to pass. That is the "Name it and Claim it" Theology dubbed Word of Faith. So many people miss what God is telling us through the Words of His Son when He spoke about giving to others. These preachers of a false gospel invoke a "Grandfatherly God" who gives His children whatever they desire. Or another one is that they hold God hostage in their misguided belief that God cannot refuse them anything, because He Said So!! So they think. God loves a cheerful giver who expects nothing in return, but to give in order to get 'mo stuff" is misdirected and a sign of being selfish in your attitude and not about giving out of love of your neighbor!
AS YOU DO UNTO OTHERS....
Human nature tends to value the wrong things in life-to eat, drink, and be merry-things without eternal worth. Because of this temptation, people's main anxiety concerns accumulating this world's luxuries. A rich man may even be embarrassed by his inability to store his hoarded wealth, but he never considered using his riches for the benefit of others. Irishman Jonathan Swift observed, "Nothing is so hard for those who abound in riches as to conceive how others can be in want." A generous person, however, sees the needs of others first
Proverbs 11:25-26;). The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.
11:26 He that withholdeth corn, the people shall curse him: but blessing shall be upon the head of him that selleth it.
11:27 He that diligently seeketh good procureth favour: but he that seeketh mischief, it shall come unto him.
We should sow goodness and generosity so we will reap the same as Paul said in:
6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
6:8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
6:9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
Do we not see that if we are generous and think of others before our selves, that what we give to others individually will bring us friends and allies in this life, that when we need something, they are the first to be there to meet out needs in return?
Galatians 6:10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
I don't begrudge giving for the help of brethren in need or want and neither should any Christian brethren. Nor do we turn away from helping our fellow man when the opportunity arises, but we give to the ministry as was done to the Levitical priesthood in the Old Testament for their work of ministering in the Temple in Jerusalem as they had no inheritance but the work of God. It is the same as meeting the needs of ministers who spread the Good News of the coming Kingdom of God, but not to the extent that these preachers mentioned live lavish lifestyles and fall into sins of the flesh that have been zealously, even with delight reported by our news media when one of them is caught "with his pants down" so to speak.
1st Timothy 5:17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.
5:18 For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.
Adam Clarke comments here,
Almost every critic of note allows that double honor, here, signifies reward, stipend, wages. Let him have a double or a larger salary who rules well; and why? Because in the discharge of his office he must be at expense, in proportion to his diligence, in visiting and relieving the sick, in lodging and providing for strangers; in a word in his being given to hospitality which was required of every minister.
The Expositor's Bible Commentary, on this same section, states,
Elders, those who directed the affairs of the church. Those who performed their functions well were worthy of double honor. Since the word honor (5092) in this case means compensation, remuneration 'that which is paid in honor of another's work 'double honor probably refers to an honorarium or wage.
It says a wage because of expenses doing their duties of the office, requires being supported by the members under their ministry to promote the Kingdom of God, not riches that would embarrass most sane men of God, if they be of a true and upright soldier for promoting salvation through no other but Jesus Christ and His shed blood on Calvary. Ministers should be protecting the flock, not fleecing them, but leading them to a life found in Jesus Christ. They should not, must not take advantage of the poor soul who believes their unscriptural message and follows them due to ignorance of the Truth found in their Bible, which they may not even read or understand.
I have family members who have been caught up in the personality of these charlatans, because they are charismatic and speak a feel good gospel. Who doesn't want to feel good about their life and a brighter future? It's a terrible mindset that leads people to follow men, instead of God found in the pages of your bible. These are people who are unfamiliar with the scriptures, or they have been led astray by idolizing men in white suits and preacher haircuts used in many gospel quartets of the past. Don't they look the part? Don't they look "holy" to you? Don't you just love to hear them speak and hang onto every word they say, punctuated with a quick "hallelujahs" or "praise the Lord." They get you excited. You feel euphoric, giddy while clapping your hands in agreement and calling out "Amen, brother," and then they hit you with the message they came for all along which is, I need your money in all their Elmer Gantry impersonations.
JESUS AND THE RICH YOUNG RULER
I am reminded of the rich man that came to Jesus and asked Him a question:
Matthew 19:16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
19:17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
Reading on down, Jesus said:
19:21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
19:22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.
19:23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.
19:24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
Unlike what many of us would do, Christ avoids becoming mired in a dispute about the rich man's claim that he has kept the law and what does he lack, but gets right to the bottom line: The young man's love of the world. He tells him to sell his possessions, give the money away, and follow Him as a disciple. Yet, the young ruler was unwilling to do this. His treasure was here on earth. His money exerted a stronger tug on his heart than Jesus Christ did. Matthew Henry says in his commentary, "When we embrace Christ, we must let go of the world, for we cannot serve God and money."
That is the unseen message that drives the Prosperity Gospel, the love of this world and the love of money and riches. The more we have in luxuries, the more we are tied to this world. The more we are intoxicated with the Prosperity Gospel and its promise of riches supplied by our following these men who preach another "gospel", then the more we rely on ourselves and our ability to get wealth by holding God hostage and holding these men up as our examples of righteous living. Ultimately, the sad truth is more we will ignore what is the most important, or should be, in our lives. It is a dangerous road many have been led astray upon. We must seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness:
Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
6:34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
Finally, my brethren and those who follow this teaching, turn to the only supplier of your every need and ask Him for what is best for your growth as a follower of Jesus Christ and His coming Kingdom here on earth. Remember in closing what Paul wrote in Philippians:
4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
This is Pastor Mike Taylor, praying God's salvation in your life through Jesus Christ our Lord. If you have any needs, wish counseling, have a question, or just want someone to listen to your concern, drop me a line firstname.lastname@example.org , God bless you, till we meet at Jesus Feet.