The Prosperity Trap

By Edwin Christiaan

“Once again I will shake America! But this time I will also shake My temple and My pulpit! Many who selfishly enriched themselves through greed using My temple and My pulpit will now find themselves mourning and broken. They will now start giving away in sorrow all what they accumulated and causing a revolution of salvation throughout the nation and My poor will feast on your expense. Once again I will shake America! I the Lord your God has spoken!”
Prophetic word by Edwin Christiaan, November 30, 2007.

Jesus said:

“The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be a place of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves.” Luke 19:46 NLT

“In their greed they will make up clever lies to get hold of your money.” 2. Peter 2:3 NLT

They, are some of the well-known television Evangelists, prophets and pastors who preaches a message of becoming wealthy, or as they call it the “prosperity gospel”, which is nothing but a gospel of greed.

They always find new ways to take up offerings. Every week they seem to invent a new hyped-up formula for success, with the catch that you ultimately have to give to their ministry. These false teachers come up with all sorts of “seed” offerings with the promise of a special blessing or breakthrough in your situation; like New Year offerings, resurrection seed offering, healing offerings, prophetic seed offerings, Passover offerings, atonement offerings, financial breakthrough offerings, sin and redemption offerings, 777 offerings, $58 seed, $1000, $500, $300, $100 envelop seed that is usually tied to getting a prophetic word, and the list of deception goes on and on.

They teach you that your destiny is linked to an amount of money that you are to give. In other words, you are taught that you can buy a certain outcome for your circumstance from God. They are clearly selling out Jesus to you. The message of salvation in Jesus Christ, who paid with His life to be crucified for our sins so we can have eternal life and walk in obedience to Him, has gone sour.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God did not send his Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it.” John 3:16-17 NLT

It is now all about you having personal financial success in life, like one preacher puts it, “Create the Life You Want”.

“For even I, the Son of Man, came here not to be served but to serve others, and to give my life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28 NLT

These preachers take advantage of desperate people’s need for God’s resolution in their lives, telling them to keep giving, and even to put their gift on their credit card. As for many of these preachers, they themselves won’t give anything to the poor and the needy!

Jesus Himself told His disciples before He sent them out on a mission trip:

And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:7-8 NKJV)

And with all their prophetic promises of getting rich, you might think that we all would be millionaires by now. But actually, the opposite is happening! They are getting away with living a lavish and luxurious lifestyle on your expense and hard-earned money! They are always concerned about having nice things for themselves – a life of so called “excellence.”

Some of these prosperity preachers justify their teachings, saying that Jesus was a billionaire because he had a treasurer and was wearing designer clothes.

Yet the Bible warns us not to be concerned about the outward beauty that depends on fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. See 1. Peter 3:3 NLT

The Bible clearly contradicts the prosperity teaching
The apostle Paul told the Christians:

“I have never coveted anyone’s money or fine clothing. You know that these hands of mine have worked to pay my own way, and I have even supplied the needs of those who were with me. And I have been a constant example of how you can help the poor by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Acts 20:33-35 NLT

“You see, we are not like those hucksters — and there are many of them — who preach just to make money. We preach God’s message with sincerity and with Christ’s authority. And we know that the God who sent us is watching us.” 2. Corinthians 2:17 NLT

“So you can see that we were not preaching with any deceit or impure purposes or trickery.

For we speak as messengers who have been approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. Our purpose is to please God, not people. He is the one who examines the motives of our hearts. Never once did we try to win you with flattery, as you very well know. And God is our witness that we were not just pretending to be your friends so you would give us money!”
1. Thessalonians 2:3-5 NLT

“Yet true religion with contentment is great wealth.  After all, we didn’t bring anything with us when we came into the world, and we certainly cannot carry anything with us when we die. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content. But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is at the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.” 1. Timothy 6:6-10 NLT

The book of Hebrews says:

“Stay away from the love of money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never forsake you.” Hebrew 13:5 NLT

Yes, you will experience that God will never fail or forsake you if you are making Him your priority.

“And we can be confident that he will listen to us whenever we ask him for anything in line with his will. And if we know he is listening when we make our requests, we can be sure that he will give us what we ask for.” 1. John 5:14-15 NLT

Giving in the First Church
We need to go back to the example of the first church who by their conduct caused many unbelievers to repent and give their lives to Jesus, and we desperately need to go back to the sound biblical teachings of giving to God.

“And all the believers met together constantly and shared everything they had. They sold their possessions and shared the proceeds with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity — all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their group those who were being saved.” Acts 2:44-3:1 NLT

“All the believers were of one heart and mind, and they felt that what they owned was not their own; they shared everything they had. And the apostles gave powerful witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and God’s great favor was upon them all. There was no poverty among them, because people who owned land or houses sold them and brought the money to the apostles to give to others in need.” Acts 4:32-35 NLT

“Give whatever you can according to what you have. If you are really eager to give, it isn’t important how much you are able to give. God wants you to give what you have, not what you don’t have. Of course, I don’t mean you should give so much that you suffer from having too little. I only mean that there should be some equality. Right now you have plenty and can help them. Then at some other time they can share with you when you need it. In this way, everyone’s needs will be met. Do you remember what the Scriptures say about this? “Those who gathered a lot had nothing left over, and those who gathered only a little had enough.” 2. Corinthians 8:11-15 NLT

“Remember this — a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop.  You must each make up your own mind as to how much you should give. Don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. For God loves the person who gives cheerfully. And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. As the Scriptures say, ‘Godly people give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will never be forgotten.’” 2. Corinthians 9:6-9 NLT

“Tell those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which will soon be gone. But their trust should be in the living God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and should give generously to those in need, always being ready to share with others whatever God has given them. By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may take hold of real life.” 1. Timothy 6:17-19 NLT

When Jesus returns, He will respond to our giving this way:

“For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home.  I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’” Matthew 25:35-36 NLT

“And the King will tell them, ‘I assure you, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’” Matthew 25:40 NLT

God’s definition of prosperity
In closing; God wants us to prosper, as you can read in 3. John 2 NKJV:

Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.”

This is a scripture that the prosperity preachers often use to defend their “God wants you to be rich” -message.

But God’s kind of prosperity is not just about financial provision, but it is also about prospering in the fruits of the Holy Spirit.

“And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19-20 NLT

“But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23 NLT

Then we are going to be able to testify like the apostle Paul did with words like these:

“Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to get along happily whether I have much or little. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need.” Philippians 4:11-13 NLT

Run from evil
We encourage you with the same simple but powerful advice as the Apostle Paul did to Timothy, and that is to RUN from those who teach and practice these false doctrines called the “prosperity gospel”.

“But you, Timothy, belong to God; so run from all these evil things, and follow what is right and good. Pursue a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness.” 1. Timothy 6:11-12 NLT

Copyright©2008 Edwin & Sophia Christiaan