173 The Gospel to the Poor Part One
My Sermon today entitled THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR
is part one of a two part sermon on Prosperity.
So be sure to tune in next week for the second part.
For most of my life, I have rejected the teaching of some Churches and some Preachers on the subject of prosperity … believing much of it to be founded on greed and selfishness. Sadly, there are many who “want Gods things” but who do not want God himself, They want the gift without the giver, the healing without the healer, and they want heaven without the Saviour? They are “good-living for a living” as my Bank Manager once put it to me? Tragically for many Church-goers, the subject of Prosperity has become a taboo. Yet God has been teaching me recently that He is a God, who delights in the prosperity of his servants, a Father that takes pleasure in the prosperity of his sons. Psalm 35:27
Turn with me again if you will to Deuteronomy Chapter 8, which we read earlier in today’s service.
This is a key chapter in the Bible when it comes to the law of prosperity, let us focus for a moment on verse 1.
(1) “All the commandments which I command thee this day shall ye observe to do, that ye may live, and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the LORD swore unto your fathers”.
According to verse one, their part was to observe and to do, or
to be obedient to what God told them to do, to “observe the commandments”. In our day and time, the rule is still the same, to observe to do all the commandments – and our commandment from the mouth of Jesus is to “walk in love”. The person who walks in love, is also going to be a person that prospers.
Every temptation you will ever have is a temptation to get
you to walk out of the commandment to love, …every one!
“And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like it, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these”.
Mark 12: 30 & 31
Let us read on at Deuteronomy 8:v2
(2) “And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart,…”
What is in your heart? It may be that what is in your heart does not line up with LOVE, and that is what is hindering your prosperity? Isn’t it amazing that once you make a confession that you are going to live for God, walk in obedience to His Word and Will, that you are going to commit and be faithful to God, isn’t it amazing that the test of that comes immediately.
God tests our words.
Some of you listening me today have almost passed the test, and are on the verge of your breakthrough, but remember, there is never ever going to be a promotion without the test. So whatever you are praying for, whatever you are believing God for, please let me assure you that it will not happen without there first being the test. There is going to be the requirement for patience, and then after you have patiently endured,
you will receive the promise!
God first of all needs to see what’s in your heart, not just
what’s in your head, or in your mouth.
God will permit a situation which may aggravate and annoy you, even irritate you, which you have not experienced before, but if you pass the test, then the promotion will be on the other side of that test. This is both principle and practice that stands true throughout the Old Testament. God never gave anything to His servants without them first of all proving that they were able for it. It was true of Moses, Elijah, Joseph, Daniel, David, … true of them all, and will be true of us all, if we mean
business with God.
Have you passed the test? If you keep flunking the same test, then these satanic things will keep coming against you until the character of Jesus is formed within you, because it is not about principles its about character.
Now, look at verse 3.
(3) “And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the
mouth of the LORD doth man live”.
God wants us to make our living by the word, our Profession being our Confession of the word. Do you make your living by the word? God is teaching me that this is how we can survive the recession! Our living ought not to be dependant on who is in Number 10 Downing Street, or who is in the White House,
or by how much or how little we may have in the Bank account,
or what is going on in the economy. Our Living should be dependent on the Word of God. God does not want to give you Money, God does not want to give you a Job, or a Healing, or a Promotion, or a New House, or a New Car, – Gods wants to
put the word in your Spirit, for he knows that that word
will make you what it says you can become.
Let me share something very significant with you. As I said earlier, for years now, I have rejected the whole idea of prosperity preaching, simply because in the majority of cases, it smacks of greed and selfishness. There are many wolves out there in sheep’s clothing, as Jesus said there would be! Preachers who are devouring the people of God, demanding money for miracles, and this is an abomination in the sight of God and must be avoided like the plague it is. But because there are counterfeits in all walks of life, that does not mean there are no genuine articles, no genuine men and women of God. In recent times, God has been testing me in order to teach me about prospering, and bring me into fresh blessing. (I recon it will be for your benefit also) I had to examine myself in the light of my more recent sermons, and I came to the conclusion, after much prayer and searching, that if I am to make my living by the word, then IT should determine how I live, whether I live in plenty, or in poverty, whether I live in blessing or in bondage? I have much to say about these things which is why I am writing TWO sermons on this subject. I have learned that God cannot bless unbelief, and if I do not by choice believe that prosperity can and should be mine, then it will never come my way. God cannot do for us, those things for which we have no faith or confidence.
Some of us need to radically change our whole attitudes to this subject, and get back to what the BIBLE says, not what some preacher says, or some tele-evangelist teaches. Everything I have to say about this I will back up with the Scriptures of the Old and New testaments, so that there can be no doubt that it is from God. I don’t know about you, but I am going to believe God. I thank God that like a force field around me and all over me, I have blessing, favour and security from Him
which I am not prepared to give up for anyone.
Lets read on now at verse 4
(4) ” Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee,…” ( thank God I have that blessing too, I am still wearing suits, jackets and coats which I bought over 30 years ago, and I hear my friends declare “David’s got a new suit” but the only clothes I have bought new in a long time are shirts and socks…that’s prosperity)
” …and neither did thy foot swell, these forty years.
(5) Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the LORD thy God chasteneth thee.
(6) Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to fear him.
(7) For the LORD thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills;
(8) A land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of olive oil, and honey;
(9) A land wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness, (no more lack) thou shalt not lack any thing in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass.
(10) When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the LORD thy God for the good land which he hath given thee.
Now look at this warning…
(11) Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day:
(12) Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, (not average houses … Gods children are not average)
and dwelt therein; (13) And when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied;
(14) Then thine heart be lifted up, (That’s Pride) and thou forget the LORD thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of
Egypt, from the house of bondage;
(15) Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the
rock of flint;
(16) Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end;
or to paraphrase it …
(Who got you off of welfare, who got you that job, who healed you when the doctor said you were going to die, who gave you the money to get your gas or your lights turned back on,
… have you forgotten God?)
(17) And thou say in thine heart, My power (my degree or my education) and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. (18) But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he swore unto thy fathers, as it is this day.”
So obviously, without doubt, it was Gods will to prosper his people in every possible way, we have just read it, haven’t we?
Now my question to you is HAS THIS GOD CHANGED?
No, He’s the same yesterday today and forever, Heb 13:8
…so if God prospered in the Garden of Eden, and he prospered Abraham and he prospered the Children of Israel, and he has not changed, why then all of a sudden do we embrace this ridiculous and untrue notion that says that God is not behind prosperity? Some tell us that there are too many other more relevant things that concern God. I cannot think of anything more relevant than teaching people how to stay out of lack? They say, God teaches LOVE, well I teach love too, because without love prosperity doesn’t work! There is no way in the world that you
can walk without love and expect to prosper, because that’s His commandment, that’s what you’ve got to keep! So if someone is bothering you today, and you are holding a grudge or a gripe towards them, then you are allowing them to mess up the prosperity that God promised you. I don’t know about you, but I have gotten too many bills to pay to stay mad with anybody. I must forgive and forget and walk in love, to prosper. I have said it before, that we will never get better, if we get bitter!
If God cannot build the character of Jesus in your life and mine, then before long we will swallow the lie of the world that says God has got nothing to do with your prosperity, just do the best you can, pay your way, say your prayers and we’ll get what
will do us. What foolishness!
Think about this … Here is a God that has clearly prospered everybody that has had a relationship with him, (that’s what the Bible says) except for you? You know that doesn’t make any sense. I doubt that – because I doubt everything that comes from the Devil. Turn with me if you will to Psalm 35
and let us read at verse 27
“Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant”. Psalm 35:27
Let them say, and let them keep on saying, … continually say,
… when is the last time you said …
Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant …
when the next bill arrives hold it up and say …
Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant!
The Hebrew word used here is from the word Shalom which means peace, well-being, welfare. It carries exactly the same connotation (or implication) as you or me saying “all the best”!
God wants us to have all the best, is that not what you want for your Children too? What does it mean to have pleasure?
… it means He likes it! I believe he likes prospering you, he
takes pleasure in prospering you, and why wouldn’t he?
Yet why would God do something for somebody who doesn’t even believe that it is Gods will for it to be done? And you know what he is saying to us? “I cannot do this for you because you don’t believe me, and that is how I work, I just need people
The real obstacle in the minds of many today, ( and sadly many in the Church) is that they take little or no pleasure in the prosperity of others. They themselves love to prosper, they love their family to prosper and get on and do well, but as soon as they see someone else prosper, they become jealous and vindictive?
This world is upside-down and I want to help turn it right side up! God has said in Haggai 2:8 “The Silver is mine and the Gold is mine” and I say “I believe it… the silver yours, the gold yours, and I am yours …David yours, – Lord put us together … hook us up Lord.” Yet there are still some of you who will not believe, will believe only in their way, and not Gods way. The Lord takes pleasure in your prosperity. If the Lord gets pleasure in prospering His servants, imagine how excited he gets about prospering His sons? Abraham was a Servant, Isaac was a Servant, Joseph was a Servant, David was a Servant, Solomon was a Servant, … but we are SONS! Praise the Lord!
Now Jesus too was a Son, and some argue that He was born in a
stable, He rode on a donkey, He had nowhere to lay his head and was resurrected from a borrowed tomb. I too have shared all of those arguments against prosperity, but now I know I have argued in error. Had I taken the time to read the scriptures more carefully on those matters, I would have arrived at very different conclusions. (and I promise to look into all of those matters in next weeks sermon) 174. The Gospel to the Poor – part two.
Let me reveal to you now that Jesus was not poor, and I’ll
show you proof of that next week, God willing!
Then some have said to me: “being poor cannot be all that bad” Have any of you been poor? You know that there is nothing good about being broke. Nothing Good about having your home
repossessed, about losing your car, losing your job, living on the street, eating from the litter bins, begging for the pennies, -there’s nothing Good about it! They say “being poor cannot be all that bad, after all the apostle James says God has chosen the poor and Jesus said preach the gospel to the poor” Luke 4:18 Yes He has chosen the poor, but he hasn’t chosen them poor to leave them poor, he has chosen the poor to make them rich, the sick to make them better, and the weak to make them strong, the sinner to make them saved, the prisoners to set them free,
the Hell bound to make them Heaven bound.
That’s the Gospel, that’s the Good News.
NOW THIS FINAL WORD.
Our Christianity promotes the good character qualities of hard work, thrift, and honesty, and usually mean that a man gets ahead. Getting ahead involves making money; making money implies success and luxury; success and love of luxury can come
between a man and his God. This means that you and I are put in a dangerous position. If we become ‘successful’ people or if
we are reasonably ‘well-off.’ then we are tempted to love our luxuries more than our Lord. Thus, our faith produces some dangerous possibilities. For the material success that comes from our hard work and frugality and honesty, is sometimes hard to control. In fact, it can lead us to wanting more and more, to using others, and to forgetting God.
This can happen also to the congregation of any church. More than one congregation has started as a poor, struggling group, yet dynamic and alive – then gradually became ‘successful’ and lost its soul. The church obsessed with cushioned pews, expensive stained glass, modern high tech equipment and
facilities, but unconcerned with its mission to the poor and dying, is in grave mortal danger.
When God takes pleasure in the prosperity of His Children, it is not so that such prosperity should pleasure us, rather our only pleasure should be in His presence.
Yes, I may ask for and receive a “million” and God would delight to give it to me, provided always that my delight
was in Him, the giver and not the gift.
The apostle James said:
“Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts”. James 4:3
My dear Friends, my prayer to God for all of you today is found in the 3rd Epistle of John, Chapter 1, at verse 2
“Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth”.
May God grant it for your good and for his glory