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Riches - Righteousness

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RICHES AND RIGHTEOUSNESS 

Scripture: 1 Chronicles 29:11–16; Psalm 68:19, 103:2; Matthew 6:20; Luke 12:15–21

Memory verse: Matthew 6:20
"But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven...where thieves do not break in and steal."

Lead—In

Gather the following items to introduce this week’s study: a checkbook or currency, blocks that have been covered with gold paper or paint, or other items representing material wealth, and a Bible.

Begin by discussing things the students consider valuable. As each item is mentioned, write it on the chalkboard. Beside each, write why that item is thought valuable.

Hold up the checkbook and ask why it is valuable. Explain that checks are worth something only if the writer has money in the bank.

Next hold up a gold block and ask why gold is valuable. Explain that gold has always been considered a precious metal. People have risked their lives mining gold, hoping to get rich and have different lives. In the past food, clothes, and property were bought with gold instead of paper money as we have now. Today the finest jewellery is made of gold. The Bible even says heaven has streets paved with gold.

Finally hold up the Bible. Ask the students why God’s Word is valuable. Show the checkbook and explain that like a check, it is the authority behind the Bible’s promises and warnings that make it valuable.

Now hold up the Bible and the gold and explain that like gold, it is the Bible’s power to change lives that makes it valuable. Explain that God’s Word contains His message to us. In this study the students will learn about the difference between earthly riches and spiritual riches.

Hearing God’s Word

One day Jesus was speaking to a group of people. He wanted the people to learn an important lesson about covetousness.

Ask: “What is covetousness?” (Allow responses. Refer to the Tenth Commandment studied in Lesson 2.)

A Rich Man’s Choice

Jesus told a parable to help the people understand His lesson. (Review the meaning of a parable from last week’s study.) This parable was about a rich man who owned a lot of land. One year the land yielded an unusually large crop. The rich man was faced with a decision—what to do with his extra crops.

Apparently this was not a hard choice for the rich man. He knew exactly what he would do. He would keep it all for himself. To do that, he would need more space than he had. The rich man decided to tear down his old barns and build bigger ones to hold his larger crop. Then he could sit back and enjoy life.

Ask: “Does the rich man’s plan sound like a good one to you? What had the rich man forgotten?” (Allow responses.)

In all of his plans, he forgot to include God. That failure cost him a lot.

The Result of the Choice

Ask: “What was the result of the rich man’s plans?” (Allow a volunteer to read Luke 12:20, 21.)

The rich man had put all his hopes on one thing—his riches. But riches could not buy him life.

Jesus’ story points out the foolishness of the rich man. Let us look at some of the ways in which he was foolish.

1. All Things come from God

The rich man ignored God. His land had yielded a large crop because God had blessed it. God had given the man wisdom and strength to grow the crop. God had sent the sunshine and rain at the right times so the crops would grow. Yet we do not find even a trace of praise or thanksgiving to God for all these blessings.

(Ask the students to count the number of times the word “my” appears in Luke 12:18, 19.) The rich man referred to them as my grains, my barns, my goods, and my soul.

The rich man spoke as though his entire large crop had come about by his own doing. The idea that a portion of his crop belonged to God never entered his mind. In fact, he evidently never even thought to ask God what he should do with his possessions. He did not realise God is the real owner of all we have. We only take care of these things and put them to good use. But this man decided by himself what he would do. He would tear down his barns and build larger ones. He put himself first, above God and others. He could not even see his own need of God.

No matter how hard we work or what we do, it is really God who gives us blessings and meets our needs. Therefore we should always thank Him for His blessings. (Instruct the students to read Psalms 68:19.)

God is really the owner of all things. We are only the caretakers. Therefore, we should ask for wisdom and guidance on how to use the material blessings He gives.

2. Share the Blessings

The rich man ignored his neighbours. He planned to build bigger barns in which to store his crops. There was nothing wrong with bigger barns. The thing that was wrong was that he never once thought of sharing the good things God had given him. Quite likely, there were people on neighbouring farms or in nearby villages who were in need. Yet this man never thought of helping others. He simply wanted more wealth.

(Ask a student to read Luke 12:19.) The rich farmer thought only of the fact that now he could sit back and enjoy life. He need not care about anyone or anything—he was set. He could now enjoy the reward of the goods that he alone had earned.

God did not mind the farmer laying up something for the future or providing for his family. But there was to be a limit. He was not to lay up things for himself and neglect his needy neighbours. God’s love is a giving love—something the rich man apparently did not know about or understand.

Christians should be known for their attitudes of giving. They realise the source of their blessings and use these blessings for the good of others. (Ask a volunteer to read 1 John 3:17, 18.)

3. The Need of our Souls

The rich man ignored his soul. The biggest mistake this man made was that he staked his life on the material things he had. (Refer again to Luke 12:19.) He thought earthly possessions could provide what his soul needed. He did not realize that though his earthly life might be helped by material things, his soul needed much more than that. He was blind to the fact that, in order for his soul to be truly satisfied, he needed forgiveness of sin and friendship with God. His body was well provided for, but his soul was starving.

Our souls need more than things also. (Ask a student to read Matthew 4:4.) Many people today are like this man—they are laying up treasure for themselves on earth but are not rich spiritually. (Ask a student to read Luke 12:21.) Our memory verse this week gives us advice for keeping true riches. (Repeat Matthew 6:20 together several times.)

Spiritual Riches are Eternal

Jesus wanted to teach us that man should seek his riches in God. God’s riches are eternal. They will not pass away. Possessions here on earth can wear out, fall apart, or be stolen. But nothing can destroy the eternal riches God gives His children.

Those who are rich spiritually have given God first place in their lives and seek God’s will in everything. The persons who put God first have God’s promise that all their needs (such as food, shelter, ad clothing) will be provided. (Instruct a student to read Matthew 6:33.)

Ask: “What happened to the rich man in Jesus’ parable?” (Allow responses. Ask a student to read Luke 12:20.)

The man took great care to provide for his physical needs. But God took the one thing for which the man made no provision—his soul. All the man’s wealth and power could not buy eternal life. Neither can wealth and possessions buy physical life. When death comes, we cannot take any of our possessions with us. That is why it is foolish for anyone to live entirely for material things.

Remember the Source of Blessings

First Chronicles tells of a king who had a right idea about earthly riches. When the time had come to build a house for God, David asked the people to give of their possessions so the temple would be built with fine materials. (Ask volunteers to read 1 Chronicles 29:11–16.) David realized men come and go, but God is the owner of all things. When we dedicate our possessions to Him, we are merely giving Him what already belongs to Him.

Accepting God’s Word

It is important for us to keep in mind that God did not condemn the rich man because he had many possessions. God has provided many good things for us. He wants us to have a full and abundant life. He has promised to give us the things we need. Possessions alone are not sinful, but  when we make possessions our top priority in life, our relationship with God will suffer.

Remember to thank God for His blessings. When we acknowledge where our blessings come from and keep Him first in our lives, we will never make the mistake the foolish rich man made. We will keep our material possessions in the right perspective and remember to share our blessings with those in need.

Australia Challenge

REMEMBER TO PRAY!
Pray for New Believers in Australia

1. New converts to believe and not doubt,
2. Believers to expect God to work a miracle for them,
3. Believe for the miracle of a church plant among the 20 unreached tribes.                  

Prayer Promise

"Everything is possible for one who believes" (Mark 9 :23).

Remember: RICHES AND RIGHTEOUSNESS

Memory verse: Matthew 6:20
"But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven...where thieves do not break in and steal."

1. God is the one who blesses me with valuable things.
2. The things I own are to enable me to be a blessing to others.
3. May I always submit my life and material things to God.

Pray for New Believers in Australia.

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Study 5 | All the World/Great Teachings | africaatts.org/go-teach

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