“. . .their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity” (2 Corinthians 8:2)
The church at Antioch sent money to the churches in Judea when they heard of the approaching famine. They were generous to those in financial need, but also discriminating, sending money where the need was, and they acted securely, using Barnabas and Saul as couriers.
The Antioch church was also generous in sending Barnabas and Saul on mission, and showed generosity in spirit in telling the good news about Jesus Christ to Greeks as well as Jews.
Why should we be generous?
– Other Christians are being generous
– “Whoever sows generously will also reap generously” (2 Corinthians 9:6) – but the reaping is a harvest of grace, not of money
– Jesus lived and died for us
– God has generously poured out his riches on us
What should we give?
– Money – we should move from not giving to contributing, and from contributing to giving generously
– Time – there are many opportunities to serve. The main qualification is a willing heart
– Gifts and talents
How should we give?
– Proportionately to our income
If you would like more information on how to give financially at CBC, please see our relevant flyer in the foyer and landing or speak with either Staff or Trustees of the church.
“While they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.” (Acts 13:2-3)
The third value of CBC, taken from the example for church in Antioch is Strategically Missionary. From Acts 11:19-21 and 13:1-3 there are three influences for us. First, Christians in Antioch told the good news (11:20), scattered by persecution and to a Greek audience. We are similarly motivated to tell the good news, strategically not to Christians but to all who have yet to receive Him. Second, Christians in Antioch sent gifts to fellow believers (11:29-30). This may not have been strategic on their part, being generous to brothers and sisters suffering famine. But we are strategic in being generous to individuals and missionary organisations serving at home and abroad. Third, Christians in Antioch sent out believers (13:2-3). With obedience to the Holy Spirit, they set apart significant contributors from the church to serve God in wider mission. This is a beautiful calling of God for CBC too, with many sent to serve God in ministry and mission. We cannot ignore either, every Christian who is sent from CBC each Sunday to serve God in mission wherever He has placed them. How can you be used by God to fulfill this third value, both personally and with us as Christ’s church?
“A time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23-24)
We focus our attention on the second core value of this church, which we identify from the church in Antioch as Authentically Spiritual. What does it mean to have authenticity? The Oxford English Dictionary says it is to be genuine or reliable. But biblical, spiritual authenticity is to have genuine faith that does not pretend or deceive but presents, both towards God and towards others, a real and active relationship with the true God of scripture. Jesus calls for authenticity in John 4:20-21. He declares that worship is not confined to a temple or tabernacle, to a geographical location or building, but offered through the Lord Jesus Christ. Wherever this worship takes place, Jesus says it must be offered in the Spirit and in truth. We see this authentic, genuine worship and Christian faith in the church of Antioch as they flee persecution, talk about Jesus, have a hunger for God’s word and seek the Holy Spirit. So let us commit to this same value and excel in it for the glory of God.
Cyra Stedman shared the following after our service. She felt it was from God and for us all:
“Amazing grace, my chains fell off. Don’t forget what I did for you! In those early day’s. First love. Go back and remember. I am with you always.”
“men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.” (Acts 11:20-21)
We begin a New Year with a new sermon series, leading up to the start of Lent with the six core values of CBC that underpin the mission and ministry of this church. These are all taken from the example for church in Acts chapters 11 and 13. Last week we focused our attention on the first core value, Distinctively Christian. And we identify the church in Antioch to be so in four ways. First, they spoke about the Lord Jesus (Acts 11:20). John Stott suggests, ‘disciples were called Christians first in Antioch because the word ‘Christ’ was constantly on their lips.’ Second, they remained true to the Lord Jesus (Acts 11:23). This fulfilled the instruction of Jesus in John 15:4 to remain in Him. Thirdly, they held a love for others (Acts 11:29-30). Compelled by the love of God first, which gives capacity to love others as Jesus instructed (Mark 12:30-31). And fourthly, they worshipped the Lord. Gathering to hear God’s word taught in Acts 11:26, praying and fasting in Acts 13:2-3. This Distinctively Christian lifestyle was clearly no bad thing for they bore much fruit. Let’s excel in this value and pray for God’s wonderful grace to be known among us here.
If you’re looking for a way to speak about Jesus more often, take a look at this fantastic idea provided by 24-7 Prayer: Praying the Phonebook