Give and it Shall be Given Unto You

Luke 6:38(NKJV) 38Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”

Yesterday we looked at both the motivation and the method of divine prosperity. The only proper motivation for us to seek prosperity is the love of God. This manifests in two areas. First, we should prosper so we can finance the preaching of the Gospel. It requires resources to maximize the outreach of the church to the world. Second, the church has the responsibility of caring for the poor. Those of us who truly know the Lord should believe for the blessing of God so we can be a blessing to others. If these things motivate us, we will keep the right attitude towards wealth and prosperity will be a blessing.

We also looked at 2 Cor. 9 6-11. In these verses we find that God loves a cheerful giver. The Amplified Bible says God will not do without a cheerful giver. That means that God will provide what we need to give if we give according to the scripture. To me this implies a “draw” that is created in the realm of the spirit that will cause wealth to flow to a cheerful giver.

I want to look at another related verse today. In Luke 6:38 we read another principle from the word of God. It is a very plain statement that we should take at face value. If I give, something will be given back to me. Once again, we see the idea of a draw created in the spirit by giving. If these were the words of men I could not stand on them, however, they are the Words of the son of God himself. He said his words would never pass away. I can trust my life to his words.

If this principle is true in the positive, it is also true in the negative. If I do not give, I cannot expect anything to be given back to me. When a Christian stops giving he cuts off the supernatural flow of wealth that God wants to come to him. At that point, he is limited to whatever his natural resources can supply. I do not know about your life, but in my life, I need more than my natural resources. As we look at this promise, let us expect faith to receive a supernatural supply for our lives.

If we give, something will be given back to us. That is where we begin, but who is going to be giving back to us? The original King James Version says men will give back to us. You will notice that it does not come out that way in the New King James above. It leaves out the words “shall men.” In the original language, these words are not there. Young’s Literal Translation says, “they shall give into your bosom.”

I believe that God will use men to give back to us, but I like the New King James the best. It is going to be put into my bosom, period. To me this makes it clear that no matter what channel is used, God is going to see to it that, if I give what I give will come back to me.

How is it going to come back to me? Will it be given back to me in like kind? The answer to that is yes. The end of the verse tells us that the measure we use to give is the measure that will be used to return our giving to us. However, God uses a qualifier. It will be given back to us, “good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over.”

The measure that is used to give back to me will be a good measure. We can rest assured that God will use an accurate measure. We do not have to wonder if we will be treated fairly. If we choose to be givers, we can trust that we will receive at the exact same level that we give.

Matthew 19:29 tells us that if we give up anything for the gospel it will be returned to us a hundredfold. That means 100 times what we gave can be expected in return. We got into a little problem using this scripture. There was a time when I would try to hold God accountable for the hundredfold return. If I gave $10, I expected $1000 back. This is not necessarily bad, but when we start to think that we must do God’s accounting, we are missing the meaning of the promise.

God will give back to us with a good measure. We do not have to keep track. In fact, when we simply expect $1000 to every 10 we are actually limiting God. A hundredfold is the minimum God will bring back to us. However, if we go back to Luke 6:38 we get a clearer picture of what God really wants to do for us.

What do the terms “pressed down” and :shaken together” mean in this verse? Have you ever looked at sugar? It is a granular substance. The grains are irregular in shape. When we fill a spoon with sugar, there is probably more air than sugar in the spoon. This is because we cannot cause all those little crystals to fit perfectly together. When God fills a spoon with sugar it is a very different thing.

God will press the sugar down and shake the sugar together. We will do this in order to get more into a container. When God does it, he makes each grain of sugar to fit perfectly against the next grain. In the end, there is no air left. Once he has finished with shaking it down and pressing it together, he will cause it to run over the top of the spoon. His spoonful of sugar is substantially more than ours is. It will be at least one hundredfold more.

If we give, God will give back to us using the same measure we use to give. Nevertheless, he will cause it to be at least one hundred fold greater than what we give. That is a great promise. If it is true, I want to think about the measure that I am using to give. You see, we limit God’s ability to prosper us by the measure of our giving.

2 Corinthians 9:6 told us that if we sow sparingly we will reap sparingly but, if we sow abundantly we will reap abundantly. If I use a spoon as my measure of giving, God uses a “good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over spoon to give back to me. If I increase the measure so does God. I want to move from spoons, to shovels and eventually to dump trucks. When I increase my measure, God will increase his measure.

Let me give you one final thought. The measure is not determined by quantity but by our hearts. When Jesus observed people giving at the temple, he saw rich people giving large amounts. He pointed out one widow who gave a very small amount compared to the rest. He said she gave the most because she gave all she had.

God determines the measure by how much of our heart is put into our giving. You may only have a spoonful by the world’s standards, but if it is the best gift you can give and it is from the heart, God will give back to you at the dump truck level. Just start where you are. When you have given what is comfortable, stretch and give a little more. That will greatly increase the measure.

Once you have given, trust God to receive. He said he would give back to you. You can trust him to be true to his Word. Say this with me. “If I give I will receive. I will receive a good measure that will be pressed down, shaken together and running over. That is my promise from the Lord!”

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The Bottom Line?…..Faith in the Provider

2 Corinthians 9:6-7(NKJV) 6But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.

The only proper motivation for divine prosperity is the love of God. We must understand that our prosperity is not just about our own needs or the needs of our families. The church is to be the channel for the blessing of God to the world around us. This is necessary for two basic purposes. We are commissioned with preaching the gospel and we are called to take care of the poor. Resources are necessary to do these things. It has always been God’s way to bless his people so they can bless others.

Today we face a world that is in economic turmoil. God is bringing people to the place where they have nothing in the natural to trust in. He wants to use the church as a beacon to lead people to himself. One way that he desires to do this is for his people to have resources that the world cannot provide. If we can come to the place where our trust in God gives us access to a divine flow of wealth, we will be able to show the hand of God to the world. We have the only solution to the greatest problems facing the world today. Will we be in a position to display that solution to those around us?

How does divine prosperity work? The “bottom line”, so to speak, is simply faith in God as the provider. We must believe that God is our source. In the natural, we focus on our job, our education, our training or our skill set. Where we live may be a factor in our income potential. However, none of these things is our true source of supply. Wealth flows from God. The other things are channels that he may use, but if we are going to walk in divine prosperity, we must recognize that faith in God and his principles is what will produce victory.

The theme in our church this year is based on a threefold principle drawn from Moses’ exhortation to Israel at the crossing of the Red Sea. He told Israel to fear not, stand on the promise of God, and, at God’s command, God forward. This principle applies to divine prosperity as well. We must not fear lack. We must find promises in the Word of God and stand on them in the face of contradictory circumstances. Finally, we must be willing to go forward, or act on the Word.

What is the “go forward” action when it comes to divine prosperity? The Bible clearly tells us that if we are going to receive blessing from the Lord we need to be givers. The financial structure of the Kingdom of God is based on giving. This is in stark contrast to what is emphasized in the world. The world tells me that I must take care of myself first. If I can help others as well, that is fine, but I must “look out for number 1.” That kind of thinking can never produce divine prosperity.

Today’s scripture presents a basic principle of the kingdom of God. If we give, we will receive and if we give cheerfully, we create something that the devil cannot stop. It says in this verse that God loves a cheerful giver. In the Amplified Bible, it comes out a little differently. It says God will not “do without” a cheerful giver. If God will not do without such a person, he must be willing to make sure that person has something to give.

When we cheerfully and generously give, I believe it creates a draw in the spirit that will bring wealth to the believer. We give and God must see to it that we have more to give. He will not do without our giving, so he will cause wealth to flow to us so we can give again.

It is a little like the tap in your kitchen sink. Water is on the other side of that tap. It may be in a well deep in the ground. It may be in a reservoir many miles away, but it is there. However, you do not have access to the water until you open the tap. When you do there is a draw created on that water resource that brings it into your sink. You can wash dishes with it, you can cook with it, you can make coffee with it or you can drink it. Once it comes to your tap, you can use it in any way you see fit. If you never open the tap, you will never get the water.

Wealth is in the world. God does not have to turn lead into gold in order to meet your needs. With all of the financial turmoil in the earth, wealth is still available. The question is how you get it to flow to you. In the world people, hoard wealth and resources so they will have enough. This is like trying to capture as much water as you can in every sink, bathtub, toilet and any other vessel you can find. This may seem like a good idea, but you will never have enough to last very long. What you do store will stagnate very quickly. It will eventually be useless.

Where water is concerned, we have to trust that when we open the tap water will come out. If there is a drought, this can be difficult. The water may not be there. However, when we are talking about God there is never a drought. He is always faithful. When we turn on the tap of giving, we can have absolute faith that God will cause wealth to flow back to us to meet our needs and to enable us to give again. Look a little further in 2 Corinthians 9.

2 Corinthians 9:8-11(NKJV) 8And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. 9As it is written: “He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.” 10Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, 11while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God.

This is what giving will produce in the life of a believer. God promises to make grace bound to you. He will supply you with food, seed and he will multiply the effectiveness of the seed you sow. He will also increase the fruits of your righteousness. What does that mean? He will cause your right living to produce blessing in every area of life. Finally, he will “enrich you in everything.” I like that! He will make sure we have plenty in every area because of our liberal giving. All of this will cause thanksgiving to God. That thanksgiving is what will cause the world to seek him.

What a powerful section of scripture. These are the promises to the giver. Meditate on that as you go through your day today and I am sure you will see you financial life in a different light.

The Motivation for Divine Prosperity

1 John 3:16-18(NKJV) 16By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? 18My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.

We have begun a study about the principles related to walking in divine prosperity. It is important to remember that there are many kinds of natural prosperity we can obtain in life. However, if we prosper in natural things alone it often brings ruin to other areas of our lives. What we really need is divine prosperity. That is a prosperity flowing from the will of God and conforms to the principles of God set forth in his Word. If we have that kind of prosperity, it will be a blessing in every area of life.

From 3 John verses 1-2 we learn that it is the will of God for us to prosper. We also learn that we must prosper in our soul first of all. This involves the renewing of our mind by the Word of God. It involves becoming committed to the things of God more than we are committed to obtaining wealth. We cannot compromise our spirituality or the Bible in order to obtain wealth. If we remain rich toward God, we can be free to walk in the blessing of God without bringing problems into our lives.

Today I want to explore the motivation we must have if we are going to have Godly prosperity. When I first began to hear that God wanted to prosper us, it was a revelation to me. Like many others, I had been taught that money was evil and prosperity and Godliness really could not coexist. I heard some messages that revealed the truth concerning the blessing of the covenant of God.

There was much good and necessary in this teaching, but there was a group who go out of balance. For this group, prosperity really became the point. We were encouraged to put up pictures of the kind of car we wanted. We talked about setting income goals. I remember that a big badge of accomplishment was to have a Rolex watch. I do not believe there was anything “heretical” in what they were preaching. I do think they were enthused about a revelation and got out of balance. This happens with almost any revelation.

There is nothing wrong with believing for a better car or house. There is nothing wrong with setting income goals or even owning a Rolex if you want one. The problem arises when this becomes the point of our spirituality. Those things are benefits that God is not against you having, but is that why we should believe for prosperity. I believe there is a better reason to believe for the blessing of God.

In our scripture for today, we read an exhortation from John to the church. It is threefold. First, we should remember that it was the love of God that motivated Jesus to give his life for us. Second, we ought to be motivated by this same love to lay down our lives for the brethren. Third, this love should be in deeds and not just in words. What does that have to do with Godly prosperity? Everything.

In the middle of all this he makes this statement. Nevertheless, whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? When we are talking about prospering in the natural, we are talking about the “world’s goods.” What we do with the world’s goods is an indication of how much the love of is in control of our lives. What is the right motivation for prosperity? It is the love of God.

Let us look at this a little more closely. God’s love for me was the motivation that caused him to give Jesus as a ransom for my life. God so loved he gave. 1 John 4:10 and 17 show us that the love of God toward us should produce that same love in us and through us. If I accept the gift of God’s love in salvation, I must look around at my fellow man and allow that love to flow to him as well. There are really two dimensions in which that love should be manifested.

First, we should want those around us to have the same relationship with the lord as we do. That means the preaching of the gospel. We do not need money to witness personally, but we do need resources to maximize the outreach of the church. We also need to be able to reach other parts of the world with the Gospel. All of these things involve money.

The second aspect of a “love of God” motivation for prosperity is the specific thing mentioned in this verse. How can we say we love if we do nothing to provide for the needs of those around us? However, how can we provide for the needs of those around us if we have no recourses ourselves? The love of God demands that we learn how to walk in divine prosperity so we can become a channel for that prosperity to the earth.

If this becomes our motivation, we will maintain the attitudes that will make prosperity a personal blessing and not a curse. We will become a river flowing instead of dam that hoards the blessing of God for selfish purposes. Along the way, we will have enough for our own need and the needs of our families. We can have nice things or we can give away our nice things to bless others. The things will be incidental to our happiness. Fulfilling the will of God will be the primary thing.

I believe this is particularly important today. Everywhere there is talk of economic difficulties. Certainly, I have emphasized that in this space. I want to say it again. It is God’s plan to demonstrate to the world that He is the only source. He wants to use his people to do that. This has always been his way.

We, as the church, have a tremendous opportunity to preach the gospel in these days. On the one hand, we can demonstrate that there is more to life and happiness then the financial. We can stand before the world with the joy and peace of God in the midst of turmoil. However, we can also stand before the world as a group of people that have access to a source of supply that no one else does. We have the Lord.

The Bible has given us the commission to care for the widows and orphans. We are to take care of the poor and feed the hungry. This is a very real part of the gospel. It is our responsibility to learn how to walk in the principles of divine prosperity so we can fulfill that commission. It is possible. The Word of God says it is. With the proper motivation in place, I believe we can and will do it.

As Your Soul Prospers 3

1 Timothy 6:6-8(NKJV) 6Now godliness with contentment is great gain. 7For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. 9But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

As we continue to study the principles behind God’s economic system, we have been focusing on the necessity of prospering in our soul before we can prosper physically. This involves the same principles that we applied in our study of walking in the spirit. If we are going to prosper in our soul we must renew our mind with the Word of God. However Paul’s 1st letter to Timothy gives us some specific areas in which to renew our minds that relate directly to our attitudes toward wealth and money.

In Verses 6-8 of 1 Timothy 6, we learned that we must cultivate a Godly contentment. This does not mean we should be complacent. It does mean that we must cultivate the awareness that nothing is more important to us than our relationship to the Lord. We must also be thankful for what we do have and not constantly looking at what we do not have. If we food, clothing and shelter, we should be thankful. We should recognize that, if we have these things, we are blessed of God.

If we properly understand what Paul is saying it will not keep us in a position of having just enough to get by. Instead it will free us from much of the pressure we feel financially and it will position us to believe God for more. Faith flows from a grateful heart. It can never function in an unthankful heart. As Christians we need to understand that our real source of financial blessing is God not the world. To access that blessing we must have faith and faith comes from a grateful heart.

I want to close this week by looking at 1 Timothy 6:9-10. Paul gives Timothy some strong warnings about his attitudes towards wealth. In verse 9 he says, “9But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare.” Later on he commands the rich to do certain things, none of which involve becoming poor. I do not believe Paul is condemning being rich. I do believe he is cautioning us against being rich as a primary motivation in life. Whenever money becomes the point of our existence we are headed for trouble. Paul tells us why.

A “get rich” focus makes us vulnerable to the traps and temptations of the devil. If our motivation is money and more money, sooner or later we will compromise in order to get it. We will justify our means by focusing on the ends. We will compromise our integrity or our character. The Kingdom of God will suffer because we will be too busy making money to come to church or participate in its ministries. We might even give money to the church but that is not enough. Look at Paul’s admonition in verse 18.

“18Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share.” Those who have wealth should give, but they should also be involved in good works. Vs 17 uses the term “ready to communicate.” I do not think that means just with their money. I think it means they need to be accessible to people as well. This is difficult to do if our focus is making money.

Paul tells us how those with a “get rich” focus can end up. He tells his son in the faith Timothy that they fall into “many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.” I do not know about you, but for me having a lot of money is not worth that kind of price.

Verse 11 states a principle that we must obey if we are going to walk in soul prosperity and thereby walk in Godly, natural prosperity. The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” Paul does not say “money is the root of all evil.” This verse is often misquoted this way. It does say that the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.

Jesus said in Luke 12:15 that we need to be careful of covetousness. In the King James Version he says we should beware of it. Covetousness and the love of money are the same thing. We must realize that loving money and the things money can give us is our mortal enemy. It will either rob us of the wealth we have or make wealth a curse to us instead of a blessing.

I believe this is a principle. It is something that is always true. It can be true in degrees, but it is always true. You may not give yourself completely over to the love of money, but to the degree that you do, you will reap the results described in verse 11. Love of money releases greed. Greed will cause you to stray from the purity of the very faith we need to prosper. That straying will lead to compromise. In the end compromise will bring you to sorrows.

It is interesting that Paul says these people “pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” The devil did not do it to them. They did it to themselves by giving in to the love of money. I do not want that to be my fate. At the same time I do not want to be poor. I want to have what Paul says we can have in 2 Cor 9:10.

In this verse Paul says God will provide both bread and seed. This speaks of abundance both in my own needs and in the ability to give. If God did not want us to prosper he would not make this promise. I want the prosperity God has for me, but I do not want the consequences of the love of money. What is the solution.

The solution is that our focus must not be money but to bless others and to prosper in our soul. If we keep our hearts pointed in this direction money will find its proper place in our lives. Money is a tool, nothing more nothing less. The rest of Luke 12:15 says this, “one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”

My life is not about money or things. Money and things are tools we use to meet the needs of mankind, including ourselves and our families. It is a tool we use to reach the lost for Christ. It is a tool we use to fulfill the Lord’s admonition to take care of the poor, the widow and the orphan. It is not the focus of our life.

With this attitude we are free to prosper. We can confidently and boldly stand on God’s promises of blessing without fear that we will allow wealth to cause us to stray. We are free to receive “the wealth of the sinner” which is stored up for the righteous. (Prov. 13:22) We can use that wealth as a channel of blessing to mankind. That is what I want and it is what the Lord wants for us.

Make a commitment to soul prosperity. I believe the Lord needs some channels of wealth that he can use to bless the world. You could be one of those channels.

As Your Soul Prospers 2

1 Timothy 6:6-8(NKJV) 6Now godliness with contentment is great gain. 7For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.

This week we have been looking at the issue of divine prosperity. This has been much debated over the last 30 years. On one side have been those who believe that it is not right for Christians to believe God for prosperity. They feel that teaching that God wants his people to prosper compromises spirituality and leads to corruption and wrong living in the church.

On the other hand are those who emphasize prosperity to the point that wealth becomes a major definer of who we are spiritually. They seem to imply that God wants everyone to have millions in the bank. We should be believing for big cars and houses. If we do not have the best of everything we do not have faith. Obviously the truth is somewhere between those two extremes.

The Bible clearly teaches that to focus on wealth is wrong. It also clearly teaches that one of the guarantees of the God’s covenant has always been that he will bless his people by both the meeting their needs and giving them the desires of their hearts. The New Testament perfectly strikes this balance. Philippians 4:19, as well as many other verses, declare that God will meet all of our needs according to his riches in glory. 1 Timothy 6:17 tells us that God gives us all things richly to enjoy. So God does not have any problem with his children being blessed with nice things and enough money.

The balance is taught in scriptures like 3 John 1-2. God wants us to prosper, but he wants us to prosper in our soul first of all. If we put the priority on soul prosperity, which involves spiritual development as well, we are free to prosper physically. This prosperity may take many forms. We will not all be millionaires. Though some can and will have great wealth, we can all have our needs met and live without the pressure of financial lack.

So how do we prosper in the soul. Yesterday we began looking at today’s scripture as a guide to soul prosperity as it relates to physical prosperity. First and foremost we must learn to be content in our relationship with God. Nothing is more important than that. If we find ourselves in a financial struggle it does not mean that God does not love us, is angry with us or that we are, necessarily, in some kind of sin. I am a child of God. Whatever I have or do not have cannot change that. We must be established in this if we want to be free to prosper without that prosperity being a curse instead of a blessing.

The next thing Paul tells Timothy is that he did not bring anything into the world and he cannot take anything out of the world. To some this statement is proof that financial prosperity is not important. Tell that to the millions who have lost their jobs and their homes. Tell that to those who do not have enough to eat. I believe it is very important. Whether we like it or not, money and wealth are necessary both to live and for the extension of the Kingdom of God. So what is the message?

The message is that we need to put these things in their proper perspective. We allow our financial status to define us far too much. What you have or do not have is irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. I am fond of saying that 10000 years from now you will not care what kind of car you drove, what kind of house you lived in or even if you had all your bills paid. You will be very happy, however, that you are born again.

That does not mean that the car the house and the bills are not important. It just means that they are not the most important things in your life. One of the ways to escape the pressure of financial trial is to remember that everything we see will pass away, but that which we cannot see will exist forever. My eternity is secure so I can attack the other problems of life in that assurance.

He then makes another related statement that I believe can do more to produce prosperity than almost any other statement in the Bible. “And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.”

We looked at the word “content” yesterday. It does not mean complacent. He is not saying you should just accept a little food and some clothes and not believe for anything else. He is saying that if our needs are met we should see the victory in that and build from there.

We are so bombarded by advertising for the latest things that it is almost impossible to be content with anything. We always need more. If one is good two is better. Last year’s model is fine, but this year’s has so much more technology that we just have to get it. No matter what we have we are not content. Even when our needs are fully met we do not feel blessed unless we have something more.

I do not believe God minds that we have the latest and greatest thing out there. I think he minds when he has met our needs and we do not appreciate that. I think it is dangerous when we become so focused on what we desire that we feel badly because we only have food, clothing and a roof over our heads. If you have those things, thank God. See the victory in that. From there you can build to greater things.

One of the tests of Godly prosperity as opposed to prosperity that is a problem is giving. If you cannot give what you have away then you have to ask this question. Do you have the thing or the money, or does the thing or the money have you? As long as you possess the wealth, you will have no problem giving it away.

God wants to bless you. God does not want you to struggle to pay the bills. As a Father God wants you to have what you need and even things that you desire. But God is the model Father. As such he is more concerned about you, your character and your destiny than he is about your stuff.

Do not listen to the voice of the world that tells you what you “need” to be blessed. Look at what the Lord has done for you. Do you have clothes on your back? Have you had a good meal today? Do you have a roof over your head? Maybe they are not the best clothes but they are clean. Maybe you had hamburger and not steak. Maybe you are struggling to keep the roof, but you have it now. Thank God for those things and be content.

From this place you can move on to more and better things and they will only enrich your spiritual life. You will be a giver that will make your Father proud. You can believe God for nicer things but you will also be ready to give those things and to use what God places in your hands as a channel for blessing and to lead others to the Lord. Look at Paul’s admonition to those who do have the goods of the world. Soul prosperity will lead you be this kind of person. It will also free you to be happy and joyful along the way.

1 Timothy 6:17-19(NKJV) 17Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. 18Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, 19storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.

As Your Soul Prospers

1 Timothy 6:6-10(NKJV) 6Now godliness with contentment is great gain. 7For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. 9But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

Yesterday we came to some conclusion from 3 John verses 1 and 2. The apostle John, now an old man, speaking to a beloved son in the faith desires that he prosper in all things and be in health. Since this is the Bible we can conclude that the Holy Spirit agrees with John. Since God is no respecter of persons, we can conclude that the Lord wants us to prosper and be in health as well. It is the will of God for believers to prosper.

We also learn that there is a condition to our prosperity. It must be “as our soul prospers.” Prosperity that does not flow from a prosperous soul will bring ruin and not blessing. In our study of walking in the spirit, we looked extensively at the soul. The things we studied then would apply to what we are talking about now. The process of renewing the mind will lead to prosperity of the soul. Remember this verse from the book of Joshua?

Joshua 1:8(NKJV) 8This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

Meditation in the word leads to the renewing of the mind and renewing of the mind leads to prosperity of the soul. We see here that prosperity of the soul is directly connected to physical prosperity and success. You cannot have one without the other.

Another theme running through everything I am teaching this year involves the days we live in. They are trying times. I believe that sin in the world has brought things to a head in our day. The world cannot continue in the direction it has been going and God is about to change that direction. The conditions we see are a result of the process. Possibly the most pressing area facing everyone today is the economy.

It is impossible to watch a news broadcast with time being spent on the worldwide economic crisis. The whole world is looking for a solution because the whole world is at risk. In this environment of fear people are increasingly aware that the problems we face have no easy solutions. It is becoming increasingly suspect that there are any solutions at all. The world wants to know what can be done.

I would like to submit that there is really only one solution. We need the Lord. In this day the church has the opportunity to rise up as an answer to the most pressing question of our day. The Bible reveals that there is another economic system that can be accessed which is not affected by the world’s economy. That system operates by different rules than the world economy. It is the economic system of the Kingdom of God.

This system works on the basis of giving and receiving not getting or controling. The engine that runs it is the love of God not greed. It is not regulated by governments at all. It is regulated by the Word of God. The economic reserves are defined, not by treasuries on earth but by “His riches in glory.” (Phil. 4:19)

This economy is healthy and strong. There are no downturns. The return rate of investment in the economy of the Kingdom of God is one hundredfold. That means every investment will return one hundred times what you put in. Anyone who learns how to effectively operate in this economy will never lack for any good thing. This economy does not produce have not’s, there are only haves.

The only viable answer to the economic woes of our world is the economy of the Kingdom of God, and only the church of Jesus Christ is qualified to access it. This is a tremendous opportunity for us. We have the answer the world is looking for. The only question is, do we know how to access this economy ourselves? If we learn how, I believe the world will come to us for answers.

This brings us back to soul prosperity. If we do not learn how to prosper in our soul we cannot access the economy of the Kingdom of God. If we cannot access it for our own needs we will not be able to access it to meet the needs of others. We must learn to prosper for many reasons. God wants to bless us as his children certainly, but we also need to learn these lessons for our community. We hold the only key to financial rescue for them as well.

Today’s scripture begins to define prosperity of the soul as it relates to financial prosperity. In the verses prior to this section, Paul is warning Timothy about those who think “gain is Godliness.” In Paul’s day, as in ours, there were those who taught that salvation was the route to gaining wealth. Their focus had become distorted so that the prosperity guaranteed by the covenant of Abraham became the goal of their spirituality and not just one of the benefits. Paul tells Timothy to flee from these people.

The first thing Paul tells Timothy he must cultivate in order to keep his life in balance is “godliness with contentment.” I believe we cannot successfully access the economy of the Kingdom of God without developing this kind of contentment.

What does Paul mean by this. First let me say what he does not mean. He is not talking about complacency. It is not godly contentment to say, “That’s just the way it is. There is nothing I can do about it.” There most certainly is something we can do about our financial situation. We can become active in the financial principles of the Kingdom. We can actively believe God for our needs met according to his Word. We can resist the devil and the spirit of poverty until we see financial breakthrough.

What does “godliness with contentment” mean? We will look at this in more detail tomorrow, but right now let me put it to you this way. If I am going to access the financial system of the Kingdom of God, I must first be content in the knowledge that I will never possess anything greater than my relationship with the Lord. I am a child of God. Everything else is secondary. If I can remember that, I will be on my way to soul prosperity and with it access to the financial realm governed by the Kingdom of God.

From Slavery to Prosperity

Deuteronomy 8:5-9(NKJV) 5You should know in your heart that as a man chastens his son, so the Lord your God chastens you. 6“Therefore you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to fear Him. 7For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, that flow out of valleys and hills; 8a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey; 9a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing; a land whose stones are iron and out of whose hills you can dig copper.

This year we have been looking closely at the journey Israel took from Egypt to the Land promised to them by God in Canaan. I believe that this period in Israel’s history is similar to the days in which we live. It was a time of great change and a time of great destiny.

The Church of Jesus Christ is the only answer for the problems in the world today. In the Exodus period of Israel’s history, they were the focus of a move of God that would change the world and ultimately change history. They were playing a part in the drama that is the unfolding plan of God for His man. We are in a similar situation. God is moving and it is the church that is in the center of what he is doing today. The world, the media and politicians do not understand this, but we must.

As we have studied this period, we have come to understand that God maneuvered Israel into what looked like an impossible situation because he was going to bring final judgment against Egypt. In the end it was not Israel that was destroyed by Egypt and God was glorified. We have looked at the fact that God did not deliver Israel for the wilderness but for a destiny in Canaan. They had to be in Canaan so that the Messiah could be born in just the right place at just the right time.

The last thing we looked at was the need for Israel to be led by the Spirit in order to follow God’s path to the land of promise. For us, this means we need to learn to walk in the spirit, with our inner man in control of our actions, emotions and decisions, if we are to find God’s path for our own destiny.

Today I want to look at another aspect of the land to which God was taking Israel. We can see from today’s scripture that it was not a barren land. It was a very prosperous place. I believe that the destination God has for his church is also a prosperous place.

For some the teaching that the church can prosper has become a very sore topic. They will argue that the church cannot focus on things and money and stay spiritual. To that statement I would say, “I heartily agree!” I believe there are some who take a message about prosperity to a place of imbalance. That does not mean God wants us poor. The key is to find the balance between spirituality and the blessing of God that is taught throughout the Bible.

The promises are very specific to Israel. They are going to a very blessed place. However, so are the warnings.

Deuteronomy 8:11(NKJV) 11“Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today,

Godly prosperity comes with a tremendous amount of accountability. If we are going to prosper we must have the right attitudes or it will be a curse to us. The answer is not to stay poor. The answer is to develop the attitudes that will enable us to prosper so that it will be a blessing not a curse. Look at these two verses in proverbs.

Proverbs 1:32(KJV) 32For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.

Proverbs 10:22(KJV) 22The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.

The contrast between these verses is evident. There is a prosperity that ruins and there is a blessing of God that brings prosperity without sorrow. What should we do? We should make sure we are not fools! That is what we will study the rest of this week.

Let me take a few more moments today to look at the difference between the wilderness and Canaan in the life of Israel. In the wilderness Israel had to believe God every day for what it took to survive. This had a purpose in their experience with God. They learned to trust him. They were Growing in faith and maturity and God was taking care of them while they grew. That is what any good Father would do.

However, we see that when they entered Canaan the manna stopped. That type of provision came to an end. Why? Because it was time for them to grow up. God had something better for them. He had a land of destiny that would become their provision. In the wilderness God took care of them but they were not productive. Canaan was a place where God was going to work with them in order that they be productive. I believe that is where God wants us to go.

Many people think that the highest faith is “wilderness” faith. If we have to believe God every day and we see miracles of provision every day, this must be the most spiritual place we could be in. However God’s dealing with Israel does not support this idea. The point of Israel’s deliverance was not the wilderness. The wilderness had a purpose, but that purpose was to bring them to Canaan. The higher lifestyle must be Canaan not the wilderness.

Canaan was a place of productivity. God wants to bless us through our productivity. He will certainly take care of us like any good Father, but also like any good Father, he wants us to grow into productive adults. When we are children and all of our faith is used to survive, we cannot help in the “family business.” What is that business? The salvation of mankind. If I am productive I not only have my needs met but I can help meet the needs of others.

The balance we need to find is in Deuteronomy 8.

Deuteronomy 8:18(NKJV) 18“And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.

When we are living from miracle to miracle it is hard to forget that it is the Lord that is our provision. However, when we are living in a land that is productive and we are blessed with some income and some nice things, can we still remember that it all comes from the Lord? Can we still remember that it all belongs to the Lord? Most important, can we still remember that the Lord is the most precious “possession” we have? If we can than, we will prosper and the blessing will not add sorrow to our lives.

If we cannot remember those things and walk in them, prosperity will destroy us.