The Poverty Gospel—Preaching a Message of “Be Sick and Tired”

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Would Paul, Peter, and The Twelve be called “false prophets” if they lived today?

Recently I heard a preacher teach on “Tree Fruit” (Matthew 7:15-20). He said this in regards to those who teach on the doctrine of healing through the righteousness and power of Christ.

This type of Gospel asserts that physical health through faith are the automatic divine right of all Bible-believing Christians and may be procreated by faith as part of the package of salvation, since the Atonement of Christ includes not just the removal of sin, but also the removal of sickness. This false Gospel directly contradicts the teaching and example of Jesus.” – Preacher

Whenever we hear someone declare a doctrine as false and those who teach such doctrines as false teachers, our spirit should be moved to examine the validity of the charge. If for no other reason than because Satan himself wraps God’s words in lies, thus making it difficult at times to discern truth from deception.

If physical healing is not a divine right of believers, then what are we to make of these teachings and examples of Jesus?

Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases. (Luke 9:1)

“And the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all.” (Luke 6:19)

“Jesus said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.'” (Mark 5:34)

In what did the girl have faith? Magic? Or in the power and authority of Jesus?

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

Are all who are weary and burdened to come to Jesus for rest? Or are they only to be comforted in their pain, affliction, and sickness until they die? Is Jesus Jehovah Rapha the Lord who heals? Or is he only the Lord of hospice care?

“There will be times when your health will be put on the line for the sake of the Gospel. There are times when our bodies may be called to be sacrificed for the sake of the Gospel. Stephen was stoned to death for the sake of the Gospel. Paul was beaten to death and left for dead for the sake of the Gospel. Our health in this life is not guaranteed. We may be promised healing, but it’s not in the here. It’s in glory where healing is guaranteed. Let’s not place our hope in the wrong place.” – Preacher

One question we might ask is when and how many times did Jesus deny someone healing? When did Jesus send someone away with the explanation, “Your health has been put on the line for the sake of the Gospel.” Perhaps the closest example we get to this is the man born blind.

Jesus said, “This happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” (John 9:3-4)

Is Jesus still in the world? Is his light in the world? Or did his light go out when he died?

“Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.” (3 John 1:2)

Why intercede for the health of others if it is God’s will that we remain sick? If we truly believe God’s will is for that person to remain sick, infected, and afflicted are we not giving others false hope to say, “I’ll pray for you?”

“Jesus himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:24)

Are we healed only of our sins? If he bore our sins in his body on the cross, for what purpose was he wounded?

If Christ died for our sins but not our sickness, afflictions, and infirmities (Isaiah 53:5) — if healing and casting out unclean spirits ceased when the last Apostle died, then are we to live with whatever ailments come our way and all unclean spirits that oppress and possess us? Is this the example of himself Jesus wished for us to recall, worship, and praise? The Jesus that leaves us broken, blind, deaf, mute, crippled, maimed, and sick?

“We are not above our master.” – Preacher

True. So how does Jesus, our master, pray for us? Does he care for us now or will that care come later “in glory?”

“I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail.” (Luke 22:32)

Do we believe in Jesus, his, power, his authority, his ability to remove sin from our spirit and heal both soul and body? Or do we deny some aspects of his power, his authority, and ability in order to avoid giving others “false hope?”

Here are how others reacted to the teachings and examples of Jesus.

Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. (James 5:15)

If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. (James 5:14-16)

The Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given the gift of healing by that one Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:8-9)

“Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” (Acts 3:6)

Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to perform signs and wonders. (Acts 14:3)

“In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her. (Acts 16:18)

“Stand up on your feet!” At that, the man jumped up and began to walk. (Acts 14:10)

God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them. (Acts 19:11-12)

In addition to being charged with healing and casting out demons by aligning himself with the Prince of Demons (Luke 11:15),  here are other obstacles Jesus faced as he went about healing and casting out unclean spirits.

Jesus could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith. (Mark 6:5-6) (Matthew 13:58)

It is true: our lack of faith hinders the work of Jesus. Such a comment is not meant to shame anyone, but to explain that even Jesus is bound by the spiritual laws that bind things in heaven and on earth. Jesus cannot override our will and words. This is one reason it is so important to bridal our tongues and align our will with the Father.

Jesus replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.” (Mark 9:29)

Insufficient time in prayer and fasting hinders the work of Jesus. Therefore, pray without ceasing. Fast as led by the Spirit.

Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” Jesus did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. When they came to the home of the synagogue leader… they laughed at Jesus (for he said the little girl was not dead). After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. (Mark 5:36-37)

Those without faith spreading seeds of doubt in Jesus’ healing power hinder his work.

“Let’s not seek to manipulate the word of God. We want wealth. We want health. And we’ve heard Jesus does this. So we go to the genie. There is no submission and there is not transformation, not a change of our heart’s desire. We are just asking Jesus to give us what we’ve always wanted. That’s not the Christian faith. That’s not Gospel fruit.” – Preacher

So how can we tell when a false prophet is peddling a false Gospel? Judge them by their words. They offer false hope, speak visions of their own, not from God, and speak words contrary to the words of God.

They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and the delusions of their own minds. (Jeremiah 14:14)

“Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with FALSE HOPES. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord. (Jeremiah 23:16)

Their depraved conduct will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. (2 Peter 2-3)

Let us conclude with this observation of Jesus’ warning against following false prophets, teachers, and preachers.

“Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ (Matthew 7:22)

“Away from me, you evildoers!”

Yes, Jesus will send away such false prophets, but look at the results that follow when the name, power, and authority of Jesus is proclaimed.

Demons driven out. Miracles performed. Might we also suspect that healing took place as well? Not because these false prophets are worthy, but because Jesus is worthy of all honor, glory, and love. Demons know of his power and they tremble. Unclean spirits of sickness know of the power of Jesus and those spirits cannot remain when they come in contact with his righteousness.

At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He asked, “Who touched my clothes?” (Mark 5:30)

Jesus knows when his righteousness comes in contact with unrighteousness and heals. If the righteousness of Christ is in you, then your mortal body will have life.

If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. (Romans 8:11)

Flee those who preach a message of guaranteed prosperity. Jesus commands us to ask for our daily bread, not riches for tomorrow and forever.

Flee those who preach a message of poverty and suffering and deny that as a child of God, as a brother of Jesus, you deserve pain, affliction, addiction, infection, to be maimed and sick. Jesus does not need us to suffer and die for him. He suffered and died for us.

There may be times when we are persecuted for his name, but that persecution will most often come from the hands of men. In persecution we may suffer physical afflictions, beatings, hardships, but to simply accept unclean spirits of sickness as God’s will is to attribute the works of the devil—sickness, disease, and infirmities—to the Holy Spirit.

I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. (Matthew 12: 31-32)

The gift of healing (comes) by that one Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:8-9)

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10)

Test the spirits. Test circumstances against the words of the Father, Jesus, and those who lived with Jesus and died a martyrs death for his name. Then you will recognize false teaching when you hear it.