September 26, 2010
Giving in Jesus
First, Give Yourself to the Lord Today
“and this, not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and to us by the will of God.”
2 Corinthians 8:5
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Giving will always start with your relationship with Jesus Christ. You can be a great philanthropist, and never be great with God. As Paul said, you can give all your possession to feed the poor, and still be spiritually dead without love for God and your neighbor. Giving to God turns first upon relationship with God through God the Son, Jesus Christ.
In 2 Corinthians 8:5, Paul continues to discuss the giving of the Macedonians. Remember, he brings up the giving of the Macedonians to encourage the giving of the saints at Corinth. Now, Paul explains the relationship between giving money and giving yourself to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Principle of Giving:
Give Your Life to Jesus Christ and then
Give Your Money as He Leads You
Before you can give yourself to the Lord Jesus Christ, you must first be born again. In essence, that means that you believe that Jesus died on the cross for your sins, and paid the penalty of death for you. Notice that you must believe God has forgiven you only because of Jesus dying for you. Generally, salvation means that you repent of your sins, and believe that God wants to forgive you and has promised to forgive you. When you understand that Jesus died for your sins, and rose from the dead, then you place your complete trust in Jesus, that He died for you while you were yet a sinner.
Salvation always starts with God reaching out to you. In the same way, God gives you all the things that you now possess, like money, health, mobility, and other things. Because the New Testament writers refer to believers as saints, and all believers are saints, then the saints have both the privilege and obligation to give. But giving really starts with giving your life to Jesus Christ. If you have not done so already, click on the salvation or spiritual help button above, and follow through the steps. Notice too that after the Macedonians had given themselves to God, Paul said they also gave themselves to Paul and the ministry team. Be very careful who you give yourself to. Paul had led them to salvation by bringing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to them. Even great evangelists can leave Christ behind, and strike out on their own programs of greed. So, be very careful that the person you give yourself to still walks with God and has been approved by the elders of your local assembly. We do the will of God when we give to the ministries led and supported by the Lord Jesus Christ.
So, we learn some more about giving in Christ.
● We learn that giving money always starts first with being born again in Christ Jesus.
● We learn to give better by giving ourselves to the ministry of Christ Jesus, and supporting those ministries with our lives and our money.
● We hinder our giving when we neglect to give ourselves first to Christ Jesus, and then give ourselves to His ministry by joining with fellow servants in the work and giving.
Application for Today
Today, I want to encourage you to first give your entire life to the Lord Jesus Christ, and then give yourself to His ministry. You can always join a ministry by giving, but be sure that ministry has been approved by your local elders.