by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Study # 39 June 3, 1998 Harlingen, Texas
Thesis:The wealthy are described as satanically driven in opposition to EVERYTHING Christians hold dear.
Introduction:Last week we took a general survey over the New Testament to see the general tenor of God's attitude toward the poor. We saw that it is impossible to ever become a mature believer as long as we cling to the notion that our quality of life is connected, in any way, to the number, or amount, of possessions we control. We drew an analogy between the Gospel's requirement that men come to the understanding that salvation is by grace through faith ALONE and the Gospel's requirement that men seek life from God ALONE.
This is best understood if we maintain the analogy. Just as 'works' spring from the concept of "faith alone", so also do 'possessions' spring from dependence upon "God alone". God does not typically sustain our quality of life apart from the provisions He gives, but He insists that we never attach any final significance to those provisions as the roots of life.
This evening we want to look into the three consequences that develop in the lives of those who reject the concept of life out of God alone.
I. The Overall Consequence is Conformity to the Image of Satan: Satanic-Likeness.
A. Shown by James' use of katadunasteuousin as a term associated with the activity of Satan in Acts 10:38.
B. Shown by the prophetic teaching regarding the coming man of sin who is Satan-possessed and who rules through the power of possessions.
1. He builds his loyal-base by giving wealth.
2. His kingdom is tied to the opulence of the wealth of the nations in Revelation 17-18.
II. The Three Particular Consequences.
A. A determined drive to force others to carry out one's own agenda against their will.
1. The term James used is only used twice in the New Testament.
2. There are multiple illustrations of its meaning in the Septuagint.
3. The bottom line is that "love" is jettisoned as a completely undesireable characteristic.
a. Love is God's bottom line.
b. There can be no rejection of love without the total rejection of God's wisdom and being.
B. A determined use of every available resource to force others to yield their possessions.
1. The classic illustration of "the rich drawing the poor before the magistrates" is Acts 16:19.
2. The strength of the term "draw" is "totally compelling", as revealed by its use in the New Testament.
3. The bottom line is that "force" is established as the most desireable commodity.
a. Force is God's instrument to enable the existence of righteousness, peace, and joy.
b. Force is man's instrument to compel others to contribute to man's wealth.
C. A determined opposition to Jesus Christ as Lord.
1. Blasphemy can only really be addressed toward God.
2. As a capital offense in Israel, it is clear that it has enormously powerful potential for evil.
3. The bottom line is that idolatry is established as a substitute for God.
III. The Most Fundamental Driver for Believers in Regard to this Temptation is the Desire for Security in the Face of Fear.