Jesus asked his disciples to be his witnesses. And that is what Jesus’ first disciples did.
To be a witness, you have to be willing to make a stand, to testify, to speak on behalf of the person or the event that you are bearing witness too. The aim is to provide enough reason or evidence for someone who is not a witness to ascertain the truth behind what you say.
Over the generations, across the world, and right to your local church family, there will be numerous examples of godly and generous givers. Among those who have given, are many who have given even at times of extreme poverty or hardship (Luke 21:1-4; 2 Cor 8:2). It is right and proper to be immensely thankful to God for these saints (maybe you are one such person). Under God, what has been given has served the gospel and those the gospel has reached for centuries. Godly giving, although rarely put on display, is a wonderful testimony to the power and gift of the gospel. Praise God.
So how should a Christian organise their godly giving?
Let’s look first at our priorities and then at the practical mechanics!
Christians are called to be godly in giving. That could be giving in attitude, time, energy or money – all are important. Here we will focus specifically on the area of money and the way we generously and responsibly use the resources that God has put in our care.
Let me make four points from 1 Timothy 6 which may help our thinking.
First, Godly giving is not a means to financial gain.
Foundational to belief of Christianity, is the historical reality of the person of Jesus and with that comes his well-documented life, teaching, death and resurrection.
Whilst it is true that belief in the existence of Jesus may be a no brainer and acknowledging his death traditional – to allow his teachings to shape the way we live, or to hold to the idea of a resurrection – for some is a step too far.
There are a chorus of Atheist voices who have spoken loudly against religion. That is not new, every age in history since and including the time of Jesus has seen opposition to organized religion – and at times, sadly, the opposition has been well placed.
In a series of short talks, we look at what the ‘new atheists’ say about the resurrection, before examine the resurrection for ourselves. The hope that we might be able the weigh up what is said and reordered in scripture and history and make our own decisions about faith.
What is love that is pleasing first to God? It has something to do with obedience in the context of truth. We have considered ‘Love’ (Part 3 of this series) and ‘Truth’ (Part 4 of this series), so this time let’s focus on ‘Obedience’.
Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them (1 John 3:21-24)
A love that is pleasing to God is a love that obediently follows his commands.
Yes it was a long time ago but what was all the fuss about a baby born to a poor family in a little country town of a minor province in the Roman empire? Watch or listen to Chris as he “opens the box” of why Christmas is so significant to us today.
In the Gospel of Luke chapter 15 (the parables of the Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin and the Prodigal Sons) we learn that God only sees two sorts of people – those who are lost (estranged from him) and those who were formerly lost but are now back in relationship with him.
Guest speaker, David Cook explains that God is waiting with outstretched arms, seeking to welcome back the lost. David invites anyone who is lost to echo the prayer that is in verse 18 saying to God “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me part of your family”.
Did you know that it wasn’t Jesus who said ‘God helps those who help themselves’? Come and hear more about this topic, the first in our ‘Five Things Jesus Never Said’ series, tomorrow at 9am, 10:30am or 5pm (there’s no 7pm gathering this weekend).