Jun 22, 2012

How the gospel overcomes your fear of giving generously

In the final part of my sermon last Sunday on the 8th commandment we looked at how the gospel has power to transform us from being ‘on the take’ to ‘giving it away’.

What the commandment reveals is that there are, in fact three attitudes to money not two.

1) What’s yours  is mine and  I’ll take it,

2) what’s mine is mine, I’ll keep it,

3) what’s mine is yours, I’ll share it.

Good manners may be enough to move you from the first attitude to the second.  Respecting peoples property is an honourable thing but it is in essence the rule of the classroom.  But morality won’t take you to generousity for that it takes the power of the gospel.

The gospel has the power to take you from ‘what’s mine is mine, I’ll keep it’ to ‘what’s mine is yours, I’ll share it.’ Why? because in the gospel that is what God has said to us.

We start to keep the 10 commandments when our living is shaped and directed by the gospel. So how do we learn to be generous? How do we begin to be so utterly transformed that we say ‘it is more blessed to give than to receive’

We look back to both the transforming power of the cross of Jesus Christ and the resurrection of  Jesus.

The death of Jesus moves us to be generous givers

The apostle Paul in the middle of  2 chapters teaching about the grace of giving put’s Jesus death at the centre. In 2 Corinthians 8:9 Paul writes:

I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.

When it comes to keeping the 10 commandments we’ve seen through this series that the Bible teaches us that we can’t. But Jesus did and by his Spirit he begins to live them in us now.

As we look back to the cross we find that Jesus, the one who delighted to give and who gave so freely giving everything away, was willing to be considered as a thief.  In Matthew 27:38 we read ‘ Two robbers were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left.’  In Isaiah 53:12 we read that ‘He was numbered with the transgressors.’ Martin Luther wrote  ‘When the Law found Him among thieves,it condemned and executed Him as a thief’

How can you be a generous person? Understand just how generous Jesus has been to you and it will, as Paul says, test and prove the sincerity of our love.

How does the resurrection help us become generous givers?

The resurrection helps us overcome the fear of being generous. You see what often stops us from being generous with our time, our possessions, our money, in big part it is fear about the consequence for me in being generous.

–          Fear that I give away my time I might be missing out on opportunities elsewhere.

–          Fear that if I give away my money I may not have enough for the future

How can you deal with your fears about being generous?

Understand that the resurrection of Jesus moves us to be generous givers. The resurrection teaches us that we have an incredible future. It reminds me that in the light of eternity giving up time now is of no consequence. It reminds me that in heaven I have an inheritance that can’s spoil or fade so does it matter if I do have a little less than others now?

Do we think for one moment that Jesus regrets his generousity on earth now that he is in glory? No. And so as we look to him so we are moved to be generous givers.


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