2 Corinthians 8:9 ‘For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.’
What does the world seek and admire? Without a doubt, money, possessions, prestige and power. Some people want fame and notoriety – even others, to live forever! If only they knew they could have everlasting life by believing Him who would give it to them (John 3:16), they would repent (Matthew 3:2; Mark 1:15)!
What does the Christian seek and admire? Without a doubt, to be rich in Christ (Colossians 1:27) and always to admire Him (2 Thessalonians 1:10). A Christian certainly doesn’t seek fame, and he doesn’t seek worldly wealth (Matthew 6:33; 19:23). He yearns to be rich in the wisdom and knowledge of God (Romans 11:33; Colossians 3:16). His desire is to live a Christlike life (Philippians 1:21), to honour Him, to serve Him and to obey Him. In these things he can find riches beyond the world’s understanding.
The Incredulity of the World
In fact, the world cannot understand or appreciate riches in Christ. To the world they are foolishness, just as death on a cross is foolishness (1 Corinthians 1:23). They ask, ‘What did Jesus achieve by suffering and dying on a cross?” If He had all that power to create the universe, why would He abandon His riches in heaven and come to earth as a poor babe (2 Corinthians 8:9) in a manger (Luke 2:7)? If only they knew and believed why, then they would find themselves overflowing with God’s love because of receiving His ‘indescribable gift! (2 Corinthians 9:15)’. They would find themselves forever being thankful (Ephesians 5:20) for the giving of His Son (John 3:16).
Worldly Riches – The Preaching of a False Gospel
We hear today of enormous churches where the annual income is millions of dollars. Looking closely at what is preached and taught in them, we find that on the whole they do not present a true gospel. They tickle the ears of those who flock to them for entertainment and for things they want to hear (2 Timothy 4:3, 4), Their preachers say, “God loves you. God provides for you. He will look after you. If you give from your riches, He will multiply them back to you. Dress well and look good to show people how God cares for you. Give to the poor and the disenfranchised, then God will multiply His blessings upon you. He will anoint you,” etc., etc.. It’s all about getting on in this life, rising to higher echelons, achieving more and more, and being successful; getting richer – the American dream which leads to hell, not just in America, but throughout the whole world – satan’s domain (Ephesians 2:2).
In these so-called churches, “Where are the true riches of blessings (1 Timothy 6:17-19) from the Lord and thankfulness to Him (Acts 27:35; Hebrews 13:15)?” Where is the true gospel of love, sacrifice and obedience when Jesus is all and the centre of the believer’s life (Colossians 3:11)? Where is humility (Matthew 5:5; James 4:6, 10) and serving (John 13:14,17)? Where is selflessness (Matthew 10:39) for the sake of Jesus and for those whom He loves? Where is the making of disciples (Matthew 28:19, 20) for the extension of His kingdom for praising and giving Him the glory? These are the true riches of the lover of Christ.
The Folly of Perishable Riches
Material riches are nothing; the soul is of far more value (Matthew 16:26; Mark 8:36). Moth and rust corrupt; life is but a shadow (Ecclesiastes 6:12) – it is there but for a moment and then is no more (James 4:14). Instead of accumulating earthly treasures and worshipping them, lay up treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:19, 20) where moth and rust does not corrupt. Look to God in heaven for your reward (Ruth 2:12; Matthew 6:6) on the Day of the Lord (1Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Peter 3:10) and enter His eternal kingdom of love, joy and peace.
Matthew 6:19, 20 ‘“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.’
Texts for Further Study
Ephesians 1:7 ‘In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence.’
Ephesians 2:7 ‘… in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.’
Philippians 4:19 ‘And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.’
Colossians 1:27 ‘To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.’
Colossians 2:2 ‘that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to the riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ.’
Colossians 3:16 ‘Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.’