Monday, July 28, 2014

The Prosperity Shortcut

                 I drive a lot, so taking shortcuts, trying to get around traffic and other obstacles that hinder me getting to my destination are time savers when I find them. But, more often than not, when I try to take these shortcuts I end up getting lost and have to waste more time getting back on the road I need to be on. Today I found myself thinking of being lost. Sometimes I wonder about my salvation. Not whether or not I am
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saved, but whether or not I am on the road the Lord wants me on. There are many roads we can take in this life, but only one road leads to the destination of eternal life. This road is a road marked with suffering, and there is no shortcut for us to take.
                The reason why I want to discuss this with you all today is because I am seeing more and more Christians taking the shortcuts offered by the preaching of the prosperity gospel. One of the things that make me question whether or not I am on the right road is prosperity. When my life is going great, there are no struggles, no obstacles, no daily striving against my flesh to keep focused on Jesus; I question the way I have taken, and if I have somewhere along the line, chosen to take a shortcut. I have learned in these fourteen years of my walk with the Lord that it is not easy. When things are going too smoothly, something in my life is usually not right. But when I am walking the road the Lord has for me, I find myself in a constant battle to stay in between the white lines.
                But the prosperity teachers out there, they don’t teach suffering. All they teach is blessings and getting from God all that we can. They teach that God wants to give you great wealth, easy healing, and none of what they teach mentions anything about suffering. So, I ask the question- is that the road the Lord wants for us? A road marked with wealth, health and success, and no suffering ever? The first scripture that comes to my mind when I ask this question is found in Matthew 7.
                “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads 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 7:13-14
                Jesus says to us that there is a narrow gate we must enter through if we want life. This narrow gate is difficult to get through. I have listened to these prosperity teachers who are on the television, and I have never heard them speak of this narrow gate that is filled with difficulty. All they want you to believe is that
God loves you and wants to give you everything you have ever wanted or hoped for. I do believe that God does want the best for us, but that best came at a price; the price of suffering and the price of death. Jesus came to this earth to give us an example of what this Christian life will look like. He was persecuted, suffered at the hands of others, and was eventually put to death for our sins. If Jesus is our example, and the prosperity teachers are correct, then Jesus did not life His life on earth in faith. Because according to them, if we have faith then we won’t have suffering. So, are they saying that Jesus was not God, and He did not live a life of faith?
                We need to be on guard and beware of these false teachers that are becoming more and more prevalent in our society today. They teach wealth, and health and happiness, but nowhere in the Bible do I find a life like the ones they are teaching. Look at the Apostles. Look at Peter, John, James, Paul and all the other men and women of faith in Hebrews 11. Were any of their lives marked with wealth, health and good things? These men and women suffered for the sake of Jesus. They had a daily struggle to keep fighting, to keep pressing on. They faced persecutions. They faced beatings, they faced brokenness, they faced barrenness, and they faced suffering- willingly. According to the prosperity teachers today, if their doctrine is correct, then these men and women were not walking in faith.
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                Listen, please, to what I am hoping to get across. Anyone who preaches anything other than a road marked with suffering to enter into the Kingdom of God is a false teacher and we, as Christians, need to expose them for who they are. Jesus warns us that many are entering in by the wide gate. They are taking the road that is easy, when the Lord God clearly tells us that the road we are to be on is difficult.
                “Then one said to Him, ‘Lord, are there few who are saved?’ And He said to them, ‘Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open for us’ and He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know you, where you are from,’ then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and You taught in our streets.’ But I will say, ‘I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me all you workers of iniquity.’ There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves are thrust out.’” Luke 13:23-28
             There are so many who are being deceived today by these false teachers. Jesus tells us that these people who are following these false doctrines and false teachers will stand on the outside of the kingdom of God and they will see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the heroes of faith who lived a life filled with suffering, but they will not get to come in. Anyone who teaches that life is all roses and rainbows, love and peace and requires only for us to believe in faith for all these good things, is not of God. They are false teachers who have crept in and are carrying away many elect from the truth of God’s word. The road we are to be living is a road marked with suffering. Show me one person in the Bible who lived this life of prosperity that these teachers are teaching- I challenge you. Show me.
                The other way we know that their teaching is not of God is because they never open their bibles. They say a few things that sound biblical, but if you really take the time to search out what they are saying, you will not find their doctrines in the Word of God. Do we not remember that Eve was deceived by the serpent the same way? (Genesis 3) He twisted God’s Word to make his case. These prosperity teachers are doing the same thing. They are twisting God’s word to make you follow them, to make you give them great wealth and when wealth and health doesn’t come to you and you find yourself suffering they tell you that it is because you did not have enough faith.
                The Lord never said this life was going to be easy. In fact, He promises to us that this life we are going to live for Him is going to be marked with suffering, with trials and tribulations. I want to warn those of you that might be following these teachers who teach wealth and health and happiness, that when the time comes to stand before God, He may say to you ‘I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me all you workers of iniquity.” And on that day, as you stand on the outside looking in, remember the words of Jesus- that you should have chosen to enter into the narrow gate.
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                I see more and more Christians falling prey to these false teachers. We need to wake up and open our eyes. Test every spirit my brothers and sisters. (1 John 4:1)  Just because someone says they are of God, just because someone has a large following, doesn’t mean they are teaching the Word of God. Get into your bibles, read and seek out for yourselves what the Lord says- don’t take man’s word for it. These prosperity teachers make you feel good right now, but on that Day, that great and glorious day; there will be much weeping and gnashing of teeth. Don’t let that be you. Enter in through the narrow gate and know that if your life is marked with suffering, then you are on the right path. Don’t try to take the shortcut, because you will end up getting lost.

                Father God, my heart cries out to you today to come and expose the works of these men and women who are teaching false doctrine, who are twisting Your word to fit their purposes. You desire to give us Your best, but that best also comes with a life lived through striving and suffering. You have given us examples of how to live this life by faith. Father I pray today that if someone is reading these words and are following a teacher of prosperity, that You would save them from the false doctrine and lead them back to Your word. Father, I pray for these prosperity teachers to be exposed, for Your light, Your truth to come into the hearts of the people listening to them so that they can get back on the right road, the narrow way that leads to Your kingdom. In Jesus Name, I pray, amen and amen.