Has God promised health and wealth to Christians?
1 Timothy6: 6 – 10
Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content.But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.
Though we sometimes have to deal with controversial matters as Christians, they are areas in which we must take our stand. But our aimmust be to deal with these issues in a scholarly manner, and from a heart of love. Although we never want to offend anyone if at all possible, if we do offend someone, we want them to be offended by our position, not our disposition. “Don’t kill the messenger!” I’m just delivering the mail.Once again, I will mention names, some of which you surely know. I do this not as a personal attack against them, because I’m sure they are some good, and sincere people.
But we should do it to protect our church from false doctrine…a task which is very difficult to do without using direct quotes from sermons and books of those we will mention.Name some cults for me: (mormon/jw’s/moonies/etc.) Ever heard of the Cargo cult? This scarcely known cult thrives among the Aboriginal island peoples of the south pacific. Listen as I explain to you one of the most unusual legacies of WWII:During WWII, the peoples of the south pacific islands were first exposed to modern civilization through the allied forces which landed there. The military would often use these islands as temporary landing strips. White men, bearing precious cargo would often land, just long enough to unload the cargo, and then leave as quickly as they came.
These huge cargo planes would swoop down, leave their payload, and then take off again. For the first time, the natives were exposed to such things as cigarette lighters which could produce fire instantly, machines which could push back an entire forest in a matter of hours, making room for a landing strip, Jeeps that could travel at speeds they never imagined, modern weaponry, radios, refrigerators, power tools…these natives were so fascinated with this cargo, that they concluded the men who brought the cargo must be gods!When the war was over, and the armies left, these tribesmen built shrines to their “cargo gods”. Incredible! Their shrines were perfect replicas of cargo planes and hangars, all made of bamboo! There are still members of the cargo cult in existence today, in some of the more remote of those islands. Today’s cargo cult has personified all Americans into one god, and they call their god “Tom Navy”. And every day they pray to Tom Navy, to send more cargo. They especially like ball point pens, lighters, cameras, and nuts and bolts. Modern day missionaries have been sent to the cargo cults, and at first they received a warm welcome…and they were viewed as somewhat of a 2nd coming, of the cargo gods. But when they realized that these missionaries were coming with another gospel, and notmore cargo, they utterly rejected them. The missionaries will tell you that it is nigh impossible to break through the materialism and the greed, which is the very basis of their religion.There is another group of people in America today, preaching and teaching in the name of Jesus Christ, but I believe they are just as superstitious and materialistic as the cargo cults of the south pacific. They preach the health and wealth prosperity gospel, instead of “deny yourself, take up your cross daily, and follow Jesus.”I am not saying that all their leaders are unregenerate, and I’m not categorically calling the entire word/faith movement, as it is called, a cult. I’m sure there are many good and sincere people involved in this movement, who have simply been led astray by false theology. Unfortunately, many of them used to sit in churches which helped bring them to Christ. That’s all the more reason to preach a little prevention!Remember, every religion that has ever been started by a man, worshipped a god whose function was to “deliver the cargo.” They are religions in which God exists to serve man, rather than the other way around, as the Bible teaches.Here’s a list of books titles their leaders have written:How to write your own ticket with God – Kenneth E. HaginCentral Truth from his book: If we find ourselves at the bottom of life’s ladder, it is because that is all for which we have believed. When we talk right and believe right, we will climb to the top.Step No. 1 – Say ItStep No. 2 – Do ItStep No. 3 – Receive ItStep No. 4 – Tell ItHaginwrites – Too few people today know that they can write their own ticket with God. The reason God hasn’t done any more for them is that they haven’t said more. They haven’t acted more. All they have today is the result of what they said yesterday. If you are at the bottom of the ladder, it is because that is all you have believed for. If you will talk right and believe right, you will climb to the top.
2 more book by Kenneth E. Hagin –You Can Have What You Sayhe says that you will receive and have in life exactly what you say and believe for.and the otherbook “Knowing what belongs to us”
Godliness is profitableGod’s Word teaches that godliness is profitable unto all things and that believers can enjoy God’s provisions in this life!
God’s creative power will work for you – Charles CappsMany people have been defeated in life because they believed and spoke the wrong things. They have allowed the words of their own mouths to hold them in bondage.
Releasing the ability of God – Charles CappsPrayer is governed by spiritual laws and is designed to work for you. It is more powerful than the laws of nature that rule the universe today. When you learn to pray faithfilled words, you release God’s ablility and bring Him on the scene on your behalf.God’s formula for success for you! – Kenneth CopelandGod created you to be a winner. In fact, He wants you to succeed in every area of life. But success whether spiritual, financial, professional or of any other kind isnt automatic. It comes as you learn and apply Gods formula for success. By using the same principles God used to create the universe, you can change your life from ordinary to extraordinary. This dynamic book shares the biblical keys to success that can cause your thoughts, your words, and your focus to line up with Gods Word. Learn how to overcome past failures and achieve great things. You’ll even learn how to make the right decisions for your personal path to success. Learn the keys to successful living.
They could all be titled: “How to get God to deliver the cargo”.In this religion, people use God. My Bible says God uses people.This movement produces greed, materialism and covetousness in the hearts of many of God’s people. Regrettably, many of their leaders live in the laps of luxury at the expense of their followers, and I have heard them justify it themselves saying, I preach prosperity…I have to practice it!I have very little tolerance for this movement, but just as I’m about to feel guilty about my lack of patience with them, I remember that the Apostle Paul had less tolerance than me…He said, be careful of men who suppose that godliness is a means of gain.
(What was the book title? Oh yeah, “Godliness is Profitable”.)
1Tim 6:6-10Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth.After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it.So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content.But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction.For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.
I believe the prosperity gospel has 4 big problems:A wrong perception of :
Biblical faithMany Christians like to believe that this movement is fundamentally OK, just off on some tangents, but they’ve at least got the basics down, at least they preach the gospel! I’ve heard people say things like that…but here’s some fundamentals that form a cracked foundation for the entire movement:1. Wrong perception of GodThe god of this movement is not the God of the Bible. For it teaches that the believer is at least equal with God, and God is relegated to playing the role of a heavenly genie, a cosmic Santa Claus, just a big bel-hop. Because of their misconception of God, it has led to a misconception of the believer.
2. Wrong perception of the believerThe disciples of this movement are taught unequivocally to act like little gods.Kenneth Copeland said, “Adam was created in the God class, he was not subordinate to God, even Adam was walking as a God.
What he said, waswhat he did, counted; and when he bowed his knee to Satan, and put Satan above him, there wasn’t anything God could do about it because a God (Adam) had placed Satan there. Adam remember, was created in the God class, and when he committed high treason, he fell below the God class.”According to Copeland, when Jesus died on the cross, He won the right for believers to once again be born again into the God class. Now the reason that you are guaranteed healing and prosperity is because you deserve it, you are a little God.“He said He’d meet my needs, according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” so far so good, right, he then continues to praise the Lord for meeting his needs, then continues… “and I say this with all respect, so I don’t upset you too bad” (look out, sounds like he knows he’s getting ready to come out with something unorthodox) “but I say it anyway, when I read the Bible where God says I Am, I just smile and say, Yes, I Am, Too!”That is outright blasphemy. It is humanism, and I hope you cringed when you heard it! The Christian world did get upset by it, and in the face of all the criticism, Copeland went on TBN’s Praise the Lord hour to defend his position. Here’s the conversation that ensued…Paul Crouch“God doesn’t even draw a distinction between Himself and us.”Copeland“never, never…you never do that in a covenant relationship”PC “do you know what else that settles tonight? This cry that this controversy, which has been spawned by the devil to try to bring dissention within the body of Christ, that we are Gods. I am a little God!” (so if you even question that, you’re trying to bring dissention, you’re spawned by the devil!)Copeland “yes, yes,!”Jan Crouch, “absolutely, He gave us His name”PC “I have His name, I’m one of Him, I’m in covenant relations, I am a little God, critics be gone”Copeland “you’re anything that He is!”PC “yes”Paul Crouchreaffirmed his little God theory when he said on national TV, “that new creation that comes at the new birth is created in His image…and somehow the Father opens up the Godhead to let me in, it is now Father, Son, Holy Spirit, and me!”Benny Hinn affirms this theory, “are you ready for some real revelation knowledge?(notice, it’s not biblical knowledge, it’s revelation knowledge…all the more reason to preach against extra-biblical revelation, for what it does is takes immature Christians who don’t know any better, and breaks down their defenses… “are you going to argue with a man God talks to?”)Hinncontinues, “He laid aside His divine form, so one day on earth I would be clothed with the divine form.
Kenneth Hagin has a teaching, and a lot of people have problems with it. Kenneth Copeland has a teaching, and many Christians poke holes in it.
They say,” you are gods, you are gods”, and people say, Oh, I can’t be God, hold it, let’s add balance to this teaching.
When Jesus was on earth, the Bible says that first He disrobed himself of the divine form (I’ll deal with that in a minute). He became a man that we may become as He is.”No wonder they teach that we are entitled to health and wealth, because we are Gods! They’ve bought into the original lie of:
Gen. 3:4-5“You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.”Not only do they have a wrong perception of God, and thus, a wrong perception of the believer, but they have a wrong perception of3. Jesus ChristThis movement says that Jesus gave up His deity when He came to earth. They twist and distortPhil. 2:7Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being.When he appeared in human form,
For 2000 years conservative Christianity has understood the teaching of that verse to be that Jesus laid aside His glory, not His deity. That He laid aside the privileges of His deity, not His deity altogether. Suddenly, this movement has reduced Jesus to nothing more than a spirit filled man.K. Copeland wrote in “Believer’s Voice of Victory” magazine: “Why didn’t Jesus openly proclaim Himself as God during His 33 years on earth? For one single reason: He didn’t come to earth as God, He came as a man”Remember, this movement preys upon the ignorant. People that are not well-versed in the Bible at all…they shout Amen! to everything they hear preached, even that quote that Jesus didn’t claim to be God.Have they never read the gospels?John. 8:56-58Your father Abraham rejoiced as he looked forward to my coming. He saw it and was glad.”The people said, “You aren’t even fifty years old. How can you say you have seen Abraham?”Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I Am!
Copeland continued, “most Christians mistakenly believe that Jesus was able to work wonders and perform miracles and live above sin, because He had some divine powers that we don’t have…thus they never really aspire to live like He lived. They don’t realize that when Jesus came to earth, He voluntarily gave up that advantage…living His life not as God, but as a man. He had no innate, supernatural powers, no ability to perform miracles, until He was anointed by the Holy Spirit, as recorded in Luke 3:22. He ministered as a man filled with the Holy Spirit.”You see what Copelandis trying to do? Put you and Jesus on the same level…thus you’re entitled to whatever you want, especially, if you’ll give him a percentage!The Bible clearly teaches that when Jesus walked this earth, he was 100% God and 100% Man, as much God, as if He’d not been man, as much man, as if He’d not been God. That’s the miracle of the incarnation.They not only say Jesus was just a spirit-filled man, they also teach that He was literally dragged into Hell for 3 days following His death on the cross. (explain)What was Jesus’ last statement on the cross (it is finished)Where did Jesus tell the repentant thief He’d see him later that day (paradise)Then they teach that while in Hell, Jesus had to be born again.K. Copeland,“Jesus was the first man to ever be born from sin to righteousness…He was the pattern of a new race of men to come, glory to God, and you know what He did, the very first thing that this man did was to be re-born in hell. Jesus was the first person to ever be born again.”Hagin,“why did He have to be born again, because His spirit was estranged from God.”They not only elevate man to be God, but they even drag Christ down to being just a man, evidently a sin laden man, who had to be born again. And ignorant people continue to heap to themselves teachers, who will say what they want to hear!Wrong perception of God/themselves/Jesus, and finally4. Wrong perception of Biblical faith (how a person is saved)They promote superstition, not faith.
Their faith is not submissive trust in the promises of God.
By their own definition, their faith is a law…much like the law of gravity. (Word/faith movement)
The very name implies faith is more a matter of what we say, not what we trust in.
It reduces faith to mere superstition. “Believe it in your heart, say it with your mouth.”– “you can have what you say” That’s why it’s called name it and claim it, or blab it and grab it.
You can have what you want…health, wealth.My Bible says that faith comes by the Word of God, not my words.
True Biblical faith is faith in God and in HIS Word, not faith in myself, and my words.Now, in order to bolster this mindset, they ridicule those who would pray according to God’s will, saying it’s just a cop out, in case it doesn’t happen.Fred Price said, “Jesus said, according to your faith be it unto you, not according to God’s will”he’s poking fun of us.Hagin said “praying according to God’s will is not taught in the Bible, “it is unscriptural to pray, if it’s God’s will”1John. 5:14And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases himJames 4:13-16Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.”How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.”Otherwise you are boasting about your own plans, and all such boasting is evil.
In closing, what has this movement produced?False doctrine,
Sinners who claim to be Gods
God a man, who had to be born again
Faith into superstition
Trust in MY words, more than in God’s Word.
It puts us on a plane with God
Tells us not to pray to God asking for anything, but rather telling Him how it’s going to be.It promotes outlandish methods of proving your faith, so God will then fly in the cargo.Richard Roberts,“sow a seed on your MasterCard, Visa, or American express…and then expect God to open the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing.” Go into debt on faith…and expect God to bless your presumption…I mean, faith!Out of one side of their mouths the get-rich preachers say that the purpose of their ministry is to help people get out of debt, and help people prosper so they can give large sums of money to the spreading of the gospel.
But out of the other side of their mouths they teach that we can have whatever material possessions we want, such as a luxury home or a Rolls Royce. Oral Roberts once mailed out bags of holy water from the river of life fountain at his university. To demonstrate how to use the holy water, he poured out a bag of it onto his wallet on TV.Robert Tilton said, “being poor is a sin, when God promises prosperity…new house, new car, that’s chicken feed. That’s nothing compared to what God wants to do for you.” This movement has produced materialism, like the cargo cults, an attitude of “what’s in it for me?” “what can God do for me today”Luke. 12:15Then he said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.”
Let’s have a balance. Proverbs 30:7-9O God, I beg two favors from you; let me have them before I die.
First, help me never to tell a lie.
Second, give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?” And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name.
God’s richest blessings could never fit into a wallet, or a safe deposit box.
I feel like the richest man in the world!