God requires faith. This is the most important element of the Christian Gospel, outside of the work of Christ on the cross. The idea of faith however, has been perverted in the modern American church. The emphasis in many of today's faith ministries is unfortunately based on nothing more than self gratification, grounded in financial and material gain. (And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not -2 Peter 2:3). Many of today's faith ministries are doing much good, in that they do teach certain principles that can be applied to many of life's problems. Christianity is not however, a way to get rich quick. The popular ministries of today are moving in a direction that the scriptures emphatically warn against. The bible teaches us to be content with what we have (1 Tim. 6:8). If we have food, shelter, clothing and the basics, we are commanded to be content. Throughout the world Christians are being persecuted severely for their faith, many of the believers are very poor, by worldly standards. Yet their faith in the face of persecution is a time and God-honored testimony to the Gospel. The faith preachers of today carefully ignore the material destitution of these Christians relative to the American Churches and preach contrary to the testimony of scriptures. In many of the pulpits of America, offerings are not taken up in support of these persecuted believers, but in support of millionaire ministries preaching a 'gospel' based on materialism and frankly, greed. This is not good. In fact it is a sure sign of a spiritually fatal sickness in these congregations, that being a love of wealth over the love of the brethren. A love of material gain over the love of God's commandments. Many of these faith preachers strongly imply (if not openly teach) that God wants us all to be rich. They will site examples of the riches of Job, Abraham, and many other Biblical personages to show God wants (some imply demand) that God's people are to be rich. (For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are. -1 Corinthians 1:26).
God will provide for our needs according to the riches of Christ (Phil 4:19). The Scripture does not teach us that we will have all of our lusts satisfied but that our needs will be met. Yet today's faith preachers are often teaching that wealth is a sign of how much faith one has. The imply (though do not clearly state) that if you are poor or are having financial difficulty it is because you do not have enough faith. This is simply not a doctrine that comes from God and is a departure from the faith that Jesus warned us about. It is not wise to remain silent when these types of teachings are spreading like a flu virus through the churches. Because faith is an important component of the Christian faith, we must understand what it is and what it is not. It is not a way to get what we want. It is not a Christian method of the new age teaching of 'visualization', which is witchcraft. Faith is the way to unleash the blessings that God has for us. It is God that chooses what blessings to bring and when to bring them. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). God will act on our behalf based on our faith. He is not our celestial butler and slave. Yet the direction some of the more popular ministries are going.
We must have faith in God, specifically, in Christ Jesus and his work on the Cross. We must have faith in his promises. Making up new promises for God to keep in order to fulfill our fleshly desires in the surest way to error. Care must be taken to understand what specifically God has promised his people and what he wants us to do in order to obtain those promises. We must not let pastor 'money bags' put words in God's mouth. We must be content with what God has given us, and accept whatever trials God sends our way as a source of strength and an opportunity to demonstrate our faith and faithfulness in him.
Finally, Christians must be very wary of these new faith doctrines that constantly harp on money, wealth and prosperity. These are wonderful blessings but material wealth is not promised to us in this life, no matter how many times these 'prophets of profit' say it is. Go back to the word and find out what Christ and his apostles emphasized, and you will see it is an entirely different message that the emissaries of the Almighty (dollar) are emphasizing in many of the Apostate American pulpits.
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