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Section 3  - Love Your Neighbor Study #10  - Help The Poor
Helping The Poor

The Objectives :To teach disciples the importance of helping the poor and to inspire them to serve and sacrifice for the poor and needy.

We can help those less fortunate than us in various ways, by contributing money to charity causes, by volunteering or simply by taking opportunities to help those less fortunate on a personal level. In any case, it is very important that a disciple adopts the heart to serve those in need.

The Scriptures:

Matthew 25:31-46
31 "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory.
32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.
35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,
36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
37 "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?
38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?
39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
40 "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
41 "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,
43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'
44 "They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'
45 "He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'
46 "Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

Jesus judges between the “sheep” and “goats”. Sheep = those who give to others indiscriminately. “Goats” = those who do not, and simply take for themselves. The Bible says that we will be judged on how generous and helpful we are to the poor and needy!

Q: Who can you identify in your life that is among the “least of these”?

Q: How can you serve them?

Proverbs 21:13
If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered.

The way that we respond to the poor/less fortunate has implications for the way that God will treat us.

Proverbs 14:31
He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.

We are honoring God when we are kind to the poor.

James 1:27
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

God has a heart for those who are in distress, who are vulnerable and unable to take care of themselves.

Galatians 2:9-10
9 James, Peter and John, those reputed to be pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the Jews.
10 All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.

The preaching of the gospel around the world is to be accompanied with service to the poor. They go hand-in-hand.

Q: Why do you think it was so important for the apostles to establish that the spread of the gospel be done along with service to the poor?

Q: Why is it important for us today to accompany our preaching with service?

Q: How eager are you “to remember the poor?”

As we proclaim the gospel, we must “continue to remember the poor.” When we do this we honor God and are a light to the world. As Jesus said, “let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

The Spiritual Exercise: Give a regular poor contribution, make every effort to serve the needy in your community (Be on the lookout for local HOPE Worldwide projects in the church) or even consider praying about the possibility of adoption.