PROSPERITY GOSPEL EXPOSED

2 Peter 2:3 ...'And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you.'

What is the prosperity gospel? It is a covetous teaching that God wants you to have wealth, possessions prosperity-gospeland worldly success, placing the focus on this world, and not on heaven. Prosperity preachers tell you that if you donate money to them and their 'religious' organizations, then God will bless you financially and with worldly success. This isn't love for God. This is love of self! It is an attempt to purchase the gift of God with money, and yet Peter clearly rebuked Simon Magus for this.

Acts 8:20-22 ...'But Peter said unto him, thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this thy wickedness.'

The gift of God can neither be purchased with money, as it is a gift, nor is the 'gift of God' worldly gain, as these false prosperity preachers would have you believe. The gift of God is forgiveness of sin, victory over sin and eternal life through His Son Jesus. The gospel is NOT about us, it is about the dear Son of God, Jesus Christ. And yet it is interesting to look at the type of books that these prosperity teachers release. Just look at some of the following titles:

"8 Steps to Create the Life YOU want" (Creflo Dollar)

"Become a Better YOU" (Joel Osteen)

"YOU are the Prophet of YOUR OWN Life" (Kenneth Copeland)

Can you see the theme of this? It is all about what YOU want, rather than what is God's will for your life. Now while these examples are very blatant in their message, not all prosperity teachers are this blatant. Some of them are very clever and subtle in the way they push this message of self success. But the basic message is the same - "God wants to bless you with worldly riches." This message takes our focus off heaven and eternity, and places our focus on this life and this world. But the Word of God warned us concerning this kind of prosperity teaching.

1 Timothy 6:5-8 ...'Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.'

Just one Bible verse shows up the prosperity gospel as being false. What did the apostle Paul say above is 'great gain'? Godliness with contentment! So what kind of 'gain' is that? Character, not material gain. These prosperity preachers teach the opposite of what the Word of God teaches. So what does the Bible warn regarding the love of money and what these false prosperity gospel preachers proclaim? Do we have clear teaching in the Bible that steers us away from the prosperity gospel? Let's take a look:

1 Timothy 6:10-11 ...'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 with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.'

1 Timothy 6:5-8 ...'Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.'

Matthew 6:19-21 ...'Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.'

Philippians 4:1,5-7 ...'Stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.'

Proverbs 19:1 ...'Better is the poor that walketh in his integrity, than he that is perverse in his lips, and is a fool.'

Proverbs 13:7 ...'There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches.'

Ephesians 5:3-7,27 ...'But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.'

Who will NOT enter the kingdom of God? A COVETOUS PERSON. And what does the prosperity gospel teach? COVETING. Please wake up to this wicked false gospel friends!

Matthew 6:24 ...'No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.'

Luke 6:20 ...'And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.'

James 2:5-7 ...'Hearken, my beloved brethren, hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called?'

Are you seeing the picture friends? Do you see the very danger of the prosperity gospel from the above Bible verses? We are NOT to covet after money and worldly possessions. We are not to seek these things from God. What we are to seek from God is a CHANGED HEART, a TRANSFORMED CHARACTER, a new life IN CHRIST that has TURNED AWAY from the things of this world. The righteousness of Christ is the greatest treasure we can receive from the Lord. But to receive that, we MUST die to self and this world! This world is passing away and ALL things in the world will soon turn to dust. But life in Christ and His righteous character will stand the test and last for eternity. So we can either follow after that which will turn to dust, money, possessions, worldly success, and thus become dust ourselves. Or we can follow after that which will last forever, the righteous character of God, and thus live for eterinty.

Philippians 3:8-10 ...'Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.'

The riches of this world are but 'dung' compared to the riches of God's grace. And we can only secure God's grace by faith and complete surrender of the will to Him, dying to self and allowing Christ to live in us (Galatians 2:20). So what will God see when He looks at your life? Self and worldliness? Or Christ?

Now there is also something else these prosperity preachers come out with. They also say that if you are going through trials, and are not securing success in this world, then there is something wrong with your faith. But what does the Bible teach?

Luke 12:15 ...'And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth NOT in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.'

1 Peter 1:6-7 ...'Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.'

If someone offered me gold for myself in the one hand, or trials in the other, I would take the trials, because gold will NOT refine my faith and will NOT be 'found unto praise and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ'. Whereas trials WILL refine us and be found unto praise and glory at Jesus' return. Look at what else Peter said:

1 Peter 4:12-13 ...'Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.'

Listen now! Did Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, the great Creator and Prince of the universe, have material wealth on earth? Did He? No! Did He experience great worldly success on earth? No! So was He not blessed by the Father? Did He not have faith? What about the disciples? Do you see the problem with this prosperity teaching? What makes us think that it was God's will for His own Son and the disciples to suffer trial and hardships, WITHOUT PROSPERITY, and yet He wants to bless us with wealth and great success? No. If we are to be partakers with Christ, we are to be partakers of His sufferings.

Now don't get me wrong. God can and does bless some people with wealth. But for what purpose? To spend on themselves, having mansions and fast cars and planes? No! God blesses us in order for us to bless others with that wealth, helping the poor and needy and to use that wealth for the sole purpose of building up the kingdom of God. Not to waste it on worldly possessions, like these prosperity preachers would have you believe. But why does God NOT bless many with worldly wealth? Because He knows it will CORRUPT the majority of people and He knows their love for God will be replaced with their love for wealth and possessions.

Just look at the things these prosperity gospel preachers buy with GOD'S MONEY:

prosperity-preachersMegachurch Pastor buys his wife a $200,000 Lamborghini

Kenneth Copeland buys Jet for MILLIONS of Dollars

Jesse Duplantis asks for $54 MILLION to buy a Jet

Joel Olsteen owns mansions, jets and cars worth TENS OF MILLIONS

James 5:1-3 ...'Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.'

It is utterly sickening to think that these people proclaim to be followers of Jesus Christ, the Creator who so humbled Himself, that He was born as a human in a STABLE and lived a lowly, humble, sacrificial life, and even stated Himself ... "the Son of man has nowhere to lay His head." (Luke 9:58).

Think about the 'rich young ruler' in Mark 10. He had great wealth, probably a big house and many possessions. Was this a sign that he was 'right with God', and that God had blessed him to enjoy these riches? No. Look at the response from Jesus ... "Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions. And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God." (Mark 10:21-23)

This rich young ruler thought that everything was good in his life. But Jesus showed him that his riches had corrupted him, like it does with most people. The rich young ruler's focus was on his possessions, and he was not prepared to give them up for Christ. THIS will shut out MANY people from the kingdom.

BIBLE VERSES USED BY PROSPERITY PREACHERS

Let's take a look at some of the Bible verses these false prosperity gospel preachers use and twist to support their love of money and possessions. You know, we can all take one Bible verse out of the context of the whole council of God and make anything up we like. But true followers of Christ will not do this. We will take the WHOLE council of God and let HIM teach us, not make up our own teachings through the misuse of His Word.

VERSE USED: John 10:10 ...'I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.'

So what is the 'more abundant' life that God wants us to have? Well, let's take a look at the 'FRUIT of the Spirit' ... "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law." (Galatians 5:22-23). Now do you see anywhere in there that the fruit of the Spirit is worldly riches? No! So what kind of 'abundance' did Jesus mean in John 10:10? "Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance." These are the things we will 'abound' in, if we come to Jesus, NOT worldly riches and worldly success.

Did you notice that a fruit of the Spirit is TEMPERANCE? Let's look at the definition of temperance: 'self-control, abstinence, moderation.' - the very opposite of the prosperity gospel message!

Look how the apostle Peter put it ... 2 Peter 1:4-7 ...'Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.'

So what great and precious promises have been given unto us? Wealth and prosperity? No! CHARACTER that is moulded after the likeness of the meek and lowly and humble Jesus Christ, that leads to victory over sin and ETERNAL LIFE. The life 'more abundant' that we receive is the very LIFE and CHARACTER of Christ. And this is what will last for eternity, even after the riches of this world have passed away.

Did Jesus, while on earth, bless people with riches and success? No. So what did He bless people with? Forgiveness of sin. Victory over sin. Spiritual and physical healing. These are the blessings we should be looking for in Christ, not worldly wealth and success.

VERSE USED: Malachi 3:10 ...'Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.'

Oh how this verse is abused by the prosperity preachers. First of all, notice how this verse says that the tithe is to be brought into 'God's storehouse'. What is a storehouse? Is not a storehouse a place where things are kept, TO PROVIDE FOR NEEDS? Is a mansion a 'need'? Are sports cars a 'need'? Is a private jet a 'need'? Is personal pleasure a 'need'? No! So what is the purpose of bringing the tithes to God's storehouse? In the first instance, to keep the 'house of God' going, IN ORDER that it can work to bring people into the kingdom of God. And second, so that it has means to HELP THOSE IN NEED. God's storehouse is not a place whereby people can use it for THEIR OWN PLEASURE! It is to sustain the preaching of the TRUE gospel of Christ, NOT to sustain the pleasure seeking lives of people.

Now think about this very carefully. Acts 4 tells us that the early disciples "laid what they had at the apostles feet." What did the apostles do with that money? Did they spend it on themselves? No, they used it WHOLLY for the gospel work. But there was one disciple who used the money for selfish gain - JUDAS! And the prosperity gospel churches are sadly FULL of Judas'.

Yes, God WILL bless those who are faithful to Him. God WILL bless those who lay ALL their possessions upon the altar. But those blessings we receive from God are NOT to be spent on personal pleasure. Apart from personal basic needs for life, they are to be wholly re-invested back into the kingdom, in spreading the gospel message, and helping others in need.

Remember! There is another being who can 'bless' us with worldly riches. SATAN. And he is VERY happy for you to focus on worldly gain and spend those 'blessings' on yourself, because this way, he can keep you from the kingdom.

Look at the parable of the 'talents' in Matthew 25. Did the 'master' give the talents [blessing] to his servants for them to gain worldly wealth and pleasure? No, they were to increase the talents for the master's kingdom. And yet these false prosperity preachers make you believe that God gives you money for your own pleasure. It is totally contrary to the Word of God. This so called 'gospel' that the prosperity preachers proclaim is NOT the gospel of Christ. It is 'another gospel', as Paul warned:

Galatians 1:6-9 ...'I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 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. 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.'

Oh! They may be "blessed" by Satan, but in the judgment, they will have nothing!

"It is alarming that so many are deluded by Satan. He excites the imagination with brilliant prospects of worldly gain, and men become infatuated, and think that before them is a prospect of perfect happiness. They are lured on by the hope of obtaining honor and riches and position. Satan says to the soul, 'All this will I give thee, all this power and wealth with which you may do good to your fellow men;' but when the object for which they seek is gained, they find themselves with no connection with the self-denying Redeemer; they are not partakers of the divine nature. They hold to earthly treasures, and despise the requirements of self-denial, self-sacrifice, and humiliation for the truth's sake. They have no desire to part with the dear earthly treasure upon which their heart is set. They have exchanged masters, and accepted the service of mammon instead of the service of Christ. Satan has secured to himself the worship of these deceived souls through the love of worldly treasure." (Counsels on Stewardship, p.214)

Dear friends, I plead with you to FLEE from this love of money and worldly gain. And give your ALL, your life, your possessions, your money, your time, as a loving sacrifice to God the Father, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Be a 'living sacrifice' (Romans 12:1), loving the Lord your God with 'ALL your heart, ALL your soul, ALL your mind and ALL your strength' (Mark 12:29-31). Only seeking the righteous life of Christ in return. And you will have 'treasure in heaven'

Philippians 4:8-9 ...'Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.'