The following is an authorized transcription of a live teaching by Bill Johnson…
Open to the Gospel of Luke if you would please. The Gospel of Luke. I’ve been looking forward to this day for a number of reasons. The Lord really stirred my heart actually a couple months ago when I talked to you about finances. And everybody said …
That was almost everybody. I’m quite impressed actually. Somebody once said the wallet is the last thing to get converted when we come to Christ. I’ve kind of wondered, If that’s the case, was it really a conversion? Jesus seemed to declare things a little bit differently. I tell you what, I am so interested in seeing Jesus reign as Lord on this earth. I’m hungry for it. Do you know that everything you hunger for, everything that you desire and have a passion for in life that is right and ordained of God is there because He planted in you a sovereign passion for the Kingdom of God? The Kingdom of God is established in the hearts of anyone who walks under the Lordship of Jesus. When it comes to the subject of finances, we’ve got to walk somewhat carefully, but I’m not going to. I’m not a very careful person so I’m just going to stomp on everybody’s toes, including my own. So, you might just want to curl them under and get them out of the way a little bit because I’m just going to go for it like a bull in a china shop. But I want to take a look at something here and I’ll tell you the reason and the motivation. First of all, in obedience to the Lord, I do believe real strongly that God spoke to my heart a couple months ago before ever coming here. In fact, before I ever knew I was coming here, or before you knew it. Or that we would be dealing with this subject so close to the beginning of our time together. I’m going to share with you a scripture here to kind of launch us into this subject. I want you to understand my heart and the reason why.
Spiritual Kindergarten—How We Handle Finances
The way that we treat the finances in our own life biblically is the kindergarten of our spiritual life. You can’t get on to first, second, third grade until you do what He says with finances. It’s a very critical thing. It really has nothing to do with the dollar. It has to do with the Lordship of Jesus Christ. God is not broke. He owns everything. Psalms 24 verse 1 says, “The earth is the Lord’s and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein” (KJV). He owns all the cattle on a thousand hills. The Bible tells us the gold is His. Everything is His. God is not somehow wringing His hands wondering if He can pay PG&E tomorrow. He’s not nervous about this at all. God has a very good power plant going for Himself and there is no nervousness. There is no sense of need on His behalf, but I tell you what. Everything that God has ever commanded you and me to walk in has come because of His great love for us. Does that make sense to you? Whenever God commands me to do something, it’s because of His love for me. Commandments, if we come to the scriptures from a worldly mind, we look at as restrictive. Commandments, the things that God commands me to do, are actually liberating. It’s hard to comprehend how living within the commandments of the Lord, there’s more room to live than there is outside the commandments of the Lord. It’s a difficult thing to comprehend that inside is bigger than the outside. But that’s the reality of following after God, because in walking in obedience to God in all the different aspects and areas of our life, it releases His blessing. There’s not a person in this room who has truly met God that does not have a passion for the supernatural. It comes instinctively. It’s birthed in us. We read the stories in here of the multiplying of the loaves and the fishes. Anybody hungry for that kind of thing? For that kind of a day where the miraculous is not the exception but it’s the rule? Anybody else hungry for that?
Everybody has that desire instinctively. It’s there. It’s there because it came with that new nature. It came when we were born again, that passion for the supernatural. But here’s our problem, most of us want the supernatural but we do one of two things wrong. Number one, many of us want the supernatural but we want to control it. Right? We want to be, so don’t give me that religious look. We like to be in control of things, right? Who wants to be a part of something where we lose control? We like to be in control of those kinds of things and so if the miraculous could just happen, say before 10:30, it would be great, wouldn’t it?
We like to be in control, number one. Number two, here’s the other error that we tend to fall into when it comes to the supernatural—we would like for it to just happen. I’m going to attend church and if God wants to heal me, He’ll just heal me because then I’ll believe that’s His will. Now, a lot of people fall into that category and forgive me, but that’s really a screwy way to think. Most often God does whatever He wants. He visits people and brings healing to them. This over here, He can do whatever He wants. He even works sometimes when I’m grabbing for control. He says, “Hey, I’ll humor you, Bill. I’m going to give you what you ask for, but I’m going to call for it later.” He tends to work with us that way. Most of the time, the supernatural is released through our obedience.
The Test For The Release Of God’s Blessings
We hunger for Heaven to break forth into this life, but most of the time, it breaks through in response to radical obedience surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus. Luke 16. We’re going to take a couple verses here that I love. I’m not going to read the whole chapter. It’s certainly a wonderful lesson on the Lordship of Jesus bringing our economics, if you will, under His control, but there are two verses here that seem to summarize things for me. So, I’m going to share them with you. Verse 11 and 12. “Therefore, if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? If you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own?” (NKJV). Now, let’s read those two verses again. “Therefore, if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, and the way you use it, who will commit to your trust the true riches?” Verse 12. “If you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own?”These two verses essentially say the exact same thing. This first verse, verse 11, tells us that we are being tested in the way we take care of the finances, the resources that He gives us. We need to broaden the subject of resources to certainly more than the dollar. It’s our time, it’s our giftings, it’s what we do with what He’s given to us. At another time, I’m going to come back to this term “mammon” because it says that we cannot serve both God and mammon. It’s interesting to note that when Jesus makes reference to mammon in that context, He refers to it as a personality because there is a spirit of mammon. Now, I’m not one that tends to preach what many have called the “health and wealth gospel,” but I don’t preach the “disease and poverty” gospel either. I believe that God is very interested in every one of us being taken care of and walking in health, divine health. I mean, prosperity financially is having what you need to take care of stuff and being able to be generous to the ministry of God and on the face of the earth. Jack Hayford put it this way. He says, “Prosperity is not measured by what you have. It’s measured by what you’ve given away.” In this passage in Luke 16 Jesus says, “If you’ve not been faithful in the use of unrighteous mammon, who will entrust true riches to you?” The test for the release of the blessing of God on people’s lives is the way we handle money. That is the scripture. If I’m not faithful with what God has given me in the dollar, then who is going to entrust true riches to me? True riches is not more money. If you examine scripture, and we don’t have time on a Sunday morning to do this, but if you examine scripture and look at what He describes as true riches, you’ll find what is number one. In one of the epistles of John, I believe it’s 3 John, it says, “May you prosper… and be in good health, just as your soul prospers” (3 John 3:1). Take that phrase, “soul prospers.” Prosperity of soul is one of the Kingdom blessings. The Kingdom of God is not meat or drink, but what? Righteousness, peace and joy. There is prosperity of soul. Peace of mind. Joy that affects the emotions and the thought life of an individual. God has for every person prosperity of soul.