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Generosity (4 of 4)

Mike Connell

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Actually, what was happening was: he did not think it was fair that he should be given the money. It was my money to give. I just gave, because I felt God tell me to; but this guy thought: it's not fair (or right) for him to get it. He doesn't deserve it. What kind of thing is that?

Actually what he's thinking is: I deserve that; so generosity flushes out heart attitudes. I'm sure, before the end of it today, that someone's heart attitude will be flushed!

Generosity is a reward in unexpected ways. When Mary came out, and she brought out this thing, I bet she wasn't thinking this: I want to become famous in history. I want to become the woman that everyone in every nation of the earth for all time remembers, and knows: I'm generous. I don't think there was any of that in her heart at all. It wasn't there at all was it?

She just gave because she loved, she was grateful. You know what happened? The unexpected reward is: everywhere you preach the gospel, her name is mentioned; and what she did is mentioned. Her prayers are not mentioned, what's mentioned is her generosity; and He said: her generosity be remembered. Why is this? Why am I on about this generosity thing?

Let me put it very simply. The Bible tells us: God is love. It doesn't say: He's power. God is love; and you can't love, without giving.

You can give without loving; but you can't love, without giving. So the greatest way we express the love of God to people, is when we can be generous and kind to them with no agenda.

That's when people see God, because that's what God is like. Do you see the power? Yes, and that's great too; but the love of God gives something to people, that's just touched by God.

Generosity is the practical outworking of being right with God.

How many people here know: that you are made righteous by the blood of Jesus Christ? Now here's the thing: for most of us, our thinking is, this is about a legal stand with God.

We think that ‘righteous’ means: I'm in right standing with God, by the work that Jesus did for me. If you think that you're correct; however, if you only think that, then that's very limiting on what biblical righteousness means.

So yes, it's true that we are ‘in right standing with God’ by what Jesus did - His gift to us that brings us to right standing. But for the Hebrews, and the whole nature of covenantal relationship with God: to be ‘right with God’ didn’t just mean that you didn't have any sins currently going with Him.

It meant: you were living out your covenantal relationship with God. In other words, it always had an overflow in your life some way. In other words, for a Hebrew, and the Hebrew thinking about being righteous, was not that: “I have a legal position with God, now I can live my life the way I like”.

It means: “I have a standing with God that now overflows, in a way of living that is different to before.”

We tend to just focus that: I've made right with God; and now I've got no responsibilities in this covenant - and that's not really true. I am made right with God by faith, and by faith alone; but ‘being right with God’ - there now needs to be an overflow, that demonstrates the rightness with God is real. The way that shows is generosity.

Psalm 112:9; I want you to see the connection between being right with God, and being generous (first in the OT, then in the NT).

“He has dispersed to the poor abroad. He has given to the poor. His righteousness endures forever”. Notice the connection between: giving to the poor; and being a righteous person.