Over the coming weeks we will be covering some false and dangerous teaching that seems to be in the Church (Universal) at the moment. The first topic we covered was about the prosperity doctrine. I came across this picture the other day while pre-paring for the recent sermon about the dangers of the prosperity doctrine.
Often we hear from these prosperity preachers that our lives with the Lord should be all rosy, blessed and enjoyable. I have no doubt that the Lord blesses us, provides for us, and has our best at heart and for the most we, here in Australia, live pretty good and blessed lives. However, this picture gives a good depiction, though maybe a little tongue in cheek, of the potential reality in life of a believer. It is a reality that Jesus shared with his disciples in Matthew 10:16-18, 22 “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. 17 Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, 18 and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake… 22 and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake.”
Now that sounds like a blessed and prosperous life doesn’t it? Not!!! But it is…I don’t believe that Jesus is saying go and seek persecution, it is just that Jesus warns his disciples to expect it. That’s the plan for our lives!!! Prosperity people will tell us that the plan of God is to make us wealthy and healthy, but the real Gospel teaches us to understand that this is not the case. The real gospel was formed out of suffering – Jesus’ suffering. Therefore in our lives we too will experience suffering. We should, and it is easy to say but a little harder to value suffering. God accomplishes good purposes through suffering, it has value and we shouldn’t try to avoid it at all costs. 1 Peter 4:19 “Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.”
Jesus suffered, so it’s reasonable to expect that the Christian life’s main goal – becoming more like Jesus – will involve some suffering. But when you trust God as you go through suffering, you can also expect to learn valuable lessons and emerge from it having the mind and character more like Jesus.
Prosperity and the word of faith preachers preach that the abundant life is about living abundantly here right now and that material gain is a sign of godliness. This is false hope and lies. Godliness is about abiding in Christ. The abundant life that Jesus speaks of equates to eternal life with him. God’s definition is that we live a life that is worthy of him.