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Principles of Prosperity

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  TEXT: Ecclesiastes 11:1-10

TOPIC: The Principles of Prosperity

Message and Outline from Dr. Adrian Rogers

God wants you to prosper.

Psalm 1:3, He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.

Joshua 1:8,  This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

3 John 2, Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.

Psalm 35:27, Let them shout for joy and be glad, Who favor my righteous cause; And let them say continually, “Let the Lord be magnified, Who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant.”

2 Chronicles 20:20, So they rose early in the morning and went out into the Wilderness of Tekoa; and as they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, O Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem: Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.”

Nehemiah 2:20, So I answered them, and said to them, “The God of heaven Himself will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build, but you have no heritage or right or memorial in Jerusalem.”

Illustration:  Old prospector found fool’s gold, found him and his mule dead by a dried up well.  Before he died he wrote a note, “died rich.”  But all he had was a couple of saddlebags filled with fool’s gold.

A lot of folks are like the fellow who said, “I dig the ditch to get the money to buy the food to get the strength to dig the ditch to get the money to buy the food to get the strength to dig the ditch.”

What is prosperity, and how can we have prosperity God’s way?

8 Principles of Prosperity from Ecclesiastes 11

Cast your bread upon the waters, For you will find it after many days.

2 Give a serving to seven, and also to eight, For you do not know what evil will be on the earth.

3 If the clouds are full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth; and if a tree falls to the south or the north, in the place where the tree falls, there it shall lie.

4 He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap.

5 As you do not know what is the way of the wind, Or how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child, so you do not know the works of God who makes everything.

6 In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening do not withhold your hand; for you do not know which will prosper, either this or that, or whether both alike will be good.

7 Truly the light is sweet, and it is pleasant for the eyes to behold the sun;

8 But if a man lives many years and rejoices in them all, yet let him remember the days of darkness, for they will be many.  All that is coming is vanity.

9 Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, And let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth;

            Walk in the ways of your heart, and in the sight of your eyes; but know that for all these God will bring you into judgment.

10 Therefore remove sorrow from your heart, and put away evil from your flesh, for childhood and youth are vanity.

1.  The Principle of Investment, Ecclesiastes 11:1,

Cast your bread upon the waters, For you will find it after many days.

1 Kings 10:22-23, For the king had merchant ships at sea with the fleet of Hiram. Once every three years the merchant ships came bringing gold, silver, ivory, apes, and monkeys. 23 So King Solomon surpassed all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom.

We probably get the statement from this, “when your ship comes in.”

Matthew 25, the Parable of the Talents

The man who had the one talent refused the principle of investment, Mt. 25:24, “Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed.

Illustration of General Patton – we are not to just hold our own, to hold our position, we are to be advancing.

Tips for Investing:

  • When you invest examine your motive.  We are not to do so with greed or with pride.                   1 Tim 6:6-9, 6 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.  

Then in verse 17 of this same chapter, Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.

  •  We are stewards and we are to manage what God has given to us and we are to invest it to make it grow. 

  • Get wise counsel, Proverbs 13:20, He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will be destroyed. Proverbs 15:22, Without counsel, plans go awry, But in the multitude of counselors they are established. Proverbs 14:15, The simple believes every word, But the prudent considers well his steps.  Be wise not shrewd. 

·         Beware of any get rich scheme, Proverbs ???

2.  The Principle of Diversification, Ecclesiastes 11:2,

2 Give a serving to seven, and also to eight, For you do not know what evil will be on the earth.

 

“Take shares in several adventures.  You never know what will go wrong in this world.”  

We say, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”

Save some, spend some, give some

3.  The Principle of Preparation, Ecclesiastes 11:3,

3 If the clouds are full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth; and if a tree falls to the south or the north, in the place where the tree falls, there it shall lie.

There will be a rainy day.  And when the winds blow and the storms come, the trees will fall, and wherever they fall there they will be.  And anything in their way is going to get smashed!

Some folks say, “Well, I’m just going to trust God.”  We ought to trust God but be careful.  To say you’re trusting God without preparation is not faith that is presumption.  The Bible says, “keep thy people from presumptuous sins.”  The devil tried to tempt the Lord Jesus with the sin of presumption.  He said, “Jump from the temple and trust the Lord to catch you.”  Jesus knew better than that.  He said, “You shall not tempt the Lord your God.”

Proverbs 6:6-11, learn a lesson from an ant.

            Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, 7 Which, having no captain, Overseer or ruler, 8 Provides her supplies in the summer, And gathers her food in the harvest.     9  How long will you slumber, O sluggard?  When will you rise from your sleep?  10 A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to sleep— 11 So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, And your need like an armed man.

Prepare for a rainy day.  Are you saving?  Proverbs 21:20, There is desirable treasure, and oil in the dwelling of the wise, but a foolish man squanders it.

The average 65 year old man at retirement age in America has a net worth of $100.

 

4. The Principle of Venture, or Risk, Ecclesiastes 11:4,

4 He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap.

Did you know the Bible encourages us to take a risk in life?  It does.  Some would say is this the same as gambling?  Not at all. 

Every farmer takes a risk each time he puts seed in the ground, but this is a far cry from gambling.

We must become wind watchers and cloud gazers who never take a risk.  So what is the difference therefore between taking a risk and gambling?

All legitimate business involves risk.  What is legitimate business?  Legitimate business is win-win.  I make a widget.  You need a widget.  I make a widget and sell to you for a dollar.  I make a dollar and you get the widget, that’s a win-win situation.  All legitimate business is built on that principle.  All gambling is built on a win-lose principle.  Gambling is bogus and fraud.  It is profit based on someone else’s loss and sorrow.  Legitimate business is I help you and you help me, but who wants to profit on someone else’s loss? 

Remember again the man who hid his talent in the ground?  Why did he hide his talent in the ground?  He said he was afraid.  Friends you have to get out on the limb because that’s where the fruit is!

To preach the Gospel you have to take a risk.  Acts 15:26, Barnabas and Paul, 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Not talking about hasty decisions.

Proverbs 21:5, The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, but those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty. Proverbs 27:12,  A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself; The simple pass on and are punished.  Proverbs 28:2, Because of the transgression of a land, many are its princes; But by a man of understanding and knowledge right will be prolonged.

5. The Principle of Trust, Ecclesiastes 11:5

5 As you do not know what is the way of the wind, Or how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child, so you do not know the works of God who makes everything.

There are some things we do not know and cannot know and we have to look to the Lord.

Isaiah 58:11, The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought, and strengthen your bones; You shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.

Psalm 32:8, I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.

Psalm 37:23, The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way.

Proverbs 3:5-6, Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

Illustration - A woman who called the doctor one morning

6.  The Principle of Work, Ecclesiastes 11:6

6 In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening do not withhold your hand; for you do not know which will prosper, either this or that, or whether both alike will be good.

Some are looking for a formula that works.  Stop looking.  We need to start working the formula.

Man came to work with two shiny black eyes.  His boss said, “Who gave you those.”  He said, “Nobody gave them to me, you have to fight for them.”

Proverbs 14:13; 20; 28:19

2 Thess. 3:10-11

Welfare disaster today

IN 1992 33 BILLION DOLLARS SPENT ON FOOD WITHOUT ONE SINGLE HOUR OF WORK SPENT TO EARN IT.

Not talking about those who cannot work.  I’m talking about those who will not work. 

Many have substituted credit cards for work. They call them credit cards they ought to call them debt cards.

7.  The Principle of Perspective, Ecclesiastes 11:7-8

7 Truly the light is sweet, and it is pleasant for the eyes to behold the sun;

8 But if a man lives many years and rejoices in them all, yet let him remember the days of darkness, for they will be many.  All that is coming is vanity.

 

Enjoy life but remember the bad days are coming.

1 Timothy 6:17, Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.

This is not all there is.  One of these we’re going to get sick.  One of these days we are going to die.

8. The Principle of Accountability, Ecclesiastes 11:9-10

9 Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, And let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth;

            Walk in the ways of your heart, and in the sight of your eyes; but know that for all these God will bring you into judgment.

10 Therefore remove sorrow from your heart, and put away evil from your flesh, for childhood and youth are vanity.

 

We are stewards and there is coming a day when we will have to give an account to God how we have used all the things God has given to us.  God is going to ask, “What did you do with what I entrusted you?”

What we call our own is not yours you are only a steward or a manager of what belongs to God.  Owners have rights stewards have none.

Therefore we ought to pray and ask God what He wants us to do with what he has given us.

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