It is the privilege of Christians to fully comprehend the experience of the blessedness of giving, and this only in the light of Christ.
So few people comprehend this very unique joy, and even fewer have understanding of its eternal significance. Does what is given today in the name of Christ multiply reward eternally? The answer depends only on where you desire your treasure stored.
9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. 10 Be kindly affectioned one to another ||with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; 11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; 12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; 13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. 14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. 15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.Romans 12:9-15
The Blessesdness of Giving
Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.
Let me first explain The Blessedness of Giving in light of this verse in Romans 12:13.
Each of us are charged by the Lord to give of our selves to those who are in need. Not only of those things that are physical, but also that we are “given to hospitality”.
Hospitality is something that seems to have really changed alot in these last days, not many people are willing to “entertain strangers” forgetful that “some have entertained angels unawares” (Heb 13:2).
But the text before us is not complicated, we give to those who have need, and we should ALWAYS be given to hospitality.
The purpose of this message this morning to bring just a little clarity to the text before us, but then to explain why we do so and what benefit there is in it, both to the giver and the receiver. But most especially to the giver, as Jesus said “It is more blessed to give than to receive”
The Benevolence of Selfless Charity
Romans chapter 12 begins the portion of the book that is practical.
We have now left the segments dealing with doctrine (the teaching of the fundamentals of God and reality), now we have moved into the application which logically flows from those fundamental doctrines we have witnessed in previous passages.
This portion of chapter 12, and most clearly, this verse (13) relates to the benefit of others, but more specifically, the members of the Church;
Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.
The Lord has directed here a focus of this distribution, this effort of selfless benefit is to the “Saints”, that is, the local assembly of believers, the Church.
Yes beloved, all the ‘saints’ spoken of in the Bible are alive and well, its the only way you can distribute to their necessity!
We know we are to be a blessing to all people, but this is not what Paul has directed in this passage.
He writes of the Body of Christ from verse 4 to 8 and directs a form of love in the same context that is without hypocrisy;
Let love be without dissimulation. The word dissimulation relates to that which is dissimilar, not the same. Its greek origin is where we get the word Hypocrite.
Let love be without hypocrisy, or perfectly rendered, without dissimulation Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. 10 Be kindly affectioned one to another ||with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
The context makes plain that Paul is addressing the Church in how to live together with one another, and it is without contradiction that we should always be
12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; 13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.
Paul writes in Galatians 6:10;
As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
We have this distribution not limited only to Gods people, but there is a peculiar setting apart for them who are of the household of faith.
This is the Benevolence of Selfless Charity: Why do I use the word Charity?
Because the word Charity is used in the scriptures in the most unique of ways, turn the 1 Corinthians 13
1Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
This passage is known as the Love Chapter. It is read out at many weddings, both Christian and secular. It is the most simple rendering of what Love is.
You will notice clearly that the word Charity is employed in the text rather than the word Love, there are several reasons for this, but the most consistent reason is that this is not a Secular love, this love that
Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. And will never fail, is a love between brethren in Christ. Every time the word Charity appears in your Bible, (it is only found in the New Testament), it refers to a Love between brethren.
ONLY this Love can indeed ‘Bear all things, believe all things, hope of all things, endure all things and never fail’, secular love cannot do so.
Therefore this distribution is to the necessity of Saints, it is The Benevolence of Selfless Charity.
Earlier I mentioned that the doctrines of the Bible come first, and then the applications are those things which naturally follow.
Jesus Christ gave himself for us when we were yet sinners, it was a selfless act one in which he was under no obligation to undertake.
Man is responsible for his own sin, he separated himself from God, turned his back on Christ, lived his own way to suit his own purpose and exalts himself high about everyone else. Man has no natural affection one toward another, especially when, as in the teaching of philosophers such as the late Ayn Rand, man believes his own good to be the highest moral obligation.
BUT Jesus destroys that entire edifice by what he did upon that Cross.
That is the doctrine, but what comes from that doctrine?
That we are to esteem others better than ourselves.
Shall I prove to you how the application follows the doctrine?
Turn to Philippians 2:3-8
In this case we first have the application, and then the doctrine that explains why we should do what we do.
First the application
3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
Next The Doctrine that gives reason for the application
5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Paul here writes of how we are to treat one another, and then he gives the doctrinal reason why this is so.
Everything we do, and all that we are and believe is shaped through a Biblical worldView.
It was the German philosophers that coined the term Weltanschauung in 1868, they understood that, how we view the world informs EVERYTHING WE DO.
Everyone has a worldview, it is a view of the world that has been formed over time and is almost always Enviromental, in other words, it is established by the environment, the family, schools, media, life and life choices people make.
But not all Worldview’s properly interpret the truth of the world. Only the Biblical worldview accomplishes it, only the Biblical world view makes sense of the world we live in.
Part of that Biblical world view is that it is more blessed to give than to receive. Part of that biblical worldview reasons that if Christ gave himself completely that we might live, we should give to the necessity of others!
Knowing that Jesus made himself of no reputation even though it could never be considered for Christ to think it “robbery to be equal with God”, yet for our-sakes he became man to took our sins upon himself that we might be made the “righteousness of God in him”
Distributing to the necessity of the Saints, and being given to hospitality, should never be to us a dilemma, but a natural response of selfless charity.
Freely we have received, therefore freely we give.
The Bounty of Blessed Opportunity
The doctrine of blessing others as an opportunity is not a novel notion. It is as ancient as the Bible itself. Turn to Deut 15:12-15
And if thy brother, an Hebrew man, or an Hebrew woman, be sold unto thee, and serve thee six years; then in the seventh year thou shalt let him go free from thee. 13 And when thou sendest him out free from thee, thou shalt not let him go away empty: 14 Thou shalt furnish him liberally out of thy flock, and out of thy floor, and out of thy winepress: of that wherewith the LORD thy God hath blessed thee thou shalt give unto him. 15 And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt, and the LORD thy God redeemed thee: therefore I command thee this thing to day.
This historical command to the nation of Israel has within it an incredible application for us today.
The Hebrew people were instructed of God that when a person was sold unto them and served them, they should not just let them go with the shirt on their back, but to furnish them liberally, to give them abundance that they may begin a life for themselves.
Beloved, the Bible is not shy to speak of slavery, it does not condone it but in order to understand how it was justly attended to in ancient days, it is worth understanding the historical context.
Slaves were not bought from men stealers, but from a just cause to the settling of debts. Yes there was unjust trade in human traffic when diabolical people would steal or kidnap others to trade them on the slave market, that was unjust and is condemned in the Bible.
But there were indeed those who had accumulated debt that they could not again repay. The Bible warns of debt saying that the borrower is always servant to the lender (Pr 22:7).
So those who had accumulated debts in which they could no longer pay with money, sold themselves as servants to settle the debt.
This was never unusual and can even be an arrangement undertaken today between willing parties.
Todays ‘bankruptcy laws’ however make the immoral act of forgoing the payment of debts to creditors, legal. But a just society cannot sustain itself this way indefinitely. Debts are always to be paid, but it should never be the victim who pays it.
Nevertheless, the Old Testament placed a time limit on the act and at the end of the term, having gained more value that what he paid, the owner was to supply the servant with his necessity, and do so remembering that he himself was a bondman in the land of Egypt and the Lord redeemed him.
As a Christian therefore, you can see how this is the doctrine feeds how we are now to live, this is the natural application that follows historical reality.
When we remember how the Lord found us and from where we were before he gave the gift of eternal life to each of us, when we come to understand that no matter how rich in material possessions we might have had, but spiritually found we were “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:” (Rev 3:17), it is then that we count it a joy and find a blessed opportunity to “distribute to the NECESSITY of saints and to be given to hospitality”.
Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. (Mt 5:42)
But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. (Her 13:16)
When Jesus said it is more blessed to give than it is to receive, he meant it literally. Turn to Proverbs 11:25-27
The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself. 26 He that withholdeth corn, the people shall curse him: but blessing shall be upon the head of him that selleth it. 27 He that diligently seeketh good procureth favour: but he that seeketh mischief, it shall come unto him.
We do not know exactly how it works, this is indeed a mystery, nevertheless it is a fundamental principle in the Bible that those who sow sparingly shall reap sparingly and those who sow bountifully shall also reap bountifully.
Lets Turn there, 2 Cor 9:6-10
6 But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. 7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: 9 (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever. 10 Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;)
Paul here refers to the collection he was to obtain from the Corinthians for the benefit of the Church “the ministering to the saints” (v1).
Paul spoke of the zeal of the Corinthian Church and did not want to be made ashamed of them if he came to them and they were unprepared for the opportunity laid before them in the distribution to the saints.
Again, we do not know how it works, but when you are willing to give from that which you often hold far too dearly (such as your money, comforts or goods), the lord is both willing and able to bless abundantly your faith in him.
Now, this is IMPORTANT!
Please understand that this is not always going to be like with like, you are not always going to get back the thing that you give.
God knows what your true needs are and gives to you the abundance of that which you lack.
They that sow in tears shall reap in joy (Prov 126:5)
Sow to yourselves righteousness, reap in mercy (Hos 10:12)
Take care not to be sold the goods of prosperity preachers, but trust that the Lord is not only able but willing to abound greatly to your account, even to stop the devourer for your sakes; What do I mean?
Turn to Haggai 1:4-11
3rd last book of the Old Testament, only two chapters. If you have gone to Zephaniah or Habakkuk you have gone too far.
The Lord had rebuked the people for taking their own comforts while his temple laid waste and he rebuked their earnings. God can both give and take away when we care for ourselves more than we do for others.
Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste? 5 Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. 6 Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.7 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.
Two books over we have the famous Malachi 3, which speaks of the Lord blessing the people for their faithfulness and includes the most fascinating phrase in verse 11, lets read from 10;
10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. 11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts.(Mal 3:10-11)
Some no doubt are saying “Pastor slipped in a sermon on tithing”. Well, if that upsets you perhaps it convicts you…then this message is certainly for you 🙂
Beloved, This is THE BOUNTY OF BLESSED OPPORTUNITY
Our unwillingness to give to the needs of others, whether through goods or hospitality, LIMITS our own blessing.
There is indeed a devourer that explains why we sow much and bring in little, why we eat but have not enough, drink but not filled, clothed but not warmed, why it is that we earn abundance of wages to put into a bag with holes.
The reason is simple, we will not give when we see others have needs.
“But Pastor, we dont know when people have any needs!”
Thats only because you are not looking for the opportunity beloved!
When you understand this doctrine well enough, and you see God so desiring to bless the giver more than the receiver, then you will LOOK for every occasion to bless others, and you will see it indeed as an ‘opportunity’.
But THE BOUNTY OF A BLESSED OPPORTUNITY in this life is not all; not only does the Lord bless those who are faithful when they Distribute to the necessity of Saints, in this life, there is extension of the REWARD of this faithfulness and trust in the Lord into eternity.
The Beginning of Eternal Distribution
Jesus spoke a word on the Gospel of Mark that truly should sum all things respecting the eternal blessings for “Distributing to the Necessity of saints, and being given to hospitality”.
In Mark 9:41 he said
For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.
Please consider that for a moment.
he shall not lose his reward
While you are considering it, turn to Hebrews 6:10
For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
What is the expectation when the passage tells us God will not forget out work and labour of love?
Beloved, when there is such a selfless labour of love toward the needs of others, in faithfulness to Christ, it would be indeed unrighteous to forget such love.
We see this expression even today among those who are thankful, “I wont forget what you have done for me and my family”. The expression is one of future intended recompense if ever the ‘opportunity’ presents itself.
But think on this;
Can we forget the Love that was bestowed upon us through the sufferings of Christ? Can you even begin to imagine what sort of Love it is that would lay down a life for a friend let alone an enemy?
I do not know how many of you have yet not received the forgiveness of your sin paid for on that Cross, but I do know that if you have not received this free gift of Christ, all that I preach to you this day will have no long term effect.
- You have not yet freely received, how then can you freely give?
- You still have your hope in temporal and insignificant things in this life, how can you be willing to give them up for those who are in greater need?
- You are living for today, rather than living in the until
We speak of those who might attend to the work of the mission fields, some who hear this message may have thought to attending to this work, but some have desired rather the temporal life of comfort and ease. All this while those who have trouble and strife cant even hope for life eternal because you are too far for them to hear you.
If that is you, then you have lost sight of that eternal value of the work.
If you are called to be an evangelist, but are rather focused on this worlds goods, you have lost sight of the opportunity to ‘distribute’ the most important gift of all to those in need.
What of you who are called to Pastor churches in other towns and cities? Are you pursuing the work or just waiting for your Pastor to get off his back side to teach you?
Don’t worry beloved, your pastor will be rebuked if he is slack in his work, but that does not excuse you if you are called to give of yourself to the work for the benefit of others.
Some have given everything they have in exchange for just one soul to come to Christ in a foreign land. Will they not be rewarded?
Christ gave his life, but there may be some sitting here that will not even give of their time.
What a shame it is, and I wonder what comforts the Lord will one day remove from those of us who have taken too much liberty with a life wasted in vain pursuits?
The lost remain poor and lost because the riches of Christ won’t make it past our lips.
Either that or we are simply far too distracted with the events of this life. Too earthly bound to be any heavenly good.
Jesus spoke of reward, the apostle speaks of God not forgetting our works and love shown through those works, is there anything else perhaps clearer?
Turn to Luke 12:33
Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. 34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Jesus speaks of a transfer of wealth in this passage. We have all heard the phrase that you cant take it with you. Indeed, Job spoke of that when he lost almost everything saying “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither:…” (Jb 1:21)
Paul wrote to Timothy saying; 6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
Beloved, when it comes to the physical elements of this life all that is written here is true, so what does Jesus mean when speaking of “treasure in heaven”?
There is a comfort in which you comfort those who have necessity. When you give to the temporal relief of those in need, you also enact a kindness and hope in them that has them seek the source of your treasure.
People ask of the hope that is in you. People enquire as to the source of such selfless giving, a giving which they know cannot naturally come from the wicked heart of men without any motive.
What is it about the widows mite that Jesus commended infinitely more than the rich mens tithes? (Matt 12:41-44)
How could she have given much more by giving simply of her want, while they gave of their abundance?
The Blessedness of Giving
Now you have heard the doctrine, you see the record God gave both of the history and most importantly his Son, but how are we to implement this practically?
The first practical thing to consider is to deal with your own covetousness.
It has been said that everything can be loosed in the Christian but his purse strings. There is too often a willingness to take but rarely a willingness to give.
The Christian is to set himself apart from the flesh nature of the world and dispel the coveting heart that holds onto temporal things.
The Lord gave example in Luke 14:12
Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee. 13 But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: 14 And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.
There is a reason the Lord said it is more blessed to give than it is to receive.
Proverbs 25:21 says If thine enemy hunger, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink.
It is the covetous heart that counts how many times you have shouted dinner compared to a friend of yours. It is a misplaced faith that desires to be rewarded in this life.
Too many have wasted their abundance to gain for themselves, rather than invested their want to gain for others.
Jesus spoke to the rich, young ruler and told him there was only one thing lacking in him, “sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; come take up the cross and follow me”. (Mark 10:21)
Was Jesus giving the man a raw deal?
Well you must believe he was if you spend so much of your time counting who owes you what and are unwilling to “Distribute to the necessity of saints” or to be “given to hospitality”.
Beloved, every opportunity you have to bless members of the congregation, do so.
Every opportunity you can find to give to a stranger some help in the name of Christ, do so.
Don’t waste opportunities for eternal reward by simply passing by those that you know have need.
- God is both able to recompense you for you loss in this life, Proverbs 11:25 “The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.”
- And is able and willing to transfer your selfless temporal charity to eternal treasures that waxes not old, where thieves do not break through nor steal, where moth nor rust corrupts.
Understand The Blessedness of Giving
Last passage we turn to this morning and perhaps the Lord will this way drive home the point of the verse here in Romans 12:13
Turn to 2 Corinthians 8:7-15
7 Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also. 8 I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love. 9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich. 10 And herein I give my advice: for this is expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago. 11 Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have. 12 For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not. 13 For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened: 14 But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality: 15 As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he thathad gathered little had no lack.
No this is not a justification for Socialism beloved, this is not Charity at the point of a Gun, this is the personal preparation of the heart of a cheerful giver!