Faithlife Sermons

When Seeing the Poor

Grace and Power  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  36:13
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INTRO - Sometimes we need a little excursion. What’s that you say?
Sometimes we need to break out one verse from a passage we’ve studied and examine it with a sort of view for the whole of the Bible.
Verse 2:10 is one of those verses.
ILL - If you’ve ever been on a cruse you know that those little “side trips” you make while at port or anchored someplace can become the highlight of your trip. For Jennifer and I a trip to Coba Mayn Ruins ranks pretty high on that list.
March 11, 2014 was a pretty special day for the Burdicks. My first Mayn ruin visit, special enough, but seeing the people of Mexico, and how how they lived, that was an eye-opener. See, our excursion took us out of the city and past where the people lived.
It hit me, the people of Mexico don’t have it good like even the poorest of people in the States. By all means, even our poor are rich.
An excursion should open our eyes. And today, that is what we want to happen as we look closely at 2:10.
What does it say?
Galatians 2:10 NASB95PARA
They only asked us to remember the poor—the very thing I also was eager to do.
This passage seems out of place.
Last week we talked about seeing grace.
Paul, Barnabas, and church leaders were all at this important meeting.
Paul insists nothing need be added to his gospel v.6, they see the grace given to Paul v.9, and joined with him in ministry v.9.
But, the passage keep going.
“Remember the poor.”
Let me ask you. Given what we’ve studied so far in Galatians, would you have guessed you’d hear the leaders ask Paul to “remember the poor?”
Studying this, I found that scholars have a really difficult time with this verse. It just does not seem to fit the rest of the story. It seems unrelated to the text.
“least of these”
For me, I’m reminded of the tragedy of the conservative Christian church. See, looking back 100 years or so, I see the church interested in the gospel, but forgetting the poor. We have a good grip on what we believe, but tend to look away from the poor. We try to be faithful to the Bible, but seem shallow when comes to caring for “the least of these.” Mt. 25:45.
The other side of the coin, the liberal Church, seems to have remembered the poor, but overlooked the gospel. Lots of churches have shelters, food pantries, and social services but fail to talk about the fallen condition of humankind, God’s wrath, eternal punishment, atonement, or forgiveness of sins through the blood of Jesus.
“must take the gospel to the poor.”
To be Biblical Christians, if we take the message of Galatians seriously, we must take the gospel to the poor.
ILL - Friends of mine, a man and his wife, teach a Bible class at FBC Leesburg. They invite people off the street to join them Sunday mornings.
FBC Minneola offered free meals and provided groceries for needy.
The Men’s Mission provides a meal every day to anyone in need.
In all of these ministries the people share or shared the message of Jesus with others.
Too often I hear churches discussion sharing Jesus, but dropping the ball when comes to sharing with the poor. The poor often don’t change; they continue to be poor. Many don’t become active church members, have little or nothing to give, and may scare away other “more likable” people.
How does the gospel cause us to prioritize the poor?
Why does the good news put a spotlight on the poor?
Why does love for the gospel need to show concern for the “least of these?”

Come all to Jesus.

The gospel calls us to care for the poor, needy, and in the process helps us identify our own poverty.
It’s not easy to care for people when we’ve no real connection. That is to say, its hard to help the poor when we don’t really understand what it’s like to be them.
Fact is, most of us are not poor. We’ve never been poor nor will we ever be poor. Most of us never went a day without food or an evening without a bed in which to sleep.
“most of us are rich”
In fact, most of us are rich. Historically and globally speaking we are extremely wealthy. Now, I don’t mean 6 figure incomes, I mean more than $10 income a day, $70 a week, or a few hundred a month. If you do better than that, by any measure from history or global standard, you are super rich.
Now, at the same time, impoverished because of sin. Due to the fall and our sin, we suffer the worst sort of poverty; far worse than not having money. See, we are poor when it comes to our relationship with God, ourselves, with other people, and even creation. We might have stuff, but we may, also, have spiritual poverty; a bankrupt life.
It is the gospel that causes us to confront our own spiritual poverty.
We are often tempted to see the poor as a problem for the rich to solve. This simply produces pride and attitudes towards both the poor and the rich when seeking to help those with few belongings. Their real need, just like you and I, is rescue from spiritual poverty. They need Jesus!
There is a song that goes “Come just as you are, here the Spirits call, come just as you are. Come and see, come receive, come and live forever.”
The song is about coming to Jesus. Jesus said he came to call sinners to repentance and that all are sinners fallen short of the glory of God.
“everyone is fallen”
The gospel starts that way: everyone is fallen, everyone needs Jesus, Jesus wants sinners to turn to him and believe he wants to save them and restore them in a right relationship with God.
We can’t come to Jesus until we recognize we are poor and needy. Jesus came to save sinners not the self-righteous who think they are so strong without God.
Now get this, everyday we have to come to Jesus in repentance as poor and needy sinners. Catch this, if the gospel is at work in your life on a daly basis, you come to terms with your own poverty every day.

Come receive all Jesus has to give.

TRANS - We noted our personal spiritual poverty. We touched on identifying with the poor. We noted the gospel at work in our lives helps us to identify spiritual poverty in the lives of all people.
The gospel helps us prioritize the poor by helping us to identify with them in our own poverty.
But their is more.
If gospel causes us to share with the poor by emboldening us to share with them out of our abundance.
Jesus didn’t call a group of rich guys to follow him. How was it they were so bold to share with the poor? They were emboldened because they understood the abundance they had in Christ Jesus.
They noted:

• Each Galatian believer was “no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir” (Galatians 4:7).

• They had “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” in Christ (Ephesians 1:3).

• They had been “born again to a living hope” (1 Peter 1:3).

• They had been born again into God’s family with all the rights of sons (John 1:12, 13).

• They were “qualified … to share in the inheritance of the saints in light” (Colossians 1:12).

• They were “fellow heirs with Christ,” and all that is his was now theirs (Romans 8:17).

• They were promised the kingdom by the “good pleasure” of the Father (Luke 12:32).

• They were heirs of the whole world (Romans 4:13).

Do you recall the story of the poor man outside the temple gate who asked Peter and John for money?
What did Peter say to him?:
Acts 3:6 NASB95PARA
But Peter said, “I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—walk!”
Peter didn’t have money, but what he had he gave in abundance. He had nothing, but possessed everything.
The gospel isn’t asking us to share what we don’t have.
The gospel challenges us to share from the abundance of what God provides every Jesus follower.
Together with Peter, Christians can say, “What I do have I give to you.” We always have Jesus. Give Jesus away generously and freely.
Next time someone asks you for money or food, talk to them. Regardless if whether or not you can help with money or food, always share what is most valuable. Share Jesus.

Recall Jesus had nothing.

TRANS - We’ve noted how the gospel helps us connect with the poor. We noted the gospel call on us to share out of our abundance.
The gospel calls us to follow Jesus in pursuit of the poor; it calls us to discipleship. It calls us to take up our cross and follow Jesus.
If faithful in following Jesus, where will he eventually lead us?
Three things

First thing about Jesus

Jesus took pursuing the poor seriously; he became poor:
2 Corinthians 8:9 NASB95PARA
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.
Jesus was not rich, not middle class, not educated, not a home owner. He didn’t have a retirement income, a car, or savings account. Save a trip to Egypt, Jesus didn’t even take vacations.
Jesus was poor and he had no misgivings about it. He didn’t want his followers to have misgivings about it. Recall what He said in Matthew?:
Matthew 8:20 NASB95PARA
Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”

Second thing about Jesus

Jesus pursued the poor by telling them the good news. Jesus began his ministry in the synagogue by opening the scroll to Isaiah and reading:
Luke 4:18–19 NASB95PARA
The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, And recovery of sight to the blind, To set free those who are oppressed, To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.”

Third thing about Jesus

Jesus pursued the poor by promising them a reversal of fortunes. The gospel goes beyond saving souls and going to Heaven. Its that, but more. Jesus proclaimed the good news of God’s kingdom coming to earth. The kingdom includes a reversal of fortunes; the oppressors well be put down. The last shall be first, the humble exalted, the meek shall inherit the earth.
Jesus is the representative of the poor, for the poor, and wants His followers to do likewise. It you love Jesus, you will follow Jesus in pursuit of the poor because it was the thing Jesus Himself did.

Recall Paul’s eagerness.

Last week we discussed how Paul brought a bag of money, bag of grace to the poor in Jerusalem. Note the word “eager” in our verse.
Eager is a word that conveys a strong resolve to what whatever it takes.
How eager are we to remember the poor? Not just their money problems, but as people created in the image of God?
What might we do to go about being more like Jesus in relation to the poor?
Five things
Thing One
Be grateful for what you have, not guilty. The Bible tells plenty of stories about wealthy people blessing others. Having stuff provides opportunity to do God-honoring giving. Keep an on the giver and not so much on the gifts.
Thing Two
An eye on the Giver and an eye on the plight of the poor. Stop and look at what is happen in lives of the poor. Take an interest in their needs. Recall the wise words of Dr. King:
“The violence of poverty and humiliation hurts as intensely as the violence of the club.” - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Thing Three
Open your life and home to the poor and invite them in. Jesus was invited to the home of the wealthy Pharisee. Recall His parable?:
Luke 14:12–14 NASB95PARA
And He also went on to say to the one who had invited Him, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, otherwise they may also invite you in return and that will be your repayment. But when you give a reception, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, since they do not have the means to repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
Thing Four
Take the next step in following Jesus in pursuit of the poor. Maybe this means wrestling with the gospel? Perhaps adjusting your attitude toward the poor? Maybe reaching out to a neighborhood?
We have an open invitation to help serve the poor 24/365 from both the Men’s Mission and Vince Hall at Orlando City Rescue Mission.
Thing Five
Lastly, this passage speaks to those who are poor. Ask poor people to help us pursue Jesus by letting us into their lives. Encourage the poor not to hide but open up to us and help us learn how to open up to them.


Living a gospel rooted live requires remembering the poor.
If our church is going to be gospel-rooted, we must remember the poor.
To forget the poor, is to drift from the gospel.
No matter how right we might be in every other way, if we neglect the poor, we miss what it means to be a gospel-rooted church.
If we prioritize the poor, then God will cause us to be a city on the hill with a light that shines in darkness.
If we share with hungry and homeless, see naked covered, the Lord promises our light will break forth like the dawn, speed our healing, send forth our righteousness, and God’s own glory will be our guard:
Isaiah 58:6–8 NASB95PARA
“Is this not the fast which I choose, To loosen the bonds of wickedness, To undo the bands of the yoke, And to let the oppressed go free And break every yoke? “Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry And bring the homeless poor into the house; When you see the naked, to cover him; And not to hide yourself from your own flesh? “Then your light will break out like the dawn, And your recovery will speedily spring forth; And your righteousness will go before you; The glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
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