Word of Jesus Part 28
Mar 12:38 And he said unto them in his doctrine, Beware of the scribes, which
love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces,
Mar 12:39 And the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at
Mar 12:40 Which devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayers:
these shall receive greater damnation.
Devour means to annihilate, consume and destroy. In the name of religion and
with the pretense of doing God's work widows were often taken advantage of and
robbed of their living. We are not to take from the poor money for religious
reasons: For instance taking money in order to instruct them in the law of God.
Freely we have received and freely we are to give out the word of God.
There was a time in Catholic Church history were sins were supposedly forgiven
if one would pay a certain sum of money. The bigger the sin, the more money
would be charged. Money was often charge to get a loved one's soul out of
purgatory also. This should never have been allowed. The corruption that causes a
body of supposed believers in Jesus Christ to take advantage of the widows and
the poor is shameful.
The true church should be helping the widows, not robbing them. While it is true
that there is a law of giving and receiving, some of these latter day preachers of
prosperity take the scriptures way beyond what Jesus taught us and even teach
the very opposite of what the Lord taught even to the point of despising the
poor and making them seem as if they have no faith because of the situation they
find themselves in. This is the very opposite of our Lord's teachings.
To those caught up in the prosperity doctrine, ask yourself why the only ones
prospering financially are the ones receiving the money, not the ones giving it.
We see them covered with expensive clothing, jewelry and living in mansions
while the poor widow sends her last dime. No. This is not the gospel Jesus
Mar 12:41 And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people
cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.
Mar 12:42 And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which
make a farthing.
Mar 12:43 And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I
say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have
cast into the treasury:
Mar 12:44 For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did
cast in all that she had, even all her living.
Here is a poor widow who cast in all her living even though it was a small
amount. Some use this verse to justify taking money from the poor widow. That is
not what Jesus is teaching here. He is commending the woman for a heart that
gives. Even though it was a small amount compared to the rich, it was actually
more than the others because she gave all that she had. Jesus does teach giving
from the heart and giving to support the work of God. I do believe in giving and
it is a joy to write a check to a place I know is helping to spread the gospel,
feed the poor or help in some other way. It is actually fun to give. In no way
am I urging that a widow should not give.
What we see now though is some laying guilt upon people if they do not give. We
see them threatened with possible judgment of God in financial ruin. Whether or
not that is true is not the point but we should not be giving just to get ahead
financially. Our motive in giving should be to give because we want to give
willingly. Jesus never tells us to give any other way. We are not to give out of
fear, intimidation, force or because we are expecting financial prosperity.
There is far too much merchandising of the gospel. Yes, we have to sell bibles
and other things because we can't make them for free but we must be careful to
give the actual gospel without charge. There are organizations that do raise
money to give out free bibles. This is to be commended. The gospel must go to
the poor free and without charge. We advise people to give so that the gospel
goes forth, the poor are fed and the laborers in the Lord receive something to
live on, but we are not to do it in a way that it is done today that exploits
the poor and cause the one receiving the money to live in luxury while the widow
struggles to pay their bills.
I know of one pastor in Akron Ohio that refuses to live in a higher standard
than those in his congregation. He has even refused raises on occasion. Most
pastors would think extra money and raises are blessings from the Lord no matter
how much it is and accept all and anything. However, this one will not buy
himself diamond rings while just one member struggles to pay an electric bill.
This is love. He may not have a fancy car, a large mansion or expensive clothing
but I believe his reward in heaven will be great. This same pastor will travel
out of state to preach a funeral for a family that has no minister; all at his own
expense. This is love. He sits for hours with a family whose loved one is in
surgery at a hospital. The greatest thing about this man is that he doesn't pat
himself on the back for this but considers it his duty. He is a true servant of
the Lord Jesus Christ.
To make ourselves rich on the backs of the poor and needy is not being a servant
for Jesus Christ. Jesus emptied himself of all riches to become one of us. He
was born among the poor and even had to be laid in a borrowed tomb at his death.
Jesus took nothing and had no place to lay his head. Though he was rich in
spirit and power, he was poor in material things.
How opposite is this to the rich church leaders such as the pope or these
Jesus said that it is hard for a rich man to enter heaven.
I've heard of some modern preachers that teach we should find the most
prosperous preacher and give to his ministry. I will not. I would rather find a
struggling church and support them. I would rather support a ministry that has
left all to follow Christ. We give to these great ministries while the
missionaries struggle to make ends meet on the mission fields. These things
ought not to be. Some of them despair and think of quitting because of lack of
support while people send millions to great televangelists. If we send to them
we need to make sure they are preaching the same gospel Jesus preached. Read the
actual words of Jesus that warns against the deception of trusting in riches.
Read about the church in Laodicea which rich and increased with goods yet
was miserable, poor and naked spiritually.
To wish someone to prosper in a biblical sense is to wish that their journey
in life is prosperous and fruitful. We are to prosper in that which
benefits the salvation of the soul, the furtherance of the gospel and that which
is good to support our families and help the needy. I'm sure the apostle
John is not teaching us to get rich for he was not rich in a material sense
while on the earth. When he wrote the book of Revelation, he was banished
to an island for the gospel's sake. Many suffered persecution, their homes
and property taken, and many were killed and jailed for the gospel's sake.
In no way did they teach the modern prosperity doctrine we are hearing today.
Mat 19:29 And every one that hath forsaken
houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or
mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an
hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.
Jesus spoke this to the apostles as well as us but they did not get rich or
receive these things in their lifetime. There reward is in heaven.
They did receive greater things in their lifetime and that was being rich in
spiritual things and walking in the continual presence of the Lord. This
is what true riches are. Not diamonds and gold. If we seek the
Lord we will receive the correct understanding of these passages.
Words of Jesus 29