Spiritual Toolbox Part 9
Today we wrap up our series on Spiritual Toolbox
We’ve been covering the things that accompany our salvation
Salvation, Holy Spirit, Robe of Righteousness, baptism, communion, worship, prayer, Word of God
All of these things that God has given to us the moment that we receive Him as Lord of our lives
Today we will cover a couple of topics but one’s that go hand and hand. It’s hard to have one without the other
Another tool in our tool belt, if you will, is a spirit of generosity.
Now, upon our salvation it’s not as if the moment after we get saved all of sudden we become these massively generous people.
No we still like our things, we still love control, we still like to hold on to what we have
But the gospel, if it really penetrates our hearts, should create in us a spirit of generosity
Instead of being people who are solely focused on ourselves the gospel is going to begin to call us to focus on others.
So how does this happen? Well I will show you.
When receive Christ as our Lord and we go from death to life. We receive the Robe of Righteousness, we gain access to all of these tools and ultimately to this life that God has for us we begin to realize how generous the Father is to us.
7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ,
Notice the wording in the text.
The “riches” of God’s grace
He “lavished” on us
These words don’t denote this since of just enough right?
It’s not as if God is just trying to do the bare minimum here, no he goes above and beyond. He is generous.
16 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.
Notice once again the wording
Out of His “fullness”
His generosity overflows out of Him
So the God of the Bible, the God that we serve is a generous God. If for no other reason than to be like Christ, we should be a people who are generous as Christ is generous.
Christ putting His generosity on fullest display when He takes on the cross, our punishment for us. He takes on our sins, our wrongdoings so that we may be made right with Him.
Then He rises from the dead just as we are raised to life with Him
If we really want to be more like Christ then we need to learn how to be a generous people.
But here is the reality, God doesn’t need your generosity.
Your generosity also doesn’t buy your salvation or forgiveness of sins, Jesus did that.
So why be generous? apart from being more like Christ and because the Bible calls us to be....because we need it.
35 “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them?” 36 For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.
God doesn’t need it, we do!
I believe for multiple reasons
It’s an act of obedience that shows trust
When we are generous people what we are saying is that we trust God.
35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”
We are saying God I trust that you know what’s best and have what’s best for me
If you call me to be generous with all that you’ve given me I’m going to do it even when it doesn’t feel good because I trust you and I trust your Word
It’s an act of obedience that shows our worship
Our generosity helps show us where our heart is.
16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
Are we stingy with everything we have?
Are we slow to give? Hesitant to serve? Tentative to share?
Then we may have a heart that is more me-centric than Christ centered
Are we quick to give? Joyful to serve? delighted to share?
Then those are good indicators that our hearts and worship is focused on Christ.
And when they are Hebrews tells us that the Lord is pleased
It’s an act of obedience that helps us better understand the heart of the Father
I believe that generosity doesn’t typically come easy for most
Sometimes it’s painful, sometimes it’s uncomfortable, sometimes you can’t seem to see the reason behind or the results from it. A lot of the time you just flat out don’t want to be
But I think that when we are generous we get a better understand of the Father’s heart.
We can get a glimpse into what it’s like to give of yourself
To put others above yourself
To value the gospel over possessions
When we are generous we get to experience the Father’s generosity
So what does this look like? Practically speaking how do we be people who are generous?
Now before we get into that let me just say a few things?
Cornerstone isn’t after your money
If you’ve been around our services any amount of time you’ve probably noticed we don’t talk about money much. More often than not we don’t even have a designated giving time
Right now I am speaking on giving and generosity on a week we aren’t even together in person. Like you can’t even walk down after service today and give your money
We aren’t after your money
Now, it takes money to do church. It takes money to rent buildings and pay salaries and give things away and minister to our community and to be a part of worldwide missions and to reach the next generation and everything else that church entails but we’ve also always been taken care of financially and as long as God wants us to continue on than I believe we will be
So this isn’t some message to see how much money we can squeeze out of you, we aren’t after your money
Jesus isn’t after your money
But He is after your heart and one of the greatest indicators of where your heart is, is where your money is
Which is one of the reasons why the Bible talks so much about money
We have tried to model this as a church whole
One of our core values here, and if you’ve been through Next Steps with us you’ve heard this, but it’s to be “Selflessly Generous.”
And here is where we get that from
16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
We want to be known as a church that is selflessly generous
A church that goes above and beyond to give of ourselves for the betterment of others and advancement of the kingdom of God
How can we expect our community to be a better place if we aren’t willing to give of ourselves to make it better?
How can we expect to reach our community with the gospel if we aren’t willing to step out into the community and give of ourselves to reach it.
It’s time to put our money where our mouth is. It’s time to stop being so self centered that we forget we are called to be making disciples
It’s time to step out of our own little worlds into the world around us to reach the lost and hurting souls with the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ
It’s time to be a church that is selflessly generous
Not just one that says it is but one that really is and puts it on display
Yea we may be the different church, or the weird church, or the church that had this happen or that happen but let’s make it so painfully obvious that in the same breath as people are saying that they must also say “but man are they generous.”
“But man they sure look like Jesus.” Why can’t we be that church? Call us all the names you want, I don’t care but let’s make it so undeniable that even the people that want us to fail can’t help but see the love of Christ we have
So when I stand on this stage and give us a call to be generous it’s not just something we are adding to the list, it’s who we are, it’s in our DNA. ok?
So how do we do this? Well here is what we say around here. “God has asked us to be generous with out time, talent, and treasures.”
And let me add here: this isn’t a pick and choose game. We don’t get to say well i’m really generous with my time so I don’t need to give my money. Or I’m really generous with my money so I don’t need to serve the church
Most often this looks like serving
A great place to start is right here at Cornerstone. Serving your local body or church
We are always in need of people with generous hearts who are willing to serve with their time
If your a good task person we have more task related positions,
If you are a people person we have that
If you’re a kid person we always need help in CK or youth with our United partnership
If you’re a tech person we need help in the sound booth
There are places all throughout Scripture that speak to serving the church or the fellowship of believers.
We also have community service opportunities
And also ways to get involved with missions (Haiti)
We are to be generous with our talents
God has gifted you with abilities
If you go through Next Steps with us you take a personality and spiritual gifting test
The cool thing about you and me is that we are different. You are gifted with talents that I do not posses and God has gifted those to you for the edifying of the church and the advancement of the kingdom of God
Maybe it’s teaching, maybe it’s administration, maybe it’s hospitality
Whatever it is we are called to use it. We need to be using our gifting’s for the glory of God
We are to be generous with our possessions
So if this is new to you a great place to start is by giving 10% of your income
This is what’s called a tithe. It’s how they typically handled giving in the OT
If you’re like “Well we are in the NT so isn’t that out the window” well the NT seems to ask us to give everything we possibly can so I would say 10% is a good place to start.
Now if this is new and that’s not possible for you right now then just start wherever you can. It’s not as much about the amount but more about the heart.
1 As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. 2 He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. 3 “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. 4 All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”
It’s this story of these rich guys just coming into church and writing $100k check and then a woman with $10 to who her name and she drops it in the bucket and Jesus says “She gave more than they did.”
So, it’s not about the amount but the heart
So we are a people who are generous with our time, our talent, and our treasures.
Transition to close
Now here is how I want to end this morning and this series
God has given us all of these tools right. Spiritual toolbox.
We don’t earn them they are free gifts that accompany our salvation
Some of them happen instantaneously and there is nothing for us to do
Others take work
If God give us this toolbox and fills it up with all of these things and then we are like carpenters or contractors. We go out into the world to use the tools and things God had given us to reach people with the gospel and to make disciples of Christ
So, if that is true, than the church would be like our workshop.
The church is the place where we get to come and sharpen our tools
The place we come to practice with our tools
And the place we get to use them first
11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. 14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
This is what we are after
But this also means that the church should be the place we are most comfortable to admit our flaws and our failures. And historically it’s been the opposite
Historically church has been the place you have to look your best and act your best and talk your best and whatever else
But the reality is we are going to fail and we are going to fail with some of these tools
We are going to fail to pray as much as we should
We are going to fail to worship like we should
We are going to fail to be as generous as we should
And the church should be the place that we get to come and learn how to pray better, learn how to study God’s word better, learn how to be generous of ourselves, learn how to love
It’s the place where like minded Jesus-followers are gathering to do everything they can to honor Christ and be more like Christ
So that’s what we are after. To use these tools that God has given us.
To use the church as our workshop
The place we come to sharpen and practice and to build one another up
To take what we know about our God to ends of the earth