SERIES: Jesus and The Disinherited
SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON FOR NOVEMBER 4-10, 2020
Aim: To follow the “Royal Law” – “Love your neighbor as yourself” you must first SEE them?
A long-standing view among many people of various faiths holds that wealth is a sign of God’s blessing. We reason (even if subconsciously) that if God is showing favor to this person, we should honor that person also. On the other hand, poverty is a sign of God’s withholding his favor, perhaps even of God’s curse. We reason that if people are suffering from poverty, their relationship with God must be negative, and we should not accommodate them. Job’s friends felt that he had to do something to lose everything!
Job 4:7-8 (NLT)
7 “Stop and think! Do the innocent die? When have the upright been destroyed?
8 My experience shows that those who plant trouble and cultivate evil will harvest the same.
Point to Ponder: What do you see in these pictures?
Point to Ponder: What do you think when you see the people shown in the above pictures? Or do you see them? Really see them? Do you think that they are lazy? That God is punishing them for something? They are in that condition due to bad decision making?
Factors that may lead to poverty:
- Physical Handicap – Bartimeaus is poor, blind and begging but not because of poor decision making.
- Death of bread winner – The widow with the oil (2 Kings 4) or the story of Ruth and Naomi.
- Famine and drought – widow of Zarapheth in 1 Kings 17:7-24
- Lack of natural resources – lack of skills.
When you take these four factors and combine them with human greed it creates a tremendous wealth gap between the have and the have-nots!
See – can be defined as. . .
People see WHAT we do and not WHO we are.
- We “label” them by what they do.
- We see beggars who don’t work, or don’t want to work, or “blew” their money by using it for unnecessary things (drugs, alcohol, etc.)
- Do we see the people in the pictures as being made in God’s image?
- How do you see yourself Christian?
Luke 18:9-14 (MSG)
9 He told his next story to some who were complacently pleased with themselves over their moral performance and looked down their noses at the common people:
10 “Two men went up to the Temple to pray, one a Pharisee, the other a tax man.
11 The Pharisee posed and prayed like this: ‘Oh, God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, crooks, adulterers, or, heaven forbid, like this tax man.
12 I fast twice a week and tithe on all my income.’
13 “Meanwhile the tax man, slumped in the shadows, his face in his hands, not daring to look up, said, ‘God, give mercy. Forgive me, a sinner.’ “
14 Jesus commented, “This tax man, not the other, went home made right with God. If you walk around with your nose in the air, you’re going to end up flat on your face, but if you’re content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself.”
Point to Ponder: Now, look at the pictures on the front page again. Put yourself in their place – you are begging Jesus and He just walks by! How would you feel?
- We were, at one time, a beggar! Ouch! Now didn’t that hurt??
- You were, and still are, a spiritual beggar. . .begging God for grace and mercy!
But, He saw us and. . .
- He became poor so that we might become rich
- He became homeless so that we might have a mansion
- He died so that we might live
- He came down so that we could go up!
Consider. . .
- The Pharisee – Selfish
- His Attitude
- His Action
He feels entitled and deserving because he is special!
- The Publican – Sinner
- His Attitude
- He is unworthy
- He is unacceptable
- His Action
- He is humble
- He is repentant
He feels he is a nobody and deserving of nothing!
Point to Ponder: Which person are you? If you feel like the publican then why do you act like the Pharisee?
- How do you see yourself Church?
James 2:1-9 NIV
1 My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism.
2 Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in.
3 If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,”
4 have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
5 Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?
6 But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court?
7 Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong?
8 If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right.
9 But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.
James is very upset about something he’s seen in the holy gatherings! Rich people were getting special treatment. James had a famous brother with the same feelings!
Luke 14:12-14 NIV
12 Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid.
13 But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind,
14 and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
- All of us are tempted to treat people differently, especially if someone can do something in return for us.
- If you’re invited to a banquet, take the last place.
- If you throw a banquet, invite the ‘last’ people.
- Because at the GREAT BANQUET, the ‘last and the least’ will not only be the guests of honor, they will be the most populous group!
James is not talking to the world but to. . .
- Children of God
- Church people
- Christians – Christ followers
James warns them about. . .
- Adjust their Attitude
- Be faithful in following the examples of Christ in the ways they interact with others.
- Align their Actions
- But to do so requires knowing how Jesus interacted with others. Jesus did not practice
- The world says to use people. But, Jesus says to serve people.
- We serve to serve, and not to gain anything.
Point to Ponder: Is the Church of today guilty of some of the same practices we see in the world? In James’ observation? Explain your answer.
Romans 2:11 NIV – For God does not show favoritism.
Colossians 3:25 NIV – Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favoritism.
Ephesians 6:9 (AMPC) – You masters, act on the same [principle] toward them and give up threatening and using violent and abusive words, knowing that He Who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no respect of persons (no partiality) with Him.
Acts 10:34-35 (GNT) – 34 Peter began to speak: “I now realize that it is true that God treats everyone on the same basis. 35 Those who fear him and do what is right are acceptable to him, no matter what race they belong to.
The Spirit is trying to install a new value system and way of seeing in humanity—one based on concern and honor for the ‘least of these.’
- The Gospel goes to everyone equally. We will treat everyone the same, regardless of…
Proverbs 22:2 NIV – “Rich and poor have this in common: The LORD is the Maker of them all.”
- God has chosen the poor.
James 2:5 NIV – Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?
Luke 4:18 NIV (quoting Isaiah 61) – “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.”
- 99% of the world makes less than $35k per year.
- The median income worldwide is $9700 per year.
- God does not keep people poor. Man does!
- Poverty is an awful condition! But the good news is God hears the cries of the poor. We may not hear. . .the government may not hear. . .but God hears the cries of the poor!!
- For those of us who have experienced poverty, we’ve learned something about our fellow humans and about God that cannot come from worldly riches. We learn. . .
- People that we think care about us. . .are not happy when we began to move ahead. In fact, they will put “roadblocks” in our way.
- We would never know God is all we need until God is all we have.
- There’s a special bond that is formed with God in moments of desperation.
This is why James and Jesus both agreed that we have more to learn from the poor, many times, than the rich and successful.
- The very first words of the very first sermon given by Jesus makes it clear the poor are a priority to God – should they not be a priority to us!
Do you SEE me now!
PRAYER PRINCIPLE: Thank God for the benefits you have received despite your life actions.
SOCIAL JUSTICE PRINCIPLE: Be a source of encouragement to those you tend to normally overlook; you may be the only Christ they experience.
EVANGELISM PRINCIPLE: Share with others how Christ came to save you personally despite your view; you weren’t always where you are now.
STEWARDSHIP PRINCIPLE: Your giving helps reach the least of them; consistently give until you see change happening then persistently give some more.
DISCIPLESHIP PRINCIPLE: Should you feel you are in the least of them category, go to where you can be of benefit to those less fortunate than you reside; the perspective of your life will definitely be changed.
NEXT WEEK’S TITLE: Who is My Neighbor
SERIES: Jesus and the Disinherited
NEXT WEEK’S READING ASSIGNMENT: Ezra 4:1-4; John 4:9, 21-22; Luke 9:52-54; Luke 10:25-37; Matthew 22:37-40; Romans 13:8-10; James 2:8-9; 1 Corinthians 13:3