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WITH THE RICH AND FAMOUS Lesson 8 for February 22, 2014
“So King Solomon surpassed all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom” (1 Kings 10:23) If “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” (1Ti. 6:10), then can a rich person be also a true Christian? • This week we are studying… • Biblical advice on wealth. • Jesus’ advise on wealth. • Jesus and the rich: • Nicodemus. • The publicans. • The rich young man.
BIBLICAL ADVICE ON WEALTH “Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today, lest—when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them… then you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.’ And you shall remember the Lord your God, forit is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day” (Deuteronomy 8:11-12, 17-18) “Both riches and honor come from You, and You reign over all. In Your hand is power and might; in Your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. “Now therefore, our God, we thank You and praise Your glorious name. But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly as this? Forall things come from You, and of Your own we have given You” (1 Chronicles 29:12-14)
BIBLICAL ADVICE ON WEALTH The Bible states that all riches come from God. He gives them away when He believes it is appropriate. There are many examples of material and spiritual rich people in the Old Testament: Job, Abraham, Lot, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Solomon, Daniel, Nehemiah… • On the other hand, Nebuchadnezzar’s story is an example of the consequences of thinking that we earned everything “by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty” (Daniel 4:30) and not by God’s grace. • We are stewards. We administer the blessings God gives us.
CONSEJOS DE JESÚS SOBRE LAS RIQUEZAS “But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation” (Luke 6:24) “but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful” (Mark 4:19 NIV) “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26) “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” (Mark10:25) “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” (Luke 16:13)
JESUS’ ADVISE ON WEALTH “The length and happiness of life does not consist in the amount of our earthly possessions. This foolish rich man in his supreme selfishness had laid up for himself treasures that he could not use. He had lived only for himself. He had over-reached in trade, had made sharp bargains, and had not exercised mercy or the love of God. He had robbed the fatherless and widow, and defrauded his fellow men, to add to his increasing stock of worldly possessions. He might have laid up his treasure in heaven in bags that wax not old; but through his covetousness he lost both worlds. Those who humbly use to the glory of God the means that He has entrusted to them will receive their treasure by and by from the Master’s hand with the benediction: “Well done, good and faithful servant: ... enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” Matthew 25:21” E.G.W. (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, cp. 33, pg. 402)
NICODEMUS “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:14-15) Nicodemus rebelled against any suggestion that knowledgeable Israelites like himself should require conversion. Jesus, however, persisted, presenting Nicodemus with the eternal choice between judgment and salvation. Fearing denunciation and ridicule, Nicodemus refused to accept Christ’s invitation. The interview had apparently failed. That spiritual seed, however, lay buried, slowly germinating beneath his heart’s soil. At the cross, Nicodemus remembered Jesus’ words. He surrendered his heart, position and wealth before his Savior. He then used his contacts and wealth to support the Church In Jerusalem in hard times. He finally died poor in this world way, but rich in heavenly treasures.
THE PUBLICANS “Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; 10 for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”” (Luke 19:9-10) The publicans were tax collectors for Rome. They were considered to be sinners. They usually charged more than was necessary just to feather their own nest. • Matthew quit tax collecting to become one of the 12 apostles. • Zacchaeus was a chief tax-collector at Jericho. He also accepted Jesus’ calling. He didn’t quit, but he amended his mistakes and became a truthful publican. • He could be rich in this world and have heavenly treasures at the same time, by God’s grace. • We learn from Zacchaeus’ story that having or lacking riches does not prepare us to go to Heaven; only accepting Christ’s righteousness does.
THE RICH YOUNG MAN “Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.”(Matthew 19:21-22) “Very few realize the strength of their love for money until the test is brought to bear upon them. Many who profess to be Christ’s followers then show that they are unprepared for heaven. Their works testify that they love wealth more than their neighbor or their God. Like the rich young man, they inquire the way of life; but when it is pointed out and the cost estimated, and they see that the sacrifice of earthly riches is demanded, they decide that heaven costs too much. The greater the treasures laid up on the earth, the more difficult it is for the possessor to realize that they are not his own, but are lent him to be used to God’s glory” E.G.W. (Counsels on Stewardship, cp. 30, pg. 150)
“The rich left alone without any effort to save them become shut up more and more to their own ideas. Their own train of thoughts and associations lose eternity out of their reckoning. They grow more proud and selfish, hardhearted and unimpressible, suspicious that every one wants to get money, while the poor are envious of the rich, who need pity rather than to be envied. Bring these all under the power of saving truth, and the work of the upbuilding of the kingdom of God will go forward with much greater success” E.G.W. (Evangelism, cp. 17, pg. 556)