Pinecrest Bible Training Center

John 12:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone.

Beginning in 2008 the vision and bible school that God so graciously gave Wade Taylor beginning in 1968 came to an abrupt end, falling into the ground and dying.

We now wait for God to raise up and bring forth His seed of promise in another, that the vision fail not.

Fall 1998
The Rich and the Poor
Pastor David Bolton

In contrast to the present day teaching of prosperity, Luke's gospel shows the blessedness that belongs to the poor, and the dangers that beset the rich. This is summed up in Luke's account of the Beatitudes,

"Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the Kingdom
of God ... But woe to you who are rich, for you have
already received your comfort" Luke 6:20,24 NIV.

This Gospel records in detail the humble beginnings of the life of our Lord. Joseph and Mary were poor common folk. When Mary praised the Lord in song concerning the child that was conceived within her, she gives a hint to this,

"My soul praises the Lord and my spirit rejoices in
God my Savior, for He has been mindful of the humble
state of His servant ... He has brought down rulers
from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He
has filled the hungry with good things but has sent
the rich away empty" Luke 1:46-48,52-53 NIV.

Here we see the exalting of the poor and the bringing down of the rich and lofty. Jesus was born in a manger, the lowest of places, yet He was the King of all kings. When His parents dedicated Him in the temple, they could only afford to offer "a pair of doves or two young pigeons" (Luke 2:24), instead of a lamb. The law allowed for this in the case of the poor (Lev. 12:8).

Jesus never lacked what He needed, yet He did not have "a place to lay his head" Luke 9:58. Not only was Jesus poor in this world, but He identified with the poor. In the end, He was buried in a borrowed tomb (Luke 23:50-53). Paul says of Jesus,

"For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He
became poor" 2 Cor 8:9a.

In the Son of Man, we see God Almighty humbling Himself to identify with the lowest of men in order to lift them into the highest and richest place. Paul continues, "so that you through poverty might become rich" 2 Cor 9:b.

Consider what Luke records concerning John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ. John the Baptist called the people to repentance, but then gave the particulars of how they were to repent. In the three cases mentioned, riches and money was the focus of their repentance.

To the crowds he said,
"The man with two tunics should share with him who has none,
and the one who has food should do the same" Luke 3:11.

He told the tax collectors, "Do not collect more than you are required to" Luke 3:13. And to the soldiers, "Be content with your pay" Luke 3:14b. Today, we may be told, "If you only have two coats, you should believe for a closet full," or, "you should not be content with your pay, you are a king's kid and deserve more." How different are these concepts from those the New Testament teaches.

Chapter eight of Luke records the parable of the sower. One of the three unfruitful types of soil mentioned is the one full of thorns. Jesus explained, "The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way are choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature" Luke 8:14. Worldly riches can choke the Word of God in our lives, making us unfruitful.

In chapter nine, Jesus prophesied His coming betrayal and death and taught His disciples that they too would be required to take up their cross and follow Him. He then said,

"What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and
yet lose or forfeit his very self?" Luke 9:25 NIV.

The taking up of our cross means that we are willing to give up the "world" if that is required. Worldly riches can rob us of fully following Christ.

When Jesus was asked to arbitrate between a man and his brother concerning the dividing of their inheritance, He said to them,

"Watch out, be on your guard against all kinds of greed;
a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his
possessions" Luke 12:15 NIV.

Jesus then spoke the parable of the "Rich Fool" which warns about those who "store up things for themselves" Luke 12:16-21. This can become a snare if we put our trust in those things, and are not rich towards God. Jesus told His disciples not to be concerned with things like food and clothing, but they are to "seek His Kingdom, and these things will be given to (them) as well" Luke 12:31.

He goes on to tell them,

"Sell your possessions and give to the poor.
Provide purses for yourselves that will not
wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not
be exhausted, where no thief comes near and
no moth destroys. For where your treasure is,
there your heart will be also" Luke 12:33-34 NIV.

Jesus is saying that His Kingdom is a heavenly one, not an earthly one. As His disciples, we are to sacrifice the earthly that we might possess the heavenly.

"If you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth,
who will trust you with true riches ... No servant can serve
two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other,
or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You
cannot serve both God and money" Luke 16:11,13 NIV.

The Lord is to be our Master and money is to be our servant. If money begins to master us, we have ceased to be God's servants.

Chapter sixteen ends with the story of "the rich man and Lazarus," which warns those who are at ease in their riches, and points to God's compassion for those who are poor. May we change our thinking to see things as God does.

Next, we see Jesus dealing with "the rich young ruler." This man was seeking eternal life but his riches kept him from obtaining it. He was not willing to give them up in order to obey and follow Jesus. Afterward, Jesus told His disciples,

"How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!
Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of
a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of
God" Luke 18:24-25 NIV.

His disciples then wondered if anyone could possibly be saved, but Jesus said, "What is impossible with men is possible with God" (vs. 27). He then went on to encourage His disciples who had forsaken all to follow Him, that whatever they had given up, they would not "fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come, eternal life" (vs. 30).

Riches make it difficult, though not impossible for us to enter the Kingdom, but those who do give up the things most precious to them will be blessed both in this life and in the life to come.

Chapter nineteen gives the second account of Jesus clearing the temple of the merchants and the moneychangers. His holy anger was kindled at those who had defiled God's holy temple with their greed and irreverence. We see in this how the Lord is angered when riches become more important than holiness, reverence, and prayer.

Finally, in chapter twenty two we have the ultimate example of the dangerous power money can exert, in Judas Iscariot who was "bought" to betray the Lord with thirty pieces of silver. Ultimately, whenever money holds its sway over us, we end up betraying the Lord in one way or another. May we take warning from the life of Judas Iscariot whose greed began in a small way, but ended up costing him his life and the life of our Lord.

In all these Scriptures we see a common thread of truth. Luke clearly records the fact that money and riches can be extremely dangerous to our spiritual life. They are not sinful in themselves, but hold a deceptive and powerful influence in the hearts of fallen man. They can hinder, or cause us to completely miss what God has for us. We are to be as free from the love and control of money as the window who gave her last two cents to the Lord (Luke 21:1-4).

Luke also shows the compassion and favor that God extends to the poor. He brings out what is stated in James 2:5, "Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?"

How opposite this is from much modern day thinking in the church. We need to be readjusted to the truth of the Word. We are called to deny ourselves now in this world that we might possess an heavenly inheritance.