Summary: Let us not get our focus drawn to the things of this world and let them keep us from remembering that there is a Day of Judgment coming. Prosperity in this life isn’t worth losing the promise of Heaven in the eternity that lies ahead.
It’s Not Over Until It’s Over
By Pastor Jim May
I received an email this week from a young man who realized that so much of the “gospel messages” that we hear today are not gospel at all. He has come to a realization that the messages preached by most TV and radio evangelists are no longer a message of repentance, personal sacrifice in service to Christ and living in obedience to the Word of God. Instead, the vast majority are messages of self-indulgence, prosperity and works that produce wealth. In some fashion, these works of “faith” that produce wealth in the life of a Christian are supposed to be a symbol of whether you are really saved or not. This young man confessed that he had been caught up in this modern doctrine for a while, but now he has renounced that and has come back to the truth of the gospel. He has given up a lifestyle that he thought was right and came back to what the Bible says is the right way. I only pray that more and more people will allow the Holy Spirit to bring them back to God in this same manner.
The problem is that so many today believe that salvation and serving the Lord can be done the way they want it to be done, ignoring what the Word of God says is the only way. They are convinced that the blessings in their lives, which they produce with their own hands, are the proof of their salvation.
Let me say it plainly – whether you drive a Mercedes Benz or an Opel Cadet does not prove you are saved. Whether you wear Armani Suits or Wrangler Jeans doesn’t prove how much faith you have. Whether you have enough money to fill up seven bank vaults or barely enough to get by from paycheck to paycheck has nothing whatsoever to do with your salvation.
Works may produce some of these things in you life, but works alone is not a proof of salvation. There are many who have attained wealth and status in this world who don’t know Jesus and likely never will. All of their works won’t earn them one instant in the New Jerusalem. The wealth of this world will perish, right along with those who claimed it unless they are saved.
So what proves your salvation? Your salvation is proven only by the obedience to the Word of God by repenting of your sin, recognizing and confessing that Jesus Christ is Lord, sacrificed for your sin and raised from the dead, and then inviting Jesus to live in your heart and be the Lord of your life. That, and only that, and nothing else, is your guarantee of salvation. Everything that comes after that moment of accepting Jesus is called works.
So can works save you? NO! Does wealth and prosperity according the world’s standards prove your faith? NO!
Faith in Jesus Christ alone saves your eternal soul. The works of righteousness that you do will then be produced in your life but the product will not always be visible to the eye, nor can it always be touched with human hands, and neither will others always be able to see those works in you.
In Matthew 16:24-27, Jesus said these very words to those who would be called His disciples, “… If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works."
You see folks, your works of faith will be rewarded, but it is God who is the “Rewarder of them that diligently seek Him” according to Hebrews 11:6. Our job is not to seek after the reward. Our job is to seek the Lord with all our heart and serve him to the best of our ability. Then we are to allow God to choose the reward. AMEN!
But there are churches all across America today who are preaching a “prosperity doctrine” and there are hireling preachers who are standing in pulpits right now telling their people that they must produce prosperity, and give their offerings and tithes to the church, or they have no faith and they aren’t saved.
The Bible calls these preachers, in Matthew 7:15, hungry wolves in sheep’s clothing. What better description can there be than that of such people? They are preaching to a crowd who is starving for the truth of God’s Word. They are preaching to a congregation that, by-in-large, does not know Christ and that desperately needs salvation. But instead of preaching about the Blood of Jesus and repentance for sin, they are expounding on some “get rich, name it and claim it” false faith, and then draining those hungry sheep of their life’s blood, in an effort to increase the flow of money into the church coffers and eventually into their own pockets. It’s blasphemy! How many of those precious, yet deluded church members will leave their churches this morning thinking that all is well with my soul because I have the prosperity to prove it? How many will be lost in eternity, perishing with their prosperity, because they believed a lie?