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Thursday, May 31 2018
Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai
In last week’s study, we considered the topic “The Purpose of Prosperity” and dealt extensively with one aspect of the purpose of prosperity - God blesses us so we can be a blessing to others! In today’s study, we shall be looking at the second aspect – Fulfilling the Great Commission.
As Christians, we can expect to be blessed and to prosper if we seek prosperity as a means to help accomplish God's will and purpose. Jesus said this about Himself,
"For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10).
Jesus has commissioned all believers to carry out the same mission. In Mark 16:15, He said:
". . . Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."
That seems clear enough—you go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature! With more than six billion people in the world today, we have a mighty big job left to do. We certainly need to walk in prosperity in order to have the funds to get it done. Jesus also pointed out that we need the power of the Holy Ghost in our lives to carry out His Great Commission. Acts 1:8says,
"But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."
As the disciples were commanded by Jesus Christ, so have we
HOW ARE WE SUPPOSED TO GO ABOUT FULFILLING THE GREAT COMMISSION?
First, we should start in OUR JERUSALEM, or our hometown. Jerusalem was home to most of the one hundred twenty who gathered in the Upper Room on the Day of Pentecost. So, they started from there. Secondly, we are to be witnesses in OUR REGION, our Judaea, and in the region next to us, or our Samaria. Finally, we are to take the Gospel to THE UTTERMOST PART OF THE EARTH. The whole world!
FUNDS AND RESOURCES REQUIRED FOR THE GOSPEL
To fulfilment of the Great Commission is hinged on the availability of funds and resources. You will recall that initially when He sent them out in Luke 10:4 (AMP), He said:
“Do not carry a money belt, a provision bag, or [extra] sandals; and do not greet anyone along the way [who would delay you].
Note: A formal greeting back then was a lengthy ritual that sometimes included a meal.
Fast forward a few chapters, in Luke 22:35-36, Christ Himself asked His disciples to switch onto a different mode. One which implied that they needed funds and resources.
“35 And He said to them, “When I sent you out without a money belt and [provision] bag and [extra] sandals, did you lack anything?” They answered, “Nothing.” 36 Then He said to them, “But now, he who has a money belt is to take it along, and also his [provision] bag, and he who has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one.” AMP
One thing is obvious: Poverty-stricken people are limited in their ability to fulfil the Great Commission. Without funds, they have difficulty going into all the world and neither can they help send someone else.
GOD’S WORK IS EASIER DONE FROM THE POSITION OF PROSPERITY
Luke 8:1-3 gives us a clear picture of Jesus’s ministry and that the work of God cannot be done from a position of lack but from that of prosperity.
“Soon afterward, Jesus began going around from one city and village to another, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve [disciples] were with Him, 2 and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and diseases: Mary, called Magdalene [from the city of Magdala in Galilee], from whom seven demons had come out, 3 and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household steward, and Susanna, and many others who were contributing to their support out of their private means [as was the custom for a rabbi’s disciples]. AMP
So, if God requires every believer to help carry out this mission, then it must be His plan and His will for His people to prosper. God's work needs to be financed without a doubt. One of the ways His work is meant to be financed is by tithes as we see in Malachi 3:10. It says:
“Bring you all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in my house, and prove me now herewith, said 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.”
The giving of God's people took care of God's house and those who worked there and provided the funds to carry out His work on earth.
THE POOR ARE NOT LEFT OUT AND SHOULD GIVE TO THE WORK TOO
It is obviously easier to give to the work of God out of abundance but the poor are not left out and should give to the work too. As a matter of fact, everyone should see giving in the Kingdom of God as a privilege. 2 Corinth.8:1-4 tells us of the Macedonian church who gave from their meagre means.
“And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. 2 In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. 3 For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, 4 they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. (NIV)
The work of the Gospel requires funds and resources. The “work” is not restricted to preaching the Good News only; but also, the meeting of the needs (emotional, financial, physical and spiritual) of others.
Jesus’s ministry depended on the support and generosity of believers as we see in Luke 8:1-3, to the extent that the ministry had a treasurer (John 12:6). Jesus Himself admonished the disciples in Luke 22:35-36 to take up their purses, bags and even a sword! Even if it meant selling possessions to buy one. But as we see from the example of the Macedonian church; being poor is not an excuse not to give to the work of God. The widow who gave her last mite (Mk.12:43,44)
Parts of this study was culled from “The Midas Touch” by Kenneth E Hagin
Thursday, May 24 2018
Contributor: Dolapo Olaoye
Introduction: Last week, we examined the bible to see how Jesus never lacked. We looked at the word “poor” vs “prosperous” to try and see where Jesus fitted. We concluded that Jesus had generous resources to accomplish the calling God gave Him. His lifestyle did not detract attention from His teaching.
Living with material things
There are three levels of how to live with material things:
(1) You can "steal" or "cheat" to get them; not recommended - "Let him that stole steal no more . . ." (Eph. 4:28)
(2) Or you can work to get them;
(3) Or you can work to get in order to give.
The Bible "pushes" us relentlessly to level three: work to get to give.
2 Corinthians 9:8 says: “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work” However, too many of us live on level 2. We give our time to go to work and get an honest day’s pay to spend all to ourselves and that’s not what we have been called to do!
The purpose of prosperity:
We find this in the following scriptures:
God blesses you so you can BE a blessing to others. For us to have enough to live on, and then use the rest for all manner of good works that relieves spiritual and physical misery — temporal and eternal suffering. Enough for us; Abundance for others.
God has made us to be channels of His grace. The danger is in thinking the channel should be lined with gold. It shouldn’t. Copper can carry unbelievable riches to others. And in the very process of that giving we enjoy the greatest blessing.
Some will say “I have enough money for me and my family. We are taken care of, and we don’t really need to prosper beyond that.” That is one of the most selfish things I’ve ever heard!
God is looking for people who say, “Lord, I want to receive your favor and abundance so I can bless others and abundantly give back to you.” Otherwise simply seek God’s will in our life, and prosperity will find us. It really is as simple as that! God’s desire is to bless everyone. The more prosperous we become (financially and otherwise), the more God can use us to bless others. So, once I pray for His will then surely, I will have the means, resource, strength to bless others with ease. That is true prosperity!
There’s a big responsibility that comes with the gift of receiving “power to get wealth.” God doesn’t pour His blessings into our lives so we can become savers/accumulators and pile up more and more treasure for ourselves. He blesses us so we can touch people’s lives with the love of Jesus. Instead of being motionless ponds, rather that we be rivers of living water that continually flowing outward to a lost and needy world.
NB: “If you start thinking to yourselves, ‘I did all this. And all by myself. I’m rich. It’s all mine!’—well, think again. Remember that God, your God, gave you the strength to produce all this wealth so as to confirm the covenant that he promised to your ancestors—as it is today” (Deuteronomy 8:17, 18, MSG).
Wednesday, May 16 2018
Contributor: Leye Olayiwola
Introduction: In last week’s study, we looked deeply into who Jesus really was and still Is. He is the image of the invisible God (Col.1:15); the Creator of the Universe (Col.1:16-17) and the Head of the Body and the Church (Col.1:18). Knowing who our Lord and Saviour was and is still is, the next critical question therefore is was He Rich or Poor? We will be looking at the scriptures for truths about His status.
“Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, “Lord, I will follow You wherever You go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” [Luke 9:58]
Jesus answer to the person who approached Him in the verse above implies that He doesn’t know where He will be sleeping that night—think it over!”
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.” [2 Corinthians 8:9]
A missionary once said Jesus was poor (and we should be also) because of 2 Corinthians 8:9. But if Jesus became physically poor does this mean you and I will become physically rich? Jesus “became poor” compared to the “riches” He enjoyed in the Godhead.
“So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn”. [Luke 2:6-7]
He was born in an animal stable or cave of parents with humble means. His father was a carpenter/stone mason. But note that the bible records that He was laid in a manger because there was no room in the inn. Not because they couldn’t afford an inn to born Him in. Just my thought.
“As evening approached, Joseph, a rich man from Arimathea who had become a follower of Jesus, 58 went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. And Pilate issued an order to release it to him. 59 Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a long sheet of clean linen cloth. 60 He placed it in his own new tomb, which had been carved out of the rock. Then he rolled a great stone across the entrance and left.” [Matthew 27:57-60]
He was buried in a borrowed tomb (Matthew 27:57-60—recorded in all four gospels). Could this be divine provision? It was not recorded in scriptures that this tomb had to be paid for. Just my thought again.
“And leaving Nazareth, He went and settled in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the country of Zebulun and Naphtali.” [Matthew 4:13]
There is no record of Jesus owning property except possibly a house in Capernaum (Matthew 4:13, “settled in Capernaum” could imply home ownership.
He had cash flow. In John 4:8 the disciples went into town to “buy food.”
“For His disciples had gone off into the city to buy food”
Jesus and the Twelve had a “money box” to buy food or give to the poor. Read John 12:5-6 and John 13:27-29]
Jesus and the disciples were financially supported by women who had been healed by Jesus. Six to eight are named in the crucifixion accounts, but Luke 8:3 says “many others” also contributed.
“Soon afterward, Jesus began going around from one city and village to another, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve [disciples] were with Him, 2 and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and diseases: Mary, called Magdalene [from the city of Magdala in Galilee], from whom seven demons had come out, 3 and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household steward, and Susanna, and many others who were contributing to their support out of their private means [as was the custom for a rabbi’s disciples].” [Luke 8:1-3]
The Roman soldiers at the crucifixion would not tear his seamlessly woven robe but cast lots for it—implying the robe was of high quality.
“Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His outer clothes and made four parts, a part for each soldier, and also the tunic. But the [j]tunic was seamless, woven [in one piece] from the top throughout. 24 So they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, to decide whose it will be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture, “They divided My outer clothing among them, and for My clothing they cast lots.”
Let's go back to our original question. Was Jesus rich or poor? The Bible addresses this issue in detail and offers a clear and compelling answer. Luke 22:35
Based on all the verses we have examined, do you think Jesus fits the definition of the word "poor"? In other words, do you think Jesus was indigent, impoverished, needy, wanting in material goods, destitute, feeble, dejected, worthy of pity or sympathy, inferior, pitiful, second-class, second-rate, lacking, or insufficient?
On the other hand, consider the definition of the word" prosperous"—marked by success or economic well-being, enjoying vigorous and healthy growth, flourishing, successful, robust, progressing, favorable.
Which definition best describes the biblical Jesus? Let's review the information about Jesus we discovered in God's Word:
“And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” [Matthew 2:11]
The Bible indicates that Jesus' ministry assisted the poor financially on a regular basis.
The testimony of Jesus' own disciples at the end of His earthly ministry was that they never lacked anything.
Jesus had generous resources to accomplish the calling God gave Him. His lifestyle did not detract attention from His teaching. The Bible teachers of Jesus’ day, the Pharisees, had a reputation for being “lovers of money” (Luke 16:14). That accusation was never made of Jesus—yet he frequently challenged his listeners about money! Scriptural facts are compelling proof that Jesus was not poor, but was a prosperous man. This is not suggesting that He lived a lavish or extravagant lifestyle—that would not have been practical for Him. But Jesus had His needs met during His life on earth, and He was able to do what God asked Him to do.
Jesus' prosperity should not surprise us. The Old Covenant promised prosperity to those who walked in the will of God (Deuteronomy 29:9; Joshua 1:7; 1 Kings 2:3; 1 Chronicles 22:13; 2Chronicles 20:20 and 26:5; Job 36:11; Nehemiah 1:11, and Psalm1:1-3).
Do you think that Jesus met the qualification of walking in God's will? Of course, He did. He declared in John 6:38, "For I came down from heaven, not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent me."
Do you think that the Father kept His Word and blessed Jesus because He walked in the Father's will? Absolutely! Numbers 23:19 says, "God is not a man, that he should lie . . . hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?" Jesus was not poor. He walked in prosperity according to the Abrahamic Covenant.
Part of this teaching was taken from “THE MIDAS TOUCH” by Kenneth E. Hagin
Wednesday, May 09 2018
Contributor: Alex Alajiki
In our last bible study, we saw that Jesus distinguished Himself from the poor when He declared that;
“You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me” (John 12:8 NIV)
We also saw Him demonstrated the wealthy mentality when He was not the least bothered when perfume worth a year’s salary was used to anoint His feet, but others with the poor mentality saw it as wastage. This is because Jesus is the king of kings and He want this mindset to also be in us (Rev.5:9-10).
This week, we are considering who Jesus really was and is. Colo.1:15-20
The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy
“The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.”
During creation, “God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness” (Genesis 1:26). We were created in God’s image and after His likeness. We were made to be like God in certain respects, but not equal to God. He gave us dominion over all the earth, and created us with a mind capable of creative thought and the ability to know Him. Adam used the creative mind of God to name all animals (Gen.2:20).
How do we know God? In Colo. 1:15, Paul reminds us that Jesus Christ is “the image of the invisible God.” Again, “For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily” (Col. 2:9). It is “in the face of Jesus Christ” that we can know God (2 Cor. 4:6). During Jesus’ earthly ministry, Philip asked him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” Jesus responded, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” (John 14:8–9).
The lesson here is that, believers are also the very image of Christ on earth like the Father. Isa.43:10
“You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me.”
“For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
Paul very carefully defines the fullness of Christ’s work, power, and function as Creator.
First, Paul says that "all things were created by Christ" and later adds "...through him and for him." (Colo. 1:16). All things were created by Christ, through Christ, and for Christ. That doesn't leave any room to detract from Christ’s creative work or his part in Creation.
Second, the scope of Christ’s creation was all things "that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible" (Colo. 1:16). Paul makes sure we do not think that Jesus was the Creator of merely physical and visible things.
Third, Paul includes all authorities, "thrones or dominions or principalities or powers" (Colo.1:16).
Christ himself has no Creator. He created, and has dominion over, all creatures: angels, gods, devils, human beings, animals, mountains or anything else.
However great any dominion may be, Christ is its Creator and that makes Him greater, the supreme Ruler over all. This supreme authority was recognized by God (the Father) when he "delivered us from the power of darkness into the kingdom of his dear Son" (Colo. 1:13).
Now consider Jesus' real home, the place He created for Himself and, eventually, for us to dwell in. Remember, everyone endeavours to make his own home a place that is suited to his own tastes, a place where it is comfortable for him to live. Jesus' home was described for us in the Book of Rev.21:10-12,18,19,21
“... the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. It had a great, high wall with twelve gates. . .. The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stones. The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of pure gold, like transparent glass.”
Who could design and create such a magnificent dwelling place? Psalm 24:10 gives us the answer:
"Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory."
“And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy
Since Jesus is the head of the body, the Church, the Church must enjoy all His privileges.
At the end of Jesus' earthly ministry, His own disciples testified that they never lacked anything.
Then Jesus asked them, "When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?" "Nothing," they answered. Luke 22:35 (NIV)
If the disciples testified that they had experienced no lack as they carried out their ministry assignments, we can assume that they had a full supply and abundant provision. At the very least, they had enough, an adequate supply for their needs. And that's not poor!
Jesus was with the Father at the dawn of creation and lived in Heaven with the Father and the angels. Rev. 21:21 says that the streets of Heaven are pure gold. Gold to Jesus is what asphalt is to us! Jesus created this world with all its gold, silver, diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and every kind of natural resource. The cattle upon a thousand hills are His. He created them all. No wonder He wasn't the least bit bothered by a little perfume being poured upon His feet.
Part of this teaching was taken from “THE MIDAS TOUCH” by Kenneth E. Hagin.
Wednesday, May 02 2018
Contributor: Martins Olubiyi
In our past studies, we have established the fact that Jesus became poor when He took our sin on the cross. Similarly, Jesus was not poor and homeless, He worked in the miraculous provision. He is the King of all kings and He was honoured with treasures. By His lifestyle on earth, He refused to be intimidated about His status as He distinguished Himself from the poor.
Aim: The aim of this study is to examine the distinction made by our Lord on His personality as regard to being poor. We shall endeavour to find out through the knowledge of the scripture, what we can learn from this revelation from the Lord when it comes to being poor.
Text: John 12: 1-8 (NIV).
There was a time, the Lord Jesus visited the home of Lazarus, Martha, and Mary in Bethany. Jesus said to the guests at the supper,
“You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me” (John 12: 8 NIV).
We should notice that Jesus didn’t call Himself poor. He made definite distinction between the poor and Himself.
It has been observed that some people have mistakenly thought that this statement implied that Jesus was saying that helping the poor is unimportant. However, the Old Testament reference He was quoting strongly indicates that this is not what Jesus meant.
Deuteronomy 15: 11 says “There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore, I command you to be openhanded towards your brothers and towards the poor and needy in your land” (NIV).
In other words, Jesus was saying, “There will always be poor people who need help, and you should help them as much as you can. But I’m only going to be here a very short time, and this woman [who anointed His feet with expensive ointment] took advantage of a very limited opportunity. You will always have opportunities to help the poor, but I won’t be here very much longer”.
We need to understand that not once did Jesus identify Himself as one of the poor. He did not say, “There will always be poor people like Me.” Rather, He made a definite distinction between the poor and Himself.
Our text indicate that Jesus wasn’t poor in the fact He was not the least bothered when perfume worth a year’s salary was used to anoint His feet.
Let’s examine this story as it is written in John’s gospel.
“Six days before the Passover, Jesus arrived at Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honour. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with Him. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume, she poured it on Jesus’s feet and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray Him, objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? IT WAS WORTH A YEAR’S WAGES”. He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief, as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it. “Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.” John 12: 1-8 (NIV)
King’s mentality: Jesus as King of kings - 1Tim 6: 15; Rev 1:5; Rev 17: 14; Rev 19: 11-16; Deut. 10:17; Psalm 136: 3
Jesus being the Creator of all things. He was and is the fullness of all things. Kings always have a relaxed attitude. A poor man, not used to having anything, would not have had a relaxed attitude when perfume worth a year’s salary was used to anoint His feet.
Kings are not naturally intimidated- Jesus was not intimidated, concerned, or uncomfortable in the slightest about the value of the perfume that Mary used to anoint His feet.
We are called to glory and virtue. If God can clothe the Lilies with beauty and the Lion as the king of jungle; Believers are expected to reign as kings. Therefore, we should not be intimidated about God’s blessing. Poverty is not synonymous to piety.