Sunday, January 22, 2017
Truthful Prosperity Preaching
The health and wealth prosperity gospel is a lie. Prosperity preachers teach that if you serve the Lord, everything is always going to go well for you. A lot of times because we are reacting to that lie, we lose sight of the fact that God will bless our obedience. With every false doctrine, there’s usually some truth mixed in. The truth of the matter is that God will reward and prosper us in the end, but we have also been called to a life of suffering and affliction.
“Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.” Psalm 34:19
Jeremiah’s life is a perfect example of this. In Jeremiah 40 we see the aftermath of the fall of Jerusalem. They besieged Jerusalem for a long time. They killed all the princes. They put out Zedekiah’s eyes. The city is destroyed, the houses have been burned, and the Chaldeans have taken over.
After the battle is over, they took captives of all the important people in Jerusalem. Jeremiah was among those captives, but Nebuzaradan, the captain of the host, actually lets Jeremiah go. Look what it says in verse 4:
“And now, behold, I loose thee this day from the chains which were upon thine hand. If it seem good unto thee to come with me into Babylon, come; and I will look well unto thee: but if it seem ill unto thee to come with me into Babylon, forbear: behold, all the land is before thee: whither it seemeth good and convenient for thee to go, thither go.”
Nebuzaradan basically told Jeremiah if you want to come to Babylon, I’ll personally take care of you and make sure you have what you need. Or if you don’t think it’s a good idea to go to Babylon, stay here. God miraculously worked in the hearts of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuzaradan, and others in order to bless Jeremiah.
“When a man's ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.” Proverbs 16:7
Jeremiah had been through a lot of hard times up until this point. He spent a lot of time in prison. One of the times he was in a pit of mire that was literally like the hole of an outhouse with no food to eat. In Jeremiah 40, Jeremiah is at that point in his life where he’s paid his dues and things are finally turning around for him. He has money and freedom and gets to live wherever he wants.
God will prosper us for doing right, but what the health and wealth preachers leave out is all the trials and heartache along the way. We need to understand that there’s a timeline: First there is suffering; then we are blessed.
Job is another great example of someone who was afflicted for awhile but was blessed in the long run:
“So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: “Job 42:21a
“Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.” Psalm 37:37
When you live for the Lord, you’re going to be blessed in the end. Eventually, you’re going to prosper. It may not seem like it right now, but someday when you look back at your life, you’re going to be able to say, "Jesus led me all the way."
“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Galatians 6:9
Here is the sermon on Jeremiah 40 that covers this subject