#837. Generosity stretches beyond ourselves (15/6/23)
This week’s devotionals are inspired by our recent New Ground Sunday. To find out more about our family of churches, please go to:
Summary: God’s generosity moves us to be generous beyond ourselves.
To watch this devotional, please go to:
‘And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us. So we urged Titus, just as he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part. But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.’ (2 Corinthians 8:1-7)
Yesterday, we focussed on allowing an experience of the grace of God to free us to be generous to our own local church family. However, generosity is to stretch beyond our own context. It’s not easy, but it is easier to be generous to those closest to us, is it not? It’s easier to be generous to our family, friends and our local church that it is to be generous to strangers and churches that we don’t attend. However, God’s generosity stretches beyond ourselves, the benefit of which we may not feel.
Paul is encouraging and appealing to this local church in Corinth, to get involved in the financial support of their Christian brothers and sisters who are hundreds of miles away in Jerusalem. Paul’s plan was to take this gift to Jerusalem to alleviate poverty as we read in Romans 15 and it's encouraging to see that Achaia (Corinth was in this region) had contributed!
‘Now, however, I am on my way to Jerusalem in the service of the Lord’s people there. For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the Lord’s people in Jerusalem. They were pleased to do it…’ (Romans 15:25-27)
Paul uses the example of the generosity of the churches in Macedonia to inspire the Corinthians. Paul’s apostolic ministry meant that churches in very different locations worked together in many ways including financial support. These churches were not only connected through the gospel, they were also connected through the apostolic ministry of Paul and his team. They were a family of churches on mission together.
It’s God’s will that we are closely related to other churches and work together and support one-another. This can be worked out in different ways but for Newfrontiers, we believe in the gift of the apostle with whom we work to plant new churches and from whom we receive teaching to keep the church founded on the Bible, the gospel and remain focussed on The Great Commission.
God’s generosity moves us to be generous beyond ourselves.
Let’s be generously devoted to the family of churches that we belong to. Let’s give generously and pray generously for other churches and leaders.
(If you are reading this from outside of Newfrontiers, I leave it with you as to how you can work toward working with and being generous toward other churches.)
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
What has God been speaking to you about from His Word this week and how has this helped you / affected your life?
3. STUDY AND PRAY TOGETHER
Firstly, let’s watch this message from Jim partridges together:
Please read 2 Corinthians 8:1-9 again.
What particularly struck you from Jim's message?
What 2 relationships are we urged to give ourselves to and how is this being worked out in our lives and church?
SIV - How does working with New Ground help us to fufill The Great Commission?
SIV - How could you serve, invest and invite this week and let’s pray about this.
Prayer - How would you like prayer as a result of today’s study?