Summary: This sermon challenges the church to follow God's command to care for the poor. It shows the heart of God for the poor and God's blessings for those who provide care for the poor.
Rescuing the Poor in Jesus’ Name – Psalm 82:3-4a
(From Dr. Hancock's book, Changing Hearts Saving Lives: Our Hearts, Their Lives – Rescuing the Poor in Jesus’ Name)
Have you ever been rescued? You were in a situation where you could not save yourself. If someone else did not intervene you would die. Have you ever been rescued?
Have you ever been the rescuer? A family member, a friend, or even a stranger was in a hopeless situation and you saved their life. You rescued them.
I want us to think today about rescuing the poor in Jesus’ name. I actually want us to do more than think. I want us to commit ourselves to caring for the poor. There are over 2,000 verses in Scripture that call for God’s people to meet the needs of the poor. We’re not going to look at all of them this morning. I know that is a relief to hear. But we are going to look at some of the most pointed ones.
Let me tell you in advance that I have few illustrations and little humor for you today. But I have a message that has come out of my own struggles with this issue. I have been challenged by God’s Word in recent days to examine my own views of helping the poor. It has not been a comfortable journey. It has, however, brought me to a place of commitment and I hope that the message today will help you make a commitment to rescuing the poor in Jesus' name.
We begin with Psalm 82:3, 4a. Listen to this simple but commanding word from the heart of God. “Provide justice for the needy and the fatherless; uphold the rights of the oppressed and the destitute. 4 Rescue the poor and needy; save them from the power of the wicked.”
We are going to begin by looking at the heart of God for the poor. Then we are going to consider God’s call for us to care for the poor. We will then see that God promises blessings for those who help the poor. Finally, we are going to ask ourselves a question: what are we going to do to rescue the poor in Jesus’ name.
I. God Loves the Poor
There is no question. There can be no debate. Scripture over and over again reveals God’s heart of love for the poor. As a matter of fact it seems that God may have more of a heart for the poor than anyone else. Listen to these words. Proverbs 19:17 “If you help the poor, you are lending to the LORD — and he will repay you!” 1 Samuel 2:8 “He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy…”
God has an intense passion for the poor. Just as you and I love our children and grandchildren, God loves the poor.
Jesus’ shows us the heart of God for the poor. Jesus proclaimed that the reason for His coming was to preach good news to the poor. He healed the poor. He fed the poor. Jesus actually spent most of His time with the poor. Jesus taught His disciples to care for the poor. God loves the poor!
As a matter of fact, God loves the poor so much that He has strong warnings for those who exploit the poor and neglect the poor. Listen to the truth of Proverbs 21:13. “The one who shuts his ears to the cry of the poor will himself also call out and not be answered.” Hear Proverbs 14:31 “Anyone who oppresses the poor insults God.” His passion for the poor is only matched by His disdain for those who use or neglect the poor.
God loves the poor. But there is a problem. How is God going to help the poor? For some reason He has chosen not to personally intervene on their behalf. He could. He could come down from Heaven and rid His world of poverty and sickness and famine and death. But God has chosen another way. He has a plan. He has only one plan.
II. God Has Called His Church to Rescue the Poor
I want you to imagine for a moment this picture. Over here is God and His heart for the poor. He loves them and has a desire to help them, to comfort them, to bless them. Over here we find the poor. They are hurting. They are lonely. They are dying. Many of them do not even know of God’s great love for them. How tragic it is to be loved and not even know that you are loved.
Here in the middle is a great gulf, a canyon and the thing that is needed is a bridge to connect the heart of God with the needs of the poor. Who is going to build that bridge? More pointedly, who is going to be that bridge? Is the government going to be that bridge? No. Is a spiritually lost world going to be that bridge? No. Who is going to be that bridge to connect the heart of God with the poor?