Archive for October, 2016

Revealing The Truth – Week 4 – The Sowing Myth of The Prosperity Gospel

Sermon Notes

Week 4 in our Revealing The Truth series. This week we look at the false teaching of “Sowing” and what Jesus was really teaching from the parable of the sower.
Matthew 13:1-23


Key Points/Overview:

Non-Biblical Teaching on Sewing and Harvest –

  • The Lord has promised to reward us for all the good seeds we sow in our life.
  • The Lord wants us to sow good seeds so that we can get an abundant harvest in our lives.
  • We cannot receive a harvest unless we sow the seed.
  • We must begin sowing by faith and we must expect a harvest by faith.

The scripture used by these teachers to substantiate this line of teaching is:

  • HEBREWS 6:10
  • MATTHEW 10:41-42
  • PSALM 41:1-3
  • ACTS 10:1-4
  • MARK 4:30-32 
  • GENESIS 8:22 

There are some key words in these passages, but nothing that backs up these claims. 

The key to this is these are just “concepts” that sound biblical and people are drawn to them. 

Another popular teacher on this line teaches about the “hundredfold” return – which we will see in the text a little later on. I want to share this so that it can be contrasted later. 

Matthew 13:8
8 Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

The following is taken directly from this prosperity gospel teachers website:

Q: How much is a hundredfold return?
A: The whole kingdom of God operates according to the principles of planting, seedtime and harvest. The hundredfold return is God’s principle of return on your giving. What are you planting into the kingdom of God? Expect a hundredfold return on whatever you give, whether it be words, faith, money or any other seed you plant.
So, how much is a hundredfold exactly? We often think of it as 100 times the original seed sown, but in reality it can be much greater than that. More accurately, the hundredfold return is simply the greatest possible return on any particular seed sown. For example, a hundredfold return on an apple seed would be a strong, healthy tree that produces an abundance of high quality apples every year. When we believe God for the hundredfold return in our lives, we believe for the greatest possible return on every seed we sow!
You can discover what the greatest possible return on your seed sown is by spending time with God in worship and prayer. After we tithe and sow seed, our role is to let Him reveal to us what we should believe for in regard to our harvest.

IF this teacher is correct – then these things have to be true:

  1. We are the seed sower – “What are you planting into the kingdom of God? Expect a hundredfold return on whatever you give,”
  2. The goal is to get the greatest possible return on our sowing… (does a farmer expect little from his investment?)
  3. We are the receiver of the harvest

Let’s jump to the teaching in Matthew 13:1-23 to see if any of this is accurate.

  • This parable is surfaced in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. I believe this stresses that this teaching was at the core of Jesus’s ministry and therefore was reflected by all three writers to their intended audiences. 
  • Matthew 13:1-3 – we see Jesus teaching from one of his favorite places – the natural sloping banks around this cove produced a natural amphitheater effect – allowing his voice to be heard by many.
  • Matthew 13:3-8 – the initial teaching of this passage. 
  • Matthew 13:9 – He who has ears – Even before Jesus explains any further, he was acknowledging that not all the listeners had the ability to understand. [Clearly we see this even today where some prosperity gospel teachers have perverted the passage to fit their teaching of “send money now – plant your seeds in fertile soil – your reward will be hunderedfold”.
  • Matthew 13:10-16 – Jesus teaches the disciples that not everyone is going to be able to grasp these teachings – they have gone through a transformation and are able to grasp His teachings. God loves all people and he does desire a relationship with them, not all people will “desire” a relationship with Him. 
  • Matthew 13:18-23 – Jesus teaches the meaning of each of the soil types and more importantly where that stands in relationship to Him.
    • Along The Path – not a person who has a relationship with Christ as SAVIOR.
    • Rocky Soil – not a person who has a relationship with Christ as SAVIOR.
    • Among the Thorns – read vs 22 carefully – “and it proves unfruitful”. John 15:3-5 clearly teaches that the branch cannot bear fruit by itself – unless it is in the vine. Unfruitful “Christians” are people that are “apart from” Christ and “you can do nothing”. Unfruitful Christians are an oxymoron – there can be no such thing. You can be an Unfruitful “seeker” of Christ – someone who is coming to a knowledge – but there is no “Relationship with Christ as SAVIOR” at that point. 
    • Good Soil – This is the fertile soil that Christ “plants” – Christ takes action into placing His seed in – there will be fruit. These are people that are in a Relationship with Christ as SAVIOR.

Revealing The Truth – Week 3 – The Feedings Revealed

Sermon Notes

Week 3 in our Revealing The Truth series. This week we look at the “picture” Jesus paints with the feedings of the 5000 then the 4000.
Mark 5 – Background
Mark 6:30-42
Mark 7 – Background
Mark 8:1-13

Key Points:

Mark 5 –

  • Jesus Ministry had taken him to the “East” (across the lake – Gentiles). We see the casting out of demons and the instructions.
  • Then there is a return to the Western side of the lake (Jews).
  • We see the story of the healing of Jairus daughter. 

Mark 6 –

  • Jesus is rejected in Nazareth
  • Jesus sends out the disciples two by two
  • John The Baptist is beheaded – the disciples return to Jesus – the connection with John The Baptist is strong as some had served as his disciples prior to being called by Jesus.  

Mark 6: 30-42

  1. V31 – Jesus offers the disciples to “come away” – Jesus had compassion on them.
  2. V33-34 – The crowds followed them – Jesus had compassion on them – begins to teach in this remote place.
  3. V37 – Jesus instructed the disciples “You give them something to eat”.
  4. The disciples looked to solve the need within something they could control – they had physical money (equivalent to $15k – $20k US) – problem was that may not be enough and then there was no place that could even supply the need. 
  5. Jesus wasn’t interested in using a resource they had “plenty” of – he wanted something sacrificial – they had very little food with them – he wanted all of it. 
  6. Jesus demonstrates that in His hands a sacrificial gift – fully given to Him – can be multiplied exponentially. 
  7. In this He was also giving the Jewish crowd a visual sign that would have reminded them of many old testament stories – Elijah and more importantly Moses. 
  8. Jesus was signifying by the 12 baskets that were collected a sign to the 12 tribes – He was the living Bread of Life. 

Mark 7  – 

  • They head back to the “other side” (East – land of the Gentiles)
  • Jesus walks on water
  • Jesus and the healing ministry
  • Jesus teaching the “following” pharisees on traditions/commandments/what defiles a person
  • The time with the Syrophoenician woman – Mark 7:26-29. This Gentile woman understood the children = Jewish people, bread = Bread of Life which was Jesus, and the dogs = Gentiles – but her faith in Jesus led her to the answer she gave and in turn Jesus blessed her and her child. 

Mark 8:1-13

  1. This feeding happens primarily in the midst of the Gentile followers. Jesus earlier days in this area had not gone unnoticed and he had generated quite a following. 
  2. This time we see 7 baskets collected – the number of Jesus – perfection. It was a sign to show that Jesus had come not only for the tribes of Israel, but for the Gentiles as well. 
  3. The pharisees have been traveling with Him and watching all of this, only to ask for a sign. Jesus lives out the example in front of His disciples and to us today – for those that are not truly believers (religious majority included – key is not part of the vine) there will never be a sign to satisfy. But rather than stopping the ministry we are called to, becoming discouraged, etc – Jesus leads by example to get into the boat and continue on.