Many people struggle with Christian teaching on prosperity. They think it’s all about getting rich or sending your money into the pastor so he can get rich! And it’s assumed that prosperity teaching results in a 'love of money'. But conversely, the opposite is true. Preaching poverty results in doubt and fear, which is rooted in a belief that God is not good, that He cannot be counted on or trusted to supply our needs. In turn, that way of thinking drives a person to greed and selfishness, because we want to hang on to what we have!
But, when we realise that God is good, that He wants to bless us and provide for us, it liberates our thinking, alleviates our fears and creates in us a generous heart which can bless others with confidence knowing that God takes care of us, not ourselves.
A lack of money also results in limitations. Some Christians have amazing callings upon their lives, huge dreams and visions that are godly and shouldn’t be discouraged. But they also don’t have a revelation of Walking in God’s Prosperity so they never fulfil those dreams or visions. It takes money to do stuff on this planet, did you realise that yet?! I’m sure you did! Without money in one way or another it becomes very difficult to do anything. You want to be a missionary in Africa? Ok, how are you gonna get there?! You'll need money for the flights, right? Then you'll need money for housing, food, clothes. And what if you want to distribute Bibles, food, clothes, teaching materials, etc etc. It all takes money. But, there is good news. God has an economy! And He wants us to tap into it so He can use us for His glory and kingdom. Let's dive in to it.
In Philippians 4:15, Paul wrote to the church about giving and generosity. So, this topic is clearly an important part of discipleship. This is not something that should be skirted around by the church, as has so often been the case.
In Genesis 12:2, God blessed Abraham in order that he might be a blessing. God wants to bless us so that we can be a blessing. In Deuteronomy 8:18, it says that God gives us the power to get wealth. Any strength or knowledge you have to go to your job, it all comes from God. Why? Well, to meet our needs, yes. But also, in part, so that we can be a blessing to others. It reveals to us that there’s a bigger principle, a bigger mission. God has an economy, and He wants us to tap into that economy. But how?
When you ask someone what they ‘do’, they’ll tell you the job they work at. Some will say, I'm a plumber, a bricklayer, a lawyer, a doctor, an accountant, an actor. And that's how they get paid, right? But actually, everyone has a resource within them that can produce great wealth in your life. It resides on the inside of them. It’s called a generous heart. This economic engine has great potential to produce wealth in your life.
Now don't forget last week's teaching, especially point number five - Stewardship! We don't have to be silly about this. You don't have to drive a Bentley if you don't want to! I hear people get angry with Christian ministers all the time about the latest car or plane or house they've bought. But do they ever look into how much money these people give away?! Not likely. Joyce Meyer lives on 5% of her income. The rest goes to charitable works. Can you imagine the difference that makes to those good works!? Huge. So ok, she has a lovely house. But boy is she being a blessing to millions around the world through her generous heart!
How generous is God? John 3:16. He loved the world so much that He gave. Genesis 1:26 says we are made in His image. So if it’s God’s nature to be a giver, then we are designed to be givers also. Luke 12:32. It is your Father’s good pleasure - our God is pleased to give, He wants to give. Now look at Psalm 35. You probably know the second part of this verse well, but let's look at the first half too.
Psalm 35:27 - Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the Lord be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant.
The word for 'favour' in the first half of the verse is the same word as 'pleasure' in the second half. There’s an equality here. When we favour God’s cause, the Lord takes pleasure in blessing us. If we give to His cause, He gives to our cause. If we make God’s purposes number one in our lives, He makes our needs number one on His agenda! That’s a powerful concept.
We know that God created the world with certain laws and laws of great power. The law of faith, the royal law of love, for example. One of those laws is the Law of Giving and Receiving. It’s developed most thoroughly in 2 Cor. 9:6-12. By the way, this entire chapter talks about giving money. So don’t get all spiritual on me and say this is about spiritual wealth! Of course there are spiritual advantages to giving and receiving as well, but in this passage, it’s clear that Paul is talking about money.
The idea of sowing is throughout the Bible. Jesus talks about it often. And here, Paul is talking about sowing money into good works. Here are five ways this law of giving and receiving works in our lives.
1. The principles of giving and receiving produce return in our lives.
2. Those who participate get a great economic reward.
3. A willing heart is an essential aspect of giving.
4. According to what you have, not what you don’t have.
5. You cannot out-give God.
Those who participate in God’s economy receive a great reward. 2 Cor. 9:16-17:
You see, God has an account for you and there is a return set aside for you. It doesn’t necessarily say when that return will come to us, but it will come. God will not be mocked, you will reap what you sow. This isn’t my own doctrine here, this is in the Bible! Proverbs 19:17 He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord; and that which he hath given will he pay him again. (Emphasis mine)
We have an account with the Lord in His economy. If we sow, we reap. It's that simple. He gives you an opening balance, if you like. Enough for seed to sow and bread to eat. There's so much to this and it's all great stuff! So, we will continue....next week.
You are loved,
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