Sermon - 12-09-2007 - So You Want Prosperity
NORTHEAST HOUSTON COMMUNITY CHURCH
SERMON – So You Want Prosperity?
Scripture: Ps 37:1-6
37 Do not fret because of evildoers, Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity. 2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, And wither as the green herb. 3 Trust in the Lord, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. 4 Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass. 6 He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, And your justice as the noonday. NKJV
Day in and Day out there are many programs on television that offer to teach you how to get rich and become prosperous and enjoy the “good” life. They range from buying and selling real-estate, a new stock market system, working just a few hours at home, various types of investments and let’s not forget the miracle water, miracle cloths and abundant seed planting. All these schemes have two things in common, first they require very little effort and second the seller or promoter is the one that gets rich.
Many people want prosperity (or riches) but many do not want to invest the effort to achieve it. That is why so many are victims of what we call, “get rich schemes.”
Some will seek to emulate what the Bible calls “evildoers” and “workers of iniquity.” Their end is foretold. They shall be cut down like grass and wither as the green herb” When grass is cut it is usually too high and after it is cut it soon dries out and is only good to be used as hay. The same is for the green herb. As soon as it is cut it begins to wither and wilt. Such is the rise of the evil doer, quick to rise but often cut down before his time. The evil doer is driven by lust not desire.
Desire - 1: to long or hope for : exhibit or feel desire for <desire success>2 a: to express a wish for : request
1: conscious impulse toward something that promises enjoyment or satisfaction in its attainment (Noun)
Lust - : to have an intense (in an extreme degree ) desire or need.3 a: an intense longing.
When the intensity of our desire become extreme then desire turns to lust.
Few people want to be counted among evil doers; therefore that is why the lottery business is so popular. People want to strike it rich with little effort and they want it now. Never mind the fact that there are far more losers than there are winners. In fact there are many winners that are still losers.
Prov 10:24 24 The fear of the wicked will come upon him, And the desire of the righteous will be granted. NKJV
I heard on the radio that Texas leads the nation in the amount of unclaimed lottery winnings. They said that there is over $39 million dollars in unclaimed winnings. The state has money for them but the winners will not claim it. People have won hundreds, thousands and even millions but did not make the effort to follow through or do what is necessary to claim them.
Many Christians are like this. God has blessings in abundance for us but many of these blessing remained unclaimed because many of us will not follow Gods instruction or do what is necessary to claim them.
3 Trust in the Lord, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
God’s instructions are:
1. To trust in the Lord. - I am not saying that if you occasionally play the lottery or even if you occasionally go to Las Vegas or any casino that you are sinning. It is when you are going there as if it is the source of your hope and trust. We must trust God to meet our needs.
Phil 4:19 19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. KJV
It is when we move out of our needs and into our wants that cause us to look away from the Lord.
2. Next we are to do good - the opposite of evil is of course good. It is not enough for us to say that we are not “evil doers” . It should be said of us that we are “do-gooders”
Prov 11:23 23 The desire of the righteous is only good, But the expectation of the wicked is wrath NKJV
Isn’t it amazing how the world has trued that classification into something that is distasteful? Many people would take offense at being called a “do-gooder.” We don’t want to be called an evil-doer and we don’t want to be called a do-gooder then what is left? Somewhere in the middle, lukewarm is in the middle. Here is how Jesus feels about lukewarm folks
Rev 3:15-16 15 "I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot,* I will vomit you out of My mouth. NKJV
3. Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. - Live where God has placed you. Live your life not spend your time seeking wealth, seeking to get ahead to a point that your trust is found in Jobs, people and things. Live and feed on His faithfulness. That means that the faithfulness of God is the strength for your soul as food is for your physical strength. Jesus teaches us to ask God for what we need today. God sent manna enough for one day except for the Sabbath.
If we focus on doing these things then the next is for us is to delight ourselves in the Lord.
4 Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
Delight - 1 : to take great pleasure. Do we take great pleasure in the Lord? This cannot be more direct. If you want your heart’s desire, than delight yourself in the Lord. I am not so sure we know how to delight ourselves in the Lord
Webster gives two (2) additional definitions. 2 : to give keen enjoyment and to give joy or satisfaction to.
The verse say to delight ourselves. Do we give to ourselves keen enjoyment by being in the Lord? Do we receive joy and satisfaction in the Lord? I want to say here and now that I do have pleasure in the Lord, I do have enjoyment in the Lord, I do have joy in the Lord and I am satisfied in the Lord.
If we are satisfied in the Lord then although we may have some desires, they will not turn into lust. God is willing to address our desire not our lusts.
Have you ever intensely wanted (lusted) something and you got it and you were later sorry you did. You may have desired it but was it the best for you. Looking back (hindsight) would you have been upset if God in His wisdom denied giving it to you. We might even have said, “thank you Lord for not giving that to me.” If you delight in the Lord and feed on His faithfulness you can do that.
Whenever I read a verse like this one or when I hear it quoted I often wish it would be explained that verses like these are not unconditional. Although they are reassuring, if taken out of context these verse and their meaning can become miss-applied.
I believe the meaning requires a little more investigation.
First this was written by David in the OT to Israel, God’s people. There are many promises in the Bible that only applied to Israel. Many more apply to anyone that fits the criteria. I believe that this is one of those verses. The promise of getting the desires of our heart is condition on delighting ourselves in the Lord.
There is no delight (enjoyment, joy, pleasure or satisfaction) in the Lord when we are outside of the will of God.
This same lesson is carried over into the NT
1 John 5:14-15 14 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him. NKJV
The condition here is that we ask according to His will. If we delight in Him we will ask according to His will.
John 15:16 16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. NKJV
This ties in with the sermons of the last few weeks. There is an expectation that Jesus has for us and if we meet that expectation then we are meeting the condition to receive the promise in this verse.
John 15:7-8 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will* ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. NKJV
Again can you see the conditions? There condition that we abide in Jesus and His words abide in us. We may think we are in Jesus but may still be ignoring His words. That person has fallen short of meeting the conditions.
Jesus adds something here to tell us that even our desires are to glorify God and bear fruit and then we can be called His disciples.
This is my prosperity message. Does everyone here want prosperity?
Prosperity : the condition of being successful or thriving; especially : economic well-being.
This is Webster’s definition. Let’s see how it measures up to God’s
1. Being successful - I equate being successful in God’s eyes is being fruitful. Success is to accomplish a plan or purpose. God successful is being fruitful for Him.
2. Thriving - being very fruitful bring forth
Matt 13:23 23 But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
3. Economic well-being - This is what most people focus on. Economic well-being does not necessarily mean having a lot of money. There are people and companies with a lot of money but also a lot of debt. To be in good economic shape (well-being) is to have more money than what you owe. To bring in more than you have to pay out. To be able to meet your daily financial needs. When we begin to focus on much more we are approaching the line of lust and greed which go together.
For the most of us it is not the meetings of our needs that get us into financial trouble it is the meeting the needs of our wants and lusts.
(Tell story about the truck purchase if you have time)
Matt 6:33 and Phil 4:19 are good verses to memorize.
If you are like me, you tried to do all that I have mentioned but found yourself slipping. I had to learn the hard way and that was to commit to God. First I had to submit to God and Christ and then Commit to God and Christ.
5 Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.
His way had to become my way. My works had to be His works or at the least pleasing to Him. By delighting in the Lord and trying to do that which was pleasing to Him, my thinking was changed to more reflect Him than my intense desires (lust).
Dummy me; the solution was there all the time.
Prov 16:3 3 Commit your works to the Lord, And your thoughts will be established. NKJV
Notice the word “works”. Remember the old folks saying, “Idle hands are the tools of the devil.”
After our submission and our commitment there has to be trust. My trust had to overcome my doubts. Just like the Word says, “He shall bring it to pass?”
If you think you are not measuring up and you want to, there is help. If you want to be saved from the cycles of failure one time and then success another; only to fall back into failure; call on the Lord.
Ps 145:19 19 He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them. NKJV
God has plans, and blessings for all of us. He has ready for us just what we need and truly desire, don’t leave it unclaimed.
1"I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.
2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away;* and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.
4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
5 "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.
7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will* ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.
8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. NKJV
Many a man has found the acquisition of wealth only a change, not an end, of miseries.