““But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.”
Matthew 23:13-15 NKJV
There is a gospel message that is sweeping the world, especially in the continent of Africa. It is not the account of the God/Man Jesus going to the cross and dying for the sins of the world, but one where there is a guarantee of health, wealth and prosperity, or heaven on earth.
If I would go so far as to name names, many would recognize them, and I am sure some of those may even be followers. On the surface, these churches are rich, and filled with wealthy congregants, who give large sums. The often have wonderful music programs, that lure followers. If a church were a business, many of these would be on the Fortune 500. But, tragically, few in these churches ever hear about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
“Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,”
I Corinthians 15:1-4 NKJV
The teaching of the Bible is twisted to support the goals of the prosperity preaching church, ensuring that people continue to attend and give, with no regard for the eternal disposition of their souls.
Reading through Matthew this morning, I read of the confrontation between Jesus and the scribes and Pharisees, who were as a modern day equivalent of those committed to the prosperity gospel today. They had put aside the word of God, in favor of the traditions of men. Likewise they effectively shut off heaven to those who followed them, steering them toward their own beliefs, and away from the truth of the word of God.
Like the scribes and Pharisees of old, prosperity preachers devour the resource of the poor, who give deeply in the hopes of reaping more. All too often, those who give become even more impoverished, and just as lost as they were before.
There are faithful missionaries who are working diligently to break the hold of these false teachers, that the true Gospel be heard. It is race against time, as those who are spreading the prosperity gospel are using just as fast to reach as many people as possible, that they become even richer.
They are the purveyors of the counterfeit gospel of the evil one, seeking to upend the work of Jesus.
Brothers and sisters, in these last days, we face a battle as we too must do battle over the truth of God’s word. We must not only counter the false teaching of the American Gospel, but we must also make up for the lack of the very presentation of the penal substitutionary death of the Jesus Christ. There are those who deny the every aspect of who Jesus is , and seek to draw others after themselves.
Let us faithful to go and tell of Jesus, who came to earth, lived a sinless life and died on the cross for sinners like me. He was buried and He rose again. It is the greatest story ever told.
It is Scripture alone, by faith alone, by grace alone, Christ alone, and glory to God alone. Jesus came as the embodiment of every aspect of God, full representing the Father in human flesh.
“Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.”
Colossians 2:8-10 NKJV
We do not strive for health, wealth and prosperity, but for our future eternal glory in the presence of the Father and the Son. Let us be faithful to tell people about the true Gospel, that saves the soul.