Seven Churches | Week 2: Are You Rich?
There is a passage in Psalms that draws a distinction between trusting in the things of the world compared to the things of God (20:7). We probably don’t put our trust in things like horses and chariots but we do rely upon our 401k, investment portfolio and our bank account. Financial and personal security are important and should be planned for and considered. These things however, will do us no good when we pass into eternity. Riches and wealth can only go so far in creating happiness. Possessions may make us comfortable, but they are of no use in death. Authentic and lasting peace, comfort, joy and hope are not for sale; they come from knowing Jesus.
READ Luke 6:20-23
And turning His gaze toward His disciples, He began to say, “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. 21 “Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. 22 “Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man. 23 “Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven. For in the same way their fathers used to treat the prophets.
READ this passage again and consider these related questions.
What does our faith commend us to do when we are poor, hungry, weeping, or hated?
How do we find the strength to be glad in suffering or affliction?
How is the reference to the prophets helpful in v.23?
Read Acts 4:27-31
1. After Peter and John were arrested, threatened, and released, their first instinct was to pray. Given the circumstance, is this the kind of prayer you would have prayed?
2. What was the result of their prayer? How do you think it affected/impacted their faith?
Read Revelation 2:8-11
3. Jesus tells the church that they are rich in their affliction and poverty. How is that an encouragement to the faithful?
4. Compare v.10 to John 16:33. Discuss what “these things” are that Jesus is referring to?
5. The word crown in this verse is from stephanos (victor) rather than diadema (royal). Why is this more appropriate?
6. Look at v.11b and 20:6,14 and 21:8. What is the second death and why is the victor not susceptible to it?
Read Matthew 6:19-21, 33-34
7. The believers at Smyrna were persecuted to the point of poverty, losing jobs, livelihood, and possessions. Apply the words of Jesus from the Matthew passage to his words to the church of Smyrna.
8. Look to verses 33-34. How does this give us confidence, proper perspective, and hope in any and every circumstance of life?
9. Does any of this cause you to reevaluate the concept of material wealth?