Pastor Jonathan Falwell
And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.
(Matt. 7:12 Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.)
The Christmas season is upon us, like it or not. We have just been reminded of this fact several days ago during Black Friday festivities. Amazing, isn’t it, that Black Friday has become a bigger holiday than Thanksgiving! To me, the reason this has happened is not because of a marketing scheme thought up on Madison Avenue in New York but rather a symptom of an upside down way of thinking in society. Generosity has given way to “GET-orosity.”
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not against shopping, against buying things for our families for Christmas. And I’m certainly not against getting good deals on those things on days like Black Friday. What I’m against is the notion that we get so focused on what we want for ourselves and our families that we forget a world around us that is in need…both spiritually and physically.
I think today would be a great time to begin a conversation on how to turn that notion around in our lives. And, make no mistake, I do believe the only way to turn it around is through Christ and His church! That’s what “CHRISTMAS CARES” is all about!
But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. 29 To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. 30 Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. 31 And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise. 32 “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. 35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.
1. Love Is The Foundation Of Every Good Thing (verses 27-29)
– Love your enemies? Really?
– Love starts the process of generosity
– Love starts the process of mutual respect
– Love starts the process of joy
– Joy starts the process of giving
2. Giving Is The Natural Consequence Of Loving (verses 30-31)
– When you truly love others according to God’s command, you have a natural desire to bless them, to help them, to give to them
– No one has ever missed anything they gave away because of love
– Blessing others results in blessing you more
– God rewards us for our generosity
Kelly Hancock states: Living Generously is:
* using your God-given ability to help those in need
* where your time, money, and talents come together to meet the needs of others
* something you can practice all year long, not just at Christmastime
Winston Churchill once said, “You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give.”
3. Both Are Only Possible Through Loving God (verse 32-35)
– Maybe a better way of saying this is that it is impossible and improbable to live generously without truly loving God
– God is the source every good thing and every good work, earlier I stated that “Love is the Foundation of Every Good Thing.” God is love, therefore, only through Him can we experience what life was intended to be.
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full grown, brings forth death. 16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.