Saturday, September 30, 2017

Preparing for Prosperity

 We look at the prerequisites to healthy prosperity and what it takes to be content.

  • Review of The Results of Favor
  • What is Prosperity?
  • The Wilderness
  • Can You be Trusted With Riches?
  • Coveting
    • Contentment

  • Psalms 106:3-5
  • Genesis 39:23
  • Deuteronomy 8:16-18
  • Luke 16:10-13
  • Deuteronomy 5:21
  • Luke 12:15
  • Ephesians 5:5
  • Hebrews 13:5
  • Philippians 4:11-13

Psalms 106:3-5
How blessed are those who keep justice, Who practice righteousness at all times!
4 Remember me, O LORD, in Your favor toward Your people; Visit me with Your salvation,
5 That I may see the prosperity of Your chosen ones, That I may rejoice in the gladness of Your nation, That I may glory with Your inheritance.
  • This verse speaks of the righteous being blessed
  • It speaks of God’s Favor towards His people
  • It speaks of the prosperity of God’s chosen ones

What we learned in the series on Favor.
  1. God’s favor brings blessings into your life
  2. God favors some people more than others
  3. There are things you can do to increase your favor
  4. God’s favor is available to everyone
Favor doesn’t necessarily mean that God is honoring the person’s lifestyle.
  • It means that He is honoring His word.

Review of The Results of Favor

When you have the Favor of God you have:

1.    Preferential Treatment From God
  • When a person is chosen by God for the position that other men don't see him as qualified for.
  • David was chosen over his older brothers
2.    Protection
3.    God is with you
  • Psalms 23:4
    • Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
    • I fear no evil, for You are with me;
4.    God fights your battles
  • When God is with you, nothing is impossible
5.    A Personal Relationship With God
  • God spoke clearly to Moses and not in riddles
  • Answered prayer
6.    Influencing God
  • Moses convinced God not to kill the Israelites after they worshipped the golden calf
7.    Others Notice Your Favor
  • Potiphar, the jailer and Pharaoh noticed the Presence of God on Joseph
8.    Favor from Others
  • Some may treat you well because they see the favor on you
  • They may do it in hopes of being favored themselves
9.  Jealousy / Envy
  • Favor and prosperity can increase the insecurities of those around you
  • It can make others focus on what they don’t have
10.    Prosperity

What is Prosperity?

Joseph’s Prosperity

Genesis 39:23
23 The chief jailer did not supervise anything under Joseph's charge because the LORD was with him; and whatever he did, the LORD made to prosper.
  • Notice that God made whatever “Joseph did” prosper
  • God didn't tell him what to do
    • God prospered whatever Joseph did

Being prosperous doesn't always mean obtaining wealth.
  • Being prosperous means that whatever you try to do will result in success.
  • It means you will bear fruit
  • A prosperous missionary will have many converts
    • But they won’t necessarily become wealthy doing it

It means whatever you set your hands to will prosper.

Wikipedia Definition

Prosperity is the state of flourishing, thriving, good fortune or successful social status.  Prosperity often encompasses wealth but also includes other factors which can be independent of wealth to varying degrees, such as happiness and health.

Prosperity Disclaimer

Prosperity is a very touchy subject because the concept has been abused in Christian teaching
  • Many preachers tickle the congregations ear with what they want to hear
  • They interpret the bible in a way that implies that God wants to fulfil your carnal desires
    • They teach that God wants everyone to be wealthy
    • They teach that any carnal desire you have in your heart is from God
    • Or even that God has already made you wealthy
      • You just have to claim it or activate it

The gospel doesn't promise you your carnal desires
  • It wants to regenerate you to desire spiritual things

There are indeed biblical principles and promises that will lead to material blessings
  • But those are not supposed to be our focus
  • In the body, we don’t need to teach people to focus on things of the world
    • They already do that
We shouldn’t focus on the gifts instead of the giver
  • Our relationship with God should be based on what you can get out of it

We do though want to understand the nature, character and promises of God
  • We do want to discuss the whole counsel of God’s word
  • We can’t avoid a topic because it has been misused
  • We should study it to get a proper understanding of it

Prosperity isn't proof that you're in alignment with God
  • But neither is poverty

The Wilderness

We saw that the wilderness is one method of preparation that God uses.

Deuteronomy 8:16-18
16“In the wilderness He fed you manna which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do good for you in the end.
  • The goal of the wilderness was to humble the Israelites
  • It was for their benefit
17“Otherwise, you may say in your heart, ‘My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth.’
  • God had to put them in a position where they would understand that they didn’t sustain themselves on their own
  • So they wouldn't take credit for the wealth
18“But you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.
  • God put them in a position where They had to depend on Him

We get trained in seasons of lack
  • We learn to trust God in the wilderness
  • We need to see miracles of God so we will give God the credit

We get trained in the pit/prison/wilderness
  • You need to learn the lesson God intended to teach us in the pit/prison
  • We need to learn to give God the credit

We can learn trust by doing without
  • Surviving on daily manna grooms our heart
  • He's grooming our heart to build our character
  • Once you've developed faith and humility you don't need to stay poor

Example: I had to be laid off 3 times to learn that my job wasn’t my source
  • The last time God told me to stop looking for work
  • I had to completely trust Him

Golden Calf

God blessed the Israelites with wealth when they left Egypt
  • He gave them favor in the eyes of the Egyptians
  • They used the wealth to build a golden calf
  • The blessings God give you have the ability to change the face of history or become a golden calf

Immaturity will turn a blessing into a golden calf

If it comes from my labor I will take the credit for it
  • If I believe it came from God I will give Him credit for it
  • It will strengthen my faith

Path to the Promised Land

All the miracles in the wilderness were to sustain them
  • The training for the promised land was going without
  • The wilderness wasn't the destination
    • It's just the training ground

When we can trust God in the pit and the prison and the wilderness then we’re ready for the palace
  • The wilderness is not our destination

The miracles in the wilderness were to sustain
  • The miracles in the promised land were to advance

Once you graduate from the wilderness God can perform miracles that prosper you

Not Every Problem is a Test

I’m not saying that every problem you have is due to God preparing you.  
We covered this in the lesson Trials That Build Faith.
But this is a common method that God uses.

We saw training in the wilderness with:
  • David
  • Children of Israel
  • Joseph (pit / prison)
  • Jesus

Whoever Can Be Trusted With Little

Luke 16:10-13
10“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?
13“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money [mammon].”

mammōnás – a Semitic term for "the treasure a person trusts in"

Properly using worldly wealth is tied to true riches

Does God get the glory for what you have now?
  • If not why would He give you more?

If I don't know how to handle something that belongs to someone else how can I be trusted with something of my own
  • My neighbor’s wife is not mine
  • The tithe is not mine
  • My life is not my own

Stewarding what belongs to someone else equips you to handle what is yours
  • Properly stewarding what you have qualifies you to receive more.

Are we using what we have to glorify God or to satisfy yourself?


Which of these is an example of greed?
  1. Someone who spends every penny they earn and treasures the material possessions they own.
  2. Someone who doesn't spend any money and treasures the money they have in the bank.

Deuteronomy 5:21
'You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, and you shall not desire your neighbor's house, his field or his male servant or his female servant, his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.'
  • We usually regard this as the adultery verse
    • Thou shalt not covet your neighbor's wife
  • If we look at it; it’s really the coveting verse
  • We don’t often think of coveting as a sin
  • But this is one of the 10 commandments
    • Right alongside murder and adultery, we see coveting
    • It’s in the same command as adultery and given the equal weight
  • You could even argue that the verse isn't about adultery at all
    • It's only about coveting
    • Exodus 20:17
Coveting is to have an ungodly desire for something that's not ours.  
  • Coveting is to be fixated on that which you lack
What do you daydream about?
  • What do you talk about?
  • What do you wish for when you blow out your birthday candles?

Luke 12:15
And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness [pleoneksía], for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”   
pleoneksía – properly, the desire for more (things), i.e. lusting for a greater number of temporal things that go beyond what God determines is eternally best (beyond His preferred-will, cf. 2307 /thélēma); covetousness (coveting).
You don't have to obtain the object in order to covet it
  • Someone with a $5 million dollar house doesn't necessarily covet more than someone living in one room of an apartment
  • The person in the apartment may have a picture of the $5 million house on his refrigerator
Example: lady in million dollar house 
  • House is too big for one person
  • What she valued was no longer in the house

Is Coveting a Big Sin?

Ephesians 5:5
5 For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
  • This is usually taught as the sexual immorality verse
  • Covetousness listed along with sexual immorality
  • No covetous man has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God
  • Thank God we are washed by the blood
Most of the things we covet are good things
  • It's the coveting that's bad
  • It’s the coveting that is a sin
It's not what you covet
The danger with coveting is that we lose Christ as our greatest treasure
  • Jesus should be on your refrigerator


Coveting is when you have something that fulfills your need but you want nicer or bigger or better or newer
  • I got to get a new iPhone because it's new

It’s being discontent with what you have
  • Discontentment breeds impatience

We compare ourselves with people who have more than us
  • Because we always think we deserve more than what we have
  • We don't compare ourselves with people who have less
We judge people who have the things that we don't have
  • Dissatisfaction in your heart causes you to judge someone else


The question is how much is enough?

Is “enough” the same for everyone?

Hebrews 13:5
5Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,”
  • What is “the love of money”?
    • Is it saving or spending?

Example: me saving
Philippians 4:11-13
11 Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.
12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.
13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
  • Paul said he can do all things through Christ
  • This verse is often taken out of context
    • Paul was referring to being content
    • It didn’t mean God will help you achieve your goals
    • It meant He will help you be satisfied with your current condition

Being content doesn’t mean that you don’t strive to get out of a position of lack
  • It doesn’t mean stay unemployed
  • It doesn’t mean that you don’t pursue your basic needs or to live in a safe environment
  • It doesn’t even mean you can’t set goals or strive for better
  • It means that you have a concept of enough

Being content means not focusing on what you don’t have
  • But being thankful for what you do have

How much is enough?

Example: US News and Worlds survey
  • People making under $25K said $54K would make them content
  • People making $100K said $192k
  • Everybody wants twice as much as they have

Example: Billionaire John D Rockefeller when asked how much money does it take to make a person happy?
  • “Just a little bit more”

Are you buying things you can't afford?
Do you buy things to impress others?
  • “Buying things you can’t afford to impress people you don’t like!”

Example: my cars
  • All the same shape
  • Got used to the compliments or respect of a luxury car
How much is too much?
  • Whatever replaces your trust in Christ
  • The amount that will make you lose your thankfulness and turn into entitlement
  • The amount that makes you prideful


Some think the path to contentment having more
  • We think we wouldn't covet if we had more
    • God If you give me that car/house/job/spouse/child/blouse then I’d be content

Some think the path is having less
  • Some think minimalist living is the key
  • The monastic movement was to seclude themselves and only:
    • work, eat, sleep, pray.
  • Living meagerly doesn’t keep you from wanting more
  • Example: meatballs
  • It's not found in discipline.  
  • It's not found in trying harder.

Money won't bring you contentment and poverty can't provide it either
We often find our identity and our self worth from our status or from material things
  • Jesus is the only one in whom you can find your own identity
Coveting comes from being dissatisfied with Jesus
  • You will be content if you are satisfied with Jesus
The more of Heaven that's in us the less the world will satisfy us

When we’re separated from God the blessings will make us prideful and push us further from God
  • When God is in your presence you won't misuse the blessings He gives you
  • When we're face to face with God His blessings will draw us closer to Him

If you view your blessing as a gift from God it will draw you closer to Him
  • It will draw those who see Him blessing you to Him as well

Prosperity and riches don’t have to turn you from God

You have to be truly thankful to God for every penny
  • for every new convert
  • For every step that child takes
  • For every piece of property
  • For every compliment

We have to focus on the fact that we don’t deserve it
  • Without feeling guilty because God decided to bless us with it

We have to prepare ourselves

Because after all is it better to be rich or to be happy with what you have?

Presenter: Michael Leadon 


Prosperity with a Purpose- The Blessing Mandate

Prosperity with a Purpose- Prosperity Done Right

Prosperity with a Purpose- True Riches

Prosperity with a Purpose- True Riches 2 (to watch)

Get Over Yourself: Contentment Over Greed

Extra Scriptures


Colossians 3:5
5 Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which mounts to idolatry.   

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