“HOW TO BE WEALTHY & PROSPEROUS” Deut. 8:1-20
INTRO – Do you have enough money? Will you ever have enough? How much is enough? Can you have too much?
There are a lot of viewpoints & teachings that are related to money, to wealth & prosperity in our world today. Here are some quotes from some well-known preachers & speakers in our society today:
- “…Your health, finances, marriage, business, and ministry should prosper. Your whole life should reflect the prosperity of your soul. If your soul is depleted, your life is going to be depleted. The key is for us to constantly think the thoughts of God as expressed throughout His Word. Show me one Scripture where God thinks lack. Does God ever think decrease? Show me. Does God ever think poverty? Is God moved by situations and circumstances? You’ve got to think as God thinks. Your mindset and perception of God will determine how you live and what you expect God to do for you. You must learn to use your faith correctly to develop life to its fullness…” (Paula White)
- “I believe this prosperity anointing belongs to you as a child of God! It is your covenant right to have it every day. But it is giving that releases the treasures of heaven on your life and triggers the anointing for prosperity…Be courageous today. Be bold. Step into your covenant position and your prosperity anointing. Secure your financial tomorrow with a step of faith so the prosperity anointing will be released upon you…You can’t expect millions from the Lord if you give him some small amount. In Jesus’ name, we’ll have surplus. Financial surplus is mine . . . is ours. You’re coming out of debt in the next 12 months if you really believe this…God’s goal for your life is prosperity.” (Benny Hinn)
- “Give $10 and receive $1,000; give $1,000 and receive $100,000. . . . In short, Mark 10:30 is a very good deal.” (Gloria Copeland, God’s Will is Prosperity)
“Every heresy is either the overemphasis or the perversion of some great biblical truth.”
There are many proponents of the so-called “prosperity gospel” in our world today. This deceptive & deceitful line of thinking & teaching puts God in a position of being forced to pour out financial & physical blessings on a person if they meet certain conditions, speak certain truths, or give certain amounts of money. “Simply put, this ‘prosperity gospel’ teaches that God wants believers to be physically healthy, materially wealthy, and personally happy.” (https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/5-errors-of-the-prosperity-gospel) People like Robert Tilton, Benny Hinn, Creflo Dollar, & others have certainly become tremendously wealthy themselves by teaching these erroneous views & false doctrines.
- Just last year, Creflo Dollar asked 200,000 people to pony up $300 each so he could buy a $65 million dollar luxury jet to do his ministry. According to his board, there was simply no other viable option than this Gulfstream G650 jet.
- Benny Hinn’s net worth last year was around $40 million. To be fair, Billy Graham’s net worth was $25 million. But there’s no question that the message of salvation that Dr. Graham has preached for years has a solid biblical base & foundation. Benny Hinn’s wealth was obtained through unbiblical false teachings that duped his listeners into giving to his ministry.
The wealthiest, most prosperous person in the world is the man or woman, boy or girl who has trusted in Christ alone for their salvation. THAT is your true, lasting wealth & prosperity! God may or may not bless you w/ great financial wealth. If He does, then it is so you can be a greater blessing in someone’s life & be a greater supporter of God’s work through the church w/ your tithes & offerings. But the wealth that we all need & that we can all have today is the wealth of knowing Jesus Christ & having His riches of eternal life deposited into our hearts & lives.
So, how can we build the wealth & prosperity of knowing Christ? Let me give you 5 “Do’s” & “Don’t’s” statements:
Don’t listen to false teachings – Do listen to Godly counsel. – There are plenty of false teachers in our land today who are spewing forth tons of wrong doctrine, confusing people & leading them astray. The Osteens w/ their feel-good gospel that refuses to warn people that, apart from Christ, they will go to hell. Benny Hinn w/ his coat-waving & breath-blowing antics. Televangelist John Avanzini once said on a TV show that Jesus had a nice house, & big house, was handling big money, & wore designer clothes. Seems like I remember Jesus saying, “Foxes have holes & birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head” (Lk. 9:58).
Don’t be duped & misled by these false teachers. Dig into the Word & find the deep truths of God for your life. As God told the children of Israel to remember how He led them all through the wilderness for 40 years to humble them & teach them to depend upon Him, we, too, need to remember how He has led us, & humbled us at times, & taught us so many things in so many ways. Listen to godly counsel from those who have a deep, abiding walk w/ Christ. Surround yourself w/ people who have a firm grasp of God’s Word. Listen to preachers & teachers who diligently study the Word of God so they can handle it accurately & teach it clearly & preach it passionately. Paul told Timothy in 2 Tim. 2:15 – “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed & who correctly handles the word of truth.” Listen to the Godly counsel from those who fit that description.
Don’t live in rebellion & greed – Do live in obedience & faith. – Most of us wouldn’t mind having a little more money. Nothing wrong w/ wanting to provide for your family as best as you can.
But so often, that desire to have a little more grows & grows, to the point that we become consumed w/ the pursuit of the almighty dollar. Instead of living a righteous life, we turn to a rebellious life. Instead of growing in godliness, we find ourselves growing in greed.
There were some times when the children of Israel were in the wilderness that they began to grumble & rebel against Moses & his leadership. They didn’t like the food. So God sent quail for them to eat. Then He sent manna for them to eat. They were only supposed to take enough manna for 1 day. Don’t keep it & try to store it. They did it anyway & it rotted, had maggots in it, & had a horrible stench. That’s what rebellion & greed does. It brings rottenness to our lives, infects us w/ the filth of the world, & causes our lives to stink!
A life of obedience & faith is a life that will be blessed. And, yes, sometimes those blessings come in financial ways. But even greater than that are the blessings of life & purpose & strength & His provision for every need you have.
- 8:1 – Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land the Lord promised on oath to your forefathers.
- 8:6-9 – Observe the commands of the Lord your God, walking in obedience to him and revering him. For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land—a land with brooks, streams, and deep springs gushing out into the valleys and hills;a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills.
- 8:11 – Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day.
Obedience to God & faith in God go hand-in-hand in the life of a Christ-follower. They are the bookends that hold us steady & keep us upright. They are the anchors that hold us in place when we are in the midst of a storm, even a financial storm that comes from job loss, or a downturn in the economy, or consequences of a business deal that broke down, or medical bills from an illness & extended hospital stay. They are the components of our walk w/ Christ that lead us to tithe 10% of our income, & give offerings above that 10% when the checkbook balance seems to tell us otherwise.
Don’t let your heart be swayed by what you don’t have – Do let your heart be thankful for all that you do have. (v. 10) – We need to stop looking at what others have that we don’t have, & start looking at what God has given to us that we don’t deserve.
- We need to stop pouting about our circumstances, & start praising God in the midst of our circumstances!
God has blessed us in SO many ways!
- If you can go home & turn on the faucet & have running water, you are better off than the 738 million people in the world who do not have access to clean water.
- If you going to walk out of here today & go eat lunch until you are full & then do it again tonight at supper, you are better off than the 795 million people in the world who suffer from chronic undernourishment.
- If you are going to go home to a house that has enough room for each member of your family to have their own bedroom, you are better off than nearly every person we’ve seen in the villages of Nicaragua, Haiti, & Honduras over the last several years.
We would do well to simplify our lives & streamline our budgets so we could really see how much we really do have, & how much we really could give to the Lord’s work, so we could go into those places w/ no water & no food & mud shacks & help them & share the Gospel w/ them in the process.
Don’t look at yourself & take credit for your wealth – Do look to God & remember that He gave you the ability to make money. (v. 17-18) – If there was ever anyone who could have boasted & taken credit for his immense wealth, it could have been John D. Rockefeller. Born in 1839, he was the first American to be worth a billion dollars. When you factor in inflation, some experts believe that he was the richest person who has ever lived.
But, instead of gloating & boasting about his vast wealth, listen to these quotes from this strong Christian, Baptist layman:
- “God gave me my money.”
- “I believe it is a religious duty to get all the money you can, fairly and honestly; to keep all you can, and to give away all you can.”
- “I believe the power to make money is a gift of God … to be developed and used to the best of our ability for the good of mankind. Having been endowed with the gift I possess, I believe it is my duty to make money and still more money and to use the money I make for the good of my fellow man according to the dictates of my conscience.”