- By Rev. Devadosan Sugirtharaj
- Posted 10/04/2020
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Living Generously Sermon Series
Rev Dr Devadosan Sugirtharaj
- God has called his people to live generously in this world. Giving is God’s character. Our God reveals Himself as the Generous God to the creation.
- As the people of God in the ICWC church, we are called by God to live a generous life. We are called to be generous with our talents, treasures and time both to God’s mission and to others.
- Being generous, we say to the people that we are God’s children and also we value the people and they matter to us.
- Today, our cornerstone of being generous in this world is based on God himself. Christ is the generous Savior to the world and gave his life on the cross for everyone so generously.
- Today’s scripture reading reminds us to go back to understand the foundation of generosity as God himself and also to be reminded of our role of generous people.
- Hebrew word: Give: Nathan: It means that to give, to give up, to put and to place. This is the root word for generosity. When we read about the Prophet Nathan, his name means generosity in the Hebrew language.
- Greek word: Give: Didomi: It means that to give, to give away, to apportion and to bring forward. This word is specially focused on giving sincerely and single-minded in the New Testament.
- Through these terms, giving or generosity is to give generously toward God and others. It is a posture of trust in God and rooted in the conviction that God provides us. God wants us to be generous as the image of the generous God who loves to give abundantly.
Context of the text
- The apostle Paul wrote this letter to Roman Christians from the prison that they are freed from condemnation and called to live with the knowledge and trust in God through the Holy Spirit to be the people of God. In the midst of all painful life experiences, he affirmed that nothing can separate us from the love of God ad God is so generous to us.
- We are called to be generous because our Lord works generously in the present in our lives. Romans.8:28
- 28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
- Paul reminded the Roman Christians that God’s sovereignty and ability to manage every aspect of their lives. He worked everything together for good as they love him, though they face the sufferings of this present time. He affirmed that God is able to make an event those suffering work together for our good.
- As the people of God, when we go through suffering and pains, we feel that God is not working in our lives. It is not true. God is able to work all things, not some things and works them for good together, not in isolation. God loves us so much and so God manages every part of our lives according to his purpose.
- Deuteronomy 30:6:6 And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.
- 1 Peter 5:10: 10 But [a]may the God of all grace, who called [b]us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus after you have suffered a while, [c]perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.
- Biblical Example: People of Israel in the wilderness: Deuteronomy 8:2-3: And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. 3 So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.
- Sermon illustration: Ron Mehl elected to be drawn closer to God through his own suffering. For 23 years, Mehl battled leukemia. In the midst of the suffering, he studied the Bible, searched for sermons, and ministered to people who were suffering all around him. His church in Oregon grew large and strong. He wrote books that ministered to untold thousands. He accepted opportunities to speak around the world and kept up an overcrowded schedule at his church. Through it all, he began to understand, more and more, that his suffering would eventually give way to unspeakable joy.
2. We are called to be generous because our Lord has worked generously in the past in our lives. Romans. 8:29-30
- 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
- Paul reminded the Roman Christians that God predestined them to be conformed to the image of God’s Son, Jesus Christ before they were born. They were all chosen, called, predestined and glorified. God did not begin work in their lives just at present but before the creation of the world eternally.
- As God’s people, we sometimes think that God is working in the present only. It is not true. When we become born again, we come to the knowledge that God has already planned to work in our lives in the past. God is so generous to make our life reflected in his image by working out in our lives beyond our present.
- 1 Peter.1:20:20 He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world but was [a]manifest in these last times for you
- Ephesians.1:11-12:11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.
- Biblical Example: Rebekah’s Twin children and God’s predestination. Genesis.25:22-24: 22 While Rebekah was pregnant, the babies inside her struggled with one another. She prayed to the Lord and said, “What is happening to me?” 23 The Lord said to her, “The leaders of the two nations are in your body. Two nations will come from you, and they will be divided. One of them will be stronger, and the older will serve the younger.”24 When the right time came, Rebekah gave birth to twins.
- Sermon Illustration:- Just imagine a ship travelling from New York to Los Angeles. Hundreds of passengers are on board. They are predestined to the destination of Los Angeles. It has been already decided and processed. The passengers who are on board are not in chains, neither are the actives determined for them by decree. They are completely free to move about as they will. They eat, sleep, play, lounge about on the deck, read, talk altogether as they please; but all the while the ship is carrying them steadily onward towards a predetermined port. In the same way, God has predestined you to the Kingdom of God and you are boarded. God’s sovereignty and your freedom are present here and they do not contradict. You are called to your destination and at the same time, God is generous with you in the past and as well as in your present.
3. We are called to be generous because our Lord has worked generously in the future in our lives. Romans.8:31-32.
- 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?
- Apostle Paul reaffirmed the Roman Christians that God is with them and they should not be afraid of the future. He showed that God gave his only Son generously to them and therefore God would provide everything they need in this life. The generosity of Christ was the anchor for their trust in God.
- When we face failures and difficulties. we slowly lose our confidence in God and we believe that God does not provide us in future. It is not true. God is generous in every part of our lives in the past and in the present. He will be faithful to do it in the future too. So fear cannot overcome us as faith in God overcomes the fear. How do we know? Christ is the evidence.
- Isaiah 54:17: No weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, And their righteousness is from Me,” Says the Lord.
- 1 John 4:4: 4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
- Biblical Example: Battle between David and Goliath: 1 Samuel 17:45-47:45 Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. 47 Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands.”
- Sermon Illustration: Oswald Chambers loved the poetry of Robert Browning and often quoted a phrase from the poem Rabbi Ben Ezra: "The best is yet to be, the last of life for which the first was made. Our times are in His hand."As principal of the Bible Training College in London from 1911 to 1915, Chambers often said that the school's initials, B.T.C., also stood for "Better To Come." He believed that the future was always bright with possibility because of Christ. In a letter to former students written during the dark days of World War I, Chambers said, "Whatever transpires, it is ever 'the best is yet to be.'"
We are called to be generous as Our Lord is generous in his nature. From Romans.8:28-32, we have learned three important reasons we should be generous in our lives.
- We are called to be generous because our Lord works generously in the present in our lives. Romans.8:28
- We are called to be generous because our Lord has worked generously in the past in our lives. Romans. 8:29-30
- We are called to be generous because our Lord has worked generously in the future in our lives. Romans.8:31-32.
Questions for Discussion
- All things work together for good, for those who are called according to God’s purpose. How does God work everything in your life for good? We are called people. What is the purpose of God’s call to us?
- God has foreknown, predestined, called, justified and glorified us. Do you see yourself as someone who has been predestined? If so, what difference has it made in your daily life?
- If God is for us, who can be against us? God has given his Son for us and will give all things to you. How can you explain these promises of God true in your life?