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Thursday, December 13 2018
24 Principles from The Epistles Regarding Money, Giving, and Receiving - Part 2 Text: 2 Corinthians 8:1-5
Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai
INTRODUCTION: Last week we looked at the first 8 of the 24 principles from the Epistles regarding money, giving, and receiving. In today’s study we shall be looking at the next 8 of these principles
Principle # 9. Giving Is A "Grace" That Can Be Exercised even in Challenging Circumstances.
“Now I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters, what God in his kindness has done through the churches in Macedonia. 2 They are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity. For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford, but far more. And they did it of their own free will. 4 They begged us again and again for the privilege of sharing in the gift for the believers in Jerusalem. 5 They even did more than we had hoped, for their first action was to give themselves to the Lord and to us, just as God wanted them to do”. 2 Cor. 8:1-5
Verse 2 in The New English Bible reads, "The troubles they have been through have tried them hard, yet in all this they have been so exuberantly happy that from the depths of their poverty they have shown themselves lavishly open-handed."
Giving is reflective of a life given to God and is rooted in the Person and example of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Principle # 10. God Wants All of Us to Do Our Part and to “Carry Our Weight" In Giving.
“Right now, you have plenty and can help those who are in need. Later, they will have plenty and can share with you when you need it. In this way, things will be equal. As the Scriptures say, “Those who gathered a lot had nothing left over, and those who gathered only a little had enough.” 2 Cor. 8:14,15
In this passage, Paul is specifically addressing the issue of prosperous Christians helping struggling Christians, but the concept of equality has other applications also. God wants everyone in the Church to do his or her part. Unfortunately, in many churches, a faithful few carry the financial load while others (who are able to give) are freeloaders. Because of different income levels, people might give different amounts, but God wants members of the church to have equal commitment.
Principle # 11. Ministers Should Be Ethical and Above Reproach in Handling Church Finances.
“We are traveling together to guard against any criticism for the way we are handling this generous gift. We are careful to be honorable before the Lord, but we also want everyone else to see that we are honorable. —2 Corinthians 8:20,21
In the New English Bible, verse 20 says, "We want to guard against any criticism of our handling of this generous gift."
And in the NIV, verse 21 reads, "For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of men."
Paul was a very strong advocate of leaders being true stewards of God’s money.
Principle # 12. Paul Clearly Teaches the Law of Sowing and Reaping.
But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly [sorrowfully], or of necessity [under compulsion]: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work. —2 Corinthians 9:6-8
In the Twentieth Century New Testament, verse 8 says, "God has power to shower all kinds of blessings upon you, so that, having, under all circumstances and on all occasions, all that you can need, you may be able to shower all kinds of benefits upon others."
Seed time and harvest will never cease as long as the earth remains (Gen 8:22). (Galatians 6:7-9) If you sow little, you will reap little. If you sow a lot, you will reap a lot! There is no shortcut around that! See also Philippians 4:14-19
Principle # 13. Paul Sought People's Hearts, Not Their Money.
Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not yours, but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, hut the parents for the children. And I will very gladly spend, and he spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved. But be it so, I did not burden you: nevertheless, being crafty, I caught you with guile. Did I make a gain of you by any of them whom I sent unto you? I desired Titus, and with him I sent a brother. Did Titus make a gain of you? Walked we not in the same spirit? walked we not in the same steps? —2 Corinthians 12:14-18
Principle # 14. Paul Was Eager to Give to The Poor.
And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision. Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward [eager] to do. —Galatians 2:9,10
When Peter and James met with him and Barnabas, the only additional thing they asked was that they remember the poor, and Paul was already eager to do that.
Principle # 15. Paul And John Encouraged Christian Charity Among the Brethren.
As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. —Galatians 6:10
If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister[a] in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love, be in that person? Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. —1 John 3:17,18
Sometimes we are always in a hurry to do good to “outsiders” whereas there are those within the fold that need help even more!
Principle # 16. Paul Exemplified and Taught A Strong Work Ethic.
Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. —Ephesians 4:28
Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; Not with eyeservice, as men pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.—Ephesians 6:5-8
Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice as men pleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.—Colossians 3:22-24
. . . study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your hands, as we commanded you; That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing. —1 Thessalonians 4:11,12
Neither did we eat any man's bread for naught; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you: Not because we have not power [the right], but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us. For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busy-bodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.
—2 Thessalonians 3:8-12
This study was culled from “The Midas Touch” By Kenneth E. Hagin
Friday, November 30 2018
24 Principles from The Epistles Regarding Money, Giving, and Receiving - Part 1 Text: Romans 11:33-35
Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai
INTRODUCTION: This week we will be looking at the first of a three-part series that concludes our study of Biblical Prosperity – a Balanced Approach titled twenty-four principles from the Epistles regarding money, giving, and receiving. In today’s study we shall be looking at the first 8 of these principles
PRINCIPLE #1: All We Give to God Originated from God. Romans 11:33-35
This makes it clear that we are not to demand that God give us what we want. God in His graciousness has already provided everything for us.
PRINCIPLE #2: Some Believers Operate in A Special Grace of Giving. Rom. 12:6-8
PRINCIPLE #3: Believers Are Called Upon to Be Diligent in Business. Romans 12:11
PRINCIPLE #4: Believers Should Be Responsible Toward Their Financial Obligations. Romans 13:6-8
PRINCIPLE #5: Believers Have a Duty to Minister Financially to Those Who Have Spiritually Blessed Them. Romans 15:25-27
PRINCIPLE #6: Ministers Have a Right to Be Supported Financially by Their Work in The Ministry. 1 Corinthians 9:7, 9, 10, 11, 13-14
PRINCIPLE #7: Love Must Motivate the Believer's Giving. 1 Corinthians 13:3
PRINCIPLE #8: Christians Should Practice Consistent and Systematic Giving. 1 Cor.16:1,2
This study was culled from “The Midas Touch” By Kenneth E. Hagin
Sunday, November 25 2018
Contributor: Dolapo Olaoye
Introduction: This week we will be looking at understanding whether our prosperity is tied to our giving and giving alone or perhaps there is more to it? There is a misconception that receiving financial abundance is totally and exclusively tied to one thing—giving… Giving is good and we have been taught/brought up to give as little or as much as comes to our hands, right? We are taught to give so that we can receive right? Or receive so we can give! So of course giving is important. However, it is NOT the only key to prosperity.
SEVEN REASONS WHY GENEROSITY LEADS TO PROSPERITY:
Proverbs 11:24 (Message): “The world of the generous gets larger and larger; the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller.”
Deuteronomy 15:10 (NLT): “Give generously to the poor, not grudgingly, for the Lord your God will bless you in everything you do.”
Proverbs 11:25 (NLT): “The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.”
2 Corinthians 9:8 (NLT): “And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.”
Notice this verse says “. . .you will always have” it doesn’t say you might have, you could have, you should have. . .no it says “YOU WILL ALWAYS HAVE EVERYTHING YOU NEED AND PLENTY LEFT OVER. . .”
Generosity not only gives you a guaranteed future . . . it provides immediate returns on your investments. Ecclesiastes 11:1 (Message): “Be generous: Invest in acts of charity. Charity yields high returns.”
Psalm 112:5 (NLT): “Good comes to those who lend money generously and conduct their business fairly.”
“Boaz answered her, "I've heard all about you—heard about the way you treated your mother-in-law after the death of her husband, and how you left your father and mother and the land of your birth and have come to live among a bunch of total strangers. God reward you well for what you've done—and with a generous bonus besides from God, to whom you've come seeking protection under his wings."
So yes based on the above it may seem giving is in some way tied to prosperity however there are other ways to also prosper such as:
Proverbs 19:8 (Amplified Bible):“He who gains Wisdom loves his own life; he who keeps understanding shall prosper and find good.”
We hear this often enough “get wisdom, get understanding” but what or how really does that work? Well one way to gain wisdom and understanding is removing yourself from associating with negative people, distance yourself from people who don’t care to find direction or their purpose. But rather put yourself in the company of people who have a hunger, a thirst and a passion for wisdom, knowledge and understanding.
Hosea 4:6: “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge.”
Notice how the Scripture doesn’t say that Satan would destroy you but rather lack of knowledge destroys people. Satan just helps people enjoy staying ignorant.
Knowledge gives us access to right information which in turn will not only promote, motivate but also give us confidence. Remember what we earnestly desire will be drawn to us . . . and that puts us on the right road to prosperity.
Proverbs 16:20 (NIV): “Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers and blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord.”
Remember it takes more than listening however. You must be a doer of the Word as well. Act on what you hear.
Proverbs 13:4 (NLT): “Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper.”
NKJV says the soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing…… It’s not enough to just desire something and not work at getting it. Desire is a step towards something but desiring alone gets us nothing. Desire with hard work however produce prosperity. When you work hard, God’s law demands that you receive your reward.
The key to doing right things is speaking right things. What we think about we speak about which then bring about our thought. That’s the progression to have right things which will cause us to prosper. Make speaking the right thing a habit.
Psalm 81:10 (NLT): “For it was I, the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it with good things.”
Psalm 37:7 “Be still in the presence of the Lord and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes.”
Any time you spend questioning God or talking with others about why the ungodly prosper is time where the enemy has diverted your focus from what God wants to do for you to what’s happening to others around you.
You see, the Bible does not just speak about God prospering us. The Bible also speaks of us making our own way prosperous. That's why we should not only teach the spiritual aspect of prosperity but also encourage each other to identify their skills and interests and to seek God as to how He might be leading us vocationally.
We need to get the best education we can possibly get and gain a broad range of knowledge about the world we live in. It's true that we should trust in God as our source rather than placing all our confidence in a job or the economy. But that doesn't mean that financial prosperity is totally unrelated to a person's occupation.
Parts of this study was culled from “The Midas Touch” by Kenneth E. Hagin
Thursday, November 01 2018
Contributor: Isekhua Evborkhai
So far in our study we have continued to stress the importance of providing a proper balance on important Christian truths. We have seen how easily people can emphasize a particular idea or concept so much that they carry it to an extreme. Their attitudes erroneously hinged on the assumption that if a little bit of something is good, then a whole lot must be better. What usually happens is to handle this extremity, another group rises to correct the overemphasis. Unfortunately, often their "correction” heads off to the opposite extreme—because "too much" of this idea is so offensive, let's get rid of it altogether. You might say they tended to "throw the baby out with the bath water."
The result of these extremes is that a great gulf is created between the two extreme positions, and often misunderstandings and animosity arise. People in both camps get so caught up in the conflict that they forget the original motivation of both sides, which was to do good and bless people. And in their overzealousness, both sides often lose sight of the original truth!
We have referred to handling balance in our studies so far by calling the basic truth—the biblical position—the middle of the road, and the extreme applications as the ditches on either side of the road. For some reason, it seems like the hardest thing in the world for the Body of Christ to stay balanced on a subject.
Take note that it is not just bad people who get into a ditch. Good people—sincere, well-meaning Christian believers whose zealousness for the truth is commendable can allow their zeal to exceed their wisdom. I believe that even some of the Christian leaders whose failures made national headlines in past years did not intentionally set out to hurt anyone or to fall into error. They went out on tangents and got away from the main purpose and central truth of the Gospel. Once off track, it was all too easy to go downhill in a hurry.
THE MONEY BALANCE
Bearing the above in mind, let's now discuss the issue of balance when it comes to money. Ecclesiastes 10:19 says:
“A feast is prepared for laughter, and wine makes life merry, but money is the answer for everything.”
1 Timothy 6:6-10 says
“6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”
In considering money balance, people tend to end up in one of three positions:
Proverbs tell us two simple truths that can change the way we think about money.
Firstly, Proverbs 17:16 says:
"Of what use is money in the hand of a fool, since he has no desire to get wisdom?"
Proverbs 19:10a says:
“It is not fitting for a fool to live in luxury…"
So, more money is not the solution, but wisdom and a principled life is!
Proverbs 11:4 [MSG] says:
“A thick bankroll is no help when life falls apart, but a principled life can stand up to the worst.”
The appropriate money balance the church needs is one that prioritizes wisdom.
Ecclesiastes 7:11-12 says:
“Wisdom is even better when you have money. Both are a benefit as you go through life. Wisdom and money can get you almost anything, but only wisdom can save your life.”
Parts of this study was culled from The Midas Touch by Kenneth E. Hagin
Friday, October 26 2018
Contributor: Leye Olayiwola
Introduction: The message on the transfer of wealth from the sinner to the church is not new. It’s been around (and is still is) for quite a while and has become one of the popular theme in the prosperity gospel messages. Will there really be an end-time wealth transfer? This is what we will be looking at from the perspective of the scriptures.
“A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, And the wealth of the sinner is stored up for [the hands of] the righteous.”
“because they went forth for His name’s sake, taking nothing from the Gentiles.”
[3 John 7]
Other translations of this verse emphasize the point:
"... accepting nothing from the heathen" (Goodspeed)
". . . taking nothing from the people of the world" (Beck)
".. . and declined to take anything from pagans" (Moffatt)
"... and they accept no help from non-Christians" (Phillips)
Our job is not to try to get the wealth of the world. Our job is to faithfully use the wealth we already have through faithful giving to the cause of the gospel) to get the Gospel out. Statistics indicate that twenty percent of church members provide eighty percent of church revenue and that the average American Christian gives only six percent of his income to the Lord's work. Imagine where we would be if those percentages were where they ought to be!
The Bible does teach that when the Church returns with Jesus after the Tribulation and He sets up His Millennial Kingdom on earth, we will be inheriting all of the wealth of the sinners at that time. There is nowhere in the New Testament where we are supposed to be focused on getting their money now. Instead, we should be concentrating on seeking the hearts of the unsaved and faithfully using the finances we already have.
Part of this teaching was taken from “THE MIDAS TOUCH” by Kenneth E. Hagin
Friday, October 19 2018
Contributor: Dolapo Olaoye
Last week, we looked at receiving to give as a twist to the norm of giving to receive that we are usually used to. We learnt that God gives us much so that we can give away much! (2 Cor.9:11a) and that we receive because we need to give. We don’t give because we want to receive!
This week we will continue to look at giving; and this time, more specifically giving to the poor/needy.
1. THOSE IN NEED - JESUS IN DISGUISE
Mathews 25:34-40 says:
Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’
Notice here that Jesus said He was represented by the poor!
Also, in First Corinthians 10:31, the Apostle Paul wrote,
"Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."
So, when you give to the poor, do it as unto the Lord. Goodwill bless that. When you tithe and give offerings to your church, do it as unto the Lord. God will bless that. When you give an offering personally to a minister or to anyone else, do it as unto the Lord. God will bless that.
2. THE BIBLE TEACHES US THAT GOD HAS HUGE CONCERN FOR THE POOR
The Bible is filled with verses clearly showing that God loves the poor and is offended when His children neglect them. See Proverbs 17:5; 19:17; 22:2, 9, 16, 22–23; 28:8; 29:7; 31:8–9
God's Word gives us insight into His heart for the poor and instructions on how we are to care for them. If we truly have faith in God, we must also share His concern for the poor.
3. BE IMITATORS OF CHRIST – DEALING WITH SELFISHNESS
Think about it. We have money to buy our favourite sweets, to go to movies, to spend on things, but when it comes to someone other than ourselves it becomes a problem. When it comes to others, selfishness kicks in. We are told to be imitators of Christ. Was Christ thinking only about Himself when He died on the cross?
If you were in need wouldn’t you want someone to help you? Instead of judging, ask yourself that question whenever you see the needy.
4. BENEFITS THE LORD’S PROMISE FOR CONSIDERING THE POOR
Psalm 41:1-3 (KJV) says:
“Blessed is he that considereth the poor: The Lord will deliver him in time of trouble. The Lord will preserve him and keep him alive; and he shall be blessed upon the earth: and thou wilt not deliver him unto the will of his enemies. The Lord will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing: thou wilt make all his bed in his sickness.
In conclusion, in all our giving; whether in church or outside the church; we don't have to respond to some sensationalized, goose-bump-raising offering or appeal to give productively and effectively into the Body of Christ or any other cause for that matter! Paul instructed us to give as we purpose in our hearts.
Sure, there may be occasions when we are led by the Spirit of God to support an individual or cause. We should obey the Spirit of God. But most of the time, we should be systematic in our giving.
We should support our local churches on purpose with our tithes. We should find ministries that are producing good results and purpose to sow faithfully into those ministries as well as support those we know who are less privileged.
Any giving may be profitable to the giver, and any giving may as well be unprofitable to the giver. What counts is that the giver does it as unto the Lord.
Parts of this study was culled from The Midas Touch by Kenneth E. Hagin
Thursday, October 11 2018
Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai
INTRODUCTION: In last week’s study, we looked at First fruits; the origin of this practice in the old testament and its application in the new testament for present day believers. We learnt that the First fruit offering is a recognition of God as our source. It illustrates giving to God from a grateful heart, and it sets a pattern of giving back to Him the first (and the best) of what He has given us. Finally, we acknowledged that not being under the Old Testament Law, the Christian is under no further obligation than to give cheerfully and liberally as we see in 2 Corinthians 9:6-7. In Today’s study, we shall be considering an interesting twist to giving . . . Receive and Give.
GOD’S ULTIMATE EXPECTATION
The reality here is that it is a cycle of giving. God is a just God, so He will not ask you to give what you don’t have. So, He gives us; as we see in 2 Cor.9:10-11a (NLT)
“10 For God, who gives seed to the farmer to plant, and later on good crops to harvest and eat, will give you more and more seed to plant and will make it grow so that you can give away more and more fruit from your harvest. 11 Yes, God will give you much so that you can give away much, and when we take your gifts to those who need them they will break out into thanksgiving and praise to God for your help.”
Emphasis on Verse 11a - God will give you much so that you can give away much!
In Genesis 12:2; when God was assuring Abraham of the blessings ahead of him, He spelt out the purpose when He said: "I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. The CEV says: “I will bless you and make your descendants into a great nation. You will become famous and be a blessing to others.”
In other words, the reason you are receiving from me is so that you will give to others!
THE IMPORTANCE OF UNDERSTANDING
One of the most interesting passages in the Old Testament describes how the Israelites who had been carried captive into Babylon finally were allowed to return home to Jerusalem. They gathered together inside the walls, Ezra the priest read to them from the Law of Moses, and the Levites explained it to them.
Let's read the account in Nehemiah chapter 8.
So they read from the Book of the Law of God, explaining it and giving insight, so that the people could understand what was being read. 9Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who were instructing the people said to all of them, “This day is holy to the LORD your God. Do not mourn or weep.” For all the people were weeping as they heard the words of the Law. 10Then Nehemiah told them, “Go and eat what is rich, drink what is sweet, and send out portions to those who have nothing prepared, since today is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength. And the Levites calmed all the people, saying, “Be still, since today is holy. Do not grieve.” 12Then all the people began to eat and drink, to send out portions, and to rejoice greatly, because they understood the words that had been made known to them.
Notice what happened. After the people heard the Word of God, Nehemiah told them to celebrate with joy. They ate. They drank. They shared with those who had nothing. Because they understood the words that have been made known to them!
In the New Testament, Jesus shared this same understanding with His disciples in Matt. 10:8 "... freely ye have received, freely give".
This is the biblical pattern. This is what Christianity is all about. You receive, and then you give. We are channels/conduits of God’s blessings to the world!
We receive because we need to give. We don’t give because we want to receive!
Once we have received, God expects us to give to others. And once we do, Luke 6:38 becomes real to us
“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."
There are many other promises of the benefits of giving that also become real to us, but we should give cheerfully and generously. 2 Corinthians 9:6 LB says:
“But remember this—if you give little, you will get little. A farmer who plants just a few seeds will get only a small crop, but if he plants much, he will reap much. Everyone must make up his own mind as to how much he should give. Don’t force anyone to give more than he really wants to, for cheerful givers are the ones God prizes.”
Proverbs 11:24 (NIV) says:
“One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.
Giving money is a great way of showing our love to God and seeing how He uses us to bless others. This also helps in enhancing our relationship with Him because, it teaches us to find our security in God and to rely on Him for all our needs. As we give, our attitude is transformed. Rather than asking, “How much of my money should I give to God?” we ask, “How much of God’s money should I keep for myself?”
We must give with a glad and generous heart because the very act of letting go of money does something within us. It destroys the demon greed and allows generosity to grow.
“God does not prosper us for the purpose of raising our standard of living.
He prospers us so that we can raise our standard of giving” - Harold Herring
Parts of this study was culled from “The Midas Touch” by Kenneth E. Hagin
Thursday, October 04 2018
Contributor: Alex Alajiki
In our last lesson, we considered if giving to the poor is a good investment. The word of God is very clear about the consequences of neglecting the poor in Prov.21:13 “If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered”. God’s blessing is also attached to helping the poor in
Prov. 19:17: “He who is gracious and lends a hand to the poor lends to the LORD, And the LORD will repay him for his good deed.”
We also must not make the mistake of thinking giving to the poor brings less blessing unlike giving to the work of the ministry. Every God instructed giving goes with specific blessing.
We shall be studying about firstfruit today. The origin of this practice in the old testament and it application in the new testament for present day believers.
1. FirstFruit in the old testament; Exo. 23:19a, Lev.23:9-14
“The first of the firstfruits of your land you shall bring into the house of the Lord your God.”
“And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 10 “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you come into the land which I give to you, and reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest. 11 He shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted on your behalf; on the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it. 12 And you shall offer on that day, when you wave the sheaf, a male lamb of the first year, without blemish, as a burnt offering to the Lord. 13 Its grain offering shall be two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, an offering made by fire to the Lord, for a [b]sweet aroma; and its drink offering shall be of wine, one-fourth of a hin. 14 You shall eat neither bread nor parched grain nor fresh grain until the same day that you have brought an offering to your God; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.”
Firstfruits was a Jewish feast held in the early spring at the beginning of the grain harvest. Firstfruits was a time of thanksgiving for God’s provision. It was a divine instruction from God to Moses.
Every time we obey God’s instructions there are always blessings attached to obedience.
Prov.3:9-10 “Honour the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase; 10 So your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.”
God not wanting to appear to man as a Dictator, grants man the freewill to enjoy virtually endless benefits ONLY on the condition of total obedience, to the giver of these benefits -The Almighty GOD.
a) FIRSTFRUIT OFFERING must be taken to God’s house (Exodus 23:19; 34:26);
b) FIRSTFRUIT OFFERING must be delivered to the Priest of the Nation (Lev.23:10; Numbers 18:42) otherwise known as the High Priest as at then in Israel (Numbers 3:32);
c) FIRSTFRUIT OFFERING shall apply to all a man engages in for livelihood (Deuteronomy 18:4);
d) FIRSTFRUIT OFFERING must be accompanied with worship (Deuteronomy 26:10);
It must be offered once and during each cycle of harvest, which was yearly in biblical time (Nehemiah 10:35). It must however be noted that in situations of multiple planting seasons within one year,
e) FIRSTFRUIT OFFERING becomes due after each harvest exercise;
“Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia to Christ.”
“I urge you, brethren you know the household of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves to the ministry of the saints.”
Paul here, was writing to believers who understood the meaning and significance of the firstfruit offering according to the old testament law.
In the New Testament, the firstfruits offering is mentioned seven times, always symbolically. Paul calls Epaenetus and the household of Stephanas “the firstfruits of Achaia” (Rom. 16:5; 1 Corin. 16:15).
His meaning is that, just as the firstfruits offering was the first portion of a larger harvest, these individuals were the first of many converts in that region.
James calls believers “a kind of firstfruits of His creatures” (Jam. 1:18). Just like the sheaf of grain was set apart for the Lord, so are believers set apart for God’s glory.
The concept of firstfruits is not used in the New Testament in reference to financial giving.
1 Cor.15:20 refers to our resurrected Christ has firstfruits; “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.”
The final mention of firstfruits in the Bible is in Rev.14:4;
“These are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were [c]redeemed from among men, being firstfruits to God and to the Lamb.”
This is referring to the 144,000 Jewish witnesses who will spread the Gospel during the Tribulation. They will have a special role in Heaven and are claimed by God and Jesus as special representatives of those who are saved.
However, just like there are no specific teachings on tithing in the new testament, but the reference of Jesus to it in Matt.23:23, believers who obey the practice of tithing will continue to harvest the benefits.
So also is the practice of firstfruits offering, When we honour the Lord with the firstfruits of our increase, the blessing attached will follow our obedience. Prov. 3:9-10;
“Honour the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase; 10 So your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.”
Firstfruits can be our first income in the beginning of the year, the difference between our old and new income during a raise. It can also be a portion we are willing to honour God with during a windfall, sudden increase or multiplication.
In summary, firstfruit offering is a recognition of God as our source. It illustrates giving to God from a grateful heart, and it sets a pattern of giving back to Him the first (and the best) of what He has given us. Not being under the Old Testament Law, the Christian is under no further obligation than to give cheerfully and liberally (2 Corinthians 9:6-7).
Thursday, September 13 2018
Contributor: Leye Olayiwola
Introduction: So, who is a poor person? “lacking a normal or adequate supply of something specified” (Merriam-Webster). Deficient or lacking in; Lacking sufficient money to live at a standard considered comfortable or normal in a society. (Oxford).
There is no doubt that poverty’s reach is both widespread and devastating. God’s people cannot be indifferent toward those in need, because His expectations for us in regard to taking care of the poor are woven throughout the entirety of Scripture. The first part of Proverbs 14:31 says, “He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker.” Proverbs is, in fact, filled with verses clearly showing that God loves the poor and is offended when His children neglect them. The consequences for ignoring the plight of the poor are also made clear in Proverbs Proverbs 21:13: “If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered”. And note the strong language in Proverbs 28:27: “He who closes his eyes to [the poor] receives many curses.”.
We will consider some strange teachings relating to giving to the poor and the examples that Jesus gave us in the scriptures.
“When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.” [Luke 5:4-7 NIV]
“If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with action and in truth”
(1 John 3:17–18 ESV)
The Bible has much to say about helping and ministering to the poor. Let's start with the verse some ministers misuse. In John 12:8, Jesus says, "You will always have the poor among you." What Jesus really meant is disclosed in the Old Testament verse He was quoting:
"There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore, I command you to be open-handed toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land" [Deut.15:11 NIV].
So what Jesus was really saying, in essence, was this: "There will always be poor people to help, and you should help them as much as you can. You'll always have opportunities to help the poor, but I'll only be here a very short time."
Part of this teaching was taken from “THE MIDAS TOUCH” by Kenneth E. Hagin
Thursday, September 06 2018
Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai
In the past few weeks we have been looking at several lessons that will help us; as believers avoid abuses and false practices as it relates to Biblical prosperity that has become the order of the day these days. Last week, we looked at the true definition and practical application of the hundred-fold return Jesus referred to against erroneous teachings surrounding it. In today’s study we will be looking at another possible error to avoid in the guise of 'Debt-Breaking' or 'Money-Multiplying’ Anointing.
THE HONEST TRUTH
The truth remains that fundraising has become a fact of life—a necessary part of every effective Christian organization if it is to survive. Gordon Lindsay; one of the leading ministers of the Pentecostal movement and the healing revival in the twentieth century wrote the following: “[Money] is an important element in promoting Christian work. Its availability to a considerable extent governs the scope of our activities. It is, therefore, natural that a minister looks for ways and means by which he can secure necessary funds for the work that he feels called to do. But here lurks many pitfalls in which the unwary may stumble. The line between the permissible and the objectionable is sometimes very thin. Some men have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for missions, and their work is to be highly praised. Others have raised comparatively insignificant amounts, and the manner in which it was done or the way they used it, has called forth strong condemnation. If people are told that the money is to be used for a certain purpose, and it is spent largely for other things, then it is being raised under false pretenses. This is a sore point. Certainly, there are costs in raising missionary money. Anyone who says otherwise doesn't speak the truth.”
There has been claims in that past about some preacher who either claims—or is said by others—to be especially anointed to "break the power of debt" over people's lives or to be able to "multiply people's money back to them." In most cases, this “special anointing or ability” can only be activated by giving an offering to this minister or the organization he represents. There is however no scriptural backing to such claims. Unfortunately, it is simply a scheme to raise money for the preacher, and ultimately it can turn out to be dangerous and destructive for all involved. We need to be extremely careful about elevating certain ministers to higher-than-human status. Our focus should be on God rather than man.
THE EXPECTED RESPONSE
Certainly, money can be more productive for the Kingdom of God when it is sown into a productive ministry. And there are gifted ministers skilled at building confidence and motivating people. But Christians should be giving to help get the Gospel out and to do God's work, not to get some "highly anointed minister" to multiply their money back to them.
Acts 14:8-18 tells the story of when Paul and Barnabas ministered in the city of Lystra, and a lifelong cripple was raised up, leaping and walking. When the people of the city saw what had happened, they cried, "The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men." They called Barnabas Jupiter and called Paul Mercurius. The Bible says the priests of the city brought oxen and garlands to offer a sacrifice to them.
To restrain the people from worshipping them, Paul and Barnabas had to run among the people and testify that they were just men in the service of the Living God. It seems there is something about human nature that wants to elevate certain people to god-like status. But these days, you rarely see such actions; instead these so-called ministers allow the weak to elevate them and make them believe that if they put money into their hands the will somehow, magically, bring increase and multiplication of their finances. This can quickly degenerate into wrong motives or covetousness as many could be tempted to give, not just to bless God's work, but out of greed for the material gain they hope to get for their own selfish purposes.
A person who feels that he is in bondage to debt may give a hope against hope that the minister will help him get such a miraculous return from his offering that he can pay off his debts and get a fresh start.
Kenneth Hagin writes:
“I've heard of people with large credit-card debts or medical bills who had been told to expect "supernatural debt cancellation." Then, through a computer mistake or human error, they received a statement showing that they no longer owed anything or owed a substantially smaller amount. In some cases, a bank deposit was posted incorrectly, giving them credit for a larger amount that was enough to pay off an indebtedness. There is nothing "supernatural" about these kinds of events. Trying to take advantage of them will only lead to more trouble. If some kind of mistake is made in which a Christian is credited with money that he knows doesn't belong to him, he has a moral, ethical, and biblical obligation to rectify the matter.”
How many of us will do this today?
It's been said that as a young man, Abraham Lincoln worked as a clerk in a store. A woman came in one day and purchased some items. Lincoln added up her bill, and it came to two dollars and six and a quarter cent. She paid the bill, was entirely satisfied, and left. Later, Lincoln began to question his calculation. He refigured it and realized the bill should have been two dollars even. That night when he locked the store, he walked two to three miles to her home and paid her the six and a quarter cent.
The Bible says, "If you see your brother's ox or sheep straying, do not ignore it but be sure to take it back to him. If the brother does not live near you or if you do not know who he is, take it home with you and keep it until he comes looking for it. Then give it back to him. Do the same if you find your brother’s donkey or his cloak or anything he loses. Do not ignore it" (Deut.22:1-3 NIV).
SUPERNATURAL WEALTH TRANSFER
So, what about Ecclesiastes 2:26 which says: “To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.”
How then did God intend for this supernatural wealth transfer happen?
The Lord’s intention is that the fruitless labour of the sinner in heaping up his often-ill-gotten gains is not altogether wasted. His treasure is passed into hands that make a better use of it than he has done.
Proverbs 28:8 says, “He that by usury and unjust gains increaseth his substance, he shall gather it for him that will pity the poor,”
And in Job 27:16-17, the Bible says: “Though he heaps up silver as the dust and prepare raiment as the clay; he may prepare it, but the just shall put it on, and the innocent shall divide the silver.”
Also see Proverbs 13:22, A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children, but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous.”
God can and will supernaturally transfer the wealth of the ungodly to those who fear him. But not His children who seek after wealth like the ungodly; propelled by greed and not His children who don’t seek to please Him or are void of wisdom and knowledge.
For most people, getting out of debt is not an instantaneous or overnight process. They don't experience a single miraculous “breakthrough" in which God dumps a big lump sum in their lap. Usually it involves many months—maybe years—of hard work, diligence, good money management, wisdom, living within one's means, and the blessings of God that come through faith. Matt. 25:16-17 tells us the one way of multiplying resources. Hard work!
“16 The one who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he [made a profit and] gained five more. 17 Likewise the one who had two [made a profit and] gained two more.”
The minister who claims to have a "debt-breaking" or “money-multiplying" anointing is in danger of being led deeper into error. Instead of presenting a balanced message of the full Gospel and fulfilling the call of God on his life, he may become a narrowly-focused "specialist," dealing only with money and financial gain. He may even develop into such a skilled fundraiser that he becomes a "hired gun," brought in by other ministry organizations to raise money for them (for a "cut" of the “take"). Instead of living to bless people, strengthen local churches, and advance the cause of Christ, such a preacher runs a great risk and faces great temptation of focusing only on what he can get for himself and his purposes. Somewhere along the way, his original call and mission gets laid aside. The Apostle Paul said, “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a cast-away" (1 Cor. 9:27). That is much too high a price to pay for money.
Parts of this study was culled from The Midas Touch by Kenneth E. Hagin
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
Thursday, July 05 2018
Last week’s study saw us looking at a very interesting topic – Caring for the Messenger where we learnt how important it is for us to care for our pastors and spiritual heads and the blessings we receive for it. As we see in Matthew 10:41-42. Today we shall be considering a topic that many leaders have conveniently shied away from; bordering on the word - Balance! As it relates to Giving and especially Tithing! Balance is “a state in which different things occur in equal or proper amounts or have an equal or proper amount of importance or in the correct proportions”. The opposite of “Balance” is “Imbalance” or “Extremity.” Balance implies you are not picking and choosing scripture to obey but considering all the facts while being guided solely by biblical principles! We need balance because the lack of it means we are thrown into extremes; and that is where the enemy wants us to be because it is easy to get into the ditch of error on either side of the road. A Balanced message therefore implies a message that is not one-sided but complete and entire.
THE ROOT CAUSE OF IMBALANCE
Where the problem lies (and both parties - those who are for tithes and those who are against - are guilty). Is the picking and choosing of what Jesus’s sacrifice covers and which of God’s commands to obey.
THE ANTI-TITHING CAMP
This Camp quotes Galatians 3:13 and say that we don’t need to obey the law because Christ has borne the curse of the law by being hung on a tree. So, let’s read the scripture and see what He did
“But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree."
He rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law and took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. He did not take away the responsibility of our obedience and the blessings that come with it.
Clearly, we are no longer under the curse of the law. What this implies now is that what now propels us to obey God’s commands which includes giving Him His tithe is our love for Him not our fear of the curse.
Many ministers are uncomfortable with preaching this truth because they fear people will take it for granted. But there is nothing we can do but for the truth! Our obedience to God in all giving; tithes, offerings, first fruits, etc. should be propelled by the love of God and not by the fear of the curse!
They also quote Matthew 5:17 which says:
“Do not think that I came to do away with or undo the Law [of Moses] or the [writings of the] Prophets; I did not come to destroy but to fulfil.
And then they go on to say Jesus has fulfilled the commandments, we do not need to fulfil them again. But let’s take a closer look at that scripture and how other versions render the phrase “fulfil it.” Most versions use the same phrase “fulfil it” but two versions render the verse slightly different and throw more light:
The Message version says – “Complete it”; the Living Bible says – “Make them come true”
Now let’s re-read Jesus’s statement in verse 17 in this light and we will see what truly makes sense.
“Do not think that I came to do away with or undo the Law [of Moses] or the [writings of the] Prophets; I did not come to destroy but to complete the Law of Moses and to fulfil the [writings of the] Prophets;
Completing the Law
In terms of the law, we will see how He has come to complete them when we read the rest of the verses from 18-47 with emphasis on the verses 21-22, 27-28, 31-32, 33-37, 43 - 47
Fulfilling The [Writings of the] Prophets
What did the prophets say about Jesus? There are about 55 prophecies that cover His Birth, Ministry, Death and Resurrection. We will just mention one of each
His Birth: Prophecy (2 Samuel 7:12–13) – Fulfilment (Matthew 1:1)
His Ministry: Prophecy (Psalm 40:9) – Fulfilment (Matthew 4:17)
His Death and Resurrection: Prophecy (Psalm 22:18) – Fulfilment (John 19:23–24)
These and many others Jesus came to fulfil and He did fulfil them!
Romans 3:31 (AMP) also says: “Do we then nullify the Law by this faith [making the Law of no effect, overthrowing it]? Certainly not! On the contrary, we confirm and establish and uphold the Law [since it convicts us all of sin, pointing to the need for salvation].
THE TITHING CAMP
There are pastors who have focused more on money, giving, and prosperity than any other subject. Sometimes they would put a guilt trip on people if they didn't give, or they would use high-pressure tactics to motivate individuals to respond. Yes, we know all the scripture verses that teach both the responsibility and blessing of giving. The Bible does say, "Give, and it shall be given unto you..."(Luke 6:38).
It does say, "... seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matthew6:33).
Giving in the Kingdom of God is a very important truth. These truths should be taught to all believers. But using schemes, guilt trips and high-pressure tactics is however not the right way to present this important truth to the people of God. Reason being that the Bible also says: "Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver" (2 Cor. 9:7).
The Message version renders this passage thus:
"I want each of you to take plenty of time to think it over, and make up your own mind what you will give. That will protect you against sob stories and arm-twisting. God loves it when the giver delights in the giving"
There are also preachers try to hammer Christians by quoting from Malachi chapter 3 saying that they are cursed if they don't pay tithes and give offerings. Obviously, this is not correct. While the people of Malachi's day were under the Law of Moses, the New Testament plainly declares that Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the Law (Gal. 3:13). “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”
Does that mean that tithing is no longer valid? Not at all.
God's people were tithers four hundred years before the Law, and Jesus reaffirmed the validity of tithing in His teaching. In the only recorded instance of Jesus' referring to tithing, He said it should be done!
In Matthew 23:23 NLT Jesus, addressing the Pharisees said:
“What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore the more important aspects of the law—justice, mercy, and faith. YOU SHOULD TITHE, YES, but do not neglect the more important things.” Emphasis mine.
This is the end time; we should be aware that there’s a continuous stream of attack from the gates of Hell. In these past few months/years the specific attack is by the god of money (mammon) diverting the funds that should be used in propagating the work of the kingdom into the hands and pockets of the greedy, stingy, ignorant and confused; whether they are pastors or members.
People claim that if the leadership of the church told the people the needs of the church they would give freely. This is simply a baseless claim. Well, God asked for a tithe because He knows us better than we know ourselves. The amount of noise made over the payment of tithes is usually directly proportional to the amount of love we have for money! Be it the pastors or the members!
It does not matter if “Men of God” say you are cursed if you do not pay your tithe! No one can undo the fact that Jesus has taken up the curse of the law on our behalf! The truth is this: There is no curse today for not tithing. We are free from the legalistic requirements of the Mosaic Law. Is there any other consequence? Yes, if we don't tithe, we limit ourselves from receiving the blessings God has promised those who pay tithes and give offerings by faith.
Giving is an essential part of Christian living. Every Christian leader has a responsibility to practice and teach what the Bible says about giving. But the emphasis must be kept in balance with teachings about other truths and doctrines in the Word of God. Pastors do as much a disservice to their congregations by never teaching on tithing and giving as by talking about it all the time. There must be balance. And the purpose for the instruction must be for the benefit and blessing of the people—not just for what the preacher will gain from it. The Bible says that Jesus went about teaching, preaching, and healing (Matt. 9:35). It doesn't say that He spent a lot of time taking up offerings and emphasizing prosperity. We know He did have partners who supported His ministry. We can find scripture references where Jesus talked about money and giving, especially in reference to helping the poor. But even the critics of Jesus were never able to say that He was in it for the money. Instead, the report that was published throughout all Judaea was that He went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed of the devil (Acts 10:38).
Parts of this study was culled from the Midas Touch by Kenneth E Hagin
Thursday, June 28 2018
Contributor: Dolapo Olaoye
Last week, we learnt what it means to partner with God and ways we can partner with God. We went further into “motives” for serving and giving. We then concluded that, rendering service to God and giving are tried and proven ways to plant seeds for a harvest that will result in our needs being met.
Today we are going to look at four ways in which a church should care for its pastor: respect, financial support, accountability and submission of the congregation to the Word of God.
HOW CAN THE CHURCH CARE FOR A MESSENGER (“PASTOR”)?
God asks us to respect our leaders, including the pastor. 1 Thess. 5:12-13
“But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another”.
Caring also includes honoring the pastor and being at peace with him, as well as the other leaders. Pastors deserve honor and respect because he is the one who ministers to the congregation day-by-day, week-by-week, and month-by-month.
We need to resist the temptation of undervaluing Pastors. Focus on their strengths, pray for their weaknesses, Stop comparisons, Appreciate the “small” stuff.
Paul did not say recognize those who preach great sermons or oversee successful ministries. He said: "respect those who labor among you…..."
2. Financial Support
A church should care for its pastor financially.
Financial support should include a regular salary and benefits. If a pastor isn’t being paid generously, his mind and heart are likely divided. I Timothy 5:17-18:
Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and “the laborer deserves his wages.”
Worrying over finances is a difficult thing many pastors go through and honestly it should not be the case. It also makes them stressed, worn-out etc. and yes I know some will say “sure the Lord will provide”.
Yes, the Lord provides and the Lord provides through His people (you and I). Apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians 9-7 “Let everyone give as his heart tells him, neither grudgingly nor under compulsion, for God loves the man who gives cheerfully. After all, God can give you everything that you need, so that you may always have sufficient both for yourselves and for giving away to other people. As the scripture says: “He has dispersed abroad, he has given to the poor; his righteousness remains forever.”
Not many pastors generally have time for family holidays yet at least every summer we take our family and go even on a weekend holiday. A way of financially supporting pastors will be to provide them with a paid family holiday—perhaps anonymously. Be creative and generous with your financial care.
In a church all the leaders become accountable one to another. They are accountable for their approaches, their spiritual lives, and their behavior. The church can also care for its pastor by holding him accountable for his actions and life as he is not more holy or above everyone.
However we need to be careful because some people have a habit of worshipping their pastor, putting them on a pedestal, and they eventually become ‘pastor-worshippers.’ Remember pastors are human beings too. Value the message not the messenger.
God never intended for any leader to be “beyond rebuke,” It still does not mean we should be finding fault with every of their flaws. Everyone has flaws. The issue however is when we consistently sin in a certain area, then each one of us needs help. God is more concerned about our holiness than our comfort.
Finally, if the church believes that God has called their pastor to preach and teach the Word, then the congregation automatically have a responsibility to listen carefully and submit (unless he teaches error). This encourages the pastor to minister joyfully.
“Obey your leaders, and submit to them; for they keep watch over your souls, as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you”. Hebrews 13:17
It is important to note that giving to pastors should not be only because they are in need. The Bible encourages that we give to them because it is a source of receiving a peculiar blessing from God! Matthew 10:41-42 says” “Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.”
There are many ways to care for our pastors. We have studied 4 different ways today and once we respect, financially support, hold accountable and submit to our pastors, it will go a long way towards their ways of ministering to us. Caring is also an act of giving and remember proverbs 11:24: “Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything” NLT.
Thursday, June 21 2018
Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai
During last week’s study we learnt how with more money we can have more ministry. We saw the important role money plays in sending out ministers to reach the unreached. And more especially learnt about generous grace giving. In today’s study we will be looking at entering into partnership with God.
There are two great privileges that God has given to man. The first is salvation, which is the privilege to come into an intimate and eternal relationship with God, to be unified with Him in love. The second greatest privilege is to serve God with good works, which He performs through us as we allow Him to do so. Both privileges are a result of God’s grace.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:8-10)
WHAT IS PARTNERING WITH GOD?
It is a purposeful relationship with the Almighty where you and Him “pool” resources together (money, time, skills, grace, etc.) all for the sole purpose of advancing His kingdom on earth; bearing in mind I Chronicles 29:14 that says: “But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand. Having said that, God owes no man and will reward you! (Read Matthew 6:33, 19:29, Hebrews 6:10).
WAYS OF PARTNERING WITH GOD
There are several ways we can go into partnership with God and be part of what God is doing in the world today:
Ephesians 6:7 AMP says: “Rendering service readily with goodwill, as to the Lord and not to men,”
To render service readily means to render service enthusiastically, gladly and cheerfully.
And to render it with goodwill refers to rendering service with willingness, concern and kindness.
Luke 8:1-3 tells us of those who gave to the ministry of Jesus
“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 Also read Acts 4:32-35
No matter what option we have been given the grace to engage in, our motive and purpose for giving should be pure and unselfish.
The ultimate motive that should drive every one of us is Love (1 Cor.13:1-3)
MOTIVES FOR SERVICE – Watch out for Pitfalls
MOTIVES FOR GIVING
And we should do the same; we should give to God because we love Him.
to the Lord and support His work. In addition to the scriptures we've already examined, there are many others that are unmistakable in their instruction about giving.
These five motives have been listed in an order I believe reflects priorities that are very important. However, it appears these days that undue emphasis is being placed on the last and it is being presented as the major reason for people to give.
Remember, God judges our motives; we can get away with deceiving others but nit Him! He will be definitely inclined towards the one who first loves Him, obeys Him, propagate His work, see His people blessed before they think of receiving from Him than to the one who starts off with receiving from Him first.
Rendering service to God and giving are tried and proven ways to plant seeds for a harvest that will result in our needs being met. The law of sowing and reaping applies in every of life’s situations including personal finances. The Bible is true when it says, " And ye shall serve the LORD your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water;” (Exodus 23:25) and “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. . ." (Luke 6:38). These are good and valid reasons for giving. And I believe they will lead to true prosperity—spirit, soul, and body.
Parts of this study was culled from "The Midas Touch" By Kenneth E Hagin
Wednesday, June 13 2018
Contributor: Leye Olayiwola
Why are preachers and ministries after everybody’s money? This is not the case with all. Again, we must avoid the trap of stereotyping ministers. Obviously, there are operating costs and expenses to maintain any ministry, and there are many Christian organizations which deal with the issue of offerings and fund raising very graciously and admirably. We can empathize with those who may have a negative attitude. It's not surprising why people have become weary with constant appeals for money — we really can't blame them. But at the same time, we must be careful not to become critical and abandon the spreading of the Gospel because of the abuses of some ministries. It is crucial that the message of Jesus Christ be delivered to the world. It is a matter of life or death!
The church or a ministry needs money to operate. Just like you and I need an income to pay electric, water, gas and every other bills, the church needs money to pay its bills too. When you give you are helping your local church care for people in the church and your community, plus you are helping send the Gospel around the world. That's why your church or favorite ministry needs your financial support. When Christians support God's work they are following the command of God to give. Giving is an act of faith and obedience to God. At times you may wonder why you should be giving to a particular church or ministry, because you have questions about how they were spending the money. Although, ultimately God will be the judge of the leadership of that church or ministry, we should also be good stewards (and investors) of God’s resources. God is not a waster!
“Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours. “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. 27 So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.” [Matthew 25:24-28]
However, it is always a privilege to give to God’s work and His Kingdom.
Throughout the Old Testament we commonly see a reference to the tithe. Some people say in the New Testament, under the age of grace, that we should be giving even more than the 10% tithe of the Old Testament. Generous grace giving is the New Testament standard of giving. The real question is, how much do you want to be blessed? Some people give much more because they know God will bless them for their obedience. It's not a give to receive type of arrangement. It is more like, give and trust God to abundantly pour out His blessings on your family. God will bless you in ways that are far more important than money, but we must walk in obedience to enjoy those blessings. Faithfulness is the key in giving.
When you say “grace,” a lot of people, unfortunately, connect it with hang-loose, undisciplined living. But that is not grace! Nor is grace the balance point between legalism and licentiousness. Rather grace (as a system) is totally opposed both to legalism and licentiousness, which are two sides of the same coin.
Legalism and licentiousness both operate on the principle of the flesh. Legalism is an attempt to earn standing with God through human effort and leads to pride or condemnation, depending on how well you do. Licentiousness casts off restraint and lives to gratify the flesh.
But God’s grace is His unmerited favor based on Christ’s sacrifice. The motivating power in grace is the indwelling Spirit of God. The person under grace responds out of love and gratitude to God and depends upon the indwelling Holy Spirit to conform his life to what God requires. With that basic understanding of grace, let us consider what grace giving is not, and what grace giving is.
“How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who [b]preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!” [Romans 10:14-15]
And how can they be sent without money? And how can they get the money except it be given them in God's appointed way, by the gracious and generous giving of God’s people "who have heard the joyful sound?"
Part of this teaching was taken from “THE MIDAS TOUCH” by Kenneth E. Hagin
Thursday, June 07 2018
Contributor: Martins Olubiyi
In our last Bible studies, precisely fortnight ago we examined the purpose of prosperity. Last week we also studied that God’s people must prosper to fulfil the great commission. Today, we are going to study about God’s plan for financing the church and its outreaches via tithing.
Aim: The aim of this study is to examine the purpose of tithing and the blessings it attracts to those who obey this Biblical commandment.
Text: Malachi 3: 10-12. [New International Version (NIV)].
10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be enough room to store it.
11 I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the LORD Almighty.
12 “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the LORD Almighty.
Tithe: What is it?
The concept of tithing was in practice before the old covenant was established. The first person to make a Tithe, which means a tenth (ten percent) of one’s increase was Abram (Genesis 14: 18-20). Abram’s tithe was not under the Law. The Law came more than six hundred years later. It was purely a voluntary act of gratitude to honour “The Most High God, Possessor of heaven and earth”. Abram simply appreciated God’s favour and gave up something of value to honour the One who had helped Him get the victory”. Tithing became a commandment under the Law as we read in our text in Malachi 3 vs 10; “Bring ye all the tithes……. saith 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.”
As we know, there are a lot of debates about the concept of Tithe. The aim of this study is not to delve into opinions of people, but to see from Biblical perspective, the purpose of tithing and the blessing it attracts to those who obey it as a commandment. Jesus said I have not come to abolish the law, ……., but to fulfil. [(Mat 5:17) KJV].
Abram tithed to honour God with his substance.
“An honouring occurs when something that is of value to the one doing the giving is freely or voluntarily giving to someone as a sacrificial gesture of thanksgiving or appreciation. Is God worthy to be highly esteemed for what He Has done and what He still does and what He still does in our lives that we would specially honour Him for it? If it was that way before the Law, how much more should He be esteemed under the New Covenant where we have been given a better covenant with all things in Christ (Hebrew 8: 6).” – Rev. Bill Miller.
Why the Need for tithe?
Tithing is a powerful way to plug in to what God is doing in the world. The combined tithes of a congregation provide the funds to support the outreaches of a church. Hence, we will be getting people saved, building up the body of Christ; Ministering to the poor; Supporting missions; perhaps sponsoring the gospel on radio or television, and helping to provide a living for the pastor and ministry staff – Malachi 3: 10
Where should we Tithe?
As a general principle, it is better to tithe to your local church. The local church is the primary means that God uses to bless people in the earth. The Local church is where the saints are cared for, and it is to be the base for all other outreaches. Various other ministries can and should be supported by offerings and other forms of financial support that comes from individuals and churches. But in most situations, the tithe should go to the local church. Mal 3:10; Heb 13: 17; Phil 4: 15.
Reasons and Purposes of paying Tithe.
Through our tithes, we able to have a part in God’s plan. We partner with God in carrying out His will. This brings great fulfilment and satisfaction- mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Mal 3: 11-12
Obedience to this commandment of Tithing opens the window of Heavens. Note there are three Heavens; one where the birds fly, or our atmosphere; another where the sun, moon and stars are; and the other where God dwells.
God pledges Himself to open the windows of heaven and pour us out the divinest blessings- overflowing blessings, “heaped up, pressed down, shaken together, running over,” that “there shall not be room enough to receive it.” Luke 6: 38.
The Six-Fold Blessings of Tithe:
When we give tithes into our churches for the propagation of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, then we get to be included in their eternal reward. We are the body of Christ. We all have a part to play. “…from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the building up of itself in love.” – Ephesians 4: 16 (NASB). It is not an offence to expect a return from God when we tithe. God emphasis in His word “Test Me”. All we need is an act of faith and to give our tithe with a cheerful hearth not as someone under coercion or duress. God loves a cheerful giver. (Cor 9: 6-7). Above all see tithing as a form of worship and honour to our God. (Prov 3: 9). Then watch out for the deluge of His blessing on your life.
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.
Friday, April 27 2018
Contributor: Dolapo Olaoye
Introduction: Last week, we continued in our study of why we believe Jesus was not poor while on earth. We looked at 2 scriptures where he had provided food and drink for thousands. This week we will consider one of the main purposes why we must not allow ourselves to believe in the mentality that we are meant to be poor for any reason.
Have you ever seen a poor give? Jesus gave in so many ways while he lived on earth.
Jesus was NOT poor while on earth. He had so much to give and He gave. However, if you watch closely He could only give what HE HAD! (Time because he was the master of all time management, Strength even though he was travelling one city to another he drew strength from God to carry on and never gave up or complain, he gave his Life without questions, Knowledge because He believed in passing the acquired knowledge to others as that didn’t make Him less a great man rather One who acquired more knowledge only to again give out)
Ask yourself this, how can I help others if I cannot help myself first?
POOR Defined- Deprived economically, politically and socially. Have inadequate nutrition, higher risk of diseases and lack access to healthcare and basic essentials for living resulting in low achievement.
Agreed; we cannot make such people wealthy but we can at least help them achieve the essentials of life and lead a prosperous life.
Some people only need to be given a chance or opportunity in order for them to live an effective and long-lasting improved lives. Create a new system which motivates them to work and move forward.
Throwing out money or other kinds of donation do help the poor but let’s try another approach to change - raise them instead. Yes, RAISE THEM! Build a relationship with them, teach them and they can regain their self-confidence and self-esteem to work for themselves.
Change your approach. Rather than viewing them as a project (some of us have projects marked giving to the needy). Don’t get me wrong it’s good to help however rather than considering them a “project” start to see them as people to love and respect.
So I have but how exactly do I give the most effective way?
1. Give them a hand up rather than a hand out.
2. Donate Groceries/eatables
Matthew 25:35 “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,”
3. Group Involvement/Volunteering Teams
Deuteronomy 15:11 “For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’
4. Better Understanding
Proverbs 19:17 “Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done.”
Proverbs 13:1-2 “A wise son hears his father's instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke. From the fruit of his mouth a man eats what is good . . .”
REMEMBER YOU CAN NOT GIVE WHAT YOU DO NOT HAVE!
Wednesday, April 18 2018
Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai
Last week we concluded that Jesus wasn’t poor and neither was He homeless by answering two important questions – “When Did Jesus Become Poor?” And “Was Jesus Homeless?”
Today’s study will be likened to the closing statement in a court case; where we will consider other scriptural indications that Jesus didn't live a poverty-stricken life while He was on earth in a topic titled “Fishing for Gold”; to address any iota of doubt that may persist. The underlying basis being that you can’t give what you don’t have and that everyone can be identified by their fruits. Matt. 7:16a says: “You will know them by their fruits.”
STATEMENT NO.1: He Had Access to Both Heavenly and Earthly Resources
I will like to draw your attention to the evidence in Matthew 17:24-27 (MSG)
“24 When they arrived at Capernaum, the tax men came to Peter and asked, “Does your teacher pay taxes?”25 Peter said, “Of course.” But as soon as they were in the house, Jesus confronted him. “Simon, what do you think? When a king levies taxes, who pays—his children or his subjects?” 26-27 He answered, “His subjects.” Jesus said, “Then the children get off free, right? But so we don’t upset them needlessly, go down to the lake, cast a hook, and pull in the first fish that bites. Open its mouth and you’ll find a coin. Take it and give it to the tax men. It will be enough for both of us.”
From this scripture, we see Jesus displaying that He had access to both heavenly and earthly resources and these resources were at His beck and call. If He wanted more than a coin, He could have commandeered it.
STATEMENT NO.2 – He Had the Power to Miraculously Multiply Resources
There are also other examples, when Jesus operated God’s miraculous power in meeting the physical and material needs of others. Matthew14:15-21 (MSG) says:
“15 Toward evening the disciples approached him. “We’re out in the country and it’s getting late. Dismiss the people so they can go to the villages and get some supper.” 16 But Jesus said, “There is no need to dismiss them. You give them supper.” 17 “All we have are five loaves of bread and two fish,” they said. 18-21 Jesus said, “Bring them here.” Then he had the people sit on the grass. He took the five loaves and two fish, lifted his face to heaven in prayer, blessed, broke, and gave the bread to the disciples. The disciples then gave the food to the congregation. They all ate their fill. They gathered twelve baskets of leftovers. About five thousand were fed.”
“32 But Jesus wasn’t finished with them. He called his disciples and said, “I hurt for these people. For three days now they’ve been with me, and now they have nothing to eat. I can’t send them away without a meal—they’d probably collapse on the road.” 33 His disciples said, “But where in this deserted place are you going to dig up enough food for a meal?” 34-39 Jesus asked, “How much bread do you have?” “Seven loaves,” they said, “plus a few fish.” At that, Jesus directed the people to sit down. He took the seven loaves and the fish. After giving thanks, he divided it up and gave it to the people. Everyone ate. They had all they wanted. It took seven large baskets to collect the leftovers. Over four thousand people ate their fill at that meal. After Jesus sent them away, he climbed in the boat and crossed over to the Magadan hills.
These passages tell two different stories of Jesus feeding; on one account five thousand men with five loaves and two fish and the feeding of four thousand men with seven loaves and a few fish on the other account. These go to further prove Jesus’ access to heaven’s unlimited resources.
In John 6: 26 Jesus said: "Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill.
Multitudes followed Jesus for what He could offer them; not only spiritually but physically. Proverbs 19:4 says: “Wealth attracts many friends, but even the closest friend of the poor person deserts them.”
During His ministry on the earth, time and again Jesus demonstrated that the resources necessary to meet every need were available to Him. He was not limited in anyway; being God, He owned the cattle in ten thousand hills. There is quite a lot we can learn from how He handled the resources at His disposal; He never attached importance to it more than is necessary. In Luke 12:15 he warned “. . . Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions."
He had access to both earthly and heavenly resources but He didn’t “flaunt” it and didn’t live a flamboyant lifestyle; that was why many times He would sneak away and mix with the crowd without standing out.
Wednesday, April 11 2018
Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai
As much as the Lord desires for all of us to prosper here on earth; there are many who teach that Christians should not live in prosperity. One of the arguments used by those who oppose the idea of material prosperity for Christians is that Jesus was poor during the time He lived on earth. They say He lived an impoverished life from the time He was born in a stable and laid in a manger bed, throughout His ministry when He had no home, until He was crucified and buried in a borrowed tomb.
The idea of Jesus' poverty has been repeated so often and passed down for so long that most people never stop to question it and see if it is scripturally valid or not. In fact, this commonly accepted teaching is totally contrary to the clear teaching of Scripture.
First, let’s look at the terms used to define the word “poor”
"destitute, inferior, indigent, needy, impoverished, feeble, pitiful, lacking, insufficient".
Will any of these be a true description of the way Jesus lived? Definitely not!
Yes, on the night Jesus was born, Joseph and Mary had to take shelter in a stable. They wrapped Jesus in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger. But the Bible does not say they were in the stable because they didn't have enough money to rent a room. That Jesus was therefore born in a manger due to the overcrowding in Bethlehem was certainly no indication of poverty.
Next, we will answer two important questions based on the two primary scriptures used to erroneously substantiate the idea that Jesus was poor.
Question 1: When Did Jesus Become Poor?
2 Corinthians 8:9: “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.”
This passage undeniably declares that Jesus became poor and experienced poverty.
But when? Was it during His entire earthly life? During His years of ministry? Exactly when did Jesus become poor?
Jesus was not a poor man during the thirty-three years of His earthly life, including the three years of His earthly ministry. He was made poor upon the Cross when He became our Substitute and paid the penalty and price for our sin.
Isaiah 53, the great substitutionary chapter of the Bible, speaks of how Jesus bore our sins. He took upon Himself what belonged to us so that we could receive what belongs to Him.
“Surely he hath borne our GRIEFS [the word translated “griefs" is the Hebrew word "choli," which means diseases], and carried our SORROWS [this is the Hebrew word "makob," which means pains]: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the CHASTISEMENT OF OUR PEACE was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. . .. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief [The Amplified Bible says, "He has put Him to grief and made Him sick"]: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.” Isaiah 53:4-6,10
The word translated "peace" in verse 5 is the Hebrew word “shalom," which has the following meanings and connotations: safe, well, happy, welfare, health, prosperity, and rest. In other words, this passage tells us that God allowed Jesus to bear our sins and sicknesses so that by His stripes, we could have healing, peace, safety, wellness, happiness, rest, and prosperity.
There are other important "substitutionary" verses to consider.
2 Corinthians 5:21 “For he [God] hath made him [Jesus] to be SIN for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the RIGHTEOUSNESS of God in him.
Galatians 3:13,14 “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made A CURSE for us: for it is written, cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree: that THE BLESSING of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
At Calvary, Christ took on sickness to provide us health. He was made sin so we could be made the righteousness of God. He was made a curse so we could receive the blessing.
Let's look again at Second Corinthians 8:9. "For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became POOR, that ye through his POVERTY might be RICH."
We see that by His sacrifice on the Cross, Jesus took our poverty to provide us the riches of His grace. He became poor that we might be rich, which means abundant provision!
When did Jesus take on sin, sickness, the curse, and poverty? On the Cross! He did this so we could receive health, righteousness, blessing, and prosperity. He took the punishment that belonged to us so that we could receive the blessings that belong to Him.
Question 2: Was Jesus Homeless?
Luke 9:58: “And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.”
This verse is often interpreted to mean that Jesus lived such an impoverished life that He never owned a home or had a place to stay after He began His earthly ministry. But contrary to traditional thinking, Jesus did have a place of residence. The passage most often cited by people in an attempt to prove that Jesus never owned a home or had a residence is found in Luke chapter 9.
Let's read all the related verses in context.
“As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?" But Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they went to another village. As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go." Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."
Reading in context, we learn that in verse 58 Jesus was simply saying, "At this time in My life, I am on the move. I’m going forward on My way to fulfil My mission. I'm not settling down on this earth, but I'm on My way to be taken up to Heaven."
There are also other scriptures that seem to indicate that Jesus did have an earthly home or residence.
Matthew 4:12,13 (NIV) “When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he returned to Galilee. Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali.”
Mark 2:1 is also very interesting. It reads, "A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home" (NIV).
Jesus couldn't "come home" or be reported as being "at home" if He didn't have a home.
The argument that Jesus didn't have a home cannot be used as proof of the poverty of Jesus because Scripture indicates that Jesus did indeed have a home.
We can be certain that Jesus becoming poor for our sakes was only at the cross. Reading through the Gospels, we discover that Jesus was not portrayed as a poverty-stricken individual. He was also never sick but He took our sicknesses. He never sinned but took on our sins. He wasn’t poor but became poor so that we might become rich once we accept His gift of salvation. All these exchanges took place at the cross! This therefore concludes that prior to the cross, Jesus was rich!
This study was culled from “The Midas Touch” By Kenneth-E-Hagin
Wednesday, April 04 2018
Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai
In our last study titled “Angels Are Ministering Spirits” we learnt that God’s Angels are His ministers who harken to the instructions of His words that He has given onto us. They are messengers who deliver God’s blessings to His children which includes material, physical and spiritual prosperity. Today, from our text with emphasis on verse 11 which says: “After coming into the house, they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” We will learn the importance of giving our best to the Lord. The wise men presented from their treasure, “valuable” gifts as part of their worship:
Gold: Tangible wealth has always been based upon the possession of gold and silver. In biblical times, gold’s primary purpose was (and still should be) storage for wealth and value.
Frankincense: Gives out a highly sweet-smelling fragrance when burned, and was therefore used in worship, where it was burned as a pleasant offering to God. See Exodus 30:8; Leviticus 16:12.
Myrrh: Is obtained from a thorny tree, which grows 8 or 9 feet high; used chiefly in embalming the dead, because it had the property of preserving dead bodies from putrefaction and was an ingredient of the holy ointment, Exodus 30:23
They offered Him gold as to a King, frankincense as a High Priest, and myrrh to sweeten the place where He was. It was customary in the East to show respect for persons of distinction by making presents or offerings of this kind.
The offerings here referred to were made because they were the most valuable items which the country of the wise men produced. They were tokens of respect and homage which they paid to the new-born King of the Jews.
The fact that this deed of the wise men (offering their best gifts and offerings) to the Lord was recorded in the Bible teaches us that it is right that we give to Him that which is of value including our hearts, our property, our all.
1. THE SIGNIFICANCE OF GIFTS
“A gift opens the way and ushers the giver into the presence of the great.”
In Genesis 43:11; when Joseph’s brothers needed to return to Egypt, Israel asked them to prepare a gift for Joseph.
“Then their father Israel said to them, "If it must be, then do this: Put some of the best products of the land in your bags and take them down to the man as a gift--a little balm and a little honey, some spices and myrrh, some pistachio nuts and almonds.
It is custom still common in the East, and everywhere in the world that it is unusual to approach a person of distinguished rank without a valuable present. Not to bring someone of honour gifts is to despise them. 1 Samuel 10:27 says: “But some scoundrels said, "How can this fellow save us?" They despised him and brought him no gifts. But Saul kept silent.
Proverbs 3:9 says: “Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the first fruits of all thine increase” The NLT says: “Honour the LORD with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce.”
When you give God your first fruits, you not only give Him the first, you give Him the best. In Malachi chapter 1, the Israelites brought God the worst of their leftovers for their sacrifices—the sick, blind, and lame animals. This is particularly important to us today because sometimes that’s what we bring God—our leftover time, energy, and devotion. We come to God when we’re not at our peak.
Let us consider a very popular story in the Bible recorded in Genesis 4:3-5. The AMP version says: “And in the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground. But Abel brought [an offering of] the [finest] firstborn of his flock and the fat portions. And the Lord had respect (regard) for Abel and for his offering; but for Cain and his offering He had no respect. So Cain became extremely angry (indignant), and he looked annoyed and hostile.”
The MSG version says: “Abel also brought an offering, but from the firstborn animals of his herd, choice cuts of meat.”
So, what was the difference? Why did God accept Abel’s offering and not Cain’s?
It was because Abel brought God the best because he believed God desired and deserved the best. Cain’s offering showed that he thought God deserved something but not necessarily the best. He kept the best for himself instead of offering it to God. Whenever you give God what is first in your heart, time, and treasure, (not when you have the time, not when you have done everything else, not if there is any money left, not if there is any energy left) you’re honouring Him as God; and the Lord will have respect (regard) for your sacrifice and be pleased with you.
2. THE BENEFITS OF GIVING
(a) You create the opportunity to receive even more!
When we give willingly, God will reward us in such abundance of blessings that they will be overflowing our basket and filling the robe in our lap.
It is important to know that the amount you give will determine the amount you get back! 2 Corinthians 9:6 (AMP) says: “Now [remember] this: he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows generously [that blessings may come to others] will also reap generously [and be blessed].
(b) You are guaranteeing continuous income
Like Abel, we should give God the best because we believe God desires and deserves the best then He will ensure our barns (our bank accounts) are always filled with plenty of provision. And our vats to overflow. That means in addition to having plenty of provision in our bank accounts, God also promises to keep our income flowing to us in response to honouring Him with our first fruits offering.
When you think about it, those promises make sense. Our first fruits offerings demonstrate that we can be trusted with money because we don’t love money to the point of holding on tightly to it. It opens things up to work in our favour on the income side of the equation. And since we can be trusted to be good stewards over our finances, God can keep income flowing to us knowing it will be handled responsibly and our vats are overflowing as more and more income comes our way over time.
(c) You create the opportunity for an overflow while protecting what you already have!
It is a blessing to know that we are part of the New Covenant; we are therefore free from the curse of the law. So, there is no punishment associated with not tithing. Instead, when we choose to tithe from our own free will, it releases God to be able to actively act on our behalf in two very specific ways. According to Mal.3:10-11
Giving tangible, valuable gifts of treasure to the Almighty should come naturally to us as we worship and honour Him; but unfortunately, this is not the case. The reason is due to the selfish nature of the fallen man. It is also a trick played by the enemy on believers to deprive them of their blessings!
That is why once the issue of money is raised, people become overly sensitive! Not to mention how some ministers have misrepresented giving to the Lord for their personal gains.
Apart from the fact that He desires and deserves the best; God’s request for us to give unto Him in offerings, tithes and first fruits have different purposes in the Kingdom of God. They all work together on our behalf so God can bless our finances in different ways.
Wednesday, March 28 2018
Contributor: Martins Olubiyi
Introduction: Ministering spirits are otherwise referred to as Angels. The etymology of the word Angel is derived from the Latin word “Angelus”; meaning “messenger of God”. Angels were created by God. They are real. Their existence predates the creation of man. They constitute one the mysteries of God’s creations. They are spirit beings sent forth to minister unto them who shall be heirs of salvation. Heb 1:14.
Aim: The aim of this study is to explore the Biblical truth about Angels. We shall seek to know and see the mystery behind their role for those who are to inherit salvation. Mystery is meant to be known; Mat 13:11, mystery is meant to be seen Eph 3: 3, 9.
Today, we are going to examine the nature and ministry of Angels.
Truth and Error
The subject of Angels is very important in the life of a believer in Christ Jesus. Satan, the enemy of God and the human family is constantly on alert to pervert the truth and draw men away from the knowledge of the true God and of His law. Angels are divinely commissioned messengers sent to minister to those who are heirs of salvation. To frustrate this truth, Satan invented substitutes right from the time of the Egyptian priests to the modern spirit mediums, teaching that the spirit of the dead return to minister to their friends in this world through necromancy, clairvoyant psychic, etc.
Angels are not the spirits of the dead: Job 14: 19-21; Eccl. 9: 5,6; Heb. 9: 27. From these Scriptural verses, it is established that the spirits of dead men never come back to communicate with the living. They know nothing about the affairs of their friends or what is done in this world.
The Heavenly Family: Eph 3: 14-15, reads “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.”
We can ask; “who makes up this family in heaven?” Of course, not the spirits of dead men, but the holy angels who were created in heaven before man was made upon the earth.
In Gen 3: 24; there were Cherubim (high order of angels) that were assigned by God to guard the way of the tree of life when Adam and Eve were driven out of Eden. This was before any man had died. Therefore, they were not the souls of dead men.
Angels were present at the foundation of the earth: In Job 38: 3-7. “Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee and answer thou me. Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measure thereof, if thou knowest? Or who laid the corner stones thereof; when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.”
This proves that the heavenly family did exist before man was created; therefore, they were not disembodied spirits. Men and angels are not of the same nature: The testimony of David in Psa 8: 4-5. “What is man……. Thou hast made in a little lower than the angels”. Also Heb. 2:16, Paul says “For verily He took not on Him the nature of angels; but He took the seed of Abraham.”
Angels are real beings: They are real personal beings, possessing form and substance. Zeller’s Bible Dictionary, art. Says Angels are not without body, as we cannot very easily conceive of any creature without bodily form; but they have higher, finer, ethereal bodily form, which is according to the heavenly world system to which they belong”. The Bible substantiates this unequivocally in Isa. 6: 1,2: Ezek. 10:12. Also in Gen. 18:1-8; 19:1-3 The Lord appeared to Abraham in the plain of Mamre and Lot in Sodom respectively. Angel did eat man’s food. Psa. 78: 23-25. David says, “Man did eat angel’s food”.
Number of the Angels: The exact number of the holy angels is not stipulated in the Bible. However, there are instances from which we may form an idea of the limitlessness of this heavenly hosts of God. In Mat. 26: 53 Jesus said “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He shall presently give Me more than twelve legions of angels”. Also, in Heb 12:22, Paul talks of innumerable company of angels.
Their work in the Gospel: The work of unfolding the things contained in the prophecy of Daniel, especially concerning the atonement and the sacrifice of the Messiah, was committed to Angel Gabriel. Dan. 8: 13-17; 9: 20-27. The same Angel Gabriel was assigned to foretell the birth of John the Baptist, and of the Messiah in Luke 1:11-19, 26-33. In the end time of the great harvest angels have a role to play. In Rev. 14: 6-12, angels will be involved; working alongside men. The proclamation will not be in their own, or according to their own wisdom but with the help from heaven. Zech. 4: 6 says “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts.”
Angels are ministering spirits to the children of God: We have established that “Angel” signifies messenger. The Union Bible Dictionary, says the original word, both in Hebrew and Greek , means messenger as it translated in Matt. 11:10. From this verse it is the office of the angels to oversee the works of God, especially the cause of God in this earth; to watch over His children, minister to their needs, and defend them from their adversary, the devil. Innumerable in their number, they are always before the throne of God, to attend to His command- Rev. 5:11. The angels are His officers, or messengers, whom He Has appointed to have charge of this earth; They watch over His people, and minister to their needs; They bear the prayers of the saints up before the Lord, and come again to answer them, according to God’s direction. Psa. 103: 19-22. Many instances are recorded in the Bible where God Has sent His angel to minister to His children. In Gen. 24: 7, Abraham said to his servant, “The Lord shall send His angel before thee.” In 1 Kings 19: 5,6- An angel ministered to Elijah when he was weak, he said: “arise and eat”.
Every child of God has a guardian Angel: The Lord sends an angel to watch over every one of His children given assurance of victory over every foe in warfare. Ps. 34:7 says “The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him.” In Acts. 12, the angel of God attended to the disciples’ prayers for Peter in prison, in vs 15, they said “it is his angel” because of Rhoda’s testimony. In time of trouble, it is said to the saints, “For He shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone”.
Conclusion: Beloved, ministering spirits are real. They are eager to hearken to the voice of God’s word in our mouths. The Lord said to us in the world we shall face tribulation, but we should be of good cheer because we have overcome the world. Angels are deployed by God to attend to our needs as heirs of salvation. But because we cannot see the angels with our natural eyes, we are quick to forget that they are constantly with us, seeing and hearing us, and noting our words and conduct. Therefore, let us create our world with our words as we avail the assistance of our ministering spirits.
This study was culled from Angels: Their Nature and Ministry: Revised by J. H. Waggoner.
Thursday, March 22 2018
Contributor: Dolapo Olaoye
Introduction: Last week, we looked at some of the derived benefits of becoming overcomers through the redemptive work of Christ. We looked at the foundation and source of our overcomers’ nature. This week we will consider one of the most important revelations we need to have: “Satan has been totally defeated through Jesus and the work of the cross.”
Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.
The word disarmed here speaks of God stripping Satan of all his weaponry, leaving him with no weapons to fight with thereby completely powerless. Jesus rose from the dead and totally plundered the enemy (reduced the devil to NOTHING!). To make the pain hurt even more Jesus threw a huge party. Colossians 2:15 teaches us is that Jesus completely stripped Satan, principalities and powers and left them utterly naked with no weapons with which to fight. And there was a party like no other to celebrate the triumph of the cross.
And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you”.
This clearly states our authority in Christ. It is worth meditating on regularly. Get it from your mind into your spirit.
And the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and he tore the lion apart as one would have torn apart a young goat, though he had nothing in his hand. But he did not tell his father or his mother what he had done.
Samson defeated the lion, a picture of Satan the roaring lion, by the power of the Holy Spirit. It is by the power of Holy Spirit we can defeat all the enemies’ attacks. There is a stronger lion in us, the lion of the tribe of Judah, than the lion that is against us.
If we are surrounded by all the demons of hell, afflicted on every side we need not fear if the Spirit of The Lord is upon us. Our affliction may be a habit or temptation to sin, we can conquer it by the sanctifying power of the Spirit. It may be the pull of worldly things, lust of flesh, pride of life, still we can overcome that lion, tear him to pieces by the power of Holy Spirit. You simply need to develop your spirit man, train him (equipment is the bible) to become strong and powerful hence preparing you to defeat every roaring lion that attacks. You simply need to be READY not scared!
Some might say “well I’m trying to overcome them” THAT’S the problem! Stop trying and simply accept by faith what Jesus did. Christ Victory is your Victory.
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
2 Corinthians 2:11
Query: Since these principalities and powers are dethroned, why then are they still ruling the world?
Response: Because the world doesn’t know that they’re dethroned so they can act upon it!
Thursday, March 15 2018
Introduction: We learnt how we lost our divine mandate through the first man Adam and how God, through well thought-out plan which could only have been the work of the only source of wisdom Himself, recovered this mandate through the one and only Jesus Christ our Lord and personal Saviour. Man regained his authority through Christ’s complete work on the cross and His resurrection from the dead.
We will go further today as we consider the derived benefit of becoming overcomers through this redemptive work of Christ in our study today.
To Overcome simply means to defeat or succeed in controlling or dealing with something: So in other words, we can not be overcomers without facing or having hindrances to our advancements. The word Overcome means nothing without an Obstacle. So how did the obstacle come about?
“And I will put enmity (open hostility) Between you and the woman, And between your seed (offspring) and her Seed; He shall [fatally] bruise your head, And you shall [only] bruise His heel.”
[Genesis 3:15 AMP]
“Therefore rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them [in the presence of God]. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you in great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time [remaining]!”
[Revelation 12:12 AMP]
“And war broke out in heaven, Michael [the archangel] and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels fought, but they were not strong enough and did not prevail, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, the age-old serpent who is called the devil and Satan, he who continually deceives and seduces the entire inhabited world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.”
[Revelation 12: 7-9 AMP]
“ among them the god of this world [Satan] has blinded the minds of the unbelieving to prevent them from seeing the illuminating light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
[2 Corinthians 4:4 AMP]
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this [present] darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) places”.
[Ephesians 6:12 AMP]
“having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of legal demands [which were in force] against us and which were hostile to us. And this certificate He has set aside and completely removed by nailing it to the cross. When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities [those supernatural forces of evil operating against us], He made a public example of them [exhibiting them as captives in His triumphal procession], having triumphed over them through the cross.”
[Colossians 2:14-15 AMP]
“When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as though dead. And He placed His right hand on me and said, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last[absolute Deity, the Son of God], and the Ever-living One [living in and beyond all time and space]. I died, but see, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of [absolute control and victory over] death and of Hades (the realm of the dead).”
[Revelation 1:17-18 AMP]
“Therefore, since [these His] children share in flesh and blood [the physical nature of mankind], He Himself in a similar manner also shared in the same [physical nature, but without sin], so that through [experiencing] death He might make powerless (ineffective, impotent) him who had the power of death—that is, the devil”
[Hebrews 2:14 AMP]
“even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,”
[Ephesians 2:6 AMP]
“For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”
[Acts 2:34-35 NKJV]
In order to consistently work in the victory that Christ has won for us, we must constantly walk in this knowledge that we are overcomers with Christ Jesus. Remember that 1 John 4: 4a uses the phrase “….and have overcome them” NOT “…will overcome”. It is a settled matter!!! Does that mean we will not experience set-backs? No. But, we must also be confidence of the truth that;
“And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.
[Romans 8:28 AMP]
What we consider as set-backs are mostly set-ups for a higher level or platform of operation. Hallelujah!. Remember, without oppositions, victory has no meaning.
“To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” [Colossians 1:27]
This is the mystery: Through the Holy Ghost, Christ indwells us, and we are the Body of Christ. He is the Head, and we are the Body. Now, can your head have one experience and your body another experience? No, it's impossible. In the same way, the Lord Jesus' victory is our victory. When He overcame demons and evil spirits and put them to nought, that's all marked down to our credit. Notice it says, "YE . . . have overcome them ..." (1 John4:4).
Then why do people have so much trouble with evil spirits? Because of their wrong thinking! They don't know that in Christ, they've overcome demons and evil spirits. And because they don't know it, they don't act on it. But believers do have authority over Satan. They just need to believe and exercise that authority in every area of their lives, including the area of finances.
Part of this teaching was taken from “THE MIDAS TOUCH” by Kenneth E. Hagin
Friday, March 09 2018
Contributor: Alex Alajiki
In our last bible study, on the 21st of February, we had revelational insight into Isa.1:19 “If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land”. We saw that it is the will of God to make us enjoy the good of any land we are located.
The conditions are; willingness(submission) and obedience. We discovered that obedience and submission are two different things. Obedience is an action and submission is an attitude. Obedience can be outward but willingness is of the heart and God can see whether we are willingly obedient to Him.
It takes humility to submit to God’s authority in our life and to do what He says so that we can enjoy the good of the land. For obedience to accomplish its purpose, it must be complete. Partial obedience is disobedience before God.
To be willing and obedient implies keeping your motives pure. If a person's motive is not right, he needs to repent and make the necessary adjustments; because God is not going to bless someone whose motives are impure. To eat the good of the land, we must therefore be both willing and obedient. Kenneth Hagin’s story on his encounter with God based on Ias.1:19 is a classic.
This week, we are considering the area of authority given to man to exercise on earth to get his needs met.
1. God’s original Mandate: Gen.1:26-28
“Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
When the Lord created Adam, Adam was in one sense the god of this world because God created the world and the fullness thereof and turned it over to him. Adam committed treason against God and handed over his authority to Satan. Now Adam didn't have a moral right to disobey God and sell out to Satan, but he had a legal right to do it.
“Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him[d] all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 6 And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. 7 Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.” Luk.4:5-7
Satan became the god of this world in place of Adam according to 2 Cor.4:4. His assignment is to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). He stole the dominion mandate from Adam when he fell from grace to grass(Rom.3:23).
Satan showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time and said to Him, "All this authority will I give Thee and the glory of it, for it is delivered unto me." Who delivered it to him? Adam did!
Satan was using this mandate to control the world system and economy. The world and it fulness was created for Adam and not for Satan to control. Ps.50:10-12, Hag.2:8 “The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine,’ says the Lord of hosts.”
God created the silver and the gold and they were created for His children to enjoy.
2. Jesus Recovered Our Dominion Mandate: Col.2:11-15
“In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, 14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.”
After paying the full price for our salvation on the cross by His passion (crucifixion and death on the cross). Then He proceeded and disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.
Jesus made a show of principalities and powers openly. That is, He made a show of them before three worlds—Heaven, earth, and hell—triumphing over these powers through the Cross (Col. 2:15).
He boldly declared when He rose from the dead in Matt.28:18 “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.”
3. Jesus restored our Authority to govern the earth; Col.1:12-14
“Giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, [c] the forgiveness of sins.”
We were restored to higher position from were Adam fell. We must use our God-given authority to enforce Satan's defeat and enjoy the blessings of God that we have in Christ, including financial prosperity.
Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet [or able] TO BE PARTAKERS OF THE INHERITANCE OF THE SAINTS IN LIGHT. Colossians 1:12
Here is the inheritance of the saints in light that the Father gives because of Jesus' defeating Satan.
Who [the Father] HATH DELIVERED US FROM THE POWER OF DARKNESS, and HATH TRANSLATED US INTO THE KINGDOM OF HIS DEAR SON. Colossians 1:13
Jesus is not going to deliver us; He already has delivered us. The rest of that verse says, "...from the POWER of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son." Notice that word "power” which means authority. In other words, God hath delivered us from the authority or dominion of darkness. Well, what's the authority or dominion of darkness? That's Satan's kingdom.
We're in the world, all right. But we're not of the world (John 15:19). The whole world is in darkness, but God hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the Kingdom of His dear Son (Col. 1:13)! That's our inheritance. Darkness represent poverty, sickness oppression and every evil in Satan’s domain. We are no longer in his domain. We are already translated into the kingdom of God and have authority over the kingdom of darkness according to Luke.10:19 “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.”
We can use this authority and claim everything Satan stole from us and get our financial needs met. But we must learn to think and speak in line with what the Word says. We can have what the Word says we can have, and we are who the Word says we are. We are born of God!
Jesus never lacks anything because He always exercise authority to get His needs met while He was physically on earth. We are presently His representatives on earth, and must operate with the same authority He gave us.
“YE ARE OF GOD, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” —1 John 4:4.
Part of this teaching was taken from “THE MIDAS TOUCH” by Kenneth E. Hagin.
Thursday, February 22 2018
Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai
In the last study, we looked at “Qualifications for Walking in Prosperity.” We learnt that the “qualification” referred to in the title is the condition that must be fulfilled before the “right” of walking in prosperity can be acquired. We concluded that God wants us to prosper in every area of our lives but He does not want us to live our lives in misplaced priorities. And that our material and physical prosperity are hinged on our spiritual prosperity. Today’s study is titled; “The Good of the Land”.
What do you think of when you hear the phrase, "the good of the land"?
The Amplified versions refers to it as “the best of the land”; the NIV says: “the good things of the land.”
To go to through today’s study, we shall be splitting this verse of scripture into two parts
I. THE OUTCOME: THE GOOD OF THE LAND
What does THE GOOD OF THE LAND refer to?
“Let the peoples praise You, O God; Let all the peoples praise You. Then the earth shall yield her increase; God, our own God, shall bless us.”
1 Tim. 6:17: "As for the rich in this present world, instruct them not to be conceited and arrogant, nor to set their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly and ceaselessly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.”
Material blessing is a part of God’s goodness. He delights in our enjoyment of the increase of the earth. Jer.2:7 says:
“And I brought you into a plentiful country, to eat the fruit thereof and the goodness thereof;”
In Gen.45:18-20, Pharaoh said to Joseph:
“And take your father and your households, and come unto me: and I will give you the good of the land of Egypt, and you shall eat of the fat of the land. Now thou art commanded, this do ye; take you wagons out of the land of Egypt for your little ones, and for your wives, and bring your father, and come. Also regard not your stuff; for the good of all the land of Egypt is yours.”
And in Genesis 47:27, the Bible records that the Israelites gained possessions and acquired property there and were fruitful and multiplied greatly.
II. THE ACTION: WILLINGNESS AND OBEDIENCE
Obedience and submission are two different things. Obedience is an action and submission is an attitude. God looks at our heart. He knows whether we are willing to obey Him or not. It takes humility to submit to God’s authority in our life and to do what He says. So, we must be submitted to God with all our heart and we must obey Him by doing everything He says to do.
(a) Willingness: Willingness refers to us consenting in our wills to the Father. Mark 14:36 (NLT): “Father, everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will, not mine"
Willingness also refers to a desire to obey; not coerced, not cajoled! A willing spirit is what sustains us; keeps us from falling in life. David prayed in Psalm 51:12 (AMP): “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit.”
(b) Obedience: Obedience here implies our being submissive in our actions. To be compliant with an order, request, or law or submission to another's authority. Abraham was completely obedient. Genesis 12:4 says: “So, Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran.:”
James 1:22 (NIV) says: “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
Obedience implies doing what the Word of God says.
1 Kings 2:3 (NIV) says: “Observe what the Lord your God requires: Walk in obedience to him, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and regulations, as written in the Law of Moses. Do this so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go”
For obedience to accomplish its purpose, it must be complete. Partial obedience is disobedience
God is the author and source of all the blessings in our lives. Psalm 50:10-11 says that He owns the cattle on a thousand hills; and all the animals of the field are His! It is Him who also causes the land to produce goodness. Psalm 85:12 “Yea, the LORD shall give that which is good; and our land shall yield her increase.”
For us partake in eating the good of the land, we must be submitted, spirit, soul and body, to Him. God does not force His will on us; so, we must make the choice ourselves to yield our wills to Him.
Let us learn from an encounter Kenneth Hagin had about Isaiah 1:19. God asked him to leave a church and go into the field and he obeyed but he really didn’t want to go. Afterwards, he started having financial issues and he went to God quoting Isaiah 1:19. God told him that although he qualified on the obedience side, he didn’t qualify on the willingness side. And because it is one and the other not one or the other he therefore didn’t qualify to eat the good of the land! To be willing and obedient implies keeping your motives pure. God sees our hearts, and He knows what attitudes are motivating us (1 Sam. 16:7). If a person's motive is not right, he needs to repent and make the necessary adjustments; because God is not going to bless someone whose motives are impure.
To eat the good of the land, we must therefore be both willing and obedient!
Thursday, February 08 2018
Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai
In last week’s study, we looked at Learning to think in line with God's Word. We saw that unless we thought this way we would miss out on the very many blessings God has for us.
In today’s study we shall be looking at an interesting topic: “Qualifications for Walking in Prosperity.” Qualification referred to here is a condition that must be fulfilled before a right can be acquired. As a foundation of this study we need to establish the following:
There is nothing wrong with being rich and having money. But it is wrong for money to have you! It is wrong for money to be your ruler or master or for you to consume finances entirely on your own lusts. God wants us to prosper in every area of our lives but He does not want us to live our lives with misplaced priorities.
PART 1: TYPES OF PROSPERITY
John writes in 3John2 (NKJV):
" Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things (Materially) and be in health, (Physically), just as your soul (Spiritually/Emotionally) prospers." Emphasis mine.
In this verse, John talks about financial or material prosperity, physical prosperity, and spiritual prosperity. Notice that material and physical prosperity are dependent upon spiritual prosperity. He concluded the verse by saying “even as thy soul prospereth”.
From 3 John 2, we can therefore conclude that there are broadly three types of prosperity
PART 2: QUALIFICATIONS OR CONDITIONS
In this second part we will be looking at qualifications or conditions for walking in prosperity. These conditions are not man-made conditions but directions from the Lord in His word! No wonder he told Joshua how to make his way prosperous (how to walk in prosperity) in Joshua 1:8 the Bible says: “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”
So, what are the contents of this book of law we keep always on our lips and meditate on day and night?
Let’s look at five of them.
CONDITION 1: PUT THE SPIRITUAL BEFORE THE MATERIAL
Matt.6:28-33. Emphasis on verse 33.
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
Putting the spiritual first guarantees material prosperity.
CONDITION 2: BE WILLING AND OBEDIENT
Isaiah 1: 19 says: “If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land".
God wants us to prosper materially! But our prosperity depends on our putting first things first. From this scripture, we find two words coming ahead of eating the good of the land. “willingness” and “obedience”.
CONDITION 3: ESTEEM EARTHLY THINGS LIGHTLY
Matthew 6:19-21 (NIV) says:
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
You must esteem earthly things lightly and esteem heavenly things highly! Align your desires and will with the Lord’s. This action guarantees Spiritual/Emotional prosperity.
Proverbs 11:28 (NKJV) says: “He who trusts in his riches will fall, But the righteous will flourish like foliage.”
You cannot hold tightly to earthly things and expect to prosper as God desires you to.
Ephesians 1:3 says:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ”
CONDITION 4: COMMIT TO SERVING THE LORD
John’s prayer in 3John2 is that we “be in health” or have good health or prosper physically.
Exodus 23:25 - 26 tells us how we can guarantee this
“So you shall serve the Lord your God, and He will bless your bread and your water. And I will take sickness away from the midst of you. No one shall suffer miscarriage or be barren in your land; I will fulfill the number of your days.”
Very clearly therefore, to guarantee physical prosperity and divine health, serve the Lord!
CONDITION 5: ENGAGE IN PRAISING GOD
The popular phrase “When the praises go up, blessings come down” is coined from Psalm 67:5-6 “Let the peoples praise You, O God; Let all the peoples praise You. Then the earth shall yield her increase; God, our own God, shall bless us.”
This action praise guarantees Material Prosperity and other blessings.
God wants us to prosper in every area of our lives but He does not want us to live our lives in misplaced priorities. He wants us to prosper materially and physically based on our spiritual prosperity. Our material and physical prosperity are hinged on our spiritual prosperity. Also, Obedience and Service are key requirements for living in prosperity according to Job 36:11 which says: “If they obey and serve him, they shall spend their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasures.”
Thursday, January 25 2018
Contributor: Dolapo Olaoye
Introduction: Last week our study was based on the fact that “Poverty does not produce Piety”. We looked at 2 Myths - (1. God doesn’t want us to be rich & 2. Poverty makes us holy). We concluded on the understanding that God wants us to prosper and not to be in lack or need and also that poverty can lead to sin and all manner of atrocities. We need to promote God’s Kingdom which can only be propagated through prosperity.
Think like God – Read His Word.
A lot of times, our thinking is wrong. It’s not in line with the Bible. And if our thinking is wrong, then our believing is going to be wrong. And if our believing is wrong, then our talking is going to be wrong.
It is important to get all three (your thinking, your believing, and your speaking) Synchronized with the Word of God.
This idea that God wants his children poor, having no material things is totally unscriptural. The Bible has a great deal to say about money – about receiving it to meet personal needs and giving it to support the work of God and to bless others.
Examples of God’s servants that were wealthy
It is important to realize that God is not against wealth and prosperity. But He is against people being covetous.
How does studying his Word help?
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Words of the Bible are full of life! These precious Words are a gift from God the Father to ALL who take hold of them.
The Words of God promise salvation, eternal life, righteousness, redemption, deliverance, protection, prosperity, healing and wholeness of spirit, soul and body.
In Hosea 4:6 God says that “My people perish for lack of knowledge.”
In order for you and I to take hold of the blessings of God and know His will for us, we need to read His instruction manual, called the Bible. In the Bible you will find Words that give you answers in ALL areas of your life.
“And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the Word of His grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified” (Acts 20.32).
ALL the answers concerning your life are covered in the Bible. You can be built up, you can receive your rightful inheritance as a son/daughter of God when you know what God promises are through His Words in the Bible. You can take on the very nature of God and Jesus by living by the Words of the Bible!
God’s Words are not hard to keep. Jesus says that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. When you act on God’s Words, your life will be full of peace and free from worry; full of joy and not sadness, health not sickness, deliverance not depression, financial blessings not wondering where you’ll find the money to pay your bills!
You may pride yourself on reciting from memory many verses of the Bible. God says that won’t get you anywhere, even though you may look good to others. You have to do what it says!
God’s Words are so important, that He doesn’t want anyone tampering with them and changing them around to say anything else. His Promises are “Yea and Amen.”
As you read the Bible, thank God for His Word. Take what it says personally, and act on it and you will begin to think naturally in line with God’s word, as He fulfils His Word through you.
Thursday, January 18 2018
Contributor: Leye Olayiwola
Introduction: We started our series on Kingdom Prosperity last week. We established that God really wants us to prosper. Why? Of course, mainly for the advancement of His Kingdom here on earth. We were reminded that it is God that confer upon each and every one of us, the power to get wealth for the purpose of establishing His covenant with Abraham.
We will continue further on this series by looking deep into the myth that poverty produces piety (the quality of being religious or reverent) in us as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Two Extreme Views
One of the uniqueness of scriptures lies in its balanced views. God is a balanced God and if we search through the scriptures relating to any topic, subject or issues, we will see that He is not an author of confusion. The Church seems to have a hard time staying in the middle of the road on just about any subject, least of which is on the subject of prosperity. Even till this day, there are still some believers that are on one side of the road as it relates to the topic of prosperity. Paul cautioned against one of the possible extremes in Galatians 5:13;
“For you, my brothers, were called to freedom; only do not let your freedom become an opportunity for the [sinful nature (worldliness, selfishness), but through love serve and seek the best for one another.”
[Galatians 5:13 AMP]
Myth 1: God doesn’t want us to be rich
“For the love of money [that is, the greedy desire for it and the willingness to gain it unethically] is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves [through and through] with many sorrows.”
“So come out from among unbelievers and be separate,” says the Lord, “And do not touch what is unclean; And I will graciously receive you and welcome you [with favor]”
Myth 2: Poverty makes us holy and pious
“If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched”
“Let them shout for joy and rejoice, who favor my vindication and want what is right for me;
Monday, January 15 2018
Contributor: Alex Alajiki