Acts 14:22 (ESV) … “strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.”
Even if you haven’t heard the phrase, prosperity gospel, most likely you have listened to its message being preached. Today it is so easy to find preachers who are willing to fill the airways and pulpits proclaiming promises of added material prosperity, good health, and sunny pathways through life to those who put their trust in Christ. Furthermore, these same prosperity preachers proclaim that those who lack any of those good things in life are merely suffering from a lack of genuine and true faith in Christ.
However, we find that the original apostolic preaching of the Bible took for granted that tribulation and affliction would be our lot in life of those who love the Lord. As a matter of fact, most cultures and people live in daily need or struggle. This is the same general condition that the Lord found on earth in when he came to our world. Why would we think it would be so different now?
Also, just like in the New Testament times, there are many cultures and nations where it is no easy thing to be an open and confessing Christian. In those places, to become an open and committed Christian is to court discrimination and further sufferings. To proclaim Jesus publicly in those places, is more of a burden than a blessing when you think about it.
The religious freedoms we enjoy in Western countries, sometimes cause us to forget the high price many others have to pay for their faith. But even in lands where freedom reigns, persecution, ostracism, and opposition can still arise when a firm stand is taken for Christ.
So, beware of the prosperity gospel preachers and their lies. Let us not forget what Paul wrote to Timothy when he said, “All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). Paul was telling Timothy that though he would face rough treatment, he must not stop following the Lord. Paul’s admonishment is to remember that we “enter into the kingdom of God” not hindered by tribulations but rather enhanced by tribulation.