The night before I left for Uganda I asked folks what sermons I should bring with me to listen. Specifically, I asked for sermons that changed peoples lives. One brother tweeted that I listen to the Radical series by David Platt. I asked him if there was one in particular. He said, “go for the jugular” and listen to ‘Radical Giving.’ I posted the sermon below. It is one of the most powerful, biblical, challenging, and convicting sermons I have heard – in general, and on this issue.
Great quote by Rick McKinley, pastor of the Imago Dei Community in Portland:
“Before the cross there is no chasm between those with a need and those with a resource. There is no differentiation between “us” and “them.” Before the cross, there is only “we.” (From “Why We Do Justice (It’s not Because We Feel Guilty)” in Leadership Journal)
[HT: The Wonder of the Gospel]
Read Tim Keller’s article on the relationship between the Gospel and our care for the poor here.
I’ve had a quote on the tip of my tongue this whole week and it’s been killing me. Yesterday, I finally found it in a Tim Keller sermon I listened to the other month.
Here it is quickly transcribed:
Julian, the last Roman emperor, tried to revive paganism, he built temples and spruced them up but Christianity was spreading faster than he could compete with. In the midst of this, he wrote to a friend, a pagan priest:
“Nothing has contributed to the progress of the superstition of these Christians as their charity to strangers, the impious Galileans provide not only for their own poor but for ours as well.”
The early Christians were promiscuous with their charity.
This is the third and final part of the excellent article called A Gospel Self-Image and the Poor. When it comes to adoption and orphan care you cannot ignore the rampant poverty that is so often the cause of children being abandoned and orphaned. More and more I am coming to the realization that if we have a passion for adoption and orphans we will have a passion for caring for the poor. You cannot have one without the other.
KNOW THE POOR
It is important for us to understand the poor and what causes poverty. There are over 200 mentions of the poor in the Old Testament. The Bible tells us we need to understand two things:
1. It is an economic condition. To be with little or no resources that the world values (ie. money, talent, skills, etc). If you have nothing the world throws you away. The poor have little of value. We are called to respond with mercy.
2. It is a social condition. The poor may have little but what they do have is taken away by others. Because they are powerless the world takes away from them without giving in return. The way you can tell someone is poor is that they have what little they have taken away and nothing given back. We are called to respond with justice.
Causes of poverty:
1. Personal Sin (36 times)
. Life of laziness (Prov. 6:6-11)
. Lack of self-discipline (Prov. 23:19-21)
2. Systematic, oppression, injustice (111 times)
. Delayed or unjustly low wages (Deut. 24:14-15; Eph. 6:8-9)
. Court or govt. systems weighted in favor of the great and wealthy (Lv. 19:15; Luke 19:1-8)
. High-interest loans and preying on the powerless (Ex. 22:22-27)
3. Calamity, natural disaster (all over Bible) (118 times)
. Famine (Ruth 1:1-5; Gn. 42:5)
. Natural Disaster (Job 1: 18-22)