Summary: God gave… his only son.

Tebow & John 3:16

Tim Tebow has been criticized for displaying his faith on the football field. While in college he once played with John 3:16 written on his face. More recently he has been the center of controversy in the NFL while playing for the Denver Bronco’s and “Tebowing” after a good play. Instead of dancing in the end zone and saying look at me he would kneel and give a prayer of praise to God.

In one of his last games this season he gained 316 yards. A lot of people connected that number with John 3:16 and it was a pretty big deal.

Whatever you think of the practice – whether it’s sincere or hypocrisy – it’s gotten a lot of attention. In fact, the google searches for John 3:16 spiked when Tebow wore the face paint and when he gained 316 yards.

I think that’s a good thing. I’m guessing that the majority of those who had to google John 3:16 didn’t know what it said and for the first time in their life they learned about the extravagant love of God for them.

It is this extravagant love that is the foundation for “Giving it Away.” The goal of this teaching series is simple. It is to challenge us to build a culture of generosity here at Meridian Christian Church. In other words, it is for each of us individually and for us as the Meridian Christian Church to be known for our extravagant love – which is expressed in the spirit and practice of generosity.

I believe that John 3:16 is the source of real generosity. Let’s look at this amazing verse.

God’s Extravagant Love

16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

God gave… his only son. The Greek word here is a compilation of two words. “Mono” means one and “genes” which means genus or kind. There is only one like Jesus. He was God in the flesh. And he was sent to the cross by the Father God so that we could be saved from death. This is the extravagant love from the father God to us.

Can I be so bold to suggest something that is going to sound pretty radical? I think that the evidence God’s willingness to sacrifice his son on the altar of a Roman cross points to a simple fact – God worships you.

Now I don’t mean to suggest that God thinks that we are equal with him in anyway. What I mean to say is that God adores you – which is the meaning of worship – adoration.

In fact, God so adores you so much that he expressed this love in the extravagance of giving his life (through the incarnation of himself in the person of Jesus) as the ultimate substitute and sacrifice.

God allowed his son to die so that you can live. You don’t pay that kind of price unless you really adore somebody. With God that somebody is you.

This extravagant love cannot be dismissed and diminished. It demands our extravagant love in response. His extravagant love pleads for our extravagant love. The only remotely adequate response to his gift of life is your thanksgiving, adoration, and the presentation of your life.

This is worship. It’s not music and singing. That’s the expression of worship. Worship is the deeper, rooted response of your soul to the love of the Father, the sacrifice of the son, and the presence of the Spirit. It’s a burning flame deep in your soul that bursts into an explosion of adulation, admiration, gratitude, and praise. Music is just the vehicle that carries us along as we give ourselves wholly to God.

Giving life is the supreme act of worship and it is what we owe to our God. Giving is worship.

Last week we looked at the teaching that Paul gave to the Corinthian Church about what it takes to have joy (fun) in your giving.

Today we’re going to look at what Paul told them about the church up north in Macedonia – a poor church that somehow had learned to worship and adore God with great power.

A Wealth of Generosity

We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, 2 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.

The grace of God – his extravagant love has overflowed in the lives of these people, in spite of their afflictions, in a wealth of generosity. Extravagant love results in extravagant giving.

But how did they do this? How did this happen in such a poor community. Not only was it poor – it had once been rich, which makes it even more amazing. Macedonia was a part of Greece where gold, silver, and copper had been mined in earlier times… but now the mines were played out.

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