Summary: In today’s world, there are two great economic systems engaged in a struggle that could win in our present civilization. Only time will reveal which, if either survives. Christianity is not to be identified with either capitalism or socialism. In the f
Christians and Economic Issues
In today’s world, there are two great economic systems engaged in a struggle that could win in our present civilization. Only time will reveal which, if either survives. Christianity is not to be identified with either capitalism or socialism. In the final analysis, both systems are built on a falsehood.
Socialism: People own property that is to be controlled by society instead of by the individual, as far as possible.
Capitalism: People own property that is to be controlled by the individual instead of by society, as far as possible.
Christianity speaks to both socialism and capitalism and says, “You are built upon a falsehood. God is the sole owner.” This idea that God is the sole owner could save our civilization and bring about God’s will on earth.
True Christians will seek to relate the teachings of Jesus Christ to their economic affairs as well as to their spiritual needs.
I. Economic principles according to the teachings of Christ.
a. Jesus believed in the right to hold property.
i. Thou shall not steal
ii. Thou shall not covet
b. Jesus believed in the duty of honest toil
i. We are obligated to participate honestly and enthusiastically in needful work.
c. Jesus believed in the law of mercy
i. He illustrated this in the story of the rich man and Lazarus
ii. The law of mercy is to be expressed in a generous ministry to the needs of human life.
II. Five ways money maybe used legitimately
a. Money maybe used to meet the basic needs of the family
b. Money maybe used to support religious institutions and the conduct of worship
i. Jesus sanctioned the use of money to support the temple, as with the widow’s mite
ii. Mark 12:41-44, “And he sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the people were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent. Calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.”
iii. Jesus was not saying to bring your entire check to the church, but he was saying that we should give in a way that cost us a little, that it might mean more then just giving from our surplus.
c. Money may be used to minister to the poor.
i. There was little organized effort to relieve the poor during Jesus’ time.
ii. He taught open hearted liberality toward the poor.
iii. When we see and need and we can meet that need, we should not hesitate to help.
d. Money may be used to enrich the emotional and intellectual life of men and women in acts of fellowship, friendship, and devotion.
i. Jesus attended a feast with publicans in the house of Mathew.
1. Matthew 9:10-11, “Then it happened that as Jesus was reclining at the table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were dining with Jesus an His disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, why is your teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners? But when Jesus heard this, He said, ‘It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick.’”
2. He often attend such occasions.
ii. Jesus commended Mary who lavishly anointed him with costly ointment at a feast in Bethany.
1. She had given something of worth to her, in order to bless someone else.
e. Money maybe used to pay taxed to support the government
i. In Matthew 17:24-27, Jesus himself paid taxes
ii. In our text for today, Jesus told us to give to the government, which belongs to the government.
III. The dangers in both the pursuit and possession of riches
a. Jesus was not prejudiced against rich people, but he warned against the perils associated with the pursuit of riches.
b. The danger of a false sense of security
i. Money cannot buy you into heaven
ii. Money cannot buy a relationship with Christ
c. You cannot serve God and money
i. Luke 16:13, “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”
ii. God is to have no rival in the heart.
iii. To try to love both God and riches is to create a split personality.
d. Riches tend to rupture fellowship