In Your Bible Read This Out Loud Deuteronomy 15:4-6
Memorise This Verse Acts 4:34 ‘There were no needy persons among them’.
Afterwards Talk About This Should the church see much smaller extremes of wealth than the world.
Something To Do Before Next Time If possible, do something to bless and extremely poor person.
Written Diploma Work Write one side on the reference Paul makes to equality in 2 Corinthians 8:13.
Meditate Word By Word On This Verse 2 Corinthians 8:13
Those inside the Kingdom of God who receive God’s best for their finances will not only have their needs met but will invest their excess money, once their necessities have been paid, into the extension of God’s Kingdom. Paul told Timothy to find contentment with food and clothing (1 Timothy 6:8) and if every Christian did this they would have plenty to invest into the good deeds of the Kingdom of God. As a result, those inside the Kingdom of God should be in an economic community of love and stability where their brothers and sisters in Christ are looking, and financially giving their money, to eradicate poverty from amongst God’s people.
It is surely then scandalous if there are any people in the Kingdom of God who are in genuine need, who aren’t ministered to by their richer brothers and sisters in Christ. Through every person in the Kingdom financially participating and investing their money in the good deeds and acts of love amongst their brothers and sisters, poverty could no longer stalk the Kingdom of God. The eradication of poverty sounds too good to be true but in both the Old and New Testament, we can see that it is precisely this goal that God wants his people to realise.
Under the Old Testament there were several commands concerning money and in particular the command to cancel debts every 7 years which is spoken of in Deuteronomy chapter 15 and the command to tithe in chapter 14. It is in the context of these commands that God revealed his intention that there should be no poor amongst the people of God. However, as the below quote shows, this could only be achieved by the people of God all participating and obeying the commands that God had given towards money. Later on in Deuteronomy chapter 28 we further see that participation and obedience would actually lead to the people of God being the most prosperous community in the world.
Deuteronomy 15:4 ‘There should be no poor among you, for in the land the Lord your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you, if only you fully obey the Lord your God and are careful to follow all these commands I am giving you today’.
Deuteronomy 28:1 ‘The Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God’.
This goal of an economic community where poverty is eradicated actually comes to pass in the glorious early church. With the love of Christ poured into their hearts by the recently sent Holy Spirit, the early church was busy giving to those in genuine need. As the below 2 scriptures show, when a need arose amongst the brothers, the brothers arose to meet the need moreover, notice how the richer brothers took seriously their responsibility towards their poorer brothers. Unlike a lot of today’s rich Christians they preferred to invest their excess money into the precious souls of God’s children as opposed to worldly possessions.
Acts 2:45 ‘Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.
Acts 4:34 ‘There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet.
Having seen the responsibility of the richer Christians in the early church we can say that just as there should be no genuinely poor people in the Kingdom of God there should likewise be no exceptionally rich people either. Surely it should be the case that very rich Christians will be compelled by the love of God that has been poured into their hearts to share their wealth with their genuinely impoverished brothers and sisters. For example, the Apostle John asks how someone who is rich, and claims to be a Christian, can fail to share their wealth with an impoverished brother or sister when the opportunity arises.
1 John 3:17 ‘If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him’.
Clearly, everyone in the Kingdom of God will never have exactly the same income and Jesus himself taught that are blessings are dependant on our faithfulness (Matthew 25:10-30). However, whilst there exists in the world huge extremes of poverty and wealth these should not exist in the Kingdom of God and those inside the Kingdom should be in an environment of brotherly love and financial security. This idea of the Kingdom of God leaning towards equality, and away from extremes of wealth, is illuminated by Paul in his great discourse on money in 2 Corinthians chapters 8 & 9.
Paul argues to the Corinthians that by helping the impoverished Saints in Jerusalem by sharing their wealth, one day the saints in Jerusalem will return the favour should the need arise notice the word ‘equality’ is used twice.
2 Corinthians 8:13 ‘Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality’
The selfish, cold-hearted nature of fallen mankind has produced terrible extremes of wealth that are a scandalous indictment against man’s moral poverty. Despite various political systems trying to eradicate these extremes, they have failed, as they have not changed man’s selfish nature. It is only the love of God sown into men’s hearts that will start to see a greater equality of wealth.
A House of Prayer for the Poorer Nations
Pray for Azerbaijan
7,734,015 people, 83.67 Muslim
Corruption & crime have deflated the economy. Bible translation in great need.
This study contains the personal beliefs and practices of of the author who recommends them to the reader. The author takes no credit for their success where applied and likewise takes no responsibility for any failure or disappointment.
The House of Prayer for the Poorer Nations at the end of each section is based on Operation World 21st Century Edition © Patrick Johnstone, Jason Mandryk. Published by Paternoster. All scriptures are NIV © Hodder & Stoughton.