THE FALSE GOSPEL OF PROSPERITY

Introduction:  
1.  CNN reports that 61% of American church members believe in the Gospel of
Prosperity, which essentially says that if you understand the Bible you will be
prosperous.
2.  Where does this leave poor Christians?  Something drastically wrong with this
popular Gospel among churches since Jesus came primarily to preach the Gospel to
the poor.  (Matthew 11:5)  Also Jesus taught that it was the poor who are primarily
blessed with the kingdom of heaven.  (Matthew 5:3)
3.  Thank God and Christ for this right thinking 39% of church members; however we
have been taught by Jesus in the parable of the many that go to destruction and the
few to eternal life, to be leery of the majority and comforted when we are in the
minority.
4.  To be poor within itself has no immediate assurance of  real discipleship or eternal
life; for look at all the priests that have taken advantage of  little children, according to
Jesus with the threat of a millstone about the neck is one of the worst things that can
be done, yet previously took vows of poverty and chastity.  By the way we keep the
Bible in total context, one verse not negating all others:  (1) whatever the rich or
prosperous sow, they will also reap; and (2) “let him that does not work not eat” so
that poverty is no excuse for lack of working.

I.        This False Gospel of Prosperity is one more nail in the coffin of the Church
during the last days called in II Thessalonians the Falling Away and in II Timothy as
the “time will come” when church members “will no longer endure sound doctrine”,
“heaping up to themselves teachers with itching ears”, “turning away from the truth
and turning into fables.” (II Timothy 4:3,4)
1.        Jesus said that the last days would also be a time of false teachers and
prophets.  Sad, but there must be some here now; and if we were courageous and
honest we would label preachers and teachers of the Gospel of Prosperity-- called in
American Thought the “Gospel of Wealth” and “corollary of success”—as false
prophets and teachers.
2.        While false teachers have always been present in history, what makes this
time of the Falling Away unique is the vast “heaping up” of weird Bible teachers with
itching ears, with unique words from God that are extra-biblical, and with haughtiness
as it the Word of God either came to them only or came out of their group.  Plus this
popularity of such false teachings supports the Falling Away as indeed the challenge
of our generation.

II.        What God through Christ in the Sermon on the Mount and through other
writings in the Bible from the Apostles and Prophets really guarantees to those who
“seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” is that we will have our daily
needs.  Now, you itching ears teachers, if you are willing to define “prosperity” as
enough food, clothing, shelter, and other things for our daily needs, then and only
then, are you consistent with the teachings of Jesus and the rest of the Bible.
1.        Jesus taught us to pray to the Father, “Give us this day our daily needs”.
2.        Jesus taught that behind a believer’s commitment to “seek first the kingdom of
God and His righteousness” would come automatically from God, and added to our
daily lives by God, all these things of our daily needs.

III.        Bad things happen ultimately to church members who believe and practice the
Gospel. Of  Prosperity.
1.        If they seek so hard for prosperity that they actually become rich, then it will be
extremely unlikely that either they are Christians or will ever enter the kingdom of
heaven.
2.        Like in the case of Lazarus and the rich man, while the rich man lived a life of
security and comfort, receiving in his short life on earth his only rewards, Lazarus on
the other hand lived a life of poverty but received his reward in heaven.
3.        The Gospel of Prosperity promotes the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of
riches, and the love of the world such as the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and
the pride of life.  It, according to the parable of the seed and the sower, causes
“stumbling” in the Christian and church life and the inability to develop any root of
Christian maturity.  {If you look about you in your church, you will have noticed a
growth in the most common violation of Scripture by church members, “not to think of
themselves more highly than they ought to.”
4.       A curse rests on anyone who preaches or teaches a Gospel, like the Gospel of
Prosperity or the Reformed Gospel, that is another Gospel other than the Gospel
delivered by Jesus, Paul, and the other Apostles.  

IV.        The Gospel of Prosperity joins a long list of evidences that we are presently
in the Falling Away, making it the challenge of our generation.
1.        The lack of sound doctrine on the teachings of Jesus about marriage and
divorce, now with over 50% of church members practitioners of divorce, is one
evidence that churches and church members are in the Falling Away.  Remember
that:  (1) The Falling Away is from God, Christ, and the sound doctrine of the Bible so
that even in the largest churches, particularly in the largest churches, while
attendance and membership may go up especially where there are itching ears
teachers and preachers, it like popularity itself is a bad sign not a good sign; (2) this
is not a knocking of the youth since if this Falling Away is like that in the wilderness of
the children of Israel, where all but approximately 5 fell, then the youth 20 years of
age and younger are safe; (3) the churches have to be leaders in the Falling Away
even as they purported to be the chief witnesses to the works of God, since it is
those that have seen the works of God that have the most to fall away from, makes
sense!
2.        Listen to your fellow church members, and you will hear more of the taking of
God’s name in vain than you have ever heard.  Remember without respect for God,
there is nothing.  “God will not hold him guiltless that takes His name in vain.”
3.        Silence about the Falling Away is a supreme evidence.  An ultimate unsound
doctrine is the failure to preach and teach the sound doctrine of the Falling Away.  
You don’t hear it from your preacher or teachers, and you do not hear it form the
popular writers of best sellers or the TV speakers.  Why?  It is difficult to gain the
popularity and support from your constituents if you tell them that are part of the
Falling Away, and it is hard to put on a front of having all the answers and solutions, if
you admit you and your group are part of the Falling Away.
4.        Increasing with the heaping up of  Bible teachers with itching ears, preachers
and teachers of sound doctrine are run off from the churches, and unsound itching
ears teachers are sought out and stacked up.
5.        If you do not hear about divisions and troubles in a church and denomination,
then they have a good cover-up P.R. program.
6.        The great proliferation in the last 40 years of new church groups, new
denominations, or anti-denominational groups, can be directly correlated with the
growth in unsound doctrine.
7.        Paul also wrote in II Thessalonians about the mystery of the increase in
lawlessness.  It is a rising tide that is about to flow completely over the churches and
denominations.  You can see it in an increase in crime, in terrorism, in corruption of
priests against children, in child abuse in general, and in business leaders taking
advantage of the people in the land.
8.       More and more church members exhibit the harshness of a legalistic religion of
custom and tradition, more of the Pharisees than Jesus, and less of the grace and
graciousness that you hear and see in the writings of the Apostle John, like the
Gospel of John.
9.      Jesus Himself less and less runs the churches and denominations, at the same
time like the religious leaders of Jesus' time whom He condemned because "they
taught for doctrines the commandments of men."

{There is much more to say on the subject.  Please order and read such
SunGrist Bible books as "
Christ, Paul, and the Falling Away", "Snatching,
Stumbling and the Falling Away", and "Some Sounds of Sound Doctrine".  
Believe me, you will hear about these things few other places!}
A Short Message on the False Gospel
of Propsperity