How to Grow Charity in the Life of the Believer
I. Introduction (Jer 17:9,10)
A. We all believe our hearts basically are right, and that we love right, and that all our problems are external – but God says, all of our problems are heart problems – every drink problem is a heart problem – every home problem is a heart problem – every drug problem is a heart problem – every money problem is a heart problem!!!
B. Somebody once said, "All church problems are really love problems – we either love God, or love sin; love God or love self more!
C. All the problems a Christian experiences can be solved with charity (all the strife; divisions; incest; marital conflicts; lawsuits; stumbling blocks; financial compensation; disorders around the Lord's Supper; abuse of spiritual gifts). They are all heart problems!
II. What is Charity? Charity is Not just “love” but:
A. Loving kindness
B. Something expressed from the whole heart – not just part (Mt 22:37)
C. Perfect love – with “self” completely out of the picture
D. We are talking about a form of love unknown to the world (John 15:19; 1John 3:1) – a love without limits!
E. Christian love is something that originated only in the Bible, and through personally knowing Jesus– it is experienced, not studied!
F. The Best example of Selfless Love in the Bible… Jesus (Philp 2:5-8) - All the others had some ulterior motive involved in their love. In other words, Charity is the very Person of Jesus Christ – it’s not an ideal, but a reality! Every line of 1Corinthians 13 is Jesus Christ – full stop!
G. But how does a person ADD this way of loving to his or her life? If God says to do it, then how can do it? (2Peter 1:3-8)
III. Message - How Charity Grows in the Life of a Believer - it has to be carefully added, bit by bit, trial by trial, choice by choice, prayer by prayer. But it all starts with Jesus, knocking to come in (Rev 3:20; Rom 5:8) to give you something this world cannot provide – charity love!
A. Accept it First.
1. Realize you don’t have it at first – whatever love you do have, is only a shadow of what Jesus Christ offers you (1Jn 4:7)!
2. So you must first receive it (Lk 7:47) through forgiveness– it grows according to how much we have been forgiven!
a. As sinners we are enemies of God (Rom 5:8-10)
b. Our sin has separated us from God (Isa 59:2)
c. God so loved that He gave (John 3:16) – will you receive?
3. Allow God to love you when you won’t love yourself! Let Him Give you…
a. A new heart
b. A soft heart (Ezek 36:26)
c. A ready heart – yearning to be used by the Lord – it comes from a personal, intimate hungry relationship with God!
B. Seek More of It (1Cor 14:1; 1Pet 4:8) Seek it like the rarest treasure that it is
1. This is something that no heart can get enough of.
2. Seek after it first in the pages of this Bible – you add this part of Christ’s nature only as you understand it – so you have to really learn the lessons of this Book! The mind of Christ, the heart of Christ!
3. That means pay the price it demands – Charity is not free! It was when directed at you, but the ability to have charity towards others costs a lot!
a. 1Pet 2:5 Make some spiritual sacrifices
b. Mark 12:33 Love towards God and others is a great sacrifice
4. Pursue after Charity by making sure all the other steps have been taken in your life (2Pet 1:5-8):
g. Brotherly Kindness
h. And make sure they ABOUND (2Pet 1:8)
5. Become filled with the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22) – He is the source of charity, and the giver of all grace so that you can love without limits
6. Give out selfless love – love without limits
a. At Home (Eph 5:25; Tit 2:4)
b. Make sure you express it in this church (1Pet 4:8)
c. Everywhere – what a difference this world would see if we lived and loved this way!
C. Nurture It
1. Carefully add it to every area of your life like adding shingles to every area of a roof (1Cor 16:14; Col 3:10-14; 2Tim 2:22)
2. Loving Jesus supremely (John 14:21,23)
3. Quick to forgive any trespass against you
4. Slow to wrath – GIVE benefit of doubt – stop judging, stop coming to evil conclusions – be gracious and still firm, but a lot of grace!
D. Protect It (Prov 4:23).
1. Get rid of known sins that affect your heart – premeditated, wilful sins - iniquity (Mt 24:12; 1Pet 1:22)
2. Especially repent of loving this world (1John 2:15) – the idols, the styles, the pleasures of sin for a season – no way for the two loves to co-exist
A. Charity is something quite unknown to the world. It is the by-product of being loved by God, and forgiven by God!
B. All of life’s problems are heart problems – end of story. If only we focused on this one area of our life, and got it truly fixed, nothing would defeat us!
C. Charity is to be the bedrock, foundation of our lives in our relationship with God, and then in relation to other people!
D. Charity produces 10 of the most outstanding characteristics that you can only find in a relationship with Jesus (1Cor 13)!
E. How Can We Have More of this kind of love in our lives?
1. Accept it First
2. Seek More of It
3. Nurture It
4. Protect It
F. Next Week – Beating the Barrenness of Modern Christianity
Bible Baptist Church
Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland