Sermons

Summary: This passage on the care of widows opens up a larger question: what's the place the church should have in the care of the poor (versus the place the government should have)?

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THE POINT OF THE PASSAGE: Taking care of the needy widows was a big deal in the early church.

- There was a different societal structure and a lack of social safety net back then. The church stepped in to help.

- Unpack some of the passage.

- The passage raises a more general question: why does the government do more than the church to help the poor in contemporary America?

WHY DOES THE GOVERNMENT DO MORE THAN THE CHURCH TO HELP THE POOR?

QUESTION #1: Is it wrong for the government to be doing something about the poor?

ANSWER #1: In the government designed by the Mosaic Law, there was a 3.3% tax to benefit the poor in addition to other help for the poor.

a. The 3.3% tax to benefit the poor.

- There were three “tithes” that were required of the Israelites in the Old Testament under the Mosaic Law:

1. The Lord’s tithe or the Levite’s tithe.

- Numbers 18:21.

2. The festival tithe.

- Deuteronomy 14:22-27.

3. The poor tithe.

- Deuteronomy 14:28-29.

- Because this third “tithe” was only due every third year, it was more like a 3.3% tax.

- I have used the word “tax” here. Under the Old Testament system, Israel was a theocracy, so required giving was akin to our taxation.

- So the taxation added up to about 23.3%.

b. Other help for the poor.

- Some examples:

1. Gleaning the corners of the field.

- Leviticus 19:9-10.

2. Eating small amounts of produce and grain.

- Deuteronomy 23:24-25.

QUESTION #2: Why doesn’t the American church do more for the poor?

ANSWER #2: We spend a lot of our money on buildings and salaries.

a. Compare the idea of house churches.

b. Discuss the structure of NewPoint Church.

- Multi-site, video teaching, lay leadership.

A FINAL QUESTION: How different would things be if we had a heart for the poor?

- I mean that (“different”) both in terms of impact on the community and how the church would be structured.


Talk about it...

Wayne Dyrness

commented on Oct 3, 2016

You state: " The passage raises a more general question: why does the government do more than the church to help the poor in contemporary America?" The more important question is, "where is your demonstrative proof that the government does more than the church in helping the poor?"

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