Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Treasuring Christ Together Part 2

What is your treasure?
We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. ~2 Corinthians 8:1,2

The Macedonian churches were both poor and persecuted, but they rejoiced for the opportunity of giving towards the poorer and more persecuted brothers and sisters in Jerusalem. Don’t miss what Paul points out to the Corinthians in this letter, that this giving and generous spirit is a gift from God and is evidence of His love. This Past Sunday in the second installment of our “Treasuring Christ Together” series, Pastor noted four things about their giving; they gave:
  1. Out of their poverty
  2. With insistency
  3. In order of priority
  4. Obediently
For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own free will, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints—and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us. ~2 Corinthians 8:3-5

This kind of giving does not come natural to the human heart and Paul wanted to point that out to the Corinthians in hope they too would be moved by the Spirit of God to give liberally. Paul wanted to see some confirmation of God’s saving grace in their lives and for them to demonstrate the love that comes from Christ Jesus.

But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you—see that you excel in this act of grace also. I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine. ~2 Corinthians 8:7,8

This passage of Scripture is truly worthy of our time and study because it gives us cause for reflection. Has the saving grace of God been evident in our lives and does our giving reflect that love which comes from a transformed heart? Treasuring Christ together means as a body of believes we have placed Jesus and the needs of His people over our own. To be released from the bondage of sin is to be released from the selfish, covetous, and greedy attitudes of our own corrupted nature. When God’s love is shed abroad in our hearts it crowds out the selfish and reveals the very unselfish nature of our Savior.

And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” ~Luke 19:8-10

When the tax collector Zacchaeus was saved, his heart was changed in such a way he was no longer treasuring things of this world. His new heart was a reflection of the Savior’s and he declared for all to hear that he would give freely to the needy and return to everyone anything he had taken and more. Jesus noted his change of heart was evidence of salvation. Pastor challenged us to consider our own giving with these three questions:
  1. Does your giving reflect your sincerity?
  2. Does your giving reflect your ability?
  3. Does your giving reflect the generosity of Jesus?
Another reason we give is to show our love for God and our faith in His ability to provide for us. It is an indication on the condition of our heart. If we are trusting in riches or in the accumulation of things, then we will not be as free with our giving as was Zacchaeus. Whereas, if we are able to give willingly and cheerfully, then this indicates our treasure is not laid up here on earth, but heaven. We need to ask ourselves, are we hanging onto money and things of this world or are we hanging on to Christ?

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” ~Matthew 6:19-21

Treasuring Christ together is what we are called and enabled to do because of this truth...

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. ~2 Corinthians 8:9

No comments:

Post a Comment