Psalm 1:1-3:Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in tˆˆˆhe seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper
Do you want to prosper or just survive?
So many times when a pastor or teacher talks about prosperity in the church, they get the label as a false teacher or prophet?
As long as I been a Christian, I am starting to believe, we as Christians have some serious screwed up ideas about God. Why do we believe God wants us to be sick, broke and broken.? Why do we have the tendencies to believe the worse of God than the best. Even though we never admit it, but we seem to view God as a harsh abusive task-master then a tender loving Father?
Today I want to talk about prosperity? Yes that bad word we use in the church. Prosperity!
A True Story
I almost got invited to talk to a well established group one day. But after talking to one of the leaders who happen to be a very prosperous man, We got into a conversation about prosperity. He remarked, “your one of those who believes in prosperity”? I said, “yes”. It turned him off and I was never invited to talk to the group. It stuck me strange that a man who was extremely prosperous would be so turned off that we talk about prosperity in the church. But unfortunately so many of us are!
I think before I get into my text, we as a bible people do not understand the meaning of the word prosperity. Many have the idea when you talk about this. They jump straight to this conclusion: “So you believe God wants everyone rich?”
Let me give you the Dennis Stauffer version of prosperity: Whatever God calls you to do, you will be successful and fruitful in that task.
Did you notice I said nothing about being rich or famous? So many times we get prosperity mixed up with money. Do not get me wrong, money is sometime the biggest by-product for being prosperous but not always. Most of us hold those two words synonymous (rich and prosperous) And in the church this misunderstanding has caused divisions and anger. Like I mentioned earlier the most popular come-back to the word prosperity is: So you are one of those who believes God wants everyone rich. How about those persecuted churches in China? They are not rich!
My answer is: Yes! I believe God wants us all to prosper and for the church in China, everything I hear about the persecuted churches, they are very prosperous.
How do I come to that conclusion? Let us go back to my definition of prosperity. Whatever God call us to do, we will have great success. The persecuted church are very prosperous, because they are leading so many in a hard atmosphere to Christ. Everything I hear from them, in spite of all the problems they encounter. They are growing by leaps and bounds. They are being prosperous at what God called them to do. They are growing a powerful underground church.
Genesis 39:3 And his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord made all he did to prosper in his hand.
Now let us look at this text. (Please read all of Chapter 39), Joseph was sold in slavery. On the auction block, you usually stood up there naked and humiliated. But Potiphar looked at this slave teenager and seen that he was prosperous. He was a slave! He was naked! He had no money or possession with him! But there was something about Joseph that set him apart from all other slaves. He knew that God was with him! He knew what God told him was more true than what was happening in his life at this minute. (circumstances) He knew some how He was destine to be great and be a ruler. He was remembering his dreams that God gave him. So was it was through out Joseph life, no matter how bad it got, he became prosperous. In his father’s home, he was the favorite son. When his brothers wanted to kill him, it did not happen. when he was standing naked on the auction block as a slave, he was noted as being prosperous. He was in the owner home and was the most trusted of all the slaves. When he ended up in prison, he was made the most trusted trustee of the prison. When he got to Pharaohs house, in twenty minutes he became the 2nd most powerful person in the Egyptian government. Only answering to Pharaoh.
Every situation, except the last, Joseph found his circumstances not desirable. He was not rich and living on top of the world. But He knew what God told him to do and he was always succeeding in every place he found himself.
Ask yourself, If I was Joseph, could I be successful in every position I found myself in?
- My family hates me and wants an opportunity to kill me. Do I still be a great son and help my brothers?
- I am sold as a slave on the block. How can I look good? So I can to get the best job and master?
- I am a slave in a foreigner home. Do I serve him with all my might or just get by?
- My master wife wants to fool around. Do I be an obedient slave or do I show integrity to my God and refuse her advances to me?
- I am obedient to God and it now ends me in this nasty prison! Now do I become full of self pity and anger or do I now become the best prisoner that I can be?
- I am still in this nasty prison, do I take care of me or do I begin to encourage other and help them in there situation?
In every situation Joseph is a man full of integrity and shows himself, to be a prospers man.
How many “at home moms”, who never earn a dime but raise wonderful children, who helps her husband in every way. Are they not prosperous.
How many Sunday school workers, who never earn a salary. Who are helping to change countless number of children and sharing the love of Jesus. Are they not being prosperous.
The examples are many. God want his people to prosper. So much that he says it over 100 times in the bible how He wants our ways to prosper.
Do you believe God wants you defeated, broke and sick? What good Father would want that for his children? I never woke up once as a father and looked at my daughters and sons and said. I hope at school you fail all your test, you get sick and to top it off! I hope the neighborhood bully kicks your brains in, on the way home. What kind of father would I be if I desired this for my children. I justify it by saying; “They need to learn some good lessons in life”.
But how many times from the pulpits do we hear, you got sick because God want to talk to you and teach you lesson. You are not getting that job because God wants you to learn some humility in life and build your faith. Your son died because God needs him more in heaven then with you. This is religious nonsense. No wonder some many want nothing to do with God and the bible. This is the message some are putting out there.
But when you say God wants you prosper in all your ways. Church folks get mad and ready to fight. They call pastors false teachers when they magnify God and tell you God want you to overcome this and go do greater things. We think these preachers are blasphemers. Why do we think God want us to fail and not succeed at ministry, work and in our families. Why do we think it honors God when we are broke and can not pay our bills and feed our children. Its time to change our thinking. Next week I show you how to prosper by the word of God.