08: With the Rich and Famous – Thought Starters
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[Thought questions for With the Rich and Famous February 19, 2014]

Image © Lars Justinen from GoodSalt.com

Image © Lars Justinen from GoodSalt.com

1. Richly Blessed. How well do you know the wealthiest people in your church?  Your community? Have you ever pled with God to make you rich? And promised to be faithful in your giving to God’s cause if you were? Have you attended workshops, read books, or signed up for on-line classes in how to get rich? Were the Israelites wealthy after they entered the Promised Land? Can a person be rich in material blessings but poor in spiritual wealth? Is it possible to be rich in both areas of life—material and spiritual?

2. Night-Time rendezvous. Does the Bible tell us that Nicodemus was rich? What is the evidence of his wealth from Scripture? From historical sources? Did Nicodemus immediately accept the timeless wealth of a Christian life? Why or Why not? If you we listening to the dialog between Nicodemus and Jesus, what would you conclude about Nicodemus’ chances of becoming a converted Christian? What does it take to reverse the chances and bring a wealthy man like Nicodemus into a life-giving relationship with Jesus?

3. Rich and Infamous. Poor Zacchaeus. Nobody liked him. Why? What did Zacchaeus and Levi-Matthew, a disciple of Jesus have in common? What would you think if it were discovered that a church or conference treasurer had taken money for his or her own use from the offerings of the people? Should that person ever be allowed back into the fellowship of believers? Why do you think Jesus invited Himself to Zacchaeus’s house for a visit? How would fellow members in your church react to your being good friends with people from the IRS or other tax-collecting agency?

4. Gold-plated Message. Because the wealthy have little incentive to forsake all and follow Him, shouldn’t we just focus on the impoverished? Why not? If God gives us more than we need, what does He expect us to do with this surplus? Is the worship of material wealth confined to the wealthy? Can a person “worship” earthly wealth even though impoverished? What can we point others to beyond possession of valuable assets?

5. Terms of Endangerment. What are some of the ways that money and material possessions can be dangerous? What is it that turns a blessing into a curse? Was the rich young ruler satisfied with all aspects of his life? Why? What was it that turned off the rich young ruler’s desire for salvation? What about you? As wonderful as physical blessings may be, what is the cost for pursuing them instead of eternal life?

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