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Wealthy People in the New Testament

Most of Jesus’ followers were not wealthy, but a few notable ones, like Joseph of Arimathea (v. 57), were. We can learn a great deal from the wealthy people recorded in the New Testament, about the dangers and the disciplines of money.


What They Did With Their Wealth

Lessons to Be Learned

Zacchaeus the tax collector
(Luke 19:110)
Before faith, cheated citizens and abused the poor.
After faith, repented and made restitution.
(1) Ill gotten gain must be repaid.
(2) God saves and changes us—all the way down to our pocketbooks.
Joseph of Arimathea
(Matt. 27:56-61; Mark 15:42-46; Luke 23:50-53)
Pre-paid his own funeral
Donated his tomb for the burial of Jesus
(3) Forsaking treasures on earth for the kingdom will be rewarded
Women supporters of Christ
(Luke 8:3; 23:55-24:10; Mark 15:40; 16:1)
Supported Jesus’ work
Assisted in His burial (probably donated expensive perfume).
(4) Generosity characterizes those who follow Jesus.
Roman centurion who believed.
(Matt. 8:5-13; Luke 7:5)
Showed kindness toward the Jews.
Paid for the building of a synagogue.
Showed compassion for his ill servant.
(5) When we love people it shows in the things we do and the projects we support.
Rich young ruler
(Matt. 19:16-30; Mark 10:17-31; Luke 18:18-30
Unwilling to part with his wealth when tested by Jesus(6) Those who cling to wealth have difficulty getting into the kingdom.
(7) Righteousness cannot be earned, but must be received as a gift.
(8) “Many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
Philemon (Philemon 1)Owned slaves and other property.
Forgave a runaway slave, both morally and financially.
Joseph, called Barnabas
(Acts 4:36-37)
Sold land and gave the proceeds to believers.(10) Partnership in the Gospel may mean putting your money where believers hurt.
Ananias & Sapphira
(Acts 5:1-11)
Sold land and tried to deceive the church about the proceeds to gain a reputation(11) God is not fooled by gracious appearances but sees the heart and acts accordingly.
Rich Christians written about by James (James 2)Exploited the tendency of some to cater to them because of their wealth.
Dragged other believers into court and slandered Jesus’ name.
(12) God favors those who are rich in faith; they will inherit the kingdom.
Lydia (Acts 16:13-15, 40)Hosted the first church in Europe in her home.(13) We should use our resources and homes to accomplish God’s purposes.
Cornelius the Centurion
(Acts 10:1-48)
Generous to the poor.
Sought out Peter concerning the faith.
(14) Fear of God should prompt us to admit our own need for a Savior.
The Ethiopian Treasurer
(Acts 8:26-40
Nurtured his belief in God by traveling to Jerusalem.
Invited Philip to explain more about the faith.
(15) Stewardship of money and study of Scriptures go hand in hand—as do business trips and worship services.
Simon the Sorcerer
(Acts 8:9-25)
Longed for spiritual power and thought it could be bought and sold.(16) The gifts of God cannot be bought.

Your checkbook is a diary of your values. God calls believers to be compassionate, merciful, and just to all. Does your checkbook reflect such values? Does it show a pattern of godly concern for people'

The Word in Life Study Bible, New Testament Edition, (Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville; 1993), p. 118

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