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THE "PROSPERITY" GOSPEL

Some churches (usually large ones in rich countries) promote the idea that following Jesus equals prosperity. Become a Christian (they preach) and you'll get a better-paying job, better car - late-model, bigger house, more money and so on.

This is of course what people love to hear. It is also an excellent way of filling churches, adding numbers to membership. More money going into the church. If this be the motive, then God will do the judging in the end.

In effect this type of "prosperity" preaching portrays God as a giant Santa Claus who is going to hand out lots of goodies to Christians.

This prosperity preaching would have meant very little to the early church. The Apostle Paul suffered greatly for God. In fact he was told he would suffer, after God struck him to the ground on the road to Damascus. (Acts 9:3-6, 16.) He might have been prosperous, but only in richness of spirit.

THE GREATEST

It's probably fair to say Paul was the greatest evangelist the world has ever seen. Read about him in the Book of Acts. He suffered! Shipwrecked, hungry, beaten, flogged, left for dead, jailed. He lived only for Christ. He would have laughed at today's prosperity preaching.

The problem with such teaching is that when hard times come to Christians, as they surely will, then people will not be prepared and not know how to cope. Consider the following Bible verses.

WHAT YOU WON'T HEAR AT PROSPERITY SEMINARS

"We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God." Acts 14:22.

"And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content." 1 Timothy 6:8.

"You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ." 2 Timothy 2:3.

"Yes, and all who desire to live Godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution." 2 Timothy 3:12.

READ YOUR BIBLE

Yes, that's right. Don't depend on what others tell you (even the pastor). Know what God says. That's the important thing. Read your Bible and you will know.

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