God's Whole Prosperity Message
by Marilyn Ellsworth
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© 1981 by Marilyn Ellsworth
When we first began to hear Jesus’ full gospel prosperity message in 1979, we welcomed it with open hearts. It was as welcome as had been our Lord’s message of salvation to our lost ears years before.
Some of today’s greatest charismatic teachers then were teaching only a portion of God’s prosperity message, which we found, through experience, has been taught incompletely. Here’s the bondage-breaking truth about God’s prosperity message and how we found it.
Let me say, first, that this is not a “method” for just becoming wealthy, and secondly, let me inform you that it only pertains to Christians. All of God’s promises are based on supernatural laws and on an intimate knowledge of one’s relationship to God through Jesus.
Anything attainable simply by obeying natural laws is not particularly of God, though He rules nature and prosperity is most assuredly built into that! Psalms, chapter one, explains what kind of person receives God’s blessings: one who walks only with godly counselors, refrains from entering freely into sinful paths, and does not enjoy leisure with arrogant fellowship. One who experiences actual delight in their Heavenly Father. Psalms 1:4 clearly states that “the ungodly are not so...” [blessed.].
The blessings of God are listed clearly in Deuteronomy 28:1-4. Christians are New Testament Israelites: and as such, are heirs of Old Testament Israelis' promises, by faith, as clearly seen in Galatians 3:7 which says, "Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham,” and Galatians 3:14, “That the blessings of Abraham might come on the gentiles through Jesus Christ.” St. John 1:12 says, “But as many as receive him [Jesus], to them gave He power to become the sons of God.” Romans 8:14 says, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” First John 3:2 says, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God.”
Once we realized that Jesus had not only saved our scrawny necks from eternal damnation, but had adopted us as brothers; that he’s given us the right to become sons to his own Father, we realized that we really were heirs of His Father’s wealth. All we had to do was become mature enough to deserve the responsibility of handling wealth properly. Psalms 84:11 gave us a precious promise in this regard that we hung on to: “NO GOOD THING will He withhold from them that walk uprightly.”
As we studied the scriptures intently, we saw financial laws emerging. All kinds of laws! God began to convict us of the necessity to obey certain of those laws: Biblical Laws of Success!
The first and most basic law regarded tithing we already knew. Malachi 3:10-11 says, “Bring [a command] ye all the tithes into the storehouse that there may be meat in mine house, and PROVE ME now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I WILL [an absolute] rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground, neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts.”
So, simply as an act of faith and obedience, we began to tithe [give ten percent of our gross income]. Then, we heard the message called the “hundred-fold return.”
It begins with Luke 7:38, which says, “GIVE, and it SHALL [an absolute] be given unto you: good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall MEN give into your bosom. For with the SAME MEASURE that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” If you give small, you get small! Another scripture that went right along with that is Matthew 13:23, “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 HUNDRED, some sixty, some thirty.” A one hundred-fold return on 1 cent is $1.00, but a hundred-fold return on $10.00 is $1,000.
We heard messages about sowing “seed faith” to have your NEEDS met: sowing out of your need rather than out of your abundance. There giving got complicated.
The premise for this lesson was, erroneously, drawn from Mark 12:42-44, the story of the widow giving two mites, which was all she had to live on. Our teachers misconstrued this teaching in that they assumed too much that this scripture does NOT say, and not knowing any better, we believed our teachers until God, Himself, taught us differently.
We were taught that if you had a “need” for rent, food, utilities, bills, etc. and you only had a portion of that on hand, you were to “sow” what you did have to get what you needed. So, we did. All we got was deeper in debt and late in our payments! This went on for almost a year before reality set in.
By that time, we had learned to ask God what He thought of what we heard, and He had already answered, “Be ware what you hear!” and “Be ware how you hear!” We had been hearing amiss and hadn’t understood the whole prosperity message God wanted us to know. The prosperity message we had been hearing had become a stumbling block to us.
We knew those scriptures were in His Word! We saw them as promises we had inherited, but something was wrong and we didn’t know what it was. After a while we began to petition God as to why this solid biblical principle was not working according to His promises, which can not fail. Since He is never wrong, we knew it had to be something we were, or were not, doing!
One day my husband, Horace, came to me and said God had revealed to him what the incomplete portion of the prosperity message was. The key was in Romans 13:7 –8. “Render therefore to all their dues;” and “Owe no man anything but to love one another.” Very simply, God was saying that the “seed” we had been sowing had not been ours to sow in the first place. So, He had had to pass the blessing of abundance on... to it’s rightful owner. This took the form of our interest and late payments going to the person to whom our money was actually due. We had given the “Abrahamic abundance” to the world’s system. Drat! The bible never said the widow owed either mite to another soul! It had always been hers to give away, and God honored her sincerity because that’s His law. She had known that! We had not! She knew her return was sure.
When this basic truth sunk into our hearts, we determined to only sow from OUR abundance, and doubled our workload until we could catch up our debts. We sold things we no longer needed, or used, to help along the way.
Our perspective changed. The things we had once valued as possessions became burdensome trappings, now good only for the unloading, to gain our freedom!
Finally, the moment of truth came. Our creditors were not paid off, but payments were up to date for the first time in years. [My bout with cancer had set us back severely several years earlier.] Tithing had kept us from incurring additional debts, and provided additional jobs by giving us favor with men [Proverbs 3:4]. Our first seed faith offering was meager, but we prayed over the five-dollar bill, and agreed together that we were sowing into God’s kingdom, expecting Luke 6:38 to be manifest in our lives from that day forth.
My husband had needed new eyeglasses badly for some years but had never felt free to buy them because of our debts. Within that first week, a sister in our congregation gave him the money he needed for them because she said God told her he needed that amount of money! Later that same week, I received a a notice from Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Florida. They said that my coverage had been re-evaluated and someone had “discovered” a special clause in our policy. That provision allowed Major Medical coverage to assume responsibility for 80% of our unpaid 20% balance [of about thirty-thousand dollars, from three surgery bills!]. En-total, it amounted to about a five-thousand-fold return on our five-dollar bill! Definitely worth our investment!
To receive anything from God we all have to learn to understand THE SPIRIT OF HIS LAW. He can not honor our intentions when our ignorance gets in His way! [Hosea 4:6, “MY PEOPLE are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”] We must learn to ask Him to teach us His truth... all of it. [Mat. 7:7-8]. We must rely on our relationship with Him.
Only then can He take us beyond “needs” to the “abundance” of the “second sowing!” God alone, through His Holy Spirit, is our authorized teacher, our guide, and our comforter! Men can only teach in part, where God can reveal in completeness what He wants us to know. All we have to do is be diligent and honest with Him, learn of Him, and obey Him out of love. When we operate in God’s love, we loose sin-consciousness.
To borrow is not a sin. To borrow and not repay as promised is a sin. Sins can be forgiven, but there is still a penalty to pay. Let’s learn to be prosperous by God’s design, and keep His money in His Kingdom! Besides, “A good [credit] name is rather to be chosen, than great riches.” Proverbs 22:1.
But, godly wealth is not a sin. It is a legacy and an inheritance to those who go the distance in God. To obtain godly wealth, we must enter into the realm of the “second sowing.”
The principle of the “second sowing” is found in the book of Matthew 13, beginning at the 17th verse. It is the historic setting of the boy who gave his five loaves and two fishes to feed the crowd that had gathered to hear Jesus speak. Now, you have to understand, this boy was probably a Jew. So, one can assume he had already tithed his original tithe. Yet when The Master said He needed more, the boy gave all that he had. Verse 20 states, “And they did all eat, and were filled; and they took up of the fragments [of the second sowing from the boy] that remained: TWELVE BASKETS FULL.” The boy had to have twelve hefty men help carry home his return on the same day it was given!
Come, brothers and sisters... let us enter into the season of the “second sowing” for God’s full measure of prosperity! Remember, it’s our inheritance.
“Freely you have received, freely give!”
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