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Thread: Prosperity

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    Prosperity

    Mat 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

    The above verse is commonly quoted in relation to prosperity. Let's trace the concept of seeking his kingdom back to earlier in the sermon on the mount and see what he says about that.

    5:10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven

    Seeking out and obtaining his righteousness will bring about persecution as other passages talk about and the kingdom of heaven belongs to those who stand their ground through this persecution. The most fundamental form of persecution is when people attempt to reduce our witness to where it fades away, whether by peer pressure or by condemnation. There will always be people who try to accomplish that to some degree. True prosperity belongs to those who keep seeking his kingdom through all of that.

    5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

    What does "poor in spirit" mean ? Someone suggested earlier that it refers to those who do not have God but that would make the verse an oxymoron. It doesn't literally mean "those who are poor in the Holy Spirit". It has to do with an attitude. Those who approach God as poor men not having anything of real worth are the ones God blesses with his kingdom because they have shown a real need for obtaining something they do not have. To be poor in spirit one has to shed oneself of every substitute for the things of the kingdom of God, every idol of the heart, every idol related to what men hold to be of value. Every notion that what one has, including of substance like material wealth, is good or secure enough. As an other passage says "don't trust in insecure riches". The source of the blessings of the kingdom of God can be trusted however.

    What happens when one has obtained prosperity because one has sought out the kingdom of God because one has stood one's ground against persecution because one has obtained his righteousness and because one has become poor in spirit ? That's when the real test begins. As Paul talked about, he was consecrated both in plenty and in need. Most people are only consecrated to seeking God when in need. Many people will lose their attitude of being poor in spirit when prosperity arrives, whether that is material prosperity or spiritual prosperity. They will feel content with what they have and not understand that they remain poor in relation to the resources of the kingdom of heaven and have every reason to remain poor in spirit regardless of what they have already obtained.

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    Watch 1:39:00 to 1:40:00

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    Let's have a look at Paul :

    Phil 4:18 I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God.
    19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
    20 To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

    From his position of having plenty at the moment, he says the following a few verses earlier :

    4:10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it.
    11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.
    12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
    13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
    14 Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles.

    He was consecrated in having need, not only in having plenty. He wasn't concerned for himself but when they did meet his need he was blessed by it and also because they had shared in his troubles and showed their love for him. There is an other reason that he was consecrated in having need except that he was able to get by, including according to the strength that he found in the Lord. He talks about that here as he talks about his hardships that he faced from time to time :

    2 Cor 6:3 We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited.
    4 Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses;
    5 in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger;
    6 in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love;
    7 in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left;
    8 through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors;
    9 known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed;
    10 sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

    Paul's ministry was commonly not a matter of being well known to any of the people he preached to, typically people who had never heard the gospel before and at the very least they had never heard of Paul before. He was not a celebrity in general either, nor did he have vast riches or an important position that he could rely on. He was simply some or other knowledgable Jew with normal means who had a message. The demonstration of Spirit and power meant that out of his relative poverty (in every way) he was able to make many rich. And where he had nothing, including in the material sense, he did possess everything. How is that ? Because the resources of the kingdom of heaven are like that, they are there and they are available or they are on their way to those who have faith and look beyond their current situation, even if it would take a little time. That is part of his consecration when in need, that he knew and had a sense of the riches that were available in the kingdom of heaven and which were being released. As they stoned him and left him for dead in one city he already knew that he would rise again and travel on the very next day because he was consecrated in his situations of need. He was able to see beyond the situation when they took hold of him and made the decision to stone him to death. And later on, as we saw in Philippians 4:18, he was amply provided for and content.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Colonel View Post
    Mat 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

    The above verse is commonly quoted in relation to prosperity. Let's trace the concept of seeking his kingdom back to earlier in the sermon on the mount and see what he says about that.

    5:10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven

    Seeking out and obtaining his righteousness will bring about persecution as other passages talk about and the kingdom of heaven belongs to those who stand their ground through this persecution. The most fundamental form of persecution is when people attempt to reduce our witness to where it fades away, whether by peer pressure or by condemnation. There will always be people who try to accomplish that to some degree. True prosperity belongs to those who keep seeking his kingdom through all of that.

    5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

    What does "poor in spirit" mean ? Someone suggested earlier that it refers to those who do not have God but that would make the verse an oxymoron. It doesn't literally mean "those who are poor in the Holy Spirit". It has to do with an attitude. Those who approach God as poor men not having anything of real worth are the ones God blesses with his kingdom because they have shown a real need for obtaining something they do not have. To be poor in spirit one has to shed oneself of every substitute for the things of the kingdom of God, every idol of the heart, every idol related to what men hold to be of value. Every notion that what one has, including of substance like material wealth, is good or secure enough. As an other passage says "don't trust in insecure riches". The source of the blessings of the kingdom of God can be trusted however.

    What happens when one has obtained prosperity because one has sought out the kingdom of God because one has stood one's ground against persecution because one has obtained his righteousness and because one has become poor in spirit ? That's when the real test begins. As Paul talked about, he was consecrated both in plenty and in need. Most people are only consecrated to seeking God when in need. Many people will lose their attitude of being poor in spirit when prosperity arrives, whether that is material prosperity or spiritual prosperity. They will feel content with what they have and not understand that they remain poor in relation to the resources of the kingdom of heaven and have every reason to remain poor in spirit regardless of what they have already obtained.
    I think being 'poor in spirit' is the real key to kingdom 'success'. Not 'poor' as I am a poor old worm, etc, but as you said, an attitude of truly knowing that we are poor in spirit in ourselves and apart from God, which in turn should keep us continually placing ourselves in His hands through prayer, intercession, meditation, etc, knowing there is nothing within ourselves apart from Him that can accomplish anything for the kingdom at all.

    For instance, prayerlessness shows one is not poor in spirit, that one depends on their own strength and wisdom to survive. Prayerlessness is the ultimate statement of self dependency.

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    Basics of prosperity.

    Mat 6:11 Give us today our daily bread.

    The wording is important because it includes the day worker, the lowest among the payed workers in Israel at that time. They showed up somewhere, were given a task involving manual unskilled labor and received their pay at the end of the day which was enough for sustaining themselves on food. In world terms, this is the reality very many people face, of finding something to eat during each day. This is basic prosperity. It is an important and useful message to many people, that God wishes to meet that need in his children.

    6:25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[e]?
    28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

    Here Jesus adds clothing. He doesn't connect clothing to looking fashionable or prosperous, he connects it to not having to worry about the body. As protection against the elements, basically. Sun, rain, wind, heat, cold. Having shelter could be included in this though many people around the world wear loose clothing that they can wrap around themselves as they sleep on the ground and use that as a form of basic shelter. He says that God knows that we need these things and they are also part of basic prosperity, an important message to many people worldwide.

    We may include basic health as part of prosperity but I won't go into scriptures on that. What's the use of having enough food and water if your body is withering away because of sickness. Or of finding work so you can get payed and have all the mentioned things if you cannot work because you are too sick ? And so on. Yet another important message to people all over the world, especially in areas where diseases run rampant and health care is scarcely available, especially to people who aren't rich.

    2 Cor 8:13 Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. 14 At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality, 15 as it is written: “The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little

    The goal in the above is not that the rich should have as much as the very rich, the goal is that every basic need should be met.

    2 Cor 9:8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9 As it is written:
    “They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor;
    their righteousness endures forever.”
    10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

    This is God's basic plan for meeting everyone's need, to bless people with enough surplus that they will be able to give out of their abundance and thereby create an overflow. God supplies that overflow so as to keep it running. The aim is again not to make the rich richer so that they can match the very rich but to supply needs elsewhere.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Colonel View Post
    Basics of prosperity.

    Mat 6:11 Give us today our daily bread.

    The wording is important because it includes the day worker, the lowest among the payed workers in Israel at that time. They showed up somewhere, were given a task involving manual unskilled labor and received their pay at the end of the day which was enough for sustaining themselves on food. In world terms, this is the reality very many people face, of finding something to eat during each day. This is basic prosperity. It is an important and useful message to many people, that God wishes to meet that need in his children.

    6:25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[e]?
    28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

    Here Jesus adds clothing. He doesn't connect clothing to looking fashionable or prosperous, he connects it to not having to worry about the body. As protection against the elements, basically. Sun, rain, wind, heat, cold. Having shelter could be included in this though many people around the world wear lose clothing that they can wrap around themselves as they sleep on the ground and use that as a form of basic shelter. He says that God knows that we need these things and they are also part of basic prosperity, an important message to many people worldwide.

    We may include basic health as part of prosperity but I won't go into scriptures on that. What's the use of having enough food and water if your body is withering away because of sickness. Or of finding work so you can get payed and have all the mentioned things if you cannot work because you are too sick ? And so on. Yet another important message to people all over the world, especially in areas where diseases run rampant and health care is scarcely available, especially to people who aren't rich.

    2 Cor 8:13 Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. 14 At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality, 15 as it is written: “The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little

    The goal in the above is not that the rich should have as much as the very rich, the goal is that every basic need should be met.

    2 Cor 9:8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9 As it is written:
    “They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor;
    their righteousness endures forever.”
    10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

    This is God's basic plan for meeting everyone's need, to bless people with enough surplus that they will be able to give out of their abundance and thereby create an overflow. God supplies that overflow so as to keep it running. The aim is again not to make the rich richer so that they can match the very rich but to supply needs elsewhere.
    Seems like a huge amount of presupposition. But who wants to argue with a man with baggy muscle arms.

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    Grumpy about something, Nikos ?


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    Quote Originally Posted by fuego View Post
    I think being 'poor in spirit' is the real key to kingdom 'success'. Not 'poor' as I am a poor old worm, etc, but as you said, an attitude of truly knowing that we are poor in spirit in ourselves and apart from God, which in turn should keep us continually placing ourselves in His hands through prayer, intercession, meditation, etc, knowing there is nothing within ourselves apart from Him that can accomplish anything for the kingdom at all.

    For instance, prayerlessness shows one is not poor in spirit, that one depends on their own strength and wisdom to survive. Prayerlessness is the ultimate statement of self dependency.
    When I was seeking God 20-25 years ago after I had finished Bible school, I received a vision for my life in the future. It was a bit like a waking dream, I wasn't necessarily looking at something that was real but a representation. I was in a position of blessedness and the world was out there somewhere, including adversity. But God kept pouring into the position of blessedness and his pouring created an overflow which continued because I kept walking along with the position of blessedness. The blessedness reminded me of something from the Sound of Music, with that type of song in the background. But the whole world wasn't like that. I'm not there yet, in that position. But I believe it represents a more general calling.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nikos View Post
    Seems like a huge amount of presupposition. But who wants to argue with a man with baggy muscle arms.
    Nikos, do you have a Biblical counter for Colonels scriptural and interpretative commentary?

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    In vs 6:25-28 Jesus is clearly saying several things...

    1. Why do you worry and seek after clothing?
    2. Doesn't God, through nature demonstrate His ability to provide clothing?
    3. He compares Solomon's splendor to the incomparable splendor of a daisy GOD HIMSELF clothed.
    4. Then says God knows what YOU NEED and will provide it if YOU focus on HIM and instead of them..

    Colonel said, "This is God's basic plan for meeting everyone's need, to bless people with enough surplus that they will be able to give out of their abundance and thereby create an overflow. God supplies that overflow so as to keep it running. The aim is again not to make the rich richer so that they can match the very rich but to supply needs elsewhere.
    I agree...in the parable of the rich man who says he will tear down his barns and build bigger barns to keep his stuff...He is called a FOOL...
    We can claim we NEED a 5 bedroom mansion but unless that mansion is actually being used for God's KINGDOM work it just a 'bigger barn' for us...it might impress men but it does not impress God..

    Solomon said it best...it is all vanity and that he would be leaving it ALL for someone else to consume and waste...

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