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Reaching out to the poor – true Christian discipleship

There is nothing like having opportunity to put your faith into action.  We get so blessed as we help those less fortunate than ourselves,  let alone what it does for those we have opportunity to help.  There are over 2000 Scriptures about the poor in the Bible, here is a few to remind us of how important reaching out to those less fortunate is to our Christian discipleship.

1. When we help those less fortunate than us – it is like we are directly ministering to Jesus

As Jesus reminds us in Matthew 25 as we will come around the Judgement seat and give account for our lives,

  • Matthew 25 :37 – “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’  40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’

2. This is real Christianity – putting faith into action

  • James 1:27 – Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.
  • Luke 3:10-12 – The crowds asked, “What should we do?  John replied, “If you have two shirts, give one to the poor. If you have food, share it with those who are hungry.”
  • 1 John 3:17-18 – But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
  • James 2:16-17 – And one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

3.  God hears the cry of the needy and expects us also to respond

  • Psalm 12:5 – The Lord replies, “I have seen violence done to the helpless, and I have heard the groans of the poor. Now I will rise up to rescue them, as they have longed for me to do.”
  • Psalm 72:12 – He will rescue the poor when they cry to him; he will help the oppressed, who have no one to defend them.
  • Proverbs 31:9 – Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.
  • Deuteronomy 15:7 – “If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother,

4.  Blessed are those who help the poor.

  • Deuteronomy 15:10 – Give generously to the poor, not grudgingly, for the Lord your God will bless you in everything you do. 11 There will always be some in the land who are poor. That is why I am commanding you to share freely with the poor and with other Israelites in need.Proverbs 14:21 – It is a sin to belittle one’s neighbour; blessed are those who help the poor.
  • Isaiah 58:10 – Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble.  Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.
  • Proverbs 19:17 – If you help the poor, you are lending to the Lord— and he will repay you!
  • Proverbs 28:8 – Income from charging high interest rates will end up in the pocket of someone who is kind to the poor.
  • Proverbs 28:27a – Whoever gives to the poor will lack nothing…

5. Warning if you ignore the plead of the poor

  • Proverbs 28:27b… but those who close their eyes to poverty will be cursed.
  • Proverbs 21:13 – Those who shut their ears to the cries of the poor will be ignored in their own time of need.
  • James 5:1-6 – Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days. Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. …

6.  God has good news for the poor.

  • Isaiah 61:1 – The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.

7.  Love needs to be the primary motivation for reaching out to the poor.

  • 1 Corinthians 13:3 – If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.

8.  Give cheerfully and as you do God will provide all you need, with plenty to share with others.

2 Corinthians 9:6 –  Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.”And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. As the Scriptures say,“They share freely and give generously to the poor.  Their good deeds will be remembered forever.”  10 For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you.11 Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God.

9.  Don’t treat the poor differently

James 2:2-5 – For example, suppose someone comes into your meeting dressed in fancy clothes and expensive jewelry, and another comes in who is poor and dressed in dirty clothes. If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the poor one, “You can stand over there, or else sit on the floor”—well, doesn’t this discrimination show that your judgments are guided by evil motives?  Listen to me, dear brothers and sisters. Hasn’t God chosen the poor in this world to be rich in faith? Aren’t they the ones who will inherit the Kingdom he promised to those who love him?

Leviticus 19:15

10.  God made provision for the poor in the law

Deuteronomy 14:28-29 – “At the end of every three years you shall bring out all the tithe of your produce in the same year and lay it up within your towns. And the Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance with you, and the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, who are within your towns, shall come and eat and be filled, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands that you do.

Leviticus 19:9,10, seen in application in the story of Ruth.

11.  In the New Testament this was taken to a whole new level!

Acts 4:32-35 – Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.


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