…that ye through His poverty might be rich. —2 Corinthians 8:9
Before we begin our Bible reading I’d like to say “thank you” to all of you who have written cards and letters or have telephoned. We’re always glad when we feel the program is being a help to some of our friends who listen.
I’d like to read a little bit about God’s possessions as He shares them with us. If there’s anything that characterizes the American people today, it is covetousness—wanting to get a little more of this life. Well, First Timothy 6:7 says, “We brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.” That’s something good to remember. You had better get some possessions that can’t be rung up on a cash register, because one of these days you’re going to have to leave it all behind. God is looking for poor people! We’re told in Matthew, in the eleventh chapter, verse five, that the Gospel is preached to the poor. And in the seventh chapter of Luke where the Lord Jesus told the story to Simon, He said there were two debtors. One owed ten times as much as the other, but they were alike in one thing—they had nothing to pay. And that’s when the Lord frankly forgave them both. Now that shows us how poor we are. Not all people will admit it. The third chapter of Revelation speaks to us about the people living at Laodicea who said they were rich and increased with goods, but the Lord said they were poor and miserable and blind and naked.
If you and I will admit our poverty, the Lord has some real riches for us. The Lord Jesus, though He was rich, yet for our sakes became poor. When was He rich? Well, He was certainly never rich down here on this earth. The Lord Jesus was rich in glory as the eternal Son of God. He possessed everything. He was rich, but for our sakes He became poor. How poor? Well, to the poverty of the cross, “that we through His poverty might be rich.” That’s Second Corinthians 8:9. This is what it cost God in order to give us His riches. His Son must give up His life on the cross that our sins might be put away, and we be brought into a place where God could bless us with true riches.
Now the riches that God offers us are the “spiritual blessings in heavenly places” according to Ephesians one, and this is in contrast to Israel’s temporal blessings. In the Old Testament a godly Israelite or Jew was blessed with temporal things. But God blesses us with spiritual things. Now don’t tell me they are less real. That’s the only real estate there is! Something you can take with you. Something that will be yours forever! He calls these “the unsearchable riches of Christ” in Ephesians 3:8. I’d like to mention a few of them. If you have a pencil there you might want to put them down. And if you think over these riches you’ll see that these are riches indeed! God’s possessions which He offers to give to us.
In Romans 2:4 we read about “the riches of His goodness.” We have no goodness of our own, but God offers to share with us the riches of His goodness. God is good to all, and God offers to be good to you. Through the Lord Jesus Christ He can be. And He’s not good in a cheap way, but He’s good in a rich way. He gives according to His own riches.
Then in Romans 9:23 we read of “the riches of His glory.” All that’s His in the glory!
Then we read in the eleventh chapter, verse 33, of His riches of wisdom. Do you ever feel like you wish you knew more than you do? That’s a good, healthy feeling. Of a person who thinks he knows something, God says he knows nothing yet as he ought. But James 1:5 tells us, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not.” It shall be given him because God has riches of wisdom. If you had a really wise friend I’m sure you’d go to that friend often. And yet God offers you all the riches of His wisdom.
Then the book of Ephesians tells a great deal about His riches. It’s been called the rich epistle of the riches of Christ. In the first chapter, in verse seven, and again in the seventh verse of the second chapter, we read about the “riches of His grace.” Now the grace of God means His kindness that He bestows on unworthy sinners. He does not punish us for our sins—that’s mercy. But He does show us kindness in spite of our sins—that’s grace. Grace can be paraphrased like this:
G = God’s
R = Riches
A = At
C = Christ’s
E = Expense
That’s grace. “By grace are ye saved.” The riches of His grace. There is no sinner too great.
And then in the fourth verse of that second chapter you have the riches of His mercy. So the two are given there together.
Now Philippians 4:19 talks about “His riches in glory.” Everything He does for us is according to His riches in glory. Now, if I spent $10 for a present for someone I’d be doing pretty well. But if a millionaire only spent $10, you’d think he didn’t care much. And God gives according to His station, according to His riches, according to His riches in glory. And it says, “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
Then in Colossians there are two more: The first chapter, verse 27, tells about “the riches of the glory of this mystery.” That is, what God has not told in the past but is now revealed unto us. It’s wonderful to know these things. And then “the riches of full assurance” in chapter two and verse two. Let me ask you, Do you have assurance? Are you able to rest on the Word of God and say, “Well, thank God, I know that I am His own.” And do you have assurance about His daily care? Or are you constantly worried and distressed? Well, God wants to give you these riches.
James 2:5 speaks of poor people who are “rich in faith.” That’s the grace of God shown in our lives. That’s more than just His grace in saving us. It is God’s grace seen in our daily lives.
Well, no wonder He says in Luke 16 that God will give you the true riches. And these are the true riches! God also gives us what we need for this life, but let’s never put that on a par with riches in the spiritual realm. He does promise us that He knows our needs, and that if we “seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness… all these things shall be added” to us; and He does say that God, who spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” We can count on the Lord to give us what we need, because He knows what we need; but let’s never think of temporal things as being too important. In fact, in the third epistle of John we are told that those who went out preaching in the first century took nothing from the Gentiles. Now how could they do that? The apostle Paul said he knew how to be hungry. Why didn’t he beg from the unconverted? It’s done today to a great extent. Why didn’t he do it? Well, because he was completely independent of mankind, completely independent of unconverted people. He was dependent upon God! And he believed that God would supply whatever needs he happened to have.
And then there are more of these riches too, because some are still ahead. In the eighth chapter of Romans, verse 17, we’re told that we are “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.” I’ve never been remembered in anyone’s will, but I think it would be real nice. I’m glad God has remembered me in the only “will” that really counts, because I’m a joint-heir with the Lord Jesus Christ. Isn’t that wonderful! Think of being a joint-heir with Christ. What is He going to have? Why, all the glory of heaven is His! The highest place is His. He’s going to sit on the throne. He says, as I have overcome and am sat down on my Father’s throne, so those who overcome will sit down with Me on My throne. He says, if we suffer with Him, we’ll also reign with Him. This is the inheritance Paul refers to in Colossians 1:12. Again, in Peter’s epistle in the first chapter, he writes about an inheritance “incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you.”
God is not asking you to give up a lot to become a Christian—He is asking you to accept a lot. He is asking you to accept the blessings of God and all of His possessions. When you accept Christ as your Saviour, with Him He freely gives you everything. It’s really possible for you to become a rich person, if you are willing to take God’s free gift. You can’t have it any other way—you cannot earn it! Please don’t try to trade God a few good works, etc., for His rich blessings. That’s like offering a man a nickle for a million dollars. Any little thing you could offer to God is nothing compared to what He offers to you, and it cost our Saviour so much. He suffered and died on the cross in order that He might bring you into all the riches of God. Why not accept them from Him with thankfulness, and believe Him that they are yours, and begin to enjoy them. Now let’s look to Him in a word of prayer. Our Father, we thank Thee in the Name of the Lord Jesus, for giving Thy Son for us. We thank Thee for what He went through in order that He might purchase for us the eternal riches, and now we pray that many who listen will receive our Saviour and through Him all the possessions of God. Take our thanks in His Name. Amen.