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May 23, 2022 4:00 pm
Matthew chapter 6, I would preach a message this morning on generosity. However, generosity not necessarily in mid what you think because I think often when we talk about generosity immediately.
Our mind goes towards finances.
But I will take you to the sermon on the mount. So, before getting to the actual passage. Let's talk a little bit about the sermon on the Mount is one of the most famous sermons that Jesus teaches actually teaching about 21 different topics over three chapters that uses teaches in the sermon on the Mount is the first of five messages recorded in Matthew is also found in Luke according to Betsy worded this way that the sermon is an attempt at presenting the theology of Jesus in a systematic fashion designed outs of sayings of Jesus grouped according to thematic points of doctrine considered to be of primary importance.
In other words, what Jesus is about to do for three chapters is highly critical to the systematic theology of who God is and who Jesus is.
Even to the ecclesiology of what the church and Christians are so subdue and are supposed to operate. Jesus directs the sermon on the mountains disciples and the crowds begin to gather.
So a misnomer and a newbie to artist renderings.
One of them is in the Sistine Chapel on the side of the the wall, but you'll see some of these artist renderings from owners of hundreds of years ago, but were often people think is that Jesus gathered up hundreds and thousands of people in one of the priest everybody. Matthew chapter 5 verse one. It actually says that Jesus just sat with his disciples. And so it kinda paints a little different picture. When you understand the sermon on the Mount, Jesus literally just sat down with his disciples. I just started talking to and as Jesus or the do that. It says the crowds began to gather around and so wasn't as though Jesus sent out flyers and tolerated invites her neighbor a minute give us sermon it's gonna last for like three days he just sat down with his disciples and just wanted to talk to disciples but inevitably the crowds began to gather this is at the point of pride. Jesus's highest point in ministry. It's right when everything is happening. Miracles are starting to happen and it's at this point that he sits down with his disciples begin to teach some amounts near the Sea of Galilee is where it's at.
Although the exact location is not known.
There's actually a church that we go over to Israel to go to Jerusalem is the church of the church of the Beatitudes the picture up behind me of that actual church and they put that church were they believe Jesus did. The sermon on the mount sets with the church actually sits in is called the church the Beatitudes who that's one of the major points that use makes within the sermon on the Mount start states that the sermon is the most complete delineation anywhere in the New Testament, and I like how your words, it says that what Jesus actually doing is he is actually teaching on the Christian counterculture and hearer is a Christian value system. It's an ethical standard. It's a religious devotion. It's attitude about money, about generosity.
It's ambition. It's about lifestyle. It's about networking of relationships, all of which are total variance with the non-Christian culture of that time. He says it this way, that such living is in conscious distinction from the norms of the rest of society. In other words it's a call to radical discipleship.
So often we read the sermon on the Mount is just a bunch of nice words that Jesus says Jesus is actually calling his disciples to radical discipleship is actually setting a moral and ethical standard to his disciples that is going complete countercultural to what's happening in the Jewish culture of the concert of the time. Oswald Chambers says that this raises the sermon on the Mount is not a set of principles to be obeyed, apart from identification in Jesus. The sermon on the Mount is a statement of the life we will live in the Holy Spirit is getting his way in us and that is what this is about is not just a list of rules or a list of statements that witches follow. This is what happens when the Holy Spirit gets a hold of somebody's life we live radically countercultural to the way that the world is living and if you do read through the sermon on the Mount Chapter 5, six and seven. You will absolutely see that the theme woven all through it is the kingdom of Jesus the kingdom of heaven is the kingdom of God. This is his constant theme. Jesus is inviting his disciples and anybody that hears that he's inviting us into what is it mean to be a citizen of heaven. That's what it's really coming down to so the major themes is about 21 major themes and I can read through all of them but it ranges from the Beatitudes were starts to be in salt light. He talks about concepts about anger about lusty talks about marriage and divorce. He talks about the oath we make it such a retaliation loving your enemies because were giving to the needy. The Lord's prayer is a nursery's teaching about prayer.
He's talking about the golden rule do unto others. He talks of building his house, building a house on the rock and also the it's on the authority of Jesus and mostly are Bibles you have little subheadings and you build a see as you go through it during groupings of about five or six or seven versus some are little longer and those of the those theological groupings that Jesus began to talk and as he talking it just began to land into the ears of people around today I want to highlight a part of that in Matthew chapter 6 verse 1 to 4, only four verses today and this is where Jesus talks about generosity and my hope today is that you have a right mind in a right attitude about what is it mean to be generous, not in the world concept, maybe not. Maybe even what you been taught about before, and church because again I think immediately. Our mind goes towards all. They just want my money. That's what it means. In fact, I was reminded of a joke I heard, not that long ago actually a joke I heard a long time ago that was reminded of not that long ago.
As these two guys that were stranded on an island and these two guys are strain analysis small remote island and there stranded there and one of the guys that stranded on the island is frantic. He is pacing back and forth. These yelling he's trying to find anything he can to send up a signal and the other guy is just laying on the beach, just relaxing, soaking in the raises enjoy being on the beach. One guy that's real frantic and panicking runs up to the other guy says hey aren't you worried that were are going to desire to worry about that. We need to find help in the guy relax and not just relaxing minute relax was and I make 100 hundred thousand dollars a week and I faithfully type every week for my church. Trust me when I tell you my pastor will find me find, taught from a market that marks my gauge is going to test these jokes on people all week and usually don't laugh. So thank you for laughing.
Even if it is said that the last but but isn't that how we think about when we think about the church and money all give it as well. The money is only one Jesus actually talks about generosity at a much deeper level.
So it's going to read in Matthew chapter 6 verse 1 to 4 to beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Very interesting he starts out the whole conversational generosity around one word was the word. Righteousness is righteousness very important concepts to keep that in mind. Thus, when you give to the needy.
Everybody say give to the needy say that aloud gives the needy owner explained that sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues is referring to the Pharisees and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly I say to you they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy. Arisa given the needy Sagan give to the needy. Do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward two things about generosity want talk about this morning.
Number one is generosity is a practice of righteousness was just talk about that first and foremost, it's a practice of righteousness if you been with us any time now.
You probably are hearing that word a lot. The word righteousness is so weighted in the overall theology of God and of the Bible and of the church you hear consciously righteousness. Righteousness.
But it's always paired with well who's righteousness are you talking about, and it always refers to.
By the way it is. Jesus is righteousness that makes us right so when you hear us talk about the righteousness and it's an act of righteousness. It's actually not about how good I am or how much I deserve or how much righteousness I have on myself. This is when we as Luther explained the glorious exchange work Jesus takes our sins and gives us his righteousness.
So when you hear us talk about the righteousness of Christ or in this context of righteousness.
This is the glorious exchange righteousness were we ended our cells are not morally good or does not, we are broken were lost.
We are depraved right. Sin has the prey because we are broken. Everybody's is a Jesus takes the brokenness of the cross any exchanges it for his righteousness.
So when we can say when you practice your righteousness before people. It's not practicing how good we are in. This is where the Pharisees had a backwards. The Pharisees were practicing their righteousness, so that they could be seen so that they could be acknowledged not Jesus being acknowledged.
So again he hits it right here in the front how we practice righteousness in a way, but not for the sake of being seen a practicing righteousness is good also sit on will hang on a second. Just a few weeks ago we talked about how we have to actually practice righteousness in our sin don't practice it in a way that people can see it and that is the difference.
The difference is you and I can still practice generosity we can practice righteousness.
We can perform acts of righteousness aware talk about but it's not about us getting the pat on the back is not about us getting credit and this is what Jesus is saying.
Gibson says it this way. I I love this picture that Gibson says Dr. Sally says, morally, or morality. Morality divorce from religion is a flower without written which may bloom for a while but in the end must wither away. Religion without morality is nothing at all worse than nothing is a sham. What is getting at is that if we had our moral but don't have religion as he calls it, then we have this beautiful flower, but there's no roots is no debt. In other words, if we are just good people, we are not disciples of Jesus we have this good exterior look good but there's no roots that grow deep in the opposite is also true. We could have these deep roots but have no generosity and no outward facing thing Selena Jesus describes it. He says we practice righteousness.
Any describes it as being generous to the poor, giving to the poor so that two times is that one passage when you give to the needy. When you give to the poor you are in such a way that the righteousness is not like the Pharisees are being seen so we don't have to prove how righteous we are. There's nothing that we have to do that proves the God how righteous we are. Righteousness is only by God.
And this only through God, and those four verses, did you notice how often the word father is used. Why well because it's always be reverted back to him. The promise that we live in a performance-based society so it's all about how will we do so we are constantly being told in culture and society that your advancement is based on how well you do know in your job and in other areas that true right that's a true statement that if you're going to succeed if you're going to be promoted.
If you do not find whatever you want your life and you have to perform at a certain level.
The promise that were so ingrained with that that we then take that and apply that same thing to God and so that we consciously feel like we have to prove ourselves to God that if we don't deny God's anger with us. I have so many conversations with people just about that concept that listen, you don't have to prove anything to God your righteous because of what Jesus did.
You just have to walk in that no you don't approve it soon. The hypocrites, however, the Pharisees are constantly wanted to show people their praise. Now this is the metaphor. This is example Jesus what he is not literal, so another words the Pharisees didn't give in and these trumpets went off it. That literally wasn't happening.
But it was as if it was because they would give in such a way that they wanted everyone to see how much they were helping this poor person or this needy person and so they did it so that they would get the pat on the back Galatians chapter 1 verse 10 I love this verse it says for my now seeking the approval of man or of God is a great question for all of us in the day, whom I trying to impress my trying to press you or my living for God.
I'm still trying to please man if are still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ is not about pleasing one another is not all being seen as about the accolades from each other that whatever we do, we're just doing this for God. For example, what if when you do some kind act of kindness.
Nobody thinks you, how do you feel if you do something nice for somebody, and nobody thinks you. How does that make you feel did you feel as though your slighted you feel so you need that recognition I this happen. Just the other day my son and I were doing something for somebody and we drop something off and he ran in and just did it.
He came back out is a derelict didn't say thanks Mike so it was a really cool conversation with my 23 Road I'm going why do we do things for people.
Why we do it to be doing just that.
They say thank you and stop everything that they are doing to make sure we see is what we did for them or is it just because that's were supposed to do that is what got laid in our hearts view and is just being kind and doing something for somebody and doesn't matter what they say in return but again we cannot live in this counterculture where we cannot give an express sewer Jesus teaching is you don't do that effectively talks about your left hand and you're right in doing, we sin is you at the given such a way where you yourself don't even really know what you're doing at least trying to say like you don't even pay attention just use give of yourself you just give me an generous you don't worry about what somebody says or how generous you might be. So what is the reward because it talks about a reward in here so you will receive your reward that the Pharisees who did this on public they they did this in a way that they wanted everything to see there righteousness of how good they are. Look at what we do look at all that were doing to help our community so that everyone just say how great they are. We says that's the reward. Sports are reward only do we do this the reward that we have for doing the right thing with the right motives reward is eternal riches. That's what always comes back to it always comes back to eternity to the kingdom of God always comes back to whatever I do here matters in eternity including the way that I am generous the generosity that I do in Matthew chapter 6 verse 19 to 21 says do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal the lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven were neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. I love watching documentaries on each of Egypt and all those things am convinced the aliens belted by the way like you start watching all these things and mommies and then the way they did that and am always reminded every time I see that when they find a consumer to go in and there's all these riches like you know why they did that right that they did that so they would take all that with them just word all this. It's all still here it somewhere. It's been rated is into rated it's gone.
Everything that were doing here on this earth even knows nothing wrong with having stuff. None of us go with you none of it is this is is you is your soul is your spirit that's all that's moving on from the desert and were Jesus reminding us again in the sum amount is where you build your treasure. That's we are hardest and so if you're all about everything on this side of eternity than what he saying is you've already received your reward and this is this is it and it's good to be here one day and gone the next day and do not bring any of it with you, saying that with live in poverty and not saying we have to make these vows of poverty that we have to suffer. No, God still wants to bless and I hope he blesses you like crazy. It's all about where your heart is if my heart is so wrapped up on the earthly things. It is hard for me to be generous in any area of my life but I think eternity I think about what I do here matters. It's amazing how that mind shift changes everything about what we do and who we are. The second point is his number chooses the is that generosity is a practice of right motives so as not just about practicing righteousness is also a practice of right motives. I want to get into just for a few minutes about where he talks about giving our Bible as you read that try many different variations of our Bible systole login when you get to the needy. The actual translation his arms and so when you give alms is what direction talking about and in the Jewish custom, by the way this is working through fascinating. It's hard to separate out giving arms and being good and righteousness. Those work almost 2 and of the same charity good works, giving of your arms giving to the needy, helping somebody out where they are needed on service, giving it says that there's a leadership minister worldwide article that talks about this is, as of the giving of alms in doing good to other people. The word almost actually translates to righteous acts, so again you can read that passage and says when you give to the needy immediately go for a wallet which is actually talk about is much bigger than that.
It includes finances for sure, but is actually bigger than that.
It's actually speaking about righteous acts that we do for people, to the Jew giving arms and righteousness were the same thing. And so Jesus is addressing this is addressing not just the financial parts with addressing that the giving of alms as one article said is the greatest thing that a Jewish person to do in this context was giving of alms that was the first act of religion very embodiment of righteousness.
Those two words were used interchangeably and so again as we think about generosity. I wonder how often we think about just actually doing good to other people just doing good, not just throwing money at something not just giving in our tithes and offerings that is giving towards impact, which is all fine and it's all good, and God blesses all that, but again, the issue actually goes to our motive. There is a right motive and there is a wrong motive when it comes to our money.
We know the statement to be true.
You either control your money or your money controls you. It either drives you or you drive it either tells you what to do or you tell it what to do.
This is one of those areas that Jesus again addresses us in Matthew 624 parts of the sermon on the Mount is is you can't serve two masters. So is he specifically starts talking about finances uses. You can't serve two masters.
You will hate one and you love the other, will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. Other words talks about how money is the root of all evil. Jesus does not say that money is evil. He does not say that having good things is evil. It is a safe being prosperous is evil. He doesn't say having a great job or nice car is evil. It's all about the heart. It is a heart issue at the Corbett giving and generosity is about your motives.
Why do I give widely give of myself. What I give my finances what I give of my time.
Why do I do that. Is it so that I get see the notice or is because I am living out the righteousness of Christ in my life. Jonathan Pennington says that Jesus's message in the sermon is that God is our father who sees and cares about the heart not just external righteous deeds and religion that God examines our heart at the end of it. Generosity is a heart issue.
That's what is it is all about. My heart where's my hardness, where's my heart in the way that I serve, where's my heart in a way that I hope my neighbor where is my hearts when I go into acts of kindness to my community.
Where is my heart and all of that in my operating out of position of righteousness or my operating out of a position that I'm doing good because I want you to be done to me as that's the only reason I'm doing again when it comes to doing this in second Corinthians 96 and seventh is the point is this, whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each person each one must give as he decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. There's one thing I've said this before but I want the people crossroads to be known for is to be cheerful givers, not just in our giving on a Sunday morning, but the way that we give to our community. The way that we are generous with our forgiveness and generosity goes so far beyond just your checkbook in my being generous with the way that I forgive somebody in my being generous in the grace that our offer people in my being generous in my mercy. The people who doubt as the Bible says we ought to be my being generous when I hear of a need to serve somewhere my the first one. This is a if I can do it.
I will do it.
I will be the first person there to that spreads generosity into righteous acts way beyond just the material side of things. She often times we are selfish in our forgiveness over selfish with our calendar or our time work selfish with our kindness and mercy were really easy to defend and the fight but are we also the same time generous with the way well is Jesus is the way that we love one another that which was the love each other the way that God loves us in the way that God loves us, was totally sacrificial that he gave everything for see it all to us. It talks about the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing. Spurgeon says that this would Jesus keep the thing so secret that even you yourself are hardly aware that you are doing anything at all praiseworthy like God be presence and I want to hear this. Last I misread this lesson again. Let God be presence and you will have enough of an audience love that last line so much like God be present and you have more than enough of an audience church that goes well beyond just our giving, it goes into every area of our life if we invite God into every area of our life. Him being present is enough enough and so often.
Again, we are working so countercultural we're working against the culture that tells us that more is better, and that bigger is better, and that getting the promotions always above a people is always the end goal of better better better even though there is great truth and in that on the worldly side on the opposite side, Jesus speaks so countercultural to that that what really matters is our righteousness.
It is the acts of righteousness that we do for people is building up eternal wealth in heaven, not just here on earth is helping people while were here to see the kingdom of heaven. That is what we are called to do. And if Jesus is at the center of all that we have enough