Difficult Scripture: 
Is it a Sin to be Wealthy?

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I. Scripture: Matthew 19:23-24

"Then Jesus said to His disciples, "Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. {24} "And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

II. How This Verse Is Misused By Some: Some point to these verses to say that it is a sin to be wealthy. They say these verses state that a rich-man cannot enter the Kingdom of God.

III. True Explanation

A. Christ said it was difficult for a rich man to enter God's Kingdom. He was referring to the example of the rich young man who turned down an opportunity to become one of Christ's disciples because he did not want to give up his wealth (verses 16-22) .

Matthew 19:16, "Now behold, one came to Jesus and said, "Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?" {17} So He said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments." {18} He said to Him, "Which ones?" Jesus said, " 'You shall not murder,' 'You shall not commit adultery,' 'You shall not steal,' 'You shall not bear false witness,' {19} 'Honor your father and your mother,' and, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'" {20} The young man said to Him, "All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?" {21} Jesus said to him, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." {22} But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions."

B. Letís read the parallel account in Mark 10:24, "And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, "Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God!"

In the parallel account Christ emphasized that it was trusting in riches that would keep a rich man out of the Kingdom.

Paul showed that the love of money could keep a man from entering the Kingdom of God, I Timothy 6:10, "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."

Those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare. Notice verse 9, "But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition."

They can become lustful. The more they get, the more they want. Soon they are more intent on getting riches than on striving to enter the Kingdom of God. Wealth becomes their god. Colossians 3:5 says, "Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry."

C. Christians are to flee the lust of wealth and concentrate on living a godly life and striving to lay hold on eternal life. A Christian can't serve God and mammon (mammon is a Greek word meaning "wealth" or "riches")

Matthew 6:24, "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon."

Jesus said where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Matthew 6:21) .

D. God is not opposed to wealth and it is not a sin to be wealthy. His desire is that we prosper (III John 2). Many of God's servants were wealthy. Joseph was a prosperous man (Genesis 39:2). Job was the greatest man in the East (Job 1:3). Abraham was rich in cattle, silver and gold (Genesis 13:2). These men were wealthy, but they did not put their trust in riches nor seek their own blessings. They obeyed God and were blessed materially by Him, and they will be in God's Kingdom.

E. It is physically impossible for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, but with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26). Jesus told us to "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."

Conclusion:

It is only through God's miraculous help, love, mercy and grace that a rich man -- or anyone else -can enter God's Kingdom..