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Thursday, August 30 2018
Contributor: Leye Olayiwola
Introduction: The idea that God will reward our giving by paying a one-hundred-to-one return on what we give to His work has become a very popular concept. It is almost commonplace to hear ministers refer to it at offering time, urging people to "give generously and believe God for a hundredfold blessing." What really did Jesus Christ mean when he mentioned “hundred time as much” in the scriptures? Does the hundred fold return (literally and mathematically) work for everyone who gave money offerings and tithes? Is it even possible? We will consider these and many more in our study today.
1. THE HUNDRED FOLD RETURN
“Peter started saying to Him, “Look, we have given up everything and followed You [becoming Your disciples and accepting You as Teacher and Lord].” Jesus said, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, there is no one who has given up a house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, who will not receive a hundred times as much now in the present age—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms—along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life.” [Mark 10:28-30 AMP]
2. INTERPRETE THE WORD OF GOD CORRECTLY
“Study and do your best to present yourself to God approved, a workman [tested by trial] who has no reason to be ashamed, accurately handling and skillfully teaching the word of truth.” [2 Timothy 2:15]
“Other seed fell on good soil and yielded grain, some a hundred times as much [as was sown], some sixty [times as much], and some thirty. He who has ears [to hear], let him hear and heed My words.”
“If your tithes and offerings last year were $5,000, did you receive a hundredfold return of a half million dollars? If you gave a total of $20,000, did you receive $2,000,000? Do you expect to? I think you get the point. I did, too, and that's why I no longer tell people to expect the hundredfold return on their offerings. I just stay with what the Word of God says: "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over ..." (Luke 6:38). I always claim the "running over" blessing.” – Kenneth E. Hagin
Please understand we are not trying to be cynical, nor are we trying to take away anyone's faith concerning God meeting his or her needs. But we believe it is important that we be realistic and sound in what we teach. We must "rightly divide" the Word of God and carefully seek the truth in interpreting the Scriptures.
Part of this teaching was taken from “THE MIDAS TOUCH” by Kenneth E. Hagin
Friday, August 17 2018
Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai
In last week’s study we asked ourselves a very important question: “Is Financial Prosperity a Sign of Spirituality?” And in answering the question we learnt how thinking, teaching and believing that this is true is erroneous. Today’s study attempts to address another error. A popular teaching in recent years; that giving should be mechanically linked to getting. On other words, if you need something, give something. Sow a car to get a car. Sow a suit to receive a suit. Although this is not out rightly wrong, it is another example of taking a basic truth and carrying it to the extreme. Like any other biblical truth, there is a ditch of error on both sides of the road; and thus, balance is required.
Genesis 8:22 says: “While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.”
Luke 6:38 says: “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
PLACING THE TRUTH IN VIEW – STRIKING THE BALANCE
2 Corinthians 9:7-8 says:
“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”
On one side of the road, there are some people who do not seem to realize that God wants to bless them as we see in verse 8. They have no understanding at all of the practical application of the law of sowing and reaping in their personal lives. As a result, giving for them is strictly a matter of duty. They may give, but they have no faith or expectation whatsoever about receiving anything from God. This is unfortunate because they undoubtedly miss out on some of the blessings that God has for them.
On the other side of the road are the greedy folks who are attempting to use their giving to manipulate God. They try to make the offering plate some kind of heavenly vending machine—put in your offering, pull the handle, and get your blessing back! This is certainly the wrong motive for giving.
Some people go so far with this kind of thinking that they get into foolishness, giving away their car in the hope of getting another, presumably better, car. These people sometimes end up walking for a long time!
It is a natural, God-given phenomenon that we usually reap more than we sow! (See Luke 6:38, Prov.11:24); but there is a thin line between the exercise of faith in sowing and covetousness! This thin line is called “motive”.
MAKE SURE YOU ARE LED BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD
Romans 8:14-17 says:
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”
There are several instances when God would deal with an individual about giving his/her car to some person or ministry. And the person obeyed the Lord out of their love for Him, God blessed them in return, with another vehicle; and sometimes better ones. But God's specific, personal direction for one individual does not become an across-the-board doctrine for the whole Church. There is no spiritual formula to sow a Nissan and reap a Mercedes.
Many preachers have used the story of the widow of Zarephath as an example of a person giving out of her need and being prospered in return as a doctrine for giving. According to First Kings 17, there was a famine in the land, and this poor widow was down to her last handful of flour and few drops of oil. She was about to prepare one last meal for herself and her son and then starve to death. Elijah, the prophet, asked her to prepare a cake of bread for him first and then cook for herself and her son. He told her that the Lord said, "The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord gives rain on the land"(see First Kings 17:14 NIV). When she obeyed by giving bread to Elijah, her supply was miraculously multiplied; she received bread. Jesus referred specifically to this event in the very beginning of His earthly ministry. He said in Luke 4:25-27 NIV:
"I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah's time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian"
GOD OPERATES ON PRICIPLES, BUT HE IS NOT STEREO-TYPED
The Bible clearly teaches that God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34). His love and blessings are available to all. But there is no absolute spiritual law that says every individual will experience the love and blessings of God in exactly the same way.
Jesus has made healing available for all. But we see from His dealings that not all lepers will be healed in the way that Naaman the leper was.
He also made prosperity available for all, but again, not all people are going to be prospered the way the widow of Zarephath was. God did not tell every leprous person to dip seven times in the Jordan River, and He didn't tell every needy person to give their last bit of food to Elijah. There are no one-size-fits-all rules for healing and prosperity.
If the Lord speaks to you in a clear and compelling way to give your coat to someone, then do it. But give it out of love and obedience to God. In that case, I believe God will reward you and not leave you shivering in your shirt sleeves. But be sure of your motives in giving your coat. Don't do it just because you heard the testimony of some other person who gave away a coat and was blessed with a new leather jacket. Don't say, "I want a leather jacket, too, so I'll give away my coat."
Our motives are crucially important. We need to be willing to give in obedience to God even if we never receive one thing in return. We must keep our hearts right and guard against covetousness. At the same time, we need to realize that God does want us to have faith, expecting Him to meet our needs.
Parts of this study was culled from the Midas Touch by Kenneth E Hagin
Thursday, August 02 2018
Contributor: Martins Olubiyi
In our last Bible studies, we have seen that it is God desire and wish that believers should prosper. He said unequivocally through His word that ‘Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth’. 3 John 1: 2. Today we are going to study about a poignant question: Is financial prosperity a sign of spirituality?
Aim: The aim of this study is to avoid abuses and false practices.
7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9 As it is written: “They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor, their righteousness endures forever”.
What is Spirituality?
Spirituality, from scriptural perspective is living the lifestyle of Jesus in thought, in action and in deeds. It is a lifestyle of obedience through absolute surrender to the will of God. Spirituality is living in holiness by eschewing the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life.
What is Financial Prosperity?
Prosperity is the state of flourishing, attainment of successful social status, or thriving condition, especially in financial respect. Financial prosperity is having riches in monetary term.
Money is a necessary commodity in today’s civilization. Today all the products and services needed for even an ordinary lifestyle must be purchased. Going through a single day without spending money for something is difficult, if not impossible. Just as dependence on money affect the way most people live their day-to-day lives, it also has a major impact on the way churches and ministry carry out their work.
Teaching that financial prosperity is a sure sign of spirituality. This teaching suggests that throughout the Scripture, God Has rewarded faith and holiness with material blessings. The implication is that if a person is not experiencing financial abundance there must be a spiritual deficit in his life- probably caused by not giving enough. For instance, teacher might quote Mat 6: 33 and says, “If you are not having “all these things” added to your life, you must not be seeking first the Kingdom of God”. It is like telling a person who has not received healing for a sickness or disease that evidently, he just doesn’t have enough faith.
Receiving a financial windfall is not a sure and absolute indicator of the blessing of God. It could be an indicator of bank robbery or gambling. If wealth alone were a sign of spirituality, then drug traffickers and crime bosses would be spiritual giants. 1Tim 6: 5.
Differences between material wealth and spiritual blessings:
Prov 10: 22. The blessings of the Lord, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it. (KJV) The blessing of the Lord brings wealth, without painful toil with it. (NIV)
James 1: 9, 10
9 Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. 10 But the rich should take pride in their humiliation- since they will pass away like a wild flower.
James 2: 5 Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the Kingdom He promised those who love Him?
Paul’s charges to Timothy in 1Tim 6: 6-9, 17
Golden Nuggets from Proverbs: Prov 15: 16; 16: 8: 28: 6
Connection and Disconnection.
Material wealth can be connected to the blessings of God or it can be totally disconnected from the blessings of God
God’s factor in the life of Job.
Job 1: 1-2, 3; Job 29: 4, 12
In 1 vs 1. Job’s story is not a fiction! Job was a man who lived in Uz. (Uzbekistan/ Southern Syria).
In 1 vs 1 also, He was blameless and upright, he feared God and shunned evil.
In Chap 29: 4 “As I was in the days of my youth, when the secret of God was upon my tabernacle”.
In Chap 1 vs 2, He was blessed with children
In Chap 1 vs 2, He was blessed with material possession
In Chap 1 vs 2, He was the greatest man among all the people of the East
In Chap 29: 12, “because I rescued the poor who cried for help and the fatherless who had none to assist them.
God’ factor in the life of Joseph of Arimathea:
Mat 27: 57-60; Mark 15: 43-45; Luke 23: 50-53; John 19: 38-42;
Joseph of Arimathea fulfilled prophecy Isa 53: 9.
God’s factor out of the life of Nabal the Calebite.
Nabal was the husband of Abigail in 1 Sam 25: 2-3.
In vs 2, He was a property owner and was very wealthy
In vs 3, He was a harsh man (surly and mean).
Financial prosperity is not an infallible gauge of a person’s spirituality. Therefore, it is expected of us to take heed to the admonition of our Lord when He said, “Watch out and guard yourself from all types of greed, because one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (NET Bible).
Parts of this study was culled from the Midas Touch by Kenneth E. Hagin