Summary: Using some Greek history, and even Pompeii, this lesson shows how fleeting it is to be in search of wealth/possessions. Touches on proper theology of money.


James Series 3: Treasures

INTRO: This Bible study is a continuation of last week’s lesson titled Money Money Money…Money. So we will start with the book of James.

BIBLE VERSE: James 1:9-11

9The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position. 10But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower. 11For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business.


BIBLE VERSE: Mark 8:36

What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?

A. Poverty Theology: This imbalanced view teaches that we should have a disdain for possessions. Some who hold this position would say that it’s wrong to have excess money and things.

Example: Medieval Monks: Medieval monks use to gather themselves in castles/convents/etc a way from the world. Expressing a deep-heartening concern with the world, they would negate the scriptures about taking the message of Christ to the world, and cloister themselves away to live a life of poverty, chastity, and charity. Though not wrong to have this belief of not desiring worldly possessions, it is absolutely wrong to say that the Bible tells us that and people are sinning if they acquire possessions.

B. Prosperity Theology: This teaching wrongly assumes that prosperity is the reward of the righteous. This cause and effect relationship implies that if God is happy with you, He will bless you financially. If He’s not pleased with you, you won’t be blessed with possessions.

Example: Joel O’Steen Ministry Quotes: The top pastor in USA said this:

“You can change your world by changing your words... Remember, death and life are in the power of the tongue.”

“You may make some mistakes-but that doesn’t make you a sinner. You’ve got the very nature of God on the inside of you.”

“"Work out your own salvation. Salvation is more than a onetime prayer. It is constantly working with God, dealing with the issues He brings up and keeping a good attitude, fighting through until you win the victory."

-this last quote is the only mention of Salvation in his entire 300 page best selling book, Your Best Life Now

Now, this quote and many others are not always inherently wrong, God does bless his people. But when all that is talked about, the incorrect Gospel message has been preached.

The Colisseum: Again, years ago, thousands of Christians because of their beliefs were fed to lions in Rome and made fun of in front of tens of thousands. Their deaths, were entertainment to the masses. Literally, there were people lying next to their children who were formulating plans onto which appendage to feed the lions first. My point? If “God loves us and has a wonderful plan to bless us” applies to Christianity, then that message could also be preached to those about to be ravaged by lions. Can it? No way.

Deny Self: Remember, in three different gospels, Jesus says to “deny self” and even “take up your Cross daily.” He even asks what does it benefit a man to gain the whole world but “lose his soul.” Clearly, Christ’s messages were far more about sacrifice than about accumulation.

Purpose Driven Life: The Purpose Driven Life has outsold Osteen’s by a ratio of 7 to 1, finds the very basis of Prosperity laughable. "This idea that God wants everybody to be wealthy?", he snorts. "There is a word for that: baloney. It’s creating a false idol. You don’t measure your self-worth by your net worth. I can show you millions of faithful followers of Christ who live in poverty. Why isn’t everyone in the church a millionaire?"

C. Proper Theology: The proper way to view our possessions is that they are a trust given by God that we are responsible to manage. Everything belongs to Him and we are to serve as stewards whether we are blessed with a lot or with a little. We are the stewards of God’s money, and all the money belongs to Him.


BIBLE VERSE: Matthew 6:19-20

19“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Treasures: Now, here is the tough deal about materialism. You can be totally materialistic, without having any money at all. I have been in mansions of people who could not care less about money, they did not give a rip about anything in the home whatsoever. And I have been in trailers where though I drank the Pepsi that I was offered, it was brought up to me for months that I owed them because of the Pepsi.

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