Thursday, July 9, 2009

New Hope Church- Prosperity Gospel Deception, Part II

OK...this is part 2 to my posting from last night on the recent meeting I attended at New Hope church where the prosperity, health and wealth Gospel was preached in earnest last night. I hope you did your homework and read Luke 5:1-11. Now...did Evangelist Eric Gonyon preach what was in the text in a biblical and true manner? Did he exegete the text (i.e. let the text speak for itself)? No...not even close. He preached a false message of prosperity from a text that has NOTHING to do with what he said.

I took a little time tonight to create an outline of what the text DOES say. Here is my outline and my commentary on what Mr. Gonyon said at the end:

Luke 5:1-11 The Recognition and Reaction to the Holy One of God

I. The Background to the Miracle (4:42-5:4) Before we jump into a text we should always look at the context of what's come before (at the very least!). What's been going on prior to chapter 5 with the Son of God?

A. 4:1-13- His victory over Satan’s temptation

B. 4:14-30- Rejected by his own- Jesus returns to preach in his hometown of Nazareth and claims to be the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy…people’s reaction is “Who is this, we know you, you’re Joseph’s son…you’re just a man, not the Messiah!” They want Him to prove Himself! They get angry with Him and try to kill Him! Kick Him out of the city.

C. 4:31-41 Reception by others- He goes to Capernaum where they are amazed…a demon recognizes Him as the Holy One of God…He heals Peter’s mother…and many others healed of sickness and demon possession. The people press Him to stay and preach… Unlike Nazareth, the people here sought Him and (v. 42) “stayed him”- this greek word means “held back, held fast” to Him “that he should not depart from them” (5:1) in verse 1 it says the people “pressed upon him”- the word means to “lay upon” and in this context means to to press upon, to be urgent What’s sad is that the demons recognize Him as the “Holy One of God”, the “Son of God” and the Messiah…but the Jews don’t!!!They urgently pressed upon him and held Him back- don’t go!!!! That’s why He stayed…

D. Summary of His reception- So far we’ve seen that reactions to the Son of God are very strange and mixed…not what you would expect.

1. He is totally rejected and not recognized by those that know Him intimately, His family, etc…to the point they want to kill him. We even know from other scriptures that His own family thought he was mad and doubted Him.

2. He is completely recognized by the demons! They correctly identify Him as the “Holy One of God”, the “Son of God” and the Messiah! He quickly shuts their mouths!

3. His doubtful reception- Now in Capernaum, where His initial “catch” of disciples is found He is greatly received…but for what reason? Was it for bread? Was it to see exciting miracles? People are clearly not recognizing Him for who He is…but for what He does and what He gives them…

II. The challenge of faith- (v. 4)- this is when the Lord challenges these fishermen to do something they wouldn’t/shouldn’t do…go fishing when obviously it wasn’t a good time and they’d already spent a lot of time not catching anything. Jesus tells them to launch out again where they had previously failed…

III. The lack of faith- Simon (v. 5) who had been toiling all night and failed seems to humor the Lord, “nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. Now…last night we heard that this was as the KJV says “nets” and the whole sermon was built on not letting down a “net” (singular) when the Lord says to lay down “nets” (plural). This is actually a textual variant in the Greek; the Critical Text has Jesus saying “let down nets” and Simon saying “I’ll let down the nets”…whereas the Majority/Byzantine text has Jesus saying “let down the nets” and Simon saying “I’ll let down the net.” Either way…Simon obviously let down his net or nets expecting nothing to be caught!

IV. The object of faith- (5:5-7)- Now…the net(s) go down and they catch a HUGE multitude of fishes such as they’ve never seen or even heard of…so much so that their net broke! This is clearly a statement and a revelation of the deity of Christ…that He has power to command the fish to do His will…

Don’t forget what happened before…the people of Nazareth who should have known Him don’t recognize Him and try to kill Him instead…the demons who you would not expect to recognize and worship Him do so by calling Him “the Holy One of God, the Son of God”…and the people of Capernaum seem to recognize a good show when they see it…but still fail to recognize the Son of God standing before them. Jesus Christ now reveals His true nature, the Son of God, to the disciples! The object of their faith now is the Holy One of God…the Son of God!

V. The recognition of the Holy One of God (5:8-10)- What is Simon Peter’s reaction when He realizes He is in the boat with the Holy One of God, the Son of God? He replies “depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. For he was astonished” This word “astonished” means “surrounded, encompassed, seized”

VI. The reaction to the recognition (5:10-11)- Their recognition of the Son of God caused a reaction; first they were astonished (surrounded)…then they were repentant and withdrawn in the presence of Holiness incarnate (“depart…I am a sinful man”)… and lastly they were selflessly obedient.

Jesus used the draught of fish to teach the fishermen a lesson. This is a lesson that you and I need to learn. We need to come face to face with the Holy One of God, the Son of God. When we recognize Who He is, like Peter, will fall at His feet and wilt under His absolute holiness and shrink repentantly in our sinfulness…and then we will serve at any cost.

Jesus tell the fishermen that they’re going to be catching men now…and they forsook all their living, and their catch, and followed him (v. 11). THEY LEFT ALL!

Now...what did Gonyon preach last night. Here is a summary:

  • Jesus said to let down nets...Simon only let down a net. When God tells you to let down nets you need to let them all down
  • The nets and the catch were equated to material/financial prosperity...if you let down your nets and expect the unexpected you will be astonished at what God GIVES YOU. If you don't give up your boats (jewelry, other precious things) then you are holding onto idols and God can't bless you materially.

THIS IS TRASH! This is NOT what the passage is speaking of. If that were the case then the disciples would have kept all and would have gone fishing again. They would have thanked Him for His help and considered themselves happy to have been blessed by a good catch and their newfound prosperity. They did not give Jesus the boat and then get the catch. When they were done and had met the Holy One of Israel their initial reaction was to hide their sinfulness from His glory and to run away!

What was the goal? Was He trying to bless them materially? NO!!!! Quite the opposite. They were privileged to have their eyes opened to the Holy One of God and their reaction was repentance and obedience. They gave up ALL and followed Him. They did not live a life of prosperity...they lived a life of abuse, rejection and ultimately beheading, crucifixion and torturous deaths! This was not "their best life now" and Jesus' "wonderful plan for their life" was to GIVE IT ALL UP and to suffer for His namesake.

Here is my message to New Hope...I love you guys...I felt like weeping when I listened to the garbage that was preached to you and the shallow, unscriptural evangelistic "scripts" thay you've been fed. There is so much more in the Word of God. Here is the message that you need to take to Abilene- repent and believe, fall at the feet of the Holy One of God, give it all up to HIM and not to a greedy and false teacher in wolve's clothing and serve Him with the same vigour and spirit that you now serve...but in truth.

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> posted by Jim Leavenworth at


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