Saturday, April 14, 2007

# 195: The Exact Opposite

Believe it or not, the value system of most people in this world is exactly opposite of what the New Testament teaches. Scripture teaches (paraphrased) that we become spiritually wealthy by eliminating, to the greatest degree possible, worldly needs, desires and wants. Said another way: The less material things a person needs, the wealthier that person is/becomes. The more things of this world a person desires, the poorer that person is/becomes.

Luke 5:3. "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." The question remains, why is a person who is poor in spirit, instead of rich in spirit, blessed by God? Answer: A person becomes poor in spirit when their desire and need for God is unceasing.

God makes His people rich by making their needs, wants and desires few.

Material wealth makes a person poor because most rich people are never satisfied and always want just a little more (greed). In God’s sight, those unsatisfied, well-to-do people are lacking inward wealth while wallowing in their gold and silver.

The opposite is true in the spiritual realm. Real wealth materializes when a person is completely satisfied with his/her connection to Jesus Christ, while still desiring to strengthen that bond with the One he/she is living for. True spiritual wealth is in reality, poverty, since no one ever gets enough of that wonderful stuff.

As long as a person has material wealth, their need for God will not materialize other than in a superficial way, which will only be an add-on to their present life. It is for this simple reason: What can God give a rich person who already literally has everything his/her heart desires (living the good life)?

What’s being said is an attempt to make more understandable what the Word of God teaches. The only thing, this principle of spiritual wealth, poverty, desires and need must be experienced, if even to a small degree, to make any logic since it is contrary to human values. Mark 4:18-19. "Still others . . . hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things . . .” Luke 8:14 adds, “and pleasures”—“. . . come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.” Luke adds, “and do not mature."

The poorer a person is inwardly, the more accolades that person desires for outward accomplishments and possessions. The richer a person is inwardly—spiritual wealth—the less he/she desires the wonderful goodies this world offers. It is clear why God does not speak highly of the wealthy, because they are inwardly empty of the His Spirit and are trying to make up for that feeling of inadequacy with worldly things and attitudes.

Here is a verse we all know, but most don’t give it much credence. Matthew 19:23-24. "Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God.’"

James 2:5. "Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and inherit the kingdom he has promised those who love him?" I believe the majority, if not all, of the poor in the first century, at least those mentioned in the gospels, were deserving of being helped. But that may not be true in the 21st c entury.

There are at the least15 verses in the New Testament teaching us to love (give to) the poor, and that they are the blessed ones. But don’t be fooled. Do not give indiscriminately to every type of poor, but only to deserving ones. What I mean is to use caution if you give to those who are living evil lives: the lazy, those on drugs or alcohol, etc.; your giving will allow them to propagate their evil. And if you do give to them, make sure you PERSONALLY see what your love gift is going to buy.

Today, there are several different categories of poor people: 1) The poor which belong to the Lord because of their belief, love and obedience to Christ. Let them be the first on your list to love (help). 2) The poor who don’t belong to the Lord but are poor because of some handicap or other impediments. These people have some chance of becoming disciples of Christ. Help them. 3) Those that are just plain lazy and won’t work, and depend on handouts from whoever. They have little or no chance of faith in God. Help these poor by giving them the “help wanted” ads. 4) Then there are the homeless. Some are homeless through no fault of their own. They deserve mercy and help from God and from us, especially those in a family situation with children. They truly need our help and love. They have a good chance of giving their lives to Christ. 5) Then there are the homeless winos, panhandlers, etc. Whatever they receive from us will most likely go to further their addictions. Chances are extremely slim for their conversion. Be diligent in giving to them.

When God speaks mercifully concerning the poor in Scripture, as just mentioned, He doesn’t want us to throw our pearls before swine; we must be as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves, so as not to waste God’s resources. Even in the worst-case scenario, a few have some chance of going God’s way, more so than the wealthy. Then, of course, many of these well-to-do people already believe they are Christians since they belong to some ear-tickling church. These people are set in their ways and there is little or no hope for them.

Most of what is being said in this post is contrary to the ubiquitous opinion of the world, and much of mainstream Christianity. And anyone that goes against popular opinion becomes an enemy and a radical in the world’s eyes, especially to those who claim to be Christians.

What ticks me off more than most things is that the wealthy are venerated in most Christian churches, exactly the ones that Jesus continually bad-mouthed. Go into the parking lots of most mega-churches and what you will find is that luxury (expensive) cars are in the majority. These well-off people are the ones that give 10% of their earnings every week—they think they can win God's favor with money. Acts 8:20. "Peter answered: ‘May your money perish with you, because you think you can buy the gift of God with money!’" Heck, if I didn’t know better and loved money—actually, not the money, but the security it gives and the power it has to make life easy and pleasant—I would desire to have that well-to-do crowd attend my church also. I thank God I don’t have or desire one. And what do you think happens to the average people? They also would want to be prosperous and then be respected and admired by others. What that type of Christianity has brought into existence is a silent Christian mantra: Wealth and prosperity are the new standards for holiness.

Therefore, anyone can vividly see why this form of false Christianity is so popular. They incorporate the best of what the world offers with the gospel of Jesus Christ. They say, "God wants His people to have the best." That is exactly what Christ warns will happen in the last days. And yes, God does want the very best for us. And what is “the best” God desires for His people? The answer is short and sweet: the life of His Son, Jesus Christ.

“Wealth” is a relative word to each variant culture. A person who has only their basic needs in today’s society may be as rich, if not richer, than a wealthy person 2,000 years ago.

And finally, what will make or break us in our Christian quest is our desires, needs and wants. Put another way, what are we asking for? What are we seeking? What door are we knocking on? Let’s spend some time in answering these questions. Our destiny may depend on it. And if we are seeking the true way of Christ’s Salvation, for certain, it will be the exact opposite of how the people of this world live, regardless of whether they claim to be Christians or not. This is a hard teaching, and yet the New Testament confirms it over and over again. Therefore, don’t let church leaders, etc. tell you otherwise. This prosperity movement of wanting more (greed) has undermined—and will continue to undermine—the true gospel of Jesus Christ; His gospel turns the world’s values upside down. The problem is, many who don’t know better, since they don’t examine the Scripture, will fall for this pleasant, feel-good, happy-talk, all’s-well "gospel." Exposing this ungodly couch-potato "christianity," while telling what Scripture teaches, is the sole purpose of "Religion’s Crime Against God."

Much of the language I use in an attempt to describe this travesty perpetrated by the religious hierarchy is hard, unpleasant and intimidating. And yet my language is congenial in comparison to the degree of the crime, since there are few words in the English language—at least to my knowledge—descriptive enough to display the deadly damage the church per se has done to tarnish the image of Jesus Christ. The two adjectives my Christ-like candor forces me to use are “nefarious” and “pernicious.” If you don’t know their definitions, check the dictionary.


Anonymous said...

Are you from another planet?

JC said...

Thanks for your facinating question. The answer is yes. I am of the kingdom of God. althinker

Jay said...

Hi Al
Your comment “Here is the punch line: The ONLY reason for God to create a physical universe was so that throughout ALL ETERNITY, He would continue to reproduce Himself through willing, intelligent, physical beings.” What scripture did you read to draw you to this conclusion ? I have read that He has created us to live lives filled with good works that He has prepared for us to do. Eph 2:10. That everything has been created through him and for him. Col 1:16. He created us to praise Him. Ps 102:18. He has created us for His Glory. Isa 43:7
Al I have to thank you because when you come up with opinions like this one , it causes me to jump into the scriptures and see why comments like this jump out at me. So I need to prove them right or wrong. I couldn’t find one to prove your point. So help me out please. God does not keeps reproducing himself through us. There is only one God. It sounds like you are saying we become Gods. (I know you don’t but that’s how it sounds)
Also will you tell me how you determine what parts of the bible you choose to believe and what parts are just a simpler way of explaining things for the simple man. I’m talking about how you think the world and man came about.(evolution) You talk about faith in the last part of this post. I like what it says in Hebrews 11;3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. I like taking the things out of the bible with a simple childlike faith. God said it. I believe it. You may think you can win people to Christ by science and logic but the scriptures say it is by faith. Read the rest Hebrew 11. It list a few simple men that I will enjoy spending some time with.
Luke 5:3.or Mat5:3"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." The question remains, why is a person who is poor in spirit, instead of rich in spirit, blessed by God? Answer: a person becomes poor in spirit when their desire and need for God is unceasing.
God makes His people rich by making their needs, wants and desires few. (you jumped from spiritually poor to worldly poor)
The first part is right but the second part is misleading. I think if we have the same desires that God has he is not going to make those wants and desires few. He will give these wants with abundance. If they are the same wants as His. This scripture is telling me we have to empty ourselves of any worth. Being poor, not worthy, not able to please God, without accepting the sacrifice Christ did for us. There is nothing we can do on are own efforts, it his divine power that gives us the power to obey his commands and his holy word that gives us his desires. Any other way we are just fooling ourselves.
Last point, you make a lot of true statements (about the church) but you mix a lot thing in your post that are not true.( my opinion ) I say this not to make you angry but because you post this for others to read and you are looking for comments. I hope you are not just looking for people who only agree with you. We all need checks now and then.
My opinion is that God can and sometime he makes us rich enough (worldly) when he wants to. 2 Co 9:11. So who are we to pass judgment. Jam 2:3 "Suppose you give special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say to him, "Please have a seat." But you say to the poor man, "Stand over there," or "Sit on the floor at my feet." This scripture can go both ways . We are to treat all people equally. Rich or poor. Gods Blessings
Simple Jay

JC said...

The response to this comment has been placed in the main section of post # 196.