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Discussion Forum : Articles and Sermons : Prosperity & Worldliness by Rajesh

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 Prosperity & Worldliness by Rajesh


One of the distinct characters of God’s church is independence from traditions and institutions. A real church of God is built by God and lead only by the Holy Spirit and that is true for few churches which are really being lead by the Spirit. But unfortunately there is another side to this freedom. We can find many of these independent churches going wayward for lack of control and values. They become even independent from the body of Christ too, and another gospel is preached by self declared servants of God.

How do we know what is real and what is another gospel which Paul has warned us of? It is only by a sincere, truth seeking and deep meditation of the word of God one can discern. Let us look at one of the aspects of another gospel, prosperity and worldliness.

Matt 24:24 “For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.

We need to be extremely careful of deception and seeking God, godliness and the real power of the Holy Spirit. The focus of our spiritual journey or prayers ought to be a deep desire to do the will of God, rather than seeking material blessings. The false prophets always give more emphasis on what God could do for one without balancing with the higher calling for becoming His disciples, doing His will and serving Him by that.

Today Christendom is overcrowded by preachers offering curse breaking sessions for a richer prosperous life. If a preacher is real, he would only intend to take the person to Jesus, who can break all curses. But here we see them acting in a manner in which people become dependent on them; even when they say in Jesus name, they actually take all the glory for themselves. They render charismatic sermons and prophecies (read Jeremiah 23) and offer curse breaking. They could even perform miracles and signs as mentioned in the opening verse.

The only way to come out of any curse is to know Jesus and to be in Him.

Rom 8:1 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Yes, everyone is a sinner by birth but Jesus died for all your sins. All you need to do is accept Him as your savoir and Lord and lead a life following Him. There is no other way and there is no other ritual that would save you. Believe me, unless you repent, the laying of hands by the most gifted ‘curse breaker’ cannot save you. Of course messages of repentance, a sincere prayer etc could help you repent. But repentance is something that happens in your heart, the quality of which is judged only by God who accepts it as a sacrifice. The moment you accept Him and decide to follow Him, all the curses on you are broken! Never doubt that. If this is not assured, what is the hope for a sinner?

The reason why I started with this introduction is that this question pops up in the minds of most of the people and it has poked me too some years back. Why are some people rich and some poor or struggling to make both ends meet? Is our God an unjust God? Why did He make people unequal? Too many questions and one answer, He is a sovereign God. We cannot question that. Having said that, what is the consolation for a believer? We will need a revelation of the whole purpose of God for us to console in difficult situations.

We can start by asking a question, are the best spiritual men the richest ones? No, and why is that so? Love of Jesus is not expressed through material blessings. Understand and accept that. If not, you mean that God loves a person who gets 2000 dollars a month twice as much as another who gets 1000. I have heard believers claiming that God rewarded them for their prayers, good life, coming to faith, paying tithes, doing good etc. All that is good, but rewards from God are only due to His grace and not for your deeds. Of course, you are called to do good at every opportunity you get, but do not claim anything for doing your duty. The following verses would reiterate my point.

Eph 2:8 – 10 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, {it is} the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

Rom 11:35-36 Or WHO HAS FIRST GIVEN TO HIM THAT IT MIGHT BE PAID BACK TO HIM AGAIN? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him {be} the glory forever. Amen.

If Jesus had come to offer us material blessings, every carnal man would have been following Jesus for the wrong reason of making money or receiving a material blessing. Jesus didn’t come to the world to make you rich or poor. He came to save sinners including you and me. In fact, when one has too much of riches, following Jesus becomes difficult. He has even warned that it is very difficult for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.

Matt 19:24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

One thing we need to understand is that the world is a system which has got its own rules, regulations, culture, demands etc. Those who adapt to that best will be more successful in the world. We would understand this when we look at people coming up in education, business, sports etc. One has to work for that. Kingdom of God is another system separated but within the world. Jesus said kingdom of God is in your midst.

Luke 17:21 nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.”

Those who adapt to kingdom of God better would become more and more spiritual, unworldly and walk towards it. They lead a separated life, the priorities of which are different from that of the world. Their success in the world would be immaterial. It is not measured by how much they made here but how much they saved there.

Col 3:1-2 Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.

Children of God follow their Father and do not chase the world and its comforts, but live a life in a different realm and get filled by heavenly joy.

One cannot have the best of both for sure as they are in opposite directions. Here come false prophets who offer the best of both worlds. They offer what Christ never offered, a comfortable, worldly life here and then in eternity. All they demand is for one to stop certain sins (at least publicly) be loyal to a church, pay tithes, take water baptism etc. They are not encouraged to grow in holiness, or becoming Christ like. Forget discipleship. The deception is very powerful and the result is many following them. It is considered much more practical and comfortable so people like it. Most of the proponents have bigger ministries as they run them as organizations with the principles of business, networking and marketing in place. You can see this spirit in the preaching, attitude to other churches, conventions, promotions, outreach ministries etc conducted by them.

So do I mean that Christian life has to be a boring life, only waiting for the heavenly abode? No, it is a life full of joy, love, sharing, fellowship and eternal peace, independent of situations. There is nothing wrong if a believer becomes successful in any areas of the world, business, career etc, if it is not by compromising the spiritual standards or needs. If the person is using his success to do the will of God, to bless others God would be well pleased by such a life.

The reasons for joy are different. Love, care and fellowship are usually given and not expected. That makes one free from dejections.

Jesus loves us and wants to give us the best of all, a reward in heaven. Everything else is immaterial for Him. It doesn’t matter to Him if we are rich or not in this world but it does matter if we are rich or not in heaven. Having said that, He is also concerned of our worldly life and our reasonable, moderate needs and would supply all that.

Matt 6:23 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Phil 4:19 And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

God has given everyone a free will and would never break into that. One has to choose and invite Him. If you invite Him, He will come in ONLY as your Lord and Savior. Though you can pray to Him for your needs and wishes, your Lord will decide what you would have. He would guide you through His spirit and the word of God, what He wants you to do and how He wants you to live victoriously. A child of God seeks His will more than any material blessings or personal desire.

It is God who gave you life and keeps you alive.

It is God who gave you health and brains for you to work.

What you do with this, is not His business until you decide to follow Him. But if you understand it is God who gave you all the things mentioned above, you will be so thankful to Him and be ready to live and even die for Him.

Once you understand this basic truth, you wouldn’t say God gave me a Mercedes, villa, property, job etc. It was your desire, your choice and wish. God gave you what was needed for a man to become something and you decided to have all the best in the world for yourself and consider them God given. Beware of deception that would cost you dear in heaven.

Let us understand at least that God has a purpose in everything we do though we are not able to understand the reason always. From my personal experience, I know that God used all my failures and situations to shape me spiritually. He continues to do so to complete the good work He has begun. When I look at it from this perspective, I am thankful to Him even for my major falls, setbacks in life.

Worldliness

I know what it means as I was a worldly man once. I don’t mean to say there is no element of worldliness in me now. I cannot claim that till I reach my destination – Jesus. It is an everyday battle as it is with sin, Satan etc.

The important first step is to seek light and respond to it by accepting truth when it is revealed by God. Then God gives us the desire and grace to surrender flesh and also ask for the power of the spirit to get victory in it. God will give you that and help you lead a victorious Christian life. So seek it now with all your heart and pray for it.

One clear sign of worldliness is, desiring everything that’s ‘good’, all the comforts and things of the world. How many of us would take the following verse seriously?

1 John 2:15 Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

A worldly man would also accept all material things that come their way without any discernment, enjoy all kinds of friendship even if it is against spiritual values. They would have an undue urge to advance in life, career & society. They would always compare own status with others above them and seek it all their life.

Another sign is seeking respect from others. A worldly man would maintain a certain status and do not mix freely with those below them. They might pretend humility by talking to them etc but deep inside, they stay away from them. They would also feel that one’s image is important so one has to maintain a certain life style, dressing style, brand of car, size and grandeur of house etc.

If you fit to any one of these, realize and accept the fact that the spirit of the world is leading you. I am not talking about men of the world who are very much there. If you are reading this, that means you have a spiritual inclination. There are strong references from the word about worldliness. The Holy Spirit knows very well that it is one area many, even elects are going to fall.

James 4:4 You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

This is one thing that God, through His Spirit has warned seriously but men take very lightly. If you are inclined to the world and live a worldly life justifying yourself that you are better than many others, please be warned, you are an enemy of God. Human nature is to cling on to the world and its ways and its pleasures as much as possible. The call for a spiritual man is to leave that and distance from it.

1 Cor 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God,

One has to make a choice here as these are in opposite directions. Men of God have proven an unworldly life in the world is possible. I have seen and am being challenged by the lives of some of them. False prophets offer the best of the world and heaven. Word of God warns it is not possible.

Rom 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Matt 16:26 “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

What does this mean? Does it mean that one has to leave the world to love God? Not at all.

John 17:15 “I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil {one.} “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

When we live in this world itself, we can lead an unworldly life. What is important is to be focused on things above and not of the world. When we live our secular lives, we can stay detached to all the unwanted fleshly things of the world. We cannot go the way the world is going. They do not know their destination. If we know ours, we need to take that path.

If we live like worldly men, everything of the world will seem more important than God and eternity. Isn’t that the problem with most of the believers now? They chase false prophets who assure them of great success in this world even when they are not even repented. Believers offer tithes so that they are blessed. They do all rituals so that God is pleased with them and their material lives are blessed. What a sorry state. What little understanding of God. We shall never be judgmental but humble and passionate and reaching out by all means to share what God reveals to us.

One significant problem with worldliness is that it chokes the word of God, stopping the hearer to receive it and be blessed by it, bearing fruits.

Mark 4:19 but the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.

Satan shows these things as he did to Jesus in the wilderness. They all look so important and desirable unless one sees beyond. Jesus could resist the temptations only as He was in tune with the Father and focused on doing His will.

1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.

Today unfortunately, very few men speak of these things. The reason is, most of the listeners are worldly and they don’t want to irritate or challenge them. They do not have the burden or sincerity to correct them as they fear losing their empathy and thus chance to ‘minister’ to them – for personal gains!

John 12:25 “He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal.

Spiritual life starts only with repentance. Be it a believer a backslid-en believer or unbeliever. The starting point is the same. So one has to preach this fundamental aspect and encourage people to repent and come out of their bondages; then to renounce their carnal lives take up the cross and follow Jesus. Messages of repentance are the need of the hour. So is unconditional fellowship and love so that the new believer is supported spiritually to grow up.

1 John 5:4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith.

I am talking to those who seek Jesus and those who think they are leading a good Christian life. Let us be honest with ourselves brethren.

1 Tim 6:7- 11 For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance {and} gentleness.

A Christian from the day he/she is born again would start a journey towards eternity which is in exactly opposite direction of the world. Does this mean a spiritual man should not work or accept a promotion or any material reward that is rightfully his? No. A spiritual man wouldn’t be affected by that. It wouldn’t change his life style; he would rather use the extra income to bless others. If God gives one more material blessings than one actually needs, it is only to bless others. But who accepts ‘I have more than I need’. If one’s needs and wants grow with his resources, it is a clear sign of worldliness. Spiritual man wouldn’t need more and more. He would need less and less each day as he progresses in his ways to eternity.

1 Tim 6:17 Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.

Titus 2:12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age,

Matt 6:24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.

Is it possible for a spiritual man to do business? Yes, it is fine if one has the business acumen and makes lots of money! The thing is what the money is used for. If it is for self he is a worldly man, if it is for the glory and work of God, spiritual. It is all about ones spirit and inclination. Not about what one is doing in secular life.

Glory and work of God, what does this mean? Everything that is pleasing to the eyes of the Lord like, doing good, supporting humans (more than supporting an institution). I mean humans and not just Christians or believers. Every human being is a creation of God. He wants us to love and do all we can for everyone. A spiritual man is broad minded and loves everyone. Of course there will be a special place for co believers in ones heart. But love shall not be limited to them.

Let us strive to get victory in this area dear brothers and sisters. It starts from an earnest desire for victorious Christian life, then seeking light from the word on the matter, which is seeking God’s will. Once God reveals that to you cling on to it at any cost. Obey Him. That is the only way to victory.

Finally, what is the benefit of such an unworldly life? Wont we miss out on many good things of life? Firstly, you would please God, secondly you would do His will in the world, thirdly you would bless a lot of people with your support and your guidance, finally, you would lead at least a few people to this victorious Christian life and make your earthly life meaningful. If these things are more important than instant pleasures, seek it and you shall find it. May God give you and me the grace to live up to His calling. All praise and glory to God.

from: http://maninchrist.org/prosperity-worldliness/



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