Updated: Jun 4, 2019
This message may strike a nerve with some and it may inspire others. I pray that it invokes you to read the word and find answers for yourself and that you don't just take my word for something. I am not going to give you a tithing message, I am not going to give you a "prosperity Gospel." There is no Gospel other than the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Someone had mentioned that there is no scripture that says we are supposed to be rich and have a jet, etc. That's true, mostly because there were no jets 2,000 years ago, but it's not an accurate statement at its core.
Paul very clearly says in 1 Corinthians 9:11-18, "11 Since we have planted spiritual seed among you, aren’t we entitled to a harvest of physical food and drink? 12 If you support others who preach to you, shouldn’t we have an even greater right to be supported? But we have never used this right. We would rather put up with anything than be an obstacle to the Good News about Christ.
13 Don’t you realize that those who work in the temple get their meals from the offerings brought to the temple? And those who serve at the altar get a share of the sacrificial offerings. 14 In the same way, the Lord ordered that those who preach the Good News should be supported by those who benefit from it. 15 Yet I have never used any of these rights. And I am not writing this to suggest that I want to start now. In fact, I would rather die than lose my right to boast about preaching without charge. 16 Yet preaching the Good News is not something I can boast about. I am compelled by God to do it. How terrible for me if I didn’t preach the Good News!
17 If I were doing this on my own initiative, I would deserve payment. But I have no choice, for God has given me this sacred trust. 18 What then is my pay? It is the opportunity to preach the Good News without charging anyone. That’s why I never demand my rights when I preach the Good News."
In the eyes of Paul, who wrote a large portion of the new testament, it was his RIGHT to require people to pay him for sowing seed and preaching the gospel. However, he didn't require them to pay because he wanted to preach the gospel for free, but he certainly declared he had the RIGHT to make money doing so. Earlier in the chapter, he even said (paraphrasing) what soldier goes to war at his own expense? Isn't that the truth? I wouldn't go be a soldier if I was required to pay my own way. what sense does that make? We are spiritual soldiers that are required to put on the armor of God in Ephesians 6. If an Earthly soldier doesn't pay to go to war then why would we pay to go to war? Isn't God greater than our government that he should fully fund our lives with both physical and spiritual payment?
Later in Philippians 4:12 it says, "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." The Greek word for plenty, as defined by Strong's concordance, is 4052 perisseúō (from 4012 /perí, "all-around" which indicates abundance or surplus) – properly, exceed, go beyond the expected measure, i.e. above and beyond ("more than"); "what goes further (more), surpasses"
There were points where Paul said that he had exceedingly more than anything that he needed, and at other times he had nothing at all. If Paul was teaching us that it was wrong to be rich as a Christian, then he would have been contradicting himself on multiple occasions.
Now let's look at 3 John 1:2, "Beloved, I pray that in every way you may prosper and enjoy good health, as your soul also prospers." The first thing you need to notice from this verse is that it says n every way you may prosper. Most people just read the NIV where is says may you be in good health and leave out the rest of the verse in Greek that says may prosper in every way AND enjoy good health. This verse isn't saying prosper in your health, it's saying prosper and have good health as well.
Strong's Concordance states, 2137 euodóō (from 2095 /eú, "well, good" and 3598 /hodós, "a journey on a particular road") – properly, to go on a prosperous journey; (figuratively) to be on the right (profitable) path, i.e. leading to real success (good fortune) where someone truly "prospers, is prospered"
Let's take a look at the Melchizedek as well since he is mentioned in the new testament as well. In Hebrews 7 Paul states, " This Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him, 2 and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. First, the name Melchizedek means “king of righteousness”; then also, “king of Salem” means “king of peace.” 3 Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, resembling the Son of God, he remains a priest forever."
Paul tells us later in Verses 14-22 that Jesus is Melchizedek, and that He is a priest forever because of the Covenant that God made establishing Jesus as a priest forever.
If Jesus is a priest and he is Melchizedek, then he would have been woefully sinful to be rich, to be a king, to be a priest and to receive a tenth of plunder from Abraham as a tithe to him. An interesting side note is that Jesus had a treasurer, Judas Iscariot.
That's enough about that for a moment.
Let's talk about people like Jessie Duplantis. I know several people that know Jesse personally and from people that worked with him for years that he actually only lives off of about ten percent of his income. He gave away so much money you wouldn't believe it. One person I know of said that he paid off one of his worker's houses because God told him to. When's the last time any of you paid off someone's house?
What people are missing about this "prosperity" message is that prosperity comes to you as a result of giving. If you want to see amazing blessing come to you then give. The more you give the more you receive. Jesse Doesn't go about telling everyone about the millions of dollars that he earned by writing books, making courses, teaching classes, etc and giving 90% of that away because it says in the bible that we aren't supposed to. If you have to make it known to everyone that you are giving to someone in need then you've already lost your reward. Your reward was the acknowledgment of man. Jessie Duplantis gives 90% of his income away. How much do you give away? 10 percent for you tithe? 50% here and there? Maybe a check every now and then? What if you constantly gave away 90% of your income all the time.
It isn't God that wants you to be poor, that's the devil. He wants you to be impoverished so he can say, "Who wants to be a Christians? They're poor people living off of government aide. God doesn't even provide for them."
In response to an assumption that someone made through a comment to me stating that I believed someone would come to God simply because of what he could give them, I never said that. They drew a false conclusion from a confabulated notion they had conceived. Truthfully though, everyone comes to God because of what he can do for them. I don't know about you, but I came to God because he paid the ultimate price to forgive me of my sins. I came to Jesus because he could set me free and get me into Heaven. So yes, we come to God because of what he can do for us; we remain in him because of what he has done for us.
Let's look at one more verse that will really crush the theory that Jesus wants us to have just enough to get by, or that he wants us to be poor for some reason.
Proverbs 8 is speaking of the personification of wisdom. We Learn from Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:30 that Jesus is wisdom, 'But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption,' So we see here that Jesus is wisdom as well as many other things. Therefore, since Jesus is the personification of wisdom then we can deduce that Proverbs 8 is talking about Jesus.
Here's the verse that destroys the poverty mindset that the church by-and-large walks in. Here is what is literally said in the original Hebrew Vulgate of Hebrews 8:20-21, "I traverse the way of righteousness, along the paths of justice, that I may cause those that love me to inherit wealth that their treasuries I may fill." Isn't that interesting? Jesus walks in truth so that he can cause us to inherit riches and fill our treasuries.
A treasury is a place where money is stored. Now, this could be speaking of the treasury in Heaven, but I don't believe that's where God stops with blessing. I mean, Malachi 3:10-11 teaches us that if we even tithe 10% of everything we receive then he will open up the flood gates of Heaven to fill the priests storehouse to overflow. Jesus says, "Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." If Jesus said it, then it's a truth; it's a spiritual law that the more you give the more you get.
Your treasury here on earth is represented by your bank account and the fullness of life that you are living in Christ. If you give 90% of your income away, you will get that back plus interest. God is the reverse lender. He put money in your hands so you can do his will and when you do that he blesses you more because he can trust you to be a good representative of who he is. It's essentially divine credit that you don't and can never pay back. Exactly at what point is your bank account so full that you can't fit more money into it?
Back to referencing Paul in 1 Corinthians. I work full time in ministry. I make a profit off the books that I write, the courses I teach, the conferences I preach at, etc. I am not charging for the gospel but I am charging for my time, my material, and the things that I have to pay for in order to get where God needs to be and teach who needs to be taught. I have to pay plane tickets, I have to pay gas, I have to pay rent, I have to pay my bills, I have to pay my team that comes with me, I need to pay hotel bills, travel expenses and so much more. Even so, I still give as much as I can. I give away free stuff all the time. I'll tell you what, if I have ever been blessed enough to be able to buy a plane even after giving 90% of my income to everyone that I can, then I, sure as God is real, am going to enjoy that.
Now listen, If I write a book and I make 1,000,000 dollars off of it and buy a Mercedes is that anyone's business? If I sell an album and make 100,000,000 dollars off of an album and live in a nice house and have a nice car is that anyone's business? It sure isn't. That's your money that you earned, that you worked for, that you gained as a result of the work that and effort that you put into creating something.
People Like Jesse Duplantis, Joel Osteen, Kenneth Copeland, and others have the right to spend the money that they earned from their sales of books, CD's, DVD's or whatever they created and you, nor anyone else has the right to be offended because they spend their money however they want to.
So many people will quote "Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God." People use that scripture as a reference for being poor and completely ignore the context in which it was used. A rich man had come to Jesus and asked How to get to Heaven and when Jesus replied, "Sell all your belongings and give to the poor," the man went away sad because he loved his stuff more than we wanted to be with God. Jesus was telling the man the way to be truly wealthy is not only having possessions, but it is giving without caring about those possessions. Jesus didn't tell the man how much he even had to give, the man made an assumption. He loved his stuff more than his fellow man and more than Jesus. If you are rich and you are giving away your money because you value closeness with God over possessions, then you will be rewarded.
I dare say it would be rather asinine for you to be mad at your favorite actor or singer for using their money to buy a Lamborghini rather than give that money back to their fans. Why is there a double standard for the Church? People who believe that God wants us to be humbly broke and not be rich are lining up with the enemy of God. Sharing a mindset with the enemy is robbing yourself of the blessings that God wants to give to you. Since I have exposed the thief to you then you may now require the devil that has been robbing you of blessing to pay you back seven times more than what he took. That's the requirement of the law that is given to Israel regarding what to do when a thief is caught stealing. (come back next week for Does God Hate Me? part 4)