HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE RICH?

 

We live in a time where there are a great variety of things we could buy if we only had the money. We could buy bigger houses, faster cars, the latest computers. We could eat every night at fancy restaurant and the list could go on and on. We can know that many people in the world would love to be rich because many are trying to get rich quick by playing lotteries and hitting the gambling casinos so they can live the American dream. Does this sound like you? Would you like to be rich? Are you sure?

 

If you are not already rich, I am going to tell you how you can become rich because God wants you to be rich, but before I do, I want to show what the Bible says about being materially Rich.

 

Matthew 19:23 Then Jesus said to His disciples, "Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.24 "And again I say to you, 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."

 

In context, Jesus had just finished talking to the rich young ruler was unwilling to give up his riches to follow Jesus and this is the kind of rich man that he is referring to in this text. Men or women who love their money more than they love God will find it difficult to enter the kingdom of heaven. In fact Jesus illustrates this by saying that it would be easier for camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven. Now, I have heard some say that Jesus was talking about a narrow gate in wall, but the Greek word behind needle actual means a needed used for sewing. In other words, it is impossible for a person who loves riches more than God to enter heaven.

 

Jesus also said,

 

Luke 6:24 " But woe to you who are rich, For you have received your consolation.

 

Paul said,

 

1 Timothy 6:9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

 

Now there is nothing wrong with money itself, but is the root of all kinds of evil because of what some are willing to do for it. Judas is a great example of what Paul has said here. His greed for money caused him to be a thief, and he was always taking money from the money box that should have been for the poor and others. Finally, his lust for money caused him to betray Jesus for 30 silver coins. When he realized what his greed had done as Paul said, he drowned in destruction and perdition and pierced himself though with many sorrows and hung himself. This is the kind of misery and sorrow we can look forward to if we make riches our priority in life.

 

James 5:1 Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you!2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten.3 Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days.4 Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth.5 You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter.6 You have condemned, you have murdered the just; he does not resist you.

 

This is the kind of corruption that the rich can find themselves in because they will get to the point where they are willing lie, cheat, steal or even commit murder to increase their wealth, but they better live it up while their on the earth because after this life they will be weeping and howling at the misery they will have to endure for eternity. James also said,

 

James 1:9 Let the lowly brother glory in his exaltation,10 but the rich in his humiliation, because as a flower of the field he will pass away.11 For no sooner has the sun risen with a burning heat than it withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beautiful appearance perishes. So the rich man also will fade away in his pursuits.

 

We need to understand that if we become rich materially that it will only last as long as we live, because eventually will die and we cannot take it with us to other side and we cannot buy our way into heaven as Peter said,

 

1 Peter 1:17 And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear;18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers,19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.

 

Now lets take a look a few examples of those who were material rich in the Bible and see if we to be like them.

 

What about the rich farmer in Luke 12:16-21. He was man that was doing great for himself. He had such a good year with his crops, he was going to have to build bigger barns to hold his food and he was so pleased with himself. When you read these verses you begin to see how everything is about him because not one time did he give God the glory and he never even considered sharing his harvest with others. But this rich farmer found out real quick that you donít live for ever and he was not going to be able to enjoy this great deal of wealth he acquired. In fact, let go ahead and read this short parable and see the outcome. Please notice how self-centered this farmer as I read this,

 

Luke 12:16 Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: "The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully.17 "And he thought within himself, saying, 'What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?'18 "So he said, 'I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods.19 'And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry." '20 "But God said to him, 'Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?'21 "So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."

 

This stresses the point that you cannot take your riches with you, and if you live your life like the farmer who was consumed with riches, then you cannot be rich toward God and you will lose your soul to the devil.

 

Maybe you like to be like the rich man in Luke 16:19-31. He was very successful as well and he had allowed his riches to make him selfish and he wouldnít even give poor Lazarus crumbs from his leftovers. We know how this story goes, they both eventually die and the rich man finds himself in horrible place where he is torment and he desires just a drop of water for his tongue, but no help can be given to him and doesnít have any of his earthly comforts anymore. The reason he is in that horrible place was because he lived for himself while he was on the earth and pursued his material riches, but even though Lazarus was a poor beggar, he lived his life for God and now he is a place comfort because he put his treasure in heaven.

 

The rich young ruler that I mentioned earlier was going to find himself a seat right next to this other rich man and the farmer if he didnít change his love for money.

 

Even an entire church can become corrupted because of money. The church at Laodicea is an example of this. Notice what Jesus said about them,

 

Revelation 3:15"I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot.16 "So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.17 "Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing' -- and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked --18 "I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.19 "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.

 

This shows us that the pursuit of money can make you think that you donít need anything from anybody or from God, but a Jesus told this church, they need to repent and stop making their money their God.

 

Lets examine some problems that come from a desire to be rich:

 

1. It can cause you to become covetous. You will want to have everything that you friend or neighbor has and you will get to the point where you feel sick and depressed until you figure out a way to get what you think you need.

 

2. You will begin to love money so much that you will make it your master and it will rule life and push God out just as Jesus said,

 

Matthew 6:24 " No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

 

3. It can cause you to become selfish. Now you might think that the more money you have the easier it will be to share the wealth, but just like the farmer, and rich man we talked about earlier, it can cause you to become more selfish and greedy because you want to increase your wealth and not decrease it.

 

4. Some who become rich think there is nothing that money canít buy, but God cannot and will not be persuaded by your money. Simon found this out when he tried to purchase the ability to impart the Holy Spirit on others in a Acts 8, and Peter commanded him to repent for trying to do this. We have already learned 1 Pet. 1:18 that Gold nor silver can redeem us because only the blood of Jesus can.

 

As Christians we must learn to be content with what we have as Paul said,

 

1 Timothy 6:6 Now godliness with contentment is great gain.7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.8 And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

 

When you get right down to it all a person needs to survive is roof over of their head, food and clothing. Now I am not suggesting that we should live in tents or deprive ourselves of material things, but I am saying that we should be content with what we have and we should never make material things the center of our universe. Jesus said,

 

Matthew 4:4 Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'

 

Those who learn to live by Godís Word and are content with what they have are far better off because they are not tempted by worldly wealth. They donít have worry about what their friends and their neighbors have or figure out how they are going to out do them. They are people who are more likely to give money to someone in need. Since they put their trust in God they can live by the words that Jesus said in,

 

Matthew 6:24" No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.25 " Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?26 "Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?27 "Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?28 "So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin;29 "and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.30 "Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?31 "Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'32 "For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.33 "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.34 "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

 

When we live by what Jesus has just said and we are content with we have, then we will not have to worry about tomorrow because of our trust in God. When we live like this, we will be happy and live peaceful lives. We will be able to appreciate every day.

 

I said at the beginning of this lesson that God wants us to be rich and he does, but He wants us to be rich spiritually. He wants us to put our treasure in heaven as Jesus said,

 

Matthew 6:19 " Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;20 "but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.21 "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

 

Jesus has already taught us this idea because He said that we are live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God, and we are to put the kingdom of God first and everything else will fall into place. This is how we put our treasure in heaven. Jesus said,

 

Matthew 16:26 "For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

 

Our soul the most precious possession that we have because our soul is going to live forever. We donít want to sell our soul to the world and lose it to the devil, so we should do our best prepare our soul for eternity in heaven by living for God and making His ways our number one priority. Jesus set the example for us because notice what He did for us,

 

2 Corinthians 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.

 

Jesus already had the riches that God wants for us, but Jesus was willing to leave the riches of heaven to come to earth to be sacrificed for us so that we may become spiritually rich. We should be thankful everyday that Jesus was willing to do this for us. Because of this sacrifice we have been given the ability to experience every spiritual blessing that is found in Jesus (Eph 1:3), and we have been given the power over sin and death because when we put our treasure in heaven and walk in the footsteps of Jesus we can know with confidence that when the judgment day comes we will spend eternity in heaven.

 

This teaches us that if you are faithful Christian you are richer than Bill gates or anyone else that has a great deal of money because you are spiritual rich and your reward is in heaven. I hope this lesson has taught how important is that we donít allow material possession or money to be our priority in life because if we do, we could end up like that farmer or that rich man. So, I hope that we learn to be content with what we have, live by every word that comes out of the mouth of God, and put Godís kingdom first in our life so our heart and treasure will be in heaven.