Summary: Learning to be generous as a child of God
The Marks of a Christian: Generosity
Paul said, "...I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." Of course he was talking about the physical marks of suffering and persecution which identified him with his Lord. But tonight I want us to once again consider the fact that our lives ought to be marked for the Lord. Not physically, but spiritually! There should be some characteristics in our lives that will identify us as Bible believing Baptists.
Several years ago one of Brandon’s teachers talked with me and told me that she had called on him to pray and that he prayed just like I did, and that amazed her. For the past couple of years ago we have brought in photographs of the men who served in the military. The first year we brought in my bootcamp photo when I was 17 years old. A great number of folks said that my picture looked just like Ben. That shouldn’t surprise us. These are my sons. They ought to possess certain characteristics of their father. And we as children of God ought to possess certain characteristics of our Heavenly Father!
Tonight we come to look at another of the spiritual marks of a Christian. It is the mark of generosity. This is not limited to what we do with money! What we do with money is a reflection of our generosity, but generosity goes far beyond finances.
Generosity is the act of doing more than is expected of you. Can it be said of you that you are generous? If we only do the minimum, or if we only do that which we are expected to do, then we do not exhibit the characteristic of generosity.
I. Biblical Examples of Generosity.
A. The Apostle Paul.
1. Before he was saved, he was a strict Pharisee caring for no one but himself.
2. After he met Jesus, his heart was opened to all men.
3. He ministered to all classes, he was at home in the marketplace or in the majestic palace of the king.
4. In one city the people rejected him and the message he preached to the point that they stoned him and left him for dead. (Ac. 14:19)
5. But he went back to those people and ministered to them.
6. Paul said that he was "...made all things to all men..." 1Co. 9:22
7. Paul went beyond what was expected of him and displayed a generous attitude of service to others.
B. The Good Samaritan.
1. We are all familiar with the story told by our Lord.
2. Here is a Jew who had been attacked and left wounded along the roadside.
3. The religionists of the day observed him in his condition and saw no need to go out of their way to help him.
4. But a Samaritan (they were known for their hatred of the Jews and in return the Jews hated them) came by and ministered to the needs of this hurting man.
5. He put aside any cultural differences and in a spirit of generosity took care of this man.
6. He certainly went beyond what was expected of him.
C. Jesus, once again our great example.
1. There was no prejudice in Him.
2. He looked with love upon Jew and Gentile, rich and poor, bond or free alike.
3. He saw their needs and responded to them.
4. A sinful woman cried out for help, others would have stoned her, but Jesus forgave her and set her free.
5. Throughout His ministry we see Him giving of Himself time and time again.
6. He gave His time, His life, His love, and His blood.
II. To Whom Are We To Be Generous?
A. To our friends and loved ones.
1. Sometimes we are most ungenerous to the ones we love the most.
2. The Bible tells us that the man who will not provide for his own is worse than an infidel. cf 1Ti. 5:8
3. I saw a cartoon the other day of a Pastor and his wife: the caption read, "I have an idea! How about smiling and being nice at home and being a grump at church?"
4. Have you ever known a person that would do anything for someone else, but wouldn’t take the time to do anything for his family?
5. If anyone needs to see a generous spirit in us it is those we love the most!
B. To our enemies.
1. It is hard to be generous to those who have hurt us.
2. But when we learn to quickly forgive those who wrong us, we are manifesting the spirit of Christ’s generosity.
3. Note: Matthew 5:44 5
A very cruel slave owner had just finished giving his Christian slave a terrible beating and in anger said, "What can your Jesus do for you now?" The slave, battered and bleeding, answered, "Master, He can give me the grace to forgive you!" That is the spirit of Christ’s generosity. "Father forgive them for they know not what they do..." Luke 23:34