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Poverty and Riches

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ter style='text-align:center;tab-stops:1.75in; mso-layout-grid-align:none;text-autospace:none'>“Do you understand Poverty & Wealth”4-29-07 Fellowship Baptist PM

In order to properly interpret these questions you need to realize that when we refer to “wealth” and “poverty” we are speaking relatively.  You do not have to be in “utter poverty” for these biblical principles to apply.  The opposite is also true.  You do not need to be listed in the Forbes top 100 to be considered “wealthy.”

1.      Is a man poor “when he does not have enough money to pay his bills?”  (Yes or No) –Isa 58:7

2.      Is “poverty” such a relative thing that it is more “a state of mind” than a genuine condition of the pocketbook?  (Yes or No) –Prov 30:8-9

3.      Is genuine wealth to be determined by how much money or how many possessions a person has? (Yes or No) –Rev 3:17

4.      Can anyone who really sets their mind to it make money and gradually become wealthy (in the worldly sense of the meaning)?  (Yes or No) –Lam 3:37; Hag 1:9

5.      Is there a cause and effect connection between losing money and violating God’s Word? (Yes or No) –Prov 5:10; Prov 6:11; Prov 10:3; Prov 10:4; Prov 11:15; Prov 11:24; Prov 11:29; Prov 13:11; Prov 13:18; Prov 14:23; Prov 19:15; Prov 21:13; Prov 21:17; Prov 22:16; Prov 23:21; Prov 28:8; Prov 28:19; Prov 28:22

6.      Is there any other remedy given in Scripture to correct the behavior of a slothful person aside from not giving him food?  (Yes or No)  - 2 Thess 3:10; Prov 6:10-11; Prov 20:4

7.      Does God allow wicked people to prosper financially?  (Yes or No) –Matt 5:45; Rom 2:4; Prov 15:6; Psalm 37:35-36

8.      Is it possible then for a truly dedicated Christian to be financially poor to the point of needing to daily beseech God for the most basic necessities of food and clothing? (Yes or No) –Psalm 37:25; Phil 4

9.      Does God have special punishments for those who take advantage of someone who is poor, a widow or fatherless? (Yes or No) –Prov 14:31; 19:17; 21:13; 22:16; Isa 3:14; Ex 22:22-24

10.  Is it unscriptural for a dedicated Christian to have an abundance of  worldly riches?  (Yes or No) –Psalm 39:6; 1 Tim 6:17; Jas 5:4; Psalm 62:10; 2 Cor 9:8

11.  Should a Christian feel that it is proper for him to automatically adjust his standard of living up to whatever the income is that God allows him to have?  (Yes or No) –Psalm 62:10; Eccl 5: 1 Tim 6: Prov 11:24

12.  What would be a good definition for contentment? _______________

___________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________

13.  Are the riches of the wicked (or righteous) useful for providing a genuine sense of personal security (toward retirement etc.)?  (Yes or No) –Prov 15:6, 16; Eccl 5:10, 12-13; 1 Tim 5:4

14.  Does God choose along the way of life to make some people rich and other people poor? (Yes or No) -2 Chron 36:11-21; 2 Cor 8:9; Psalm 75:6-7; Deut 8:18

15.  Does God compensate the poor by giving them things that the rich cannot readily attain?  (Yes or No) -James 2:5; Eccl 5

16.   Has God destined some people to remain poor throughout their whole lives, while others are destined to remain rich?  (Yes No or Maybe) –Psalm 66:12

17.  Do you think God has a general method of teaching men that takes people from riches to poverty to riches?  (Yes No or Maybe) –Matthew 16:24-25; Phil 4

-------Taken from men’s manual Vol 2 pp. 90 ff.

Personal sermon notes:

Intro:

  • Choose Scripture reading Philippians 4 & Eccl 5
  • Parables in Judges/ Resurrection/ Tim
  • Lots of jumping around in our Bibles today.
  • We are going to deal with a parallel subject like that of Pastor Wesco’s in hiss preaching through 1 Timothy (quote) “…But godliness with contentment …”  “Charge them that are rich in this age…”

1.      Is a man poor “when he does not have enough money to pay his bills?”  (Yes or No)  ….Wait for them to answer…

     No  

  • -Key bank good accounting and track every dollar. 
  • Tell about different seminars we have heard in recent times. 
  • What is God’s definition of real poverty?  A man is poor when he is not able to secure sufficient food, clothing or shelter (Isa 58:7).  Many people who have large incomes are not able to pay their bills.  They spend the money which should have been used for food and clothing on other items.  They are not poor in terms of money.  They are poor in terms of managing their money. 
  • Before giving money to someone who appears poor (like someone coming off street to ask for money) we need to be careful that giving to them will contribute to their growth and not be detrimental to it.  Cig or alcohol

2.      Is “poverty” such a relative thing that it is more “a state of mind” than a genuine condition of the pocketbook?  (Yes or No)

     No There is no question that poverty is very real for those who experience it. 

  • If it was not real, God would not command Christians to help the poor, nor would he judge those who take advantage of the poor. 
  • 2 Cor 10:12 (nt in their notes)-Many of the difficulties which are associated with poverty, are the results of comparison and discontent rather than lack of funds.  A person can be poor by the world’s standards, but very content because he has adequate food, clothing, and shelter.  On the other hand, a person can have an abundance of money and still be discontent and unhappy. 
  • We ought to each have voiced the plea of Agur “…Give me neither poverty nor riches… Lest I be full, and deny thee… or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain” (Prov 30:8-9) 

3.      Is genuine wealth to be determined by how much money or how many possessions a person has? (Yes or No)

     No True wealth is measured by the value and lasting benefit which it brings to the life of its possessor.  Let’s not ever lose our heavenly perspective!  We need to remind ourselves regularly of the real facts!

  • The Christians in Laodicea thought that they were rich, but God said, “…Thou sayest, I am rich, and increases with goods, and heave need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” (Rev 3:17)
  • Matt 5- “lay not up treasure on earth” Our emphasis should never be on accumulating excessive worldly goods.
  • Psalm 73 –We all need to read this passage here in America on a regular basis.  “…when I saw the prosperity of the wicked…they have more than heart could wish…I was envious… Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end…They set in slippery places…they are utterly consumed with terrors.”  Do you read this passage when your children make a comment like “I want to marry someone rich when I grow up?

4.      Can anyone who really sets their mind to it make money and gradually become wealthy (in the worldly sense of the meaning)?  (Yes or No)

     No There are many more factors to making and keeping money than just putting one’s mind to it. 

  • God asks: (Lam 3:37)  “Who is he that saith, and it cometh to pass, when the Lord commandeth it not.”
  • Throughout Scripture God reminds us that He has the final word concerning a man’s wealth: “Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it…” (Haggai 1:9). 
  • Not only this, but do you realize that Scripturally it is wrong for a man to “set his mind” on becoming wealthy since he is then violating the warnings of God not to seek after riches, and he will experience the consequences of doing so.
  • Example of a business class I saw attended at a piano convention I was at: “If you did not make x dollars last year come to my class.”  Need to be productive, but focus needs to be right!

5.      Is there a cause and effect connection between losing money and violating God’s Word? (Yes or No)

     Yes The Scriptures clearly establish a cause-and-effect sequence between violating God’s laws and losing money.  Let’s look at some of these from warnings found in just one book of the Bible, Proverbs.  Flip through Proverbs with me if you will.

1).     Being immoral with a woman. (Prov 5:10) –Many examples of this just on our street, including the fellow who used to be purchasing the home next to me on land contract.

2).     Spending too much time sleeping. (Prov 6:11)

3).     Getting money by doing evil. (Prov 10:3) 

·         Karen Isaac and Lottery.

·         Gambling/lottery/stealing/swindling etc. 

·         Being honest in your business is important to God         

            1 Tim 3

4).     Failing to be diligent. (Prov 10:4) This is so true in business.  Many piano tuners are wash outs because they are incapable of managing themselves.  This is why home-educated young people of the past 20 years so often own their own businesses. 

5).     Co-signing a note. (Prov 11:15)  “smart” =sore/broken

6).     Having a stingy attitude. (Prov 11:24)  This is the opposite of man’s thinking!

7).     Provoking your family to anger. (Prov 11:29) “inherit the wind” –Houses and land are to be the inheritance of godly parents.  Example of will.  OT double to 1st born.

8).     Getting money without labor. (Prov 13:11) Even working in sales is work.  When someone has their focus on making money without working by “doing nothing,” I get suspicious.  This is the worldly philosophy which so many networking marketing schemes use as their main drawing card.  I have always been amused by how they get into the business thinking it will be more dollar for less work and end up discovering that instead it is often a lot hours that usually never turns in hardly any residual income to the point where they are embarrassed to say how little they have earned over past year in “the business”!

9).     Refusing to listen to reproofs. (Prov 13:18)  How many have started businesses that failed because they were not tuned in to the reproofs of their parents growing up, nor open to inviting their counsel when they came of age as adults themselves.

10).                         Talking too much. (Prov 14:23)  This one was a favorite of my Grandmothers when we hand mowed the 4 acre yard of theirs and worked with them at the piano factory!

11).                         Being slothful. (Prov 19:15)  God tells this person to go study the ant!  We might call this biblical “ant-thropology”!  Instead of the school of “hard-knocks,” we are told to ask the beasts and they will instruct.” 

12).                         Rejecting the cry of the poor. (Prov 21:13)  As we shall see later, God defends the poor and fatherless.

13).                         Loving pleasure. (Prov 21:17)

·         A sign of the last days 2 Tim 3.

·         Television/videos

·         Sports –instead of starting business etc

·         One of the big problems with the modern youth mov.

14).                         Loving wine. (Prov 21:17) Example of extended relative I had who died of surosis of the liver.  Could have made good money as a painter.  I know painters who make a living just working part-time.

15).                         Giving to rich people. (Prov 22:16) This one tends to catch us off guard.  This could be one who joins associations or country clubs for the social standing of the membership.

16).                         Overeating. (Prov 23:21) This one is pretty obvious, it is hard to work and labor effectively when one is fat!

17).                         Charging interest (usury) on loans. (Prov 28:8) Explain –only charging interest to non-Israelite.

18).                         Following vain persons. (Prov 28:19) Walk with wise and you learn how to work and start businesses; fellowship with vain, worthless and lazy people and you will learn how to go bankrupt!

19).                         Trying to get rich quickly (Prov 28:22)  Already pointed out above how this often goes with concept of getting money without labor.

6.      Is there any other remedy given in Scripture to correct the behavior of a slothful person aside from not giving him food?  (Yes or No)

     No This is clearly taught in Scripture: “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” (2 Thess 3:10). 

  • A slothful person is not one who rejects work; he simply makes little daily surrenders to postpone it.  “…A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.” (Prov 6:10-11)  A slothful person justifies his soft choices by an endless number of reasons why he cannot perform a task.  Giving him food will only reinforce his inertia.  “The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing.” (Prov 20:4)

 

 

7.      Does God allow wicked people to prosper financially?  (Yes or No)

     Yes God allows some evil men to prosper for a time. 

  • “…For he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matt 5:45) 
  • (Rom 2:4) “…Despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance.”  God’s purpose is to let them see the emptiness and futility of their riches and then to bring them to repentance.  The tragedy is that some of these very men misinterpret God’s goodness
  • Remember though that the riches of the wicked have built-in problems.  “…in the revenues of the wicked is trouble.” (Prov 15:6).  Even before financial ruin, there is trouble and sorrow in their riches.  “I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree.  Yet he passeth away, and, lo, he was not…” (Psalm 37:35-36)

8.      Is it possible then for a truly dedicated Christian to be financially poor to the point of needing to daily beseech God for the most basic necessities of food and clothing? (Yes or No)

     Yes! When we see someone who is struggling financially in our Western society, often we tend to assume that there is a spiritual problem.  (Immorality, lack of diligence, laziness etc. like in the 19 things listed above.)  This is not always the case! 

  • Job, Elijah, Joseph, Paul and others had no money for a time. 
  • We need to beware, because as we shall soon see, God often uses a cycle of poverty and riches which we also may very well face personally during our own lives sometime! 
  • We need to remember that even though a Christian may experience poverty, God never forsakes him, and He gives a heritage of rich faith to his children.  David said it this way: “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.”  (Ps 37:25)
  • Example of George Mueller.  Beg God daily!  This is the basis many use for making needs known only to God.  We will cover this further under points 16 & 18.

9.      Does God have special punishments for those who take advantage of someone who is poor, a widow or fatherless? (Yes or No)

     Yes

  • God sides with the poor against any who would mistreat them: “He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker …” (Prov 14:31) “He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord…” (Prov 19:17) “Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard.” (Prov 21:13) “He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches…shall surely come to want.” (Prov 22:16) 
  • God will hold responsible every individual who oppresses the poor.  He will also condemn those in leadership positions who profit at the expense of the poor.  “The Lord will enter into judgment with the ancients of his people, and the princes thereof: for ye have eaten up the vineyard; the spoil of the poor is in your houses.” (Isa 3:14) 
  • Fatherless are also cared for by God in special ways.  “Ye shall not afflict any widow, or fatherless child. If thou afflict them in any wise, and they cry at all unto me, I will surely hear their cry; And my wrath shall wax hot, and I will kill you with the sword; and your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless.” (Exodus 22:22-24) 
  • Give Sammons illustration of buying trailer from Christian widow.

10.  Is it unscriptural for a dedicated Christian to have an abundance of  worldly riches?  (Yes or No)

     No God does not condemn a Christian for possessing riches. 

  • God rebukes those who heap up riches for themselves (Ps 39:6),
  • Trust in their riches (1 Tim 6:17; Ps 62:10),
  • Gain riches unjustly (Jas 5:4),
  • God clearly teaches that the riches of a dedicated Christian are the result of God’s grace and the basis for giving.  “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.” (2 Cor 9:8). 
  • This question overlaps with the next point.

11.  Should a Christian feel that it is proper for him to automatically adjust his standard of living up to whatever the income is that God allows him to have?  (Yes or No)

     No! Our standard of living should be built around contentment with basics. 

  • If our income decreases, we should learn how to decrease our expenses or pray for God’s provisions. 
  • If our income increases, we should determine how we can use this increase to advance God’s kingdom, not our own pleasures.  “…If riches increase, set not your heart upon them.” (Psalm 62:10) 
  • RG LeTourneau example I read about this past week from a bio and Wisdom Booklet.  He gave 50% of all personal and business profits to the Lord and later increased it to 90%.  Eccl 5 “Riches kept for the owners thereof to their hurt.” 
  • 1 Tim 6 charge.  Test God now herewith and see if he will not bless you!  “He that scattereth and yet increaseth.” (Prov 11:24)

 

 

12.  What would be a good definition for contentment? ____________

“Recognizing that God has given me everything that I need for my present happiness and the accomplishment of his will for my life.”

13.  Are the riches of the wicked (or righteous) useful for providing a genuine sense of personal security (toward retirement etc.)?  (Yes or No)

     NO

  • Actually, the riches of the wicked are worse than useless.  They are actually a dangerous liability and they breed insecurity.  “In the revenues of the wicked is trouble” (Prov 15:6) “Better is little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble therewith.” (Prov 15:16) 
  • The problems of the riches of the wicked are further described in Eccl 5:10, 12-13: “He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase…but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep.  There is a sore evil which I have seen under the sun, namely, riches kept for the owners thereof to their hurt.” 
  • Remember, there is really no such thing as retirement in Scripture.  The Priest over 50 was just shifted into a less manual job.  Children and grandchildren (1 Tim 5:4) are commanded to take up the slack in caring for the aged or disabled parents.  Many couples chose not to have a large family since they do not feel they can make ends meet and set aside the percentage the financial wizards suggest toward retirement!  I have seen God meet needs as the need increased…not usually before!
  • Here is one for you to chew on…! God has a view on retirement that is quite different than the assumed today!  It is assumed in Scripture that normally godly parents will leave a physical inheritance not only to their children, but also to their children’s children.  Not only this, but “houses and lands are the inheritance of parents but a prudent wife is from the Lord.”  I know of couples who have taken this command seriously enough to feel that their responsibility to children was not over at 18 or 21 but when they had seen them into a home of their own without debt!  Example of family who built each others’ homes. 
  • Consider in righting a will.  Grandma Wesco and blessing she was in setting up our home.

14.  Does God choose along the way of life to make some people rich and other people poor? (Yes or No)

     Yes God chooses different means to accomplish different purposes for His glory. 

  • God will use poverty in order to test faith (Job) –more on this in a moment
  • Or for chastening (King Zedekiah and Judah in 2 Chron 36:11-21)
  • Or as in the case of Christ to magnify the marvelous grace of redemption.  “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.” (2Cor 8:9) 
  • The fact that God makes the decision to make some people poor and other people rich is further emphasized in  the following verses: “…Promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south.  But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another.” (Psalm 75:6-7) “…It is he that giveth thee power to get wealth…” (Deut 8:18)

15.  Does God compensate the poor by giving them things that the rich cannot readily attain?  (Yes or No)

     YES!!! God’s compensation to the poor is significant:

·         (James 2:5) “Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him.” In the final analysis, faith is more important and more valuable than riches.  Without faith it is impossible to please God. 

·         God also gives to the poor a freedom from certain fears and worries which can plague the rich.  Eccl 5.  (sleeps better etc.) 

·         We will learn soon that it is for this reason that God usually takes people through cycles during their lives when they experience the reality of God’s provision as they abound as well as when they suffer need.

16.   Has God destined some people to remain poor throughout their whole lives, while others are destined to remain rich?  (Yes No or Maybe)

     No God’s destiny for people is not centered around earthly riches. 

  • In the process of teaching men how to compare temporary riches with lasting riches, God will often allow them to experience a measure of both riches and poverty.  God allows some wicked people to prosper, then to have trouble with their riches, and in many cases to lose their riches.  He also allows righteous people to lose their money, so that they might discover more of God’s riches and then experience God’s financial provision.  “Thou hast cause men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.” (Psalm 66:12)

17.  Do you think God has a general method of teaching men that takes people from riches to poverty to riches?  (Yes No or Maybe)

     Yes God illustrates this cycle in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ, as well as in the lives of many others in Scripture. 

  • Christ went from the riches of heaven to the poverty of Nazareth, and then back to the riches of heaven. 
  • Job went from being the wealthiest man in his day, to losing all of his money, to getting twice as much wealth back again. 
  • Joseph went from the most favored position in his family wearing the coat of many colors to complete poverty and then to being just under the wealthiest ruler of the known world.

Invitation:

     Christ calls upon all those who want to be His disciples to voluntarily allow Him to take them through this cycle.  “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.  For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” (Matthew 16:24-25)

 

Use a prayer based on being willing to go through this cycle as invitation.  “Everywhere and in all things both to abound and to suffer teaching.”  “I have learned …to be content…to be full and to suffer need.”

 

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