Summary: What is the message of Jesus really all about in reagrds to giving? What is it that Jesus really wants us to know and understand from what He teaches?
“The Extraordinary Privilege of Giving – God’s Way”
What is the message of Jesus all about? What is it that Jesus really wants us to know and understand from what He teaches?
In the most basic sense, He wants us to know and understand what it means to no longer be a lost and condemned child of the world and instead to be a rescued, unshackled child of Heaven – one who has been “deliver(ed) out of this present evil world” (Galatians 1:4).
Those two natures are about as unalike and contradictory as you can get. When Paul says, “And do not be conformed to this world” in Romans 12:2, he is admonishing us that everything about how we think and feel and act is to be inconsistent with the agenda and the motivation and the purpose of the world. In 1 John 2:15, the Apostle John further warns us, “Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
Pretty strong words…pretty heavy implications. Throughout the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is giving us our marching orders, as it were. He is explaining to us what our code of conduct is to be – from the motivations of our heart to the outward way that we interact with everyone around us.
Already we have walked through some life-altering teachings. We have seen already that the deepest purpose of every true child of God is to be a living demonstration of the character and heart of Jesus Christ. We have seen that our natural tendencies are in direct opposition to the predisposition that a Christ-follower is to have in their outlook on and approach to life and to the world.
The fundamental difference that Jesus has consistently obliged us to live out is that we are not our own, and neither is any material thing in our possession. We are the title-holders of nothing – as such, our obligations are to the true owner and possessor, who is none other than Almighty God.
Last time, we closely examined the reality that we have no right or claim apart from our relationship with Jesus Christ. We have responsibilities, we have duties, we have obligations, but no rights. God has promised rewards to us, but even those are not of ourselves but are given through our Resurrected Lord.
As we discovered last time, the words of the Lord Jesus Christ clearly teach us what the true standard of attitude and behavior are for the Christian in respect to our rights, our possessions and our responsibilities. Let’s review them:
1) The Christian will never seek retaliation for or be resentful of any insult, no matter who it comes from, and no matter how calculated or treacherous.
2) The Christian will never demand any rights, legal or otherwise, from any authority. We may graciously ask, but – if denied – our response is quiet and calm and our appeal is then to Almighty God, the final Authority and Judge of all.
3) The Christian will never deliberate over their right to live and do as they like, but will live in cheerful anticipation of serving others in unexpected and Christ-like ways, looking forward to fulfilling their duty to help others.
Ours is to be a life of self-sacrifice and service to others, not a life characterized by being selfish and self-serving. We are to not to be preoccupied with the right and wrong of others, but on the principles of conduct that declare our citizenship in heaven.
Just as Jesus went to the cross in self-sacrificing grace, so are we to live our lives in self-sacrificial service to Him through our service to others.
That is the standard of heaven, and that is the standard for all of us who call ourselves by the name of Him who died for all.
Tonight, we will look more deeply into “The Extraordinary Privilege of Giving – God’s Way”.
Let’s look at our text:
“Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.”
Many times, I have heard people say, “I really love to give!” And, by the standards of the world, they probably do. But, do any of us “love” to give according to the standards of God? Let’s see.
The word “give” here means to deliver, to grant, to yield to another”. In the context of what we have learned so far, it is easy to see the heart behind the action. What is the requirement for us to deliver what we have to someone else, to grant or present to another person what is in our possession, to yield the control of what we have to that someone else? Simply that they ask.