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What “God Provides” Really Means

Faith & Finance

Christian talk radio with Rob West

September 1, 2022

Philippians 4: 19 reads, And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. This verse has assured countless believers over the centuries of God’s unfailing love. But what does it really mean? Is it possibly misunderstood? We’ll talk about that today on MoneyWise. Obviously, the most important need God has provided is salvation through faith in his Son Jesus Christ. But after that? Is there a limit to God’s earthly provision for us? WANTS VS NEEDS Well, certainly there is. We must always remember that Philippians 4 does not say, And my God will provide every want of yours only your needs according to His sovereign will. Does that mean God wants you to take a vow of poverty? Some have mistakenly taken Jesus’ answer to the Rich Young Ruler to mean something like that. It’s an important teaching, included in all three of the synoptic Gospels. But Jesus only told him to sell all he had, give to the poor and follow me to reveal what was in the heart of the Rich Young Ruler, a love of money and wealth that was greater than his love for God. We must all be wary of that in our own lives, no matter how much or how little we have. God may intend for some of us to experience great need at times as part of His plan but nowhere does the Bible teach that we’re all to live that way. If the Lord doesn’t mean for us to be poor, necessarily, should we then expect great riches? No. THE PROSPERITY GOSPEL The so-called Prosperity Gospel is contrary to orthodox Christian theology. It claims that God will reward you with material wealth and physical health according to your faith. So as your faith increases, so will His reward to you. Of course, God’s Word never promises material reward. Now, that false doctrine rests upon another one related to Christ’s atonement for us on the cross. It states that Christ died not just to remove our sin but to also remove poverty and sickness as if opening the gates of heaven for us for all eternity wasn’t enough. The prosperity gospel is actually a modern invention. It started in the U. S. on a small scale in local congregations and tent revivals after World War II, but it really took off through the use of radio and television. So, how can you tell if someone’s a prosperity gospel preacher? Theologian John Piper has identified several common traits to watch for: The absence of doctrine related to suffering. In John 15: 20, Jesus warns, Remember the word that I said to you: A servant is not greater than his master. ’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. - The absence of a doctrine of self-denial - The absence of detailed exposition of Scripture. - Church leaders with exorbitant lifestyles - Raising the importance of self over the greatness of God. If you think the prosperity gospel is being preached in your church, pray for discernment and study God’s Word. If you become certain there’s false teaching presented in your church, follow Jesus’ instruction in Matthew 18: 15-17 which reads: If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Or you can simply look for a Bible-teaching, Bible-believing church. To recap, God will always provide for your needs as He determines them, and all He expects is that you’ll be a faithful steward of that provision. On today’s program, Rob also answers listener questions: ● The payoff for my mortgage is 87k. I have that much in savings which is earning no interest. Should I pay off the mortgage or keep the savings for emergencies? ● My credit score just dropped and Credit Karma tells me it's because I don't use my credit card enough. What should I do? ● We own a house with about $700-800k in equity. Should we rent the house out and move to a smaller home to generate extra income? Or should we sell it and downsize? ● How do you decide when it's time to start drawing Social Security?

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