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3. The God of Abundance in the New Testament

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In Your Bible Read This Out Loud 2 Corinthians 8:9

Memorise This Verse: 3 John 2 ‘I pray that you would enjoy good health and that all may go  well with you, even as your soul is getting along well’

Afterwards Talk About This In what ways did Jesus become poor, and in what ways will he make us rich

Something To Do Before Next Time Write down the areas in your life you want to see the blessings of God and pray into them.

Written Diploma Work Write one page on all the arguments from the New Testament that God wants you to be poor. (Don’t worry if you can’t fill the whole page!)

Meditate Word By Word On This Verse Philippians 4:19

Moving onto the book of Acts, we see the model community of believers which God would have all his people living in – instead of Jesus supplying the needs of the poor personally, it is the believers themselves who are the arms and feet of Jesus to supply needs. In the following two scriptures we can see the triumph of a community of people wholly surrendered to the loving Lordship of Jesus – namely that there were no poor people or needs amongst them.

All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Acts 2:45

There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as they had need. Acts 4:34

This obedience to the voice of the Holy Spirit can be seen again in Acts 11:29 where as soon as a need had been identified, the disciples in unison gave into that need financially – each according to their ability (if only churches in the West were like this today when they hear about fellow Christians in severe need in other parts of the world).

The final major reference to money in the book of Acts is a very special scripture, which records the only words of Jesus that were not recorded in the gospels Acts 20:35 says, ‘It is more blessed to give than receive’. Implicit in this statement is that the same Jesus who desires his followers to move from being receivers to givers will empower and give them the grace and ability to do so.

Leading on from Acts and into the Epistles, the apostle Paul provides a tremendous insight into the New Covenant purpose of money and the guidelines that the followers of Jesus should observe regarding money. In Romans chapter 12 we see that as well as giving such gifts as prophecy, teaching and leadership to the church, the risen Saviour has also committed the gift of giving into the church which needs to be taught about, preached on, stirred up and utilised as much as any other of the spiritual gifts that have been given to the church.

In Romans 10:32 Paul goes on to argue that if God gave Jesus, will he not also give us all things – is it unreasonable to suggest that money is part of the “All things” that God will give to us?. Indeed, if God was willing to give the ultimate sacrifice of his Son for us, how much more willing will he be to prosper us so that we can co-operate with him in the outworking of his plan in the earth.

As we move on to 2 Corinthians chapters 8-9 we see the fullest treatment of money that is given any where in the bible – despite many people’s attempts to spiritualise what the thrust of Paul is saying – the whole discourse is regarding material wealth and riches – not spiritual riches, (although in the book of Ephesians Paul deals with these issues). The scriptures below again clearly relate to us the great desire of God to bring prosperity to his people – that they might share it with others.

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. 2 Cor. 8:9

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 2 Cor. 9:8

You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion. 2 Cor. 9:11

There are 3 other major discourses on money in Paul’s letters, all of which come to the same conclusion that God’s heart is towards prospering his people. Galatians 6:6-10 exhorts us to financial giving to the places that are spiritually feeding us and the promise is that if we persist in our giving and sowing to please the Spirit we shall raise a harvest in good time. In Philippians 4:10-20, Paul commends the Philippian church for their financial partnership with him in the gospel.  As a result of their diligent financial sowing, Paul encourages them that, ‘My God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus’.

After some stern warnings to Timothy in 1 Timothy 6 about the dangers of money, Paul encourages him to command rich people not to look to their wealth but ‘Put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment’

Moving on towards the back of the bible we find a very precious and definitive prayer that is written by John, the apostle of Love in 3 John 2 that we may enjoy good health, success and prosperity in all areas of our lives. Since the Holy Spirit inspired the bible, he must have inspired that prayer, which therefore must be in the will of God (Romans 8:27) – so we can confidently say that God’s will is to prosper us in all areas of our lives.

Finally, in our view down the ages and through the bible we come to the final book of the bible which describes the inheritance that God has prepared for those who have followed him. Revelation 21:15-21 shows the abundance that God himself enjoys and is well pleased to share with his people – indeed, as we have seen from Genesis to Revelation, we don’t have to wait for heaven before we enter into our inheritance – God wants us to know it here and now – shall we not enter into it?

A House of Prayer for the Poorer Nations

Pray for Algeria

31,471,278 people, 96% Muslim

Threats of strict Islamic law being introduced overshadows the church.

This study contains the personal beliefs and practices of of the author who recommends them to the reader. The author takes no credit for their success where applied and likewise takes no responsibility for any failure or disappointment.

The House of Prayer for the Poorer Nations at the end of each section is based on Operation World 21st Century Edition © Patrick Johnstone, Jason Mandryk. Published by Paternoster. All scriptures are NIV © Hodder & Stoughton.

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