‘Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.’ ~ Luke 12:33-34
As Disciples, we have been ransomed to God. We now regard all our time, talents, and possessions as belonging to Christ and to be used for him and helping others.
How should we view our possessions? How should we treat the poor? Does it have anything to do with our salvation? Can we actually trust that if we give away our possessions God will take care of us?
1.1 Giving To The Poor Is The Fruit Of True Salvation
The scriptures teach much about helping and giving to the poor and how it is actually the evidence of having truly been saved.
James 1:27 ~ Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
- The Bible says that true pure religion, which is acceptable to God, is keeping ourselves unspotted from the worlds sinful pollutions, but that it is also, to help others. James describes this helping others as visiting the fatherless and widows in their affliction. There are those in life who have encountered misfortune and the Disciple is not to judge these people but rather to visit them and help them as much as he can.
- Our job as Disciples is to see k out and offer relief to the physically afflicted [I Timothy 5:10]. This is the heart of God who reached down and offered us mercy in our great time of need. The Bible says that without this same heart we cannot claim to have true saving religion.
Luke 3:9-11 ~ Every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then? He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.
- John came to preach repentance and get people prepared for salvation in Christ. He told them they needed to not just believe but also to bring forth fruit that proved their profession. In response, many asked him ‘what shall we do?’
- The answer was that they should simply to start helping others! They were to take inventory of what they had. All that was additional and unnecessary they were to give to the poor person who had nothing.
Daniel 4:27 ~ O king, let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor.
- John was not the first person to offer this advice to those who desired to know how to bring forth fruit that would please God.
- When the great king Nebuchadnezzar dreamed a dream of great judgment to come upon him for his sins Daniels advice to him is strikingly similar to what we found from James and John.
- He tells the king to start living a righteous life but also to begin showing mercy to the poor. Daniel tells the king that by doing this the King could cause God to show him mercy for his sins and not bring the impending judgment upon him.
Isaiah 58:6-8 ~ Is not this the fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul?.. Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward.
- As God looked down upon men he found many who claimed they were trying to please him and follow his true religion. These people were afflicting their own physical bodies and thinking that this is what would please God.
- God offers much correction here and tells them that the true fast of a righteous man is to not hide our eyes from those in need but to give our food to the hungry, our clothing to the naked, and even to bring poor homeless people to our homes!
- Notice the wonderful rewards that also follow here. When a person follows God’s true plan, all of a sudden they will begin to have great spiritual and physical victory! They will be filled with light, their souls will be pure, God will make their bodies healthy, and the very glory of God will surround and protect them!
1 John 3:17 ~ But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?
- Those who have encountered God’s love are also filled with that love for others and they are compassionate and merciful to those in need.
- If we see our fellow human in need but yet choose to hide ourselves and turn a blind eye to that need then John says it is not possible that we love God. This is a very serious matter.
1.2 God Will Bless Greatly And Provide For Those Who Give
There are many wonderful promises for those who love God and bear the fruit of showing mercy to the poor.
Hebrews 13:16 ~ But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
- When we do good to others and communicate [share] our wealth with them, God is very pleased and desires to bless us. It is like a Father who constantly sees one of his children always helping the other children. He just wants to go out of his way to bless that special child.
Acts 10:31 ~ Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God.
- God is really paying attention to those who are giving. He hears their prayers and chooses to remember the things they have done for those less fortunate.
Proverbs 19:17 ~ He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.
- God pays such close attention to these acts of mercy because when you give to the poor you are actually giving directly to God!
- This gift to the poor is like a loan directly to God, which he promises to repay. How can you possibly go wrong here? Would God actually default on a loan? Never!
Luke 6:38 ~ Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
- Here we see exactly how it is that God promises to pay you back.
- Whatever you have given it will surely be given back to you. When it is given back, it will be given in a way that it is over flowing and much more that you originally gave.
2 Corinthians 9:7-8 ~ Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. 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.
- When we make our decisions on how much to give to the poor we must not do so in a disheartened way in which we are disappointed to see our money leave our pockets or bank accounts but rather give happily to the poor and those in need.
- Do not begin to question your own physical welfare when you give. God promises that you will not hurt for needs. As the King of the Universe and owner of all things, he is surely able to ensure that you have everything you need in this short life of yours. Trust in him!
Psalms 41:1-3 ~ Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble. The LORD will preserve him, and keep him alive; and he shall be blessed upon the earth: and thou wilt not deliver him unto the will of his enemies. The LORD will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing: thou wilt make all his bed in his sickness.
- Have times of trouble in your life? Give to the poor and God will deliver you and protect you!
- Have any enemies? Help the poor and God will protect you from them!
- Have physical ailments? Show great mercy to the poor and God will strengthen and heal you!
Proverbs 28:27 ~ He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse.
- God promises that those who give will never suffer need but if we choose to hide ourselves from the poor and not share, we surely will suffer many curses and can never prosper.
- There is only one way to win with God and that is by showing mercy to the poor in a cheerful heart believing that he will care for all our needs.
1.3 Salvation Is Conditioned On How We Handle Possessions
Showing mercy to the poor has everything to do with whether or not we will ultimately be saved and inherit the Kingdom.
Matthew 25:34-36 ~ Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
- Jesus spoke of the great judgment day in his teachings many times. In this teaching, he chose to reveal to us exactly how this judgment scenario will play out.
- Nothing is mentioned of what people believed or whether they fasted or prayed or went to church. The thing that make Disciples fit to inherit the Kingdom is that they bore the fruit of mercy towards those in need.
- When people were hungry, naked, sick, in need of visitation and encouragement, etc. the Disciples went forth and ministered in mercy to fill these needs. Jesus says that because of this the King shall say ‘Come inherit the Kingdom!’
Psalms 112:9 ~ He hath dispersed, he hath given to the poor; his righteousness endureth for ever; his horn shall be exalted with honour.
- David speaks of the person that will be exalted with honor [reign with Christ in his Kingdom] and whose life and righteous works will endure forever.
- It was the one who had not horded possessions for himself but instead had distributed them out to others. He had given to the poor.
Mark 10:23&25 ~ How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
- God loves us and greatly desires us to be saved. The reason he makes it so important that we get rid of our riches by spreading them among the poor is that it is extremely difficult if not impossible for those who have riches to enter into the Kingdom of God.
- [Many of us because of the bubble we live in don’t see ourselves as rich. To get a proper perspective of how rich you are you can go online and visit the website http://GlobalRichList.com As an example, if your yearly income is just $14,000, then you are in the top 10% of the wealthiest people on the planet. Meaning that 90% of the worlds 7+ billion people are poorer then you.]
Luke 6:20-21&24-25 ~ Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation. Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep.
- God wants us to inherit the Kingdom and he knows that it is only the poor who will inherit this Kingdom.
- If we choose to be hungry now, God promises we will be filled later but if you choose to enjoy riches and withhold from the poor, then God only has one word for you. ‘You have already received your reward’. There is nothing for you now in the judgment other than hunger and great tears of anguish as you realize you missed out on the Kingdom!
1.4 Be Content – Do Not Covet – Sell & Give To The Poor
Acts 20:35 ~ Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
- As we learn the words that Christ taught concerning possessions, let us get it sunk down deep in our hearts that it is much better to give away our possessions than to seek and receive more.
Proverbs 3:27 ~ Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it.
- Do you have the ability to share and give to someone in need? Do not withhold these possessions but freely give them.
- Notice that God is not unreasonable. As we read earlier, John said that if you had two coats, give your brother one, and here we see the same principle. If you have the power or ability to give then give! This is all God expects. That being so, do not be willfully blinded to your own richness and ability.
Matthew 5:42 ~ Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
- Do not horde money and possessions but rather give to everyone that asks you and if someone wants to borrow something, cheerfully comply.
- [Other factors do come into play at times. Remember that the goal is to help others. In 2 Thessalonians 3:10, Paul commanded that if anyone would not work then they should not be given food. This was not because Paul did not care for these people but it was because he knew it was in the person’s best interest to push them to work and not be lazy.]
1 Timothy 6:6-9 ~ Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
- The thing of most value on this world is something that cannot be bought with money. It is a godly heart and soul. A spirit sanctified and made holy by the Holy Spirit of God. A heart ransomed from sin unto God and made ready to inherit the Kingdom!
- You cannot take anything with you from this world into the next. If you will leave this world with nothing, why seek to gain possessions?
Luke 12:15 ~ Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.
- Our material possessions in life have absolutely no value in regard to the things that really matter.
- Because of this Jesus said that we need to be on our utmost guard to ensure we do not let these desires for things slip into our heart and cause us to seek after possessions rather than him and his Kingdom.
Acts 2:44-45 ~ All that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.
- Although we rarely see the principles we have learned here lived out in today’s so-called churches, they were fully realized and demonstrated in the lives of the early church and it’s Disciples.
- When the church initially began with 3000 converts to the truth they all came together, sold their possessions, and distributed them to all that had need. These Disciples truly remembered the words of Jesus and followed his teachings literally.
Luke 12:33-34 ~ Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
- Oh, let us remember that if we desire the things of this world then our heart will belong to this world. If we desire the things of the Kingdom then our heart will belong to the Kingdom.
- Let us get a heart that despises material possessions and wealth. Let us sell the possessions we hold dear and give the proceeds to the poor!
- By doing so we will surely be storing up a treasures with Christ in the heavens and that treasure can be taken with us when we die. It surely will follow us to the Kingdom because God himself preserves it!