Part 5 – A Fourth Measure – Generous Giving
This particular sermon covered the fourth (actually fifth, but I’m sharing four and five out of order) mission measure that helps the church determine if we are ‘successfully’ fulfilling the mission and vision that we believe the Lord has established four us as a body of believers in Largo.
For the sake of clarity, the first three mission measures – attainable goals that repurposed Christians are reflecting as they are continually being refreshed and matured by God’s grace through the preaching of the Word, are:
1. They are becoming more and more fluent in the Gospel. They know and understand the Gospel – how and why they came to faith – in order to be able to explain the loving Gospel of Christ to others.
2. Since they, as broken and lost sinners, have been repurposed by the sharing of God’s refreshing grace, the people of Grace Christian Fellowship have come to realize the beauty and joy of embracing the broken that the Lord has placed around them – in church and around them.
3. If one has come to a saving faith in Christ by God’s grace, and they consider Grace Christian Fellowship their church home, then there will naturally be a growing desire to joyfully participate in the activities or life of the church. At a typical (and healthy) Thanksgiving meal, everyone invited will somehow take part in the variety of activities that make up the grand event. Lives repurposed will sense the need and desire be involved, not in order to win love and affection, but rather because it’s just what family does.
The next mission measure that was focused on during this particular message concerned the joy of giving generously to the work of the Lord and the church. As humans who are deeply (mostly unconsciously) concerned with personal security and safety, it is only ‘natural’ to hang on tightly to our possessions and money in order to ‘guarantee’ that one will be protected in tough times. But when Christ truly repurposes a sinner, their entire life – body, soul, and spirit (which includes every aspect of their life) has been crucified in Christ, and thus Christ becomes our very life. So, we are to ‘hand over’ to the Lord (since He rightfully owns us – and I’m glad for that!) every area of our life, including our insecurities and fears concerning our security, well being, safety and future.
When a believers comes to grips with this reality – that the Lord owns every thing about us – and that He desires and promises to care for us no matter what – then the believer senses the true joy and freedom that comes from living a life under grace and not law, and thus they will freely give according to what one has, and not what one does not have.
We heard a beautiful testimony from the church treasurer – Chris Johnson – concerning his journey of coming to faith and how the Lord repurposed his life in a dramatic way, and how that changed affected his attitude towards giving. He also used that time – as the church treasurer – to give the church some helpful insight as to the financial state of church (a more complete summary of the church’s finances will be sent via email shortly).
I continued the message by simply encouraging the church to see that God’s Word declares that our giving should not come from a legalistic and compulsive attitude, but rather, our giving should be inspired by grace as the Lord as He speaks personally to each person concerning the amount of their giving. We should each be asking the Lord what we should be giving for His work: Some, who have been blessed with much may be asked by the Lord (and not me!!) to give more, while those who have little to nothing are to give as the Lord directs, whether little or much. When the repurposed believer realizes that all that they possess belongs to the Lord, and that the Lord has gracious given His ALL for us, then we each need to be asking and listening to the Lord concerning how we can participate in the advancement of God’s kingdom at Grace Christian Fellowship and around the world.
So, please pray and ask the Lord what you should be giving – and listen carefully. The Lord isn’t going to tell ME what you should give – He loves you enough to tell YOU. The Lord will provide – for you and your family, and for the church. Trust and obey – and true freedom will then be experienced!