It's only natural think that those who seem to have it made, those who seem to have everything they want & need... It's only natural to think they are the ones who are most "blessed" by God. But the Supernatural Son of Man says just the opposite. It's the wealthy who receive some of the most sobering words of warning in all of Scripture. Why? Does Jesus just want His followers to be poor & lonely, miserable & unhappy? No! In fact, it's just the opposite. In John 15.11, He says,
"These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full."
There it is! Jesus warns as much, not for our misery, but for our joy... our full joy!
Confused yet? Well, if you're able, open a copy of God's Word to Matthew 19. We'll begin this week in verse 23.
23 And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven.24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” 26 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”27 Then Peter said in reply, “See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” 28 Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name's sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.30 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.
life application questions
blue = leaders only
living on mission: At work, in our extended families, where we trade, or anywhere in our community, can you list the names or initials of people that we as a family can commit to praying for? Ask people to make a commitment for at least a week.
sharing life together: Pastor Paige asked people to declare their faith Sunday. Do you know of anyone that couldn't stand and declare faith in Christ?
How can this Restore family encourage you in your faith? Do you have doubts?
Pray for the Holy Spirit to soften hearts and open eyes and ears to the answer: Jesus.
growing in truth: Read: Matthew 19:23-30
Define rich? This parable followed the rich young man. In context we are talking about “great possessions”. Pastor Paige, also suggested rich could be rich in talent or even national technology in other words not just personal possessions.
Why were the apostles shocked? In that culture (and in our own) most people considered wealth as a sign of God's blessing, of His approval. It shocked them that someone they thought "blessed by God" wasn't guaranteed to be for eternity.
Are the rich barred from heaven? No, but, as Jesus said, "Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven."
Why is it “only with difficulty” that the rich enter heaven? Tendency to love & trust gifts more than the Giver. They're likely to think that, since they've apparently earned God's favor (attested to by their wealth), they can also earn heaven by being good enough for that, too. In practical terms, wealth diminishes our dependence upon God by making life easier, by making us self-reliant instead of those who rely on God.
If wealth is an impediment to our salvation, then shouldn't we give our wealth away? Yes, but not as a means of earning heaven, of doing good, of giving money away to merit eternal life. Rather we should use whatever wealth God provides in an effort to advance His Kingdom in accordance with His will: surrendering to God what He's provided us to use for His purposes.
Talking about salvation, Jesus says "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." If salvation is impossible with man (we can't be good enough to earn it), then how is it possible with God? Only by His Grace.
Can you define grace? Usually grace is defined as 'unmerited favor': not earned but granted, given. John 1:14-18. Jesus is grace.
If someone has left houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children or land for Jesus, will they be compensated? Yes, more than compensated. They will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.