Summary: Message on God’s heart for the poor.
“Taking Good News to the Poor”
Evidence of God’s presence
For some time now the issues concerning our partnership with Abraham’s house ministry to the community have been discussed and even debated among us. On this issue we have been a divided house. I have wrestled over the issues over these past several months.
I have searched for God’s heart on the subject. What I share today is what I have learned from my study concerning our responsibility to the needy around and among us. What God thinks about the issue is very clear. How we as a church should specifically apply what God instructs is perhaps not as clear. I have summarized my findings under four general principles.
Ministry to the poor and needy is the passion of Jesus.
Ministry to the poor and needy reflect genuine heart change
Ministry to the poor and needy determine blessing of cursing.
I.Ministry to the poor and needy is the passion of Jesus.
Taking the good news to the poor was the core of Jesus’ ministry authenticating his person and validating his anointing.
And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read. And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written,
"THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR.
HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES, AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND,
TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED, TO PROCLAIM THE YEAR OF THE LORD’S FAVOR."
And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, "Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing." And all were speaking well of Him, and wondering at the gracious words which were falling from His lips; and they were saying, "Is this not Joseph’s son?" Luke 4:16-22
Anointed = appoint, assign, give a task,
Jesus took on a pretty awesome mandate.
Preach the gospel to the poor
Proclaim release to the captives
Proclaim recovery of sight to the blind
Set free those who are oppressed
Proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
While in prison John wondered if he had pointed in the right direction when he told people…
“This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
Now when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to Him, "Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?" Jesus answered and said to them, "Go and report to John what you hear and see: the BLIND RECEIVE SIGHT and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the POOR HAVE THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THEM. "And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me." Matthew 11:2-6
Notice the impressive list of accomplishments Jesus told John’s disciples to report back to him.
The blind receive sight
The lame walk
The lepers are cleansed
The deaf hear
The dead are raised up
The poor have the gospel preached to them.
Of all the signs pointing to the authenticity of Jesus and his ministry, preaching the gospel to the poor ranks right there with raising the dead. Ministry to the poor authenticated the heart of God on earth. How do we know Jesus still works among us? His works became our works. His anointing became our anointing. Why would someone take offense at Jesus’ ministry to the poor and needy? It appears that many took offense at Jesus’ own state in life.
Just a carpenter? The good Shepherd?
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich. 2 Cor. 8:9
They also were offended because he dared actually touch the untouchable and associated with the undesirable.
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 and 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. "But go and learn what this means: ’I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT SACRIFICE,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."