From Your One and Only Life by Greg Boyd
SUCH an important message!!!
Greg covered in his message the reference from James 1:17 with a fuller quote from James 1:16-18 as follows,
“Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.”
From this quote, we see that the Father only gives “good” and “perfect” gifts without deceit and we being “firstfruits” should do likewise…as Greg also brought out that we are created to reflect the Father’s self-giving love.
However, we know that our giving is not always done with the purest of motives. This brings us to another parable told by Jesus to a man who gave a banquet where an interesting situation can occur when we are giving (Lk 14:12-14),
“He (Jesus) said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”
In other words, if we give but are repaid by those to whom we give, we are not giving. But if we give to those who are not able to repay; then we will be blessed. Our giving needs to be appropriately targeted.
A further point here is in Acts 20:35, where Paul quotes Jesus, “In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” We must ask the question, why is it more blessed to give than to receive? If we are paid back by our giving then there is no giving but, true giving is where (in Paul’s case helping the weak) we are not paid back…with the blessing to be received in the new Kingdom. When you receive a gift there invariably is an immediate blessing but not necessarily of the same order of that just described.
So true giving really only comes from God out of love…that is no more truly expressed than the Father giving His only Son on the Cross. We then find the outflow of the work of the Cross and salvation as a gift to fallen man,
Justification – Rom 3:24 “and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus”
Repentance and Forgiveness – Acts 5:31 “God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.”
Faith – Eph 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
Righteousness – Rom 5:17 “For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.”
Eternal Life – Rom 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
So, from the foregoing, one may perhaps look at all believers having a number of gifts they can share with non-believers, let alone the other gifts of the Holy Spirit (ie the gifts of Christ that He (the Spirit) distributes).
This was an excellent sermon, Greg, and ever do you preach so well and are the best!. Have listened to you for years and years and you have ever blessed deeply..also with your books. Thank you dear Godly man!!
So good–a helpful jump-start as we enter 2017! Thanks, Greg : )
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