SERMON DATE AND TITLE: 20121004: "Christian Prosperity"

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C H R I S T I A N    P r o s p e r I t y



Off the coast of Nova Scotia lies tiny Oak Island, site of a feverish hunt for buried treasure that began in 1795. The center of the search is a pit, twelve feet I diameter, hopefully called, “The Money Pit.” Digging down, treasure hunters have found wooden platforms every ten feet. A flat stone cut with mysterious symbols which some believe refers to a fortune in buried treasure has been retrieved.

No one has yet been able to reach the bottom of “The Money Pit.” The pirates who dug the pit built flood tunnels that have repeatedly sabotaged efforts to reach the treasure they believe is at the bottom. The only treasure found to date is three links of a gold chain.

There are interesting theories about what lies at the bottom of the “Money Pit.”

Captain Kidd’s gold?

The treasure of Blackbeard?

Inca valuables stolen by Spaniards?

The French Crown Jewels?

All Americans long for and “dig” for prosperity. Prosperity eludes us, because money can’t buy happiness. Lottery winners who became losers is an often repeated story.


In the decades since the end of the Great Depression of the 1930's, Americans have defined prosperity as money, materialism and leisure. That post-WWII vision of prosperity is shaking and my soon be redefined.

Apostle John writes in a salutation to his good friends,
"Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers."   3 John 1:2

This may soon be America's future definition of prosperity.

        Today's sermon examines Biblical definitions of prosperity from a Christian point of view.


Pastor Phil   <><<


October 7, 2012

Sheepfold Ministries, Pastor Phil Roland


C H R I S T I A N    P r o s p e r I t y



“The Body of Christ has been giving a prosperity teaching that has become ‘Out-of-balance.’ Following Jesus will not make you Healthy and Wealthy, but you will become prosperous in ways that really matter.”        Pastor Phil

"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”  Matthew 6:33


Today's text is from Paul's letter to the church at Philippi

In a sense, it is Paul's acknowledgement and Thank You for a very large gift

A member of the church, Epaphroditus, brings the gift to Paul

Paul writes this letter from a prison

Paul has been arrested, charged / Made a Roman citizen's appeal to Rome

Paul's prison is awful, with minimum food provided

Friends and relatives of prisoners provided extras, luxuries


   “for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content:” Verse 11b

   “Not that I am implying that I was in any personal want, for I have learned how to

     be content (satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or disquieted) in

     whatever state I am.”   (Amplified Bible - Lockman)

A. Contentment is learned through Christian Experience

                        1. Paul walked intimately with Jesus



2. He was called by Jesus in a dramatic conversion

                        3. He was on a continuous learning curve from there on

                        4. He found Serenity to Accept the things he could not change

            B. Learning through Depravation and Hardship

                        1. The same Grace of God can lift you out of trials

                        2. God’s Grace can take you through them as well

            C. Intimacy with Jesus can lead to Contentment

                        1. Are you Content with your Job?

                        2. Are you Content with your Husband/Wife/Children?

                        3. Are you Content with your Income? Where you Live?

            D. Paul has much to say about being Content – 1 Timothy 6:6-10

”Now godliness with contentment is great gain. 7  For we brought nothing

  into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8  And having

  food and clothing, with these we shall be content. 9  But those who desire

  to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and

  harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10  For the

  love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed

  from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with

  many sorrows.”




                        1. Do you suffer from the gnawing pains of materialism?

                        2. Do you have this deep longing for more, more, more?



“I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.” Verse 12

            A. Western world understanding of knowledge differs from Eastern

                        1. Our world knowledge is cramming your head w/information

                        2. Asiatic Knowledge/understanding comes by Experience

                        3. Once you leave college, then your real education begins

B. There are Four Parallel Statements on acquiring Biblical Wisdom

                        Paul says, “I know. . .”

                        1. Knowledge by Experience Being in Need and how to receive

                        2. Knowledge thru experience of Being Rich and how to give

                        3. Paul learned how to be both Full/Hungry at the same time

                                    a. Child with an ice cream cone: "Licker or a Gobbler?"

                                    b. When asked, a child will always ask for more

                        4. Paul's suffering also taught him to be satisfied w/God's                                        spiritual provision, but always longing for more

                                    a. Greedy for the Peace and Contentment found in Jesus

                                    b. Still greedy for more of Jesus

                                    c. American believers are ten-percent-ers

                                    d. I'll have 10% of Jesus, please

                                    e. Give me a little Sunday morning "feel-good"



"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."   Verse 13

            A. Paul denounces dependency on Material Things

                        1. Paul uses a hyperbole describe utter dependence on God

                        2. Paul is boasting in the Lord in his depravation and provision

                        3. Can you Praise God for "All Things?"

            B. Health: Increasing Strength and Power

                        1. God's Power is found in His Sustenance

                        2. How much are willing to pay for Good Health?

                        3. Power to be abased / Power to Abound is found in Jesus



"And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus."  Verse 19

            A. Paul is not issuing a Blank Check for all Christian Believers

                        1. Roland's paraphrase, "As you have responded to my needs,                              so my God shall supply all your needs as well."

2. Reminding of the Biblical Principle of Sowing and Reaping



            B. How would you fare if God prospered you in direct proportion to                       the way you prospered Him?

                        1. Potatoes return at a harvest rate of 5 to 1

                        2. Eg. 40 lbs of Seed will yield 250 pounds of potatoes

            C. Four Key words summarize this sermon

                        1. Contentment

                        2. Extremity

                        3. Strength

                        4. Supply


 C H R I S T I A N    P r o s p e r I t y


10  But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity.

11  Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content:

12  I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

13  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

14  Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress.

15  Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only.

16  For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities.

17  Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account.

18  Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God.

19  And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

20  Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.


C H R I S T I A N    P r o s p e r I t y


A fascinating spot on an ancient sailing vessel was the "Crow's Nest." This was a small platform high above the deck about 150 feet. From that perch a sailor would stand to scan the horizon for the sighting of land or to look for another ship.

The Crow's Nest was a precarious place because a rope ladder was the only means of ascending the mainmast where the platform was located. In a rough sea the ship would heave and roll. An apprentice seaman thoughtlessly looking down while ascending the ladder could easily become dizzy, lose his grip and fall onto the ship's deck or into the sea.

Knowing this, veteran seamen gave this advice to young sailors,

"Always keep your eyes toward heaven. Keep looking upward and you will be safe. Look down and you will be lost."