Not Prospering, Yet Prevailing
Topic: Sunday Message Verse: Hebrews 11:32–11:40, Matthew 6:19–6:21, Hebrews 11:6, Hebrews 12:1–12:3,
A four-week series about persevering with faith through tough times with life lessons from Hebrews 11.
Review: Faith is...
(1) "Not Seeing Yet Believing"
Just because you can’t something doesn’t mean it’s not real. Faith knows that there’s more to life than meets the eye and that the invisible is often more real than the visible.
(2) "Not Knowing Yet Trusting"
The life of Abraham shows us that you don’t need to know everything before you trust God with something. Faith means taking the next step without always knowing the four or five steps after that.
(3) "Not Applauded Yet Rewarded"
The life of Moses teaches us that the life of faith is neither a life of universal affirmation nor is it a life of instant gratification. Instead of being applauded, our faith will be tested by hardships and tempted by the shiny, hollow treasures of this life, which pale in comparison to a far-greater reward in Christ--namely, the riches of heaven and the glory of God.
A Current and Controversial Question about Faith
Does God want you to be rich?
And if you’re not rich, is it because you lack faith?
The Prosperity Gospel teaches that financial blessing and physical well-being are always God’s will for us and can be ours when we act in faith. It also teaches that Jesus’ death on the cross was not only for the atonement for our sins, but also for the alleviation of other curses like sickness and poverty—curses that will be broken if we only have enough faith.
However upon deeper examination in light of Scripture, the Prosperity Gospel isn’t spiritual, it’s superstitious. While it uses verses from the Bible, the teaching isn’t biblical; it’s heretical. The Prosperity Gospel needs to be rejected not only because it’s deceiving to people, but it’s also demeaning to Jesus.
Hebrews 11:32-40 NIV
32 And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. 35 Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. 36 Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground. 39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
Hebrews 11 is the Anti-Prosperity Gospel
It's hard to walk through a New Testament passage like Hebrews 11:32-40 and believe in a Prosperity Gospel unless you fall prey to thinking that a “prophetic word” in the present carries more weight than the Scriptures themselves, which is just plain nonsense. These verses in their proper context make it clear that material prosperity is not the measure nor the outcome of commendable faith.
(4) "Not Prospering Yet Prevailing"
Jesus makes it clear in the Parable of the Talents that life isn’t measured by how much you have. No, it’s about what you do with what you have and how you steward what God has entrusted into your care (your time, your talents, and your treasures) in order to be a blessing to others and to help advance His Kingdom of Life, and Light, and Love here on this earth as it is in heaven.
So genuine faith isn’t about us prospering materially; it’s about us prevailing eternally, Even in the midst of incredible trials and enticing temptations, faith that perseveres all the way to the end will experience the “something better” that God has planned for us as His children.
Matthew 6:19-21 NIV
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Thinking Biblically about Money & Faith
Just because there is false and harmful teaching about faith-and-money in some pockets of Christendom doesn’t mean we reject the topic altogether. We encourage you to store up for yourselves treasures in heaven by giving to the Lord here at Hopevale, because when you do, you are making eternal investments that strengthen our church and bless our community in the name of Jesus and for the glory of God.
Between now and the end of the year, we’ll have some special giving opportunities that we want you to consider: Giving Tuesday on December 3 along with the Christmas Outreach Offering later in December. You'll hear more about these opportunities in the weeks to come.
Hebrews 11:6 NIV
6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Holding On to our Faith
The opening statement from the very first message of this series said that sometimes it's hard to hold on to our faith in God. Every week we've seen that this can be true because sometimes we do grow weary and sometimes we do lose heart. But it doesn’t have to be that way; we do not have to let opposition and hardship have the final say in our lives. We have a Crucified, a Risen, an Exalted, and a Soon-Returning Savior who is greater than any trial we’ll face and better than any temptation that’ll come our way. So by faith let us fix our eyes on Jesus—now, always, and forever.
Beginning in November, we're now delivering our weekly sermon questions online only. They'll be available anytime after 4:00pm that same Sunday. If you’d like to go deeper in discussion with others, click this link where you can access "Sermon Questions" we put together for you each week.
Visit this page to participate in Hopevale's #GivingTuesday opportunity with this year’s emphasis tied to kingdom impact. All of the gifts given will go toward Hopevale's ministry general fund.
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