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2nd Corinthians 8:1-8

07.17.22 Nathaniel Wall

  1. 2nd Corinthians 13:7-13
    09.25.22 38m 55s
  2. 2nd Corinthians 13:1-6
    09.18.22 44m 56s
  3. 2nd Corinthians 12:11-21
    09.11.22 45m 35s
  4. 2nd Corinthians 11:30 – 12:10
    09.04.22 41m 04s
  5. 2nd Corinthians 11:16-28
    08.28.22 41m 01s
  6. 2nd Corinthians 11:1-15
    08.21.22 46m 29s
  7. 2nd Corinthians 10:7-18
    08.14.22 43m 16s
  8. 2nd Corinthians 10:1-6
    08.07.22 36m 44s
  9. 2nd Corinthians 9:1-15
    07.31.22 35m 14s
  10. 2nd Corinthians 8:8-24
    07.24.22 44m 12s
  11. 2nd Corinthians 8:1-8
    07.17.22 40m 13s
  12. 2nd Corinthians 7:2-16
    07.10.22 48m 06s
  13. 2nd Corinthians 6:11-7:1
    07.03.22 43m 16s
  14. 2nd Corinthians 6:1-10
    06.26.22 46m 19s
  15. 2nd Corinthians 5:11-21
    06.19.22 46m 54s
  16. 2nd Corinthians 5:1-10
    06.12.22 48m 42s
  17. 2nd Corinthians 4:7-18
    06.05.22 37m 32s
  18. 2nd Corinthians 4:1-6
    05.29.22 28m 30s
  19. 2nd Corinthians 3:7-18
    05.22.22 41m 08s
  20. 2nd Corinthians 2:15-3:6
    05.15.22 41m 03s
  21. 2nd Corinthians 2:4-17
    05.08.22 39m 38s
  22. 2nd Corinthians 1:12-2:4
    05.01.22 37m 33s
  23. 2nd Corinthians 1
    04.24.22 40m 32s

2nd Corinthians 8:1-8

07.17.22 Nathaniel Wall Jars of Clay Series

I’m going to invite you to the book of Second Corinthians chapter eight. Second Corinthians chapter eight, where we’re going to be together today as we look at an important topic, I’ll share a little bit about that topic in a minute. If you have your notes, you already know what that is.

But as we dive into this section of Scripture, I’m going to teach you a little Hebrew. A little Hebrew this morning. This we’re going to learn the Hebrew word Mishpat on the count of three. And we ought to say Mishpat with me. Ready? One, two, three, Mishpat. That was a little sorry.

I don’t know what it is between our two services. It’s the morning crowd that tends to have a little bit more enthusiasm. But today you have failed me. We’re going to do one more time. Ready? One, two, three. Mishpat. Oh, that’s so much better. We’ll just edit that first part out on the online, and then you guys will sound great. Okay, Mishpat, this. This is the Hebrew word for four. Justice is important word for where we’re going together. But when we think of justice, we as people long for justice because we’re created in the image of God. God is a just God. And so for that and being made in his image, we then desire to see justice made known.

And with the idea of justice, we find it’s important being made in the image of God that we’re all treated as human beings with equality, dignity and respect. It’s demanding of that from the Lord and being made in His image that all human beings would receive that. Now, when you study the word justice in the Old Testament, one of the ways we typically think about the word justice is retributive justice, right? You have an injustice happening and then you have retributive justice returned in in recognition of an injustice that’s taken place. That’s one form of justice.

But when the Old Testament talks about justice, it’s not it’s not only that type of justice that’s discussed the idea of retributive justice, but there’s also an idea of of restorative justice that that God and being made in his image that we as his people would take an extra step that when an injustice taken place or when someone is suffering or going through adversity, that we would take that step in meeting them in that struggle and helping them being restored in that. So there’s there’s this idea of retributive justice and then there’s this idea of restorative justice. There’s also this word for righteousness, which is tzedakah. And when we think about this word righteousness, we tend to think about being right, acting right in our behavior, which is a form of righteousness. It’s it’s an appropriate way of thinking about righteousness is living righteously. Right. But but also with the word righteousness comes this idea of having right relationship. So if we were to walk in righteousness, we would expect in living a right life that it would also lean into the idea of having and enjoying relationship, having righteous relationship, having fellowship with with one another and enjoying relationship between one another when we think about those two terms.

So those two ideas we find repeated throughout the Old Testament that this would be the type of behavior of God’s people and the way that we were to live out our lives, because it’s reflective of the nature of God not only being created in His image, being made in his image as people that are of justice and righteousness. But it’s also a reflection of what the Gospel is all about, that God making us in His image. We desire justice. We desire we should desire righteousness, righteousness, or at least we have a moral compass within us that that can lean in that direction as we’re obedient to God. But but we also recognize in the brokenness of this world that things aren’t the way that they should be. And thanks to the Lord, He He gave us a way of hope, a way of opportunity through through what we proclaim is as church, the Gospel and the way that we reflect the Gospel in this world should also emulate the idea of justice and righteousness. And you see those themes repeated throughout Scripture, the idea of justice and righteousness. In fact, when God’s people do not behave in this way, there is there is judgment that God brings upon them because it’s not reflective of the nature that the Lord puts with on them, especially in the Old Testament and Proverbs 31:8. Look at this.

Open your mouth for the people who cannot speak for the rights of all the unfortunate, open your mouth, judge righteously, and defend the rights of the poor and needy. So the outworking of us being made in the image of God, in the in the themes of justice and righteousness, is that it would be emulated in our lifestyle, in our living, in connection to our relationship with the Lord. Jeremiah 22 verse three Thus says, The Lord do justice and righteousness and deliver from the hand of the oppressor, Him who has been robbed and do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place. So a correct understanding of our relationship with God should be mimicked in the way that we live, our lives, our orthodoxy, what we believe should lead to our orthodoxy and how how we live. In fact, another verse I’ll just throw up here, Psalm 146, verse seven says this Execute justice for the oppressed. Who gives food to the hungry? The Lord frees the prisoner in verse nine. It goes on. The Lord watches over strangers. He supports the fatherless and the widow. But look at this. But He thwarts the way of the wicked. And the wicked in this passage is one who denies the justice and righteousness of the Lord.

And in that you find God’s judgment. But God’s desire for his people. It’s one of justice and righteousness and the greatest demonstration, the greatest example we have of justice against injustice and righteousness. When there is unrighteousness. Is Jesus. Jesus becomes the supreme example of us in that Jesus. It delivers the Gospel, which is the restoration of of our lives in Him being alienated to God because of our injustice towards the Lord Jesus takes on sin, and therefore we find justice against sin by His His own life being sacrificed on our behalf. And second Corinthians 521 It says this He made him who knew no sin to become sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. Meaning through Jesus. We again, we experienced that right relationship with the Lord. Philippians chapter two, verse seven, it says this, but he emptied himself, taking the form of a bond servant and being born in the likeness of men, Jesus. And that that type of of justice, not just retributive justice, but restorative justice. He emptied himself by becoming the form of a servant. It tells us in Philippians two verse seven, that we might find our self made righteous in Christ. Jesus’s life was was a deliverance of the Gospel hope that would bring us freedom. And in that we as his people, should reflect the Gospel in our lifestyle. Jesus’s ministry was was one that was marked by the idea of compassion and the idea of calm, meaning he’s entering with and passion, meaning suffering.

It literally means with suffering, you enter with someone together in their suffering. You join with them to help them in that moment to find restoration. In their struggle. And God even commands his people. And Micah six eight it says this He has shown the old man what is good and what the Lord requires of you to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God. Justice is the way that we live. Mercy is the. Excuse me. Mercy is the attitude to love. Mercy is the attitude in which we carry as we live out that justice. As we walk humbly with God. Because we understand. That the reason we emulate that in the world is because of the Lord. And our relationship to him and what we’ve received through him. And so what these these these words, these thoughts, what Jesus’s life teaches us is this if we get the Gospel. If we understand what we’ve received in Jesus and his life, given on our behalf, that we may find freedom in Christ and be declared righteous because of Jesus death on the cross for our sins. If we if we get the Gospel, then the outflow of your life would be one of generosity. It would be one of wanting to mimic what you’ve received in Jesus, because in Christ through that freedom you understand that you then become a living example of what you’ve been given in Christ, and you can then bring that freedom to others, and through that find that restorative justice, that righteousness and wholeness of relationship.

Generosity becomes an outflow of the Gospel. And this is exactly where the Apostle Paul goes today in second Corinthians Chapter eight. I remember in second Corinthians chapter five, one of those pinnacle passages of Scripture, and in Chapter five, verse 17, anyone in Christ has become a new creation. All things that passed away. Behold, all things have become new. You’ve entered into this metamorphosis. And as I just said, in second Corinthians 521, he who became he who newness and became sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. It’s on the understanding of that identity that we receive in Christ and what Jesus has reconciled for us and the brokenness of our own relationship towards God, that as we step into that, as we embrace Jesus, as our identity is now found in Him, nothing in this world that it has to offer, but rather completely in Christ, as our lives has been, has surrendered to the Lord. Then we have opportunity now to mimic the beauty of Jesus. And that is seen in our. Generosity. You know, when we think in terms of generosity as a church, it’s something that I have not spent very many messages talking about. I’ve been the pastor here for, I don’t know, over a decade for sure.

But I mean, founding pastor. But but over a decade and and I think at all the years I’ve probably talked about forms of generosity just a couple of times. It’s not something that we we often reflect on as a church specifically. We don’t just tailor messages to that, but but we have seen throughout our history that we are a very generous church. One of the joys of being a pastor here at ABC is just seeing the generosity of our church family and the way that we give towards living our mission. It’s a reflection of our understanding of the Gospel. And not only that, we’ve been fortunate to, I think, demonstrate good stewardship as a church family. And the way that we’ve given like 10% of our budget, I think really over 10% of our budget goes to to missions. And and a lot of our ministries here, even if we don’t count on those missions, is very, very sacrificial. I would I would say, are very others focused in the way that we do ministry. In fact, if you’re a part of Alpine Bible Church, you should know that we don’t do any of our spending as a church in the way that we use our money to to to proclaim the Gospel. None of that is done secretively. Like once a year. We, we hand out our budget. If you’re interested in it, you can see where we place our spending. So we don’t we don’t hide that from us as from anyone as a congregation, part of our congregation here.

We we want you to be aware of how we’re leading to, to change as a church and living out what God calls us to for His kingdom and glory. But generosity is a mark of God’s people when they understand the Gospel. And so we’re going to look at this passage today in second Corinthians Chapter eight. We’re going to go through this quickly versus 1 to 8, and we’re going to talk about real generosity. What is it? What does Paul want us to know about it? Because here’s what I find sometimes when we talk about the idea of generosity. And by the way, this doesn’t just have to be monetarily, but when we talk about generosity, I find there’s often a broad disconnect between what the Gospel is and how we live our lives in a in a in a giving way. I think sometimes when you hear the idea of generosity shared within a congregation, it’s often used in a way that’s driven by guilt. And we don’t connect it directly to to the message which we are about in the way that we live our lives according to the Gospel that’s given to us in Christ. And so real generosity. What is the point number one in your notes? If you if you grabbed the notes this morning, real generosity is moved by grace, not guilt. Real generosity is moved by grace, not guilt, which I find is contrary to my recent experiences in drive thru lines.

When I get when I get lunch, sometimes I get always happens to me. I don’t know, maybe. Maybe I’m on an island to myself here, but I’ll go through somewhere like Panda Express or something. I don’t know, one of the drive through lines and I’ll order something. And without fail they’ll ask me every time, would you like to round up? And then they list some kind of thing to donate to. And then I’m stuck in a dilemma, right? I’m like, I didn’t even plan to donate anything, and I feel forced to have to do this. And if I if I say no, that I’m going to look bad, I mean, but I want my $0.75 to make my choices and what I want to generate, I want to donate to. I don’t just want to give it to something without even thinking about it, but if I say no, then I’m going to look like a jerk. What do I do? Right. So that’s that’s giving by guilt. And that’s not biblical giving at all. When we talk about biblical guilt, giving real generosity is moved by grace, not guilt. And Paul starts to share this with us. And in the second part of this, chapter eight, verse one is he talks about the church in Macedonia. He says this as he’s writing to Corinth about Macedonia. He says, Now, brothers and sisters, we make known to you the grace of God, which has been given in the churches of Macedonia.

He’s about to talk about their generosity, but he wants us to know that the thing that provoked the spirit of generosity within them was not this guilty conscience. But it’s the idea of grace. It’s this idea of understanding exactly what they’ve received in Christ. It’s not it’s not just simply philanthropy, philanthropy or or human kindness. It’s the grace of God, which I find is so important to to everything that we do as a church when we’re giving. We’re not just giving because it’s good to give. We’re giving because it emulates a message of which we as a people are all about and we want to continue to proclaim that message. It is the Gospel that gives people dignity, worth, value and meaning. Do you think any other system in this world people are taught your worth is based on what you can do? But it’s Jesus who gives us worth and value meaning not because of what we do, but because of what he has done for us. Made in his image. That means every every human being is sacred. That’s important to Lord. Because every human being bears his image. And not only that, Jesus paid his life. That we could find freedom in him. There is no greater worth you can find in life than the worth that Jesus gives to you. And it’s not based on what you do.

It’s based on what is done on your behalf. That message is incredible. In a world where people are just trying to find anywhere where they can grab acceptance and feel like they belong and know that they matter. We don’t go into this world as gods people just to be good, simply to be good. I find a lot of people might give just so they can have the warm and fuzzies about being good and and pat themselves on the back. But that is not the purpose that drives us in doing what we’re doing. It is the message. It’s the message of freedom that we receive in Jesus. And as we understand the grace of God that’s been delivered to our lives, then we want to mimic that in the way that we choose to. To walk in this world. And Paul is saying this is exactly what the Macedonians are doing. They are rich in the Gospel and they understand the freedom they’ve been given in Jesus, and then that they want that message to go forth in this world. And they’re taking of the things that they have in life. They’re their gifts and their talents and their possessions. And they are being a people of generosity because they want others to discover this as well. Real generosity is moved by grace. Not guilt. It’s the effects of being saved and transformed and sanctified in in Christ. One of the reasons we can often lack or struggle in the idea of generosity is because we lose sight of the grace of God that’s been delivered to us, and we stop thinking about what we’re receiving as grace and start thinking about what we feel we are owed.

The police saying the motive behind the Church of Macedonia was one of generosity because of the grace of God given to them. Point number two is this real generosity transcends difficult circumstances. Look at this verse to real generosity transcends difficult circumstances that in a great ordeal of affliction, their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed. And the wealth of their liberality will read verse three in a minute. But a great ordeal of affliction there. Their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed and the wealth of liberality. Paul If you look at these passages, Paul is pointing out to us, just the irony of of this generosity has come from the Macedonians. He’s pitting two words against each other that are really typically juxtaposed from one another. You don’t you don’t think of these as complementary to each other. But Paul lays it out like this anyway, right? This great deal of reflecting affliction and this abundant joy or this deep poverty, and yet they’re overflowing in wealth. That typically makes no sense. Right. But, well, Paul wants us to identify as that the church in Macedonia, though physically they may be going through some adversity in life. Their hope is not wrapped up in those things, but rather their their hope is is found in the Lord.

And so they’re able to transcend the difficult circumstances and look beyond where they are to what they ultimately have in Jesus. And what’s incredible about the church in Macedonia, the church in Macedonia was an abysmally poor region. They were they were in northern Greece where Alexander the Great Great had ruled and and Roman come in and conquered this area of the world. And this was just known as a place where there just was not a lot of wealth. And and when you look in early church history, you’ll see if you if you study on the map, this is this is the place where you’ll find Berea, Thessalonica, Philippi. And when you read the New Testament, you’ll often hear Paul record about these churches, just how much of a struggle they endured in Acts Chapter 17. That’s the place where Jason was drug out and and beaten public. And in the book of First Thessalonians chapter one, verse six, listen to this. You also became imitators, talking to the church of Thessalonica. You became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the Word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit. In Chapter two of First Thessalonians verse 14 for you, brethren became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea. For you also endured the same suffering at the hands of your own countrymen, even as they did from the Jews who both killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and drove us out.

Second Thessalonians Chapter one. Therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God, for you, your perseverance and faith, and the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure. Philippians Chapter one, verse 29 four. To you, it has been granted for Christ sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for his sake. Devout Christians who understand the Gospel. Don’t wait until they have more in order to give. They give despite their poverty. Or they even give within their poverty. They find that challenges are just opportunities to think differently about how they’re going to serve the Lord and show the depth of their love for him. This brings me to point number three, then. Point number three is this real generosity is sacrificial. Real generosity is sacrificial, for I testify that according to their ability and beyond their ability, they gave voluntarily. I don’t know why I keep leaving the next verse on there, but verse three they gave according to their ability and beyond their ability, they gave voluntarily. Her generosity for them was. Was sacrificial. Some of us, we hear the word sacrificial. We might think to ourselves, Well, I just need to wait until I have enough to give to God, because what I have to offer the Lord really isn’t going to make that that big of a difference. But but I want to remind us, when we think about whatever the Lord has blessed you with and whatever gifts, talents, resources you might have in your life, it’s not about the size of the gift.

But rather it’s about the heart of the of the giver. God is never going to be impressed by the amount or the size of your gifts. God owns the cattle of a thousand hills. There’s nothing you’re going to do when you wake up to to impress God in that way, but rather he is blessed by the heart of your giving. And this is simply encourage us this way. Don’t underestimate what God can do with any size of any gift. And what I mean, maybe I should say it like this in John Chapter six. Well, it’s the story of a young boy who comes follows after Jesus with just his lunch and with just a few loaves and a few fish. God feeds thousands. It’s not about the size of the gift. But the heart of the giver. And what’s incredible about the church in Corinth, when they give they’re giving generously. They’re giving sacrificially in their generosity. It says this They give beyond their ability. They give beyond their ability. And sometimes within Christianity, in our and our unique subculture of of our Jesus followers, we often throw around the idea of when we give to the Lord, we should give 10%. And we refer to that as a tithe. But I want you to know, in the New Testament, there is no word for tithing.

And 10% is not even an accurate number. And when it comes from the Old Testament and when you study the giving and the Old Testament, 10% was just the starting point. And the Old Testament people gave far more than 10% of their obedience to the Lord. And the New Testament, it’s this idea of giving generously, giving freely, and giving sacrificially. And it’s not a the word tithing is not even used. But God’s interest in all of it is, is that our giving would be from the heart out of a joy for the Lord, because we understand exactly what God has has done for us in giving His life. And First Chronicles Chapter 21. There’s a story of King David who wanted a plot of land to to honor the Lord and make a sacrifice on it. And this man named Unwin just wanted to give it to David because he was the king. And and David responded this way. He says this and first chronicles 2124. No I willing to take it but I certainly I will we’ll certainly buy it for the full price for I will not take what is yours for the Lord, nor offer a burnt offering which costs me nothing. David understood that giving to the Lord was a way to to sacrifice and demonstrate that His life was about loving the Lord in response and without an opportunity to give in a way that that cost him, he couldn’t truly demonstrate his love towards God.

A famous pastor from the 1800s, John Jewett, said This ministry that costs nothing, accomplishing accomplishes nothing. And not only do we see in this passage that they’re giving beyond their ability, but also said that they gave voluntarily. That this wasn’t something they were guilted into, but there’s something the desired for the lives. And I can imagine the Apostle Paul in this moment thinking about the Church of Macedonia. We just read all the verses of everything they went through in their lives. And the Apostle Paul, he he could have said to us, he could have said, I wasn’t going to ask the Church of Macedonia to even give. How could I? The her church that has gone through such extreme poverty. But when he’s writing the Church of Corinth, he’s as if he’s saying to us, But but when you saw this church of poverty. Start with this voluntary attitude in the grace of God. When I started to give generously. Even sacrificially. And tears started just welling up in my eyes to see that love for Christ. They wanted to do something that made a difference. They felt compelled like they had to do something that would make a difference. And so they gave a lot of guilt, but voluntarily for the Lord. Point number four. Real generosity is a privilege, not an obligation. Real generosity is a privilege, not an obligation. And Paul goes on saying, Macedonia was begging us with much urging for the favor of participation in the support of the Saints.

Paul’s identifying here that the attitude of the church is they saw a place where where they knew if they had could contribute to the cause, it would make a difference for the sake of the Gospel. And so as their eyes were, we’re carrying the heart of God in this world. They were looking for opportunity to to make a difference in the way that they live for the Lord. And they saw that opportunity and they they didn’t want to step away from it, but even in their poverty, were willing to to move forward, to give voluntarily, to give sacrificially that that the Gospel would go forth and lives would be transformed and God’s church would continue to to grow and its mission and opportunity given to it. Because when I read verses like that, I think about our church. The beautiful place that we stand and the opportunity that God gives to us to make a difference in this world. As we take the talents and the resources and the opportunities that the Lord gives, gives before His people to to stand up and and to do something about it. And when I think about the future of our church, I live in this this position where you want to you want to as as a follower of the Lord, be thankful for all that God has done in the past. And I am.

Now look back over our history together and I just rejoice in God’s gracious hand. And I think about the moment where we are and just being content if God doesn’t, does nothing more of us as as people, just just being able to have the opportunity to rejoice in the presence of the Lord and knowing where we sit and God is the best place we could be in relationship to him. But, but at the same time to also look to the future because the Gospel continues to give us hope. And when I think about ABC, I think the the best days for us are in front of us. And I often say this to us as a church family that we want to be a church that lives to give itself away. For the sake of the Gospel. And where we can go for the Lord is based on God’s people being willing to lay themselves down for the for the sake of this Gospel with an attitude of generosity, knowing the grace of God that’s been given to us. And the limitations in that. Only be found really in our lack of desiring to be generous. And what God has done through us and for us. I mean, when I think about our future and I know I haven’t had opportunity to share a lot about this, but as a church right now, some of the things that we’re working on, like there’s a possibility within the next year our church will be able to offer a master’s of divinity that’s accredited to be able to, to, to, to train people and spin out from here more church planters.

I really think the future of our church will have a hand before I die of seeing a church in every town in Utah. And we’re looking at right now working on on a land deal which could give us a future home that we’re in negotiating with right now. The idea of a seminary to be offering a master’s of divinity. We’re talking we’re running our food pantry and have opportunity to expand that some some refugee ministry as a church, being able to expand in that in turn housing we continue to to give towards missions and and making a difference in in that capacity the potential to reach you to. To think bigger than ourselves. To not be just about ourselves. But churches have generosity because we find ourselves resting in the grace of God thanks to the Gospel. It is incredible. Number five, rich, rich generosity is an act of worship. Verse number five says this and this. Not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God. Real generosity is an act of worship. First priority of the Macedonians was not to just simply give stuff to God. First priority in the Macedonians was to wholeheartedly give themselves to the Lord. It wasn’t just about giving stuff to God.

But rather what primarily drove everything this church did was that they had given their heart to the Lord. The Supreme Act of worship is not giving money, it’s not attending church, it’s not seeing Christian songs, but rather it’s giving of oneself to the Lord. In First Peter chapter two, it says this A holy priesthood is to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God, which begins with your self. God’s primary interest in your life. It’s not your money. It’s not your abilities. It’s your heart. What God wants more than anything this morning. It’s you. Real generosity. Is an act of worship. And when God gets your heart. He changes your life. You look at things around you differently. You start to look at things with the eyes of Jesus. Carrying his concern for the things of this world. And you start asking the question, then how? How can I best honor this God who gave his life for me that I could find freedom in him? And you start to use those opportunities to leverage yourself for His glory to the benefit of others. Real generosity is an act of worship. Number six. Real generosity inspires. So we urge Titus as he had previously made a beginning. So who would also complete in you this gracious work as well? Paul saying as we see, as we’ve seen what the Macedonians are doing, we, we want to share it with you, Corinth, and we’re sending Titus down. And this is this is contagious to see this working among God’s people.

And now you have this opportunity to be a part of that. And real generosity inspires. And again, it’s not we’re not just talking financially. We’re talking about any time anyone just lays down their life for the Lord. One of my one of my favorite things to do is just read church history to read about the the great saints that have gone before us and how they’ve they’ve lived their lives, how God to transform their world. And then they started to live their lives for His glory. And they would go anywhere for the sake of the Gospel, to the ends of the earth that has sacrificed to their own life that they could share with Jesus to to a lost and dying world. And it is inspiring. I mean, that’s the basis of of Hebrews 11 and 12, isn’t it? You get the Hall of Faith of great Christians or great followers of the Lord that lived out a life of faith. And then it says, Now run the race that is set before you looking to the author and perfector of your faith. It encourages our life. And you see this happening with Corinth now. Paul is using this illustration of of the most impoverished group of of believers. They say, look at what they did and how God is working. It’s been incredible. And now we’re sharing this story with you. And and your story can become an inspiration to other believers in the way that you’ve given your life to Christ.

And it spurs other Christians on to to do the same for the work of the Gospel for the sake of others. And last is this. Real generosity reveals spiritual health. Real generosity reveals spiritual health and impulse says it like this. But just as you excel in everything. In faith speaking knowledge in all earnestness and and the love we inspired in you see that you also excel in this gracious work. I’m not saying this as a command, but but as proving through the earnestness of others, the sincerity of your love as well. So Paul is saying, look, you’re excelling in everything. And the way that this happens for God’s people is that when your heart is completely surrendered to God, the fruit of the Spirit is what’s manifested. It’s not just a portion of the fruit of the Spirit. It’s all of the fruit of the Spirit. And Paul is listening that you’re excelling in everything because as you’ve given your life to the Lord, so all of this becomes an outworking of your life, even to the point he says in this last verse, This idea of love and love is one that gives itself away, sacrificially agape, unconditionally for for one another. And so the outworking of that is your life is laid down. And if you’re going to excel in everything, is this this idea of generosity should be demonstrated in your life.

You can measure the health of a Christian’s life. In direct proportion to the generosity of their heart. Let me say that one more time. You can measure the health of a Christian life in direct proportion to the generosity. Within their heart. Generosity is not something that takes place in a vacuum. It’s not isolated from other Christian virtues. What becomes the center of everything that we are in Jesus. To not live that way. It’s to demonstrate that we don’t understand what the Gospel is or that we’re warring against it. But when we recognize what Jesus has done in our lives. The demeanor of God’s people is one of generosity. And I’m not saying it works like a light switch where you just want to turn it on sometimes so you can say you’re a generous person and then turn it back off. I’m saying the attitude of God’s people as we walk through this world is looking for an opportunity to demonstrate the grace of God as He has made himself known in our lives. It is a perpetual, generous spirit that we could step into this world with the idea of restorative justice, Gospel justice. In righteousness, reconciliation to relationships because of what Jesus has done for us. It’s not just philanthropy. It’s not just human kindness. It’s directly rooted into our identity in Christ, being made in his image and discovering the grace of the freedom of God made known to us through the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.

The Gospel becomes the outworking. Of how then we should step in choosing to live our lives, to proclaim the goodness of God that others may discover it to. And so we think about a generous people. It’s important that we don’t we don’t separate it from what the Gospel is, but we understand it as the direct outworking of everything that the Gospel declares as we choose to walk in this world as a generous people. Well, just let me give you this last illustration to close. During the civil rights movement. There were a lot of African American churches that were targeted and burned. And in Mississippi, there are a group of white Christian believers decided that that was enough. And so they got together and they appointed a representative among the white churches in the South to say, we want to send you as a representative to the African American churches in our communities to to build a bridge and see that this these hate crimes stop. And so this this individual one morning drove up. To another African-American church that was laying in ruins as the smoke continue to billow. From the ground. And he said in that moment, tears began to well in his eyes. And then he recalled as he looked upon that burnt building, he recalled the words of Isaiah 61:3. And he prayed a prayer in Isaiah 61, verse three, it says, God will grant a garland. A garland of beauty from the ashes.

And he prayed a prayer as he thought that thought about that passage. It says God given to them beauty from the ashes. And he vowed in that moment that with God’s help, he would do just that for for those people. And with that dedication against that injustice, he started to take a stand. And he shared from his experience of what he saw that was going against the African American community in the area in which he lived. And before you know it, God’s people started to give. They started to give and they started to rebuild everything that was destroyed by the hatred of man. They stepped into that moment and they gave opportunity for justice and righteousness to be made known. And from the ashes there came beauty and the opportunity for all of God’s people, regardless of their race, to praise the Lord together because of His grace. You guys. In our world today, there is still brokenness. They’re still hurting. And there is plenty of opportunity for God’s people to do something about it. And you don’t have to step into that with all of the wealth in the world. It’s not about the size of your gift. It’s about the heart of the giver. And when God’s people understand. The grace of God that has been given to them. The attitude that we carry through this world as we journey is one of generosity. Because we know it mimics the Gospel. Have a God who stepped into our brokenness and brought his justice and righteousness that we could be healed.