Posts

4 Prayers on Book Launch Day

Today is the day!

God, Greed, and the (Prosperity) Gospel has now officially released and is available on Amazon, Christianbook.com, Barnes & Noble, Target, LifeWay, and other retailers. It has several options depending on your preference including audio, Kindle, and a Spanish version.

By God’s grace, the book debuted on Amazon as the #1 New Release in Religious Biography here in the United States, and a #1 Bestseller in Canada as well.  My prayer is that project will reach far and wide for the glory of God and the message of the true gospel.

If the book has been a blessing to you, please offer a review on Amazon so potential readers can benefit from your encouragement.

As various news organizations begin to publish articles and select parts of the book to use for salacious reports on past exploits of my uncle and others, here are some ways we can be praying and maintaining perspective as believers with a more gospel-centered goal:

Pray that the book rescues people who are in bondage to false teachers

Until someone gets saved, the project is not a success. It doesn’t matter how many books sell, what best-seller ranking it achieves, or how excited the already-saved get. We must pray for a harvest of souls.

Pray that the book is used by God to undermine the abusive ministries of prosperity charlatans

Far too many teachers keep people in bondage with their offers of false hope and fear tactics.  Aside from saving souls, there would be no greater success for this book than to be used to blow a hole in the greedy empires of false teachers; causing them to hit rock bottom and turn to Christ in repentance.

Pray that the book triggers seeker-driven churches to assess their “prosperity-lite” approach

The prosperity gospel creeps its way into many churches — not just the outlandish ones. Many seeker-driven churches preach an easy message every week designed to keep people happy and coming back. These churches and their pastors don’t tell people what they need to hear, they tell them what they want to hear. They market a “lite” version of the prosperity gospel full of comfort and ease; avoiding topics like suffering and sin. They may not drive Bentley’s or twist Scripture, but avoidance of hard truths in order to cater to the audience is dangerous territory to be in. This is the American Gospel.

Pray that the book equips Christians to boldly live for the gospel

When it comes to topics like the sovereignty of God, healing, money, and evangelism, many Christians are not well-equipped. Even more concerning, many Christians cannot articulate the gospel! Pray that the book equips believers in these areas and that many will utilize the “recommended resources” section to grow in godly wisdom. May boldness abound in the lives of those who know the truth!

Thank you for praying and supporting this project. I trust God will use it as He sees fit.

What to Expect from My “Prosperity Gospel” Book

This July Zondervan will release my next book entitled, God, Greed, and the (Prosperity) Gospel: How Truth Overwhelms a Life Built on Lies.  One of the great joys throughout this project has been the repeated effort by the team at “Z” in focusing on getting the gospel to people who need it. Especially encouraging is the joint goal of everyone involved to give more than we take.

While publishing a book costs money and there is compensatory work involved on both the writing and marketing side, there is a collective conviction that our mandate to honor Christ through this book must transcend any pressure to “sell books.” I am eager to see this book used as a tool for God’s glory — not for sordid gain. Here is a sobering thought: In a rat-race effort to sell books, it’s easy to become the very dragon that we’re attempting to slay.

With plans taking shape for the next 6 months, I wanted to share some personal thoughts about the marketing plan and be transparent about how I’m going to approach things when it comes to money and royalties. Here is what you can expect from a book that seeks to charge the prosperity gospel with the grit of a bull while displaying the grace becoming of servants of Christ.

A prosperity gospel book should give more than it takes. Get ready for big giveaways.

For this project, the plan is to invest back into the people who are buying the book in some big ways. In just the first month since pre-orders began, 100 books were donated to The Central Africa Baptist College and Seminary to support pastors who are training for ministry. Africa is one of the most plagued countries in the world when it comes to prosperity theology. Plans are in place to give away thousands of dollars in books in resources to those who pre-order in the coming months as well as pastors around the world. During February, every pre-order will be entered to win the entire set of MacArthur New Testament Commentaries (34 Volumes). All subsequent months will have brand new book bundles for people to win. Then, during the 9 days of the release month (July), we’ll give away another MacArthur set to someone who pre-ordered!

This book is likely to upheave people’s bad theology. We need to help them recover long-term.

Books like this one can come off like a tornado. The clouds move in, the rain and hail pour out, the thunder roars, lightning cracks, and then all that seems to be left is upheaval. Instead of leaving a wake of destruction, this book is designed to help people with the theological rebuilding process. After the initial wrecking ball tears down exploitive and abusive theology, there will be a hopeful and upward trajectory. There will be plenty of resources continually offered on social media and at www.forthegospel.org. In addition, I was part of launching Reformanda, a teaching ministry, with six other faithful men and there is plenty of resources for people there as well. Finally, the book contains numerous recommended resources for those who will need an ongoing roadmap. The goal of this book is to destroy “speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God” (2 Corinthians 10:5) and shed the light of truth into dark places.

Royalties aren’t for my big house. They’ll be used to build God’s kingdom.

Imagine the irony of me writing a book on the prosperity gospel only to make a ton of money off of royalties so I can live like a king. That’s not only shameful considering my background; that’s hardly what God’s purposes are in blessing a project like this. In an effort to operate with transparency and integrity, allow me to state the obvious: A book speaking against the prosperity gospel technically makes money “off of” the prosperity gospel. As such, it is the conviction of both my wife and me that royalties* from this book be used for theological education and providing resources to pastors and people who have been exploited by the prosperity gospel. Prayerfully, God will use this project as one that gives more than it ever takes. May it be blessed to be a blessing.

As the next few months unfold, you can both support this project and benefit from it in three simple ways:

  1. Scroll down and subscribe to this blog for content directly to your inbox
  2. Pre-order the book and email your order confirmation to contact@forthegospel.org to be entered into drawings for theological resources. *Must be subscribed to the blog
  3. Pray that God uses this book to rescue people being exploited by prosperity theology.

Soli Deo Gloria

*Due to legalities associated with royalties, taxes, and fees, I cannot say “100% of royalities” in this statement.

A High View of God’s Glory

The fullness of the Christian life and all that it entails can never be experienced without the jaw-dropping moment in which God’s glory becomes everything to a believer. If you’ve not had such a moment, much is in store for you to experience. It is the most humbling moment of your existence to find that so little is actually about you and that your purpose is found in living for His glory. Many Christians have some idea of God but the concept of His glory eludes them as they live day after day caught somewhere between a love for God and a self-centered belief that their life belongs to them.

People ask time and time again, “What exactly is God’s glory? What does it mean that my life’s purpose is for His glory?” The truth is, God’s glory is so vast that no single chapter, no single book, and no grandest canyon could ever contain all that He is. But there, in the impossible vastness of who God is we find a definition of God’s glory: It is every aspect and attribute of God.

He is from everlasting to everlasting. Where the best of humanity ends, God has barely begun. While we as humans are prone to believing how necessary we are, God is, in fact, no better with us and no worse off without us. He is the crown jewel of His own glorious crown. He is glory defined. A life of purpose for humanity is only found when the purpose becomes Him. God exists for Himself. We exist for His glory (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Reflect on your own life for a moment. Has the immeasurable value of God’s glory settled on your soul? Have you been shaken to your core by the finitude of your own power and authority? Are you acutely aware that every morning you’re allowed to wake up is pure mercy from the One who gives permission to your heart to pump the oxygen-rich blood your body needs to breathe just once more?

The truth is, every Christian loses sight of the glory of God from time to time and needs a moment of renewal; devoting the heart and its affections to Him once again. He is to be the object of our affections and the center of our world. Three things renew our commitment to living for — and striving to understand — His glory.

Awestruck by His Character

A high view of God’s glory is charged through being awestruck by His character. God’s revealed attributes are the conduit; stirring our affection for Him. We live more fully for God’s glory when we know exactly who He is!

Jonathan Edwards modeled the joy we find in seeking who God is when he wrote, “The greatest moments of my life have not been those that have concerned my own salvation, but those when I have been carried into communion with God and beheld His beauty and desired His glory…I rejoice and yearn to be emptied and annihilated of self in order that I might be filled with the glory of God and Christ alone.”[1]

His attributes are endless and yet He’s chosen to reveal to us what we need to thrive in relation to Him and relationship with Him. To be awestruck by His character is to know His attributes which include:

  • His Eternality (Genesis 1:1)
  • His Sovereignty (Psalms 115:3)
  • His Infinite Wisdom (Romans 11:33)
  • His Goodness (Psalms 34:8)
  • His Mercy (Ephesians 2:4-5)
  • His Justice (Romans 2:5)
  • His Grace (Ephesians 2:8-9)
  • His Love (1 John 4:8)
  • His Holiness (Isaiah 6:3)

Under the umbrella of every one of those characteristics the endless nature of God’s nature is proven. What’s more? God is perfect in His expression of those attributes. In other words, whatever He does, and however He does it, it is perfect — no matter how we might feel on this side of heaven.

Aware of Your Own Corruption

Few things elevate your view of God’s glory better than a proper view of self. Biblically speaking, we are corrupted and God knows He is the best thing thing we have going for us. Romans 3:23 declares, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Plainly, you will never measure up! That’s step one in becoming aware of your corruption. Quoting the Psalmist, Paul writes, “There is none righteous, not even one” (Romans 3:10). We are utter failures at achieving anything but sin, and we’re complete disasters at being “good enough” for God. Now before you crawl into a dark corner of hopelessness and shame, welcome that reality into your mind and embrace the weight it places on your heart. You need to become O.K. with admitting what you see in the spiritual mirror of your life if you want to live for God’s glory. We are by nature, “children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:3). The bad news must come out if you’re going to celebrate the good news! God’s glory becomes everything when your self-righteous confidence becomes nothing.

Be able to say like Paul, “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24-25a). With nowhere to turn for the solution to our corruption, we have no choice but to fall on our knees as beggars before the throne of our merciful and glorious God. We’re never more ready to come to grips with the glory of God than from this helpless state.

Adoring Jesus Christ

The Bible makes it abundantly clear that the glory of God is found in Jesus Christ. He is the radiance of God’s glory (Hebrews 1:3), the revelation of glory (John 1:14), and the One who will return in glory (Luke 21:27). A high view of the glory of God is founded in your adoration of Christ. To go even further, it is impossible to have a high view of the glory of God without a burning affection for Jesus. Why else would Paul say with resounding boldness in Philippians 1:21, “For me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain!”? Because he knew the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus his Lord (Philippians 3:8).

The faithful Bishop of Liverpool, J.C. Ryle, so beautifully pronounced what Paul did in saying “Christ is all” (Colossians 3:1) in his book, Holiness. He writes, “Christ is the mainspring both of doctrinal and practical Christianity. A right knowledge of Christ is essential to a right knowledge of sanctification as well as justification. He who follows after holiness will make no progress unless he gives to Christ His rightful place…let us understand that Christ is all.[2]

If you want to experience the fullness of the Christian faith, Christ is the key. Devote yourself to being hidden in the Rock of Ages; worshiping humbly as His feet.

There, as you bow low in His shadow, you will find the highest view of the glory of God.

______________________________________________

[1] Jonathan Edwards, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, ed. Edward Hickman (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1974), 1:lxv-lxxiii, quoted in Joel R. Beeke, Living for God’s Glory (Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust Publishing, 2008), 147.

[2]J.C. Ryle, Holiness – Abridged, (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2010), 247-248.

Is the Old Testament Law Useful Today?

Few genres of Scripture cause more confusion in the church today than the Law. Perhaps one could reasonably argue that the book of Revelation outdoes the Law in crossing the Christian’s eyes, but beyond that, there isn’t much debate here. We’re left asking, “What is the role of the Old Testament Law in the life of the Church?” or “How in the world do we interpret passages from books like Deuteronomy or Leviticus?”

Consistent interpretive wisdom on this topic is in short supply. For example, read the following laws and notice the significant conundrum that arises if we try to apply them directly to our life in 2019:

  • A man who has lost his hair and is bald is clean (Leviticus 13:40)
  • Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material (Leviticus 19:19)
  • Do not eat pigs or touch their carcasses (Deuteronomy 14:8)
  • Stand up in the presence of the aged (Leviticus 19:32)
  • No tattoos allowed (Leviticus 19:28)
  • Lethal force is acceptable at night; not in the daytime (Exodus 22:2-3)

Unarmed with faithful methods of interpretation we’re left playing an unfortunate game of hermeneutical roulette. If we take several of these at face value, we’re in trouble. Apparently if you’ve ever eaten a Honey Baked Ham, worn a shirt with cotton and polyester, tattooed your favorite Bible verse or sports team on your bicep, or failed to stand next to grandmas chair all Christmas evening, you’ve sinned against God! But if you’re bald, you’re good. Based on that conclusion, you might say the role of the OT Law in the life of the Church today is to confuse us! But that’s not true.

Certain principles help us see the Law for what it is, and what it’s not. A resource will be recommended at the conclusion of this post for further study. To get you started, here are some basic principles that can help in a variety of ways including, protecting you from false teachers who twist the Old Testament, and helping with the difficulty of applying your morning reading from Exodus:

  1. The Law teaches us about God’s covenant with Israel

Israel receives the Law in the context of God’s covenant with them­­—usually called the “Mosaic Covenant.” He essentially says, “If you obey me and keep my commands, I will bless you.” This covenant was conditional, limited to Israel, and not something you or I should apply directly to ourselves today. It had a purpose.

  1. The Law teaches us about God’s nature—especially His holiness

Sometimes we miss one of the most important purposes of the Law in the Church today when we mistakenly attempt to read ourselves into aspects of the Old Testament Law. Often, the Law serves to point to a simple truth: God is holy and expects His people to be set apart. This timeless truth carries to the New Testament when Peter calls the Church to obedience and holiness under the New Covenant in Christ (1 Peter 1:14-16).

  1. The Law teaches us about man’s nature—especially his depravity

If you think humanity is intrinsically good, the Law can help shed light here. For example, Israel cycled through decades of crying out to God, receiving help from God, complaining again to God, sinning when they grew impatient with God, then crying out to God when their sin got them in trouble with God. Does this need further explanation? Just read 1 Corinthians 10. We aren’t literal “Israel” in the Church today, but we sure act like Israel don’t we? We need divine intervention in our lives. Thank God for Christ.

  1. The Law teaches us to appreciate what Christ has accomplished

Have you ever driven by someone renovating a terribly kept yard on your way home to your own freshly manicured lawn? Imagine yourself driving by for a moment. Picture the type of long grass that clogs a lawnmower, weeds that break through the concrete and break your back, mold growing up the siding, and bushes so overgrown you’d sooner sell the house than deal with them. When we look at Israel underthe Law compared to our lives inChrist, a deep appreciation develops; causing us to run into the arms of Christ like the undeserving leper crying, “Jesus, thank you.”

  1. The Law teaches us principles that can be applied today

Some schools of interpretive thought ignore the Law altogether—presuming it to be useless in light of Church-Age literature. This is a slippery slope—no actually, a dangerous cliff. Jesus Himself used the Law in many teaching moments, including with the Rich Young Ruler (Matt. 19:18-21). Furthermore, He escalates certain Laws like adultery from being committed through sinful actions to being committed through sinful thoughts (Matt. 5:27-28). Paul himself said, “All Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Even though we are not under the Law, it still proves useful in teaching us today.

Much more can be said on this topic but these principles can help you foster an ongoing appreciation for the role of the Old Testament Law in the Church today.

For further study, the following resource is excellent for lay ministers to seminary students:

Scott Duvall and J. Daniel Hays, Grasping God’s Word: A Hands-On to Reading, Interpreting, and Applying the Bible (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2012).

God is Good… All the Time

Think about the best things that have happened to you lately. If you’re a Christian who has received a promotion, a raise, a new car, a bigger home, a newer home, a good report from the doctor, a healthy baby delivered, or that job you’ve always wanted…you’ve probably said these words:

“God is so good!” And you’re absolutely right…He is.

But could there be more to His goodness than just the bright side of your story? It seems like our first response when things are going right is to declare His goodness, but the Bible paints a picture of God’s character of goodness even in the darker times. Was God still good when He allowed Satan to afflict Job with suffering? Was God still good when He didn’t answer Paul’s prayer to remove the torment of Satan via the thorn in the flesh? Now personalize it. Is God still good if you lose your job, lose your home, can’t have a child, or doctor says you have 6 months to live?

It’s a sobering thought that will test the core foundation of how we view God.

God’s goodness is based on His character. Which means that your career advancement and good health are unrelated to whether or not He is good. He is good and He is good all the time – no matter what our circumstances might be.

Consider the following biblical examples of how God’s goodness means more than just good times:

The Example The Extent The Edification
Job (Job 1-3, Job 38-42) Job loses his kids, his health, his wealth and friends; His wife says, “Curse God!” Job experiences a deeper relationship with God, is blessed by God, restored.
Paul (2 Corinthians 12:7-10) A messenger of Satan that torments Paul like a thorn in the flesh. God won’t alleviate his torment. Paul experiences the extravagance of God’s grace and learns that God’s power is perfected in weak people.
The Church in Smyrna (Revelation 2:8-11) They suffer. The devil is allowed to cast them into prison, yet they must be faithful unto death. They received the crown of life and enter into the eternal glory of God as honored martyrs.
Peter (Luke 22:31-34) Satan asks permission to sift Peter like wheat – is allowed. Denies Jesus and fails Him. Peter is restored, becomes a pillar of strength in the early church. Suffers faithfully; never to deny His Lord again.

These examples are just the tip of the iceberg. When we search through the pages of Scripture we quickly find that God is good no matter what we’re going through, and that His purposes and methods are beyond what we can comprehend. That doesn’t change the reality of our pain at certain times, but as real as the suffering is, the rewards and blessings for those who remain faithful are monumentally greater – and priceless.

Though God may allow Satan to roam the earth on His leash for a time, there is coming a day when Satan will be bound and cast into the lake of fire for eternity (Rev. 20:1-15). In the grand scheme of things, he is simply a pawn on God’s chess board as He works all things together for His good (Rom. 8:28).

Always remember, God’s allowance of your trials is rooted in love. He loves you so much that He will grow you and sanctify you until eternity, then reward you for being faithful – how good is that?

Enjoy the daily battle in the faith as it is used to test you, shape you, and grow you for the glory of God (Phil. 1:6).

God is good…. all the time.

God, Greed, & the Prosperity Gospel

Beamers, Benz’s, and Bentleys. Mansions, maids, and millions. These terms are synonymous with the prosperity gospel. If you’re new to planet earth or haven’t watched television during the past ten years, here’s a simple definition of the “prosperity gospel” to get you up to speed: Jesus Christ minors in saving sinners, but majors in making you healthy, wealthy, and happy!

With a gospel centered on what Jesus Christ can add to your bank roll, prosperity preachers are infecting the minds of desperate people, and cashing in more than ever. The results? Millions of people have the wrong idea about Christianity and money.

This issue used to be just a few big name preachers but simple internet search will reveal that it’s no longer just the likes of Creflo Dollars, Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn, or Joyce Meyer who are raking in millions by exploiting people. TV networks have launched shows like, Preachers of L.A., and countries like Nigeria have their very own Top 10 Richest Nigerian Pastors list. The globalization of the prosperity gospel has people in third world countries rushing to fill stadiums in hopes of receiving a “breakthrough” from a self-anointed false teacher.

pastor-chris-benny-hinn-lagos-1

The third world has become a favorite target for prosperity preachers. They fly in on private planes, stay in presidential suites at the finest hotels, and then grace the stage at crusades claiming, “Healing is yours, health is yours, money is yours! Give to ‘Jesus’ and He’ll do for you what He has done for me” (obviously a paraphrase but hardly an inaccurate one).

Just a cursory glance at men like Benny Hinn’s ministry calendar  will show that he can no longer pack American hockey arenas with 20,000 people, but he can draw 150,000 to his crusades in places like Indonesia and Brazil. This massive global impact means that thousands of international pastors, government leaders, and desperate people, will potentially buy into the theology or buy one of the overpriced gimmicks on Benny Hinn’s website like special Israeli anointing oil for the low price of just $45. This theology and it’s ancillary products are a deadly poison of deception that point away from Christ!

bennyhinn

There was a time when a small group of holy-water selling, Bentley-driving “pastors” were the laughing stock of the real gospel ministers and regarded as fringe scam artists. But now, even political figures know how to tap the evangelical vote.

Donald Trump knew that the best way rally evangelicals was to get forty of the richest pastors in a room to support him. Enter Paula White, Joel Osteen, and countless others who were said to have represented “the mainstream evangelical” voter.

Clearly there are no limits on just how far prosperity preachers will go to cast up their shameful foam (Jude 13).

So what does Jesus have to say on the subject? Does real faith have anything to do with getting rich?

There are plenty of passages in the Bible that talk about money, but Luke records a conversation between Jesus and His disciples that puts the prosperity gospel to shame.

Let’s take a deeper look.

In Luke 12:15-21 Jesus teaches.

And He said to them, “Beware, and be on guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does life consist of his possessions.” And He told them a parable saying, “The land of a certain rich man was very productive. And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’ “And he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take up your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”

“But God said to him, ‘You fool!’ This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’ “So is the man who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

When God calls someone a “fool”, it’s best to do the exact opposite of whatever that “fool” was doing.

In the following verses (Luke 12:22-34) Christ sets the record straight.

1. DON’T WORRY ABOUT EARTHLY NEEDS

Luke 12:22 Jesus said, “For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for your body, as to what you will put on.”

This is downright counter-intuitive but it’s the best way to live! Prosperity preachers will tell you to give big to them and receive big for you; to give $777.77 if you want God to give you your “breakthrough”, and to order their anointing oil and rub it on your monthly donation if you want God to bless you! These bold faced lies are backed by greed.0

Jesus says an anxiety-filled rich man built some barns for security and right as they were completed God took his life and he never got to enjoy them. Because treasures on earth are fleeting, because only treasures in heaven last, because you don’t know how long you’ll live…don’t worry!

Seven times in the gospels Jesus commands, “Don’t worry!” Don’t be anxious, solicitous, over-occupied, concerned about earthly things. Paul hits this hard in Philippians 4:6-7 saying, “Be anxious for nothing!” Now, that’s a statement to stew on, don’t be over-occupied by any earthly thing…

Jesus says not to be worried about your life, what you will eat, or what you will wear. He’s mentioned three common areas of worry: 1) Stomach 2) Strength 3) Style. Imagine in history how much money has been spent attempting to better those three things! How many new year’s resolutions have been set around those three things! How much counseling, medication, and stress mgmt. books have been taken over those three things! How many gym memberships, insurance policies, teeth whiteners, diet plans, compression pants, all for those three things!

Does that sound remotely supportive of the prosperity gospel? It’s not even close.

2. LIFE IS MORE THAN EARTHLY NEEDS

Luke 12:23-26 “Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds! And which of you being anxious can add a single cubit to his life’s span? If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters?” 

Jesus says to get beyond trivial pursuits and realize that you could starve to death but your life would still continue on in eternity. Jesus expanded on this in Matthew 10:28 when He said, Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

Who cares about the body if your soul goes on to eternal torment? You’ve wasted your life on bad theology.

Picture Jesus pointing over to some birds explaining that if God provides for an end-of-the-food-chain animal, which has a pea-size brain, with a purpose unto His glory, how much more so does He have a plan for you, a person made in His own image!?

If you believe in God, and have trusted in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, then life becomes far more than earthly pursuits and more stuff.

Worrying about things can’t extend your life one hour so fretting over every menial matter is a waste of time and energy. You came to earth with nothing and you’ll leave with nothing no matter nice your casket clothes are, or how hard you try to stop it with anti-aging creams, cosmetic surgery, valiant exercise, and your Paleo diet. God has numbered your days and that’s that.

So can a “faith-seed” or special offerings buy you another minute of life or less anxiety? No. But on the flip side to that, this doesn’t mean that a vow of poverty, quitting your job, ceasing from advancements, and hiding from all riches will give you peace either. God is not interested in how much money you make or how much money you give…. He wants your heart!

3. GOD KNOWS YOUR EARTHLY NEEDS

Luke 12:27-28Consider the lilies, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothes himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will he clothe you?

If lilies don’t sweat, and they don’t sew, yet they’re more splendid than earth’s greatest king, can’t God handle your needs? Those wild flowers would be burnt with manure in the clay kilns yet God created them with a purpose. And, if God puts that much energy into something with an inferior purpose, imagine what He thinks of you…

Then Jesus explains his whole point:

Luke 12:29-30 “O men of little faith! And do not seek what you shall eat, and what you shall drink, and do not keep worrying. For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things.

This isn’t a simple worry issue, it’s a serious faith issue, because worry means that I don’t trust that God is who He says He is, or that He can do what He says He can do. When I don’t trust God, it’s an assault on His person and power! That’s why Jesus points out the difference between the faithful follower and the pagan in this passage. Jesus is contrasting two different hearts:

The heart that trusts God vs. the heart that trusts itself.

4. SET YOUR ATTENTION ON ETERNAL NEEDS

Luke 12:31-32 But seek for His kingdom, and these things shall be added to you. Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.

Instead of “seeking” earthly things, instead of wanting what the pagans do, instead of building a reservoir of belongings, instead of security in stomach, strength, and style, seek earnestly heavenly things and all the other stuff will take care of itself!

Make it your all consuming charge to trust Christ, to know Christ, to obey Christ, and to share Christ.

Christians are different from everyone else. Christians don’t let fear reign any more because God the Father has chosen gladly (delights in, pleasures in) giving you the kingdom. Isn’t that great? God made you, and He’ll provide for you. God purposed you, and He’ll gift you. God knows your end, so you aren’t leaving planet earth until you finish your work for Him.

Luke 12:34 “Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves purses which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near, nor moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

You see, there it is. Your heart and subsequent trust is either in earthly things or heavenly things. If you’ve ever privately questioned your faith in God, simply reflect on your attitude towards giving. Do you love to store up on earth or do you love to give towards heaven?

Jesus never promised that this life would be perfect, and that you would be healthy and wealthy – no matter how much you give.

What He did teach is that if you’ll trust Him with your heart, and invest in His true kingdom, heaven’s treasures are your eternal inheritance.

 Any belief system based on temporal blessings is absolute foolishness.


Portions of this post are from the sermon manuscript of Pastor Anthony Wood. Sermon Series: Treasures. Sermon Title: The Treasure of Trust : Luke 12:22-34. Originally preached on Sunday January 15th, 2017. To listen to the sermon in its entirety, click the link below:

Sermon Link: http://subsplash.com/missionbiblechurch/v/erzudyd

image