Study Notes – The DNA of What is a Christian – Generosity – Pt8

The DNA of What is a Christian – Part #8

“Generosity”

Grace Living and Grace Giving….

 

We know we have the DNA of a Christian when we love people and use things instead of loving things and using people.

Paul wrote, Phl 1:21            For to me, to live [is] Christ, and to die [is] gain.

 Life for Paul meant Jesus Christ and that is why death to him meant gain.

But if you were to start Paul’s sentence with the way of the world it would go something like this….”For to me, to live is money or fame or power or possessions”, then you would have to end your sentence with “and to die is to lose everything forever!”  How can you call that life?

Paul was able to share himself with others and do it joyfully because to Paul living was Christ.

He freely admitted that it was far better for him to be with Christ in heaven, BUT to remain in the flesh is more NEEDFUL for you – Phil 1:24.

 Paul was a man willing to stay out of heaven for the sake of believers who needed his ministry.

 Sharing life joyfully is in the DNA of What is a Christian.

When we share ourselves with others, we give them the most priceless possessions we have: life and time!

For these two riches can never be replaced.

Once time is gone it’s gone but for the Christian, shared time may be gone but it’s never lost!

Why?

It becomes an investment in eternity that will pay dividends when we see our Saviour.

The principle is the same for the money we give, the work we do for others.

In the DNA of every Christian, living is giving!

The motivation behind such a life is the grace of God.

We do not give because we want TO receive, we give because we ALREADY HAVE received!

It’s grace in action.

This grace living begins when we give ourselves to the Lord and to others.

2Cr 8:5            And not [only] as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and [then] to us by the will of God.

 The greatest example of grace living and grace giving is Jesus Christ:

2Cr 8:9            For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.

 The phrase He became poor refers to His incarnation, when Jesus wedded Himself to sinless human nature that He might die on a cross and bear on His own body the sins of the world.

1Pe 2:24            who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness–by whose stripes you were healed.

 The point that Paul makes is that during His earthly ministry, Jesus not only shared precious gifts with needy people – sight to the blind, fed the hungry, healed the sick, raise people back from the dead – but Jesus gave HIMSELF for all people so that anybody who trusted Him would share in the riches of His grace.

This is the example for us to follow for us who name the name of Jesus.

Mat 10:42            “And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold [water] in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.”

 Grace living makes all the resources of God’s grace available to you.

He promises, 2Cr 9:8            And God [is] able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all [things], may have an abundance for every good work.

 Note with me in that verse…..the promises are staggering:

All grace

Always having all sufficiency

All things

Every good work

But this promise is fulfilled ONLY for those who qualify, and they are described in the previous verse: 2Cr 9:7            [So let] each one [give] as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.

Grace Giving

The calculating saint will be neither holy nor happy!

It is only the hilarious giver, the extravagant giver, who gets the blessing.

When we start to calculate how much we can afford to do or give, we stop living by faith and depending on grace.

{Qualify – but we should not be careless and wasteful although my idea of wasteful might be God’s idea of generosity!}

John 12:1-8 Mary of Bethany……read this amazing act of grace living and grace giving……

 It is interesting to note that Mark adds a noteworthy statement from Jesus about this amazing example of grace giving and grace living:

Mark 14:9            “Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.”

 Mary gives us an example of what is involved in grace giving and grace living.

–       your giving is an act of worship to Jesus Christ and it’s motivated by grace,

–       in your giving you don’t count the cost,

–       Mary’s value (earthly) of her giving was a year’s income for an average worker at that time. Aust. ABS – $69,170 – Nov 2012.

Judas and the other disciples thought what she did was extravagant.

Jesus said what she did was eternal.

It would be written in His word forever and associated with His gospel.

Moses did not count the cost when he turned his back on Egypt and identified with the suffering people of God.

The four fishermen did not count the cost when they left all to follow Jesus.

Calculating Christians save their lives only to lose them.

When your giving is motivated by grace, not only do you NOT count the cost, but you don’t care about the criticism.

All the disciples joined Judas in criticizing Mary, so it was unanimous!

Matthew 26:8-9

 Our Lord’s own disciples misunderstood her act of love and accused her of ignoring the needs of the poor!

When they sounded very spiritual in fact they were very WORLDLY!

Mary teaches us another truth about grace giving; that is you cannot begin to comprehend the consequences!

Here is a Jewish woman, in a small Jewish village, at a dinner of perhaps some 17 people, who did something that was eventually recorded in Scripture and talked about around the world.

Grace giving is throwing a stone in a pool and its ripples go on and on reaching far beyond we can ever imagine.

Grace giving is a blessing to Jesus – that’s what Mary did and Jesus was blessed!

If Jesus is not pleased with what we do – we are better off not doing it!

Her grace giving filled the entire house of Simon.

Her grace giving blessed the church around the world.

When she knelt at Jesus feet that evening, Mary had no idea what would happen, but when you practice grace giving to the glory of God, you cannot begin to comprehend the consequences.

In one way or another, people who practice grace giving and grace living touch a whole world by what they do.

Mary was not an apostle, a prophetess, a worker of miracles, or an influential woman in society, but she gave her best to Jesus and He has kept that blessing going!

Are you a grace giver?

Are you a grace “liver”?

Is your giving driven by the grace and love you HAVE ALREADY received?

Are you a calculated in your giving or are you motivated wholly by the amazing blessings that God has already given you?

Are you investing or are you losing your life….?

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