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Sun, May 05, 2013

Be the Church 04

In this series we have been thinking out of the box!

Sadly, not too long ago (in church history terms), this would not have been seen as out of the box thinking... but normal Christian thinking.

But anyway we have seen that to be the church:

  • God calls us to live the way of the cross. John 15: 18 – 21.
  • But He promises us to empower us to live this way. Acts 1: 8.
  • God calls us to do all of this, not primarily as individuals but as God’s New Community the Church. Hebrews 10: 24 – 25.

And then there is one more thing that God calls us to be as He calls us to be the church.

[Pray]

Our hands

 

By nature you and I are closed hands people. We scrape and claw, we labour and worry and if we manage to get ahead a little bit we hold on for dear life.

And it is hard to relax that grip. We have a reflexive closed hand grip when it comes to giving up something that we have worked hard for and is dear to us... “No way! Not for him, not for her, not even for God”.

Clutching is like breathing, it comes naturally.

God’s hands...

...Are very different to ours.

When God created the very good world, he gave it to us as a gift to care for and enjoy.

Also, according to Psalm 145: 16, “You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.”

And when we abused God’s love and gift by rebelling against Him and that brought about God’s righteous condemnation...

God responded with open hands again – John 3: 16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

And when Jesus came He opened His hands. He taught, healed, touched, loved, fed and freed.

And when He was to be crucified as our sin sacrifice... He didn’t clutch onto His life. He didn’t shake a clenched fist at the authorities who were falsely accusing Him. He opened His hands to take cruel nails.

And when we acknowledge that we are sinners and we grab-a- hold of Him for forgiveness... in love He opens His hands to receive us.

The open hands of God are a symbol of an inward reality of God – He is lavishly generous! God loves giving! (See definition of generosity in handout?)

And when you truly understand His generosity you respond in at least two ways:

  • You gasp in amazement and respond with worship
  • You look at your on hands

Look at your hands again.

  • Are they like God’s hands?
  • Do you wish they were?

They can become like His if you let Him change your heart.

Changed hearts make for...

Transformed hands

Read Luke 19: 1 – 10 (Link to 18: 18 – 30)

When your heart gets impacted by generous grace your hands have a way of opening up.

Look at your hands again.

  • What do they say about your heart?
  • Do they reflect the generous heart of your Saviour?

Have you opened your heart to receive the gift of salvation? Do it now!

If you have received the gift of salvation, do your hands reflect that?

God calls us to be the church and part of that is to be sacrificially generous, in the power of the Spirit in the context of the church.

If that is true then can I ask you:

  • Are you generous with your time in a way that pleases God and blesses the church and through the church the world?
  • Are you generous with your possessions in a way that pleases God and blesses the church and through the church the world?
  • Are you generous with your gifts and abilities in a way that pleases God and blesses the church and through the church the world?
  • Are you generous with your money in a way that pleases God and blesses the church and through the church the world?
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