dec 4 2020
Prosperity in the Book of Acts
Introduction: The Bible talks about Prosperity for the saints. IT is true that you may feel like you are LOST. You might feel like you are LOST but when you are with the Lord then you no longer LOST but are saved by God’s grace. So, we need to learn to trust in the Grace of God to free us so that we will no longer be LOST for we are redeemed. You cannot truly Prosper without the Lord!
Focus Scripture Acts 8:35-38 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.
The focus of our prosperity must be to believe on Jesus. In this story Philip who was a deacon preached so you do not have to be a pastor to preach. The Ethiopian immediately wanted to be baptized and was baptized and soon after was baptized. Philip explained to him Isa 53 which was a prophecy about the benefits of the death burial and resurrection of Christ for us. One of the benefits is to be blessed financially!
Land and other things sold- In these 3 passages we see that Land and other things were sold for they shared everything back then. The ones who had nothing received from those who had much. So, everyone shared what they had. They walked in love toward each other because of what Jesus did for them. The principle was to love one another regardless of their financial status. They sold things so they could support the poor. They wanted to help one another. This principle was based on the OT and Jesus said you would always have the poor with you so they helped the poor, but we as the church do not go to this extent to help the poor! So, we need to be willing to give ALL!
All who lacked 2:43-47 43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common;45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
The signs and wonders of the apostles caused people to want to give to others. They did this with joy. IT made them happy to do this for the people did this out of love! They did this because the Spirit of God led them to do this. They did this to bless others. How can you bless someone else today! Give to others for what they need and God will give you what you need! Give time, money, minister to them and God will give back to what you need! Put others first!
Laid it down 4:31-37 31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.34 Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold 35 And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.36 And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus,37 Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles' feet.
Again, here is the principle that was shown in Ch 2. They gave freely and God moved in their presence. God ministered to them with grace and the people sold their possessions so they would have money to give in the offering. They laid it at the feet of the apostles. Can you imagine doing that today? Instead of many saying I have nothing sell what they have and lay it at the Pastor’s feet! Sell your possessions to give them to God! No welfare if you cannot work then you cook or clean, do something for the others and God will bless you!
Lie to God 5:1-6 But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession,2 And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles' feet.3 But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?4 Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.5 And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.6 And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him.
There was one fly in the ointment and they sold like the others but they lied about the price. They lied to God not just to Peter. God values honesty. Today we do not see these things happening but imagine if it did! Thank GOD that these things do not happen today! Both the husband and wife died when hearing the news. 1 at a time! Do not lie to God! God wants you to tell the truth! BE honest with all people, so tell the truth and shame the devil! Jesus is the way the truth and the life! Satan is a liar and hates the truth!
Offerings are given to GOD because when we give even though it is given by man and men receive it is still given from us to GOD1 GOD receives it by our love and faith and then we use it for the glory of GOD. He calls our gifts as a sweet sacrifice. We want you to give because 1) it is more blessed for you to give then for the church to receive and 2) it puts fruit with GOD on your account 3) It is a sacrifice for you!
God’s Supply Phil 4:15-19 15 Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only.16 For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity.17 Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.18 But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to God.19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
The Apostle Paul started 24 churches and yet here he praises the Philippians for they regularly supported his ministry. I am thankful for the ones who regularly attend and even more so for the ones who regularly support the ministry. God wants to have people support ministry. Jesus had women who regularly supported his ministry including Mary Magdalene. When we give freely then it says God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus!
Offerings 24:14-17 14 But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:15 And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.16 And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void to offence toward God, and toward men.17 Now after many years I came to bring alms to my nation, and offerings.
You give from your conscience. So many Christians convince themselves as to why they cannot do something at church but can avoid things. They justify their actions to themselves but not to God. The Apostle Paul had a conscience that he focused on what God wanted in every area of his life and it affected his giving! He gave with his life and giving and sacrifice. Sometimes we have to sacrifice to give but we are expected to do it willingly!
Disciples 11:26-30 26 And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.27 And in these days came prophets from Jerusalem unto Antioch.28 And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar.29 Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea:30 Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.
Agabus gave bad news and it moved people to give offerings to help others. The Holy Spirit will move it to help others. Some gave more than others for they gave to their ability for they gave what they had. Do not come to church empty handed for give according to your ability. Give what you have. Some can give $1,000 a week some can give $1 a week but give what you can! Ask God what can I give and give that! Give freely and give with a generous heart!
Silver and Gold was the basis for the money system back then. The US dollar is based on the gold at Fort Knox. Silver and gold always had value even in Solomon’s day! Silver and gold were valuable in the days of the Apostles in the book of Acts! It was the basis of their finances then! Silver and Gold was valuable throughout the history of mankind!
Money 19:14-19 14 And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so.15 And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?16 And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.17 And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.18 And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds.19 Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.
They burned the books which totaled 50,000 pieces of silver. That means they burned a lot of books. These must have been books that did not glorify the Lord. So, when they got rid of these books it magnified the Lord. This happened after the evil spirit that Paul cast out in the 7 sons of Sceva causing them to run naked before the people. They saw God move in their midst. God moved and the people responded.
Assurance17:27-31+ 27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device.30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent:31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.
The answer here is in the fact that a pagan poet agreed with what Paul said. Paul said that now all must repent. The concept is that God wants to give men assurance and that assurance is because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ! We can say this because we are his offspring – children of God! Once we have assurance of what God has done for us then we can know that we can prosper.
Name 3:3-9 3 Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms.4 And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us.5 And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them.6 Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.7 And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.8 And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God:
In the Name of Jesus is power! So even though they had no money they had something greater. They had the NAME and knew how to use that Name. The Name is worth more than money. They said he could walk and that was greater than being able money. To him money would mean he would stay disabled but the Name healed him! Healing is worth more than money! What is worth more to you? Peter and John had not worked for over a month so they had no money from their fishing business. Then they went to the synagogue for there was no church then. Power trumps Finances!
Tentmaker - Paul in addition to being a rabbi was also a tentmaker. He was always on the move or on the Lam. He had to work and also in another place said he that does not work will not eat. He wanted to not be a burden to anyone so he worked in these places as a tentmaker. He provided his own way. He made enough money as a tentmaker to afford the travel costs for the missionary passage to these places. Yet he did stay at different places and we do not know where he stayed!
Labored with them 1 Cor 4:10-12 10 We are fools for Christ's sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised.11 Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace;12 And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it:
Labor that is honorable helps to make you strong in the body! He still did hunger and thirst and suffered much during his ministry but had great success. He worked with his hands and was proud of his ministry and his work! How do you bless others is an important question you must ask yourself? You are here to bless others and God wants you here at this time to bless people in this area so find ways to bless people for that is important to the Lord!
Abode with them 18:1-3 After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth;2 And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them.3 And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.
One of the things God used to bless Paul was that he stayed with them where he ministered. Perhaps he needed to work to make some money and someone offered to let the Apostle Paul stay in their house. They instantly had a connection because they were both tentmakers. Aquila and Paul were both able to work with their hands and both in the ministry. Paul planted and Apollo watered but God gave the increase 1 Cor 3:6. They worked together at one point.
More Blessed 20:34-35 35 I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.36 And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all.
I think that today we have the idea that it is more blessed to receive then to give. We think that because we have a distorted idea of what the Word of God really says. We add what men say to what God says thinking that is what God says. We do not know where Jesus said this but he must have said it or it would not have been put in the Bible! Paul prayed but he first labored among them. They knew Paul for Paul was not a stranger to them. They trusted him!
Conclusion - The Land they said they would give ALL but the Offering belongs to GOD but the Silver and God does not belong to MAN for Paul was a Tentmaker for he was on the LAM. We all need to give and trust God that He will be our ALL for we are part of MANkind that gives even though some have no houses or places to live and must be on the LAM. How can God give to you? Trust Him in all things!
Next week: Prosperity in the Major Epistles
This sermon is copyrighted @2020 and is the property of our Pastor- Rev. Dr. Don Carson. Used by permission and for more information or questions call Pastor Don during the day at 732-668-1583
Rev. Dr. Don W. Carson
Word of Grace Fellowship
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