For Christians who are God-loving, God-fearing, bible believing people, our first command is to love God.
Matthew 22:37-40, “You shall love the Lord your God with all of your heart, with all of your soul, and with all of your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."
We are to love God first, then our neighbor, and He will bless us, according to His will. Messiah states in Matthew.
Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."
In contrast, the prosperity church teaches that we are able to use God as a “force” to enable us to have anything in the world we want. It teaches that we have the personal power to recreate life’s reality to exactly what we want it to be, not what God wants. Prosperity teaching takes our human desires of the flesh and twists them into Bible scripture, which is a recipe for disaster. This teaching has been, and is, a growing and dangerous movement. It teaches how to gain worldly desires; wealth, health, prosperity, success; all of which are material, temporal things that will surely pass away. Messiah warned us in Matthew.
Matthew 6:19-21; “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
He is telling us not to trust these materialistic man-made “treasures” and to put our faith in Him, not in the prosperity or success of this world. The success that the world measures people by, is not the success that the Lord measures us by. We are to search the kingdom of God first and then, these things He will add to us, according to His will.
Mark 8:34-37, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"
Prosperity teaching is a blasphemous sin that causes us to become selfish; self-fulfilling, self-reliant, self-prideful and self-empowered (we become our own God). These traits contradicts biblical traits of Christ’s followers; humility, brokenness, repentance, holiness, sacrifice, unselfishness, sacrificial love, and purity of heart. While these false teachers claim this in Jesus’s name and twist the holy scriptures to fit their propaganda message, this is blasphemy to the Holy Trinity. It minimizes God the Father, Jesus the son, and the Holy Spirit, and exalts man.
James 4:10, “Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.”
Prosperity teaching says that, if you apply the law of faith, you will make it materialize. It states all you have to do is eliminate doubt, eliminate all negative thoughts, think super positive, believe hard, and you can do anything. They teach that we can do all things ourselves instead of through Messiah. This contradicts what the Holy Bible teaches.
Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
No where in the Holy Bible does it say I can do all things myself, without God. God is in total control of everything, not us.
Daniel 2:20-21, “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His, and He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding.”
The Lord calls us to be humble, loving, pure in heart, and unselfish in nature, and then He will exalt us, according to His blessings.
Peter 5:6-7, “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting ALL your care upon Him, for He cares for you."
Of course God wants us to achieve the goals He sets in front of us for His purpose, not our own. God wants us to humble ourselves, put Him as the top priority in our life, and He will exalt us, by us exalting Him. We should not exalt ourselves, because in doing so, we minimize the Almighty, and we are living for ourselves and our worldly desires. Prosperity teaching is one of the worst kinds of blasphemy because they use Messiah’s holy name for prosperity. Jesus never taught prosperity as the world teaches or promised, nor did He teach what prosperity churches teach. Messiah spoke about money more than any other subject besides the kingdom of heaven, and He continuously warned and cautioned us. Not one time, did He say that we would be rich, healthy, successful, gain all of our desires, and receive all of the material, temporal things in life. In fact, He warned against those worldly desires. When Jesus was tempted by Satan, He humbled Himself and rejected the riches of the world that Satan offered Him.
Matthew 4:8-10, “Again, Satan took him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things I will give thee, if you will fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, away with you, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”
As we see in this scripture, there is a divide between the riches of this world and our Messiah, Jesus. Satan tempts us by offering us wealth, health, prosperity, success, and fulfillment of all our dreams, none which are God’s top priority for us. Temptation is the lust of the flesh, the pride of life, and the lust of the eyes.
1 John 2:15, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever."
King Solomon’s Wisdom
King Solomon was the wisest human being ever, because he asked for wisdom instead of wealth, health, success, prosperity, and glory of this world. 1 Kings 3:3-14,” And Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of David his father: only he sacrificed and burnt incense in high places. And the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there; for that was the great high place: a thousand burnt offerings did Solomon offer upon that altar. In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I will give thee. And Solomon said, You have shown to Your servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before You in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with You; and You have kept for him this great kindness, that You have given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day. And now, O Lord my God, You have made Your servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in. And Your servant is in the midst of Your people which You have chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude. Give therefore Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people? And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. And God said unto him, Because you have asked this thing, and have not asked for yourself long life; neither has asked riches for yourself, nor has asked thelife of thine enemies; but has asked for yourself understanding to discern judgment; Behold, I have done according to your words: lo, I have given you a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like you before you, neither after you shall any arise like unto you. And I have also given you that which you have not asked, both riches, and honour: so that there will not be any among the kings like unto you all your days. And if you will walk in My ways, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as your father David did walk, then I will lengthen your days.” King Solomon asked for wisdom and discernment first, and then the Lord blessed him with all of the other materialistic, temporal things. He didn’t ask for wealth, success, glory, or health. King Solomon’s story is a great example of the direct contrast between the teaching of prosperity teachers and what the Holy Bible commands.
The Sermon on the Mount
In the beatitudes, Jesus described the traits he was looking for in His followers. He called those “blessed,” who lived by these traits. Each one of these traits is a direct contradiction to the world’s way of life and the prosperity teachings. Here are the key lessons from the great sermon.
1. Poor in Spirit, Matthew 5:3, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Isaiah 57:15 states, “For thus says the High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘ I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” This contrasts the prosperity teaching of pride and personal independence.
2. Mourning, Matthew 5:4, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Isaiah 61:1-2, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me (Messiah) to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn.” This contrasts with the prosperity teaching of happiness at any cost.
3. Meekness, Matthew 5:5, “Blessed are the meek (restraining one’s own power), for they shall inherit the earth.” Psalm 37:5-11, “Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret—it only causes harm. For evildoers shall be cut off; But those who wait on the Lord, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more; Indeed, you will look carefully for his place, but it shall be no more. But the meek shall inherit the earth, And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.” This contrasts with the prosperity teaching of self power, self-will, and self-pride.
4. Righteousness, Matthew 5:6, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” Isaiah 11:4-5, “But with righteousness shall He judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and He shall smite the earth: with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips shall He slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of His loins, and faithfulness the girdle of His reins.” This is in contrast with prosperity teaching of pursuing personal needs and putting self first.
5. Mercy, Matthew 5:7, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” Psalm 41:1, “Blessed is he who considers the poor; The Lord will deliver him in time of trouble.” This contrasts with prosperity teaching by having strength without mercy.
6. Pure in heart, Matthew 5:8, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Psalm 23:3,4, “He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yeah, thou I walk in the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” This contrasts the prosperity teachings of deception of worldly pleasures.
7. Peacemaker, Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” Isaiah 60:17, “For brass I will bring gold, and for iron I will bring silver, and for wood brass, and for stones iron: I will also make thy officers peace, and thine exactors righteousness.” This is in contrast to prosperity teachings of selfish personal peace without regard to the world’s problems.
8. Persecuted, Matthew 5:10, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Isaiah 52:13, “Therefore will I divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong; because He hath poured out His soul unto death: and He was numbered with the transgressors; and He bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. This contrasts the prosperity teachings of selfish worldly gain and a weak commitment to the righteousness.
Messiah’s teachings on “The Sermon on the Mount,” clearly described the traits that His followers will have. The traits He did not mention were wealth, health, prosperity, success, and the fulfillment of all of our dreams, the worldly materialistic desires . The most literal statement He stated about riches and wealth is in Matthew 19:23-24, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to get to heaven. And again, I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
Wow…. This is not an allegory, this is literal. As we know, a camel cannot go through the eye of a needle. It is without question, from what Messiah stated here, that riches are at best, an obstacle to overcome to get into heaven. Another strong warning about wealth is in 1 Timothy 6:10, “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.” The Lord understands that Satan tempts us with riches, fame, and glory to get us off track from the Lord’s plans for our lives. These worldly desires can create a false sense of self, and makes us stop relying on God for all of our needs.
Matthew 6:24, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (riches).”
This scripture puts a divide between God and riches. He is telling us to serve Him not riches. He wants us to put our trust in Him and not material wealth or success.
Proverbs 3:1-8, “My son, do not forget my laws, but let your heart keep my commandments; For length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good repute in the sight of God and man. Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your body and strength to your bones.”
Luke 16:19-31, “Now there was a rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, joyously living in splendor every day. And a poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate, covered with sores, and longing to be fed with the crumbs which were falling from the rich man’s table; besides, even the dogs were coming and licking his sores. Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried. In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony. ‘And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.’ “And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, that you send him to my father’s house— for I have five brothers—in order that he may warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ “But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ “But he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!’ “But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead."
Some of Jesus’s Wise Words That Contradict Prosperity Teaching
Matthew 7:13-14, "Enter by the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that lead to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate, and difficult is the way, which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
Matthew 13:44, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”
Matthew 13:45-46, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.”
Matthew 6:31-34, "Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, What shall we wear? For after all these things do the Gentiles (non-Jews) seek. For your heavenly Father knows that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for tomorrow: for tomorrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
John 6:35-36, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and He who comes to Me shall never thirst.”
John 6:47-51, “Most assuredly I say unto you, He that believes in me has everlasting life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate manna in the wilderness, and are dead. I am the bread that comes down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
Mark 10:43-45, “But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your servant. And whosoever of you will be first, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
Luke 12:18-21, “A man said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
Of course, there is good to be done, and much of it can be done with the wealth God has blessed us with. Building our “heavenly treasures” by helping others and doing good is not on the world’s priority list, but it must be on ours. In Acts 2:45, Christians in the first century “sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need”. They worked, but not just so they could have more than enough for themselves, but also for the poor.
Ephesians 4:28, “Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need."
1 John 3:17, “But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?"
Being rich in good works is not the same as thinking of good things to do but failing to do them. It is not achieved by simply caring for people. Its accomplishment does not rest on wishing there was something we could do to help. In the last day, Jesus will not be impressed by how much wealth we have, but by whether we used His things to help His people.
Matthew 25:31-46, “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on His right and the goats on His left. Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by My Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited Me in, I needed clothes and you clothed Me, I was sick and you looked after Me, I was in prison and you came to visit Me.’ “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You something to drink? When did we see You a stranger and invite You in, or needing clothes and clothe You? When did we see You sick or in prison and go to visit You?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of Mine, you did for Me.’ “Then He will say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave Me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite Me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe Me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after Me.’ “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help You?’ “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for Me.’ “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
When God blesses us with wealth, we should understand His expectations of us.
1 Timothy 6:17, “Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment.”
We need to look at wealth as a stewardship given to us to be used effectively for God’s purpose.
1 Timothy 6:18-19, “Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”
Prosperity teaching is a false teaching and a false view of God. It is a blasphemy that preys upon the weak in spirit and influences the desperate people who have nothing, and it influences people who want to obtain temporal, materialistic, and worldly success. Prosperity churches exist in our national mega churches, on TV, and locally. It is very clear through the teachings of the Holy Bible, that prosperity teaching is unbiblical, and it contradicts what Messiah and the prophets taught. As Christians, we know that God is absolute sovereign, perfect in wisdom and knowledge, perfect in holiness and in absolute perfect control. Of course He wants to bless us according to His will, but not with the desires of this world. The difference in biblical teaching and prosperity teaching is we deny ourselves, surrender our lives to Him, and He blesses us with His blessings for us to use to help others and spread His Word. (Great Commission, Matthew 28:16-20) Prosperity teaching lifts us up, instead of us exalting the Almighty. It tells us that we can do all things if we put our mind to it, and we can fulfill all of our dreams. Prosperity teaching is all about “self,” “me,” and “I,” which is a very prideful and selfish approach to life. It will lead us away from the true gospel of Messiah. We need to understand the dangers of prosperity teaching and the fine line we need to adhere to when it comes to wealth, health, success, and prosperity. Again, the Lord wants to bless all of us in His will, as long as we first search for the kingdom of heaven. If we trust in the Living God, the Almighty, we will never have to worry about the ups and downs of the stock market, the nation’s economy, or any temporal, materialistic trend. Our wealth, our prosperity, our future, will be in the hands of the Almighty. Amen, Amen and Amen