Christian Principles of Generosity (Romans #28)

Text: Romans 12:13

Generosity and hospitality are ways of describing a child of God’s attitude about their stuff.

Possessed of the Generous Spirit of God

  • Acts 4:31-33 – Filled with the Holy Spirit will cause you to be generous
    • Find a stingy curmudgeon and you can be sure the Holy Spirit has nothing to do with their possessions
    • Being wealthy and giving of one’s abundance does not mean someone is generous.  What’s a little to you maybe a lot to me.  But this isn’t a competition.
    • Someone who gives with strings attached – “That’s mine. I bought that.”
    • They let the Lord control their stuff and the grace and power of God was manifest in them.
  • True Worship
    • Worship can be a pious word without meaning.
      • What exactly do you mean when you say “worship God”?
      • That can be an impotent and benign “worship” that has no meaning or power or effect.
    • Real tangible, effective worship when the Lord has so moved your heart that you want to give him back something that cost you.
    • What is it worth to give God something that didn’t cost you anything?

Parameters of Distribution

  • Acts 4:34-37 – God makes provision through the generosity of the saints
  • Help you understand what is the Holy Spirit’s conviction versus what is self imposed guilt
  • Distributing to the necessity of saints is necessity of the saints, not every beggar unwilling to work.
    • The “bleeding heart” is satisfying some sort of guilt.  But this generosity is not being done to satisfy some guilt.
    • Not communism.  Karl Marx used Acts 4:32-35 to justify his socialistic philosophy.  This is not government enforced “generosity”; that is redistribution.
      • Mao’s Great Famine – The Great Leap Forward
  • Sometimes there is a misunderstanding of how the distribution is to be made.  Specific directions are given in several places.
    • 1 Timothy 5:5-16 – distribution to widows
    • 1 Timothy 5:17-18 – distribution to pastors and ministers
    • Philippians 4:15 – distribution to missionaries
    • 2 Corinthians 9 – wealthier church giving to a church in need
  • Ephesians 4:28

Difference Between a Generous Desire and Generosity is Letting Go

  • You may desire to be a blessing, but how you prepare yourself to be a blessing will determine your generosity.
  • Desire to be a blessing without letting go means your lusts will constantly be consuming your income and possessions and there will be no room to for the generous spirit of God to work.
  • 2 Corinthians 9:1-5 – Paul sends brethren before to ensure there will be money for the Macedonians.  And to separate himself from the money so there is no confusion about his intentions.
  • 2 Corinthians 9:6 – generosity is an agricultural principle like a farmer sowing seed.  But if you give to get, then your motive is greed and that falls under the same category as a prayer prayed so you can consume it upon your lusts.
  • 2 Corinthians 9:7 – you determine whatever you’re cheerful about giving. If it has to be pried out of your hands, just keep it.
  • 1 Timothy 6:18 – ready and willing

Generosity Produces Praise

  • Generosity is a blessing to all involved; to the giver and to those that receive
  • 2 Corinthians 9:11-12 – It generates gratitude to the giver and the receiver.
  • 2 Corinthians 9:13-15 – It generates glory to God.  And isn’t that your purpose here on earth, to bring glory to God?

Generosity is Openness

  • Hospitality is generosity with your home
    • Interesting social study of architecture of homes over time
    • History of the front porch and social behavior or Americans
      • Open, large, welcoming
      • 1920s moves to the side of the house – desire for more privacy
      • 1950s moves to the back of the house – more desire for privacy
  • Hospitality is openness
  • Church home

Given to hospitality – If you are “given” to something, you are fully devoted to that thing.