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Article 18 September 27, 2006 WWJD Jesus Would Give to the Poor

Article 18 September 27, 2006 WWJD Jesus Would Give to the Poor

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Published by: bibleweb on May 15, 2008
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Spring Warrior Church of Christ
7432 S. Red Padgett RoadPerry, FL 32348584-5176
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No. 18
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by Bill BlueJesus taught believers have a responsibility to give to the hungry,poor and needy (Matt. 25:31-46). David wrote,
“Blessed is he who considersthe poor; The Lord will deliver him in time of trouble” 
(Psalm 41:1). Consideralso what Proverbs has to say:
“[H]appy is he who is gracious to the poor … he who is gracious to theneedy honors Him [God]” 
(Prov. 14:21, 31).
“He who mocks the poor taunts his Maker” 
(Prov. 17:5).
“One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the LORD, And He willrepay him for his good deed” 
(Prov. 19:17).
“He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor Will also cry himself and not be answered” 
 
(Prov. 21:13).
“He who is generous will be blessed, For he gives some of his food tothe poor” 
 
(Prov. 22:9).
“He who gives to the poor will never want, But he who shuts his eyeswill have many curses” 
 
(Prov. 28:27). Jesus felt compassion for the hungry (Matt. 15:32; Mark 8:2-3). Onmultiple occasions, Jesus fed them himself (Matt. 15:32-38; John 6:1-14)even though He had no home on this earth of His own (Matt. 8:20; Luke9:58). In 1 Corinthians, Paul points out that unless we too are motivated bylove for the ones receiving our gifts, then our obedience to God’s commandhas profited us nothing spiritually. “
[T]hough I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it  profits me nothing” 
(1 Cor. 13:3).If our guiding principle is to consider “what would Jesus do,” then wetoo will feed the poor and be less concerned about our material prosperity.In the story of the “Rich Young Ruler” (Matt. 19:16-26; Mark 10:17-31; Luke18:18-27), Jesus provided this additional instruction to a man who hadfaithfully kept God’s commandments,
"If you wish to be complete [o perfect], go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have
 
treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me"
(Matt. 19:21). The lesson hereisn’t that we must give all we have to the poor, but rather to emphasize howChristians should think first of others and less of material possessions (Matt.6:19-24, 22:36-40). The opportunities for following Jesus’ teachings to give to the poor areendless. As Jesus said,
“For you have the poor with you always, anwhenever you wish you may do them good” 
(Mark 14:7). Jesus’ concern for the poor is a proof that He is the Christ. When Johnthe Baptist was imprisoned, he sent a question to Jesus, asking if He was theExpected One. Part of Jesus’ answer to John was,
“the poor have the gospel preached to them” 
(Matt. 11:2-5; Luke 7:22;
see also
Luke 4:18). Of course,this verse demonstrates that Jesus’ concern for the poor is not limited totheir physical well being, but their spiritual well being as well. Whenevangelizing, do we consider the poor, or do we cherry-pick those whom webelieve are “good prospects” for the church? James warned against this formof discrimination when he wrote
“have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives? … [I]f you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors” 
(James 2:4, 9). The benevolent responsibility of individual Christians is broader thanthe church’s authority to spend congregational funds. Paul said that an
individual
Christian’s responsibility to “do good,” is not limited to otherChristians.
“[L]et us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith” 
(Gal. 6:10). However, the New Testament patternfor using
congregational
funds is limited to examples of churches giving toother Christians. For example, in Acts 11:27-30 Christians in Antiochcollected a
“contribution for the relief of the brethren living in Judea.” 
Consider also how James instruct individuals that,
“Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress,” 
without reference to whether they were believers(James 1:27), but churches took care of only Christian widows (1 Tim. 5:16;Acts 6:1). The New Testament pattern for using congregational funds islimited to benefiting the poor, needy, or wanting Christians (2 Cor. 8:4, 9:1,9:12; Rom. 15:26, Phil. 4:16,
etc.
). Thus, the Scriptures indicate that acongregation’s authority and responsibility for benevolent activity is not asbroad as the responsibility given to individual Christians.Spiritually speaking, we should recognize that we are all poor, and relyupon God’s help for our spiritual sustenance (Matt. 5:3). Jesus’ teachings on giving are commandments by which we will be judged.
“Everlasting punishment” 
is reserved for the unmerciful anduncompassionate who fail to feed the hungry and clothe the needy, but

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