Throughout church history a great error has continued to infect the church’s theology. Many preachers and paperback theologians, erroneously teach that God’s will is for all Christians to have an over-abundance of worldly things. They teach that the reason some don’t have these things is their lack of faith. Others teach the Bible, showing that love for these things indicates that your heart isn’t right with God. Let’s read 1 John 2:15-16.
Verse 15; “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”–We who are Christians don’t love the world’s ways or the world’s things. If you do love the world, the love of the Father is not in you.
Verse 16; “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”–Everything that the world offers is appealing to the carnal (natural) man. It is the enemy of God (Romans 8:7). Therefore, these things are not of the Father.
Verse 17; “And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”- Cars, houses, clothes, jewelry and all that is in the world are temporal and profit only for now, but the man who serves God will reap the benefits eternally.
We can see from these verses that we are not to have affection for worldly things. Some say that since we are children of God and joint-heirs with Christ, which we are (Romans 8:17), that God is bound to give us the wealth and extravagance of this world. We have seen that worldly things appeal to the natural man (1 John 2:16), not to the spiritual man. Those who love the things of the world are not of God (I John 3:15). Compare the life style of Jesus or Paul with some of the preachers today. Where is the heart of those who live extravagant life styles paid for by receiving offerings from the poor? Matthew 6:25-39 teaches us to seek God’s kingdom (God’s rule) and His righteousness. God’s priorities should be our priorities. His righteousness should be our goal. Then we can trust God to supply our life needs (food, clothing, shelter). It’s amazing how some read so much more into these verses.
Often it is taught that III John, verse 2 teaches that it is God’s perfect will for every Christian to have wealth and abundance. III John 2 says, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” Many teach that this “prospering” was to be in the obtaining of things. Was John contradicting the teaching of Jesus in Luke 12:15, or of Paul in 1 Timothy 6:5-9, or of himself in 1 John 2:15-16? NO! He was simply Praying for Gaius to have a “good journey.” The Greek word that is translated “prosper” means “prosperous journey.” Whether the journey was an actual trip or a good journey through this life, I don’t know. But it had nothing to do with Gaius obtaining wealth. Also consider that this was John’s prayer for Gaius, not necessarily God’s will for every Christian. In Luke 12:15 Jesus said, “Take heed and beware of covetousness: for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.” These words of Jesus should speak clearly to us. Teaching that worldly abundance is obtained by faith and that the reason most aren’t wealthy is because of a lack of faith, shows a misunderstanding of what faith actually is. It’s a trick of the enemy to get your attention on worldly things instead of holy living and serving God. Concerning those who teach this doctrine the Bible has something to say. Let’s read I Timothy 6:5-9.
Verse 5; “….who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself.”–Simply get away from those false teachers.
Verse 6-8; “Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.” — A Christian’s goal should be to have a godly character and have needs met.
Verse 9; “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.”–There is no “if” about it. Those who set their heart on “riches” fall into temptation, and are in danger of being snared and damned.
The Word of God is so plain. Jesus warned in the parable of the sower (Matthew 13:22, Mark 4:19, Luke 8:14) that “the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches” would choke the word of God and cause us to be unfruitful. The question is simple. Who has your heart? Would you serve your lust and die spiritually, or would you serve God and find real life and peace (Romans 8:6)?