About Jesus - Steve
"Is The Prosperity Gospel Biblical?"
1 - Can We
Ask Jesus For Whatever We Want?
- Ask For Fruit
- Be Humble
- A Lean Soul
- Jesus Was Poor So We Can
- Poor Paul
- Should I Give Everything
- What About The Rich Young Ruler?
- Am I Promoting Poverty?
- Giving To Get
- The Abundant Life
- Poor But Content
- There Were Rich People In The Old Testament
- Humanistic Thinking
- Positive Thinking
- The Reformation
- Speaking Prosperity Into Existence
- I Don't Have Enough Faith
- Speaking Of Healing And Heath
- Was Paul Ever Sick?
- Timothy Had Stomach Problems
- Our Bodies Decay
- My Own Experience
- In Conclusion
following pages are dedicated to what has become known as the Prosperity
Gospel. I realize that this
term may mean something different to you than it does to me.
There are variations of the Prosperity Gospel but for the most
part it states that if we have sufficient faith we should expect to
prosper materially, physically, as well as spiritually. We
should claim what we want from the Lord and act as if we already have
it. We are Kids of the King
and we deserve it all, or so some say.
am legally blind. If I
embrace this teaching I would claim my healing and act as if I could
see. Would I then drive a
car, even though I still can't see?
According to North American standards I am poor.
Should I claim monetary prosperity and spend to the limit on my
believe the Prosperity Gospel is unbiblical.
I believe it's a product of our western world hedonistic culture
that parts of the western world church have adopted.
It is one of the most harmful doctrines that has infected
Christianity over the last few decades, something that Jesus warned us
about when He told us to beware of greed (Luke 12:15).
my perspective the Prosperity Gospel is all about entitlement, and
entitlement is a western world hedonistic mindset today.
a number of occasions Jesus said something like "Ask and you will
receive." Does this
mean we can ask and expect to get whatever we ask for?
Prosperity teaching says we should expect to get whatever we ask
of all, as Christians we are servants of the Lord Jesus (John 13:6).
Servants serve. They
donít demand. Yes, we do
serve a loving Master, but loving doesnít mean foolish.
Parents don't raise their children by giving them everything
their little hearts desire. That
would be counter productive to raising a child.
So why would our heavenly Father act like an unwise parent?
John 14:14 Jesus said this. "You
may ask for anything in my name and I will do it."
Does ask for anything mean ask for anything?
That sounds great. There
are all sorts of things I'd like to ask for; like more money, a new car,
good eye sight, and all sorts of other things.
My list could be endless.
don't believe Jesus is obligated to give me everything on my list as if
He were Santa Claus. Santa
Clause might even shake his head at my wish list.
Look closely. Jesus
didnít say ask for anything you want.
He said ask for anything in my name. What
does that mean?
an analogy to explain what Jesus meant.
My friend Ken is a plumber and let's say I work for him.
When he sends me out on a plumbing job, I work for him, not
myself. I represent Ken and
I had better represent him properly if I want to keep my job.
If while on a job I need some plumbing pipes, I can call Ken and
he'll give me the pipes so I can do the job he wants me to do. If,
however, I ask Ken to buy me a new car, I donít think he is obligated
to do so. Buying me a new
car has nothing to do with working for Ken. It
has nothing to do with representing Ken's good name in the community.
He will give me everything I need to do the job he wants me to
do, but beyond that, he is not obligated to give me anything I want.
bear Jesusí name as we represent Him to the world.
We work for Him. He,
therefore, will give us what we need to properly represent Him.
Beyond that, I donít believe He is obligated to give us
anything our little hearts desire. Thatís
what John 14:14 means.
not saying Jesus will never give us nice things because He might and He
often does. Iím saying He
is not obligated to do so, and we shouldnít expect Him to do so.
We certainly shouldn't demand anything from Him because we think
we are Kids of the King. It
is His prerogative to do as He wishes.
He is our boss. We
work for Him. He does not
work for us.
in case you need another "ask me for anything verse," hereís
one. "Ask for
whatever you wish and it will be given you" (John 15:7).
Maybe I should pull out my wish list again.
wife suggested that I ask for a few new pairs of underwear; ones without holes in them, but I
figure I can take care of that myself.
Iím interested in bigger things, like a new car, a big bank
account, and all the exciting things I see on television commercials.
Of course, we all know that advertizing company's feed upon our
lust for always wanting more than what we need.
put John 15:7 in its context. If
you read verses 1 through 8 you'll note that Jesus said that He is the
vine and we are branches.
If we don't remain in Him we will be cut off from Him and die.
If we remain in Him and His words remain in us we can ask for
whatever we wish.
The context of asking for whatever we wish is all about asking
Jesus to produce fruit in our lives. Topping our wish list should be
producing fruit, otherwise known as the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians
5:22 - 23).
youíre wondering what remaining in Jesus means, verse 9 provides the
answer. "If you obey me, you will remain in me." Remaining
in Jesus means obeying Him which in turn produces fruit.
That's not what the prosperity teachers teach.
The Prosperity Gospel has more to do with covetous accumulation
of material wealth than it has to do with producing fruit of the Spirit
in obedience to Jesus. Asking
Jesus for whatever you wish goes hand in hand with obeying Him.
Jesus was on earth He only cared about doing what His Father wanted
Him to do. The only wish
list that Jesus had was His Father's wish list.
made it clear that He did everything in His Fatherís name (John 5:43).
He did not name, claim, or demand, anything from His Father.
He only wanted what was necessary to perform His Fatherís
wishes. This is humility.
my opinion, thinking you are entitled to material prosperity is
arrogance, and we know that arrogance precedes destruction (Proverbs
16:18). This is one reason
why our western world's destruction is inevitable.
If you want to ask anything from Jesus, ask Him to help you to be
humble and not so demanding.
Psalm 116:14 and 15 we see that Israelis gave into their selfish desires
instead of obeying God.
As a result
God gave them their requests, but sent leanness
to their souls. God
gave them what they asked for but "sent a wasting disease upon
them" as the NIV puts it.
Israelis got their wish but it came with a terrible price.
It came with a sick soul.
you want a sick soul?
Is this why much of the western world church has lost its
What will it profit you if you gain the world in covetous living
but lose your soul in the process (Mark 8:36)?
We all want a lean mean body, but a lean soul
is something no one wants.
careful what you ask God for. If you bug Him enough, you might get
what you want. You might also get a sick soul. That doesn't
sound very nice.
tells the Corinthian believers in 2 Corinthians 8:9 that "though
Jesus was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, so that you through
His poverty might become rich."
The context of this statement concerns material wealth,
especially money. So there
you go. Paul's statement
totally destroys everything Iíve just said so far, or does it?
His incarnation into humanity Jesus was very rich in every aspect
imaginable. When Jesus lived
on earth He was materially poor, but He was spiritually rich.
There is no doubt about that. According
to Paul, Jesus' poverty can cause us to be rich.
In context, Paul is still thinking of monetary wealth.
So, should we expect and claim material riches from Jesus?
Is the Prosperity Gospel right after all?
context of 2 Corinthians 8:9 explains what Paul is saying here.
Paul was writing to Christians in Corinth
who appeared to be financially prosperous.
On the other hand, Christian Jews in
were extremely poor due to persecution.
Paul's intent in 2 Corinthians 8 was for the materially well off
Corinthians to give to the poor saints in
Judea. As Jesus forsook His
wealth to help us, so, the Corinthian believers should forgo their
financial wealth to help the poor Jewish believers.
was concerned for these poor Jewish saints so he traveled far and wide
raising money for them. In
2 Corinthians 8:2 he says that the Macedonians gave to this cause beyond
their ability to give. Despite
the extreme poverty of the Macedonian believers, they still gave in
find it interesting that these Macedonian believers, and the Jewish
believers as well, were poor in the first place.
Why was that? Did
Paul not preach the prosperity message to these believers?
Did they not embrace the Prosperity Gospel? Maybe these
Macedonian Christians were following Jesusí footsteps.
Material wealth was not their priority.
Spiritual wealth was more important, as it was for Jesus.
Paul wanted the Corinthian believers to be just as generous as the
Macedonian believers. That's
why he compared these two communities of Christians.
According to Paul, poverty was no excuse not to give.
It is clear then that giving is better than getting, and if
giving is better than getting, then asking Jesus for material abundance
for the sole purpose of being materially prosperous is not what Paul was
getting at in this passage.
reason why Paul reminded the Corinthian Christians that Jesus was poor
so that they could be rich was so they would understand that their
present prosperity was meant to help the poor saints in Judea. Let me make this clear.
There is nothing inherently wrong with material prosperity.
There is, however, something wrong with hording material wealth
for yourself, and that's Paul's point here in 2 Corinthians 8:9.
Paul poor? Before Paul was a
Christian He was a Pharisee. Pharisees
were wealthy and influential men in the Jewish community.
Paul knew what material prosperity was all about.
Some historical research tells me that Paul was raised in a
wealthy Jewish family in Tarsus. That all changed when Paul
met Jesus. In Acts 9:16
Jesus told Ananias that Paul would suffer for His name.
Part of this suffering was financial.
That's obvious from a brief look at his life.
Philippians 3:7 to 8 Paul said this. "Whatever was to my profit I now
consider as 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." Paul
used the words "profit and loss" here.
These are financial terms. Paul
was not merely saying that he lost his religious life.
He is saying that he lost everything, including the wealth and
prestige that came with being a rising star in Judaism.
Some suggest that he even lost his wife.
Paul wasnít kidding when he said he lost all things.
The flip side to this loss is that He gained Jesus.
meeting Jesus, Paulís life took the opposite turn to what the
Prosperity Gospel teaches. In
Paulís case, prosperity teaching, as it relates to material wealth,
pastor once told me that Paul was poor by choice.
That wasn't the choice of the pastor who told me that.
Did Paul really have a choice in the matter?
Read the events of Paul's conversion in Acts 9 to see if he really had a choice.
2 Corinthians 5:14 Paul said that the love of Christ compels Him.
Paul felt compelled to preach the gospel and live the life that
Jesus set out for Him, which included a good amount of poverty.
The Greek word "sunecho" is the word translated here as
"compel" in this verse. "Sunecho"
means "to fasten, secure, hold fast, or confine."
It is like Jesus yanked Paul out of his world and glued him to
Himself and in a stern voice said, "Youíre serving me now,
buddy." I believe Paul
did have a choice. We all
have a choice, but for Paul; there was no logical choice other than to
serve Jesus, even if it meant a life of poverty.
gave His life completely to Jesus and His will.
He did not ask or demand any part of it back. If I can prove that
some godly New Testament men and women did not live the life of
covetous prosperity, then I can prove that the Prosperity Gospel is not
Biblical. Also, if poverty is to be interpreted as a curse or a lack of
faith, as some prosperity people claim, then Paul and other first
century believers were clearly out of God's will and faithless, and I certainly don't
we leave an affluent lifestyle and become poor?
Paul, in 1 Corinthians 7:17 to 25 answers this question.
In verse 17 he said this. "Each one should retain the place in
life that the Lord assigned to him."
In verse 20 he said this. "Each one should remain in the
situation which he was in when God called him."
Paul even said that if you were a slave when you got saved, donít
try to gain your freedom unless it is offered to you.
All this means that if you are rich when Jesus calls you, stay
rich, but be generous, unless Jesus says otherwise.
donít believe the Scripture is opposed to material riches in itself.
It is opposed to expecting and demanding such riches from Jesus.
It is also opposed to putting material riches ahead of Jesus.
The present day prosperity teaching encourages us to be materialistically
motivated and not Jesus motivated.
Luke 18:19 and following Jesus spoke to a rich young ruler who seemed
to live a pretty good life. Jesus
told him that he was lacking one thing.
He needed to sell everything he had and give the proceeds to the
poor. Should we do the same?
It is bad Biblical interpretation to say that because Jesus told
this one man to do something we should do the same.
This was an isolated incident of one manís call on his life
from Jesus. His calling in
life is not our calling. That being
can learn something from this event and what we learn is that the
accumulation of wealth without helping the poor is not right.
also learn that it might just be possible that Jesus might ask us to do
relinquish our wealth to fulfill His mission He has for us.
I said earlier, money is not the problem.
The love of money is the problem.
If we are bent on prosperity apart from doing Godís will, then
we have a problem. Our
pursuit of the good life is covetousness.
not promoting being rich or being poor.
Iím promoting a life given to Jesus and checking off
His wish list and not our wish list. A
poor person can be just as selfish as a rich person.
As in the case of Paul with the Corinthians and Macedonians, it
wasnít whether they were rich or poor.
The issue was giving to the poor saints in
, no matter how much money they had or didnít have. It just so
happened that the Macedonians were extremely poor while the Corinthians seemed to
be well off.
issue at hand is giving, not getting.
In my thinking, prosperity teaching promotes getting.
know youíve heard this on television.
"Just send my ministry money and youíll get a hundred fold
blessing in return." Or,
"triple your tithe and youíll be blessed out of your socks."
That would be great for me since my socks have been seen with
holes in them.
to get is not Scriptural. I
donít think I need to find a verse to prove that.
Scriptural giving is simply "giving to give."
Just give because Jesus has put such a spirit in your heart.
Paul called this the grace of giving in 2 Corinthians 8:7. I
admit, even with the Holy Spirit such giving is hard to do, but that's
why Paul called this an act of grace.
In this instance, grace is the divine ability to do what is hard
for us to do, and is to give without expecting anything in return.
John 10:10 Jesus promised His disciples life more abundantly.
Some people interpret this abundance very broadly to include
material abundance. If this
interpretation is correct then weíve got a problem. Jesusí
disciples never got rich. If
Jesus promised these people wealth and they didnít get it, how can we
trust anything Jesus says?
John 16:1 to 2 Jesus predicted that the eleven apostles that they would be kicked
out of the synagogue and would eventually be killed.
To be cut off from the synagogue meant financial and social
disaster for Jews. We see
the result of this excommunication in Acts 3:6 where Peter and John
verbally confessed their poverty, something that good prosperity people
would never do. They
confessed, "silver and gold we have none." No
wonder Peter and John were poor. You
should never speak a negative confession, or so they say.
10:10 cannot be used to name, claim, and expect material prosperity
because Jesus was speaking about spiritual abundance, not material
Material abundance will come in the next life and what ever that
looks like, I'm not sure.
times Paul lived in moderate comfort.
Other times he lived in poverty, as he did in a rat infested
prison in Caesarea
for two years. That jail
cell was far from the Caesarea Hilton.
That didnít matter to Paul because he learned to be content in
every situation he faced. Godliness
was great gain for him, as he said in Philippians 4:11 to 13.
should be preaching contentment, not the pursuit of wealth.
If a foundation of contentment is lacking in your life, youíll
always want more, and this wanting will produce frustration.
On the other hand, if you are content with what you have, and
when the tendency to desire more rises within, you will not be
what Paul said. "Godliness with contentment is great gain"
Solomon, David and some other Old Testament men were rich.
Let's put this thought into some hermeneutical perspective.
We should be careful in how we emulate these men of old, unless
you want to dance naked in the street as David did (2 Samuel 6).
We should emulate things like Davidís heart for the Lord.
We should emulate Abrahamís faith.
We should not emulate Abraham or David's adultery.
The real point here is that we are New Testament Christians.
First and foremost we are to be molded into the likeness of
Jesus, not Abraham or David. These men lived prior to the indwelling of
the Holy Spirit which should enable us to live more righteously before
yes, Solomon, Abraham, David, and others were wealthy, but to me, that means
little to the topic at hand. There
are lots we can learn from these great men, but our learning
should be filtered through the pages of the New Testament.
Besides, and as I've said before, there is nothing inherently wrong with
wealth. If you have been blessed with wealth, thank the
Lord. It's what you do with that wealth that is important.
Dictionary defines humanism as the "doctrine, philosophy, attitude
or lifestyle dedicated to human interests."
In itself, humanism is not bad, but apart from Jesus it's not
Biblical, even though it may have beneficial results.
taken to its extreme, as we have taken it in our western culture,
becomes self centered and hedonistic (the pursuit of personal pleasure).
culture is obsessed with the love of self.
This love of self has found its way into the western Christian
culture and can be seen in the name, claim, and make me prosperous
the newest innovation in televisions, one recent commercial put it this
TV is this real, life is good."
As Christians, that should be a bit disturbing because Jesus said
that a manís life consists not in the abundance of the things which he
possesses (Luke 12:15).
my perspective the western world church, at least in general terms, is
bent on the accumulation of material possessions.
That gets expensive.
One church in our city has spent $10,000.00 on electric drums,
$50,000.00 on a new sound system, thousands more on expanding and paving
their parking lot, as well as an addition to their building.
all these expenditures helped to spread the Kingdom
to our community? What it has done is create an atmosphere of competition between
I have recently heard that the church with the new
sound system should attract the best Christian musicians to its
would these good musicians come from?
They'd come from other churches of course.
Iím a musician.
I like good sound, but let's put things in Biblical perspective.
Taking musicians from other churches is not building the Kingdom of
takes lots of money to run a modern day church, but I don't think it
needs to be this way. The New Testament church spread the gospel with
very little money.
Many third world churches today are spreading the gospel better
than our first world churches with little to no money.
pursuit of prosperity is humanistic. Prosperity
in church life should mean people coming to Jesus, finding their place
in the Body of Christ, and becoming effective representatives of Jesus.
Prosperity shouldnít be defined by the size of your building
and the height of your steeple.
not against church buildings.
They can be and should be used as a tool of the Lord but so often
they're a tool to serve Christians.
The day will come in our western world that
church buildings will be no more.
We'll be like the Christians in Iran, China, and other nations that do not have such a luxury.
It's best to think this through before that day comes.
In the meantime, make good use of your church building.
"positive thinking" movement has risen from the ranks of
humanism. Like humanism,
positive thinking in itself isnít bad.
The problem occurs when we promote positive thinking as a means
to material wealth. Another problem
is when we substitute faith with positive thinking.
Positive thinking is not faith.
thinking teaches we should never utter a negative comment lest a great
calamity befalls us.
We should only speak positive confessions which bring forth
Read the Bible.
Paul wasnít always positive, and neither was Jesus.
They spoke the truth as they saw it, whether it was positive or
Too much emphasis on the positive confession is not Biblical.
We need only to refer back to Acts 3:6 and Peterís confession
of being poor, and look at the results of his negative confession.
A lame man was healed.
that the positive confession itself will bring wealth is more humanistic
than New Testament thinking.
do believe that a Christians should live a better all around life because
follows Jesus. Itís simple
and logical. If you donít
steal, you wonít end up in jail. If
you donít commit adultery, you wonít find yourself in divorce court
is also the case with those nations that embraced the Reformation of the
1500ís, which is seen in their higher standard of living.
This is evident, not only in business, but in education, law,
politics and other aspects of culture.
This is because of the Reformationís Biblical influence on our
Those nations that have not allowed the Reformation to take hold
in their culture are in much poorer shape in all areas of their culture.
This accounts for some of the disparity we see between the west
and other nations today.
western world nations have been progressively been moving away from its
Reformation influence. We
are now reaping the negative results as seen in the deterioration of our
systems of education, law, government, and finance.
benefit greatly from following Jesus, but we donít follow Him for the
benefits. We didnít give
our lives to Jesus to get from Him.
We gave our lives to Jesus because we came to know that He is the
central truth of the universe and we have no other logical choice than
to give ourselves to Him.
Over the years Iíve heard prosperity teachers teach that if we have enough faith we
can speak things like prosperity into existence with our positive
works this way. You confess
the existence of a new car, even though a new car is nowhere to be
found. Thatís okay; you
just keep speaking the positive confession and act as if you have your
new car. When your friend
notices your old car in your driveway you respond with your positive
confession and tell him thatís your new car.
He scratches his head and thinks, "Youíre crazy!
Thatís your old car."
people point to Romans 4:17 in defense of their thinking.
It says, "God Ö calls things that are not as though they
were." Ultra faith and
prosperity people say that God speaks things into existence by thinking
something is really there when it isnít.
The mere thinking of it will produce its reality.
Of course God spoke things into existence at creation. Prosperity
people say we can do the same.
canít find this teaching in Romans 4:17 or anywhere else in the New
Testament. This form of
humanism is merely an attempt to trick oneís mind into a false faith
and hope. I call
this doctrine "mental gymnastics." Prosperity
people call it faith, but itís not.
contextual study of Romans 4:17 will tell you that there is only one
thing Paul had in mind concerning God calling things into existence that
Hosea 2 tells us that God divorced
Jews were no longer the people of God.
The context of Romans 4:17 tells us that the Jews, those who were
no longer the people of God; those who were not, have now become the
people of God by faith in Jesus.
In other words, the Jews who were not the people of God are now
the people of God.
In context, the specific
thing God called into existence that weren't are the Jews.
were once not His people. Now
they are. It's not logical to take this specific meaning and apply it to us
and teach we can speak things into existence.
This is simply a matter of good hermeneutics.
should never take one phrase from its context and broaden its
application to include all sorts of other things.
For example, if you ask me "how are you doing?"
Iíll answer, "Iím fine."
What I mean, is at that moment of time Iím fine.
It doesnít mean Iím always fine.
It doesnít mean Iím fine with same sex marriages.
It doesnít mean Iím fine with my neighborís loud music.
IĎm only fine in the context of your question.
To suggest I feel fine about all sorts of other things isnít
logical. The same applies to
Bible doesnít teach we can speak prosperity into existence.
If it did, I'm sure the Apostle Peter would have done so.
Peter could have given the lame beggar in Acts 3 lots of money as well as
healing, but he didn't. He had no money to give.
I first meet people I often tell them that I am legally, not totally,
blind. That tells them why I
don't respond to them when they wave at me on the street.
I just don't see them. This
also tells them that I'm not smelling my watch when my nose rubs against
it as I attempt to see what time it is.
It's why the tip of my nose is sometimes black with ink after
scraping it across the printed page.
ultra faith man cornered me after a meeting and began
preaching to me about my lack of faith.
He told me that if I had real faith, my eyes would be healed.
He didnít realize that itís not our faith that really heals
anyone. Itís Jesus that
heals. Our faith only gives
Him the opportunity to heal if He so desires.
told this man about the three Hebrew men in Daniel 3 who were thrown
into the fire. They said, "if we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we
serve is able to save us from it, and He will rescue us from your hand,
O King. But even
if He does not we want you to know, O King, we will not serve your
gods" (Daniel 3:17 NIV).
even if He does not" is not exactly a positive confession.
Hyper faith people would call this phrase a lack of faith and a
bad confession. They would
say that these men were speaking a positive confession until they
inserted the word "but" into their confession.
The word "but" suggests doubt to the hyper faith
person, but it doesn't in this case.
three men did not express doubt.
They had great trust in God.
They trusted God no matter what happened.
They trusted God whether God saved them from the fire or not.
That's real faith.
That's faith that an untimely death cannot destroy.
same applies to me.
I trust Jesus, knowing He can heal my eyes, but if He doesnít,
Iíll still trust Him.
This is real faith.
Iíve been trusting Jesus for decades, and still do, even though
He hasnít always done everything I thought He should have done. Iím
not trying to trick my mind into thinking I can see when I canít.
If I took positive confession thinking to its logical extreme, I,
a legally blind person, should drive you
home in your car.
We'd see who had real faith then.
three Hebrew men trusted God and they were saved from the fire. In
Acts 7, Stephen trust God as well but the rocks killed him just the
bottom line to all this is that we trust Jesus no matter what, whether
rich or poor, healed or sick. We
donít trust Him for what we want from Him.
We trust Jesus because He is the ultimate universal truth, and, we have no other logical choice but to
hand our lives
over to Him. That's trust.
teaching isnít only about the pursuit of wealth.
It's also about being in good health.
Many prosperity people expect Jesus to keep them in continuous good health.
Itís only our lack of faith that prevents Him from doing this.
3 John 2 is often quoted to defend this thinking.
"I pray that you may enjoy good health, and that all may go
well with you, even as your soul is getting along well" (NIV).
There are three parts to this verse; two parts prayer and one
part fact. The fact is that
Johnís friend Gaius is doing well in his soul, meaning, spiritually
heís doing well. The two
other parts are prayers for good health and a good life.
we learn from this is that John wants to see Gaius healthy and so he
prays to that end. Once John
prays, the answer to his prayer is in the hands of Jesus to do as He
pleases. Just because John
prays for good health for Gaius doesnít mean the Bible teaches
that we are to expect good health all of the time. This is a prayer,
part of Johnís wishful greeting to a brother in the Lord.
It's not a declaration of truth.
This is a
common Greco-Roman greeting of the day in which
John lived. We cannot use a
common greeting to name, claim, demand, or expect, perfect health from
God. Nor can we use it to formulate Christian doctrine. That's bad
4:13 and 14 said that "it was because of an illness that I first
preached the gospel to you. Even
though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt
or scorn. Instead, you
welcomed me as if I were an angel from God, as if I were Christ Jesus
was clearly sick at least one time as a Christian. Some say his illness
had something to do with his eyes because of the reference to his eyes
in the next verse. We know that his illness was severe enough that the Galatians
could have scorned him and been embarrassed to be around him. If prosperity people
believe sickness is a lack of faith, then Paul had a lack of faith.
I don't believe that for a second.
persistent poor digestive system always comes to mind when thinking
about this subject. See 1
Timothy 5:23. Why did
Paul suggest wine as a remedy for Timothy's illness instead of prayer and faith? Obviously
Paul thought wine would help. By
the way, this was real wine, not grape
is another example of a Christian in the Bible with a health problem.
The remedy was wine. I'm
not saying Paul or Timothy didn't pray.
I'm sure they did. That
being said, their prayers didn't nullify the fact that Timothy drank
wine for medicinal purposes. Timothy,
a man called by God to promote the gospel, was not always in perfect health.
- Our Bodies Decay
Corinthians 4:16 says that "though outwardly we are wasting away,
yet inwardly we are being renewed."
The Greek word "diaphtheiro" which is translated as
"wasting away" means "to utterly destroy, ending in
death." This sounds
like a bad confession of faith spoken by one of the most important
Christians in history. Why
would Paul speak such a negative confession?
bodies are in the process of decay.
It's a fact of life, a product of man's fall from God's grace
seen in Genesis 3. That
didn't bother Paul because inwardly, or spiritually, he was healthy.
Death and decay is common to all of us until God creates a new
and earth as seen in the book of Revelation.
the age of five I was diagnosed
with Juvenile Diabetes.
Sunday morning I found myself kneeling
at a little altar in
the basement of a house where a local Free Methodist congregation met.
Even at this early age I recall people laying
hands on me and
praying for my healing. To
make a long story short, Jesus miraculously healed me and the doctors at
in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, confirmed it. Suddenly, all my sugar levels were good.
Being in and out of a coma-like condition was history, and best of
all, my dad gave his life to Jesus as a result. If
not for Jesus I would have died at the age of seven.
Why didnít Jesus heal my eyes back then?
He certainly could have. Why
He didnít is still a mystery. Iíve
tried every so-called Scriptural technique to find healing, but healing
has never come, at least not yet. So like the
three Hebrew men in the book of Daniel, I trust Jesus whether I'm healed
or not healed.
poor vision has made it difficult for me in many ways over the years.
Iíve often thought that my life would have been more productive
for Jesus if I could have seen better, but what can I but continue to
trust Jesus. Salvation
history is not yet complete. Salvation
is a process that will find its completion on the new earth.
just spoken a bad confession? I
donít think so. No matter
what happens to me, I trust Jesus.
I donít trust Him just for my salvation.
I trust Him with my whole life which includes my salvation. Thatís
what the Christian life is all about.
God forbid we proclaim a selfish gospel of believing in
order to get, as in, get Heaven, get forgiven, get healed, get
prosperous, and on it goes. Salvation
is far more than getting from Jesus.
Itís a matter of giving to Jesus.
do believe in a good positive attitude, but letís be real about this.
Let's call things for what they are, not for what they arenít.
Thereís nothing wrong with asking Jesus to be healed.
keep in mind that we are His servants and servants don't demand from
few years ago I heard a man explain how he visualizes his desires into
existence, like a new car and a new house. He
believed that visualizing these things would produce their reality.
Visualizing prosperity (a derivative of positive thinking) as a
concept has crept into Christian circles.
You can trace modern day prosperity teaching, hyper faith,
verbalizing positive confessions, back to the last half of the 19th
century when a metaphysical, new age like, philosophical approach to
life crept into Christian theology.
the Bible teach that we should crave all the material
wealth we can get cream up? The answer is "no."
My dad used to
say that you never see a
hearse pulling a U-Haul trailer to the cemetery.
In other words, "we brought nothing into this world and it
is certain that we can carry nothing out" (1 Timothy 6:7 KJV).
Dad had three guitars that he cherished over the years.
One was a triple neck National Steel guitar that he bought in the
early 1950ís. He sold it once when I was young to raise funds to buy our family a
refrigerator. He missed that
guitar and a few years later he had the opportunity to buy it back.
Dad also had a 1974 Martin D 35 and a 1979 Dobro that were his prize possessions.
March of 2001 dad developed severe back pain and the steel guitar
was too heavy for him to pull out of its case and play.
He didnít think his back was getting any better so he gave the
steel guitar to me. Once
again this guitar left my dadís house, but this time it wouldnít
return. I couldn't hold back the tears as I carried the guitar home.
Six weeks later we found out that dad didnít have back problems.
He had cancer, and it was rapidly stealing his life.
It was the first week of May 2001 when I helped dad into the
bath tub, something quite humiliating for an independent man.
While dad was in the tub I pulled out the Dobro.
He now realized his guitar playing days were over so he told me to take the Dobro home.
That was another sad moment. Your perspective on things changes when youíre on the
doorstep of death.
Two guitars were gone; one left to go.
The Marten guitar was dadís favourite of the three, thatís
why it was the last to go. Three
weeks after the Dobro went home with me, and one week before dad died,
he told me to take the Martin home.
sad as it was for me, my father knew that he brought nothing into this
world and he certainly wasnít going to take anything out.
Dad's Martin D35 now sits beside mine.
June 7, 2001,
dad went to be with Jesus, within ten minutes after my wife and I
prayed that Jesus would take him. Dadís
funeral was on June 11, 2001. On June 12
we took my mom to the nursing home to live Ė the second saddest moment
in my life.
had accumulated a life time of memories in her home and at the
prearranged time on
June the 12 I told her that it was time to leave.
Surprisingly, without hesitating and not saying a word she just
got up from her favourite chair and left her home for good.
Thatís it. She just
rose to her feet and walked to the door, never to return. Mom
left with two large green garbage bags full of things, along
with her favourite chair. Eighty
years of memories were compressed into two garbage bags.
that summer we gave away, sold, and distributed, mom and dadís things.
The house was emptied and sold.
They brought nothing into this world and they left taking not a
thing. Mom passed away on
January 9, 2003.
like material things just as much as the next guy.
I have my stuff. I
have my guitars and more. Iíve
got more to leave behind than dad had.
I brought nothing into this world and I too will leave with nothing.
know what Jesus said about all of this.
He told us to lay up treasures in Heaven, not on earth (Matthew
6:19-20). He maintained that
where your treasures are your heart will be also (Luke 12:34).
He said that a manís life doesn't consist in the abundance of
the things he possesses (Luke 12:15).
When we became Christians we gave
our lives to Jesus because we realized that He is the supreme authority
and truth in the universe. Once
knowing this, we had no logical choice but to give ourselves to Him, which included all of our stuff.
We gave it all to Jesus, or at least we should have. Our
stuff belongs to Him for Hime to do as He wishes.
could go on but I'm sure you get my point.
I trust my life with Jesus no matter what happens or doesn't
happen. I am His and He is