A Giving Heart for Those in Need

A Giving Heart: The Gospel of Generosity  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  49:10
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How can a person know that you are a Christian? What evidence do you display that reveals the genuine quality of your heart—a heart that has experienced transformation by the power of God?
A Christian bears fruit in four areas of life:
COMPASSION - the focus of today’s message.
These past several weeks I have focused on the condition of our heart (thoughts, attitudes, priorities) as it relates to giving—specifically giving money.
Core principles:
We give for the glory of God.
We give to meet the needs of our church’s ministry.
We give to provide for missionaries to preach the Gospel throughout the world.
Today, as we conclude this series of messages, I want to focus on the fact, that as believers in Jesus Christ, we give to help people in need.
Compassion is:

Practice True, Untainted Religion

James 1:27 ESV
27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
There may not be a greater verse in all the Bible than this one that defines for us what pure religion is.
James is basically saying that this is the essence of what religion is all about.
It is not just about religion but about a relationship and a relationship with the widows and orphans. 
We read throughout the Bible that God is the defender of the orphans and widows.
Psalm 68:5 ESV
5 Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.
It’s not only visiting them when they’re lonely but about visiting them “in their affliction.” 
Their affliction might be the loss of the widow’s husband and the children’s father. 
Love is helping them where they need it (food, clothing, lawn mowing, etc.) and we can be a father to them who have no father and a helpmate to those widows who have lost theirs.

Live to Please God by Helping Others

Hebrews 13:16 ESV
16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
Helping others is good.
Helping others is a sacrifice.
Helping others pleases God.
Acts 2:44–45 ESV
44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.

Demonstrate Genuine Love by Helping Others.

1 John 3:17 ESV
17 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?
Many talk the talk but few it seems walk the walk and if you see your brother or sister in need and yet close your ears to them, how in the world can you say that the love of God abides in you? 
It’s not possible because the love of God should compel us to help one another. 

Wake Up Your Faith through Compassion

James 2:14–17 ESV
14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
I have heard people respond to requests for help by saying, “I am so sorry…I will pray for you.”
That may be less a promise of prayer than it is a cop out.  It’s easier to say “Go in peace, be warmed and filled” and “I’ll pray for you” than to actually help them. 
Talk is cheap and if you have no works then your faith may not be genuine.  We are not saved by works but a saving faith works!

Lend to the Lord

Proverbs 19:17 ESV
17 Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.
Become God’s banker. He will never default! Remember—God owns everything—and He will out-give you! Be generous.
Matthew 25:35–40 ESV
35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
Let’s put our beliefs into action! Become a generous person.
Generosity is rooted in your relationship with God.
Compassion is energized through prayer.
Be engaged in God’s Kingdom business and become aware of those around you!
Act—and do not overthink!
Don’t worry that people will take advantage of you! Trust God and His Word.
Questions for personal reflection and group discussion
Why do you think James describes true religion as helping widows and orphans?
Why do you think God is pleased when you help those in need?
What are some practical things you can do to help others?
How does prayer impact the way you may help someone in need?
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