TRUE RICHES OF THE KINGDOM
This is a Bible Study outline prepared by the author and shared in one of our recent meetings. A lot has been said on prosperity and there are many divergent views. However, the Bible is very clear on what prosperity is and what it is not. As I was praying and meditating on the Word of God, I got the following points which I now share with you in questions and answers format.
2 Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth [3 John v2].
1. What is the meaning of prosperity? True prosperity is a blessing from God. God owns all the resources in heaven and on earth. He wants us to prosper in our body, soul and spirit. However, His love transcends what we have, owe or own. God prospers us so we can be of better service to Him.
2 Cor. 9:8
8And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:
2. Is it a sin to be prosperous? Prosperity in itself is not a sin. It is the means people used to achieve it that is a sin. Examples are hoarding, stealing, deception, etc.
11 Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase [Prov. 13:11]
3. What should believers do to prosper? Believers are encouraged to be hardworking, share with others what God has blessed them with, aspire to provide unique services in their vocation and pursue entrepreneurship as God gives you the ability.
4. Does the Bible encourage believers to be wealthy? How can we avoid being deceived? Believers are encouraged to seek the welfare of their soul first. That is the primary goal, having peace with your Maker. We are told not to take advantage of others in other to gain materially [1 Tim 6:17-19]. We are warned to avoid people who go about to deceive others [1 Tim 6:5, 9-11].
5. What is the balanced approach to prosperity? The balanced approach is to seek to live for Christ, glorify Him with all He has given to you but know you are mortal. Prosperity is not all about having a fat bank account which ends anyway when the person breathes his last breath. God is the one who adds His material blessings to you and me therefore it is wrong to hold Him to “ransom” with what He is freely willing to give to us [Matt. 6:19-34; 1 Cor. 4:7].
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you [Matthew 6:33].
6. Was Jesus Christ really poor or rich? Jesus is the King of kings so He is rich. All the Kings of the earth are subject to Him. He is the Word Incarnate that created Heaven and earth. However, He became poor to save us from our sins [Psalm 2; Heb 1:1, John 1:1, Rev. 19:11-17]
For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich [2 Cor. 8:9].
7. Does wealth hinder someone from serving God better and is poverty a blessing? Wealth does not hinder someone from serving God better. However, it can be a big distraction if you remove your focus from the Giver Himself. Examples of Bible Characters who were wealthy are Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, Solomon, Hezekiah, etc. Examples of wealthy people who became distracted by their wealth were Lot and the rich young ruler [Gen.13:1-13, chapter 19; Matt 19:16-26]. Examples of rich people who refused to serve God with their wealth or be generous to others were the rich fool, Nabal, the rich man in Jesus’ parable and Ananias and Sapphira [1 Sam. 25, Luke 12:16-21; Acts 5]. There were also those who were poor but devoted their lives to God some by being taught the principle of faith like the widow of Zarephath [1 Kings 17:1-16]. God judges everyone according to the state of his or her heart. How should you handle wealth if you find yourself blessed with an abundance of it? Handle it the way the Scriptures say in Tim 6:17-19 and Matt. 6:19-34. Do not allow the cares and deceitfulness of riches to choke the Word of God in your heart. Give no place to the devil to allow the god of “mammon” to be your master and lord.
The Bible states we should be content with what we have:
6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out [1 Tim 6:6-7].
8. What was the approach of the Apostles to prosperity? The apostles were chosen for a specific mission and they each achieved his calling. None of them taught that poverty was a blessing. Neither did they teach greediness. The early church was one where people were encouraged to give according to the measure God had blessed them. Some brought everything to the Apostle’s feet, others did not and suffered the consequences [Acts 4:32-37; Acts 5]. Jesus taught his disciples to be fed by those whom the gospel is preached to [Luke 10:7]. In doing this both the giver and receiver learn to trust God to meet their needs, a lesson taught by Elijah to the widow of Zarephath [1 Kings 17; 2 Chron. 20:15-30, v20]
9. What are the conditions we must satisfy to truly say you are prospering? We are required to fear God, obey His word and serve Him in Love [Deut. 28:1-10].
10. What do we teach our children about prosperity? We should teach our children the fear of God and that they should grow in his wisdom [Prov. 4:1-11]
11. What investments should believers invest in to prosper? Christians should learn how to sow like the farmer. There are many opportunities out there to prosper. However, do not sow into a bag with holes. Prayerfully seek what to invest in. Seek counsel from those who know about wise investments and from your leaders.
12. How do we sow into the work of God? By looking at areas of need in your local assembly, mission field, blessing the Pastors and ministers as the Lord leads you, etc.
13. Tithing? Learn and continue the principle of tithing Principles and accountability to God. Serve God with what you have. What He has given to you is able to sustain you. Proverbs 3:5-10.
10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it [Mal. 3:10].
14. What is the role of wisdom in Prosperity. Godly wisdom is very important. The wiser we are the more God wants to bless us. He will only entrust true riches to those who would be accountable to Him.
If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? [Luke 16:11]
CONCLUSION I hope the study has been a blessing to you with better understanding of what true prosperity is. In conclusion, pursue the things of the Kingdom first. The Lord has promised to add all other things to you. Know that it is God’s utmost priority to bless you as emphasized in 3 John v2, 2 Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. Also know that there are diverse kinds of prosperity from God. At the time the Apostle John wrote this verse in this personal letter to a saint called Gaius, John was in his eighties or perhaps nineties. As he personalized the letter, so God personalizes His prosperity to you and me. He knows what to do and when to do the addition as you diligently serve Him. If you already are already enjoying His grace in this area of life, continue to serve Him and give Him the glory in reverence and awe. Only then will you continue to enjoy His true riches.
1 Cor. 4:7 says: 7 For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?