Class Notes: 5/7/2014
Mark 10:21-22; The doctrine of the poor part 2
In our study of Mark we are in Mark 10:21-22; where Jesus told the rich man to sell everything he had, give it to the poor and follow Him.
We noted that this was a unique calling to go with Jesus on his way to Jerusalem and the cross as part of His inner circle. It is not a normal mandate for believers so we took up a study of the doctrine of the poor.
Last time we stopped when we were discussing the mandates for Israel in the Mosaic Law that prevented and reduced poverty if followed. We saw the provisions of the Sabatical and Jubilee years that released debt, freed slaves, and returned the homestead to the assigned family.
Every seventh year there was to be a release of all debt, Deut 15:1; Bond-slaves were freed, Ex 21:2; This also occurred in the Jubilee year that came every 50 years. In addition, in the Jubilee year any land that had been sold was returned to the family of its original owners, Lev 25:8-17;
The Israelites were commanded to readily lend to the poor; and no interest was to be charged if they were a fellow Israelite. Exod 22:25; Lev 25:35-37; Deut 15:7.
Lev 25:39; states that no poor Hebrew was to be made a bond-slave. If he was a hired servant, he should not be ruled harshly, Lev 25:43. His wages were to be paid to him daily, Lev 19:13; Deut 24:15;
No widows' clothes were to be taken in a pledge, Deut 24:17; Nor were the handmill or upper mill stone that were essential for grinding the wheat for food, to be taken in a pledge, Deut 24:6;
A man's clothes should be returned to him before sundown and no house should be entered to seize a pledge, Deut 24:10-13.
Escaped slaves were not to be returned to their owners. Deut 23:15-16;
Justice was to be done to the poor or those in a position of social or economic weakness, Exod 23:6; Deut 27:19;
Offerings were graduated according to a persons income, Lev 5:7; Lev 12:8;
Specific penalties were not always attached to these laws so the Old Testament prophets had many grievances against the people regarding their unjust treatment of the poor. Psa 10:2, 9; Psa 14:6; Isa 3:14-15; Jer 2:34; Ezek 16:49;
The responsibility for caring for the poor was frequently and strongly stated and divine promises were attached to its fulfillment, Psa 41:1; Psa 72:12; Prov 17:5; Psa 28:3; Isa 58:7; Jer 22:16; Ezek 18:17; Dan 4:27; Zech 7:10.
The motivation for compliance with God's mandates to help the poor was because "I am the Lord God"
The day of God's manifestation (Jesus Christ) would bring deliverance and rejoicing to the poor, Psa 72:12-15; Isa 11:4; Isa 14:30; Isa 29:19;
The equality of rich and poor before God, and the superiority of the righteous poor to the ungodly rich is taught in Prov 19:1, 22; Prov 22:1-2; Eccles 4:13;
Nine ways that men choose to make themselves poor are described in: Prov 6:6-11; Prov 10:4; Prov 12:24; Prov 13:4,18; Prov 14:23; Prov 20:13; Prov 21:5,17; Prov 23:21; Prov 28:19.
There are also mandates for caring for the poor in the New Testament.
In our passage regarding the rich man in Mark 10:21; we have the command for him to give to the poor.
Zacchaeus who was a rich tax collector that the Jews hated believed in Jesus as Messiah he gave half of what he possessed to the poor, Luke 19:8; Net note 21
The early church showed its care for the poor in Acts 2:45, Acts 4:32; Acts 6:1;
Paul recalled the request from Peter James and John to remember the poor in Gal 2:9-10, and he organized the collection of contributions to help the poor in Jerusalem. Rom 15:26.
Remember the church in Judea was under assault by the Jews and the Jews were under the later stages of the cycles of discipline. God was permitting pressure in the form of discrimination that was causing poverty to motivate the church to get out of there and before destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD the entire church had fled the area.
People are often impoverished because they are trying to hold onto things that God wants them to let go of.
John asks how God's love can be in a man who has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, and have no compassion for him, 1John 3:17-18;
James rebukes believers for their hypocrisy because of their partiality for the rich and their dishonor of the poor.
James 2:2-4;"For if a person comes into your assembly with a gold ring and he is dressed in fine clothes; and there comes a poor man dressed in shabby clothing,
v3 and you give your attention to the one who is wearing fine clothes, and you say to him, `Sit down here in a good pew,' and you say to the poor man, `You stand over there, or you sit on the floor by my feet,'
v4 have you not discriminated among yourselves, and you have become judges with evil motivation
This principle is also taught in John 12:4-6; where Judas Iscariot complained that Mary's extravagant gift to Jesus should have been sold and given to the poor as a rhetorical veil to hide his hidden agenda of stealing money from the treasury.
So we see that the mantra of "helping the poor" is often used as a rhetorical veil to advance a hidden agenda and this is what is going on in our country today. Genuine compassion is required for there to be actual interest in helping the poor rather simply than using the poor as a means of advancing yourself.
The only thing that will really help the poor is for them to believe in Jesus Christ for salvation followed by an advance in spiritual maturity from the PMA of Bible Doctrine
This is because of the grace pipeline that is formed for all believers at salvation that provides the poor with the same equal privilege and opportunity for the execution of the protocol plan of God as rich believers.
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