Posted tagged ‘Gospel and Poor’

Gospel and Poor: Some Personal Reflections

March 17, 2010

Over the past couple of weeks, I have taught on the relationship of the gospel and the poor which apparently is a hot topic in some evangelical circles.  I initially intended this to be a short addendum to the 20-week teaching on “The Gospel Centered Life” from last year, but when I asked our adult members if any of them had done an in-depth study on what the Bible says about the poor, no one raised their hands.  Well, that was a month ago, and since then there has been dozens and dozens of hands raised with questions abounding.

While I have not completed our study on this subject, I thought I’d post some blogposts on this subject from our church blog.  Perhaps some of this may be of some interest to you.

* Gospel and Poor: Implications
> From the Life of Christ
> From the Death of Christ
> From the Resurrection of Christ

* Additional Thoughts
> 12 Observations About the Poor from the New Testament
> Two Ways to Live – Regarding the Poor

Tim Keller has done a lot of thinking on this topic as well, and I encourage you to read this article and/or watch the video below.

Margin for the Marginalized

February 25, 2010

From Tim Chester and Steve Timmis:

Jesus’ eating with sinners is a wonderful declaration of the riches of God’s grace. But notice how this grace plays out in practice. It results in Jesus spending time with the despised and marginalized.  It means Jesus has time for the needy.  They are his priority. He does not focus on the professional classes, the lawyers, the doctors, the respectable middle classes. Such people are welcomed if they will associate with the ragtag group who makes up the community of Jesus–after all, Luke himself is a doctor. But Jesus goes out of his way to welcome the poor, the marginalized, and the needy.  (emphasis mine)

Have you ever thought about Christ-likeness in this way?  If the goal of the Christian life is to be transformed into His image, to become more like Christ, then shouldn’t our lives display margin for the marginalized, making the poor and needy our priority?  Does our community of believers look anything like the community of Jesus?  Are we demonstrating the grace which we have received vertically from God in a horizontal way to others in our city?

The Gospel and Hearts for the Poor

February 22, 2010

Here’s an excerpt from A Gospel Primer for Christians on a much discussed topic among evangelicals today: the relationship of the gospel to the poor.  Check it.

Like nothing else could ever do, the gospel instills in me a heart for the downcast, the poverty-stricken, and those in need of physical mercies, especially when such persons are of the household of faith.

When I see persons who are materially poor, I instantly feel a kinship with them, for they are physically what I was spiritually when my heart was closed to Christ.  Perhaps some of them are in their condition because of sin, but so was I.  Perhaps they are unkind when I try to help them; but I, too, have been spiteful to God when He has sought to help me.  Perhaps they are thankless and even abuse the kindness I show them, but how many times have I been thankless and used what God has given me to serve selfish ends?

Perhaps a poverty-stricken person will be blessed and changed as a result of some kindness I show them.  If so, God be praised for His grace through me.  But if the person walks away unchanged by my kindness, then I still rejoice over the opportunity to love as God loves.  Perhaps the person will repent in time; but for now, my heart is chastened and made wiser by the tangible depiction of what I myself have done to God on numerous occasions.

The gospel reminds me daily of the spiritual poverty into which I was born and also of the staggering generosity of Christ towards me.  Such reminders instill in me both a felt connection to the poor and a desire to show them the same generosity that has been lavished on me.  When ministering to the poor with these motivations, I not only preach the gospel to them through word and deed, but I reenact the gospel to my own benefit as well.

Milton Vincent, A Gospel Primer for Christians: Learning to See the Glories of God’s Love (Bemidji, MN: Focus, 2008), 38-39.