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Reading: 1John 3:16-20
/17 If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?
18 Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.
1 John 3:17-18 (NIV)
The Compassion Test
A Brother in need
Brother or Sister in Christ
/If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever./
Fellow Human beings
Throw the Lock or turn the Key?
/...has no pity.../ lit.
/closes his compassion / Not that “pity” simply isn’t there, it is.
It has to be closed or turned off.
The point is not to respond with stuff, but to respond with our hearts (the stuff will follow, when real compassion flows).
God’s love must be Expressed
Ex-pressed — it has to come out.
It can’t stay in.
When our cup isn’t over-flowing, God’s not the one filling it.
/Love of God/ can be taken 2 ways:
The love which God places in our hearts
The love that God has for us which demands that we love others in kind.
Loving with Actions
Not just in Principle
/“...let us not love with words...”/ It’s easier to get our giving principles written down and agreed to than to help real people in real situations.
Words and Principles for helping are find and dandy, but they don’t help people unless we act on them.
Face to Face
Notice this /sees his brother in need/ this kind of help is based on relationship.
We often prefer to do our helping from a distance (and sometimes it’s necessary).
But love doesn’t know how to be impersonal.
Loving takes more than Money
Because needs are more than financial.
Sometimes there are real financial needs caused by circumstances out of the control of those in need.
Sometimes the financial needs are caused by poor money management.
Usually it’s some combination.
Money alone can’t rescue a person from poverty.
Poverty is not simply a lack of money, it’s mostly a lack of power.
Folks who need temporary assistance, sometimes need long-term empowerment.
Loving in Truth
Not to get Rid of
Too often we (I) give just to get rid of people.
Those on the receiving end sometimes take advantage of our tendency for this.
Giving to get rid of has nothing to do with loving with deeds or in truth.
To really Help
When we love someone, we care about their long-term well-being.
The title is not “Give till it hurts” or “Give till it helps” but “Give /So/ it Helps”
It is the policy of this church to never give cash.
Because it’s too great a temptation for some who struggle with alcohol and other chemical dependency.
There really is something called “co-dependency” where we help someone remain dependent upon us by the way we give.
There are times when we simply have to help by not helping.
/For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.”
This is not cruelty, it is requiring responsibility.
(It is ultimately dehumanizing to declare someone irresponsible.)
Where there is a pattern of dependency, folks sometimes have to face the consequences of their own actions.
This doesn’t mean we close our compassion, or use any excuse we can think of to refuse help.
We just learn to help in a more difficult way.
In the Name of Christ
Part of loving in truth is to love in Truth (with the big “T.”)
We love because of the love of God within us.
Why not put that in big, bold letters as we help?
People need Jesus more than they need anything else.
People need God’s love more than anything else.
When we help them in the name of Christ, we help them more than materially.
!! The Bottom Line:
| Give Wisely.
Give because of God’s Love.
Give in the name of Christ.
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