ANSWERING SOME QUESTIONS

Yesterday we received a comment with a couple questions regarding the "Gospel of the kingdom" tract/video I attempted replying to the questions, but unfortunately my response was larger than the server would allow. Which brings us to today's post I'm turning my response into a blog post to answer the questions!

Comment: Anonymous-June 5, 2012 9:28 PM
Please show me where Jesus gives Laws in the New Testament. Where in the Bible does it state that the rich are cursed?

Thank you for taking time to view our blog and read through our material. I appreciate your questions.

To answer your first question regarding Jesus giving laws in the New Testament. We can find the answer to that in a few places, but we will first look at the Sermon on the Mount Matthew ch. 5-7 I wont quote the entire teaching here, but would encourage you to read the entire account.

In Matt. 5:17-19 Jesus states He came not to abolish the Law or the Prophets, but to fulfill them. He goes on to say that until heaven and earth pass away not an iota, or a dot will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Jesus even warns against relaxing his commandments. Jesus continues teaching contrasting the Law and His commands by saying "you have heard it said..." and as you read through the account notice Jesus isn't lowering the standard He is raising it.
For example Matthew 5:38-39 "You have heard that is was said. An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also." 
So Jesus raised the standard for those who want to follow Him. Look at each individual teaching of Jesus, did he do away with, lower, or raise the bar?

Jesus brought down the very laws of heaven, and where they are obeyed and lived out is where God's kingdom has come on earth as it is in heaven.

Now lets look at Matt. 7:21-23 Jesus says
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

Lets look at the statement Jesus made at the start of the passage, "but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven."
First turn to John 12:44-50 specifically vs 47,48
"If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day."
Second look at John 14:15 and John 15:1-10
"If you love me you will keep my commandments."
Verses 9-10 of John 15, Jesus says to abide in His love, then in He tells us the way we abide in His love is to keep His commandments
1 John 5:3
For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments.
So God's will is that we love Him, abide in Him, and bear much fruit. Abiding and loving according to Jesus means to obey His commandments, and to surrender to His Lordship, if we aren't obeying Jesus then we don't truly love Him, LOVE=OBEDIENCE

Now the ending of that passage Jesus says
"I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness."
1 John 3:4 says 'sin is lawlessness'
Dictionary.com gives the definition for "lawless" as being
1) without law
2) disobedient to the law
3) contrary to or heedless of the law
The commands of Christ are the very laws of heaven.
In Matt. 7:24-27 Jesus gives a great example of hearing His words and doing them and hearing His words and not doing them. So we are left to decide are we going to be the wise man or the foolish man.
As Christians we are not under the Mosaic Law and most of the references in scripture that refer to the "Law" when it has a capital L in the word "Law" is referencing the Mosaic law.
The commands of Jesus Christ in the new testament are the laws we as Christians fall under.
I hope that answers your first question there are many more scriptures on this topic we have only covered a handful.
  
Now to your second question "Where in the Bible does it state that the rich are cursed?" first let me rephrase your question so I can answer it properly. Where in the bible does it state riches are a curse?
Jesus tells us in the Sermon on the Mount Matt. 6:19-24 to not lay up treasures here on earth, and that we cannot serve both God and money.  
Matt 18:16-30 "Rich young man account"
starting in vs 23 Jesus says to His disciple "Truly I say to you only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. vs 24 Jesus says " Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.
Notice in these passages Jesus is not just addressing "the rich young man" he is speaking to His disciples and those around.
Luke's account of the same situation Luke 18:18-30
vs 24 Jesus looking at him with great sadness said, "How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God."
Jesus makes the statement "those who have wealth" not just a single statement directed towards the rich man.
Luke 14:33 Jesus tells us to count the cost.
"So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions"
Matt 16:26 Jesus speaking
"For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life?"
James 5:1-6 I'm quoting VS 1,2,5
Come now you rich weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you.
Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten.  
You have lived on earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter.
Read 1 John 2:15-17
If we love the world and the things in the world the love of the Father is not in us.
1 Timothy 6:9-10
 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
So we have looked at just a few teachings and scriptures regarding money, wealth, possessions, and riches. They are a curse and a snare, lets look at the flip side who does Jesus say is blessed?
In the Sermon on the Mount and the Sermon on the Plain Jesus said "Blessed are the poor for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." In contrast to  "How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God."
God bless, I hope this answers your questions if you have other questions or would like further scripture or explanation feel free to post here or email me charlton@kingdomdriven.org

Comments

  1. Amen.
    I praise God for His indwelling Spirit, who gives an answer with wisdom, kindness and respect.

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  2. Interesting.
    In Matthew 5:30 Jesus states:
    “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’[e] 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
    This is a command or Kingdom Rule as you state, or it is a teaching. You cant say somethings are rules and others are not. They are all rules and/or commands or they are teachings. If they are rules then no MEN would be able to see, or have their right hand. God is very specific in the Bible when he gives Laws. As for the rich being cursed I don't need you to rephrase my question I want to know in the bible where is states the rich are cursed, as you stated it is a Kingdom law. If God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow then you cant say the rich are cursed. Read psalms, proverbs, and any king in the old testament was blessed by God with Riches.
    Matthew 27:57
    57 As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus.

    I would love to hear back from you. God Bless.

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    1. Response PART 1of3
      I appreciate your questions and taking the time to read my earlier response.

      First I would like to start with a question.

      What if Jesus meant every word He said?

      I whole heartedly believe Jesus said what He meant and meant what He said. After all He spoke the very words the Father told Him to speak.

      For me to begin answering and responding to your questions/statements I need to cover a few things.
      2 Timothy 3:16
      All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. I believe this to be a true statement.
      Jesus came teaching and preaching "the kingdom of God" we cannot separate His commands/laws from His teachings, through His teachings is how we know, understand, and live as citizens of another kingdom, and by hearing or reading his teachings we are taught the laws of the kingdom of heaven/commands.
      Once again I believe Jesus meant every word He said. For it is by those very words we will give an account.

      I have not stated that some things are rules and others are not. So I'm not clear in the statement you made regarding this. However sometimes Jesus' teachings are direct and other times He teaches in parables, but regardless a teaching is meant to teach, so we can learn and do. For us to know or understand a command/law it must be taught.

      To answer your question regarding the Matthew 5:30 passage Jesus first references the old testament command or as you put it God's specific Law. Jesus speaking the words of the Father raises the standard to what God expects. Yes I believe Jesus literally here, because Jesus came to save us from our sins, to free us, He ransomed us. He did not die to take away the penalty of sin (the wages of sin is still death.) He promises us a helper the Holy Spirit to help us walk in holiness which leads to eternal life. Also Jesus call us to repent that doesn't just mean to saying "sorry" repent means to turn away from, to go the opposite direction, so if you continue in something your not truly repentant then your only option if you want to save your soul would be to cut it off. We don't have to choose sin or in this case lust/adultery as the Apostle tells us when we are tempted, God will give us a way out that we may stand firm.
      Also the Apostle Peter says in 1 Peter 4:1-2 Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God.

      Your statement " If they are rules then no MEN would be able to see, or have their right hand." I believe that to be an incorrect statement. There have been many throughout the century's that have lived very holy lives dedicated to serving Christ and His kingdom that would not have to have their hand cut off our eyes plucked out, because Jesus came to free us from our bondage. Also reference Matthew 19:12 I believe those in this statement of Jesus' would not even come close to needing to cut off a member of their body, and the way out that is given for others is marriage. (Reference Paul's teachings on the subject as well.)

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    2. Response PART 2of3
      Your question on the rich being cursed. Lets look at the "Sermon on the Plane" Luke 6:24 “But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation." ESV
      “What sorrow awaits you who are rich, for you have your only happiness now." NLT

      Jesus' statement here sounds very opposite of His statements just a few verses up when He explains who it is that is blessed. To me it sounds like a very strong warning especially when you couple it with Jesus' other teachings on money and riches as well as the God breathed scriptures referenced in the last response such as
      1 Timothy 6:9-11, 17-19 see also proverbs 23:4-5.

      Looking back at Jesus' statement "Woe to you who are rich" a synonym for the word "woe" according to the English dictionary is "cursed" and every definition of the word "woe" is negative. If you look at the Greek word that is translated into the English language as "woe" it is οὐαί the strong’s concordance defines it as "uttered in grief or denunciation" the English dictionary defines denunciation as "Public condemnation of someone or something." which to me is the same as making the statement "cursed" regardless Jesus is making a strong statement/warning to the rich. You will not see the actual English word "cursed."

      Look at these other statements Jesus make when using the words "Woe to you"
      Matthew 11:21, Matthew 18:7, Matthew 23:13-16 there are many more "woe" statements and they are not in a positive light.

      How did the early church understand Jesus teachings on the matter of riches, possessions, wealth, and money? Turn to Acts 2:42-47 and 4:32-37
      Notice in vs. 34 of ch. 4 there was not one person who lacked (no poverty) a fulfillment of Jesus' teaching/promise in Matthew 6:25-34 they lived by the kingdom law. It also states in that verse for all who where owners of land and homes sold them and brought the proceeds, laying them at the apostles feet, it was distributed to meet the needs.
      There was no one who lacked and no one who had abundance, because they knew everything was not there own it was God's and they believed Jesus' teachings and warnings and obeyed Him because they loved Him.

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  3. Do you guys not approve every comment. I posted a comment a few days ago and have not seen it or heard a response. I though this was like an open forum where people could comment and communicate freely no matter what beliefs they have. I guess not.

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    1. Comments are screened and need approval before they are posted. We do this so nothing inappropriate is posted. This is an open forum for discussion, and anyone is welcome to comment or ask questions regardless of what their beliefs may or may not be.

      We apologize for the delay in posting your comment. We are not on our blog everyday, and when things are posted it may take a few days to see your comment and receive a response.

      Thank you for taking the time to voice your thoughts and questions.

      May the peace of Christ rest upon you, as you seek Him.

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  4. Response PART 3of3

    As new testament believers we do not full under the old testament promises, provisions, and worldly blessings that were given and promised to the Israelites. The Israelites entered into a covenant with God at Sinai. The kingdom that was established in the old testament with Israel was similar to the kingdoms of the world, it was an earthly kingdom, it was a physical and even had a geographical territory, it's people were a distinct nationality. they defended their kingdom with earthly soldiers, armed with weapons, like other earthly kingdoms the Israelites expanded their territory with the sword. In this covenant with Israel God's promised blessings where earthly and physical.
    (Deut. 28:1-12). We also see that when the Israelites broke their covenant the punishment was earthly and physical. (Deut. 28:24,25,38,39)

    The ancient kingdom of Israel which was predominantly earthly, was not intended as an end in itself. It was meant to be a tutor leading the Israelites to something far greater a kingdom that would truly not be of this world!!

    Yes Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever and God's kingdom has always been firmly established in heaven and Jesus came bringing and teaching that kingdom which is talked about in the book of Daniel. It is a new covenant in which we enter into if we are willing to count the cost and except the terms of peace that God has offered to all, the choice is ours.

    Regarding Matthew 27:57 it was a fulfillment of an old testament prophecy. Also Joseph freely gave this spot for Jesus, which leads me to believe he understood what he had was no longer his own. Rich men can become disciples of Jesus in fact anyone can become a disciple of Jesus, but we must meet Him on His terms and His standards it is a call to die to ones self and the world and be willing to be obedient to the point of death literally. I can not water down the words of my King Jesus and if you are ever speaking with someone who tries to explain away Jesus' teachings they are lying.

    Once again thank you for your questions and response please feel free to ask should you want more explanation or have other questions.

    God bless.

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  5. Hello Anonymous, I would love to hear your thoughts, and see if you have any further questions or possibly a different view on the subjects discussed. Hope to hear from you soon.

    God bless

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