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Summary: When looking at financial matters, being either wealthy or poor is not necessarily the right thing. Adapted from a John C. Maxwell sermon.

Stewardship: The Missing Piece to Successful Living

"Poverty or Prosperity-Which is Biblically Correct?" 2 of 4

January 12, 2002 FBC, Chester, Illinois Mike Fogerson, Speaker


On any given day you turn on the television and watch one preacher tell you that if you love God, you will send him $100 and you’ll get back $1,000.

a Go back to that same t.v. set later in the afternoon and a different preacher will on begging you to send $100 into his ministry. Doesn’t promise financial windfall in return, you’ll just be blessed by showing God you love him so much because you gave.

b Which guy is right? Prosperity or Poverty?

Both of them use the bible to back them up.

1JN 2:15

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

III John 2

"Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers."

Which one is right?

Text this morning is Matthew 6:24

"No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.

Serve: Slave

Master: Absolute control.

There are 3 words that describe the owner/slave relationship:

1 Choice

Jesus is telling us we have a choice whom we serve. Not robots. Serve God or Mammon, Money.

2 Control

Once you’ve decided (chosen) whom you’ll serve, they now have control over you. Either God is in control or stuff is in control.

3 Confidence

We put our trust in it. (We’ve chosen, their in control and we put our faith in it)

(Notice that Money is capitalized. Why? Money can become a god.)


Jesus didn’t say...... "You shouldn’t" serve God and $.

.......... "You must not" serve God and $. THIS ISN’T ADVICE!!

Jesus is saying "YOU CAN’T" serve God and $. It’s impossible. Can’t be done! Can’t be a slave to both!!!

Solomon Said....

ECC 5:10 "Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income....."

"No test of our true character is more conclusive than how spend our time and our money."

The calender and checkbook =Reflections of our priorities

*Calender (Not talking about work, family time) Spare time..how much is spent in Sunday School, prayer groups, choir, bible study.......

*Checkbook...where your money goes.

This tests your commitment to God!! Tells you who you serve!!

Range of theological perspectives of prosperity


Poverty Theology Stewardship Theo. Prosperity Theo.


1. Each perspective has verses to support it.

2. We pick a position based on our experience or desires. (Wealthy we chose prosperity, if we’re less wealthy we chose poverty)


View of Prosperity Non-materialistic, disdain for possessions Prosperity is the reward for righteousness Possessions are a trust given in varying proportions

In a Word, Possessions Are... A curse A right A privilege

Scriptural Reference Lk. 18:18-22

Sell, give to poor (rich young ruler) Mt. 7:7,8

ask, seek, knock Mt. 25:14-30

Parable of talents

Needs Met by "Carefree attitude" Don’t worry-seek kingdom 1st (Mt. 6:25-34) What do you want to receive? Seed planting Lk. 6:38 What have you received? Proportionate giving Mal. 3:10, I Cor. 16:1-2

Concept Rejector Owner Steward

Attitude toward poverty We are=God’s will We aren’t=God’s will God’s will is not known by possessions

Preoccupation Daily needs Money Wisdom

Attitude Carefree (Pr. 3:5,6) Driven (Pr. 10:17) Faithful (Lk. 16:10,11)

The problem with a poverty theology:

1 Presumption that everyone who is doing well financially must be doing something wrong.

2 Exaggerates the role of sacrificial work.

*These folks are very legalistic. God loves me because I’ve given up everything. Bologna! You can give up everything and God isn’t going to love you any more!

When you give up ......., you’ll love God as much as I do.

3 Extremely naive

If you give everything and everybody else gives everything, whose going to pay the bills?

*Let’s give $30,000 to missions. (PTL) but if would invest that $ on increasing our base we can give $300,000 eight years down the road.

4 It can become a manipulative lifestyle

*Eager to tell you their needs. *Prayer groups will share their need hoping someone there with resources will help them out.

The problem with a prosperity theology:

1 Prosperity is the sign of God’s blessing.

(If your blessed finacially, God must really like you. WRONG. If you have low or median resources, God must not really like you? Wrong!

2 Produces guilt (Divides the body)

*If your serving God you’ll be prosperous. Poor..must not be serving God.

*Lack of faith? No. Pray for healing and didn’t get healed, lack of faith? No. You just didn’t get healed.

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