How does seed faith giving work. It is loosely based (very loosely as we will see) on the parable of the sower found in Matthew 13, Mark 4, and Luke 8. Using the illustration of sowing seed, people are instructed that if they will give money to the church, the ministry, the TV network, the man of God, etc, God will multiply it back to them 30, 60, or 100 times more than they gave. In fact now days about all you ever hear about is the 100 fold return. The 30 and 60 fold returns have pretty much been dropped altogether. That’s a pretty good deal wouldn’t you say? Give God $1 and get back $100. Give God $100 and get back $10,000. Give God $10,000 and get back a cool million. And not only that, but you can also sow money and get back other things. Things like salvation for relatives, healing for incurable diseases, and deliverance from various demonic influences! That’s right, all you have to do is send your seed (meaning money) to the man of God! Is this really what the parable of the sower is all about? What do you think? Let’s examine this important parable.
Luke 8:4-8 (NASB)
When a large crowd was coming together, and those from the various cities were journeying to Him, He spoke by way of a parable: The sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell beside the road, and it was trampled under foot and the birds of the air ate it up. Other seed fell on rocky soil, and as soon as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. Other seed fell among the thorns; and the thorns grew up with it and choked it out. Other seed fell into the good soil, and grew up, and produced a crop a hundred times as great.” As He said these things, He would call out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
Jesus explains the parable
Luke 8:11 (NASB)
Now the parable is this: the seed is the Word of God.
Now right here anybody with even a minimal level of reading comprehension should be able to see that this parable has nothing to do with money. The seed is the Word of God. Even a brand new baby Christian should be able to look at this and say “I don’t think these fellows are teaching this correctly.”
Let’s continue with Jesus’ explanation
Luke 8:12-15 NASB
Those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they will not believe and be saved. Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away. The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity. But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.
This parable is about what happens when the word of God is sown or revealed in the heart of a person. It may be the most important parable Jesus taught. Why do I say that? Because Jesus said this: And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables? – Mark 4:13
Jesus is saying that if you don’t understand this parable you won’t understand any of the parables he taught. This is a foundational teaching!
By misapplying the parable of the sower these false teachers do great damage to Gods people. First, by falsely claiming that God works like some kind of cosmic slot machine. But the real damage is in the fact that believers are robbed of the true meaning of this teaching.
The parable of the sower is at work every time Gods word is revealed to you. In fact it is at work right now in many of you who are reading this. I know that many of you will read this and say “I don’t believe that. I don’t believe that my favorite preacher would preach a false message.” You’ll reject what I’m saying but you’ll actually be rejecting the words of Jesus. The devil has come already to steal this word from you.
Some of you will hear what I say and receive it gladly. “Glory to God” you’ll say, “preach it brother…. Hallelujah” But you won’t take the time to really meditate on this word. You won’t really apply it. And then a testing will come. Testing because of the word sown in your heart – a test to see if you really believe, trust in, rely on, adhere to what you claim to believe. You’ll be challenged. God Himself will allow that challenge. Will you pass the test? Or will you revert back to your traditional thinking?
And of course some of you will hear and believe but you won’t give this word the proper place in your life. You’ll think about it for a while. You’ll decide that it’s right but then you’ll get on with your life. You’ll get busy with your job, your family, your daily responsibilities and it will recede further and further into the recesses of your heart until it has no real value to you. And the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches will have choked the truth out of your heart.
But I know too that some of you will hear this word and receive it. You’ll meditate on it. You’ll give it the proper priority in your life. When challenged, you’ll stand and agree with it rather than contradict! And you will have proven yourself to be good soil. You’ll produce fruit, becoming more and more Christ like in your life. You’ll become a disciple indeed.
Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
(Let me get personal.)
Why do you still follow the false prophet?
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Tell me this. Who do you think Jesus was talking about when he said these words “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven?” He certainly wasn’t talking about the unsaved. He wasn’t talking about the cults and false religions. Hindus don’t prophesy in Jesus name and Muslims don’t cast out devils. If you are honest with yourself (and if you haven’t let the devil steal the word that this teaching has been sowing in your heart) you must acknowledge that the people He is talking about are the very teachers and preachers we see on TBN and The Inspiration Network and other gospel broadcasting networks every day. These wolves in sheep’s clothing that tell us that if we have a need we must sow a seed. These false prophets who deny (contradict) the Lord who bought them. These so called great men and women of God (and their followers) who “through greed and artificial speech have made merchandise of you”
Let us see how these false preachers have made merchandise of you. Let’s see how your seed (Money) faith giving has multiplied.
According to LOS ANGELES TIMES, Nov.4, 2001, page K15, Televangelists JAN and PAUL CROUCH of the Costa Mesa-based Trinity Broadcasting Network purchased a Newport Beach house for close to $5 million. The house they bought has six bedrooms, nine bathrooms, a billiard room, a climate-controlled wine cellar, a sweeping staircase and a crystal chandelier. The three-story, nearly 9,500-square-foot house, which has an elevator, also has a six-car garage, a tennis court and a pool with a fountain. The house is on slightly more than an acre. Jan Crouch had been wanting a bigger yard for her dogs, sources said. Trinity Broadcasting, established in 1973, has more than 768 TV stations on the air worldwide. The Crouches oversee a $100-million-plus-a-year enterprise. The network generates more than $170 million a year in revenue, mostly collected from low income viewers. Lower-income, rural Americans in the South are among TBN’s most faithful donors. The network says that 70% of its contributions are in amounts less than $50. Paul, 70, collects a $403,700 salary as TBN’s chairman and president. Jan, 67, is paid $361,000 as vice president and director of programming. Those are the highest salaries paid by any of the 12 major religious nonprofits whose finances are tracked by the Chronicle of Philanthropy. In addition to salary payouts, a former Trinity Broadcasting Network employee who was paid $425,000 to keep quiet about his claims of a homosexual tryst with televangelist Paul Crouch has broken his silence. Enoch Lonnie Ford, 41, said that he felt forced to engage in the alleged sexual acts to keep his job. Ministry officials have flatly denied Ford’s allegations, which are detailed in an unpublished memoir that is now sealed in court files by a judge’s order.
According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Mar. 9, 2000, The Rev. Creflo Dollar Jr. has built s religious empire on the message that his brand of seed faith giving leads to prosperity. He drives a Rolls-Royce, flies to speaking engagements across the nation and Europe in a $5 million private jet and lives in a $1 million home behind iron gates in an upscale Atlanta neighborhood. The Rev. Creflo Dollar‘s World Changers Church International in College Park alone took in $69 million in 2006, according to a brief report his church showed The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. According to Rev. Dollar, his income is separate from the church’s and provided by businesses he owns and from investments and real estate. According to church staff, he doesn’t receive any salary from the church.
Joel Osteen lives the life of prosperity that he preaches about. Joel Osteen proclaims,”It’s God’s will for you to live in prosperity instead of poverty.” The pastor of the Houston megachurch and wife Victoria certainly practice what they preach. The couple has moved to a $10.5 million mansion in River Oaks, while keeping their former Tanglewood residence, valued at $2.9 million. According to reports, Osteen hasn’t drawn a salary from the church since 2005. His income comes from best-selling books and related products, such as calendars, daybooks and inspirational pamphlets. Joel has made himself wealthy reportedly earning $13 million for his last book advance alone and his church prosperous $75 million and counting in annual revenue by urging us to let go of it, to turn it over to God, to accept God’s favor so that we may be as prosperous as he is.
Benny Hinn promised a healing center in 2002. What happened to it? STEVE McGONIGLE of The Dallas Morning News originally covered the story when Evangelist Benny Hinn dazzled an overflowing Reunion Arena. The flamboyant Pentecostal preacher offered the crowd a multimedia tour of his proposed $30 million shrine to faith healing and solicited donations to pay for it. The start of construction was imminent, he told followers. Mr. Hinn’s “World Healing Center” never materialized. After a few months, he stopped talking about the project. His tax-exempt ministry did not have to give a public accounting of how much money he raised or how it was spent, and it didn’t. Later, a subsidiary led by Mr. Hinn began work on a “$3 million dollar parsonage” overlooking the Pacific Ocean south of Los Angeles. The audited financial statements of Benny Hinn Ministries for 2006, which were provided to the Finance Committee, but are not posted on the Ministries‘ web site, show total revenue and support of $97.93 million. On March 6, 2005, NBC Dateline aired a segment, entitled A Preacher’s Life, on Benny Hinn. It revealed that Hinn manipulates individuals, and preaches a self-serving prosperity theology message at the so called “miracle crusades.” The program also include the following revelations: Hinn’s salary is somewhere between half a million and a million dollars per year. He also gets royalties from the sales of his books; a $10 million seaside mansion; a private jet; Receipts showing Hinn’s daughter receiving $1,300 in petty cash; her boyfriend getting $2,550 for babysitting; and $23,000 in cash dispersed to Hinn and his wife. It was also discovered that Mr. Hinn enjoys what the church termed “layovers” between crusades that included hotel bills ranging from $900 per night to royal suites that cost almost $3,000 for one night’s stay. Layover locations included Hawaii, Cancun, London, Milan and other exotic locations.
Supporters of Randy and Paula White say they have no problem with their displays of wealth. Randy and Paula White married in 1988 and in 14 years they claim 15,000 members and offer 250 ministries from job training for welfare recipients to a teen rock club. Randy is a fifth generation preacher. Much of their money comes from tax dollars through the faith-based initiative.They travel in a $1.9 million business jet. They own a home they purchased for $2.1 million on Bayshore Boulevard and a $3.5 million Trump Tower condo in New York. Randy rents a waterfront villa in Malibu, California. Their church and ministry took in $35 million in tithes and offerings in 2006, according to a recent audit by Lewis, Birch & Ricardo CPAs. The audit was posted online. The audit lists more than $5.5 million in salaries for 2006. However, the Whites will not disclose how much of that revenue goes to them.
Joyce Meyer says God has made her rich. Everything she has came from Him: the $10 million corporate jet, her husband’s $107,000 silver-gray Mercedes sedan, her $2 million home and houses worth another $2 million for her four children — all blessings, she says, straight from the hand of God. Meyer is fond of nice things and is willing to spend for them. From an $11,000 French clock in the ministry’s Fenton headquarters to a $105,000 Crownline boat docked behind her vacation home at Lake of the Ozarks, it’s clear her tastes run more to Perrier than to tap water. The ministry’s headquarters is a three-story jewel of red brick and emerald-color glass that, from the outside, has the look and feel of a luxury resort hotel. Built for $20 million, the building and grounds are postcard perfect, from manicured flower beds and walkways to a five-story lighted cross. The building is decorated with religious paintings and sculptures and quality furniture. Much of it, Meyer says, she selected herself. A Jefferson County assessor’s list offers a glimpse into the value of many of the items: a $19,000 pair of Dresden vases, six French crystal vases bought for $18,500, an $8,000 Dresden porcelain depicting the Nativity, two $5,800 curio cabinets, a $5,700 porcelain of the Crucifixion, a pair of German porcelain vases bought for $5,200. The decor includes a $30,000 malachite round table, a $23,000 marble-topped antique commode, a $14,000 custom office bookcase, a $7,000 Stations of the Cross in Dresden porcelain, a $6,300 eagle sculpture on a pedestal, another eagle made of silver bought for $5,000, and numerous paintings purchased for $1,000 to $4,000 each. Inside Meyer’s private office suite sit a conference table and 18 chairs bought for $49,000. The woodwork in the offices of Meyer and her husband cost the ministry $44,000. In all, assessor’s records of the ministry’s personal property show that nearly $5.7 million worth of furniture, artwork, glassware, and the latest equipment and machinery fill the 158,000-square-foot building. There is also a fleet of vehicles with an estimated value of $440,000. Meyer’s husband drives his Mercedes-Benz S55 AMG sedan. The Meyers keep the ministry’s Canadair CL-600 Challenger jet, which Joyce Meyer says is worth $10 million, at Spirit of St. Louis Airport in Chesterfield. The ministry employs two full-time pilots to fly the Meyers to conferences around the world.
These are just a few of the most prominent seed faith prosperity preachers. Now I ask you do you honestly believe these people are living the crucified life? Have they forsaken all to follow Jesus? Have they forsaken the world or do they love the things of this world?
The Apostle John says,
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
Do you think that a $10,000,000 jet or a $100,000 Mercedes of Joyce Meyer qualifies as a thing that is “of the world”? How about that $5,000,000 private jet of Creflo Dollar, or the $3,000,000 parsonage of Benny Hinn, or the $5,000,000 house of Jan and Paul Crouch? Well …you get the idea.
Look again at the words of John. He says that if any man (person) love the world (and by extension the things of the world ) the love of the Father is not in him.
Do you believe the Bible? Do you believe the Bible is contradictory? Do you believe what God says applies to some people but not to others? Do you believe that Joyce Meyer and her husband have the love of God in their hearts? Do you believe that Paula and Randy White need an 8,000 square foot, $2 million home? Do you believe that Rev. Dollar needs a 5 million dollar jet to serve the Lord? Do you really believe that Jan and Paul Crouch need a 5 million dollar home for them and their dog? Do you really believe that God gave His only begotten Son for this?
Have you been a follower of any of these false prophets? Have you been “sowing your seed” faithfully. Have you been giving sacrificially to the man or woman of God? Have you received your hundred fold return? I don’t mean have you had some occasional victories here and there. I want to know have you received your hundred fold return. Has it worked for you like it seems to work for them? Are you living in a $2 million dollar home? Do you have a $100,000 Mercedes. Do you fly around the country in a private jet? Well, why not? I hear these people all the time say that God is no respecter of persons (Rom 2:11). They say that what He did for one He will do for another. So again I ask, where is your Mercedes, and your $5 million estate? Are you honest enough to ask yourself why you’re still following these false preachers when it’s obviously not working in your life?
Well, if you are not honest enough, I am.
You follow them because you desire the things they promise. Even when you see the scriptures that condemn them you ignore them, you evade them, you rationalize in your mind that the scripture doesn’t really mean what it say. You have itching ears and are heaping up to yourself teachers after your own lusts. You are guilty before God and you will share in the swift destruction reserved for these false prophets if you don’t repent.
Ask your heavenly Father to deliver you from the worldly greed in your heart. Ask Him to deliver you from the love of worldly things. Ask Him to show you the truth as it is written in His Word. Take up your cross today. Deny yourself. Deny your fleshly desires and humble yourself before the Most High God. Enter into the death burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ through repentance, water baptism in His name and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Reckon yourself dead. Lay your life on the altar. Present yourself as a living sacrifice.
Don’t wait. Now is the acceptable time. Repent and believe the Gospel before it is too late.