Tag: Acts 20:35

The grace of giving!

Scripture reading for September 27th: 2nd Corinthians 8

Key Scriptures: 2nd Corinthians 8:1-5 “We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, 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. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints–and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord, and then by the will of God to us.”

Paul now turns to boast on the churches in Macedonia and God’s amazing grace of giving that had caused them to respond with generosity. Giving is a gift of God’s grace. It is natural for worldly people to want to hold onto what they have, especially during hard times when the fears of poverty and need are strongest. But the believers in Macedonia exceeded Paul’s expectations and he noted the special grace of giving among them. The first had given themselves to the Lord and as a result of that, they could then give themselves to generosity to Paul and the ministry team. They were going through affliction and trials of poverty and persecution, but God had given them joy in abundance and a willingness to give that caused them to ask for the privilege of giving. If you want to be blessed, ask God to give you this ‘grace of giving’ and choose to excel in it!

2nd Corinthians 8:7 “But you excel in everything–in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you–see that you excel in this act of grace also.”

Faith confession and prayer: Father God, thank You for being a generous and giving and loving Father to us Your children. Pass on to me and my children and brothers and sisters in Christ this amazing ‘grace of giving’. Help me to excel in it to bring glory to Your Son, Jesus Christ and be a blessing to Your Church and world mission.

Acts 20:35 “In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'”

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Warning about idleness!

Scripture reading for October 15th: 2nd Thessalonians 3:1-18

God created man to work and work is honorable.  One of the results of a wrong view of the second coming of Christ in Thessalonica was a number of the church members quitting their jobs and living off of others in the church.  This created strife and hard feelings.    Satan is always out to divide the church!

“In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you received from us.  For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example.  We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it.  On the contrary, we worked day and night, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you.” (2nd Thessalonians 3:6-8)  Paul had set a godly example for these believers.  He now warned them to stay away from those who were idle.  Avoiding work was not proper for Christians.  They were to work and provide for themselves and their families.

Paul had a rule that he always used and taught:  “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.” (2nd Thessalonians 3:20)  Laziness is a sin that displeases God and causes strife in the body.  Idleness allows too much time to gossip and interfere with the business of others.   Paul commanded those who were idle to settle down and work so this problem would be taken care of.

In dealing with those involved, believers were to not have fellowship with them.  They were to warn them as brothers, but not go so far as to treat them like enemies.  (2nd Thessalonians 3:14-15)  In looking at Proverbs, there are more warnings against idleness and laziness that about drunkenness. (Proverbs 12:27, 13:4, 19:15, 24:30-34)   Christians should set examples of hard work and financial propriety.  They should be the best givers and not just takers.  Jesus, Himself, taught that it was more blessed to give than receive!  (Acts 20:35)

If we are lazy in our daily work, we often will lack diligence to seek the Lord as well.  Spiritually luke-warm people make God want to spit!  (Revelation 3:15-16)  Let it not be said of any Christian that they are lazy!  We all want to eat, physically and spiritually!

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