Question: How would the apostle Paul respond to Prosperity Theology?
I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.
It has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him .
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant… he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!... Therefore God exalted him to the highest place…
Whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.
… We are weak , but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored !... we go hungry and thirsty , we are in rags , we are brutally treated , we are homeless . We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed , we bless; when we are persecuted , we endure it; when we are slandered , we answer kindly….we have become the scum of the earth , the refuse of the world. 1 Corinthians 4:8-13
2 Corinthians 4:7-12
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side , but not crushed ; perplexed , but not in despair ; persecuted , but not abandoned ; struck down , but not destroyed ….
We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus , so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake , so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us , but life is at work in you.
2 Corinthians 4:7-12
2 Corinthians 6:3-10
We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited . Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger ; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and
in sincere love…in truthful speech and in the power of God; …through glory and dishonor , bad report and good report ; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten , and yet not killed ; sorrowful , yet always rejoicing ; poor , yet making many rich ; having nothing , and yet possessing everything .
2 Corinthians 6:3-10
2 Corinthians 11:23-29
I have worked much harder , been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely , and been exposed to death again and again . Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods , once I was stoned , three times I was shipwrecked , I spent a night and a day in the open sea , I have been
constantly on the move…. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers; I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep …
I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food ; I have been cold and naked . Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches .
2 Corinthians 11:23-29
2 Corinthians 12:7-10
To keep me from becoming conceited …there was given me a thorn in my flesh , a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me . But he said to me, “ My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness .”
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me . That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties . For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10
See what large letters I use as I write to you with my own hand!
Erastus stayed in Corinth, and I left Trophimus sick in Miletus .
2 Timothy 4:20
Epaphroditus: “Indeed he was ill, and almost died.”
Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses .
1 Timothy 5:23
Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
2 Timothy 3:12
Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings .
1 Peter 5:9
Do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering , as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ , so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed . If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed… If you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed , but praise God… 1 Peter 4:12-15
Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?
The New Testament Understanding of Wealth as a Danger
… but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.
The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures , and they do not mature.
Your wealth has rotted , and moths have eaten your clothes.
In one hour such great wealth has been brought to ruin !
Riches of Another Kind
Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God ! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!
I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints .
And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus .
To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery , which is Christ in you, the hope of glory .
Did Jesus Promise Prosperity in This Life?
“ I tell you the truth,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields— and with them, persecutions ) and in the age to come , eternal life.”
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 .
When God Prospers Us, Why?
The God who “supplies seed to the sower” will “increase your store of seed.”
2 Corinthians 9:10
You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
2 Corinthians 9:11
Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality . At the present time your plenty will supply what they need , so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality.
2 Corinthians 8:13-14
God is not glorified when we keep for ourselves (no matter how thankfully) what we ought to be using to alleviate the misery of unevangelized, uneducated, unmedicated, and unfed millions. The evidence that many professing Christians have been deceived by this doctrine is how little they give and how much they own .
God prospers a business so that 17,000 unreached peoples can be reached with the gospel. He prospers the business so that 12 percent of the world’s population can move a step back from the precipice of starvation.
Do not you know that God entrusted you with that money (all above what buys necessities for your families) to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to help the stranger, the widow, the fatherless ; and, indeed, as far as it will go, to relieve the wants of all mankind? How can you, how dare you, defraud your Lord, by applying it to any other purpose?
Is God our Genie or our Master? Who’s Working for Whom?
But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned ! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!...
Barna Report on Giving
96% of American Christians give away less than 10% of their income. Average: 2.6%
Today’s average American church member gives 30% less , proportionately, than the average church member gave in 1933 , during the Great Depression.
Four out of every ten church adults give nothing to churches.
One-third of born-again adults said they tithed in 2000. But a comparison of their giving versus their income revealed only one out of eight actually did.
The average church donor contributed a mean of $649 in 2000, down from $806 in 1999. Married adults are more likely than single adults to donate some money to a church in a typical month (64 percent to 42 percent).
“ Those in their twenties are substantially less likely (36 percent) than those in their thirties and forties (58 percent), or fifties or sixties (68 percent) to give to a church in a given month.”
Barna Research Group
The younger a church-goer, the less he gives (proportionately).
80% of the money given to the American church is given by those age 55 and older.
Within 50 years, $100 trillion will pass from older to younger.
Our lack of Giving means lack of
Church, Mission, Relief funding
Our Master’s Joy
What are some of the misunderstandings of giving among Christians?
What are the reasons many Christians aren’t generous givers?