Saturday, March 11, 2017

"What is Truth" Part III (The Money)

I really considered not even mentioning this aspect of Christianity, it seems so foreign to me now, but at one time I was intrigued by this message. And because they do have a tremendous following here in America and around the world it seems I should at least address it somewhat.

If you are a new Christian and have a television set and come across any Christian Station you will be bombarded with this message of prosperity. You may have already been captured by this sect of Christianity as there are little Word of Faith and Prosperity churches all over the country. They vary greatly in what doctrine they have, but they have a few strings running throughout their churches that unite them and bring them together in fellowship. They are mostly held together in fellowship by their belief in supernatural experiences and their belief that they can have what they say if spoken in faith. They teach it is God's will for all to be blessed, healthy and wealthy.

Their message is appealing, because if you are in financial need, they offer hope. If you are sick and are in need of physical health, they offer hope. If your marriage is on the brink, they offer hope. If your life is a wreck, they offer hope. Just about anything you could be in need of as it pertains to this world and this life, they offer hope. If you will just heed their teaching, apply your faith, everything wrong in your life, God will fix. My dear friend, their hope is a false hope.  Let me appeal to you again to go to the scripture.

 We are a sinful people, (sin-full) a people who deserve nothing but wrath and judgment. Read the book of Romans and discover what we are and our helpless state. Then discover there who He is and what He has done to save such a people as us.

Our redemption is so far reaching it is beyond our scope of comprehension. But what we do perceive compels us to worship him regardless of our earthly circumstances. In many places on this planet, all one has could be lost, just because they put their faith in Christ. But the Apostle counted all these things but loss, that he might win Christ. That is true prosperity.

These groups will say many things that sound good, it will be appealing. They will, as all false teachers do, take you to the scripture in a selected manner. My dear friend, what I want you to do is broaden your vision.  For the moment, escape from the verse, or verses, of which these teachers (probably on TV) have taken you. Slow down, do a little work on your own and read through the book of Acts. This is a record of about 30 years of Christian history, keep in mind much of the New Testament was written during this time in the form of letters to the Church. Search through it carefully and see if you can find the life style these prosperity, or Word of Faith, teachers are telling you to live.

What you find is a people that found no pleasure in the very things these teachers are telling you God wants you to have. The loss of their comforts and earthly securities were not thought to be some disparagement of the blessings of God.

For most, their lives were very difficult as a result of receiving the Gospel. For many their marriages became difficult because they received the Gospel and their spouse did not. For many, they lost their possessions as repercussion for receiving the Gospel. For many, they lost their lives, or the lives of their loved ones, because of receiving the Gospel. In the record we are given of this 30 year span in Acts, not a word is mentioned that these things should not be so, or that God wanted something better for them. They thrived in spite of these difficulties with lives of peace, comfort, securities, and hope, because their heart had been changed and its affections were on things above, not on things below.

The Bible is a comprehensive book, it covers all aspects of our lives. Yes, there are scriptures concerning health and wealth and how these things are a blessing from God. There are times in history, and will be in our lives, when these things will be more available than at others. So the Scripture instructs us in how we are to view both prosperity and lack, both health and sickness, comfort and difficulty. When health and prosperity come, we are to view them in light of God's blessing. When we suffer need and difficulty in our lives, we are to understand God's sovereignty over all things and put our trust in him.

My dear reader, I am trying not to write in a manner to persuade you to some other opinion and lace that opinion with a list of Scripture to support my view. If you can be persuaded by my argument, then one better and more persuasive than myself can win you over to theirs. My concern in these posts is a response to all the various opinions in Christianity today that bombard a new Christian and promotes confusion and uncertainty. It is my purpose to serve simply as a compass and point only and always to the Word. To convey to you that you can know "what is truth". You will not know it all at once, nor will you ever know it all. But you can begin the journey, your primary tools will be the Bible and prayer. You may be told that the Bible says in 3Jn 1:2  Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. Because of this verse and others they will make reference to, you will be told, "See, it's right there in the Bible, God wants you to prosper and be in health above all things."

It is here you will need to step back, take a look at the life of the Apostle John as it is revealed in Scripture. Then view such claims by these perhaps well meaning, but nevertheless false teachers, through the knowledge you gain by viewing the lives of Christians you see in the book of Acts. You will then be armed with the broad knowledge of Christian life in which to understand this single verse given in greeting through a letter to a dear friend. We must view and grow in our faith guided by Scripture as a whole; avoid basing our faith and practice upon isolated verses that seem to teach particular beliefs that are not found in practice, experience, or instruction of the Christian faith as it is recorded in the lives of Scripture.

It would be natural and proper for us the pray and desire that any of our dear friends and acquaintances should prosper and be in health, even as their soul prospers. This is because we understand in God's providential working in our lives we will at some point be in need of these things. If it were always God's will for us to prosper and be in health, then no one has ever lived in the will of God.

There are times in our lives when the lack of each of these things works in us or someone else as a result of our lack, some purpose in God that could only be found in that place and time. My dear friend, search the Scripture, listen to the message, hear the words of the writers, watch their lives in the narrative. Then love what they loved, desire what they desired, be willing to suffer what they suffered, hope in what they hoped, be encouraged by what encouraged them, and in doing so, you will discover the truth they knew.

May the Grace of God be upon each of you,


1 comment:

  1. excellent. I appreciate the gracious way you explained it.