There are several thousands of verses in the Bible on the poor and God’s response to injustice. In fact, it is the second most prominent theme in the Old Testament. The first is idolatry, and the two are often related. 1 in every 16 verses in the New Testament is about the poor or the subject of money. In the first three gospels (the Synoptics), it is 1 out of every 10 verses, and in the book of Luke, it is 1 out of every 7. Is it possible to really love the Bible, believe that we are basing our lives upon it, and yet be completely missing one of its most central themes?
Read and discuss Jesus’ teaching on who will inherit a place in the kingdom of God (Matt.25:31-46). It is reserved for those who feed the hungry, welcome strangers, clothe the naked, and visit the prisoners. For Jesus, caring for the poor and the outcast is the same as caring for him. In effect, Jesus is saying, “I’ll know how much you love me by how you treat them. Whatever you do for them, it’s like you’ve done it for me. And conversely, ignoring them is like ignoring me.”
The story of the Good Samaritan teaches that anybody in need is our neighbor (Lk.10:29-37). Paul later says, “Therefore as we have the opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially those who belong to the family of believers” (Gal.6:10).
God is looking for our love for Him demonstrated through our love for the poor and needy in our world. Ask Him to fill you afresh with his compassion. Make justice, love, and mercy your priorities. Be part of the solution.
See you on Sunday.
I love you!
STEPS TO PREPARE
PRAY FOR THE SERVICES AND FOR YOURSELF
AND ME AND THE OTHER TEACHERS.
PRAYERFULLY READ THE SCRIPTURES
AND CONSIDER THE DISCUSSION QUESTIONS.
MAKE PLANS TO ATTEND A PREACHING SERVICE AND A SMALL GROUP.
INVITE SOMEONE TO COME WITH YOU.
PREPARING FOR SUNDAY: SMALL GROUP QUESTIONS
Discuss the following questions:
The Bible refers to God’s heart for the poor and the needy frequently. Do you think that this theme is talked about enough in the church or has it been somewhat overlooked?
Discuss Jesus’ parable of the sheep and the goats (Matt.25:31-46). Why do you think Jesus makes care for the poor and needy THE issue by which he evaluates his followers in this story – rather than doctrine, personal holiness, or something else?
What practical things could each person do to demonstrate a greater concern for the poor and needy in our world on a regular basis?
What practical things could our Small Group do to demonstrate a greater concern for the poor and needy in our world on a regular basis?
Read and discuss these Bible verses: Psalm 41:1-3; 140:12. Proverbs 14:31; 19:17; 21:13. Amos 5:24. James 2:15. 1 John 3:17-18