Giving: as good as we get?

Mere cover

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son,
that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16 ESV

For all of us, we children of a loving heavenly Father, charity – a parable of Grace – may be the one point of family resemblance that the least of us (think of that widow’s mite) can most powerfully and effectively express. This first of three brief posts on the theme of charity comes from C. S. Lewis…

C. S. Lewis wrote: “In the passage where the New Testament says that everyone must work (Ephesians 4:28) it gives as a reason ‘in order that he may have something to give to those in need’. Charity – giving to the poor – is an essential part of Christian morality: in the frightening parable of the sheep and the goats it seems to be the point on which everything turns. Some people nowadays say that charity ought to be unnecessary and that instead of giving to the poor we ought to be producing a society in which there were no poor to give to. They may be quite right in saying that we ought to produce this kind of society. But if anyone thinks that, as a consequence, you can stop giving in the meantime, then he has parted company with all Christian morality.”

From C. S. Lewis in Mere Christianity.

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Plus One?

 

God's Words

 

For where two or three are gathered
in my name, there am I among them.’
Matthew 18:20 ESV

 

Some people set an extra place at the table for Jesus, the unseen guest at every meal and the silent listener to every conversation. (Whether such an idea is attractive or not may say much about us.) Of course it is true, in a way, of any Christian home, and, in a way, it is true of every table, every conversation, everywhere, but, particularly, in the fellowship of the Church. This final brief post on the theme of Fellowship also comes from J. I. Packer…

J. I. Packer wrote: “Third, fellowship is a gift of God. The NEB translates Paul’s benediction in 2 Corinthians 13:14 as follows: ‘The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and fellowship in the Holy Spirit, be with you all’ – and this is probably right. It is only where the Holy Spirit has been given, where men are spiritually alive and anxious to grow in grace themselves and help others to do the same, that fellowship becomes a possibility; and it is only as the Holy Spirit enables us to speak to others, and others to us, in such a way that Christ and the Father are made known through what is said, that fellowship is made a reality.

“When we seek to enjoy fellowship together, we should do so in prayerful dependence on the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Trinity, whose office it is to reveal Christ to us; otherwise, our talk with each other will be empty and profitless, and the goal of fellowship – fuller acquaintance with our common Lord – will not be achieved.”

From J. I. Packer in God’s Words

Catch and Release?

God's Words
‘… as he came down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God.’
(Exodus 34:29 ESV) Fellowship is ‘catching’ and better caught than taught. It grows in each of us through our contact with God and we (the Body of Christ in the world) become carriers together of this new condition. Its symptoms include the love of God and our neighbour. This second of three brief posts on the theme of Fellowship also comes from J. I. Packer…

J. I. Packer wrote: “Second, fellowship is a test of life. Fellowship means opening one’s heart to one’s fellow-Christians. Where there is pretence or concealment, fellowship cannot exist. But the only man who is free to eschew pretence and concealment about himself when talking to his fellow-Christians is the man who is being open and honest in his daily dealings with God. A man who is not letting the light of God shine full on his whole life cannot have free fellowship with other believers; indeed, he will shrink from fellowship, lest his insincerities be detected. ‘If we walk in the light, as he is in the light,’ wrote John, ‘we have fellowship with one another– but not otherwise (1 John 1:7).”

From J. I. Packer in God’s Words

We need a bigger ‘Ship…

God's Words

To think that fellowship at church is the function of just those social events where the out-going shine, while more reserved characters are better occupied ‘off stage’, is mistaken. Fellowship (with a capital F) is much bigger than that, requiring the participation of every member of the Body of Christ to best fulfil God’s purposes for it. This first of three brief posts on the theme of Fellowship comes from J. I. Packer…

J. I. Packer wrote: “First, fellowship is a means of grace. Through fellowship one’s soul is refreshed and fed, and by the effort to communicate one’s knowledge of divine things one’s own grasp of them is strengthened. To have God’s children praying for you, caring for you as a fellow-believer, and sharing their experiences of trial and triumph with you brings vast enrichment; and your support of others in the way that others have supported you will mature you as well as benefiting them. Paul’s constant pleas that Christians would pray for him as he prays for them (Rom. 15:30; 2 Cor. 1:11; Eph. 6:19; Col.4:3; 1 Thes. 5:25; 2 Thes.3:1 f.; Phm.22; cf. Heb. 13:18) and James’ injunction, ‘confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed’ (5:16), confirm this. Christian fellowship is a means of grace that we neglect to our poverty and at our peril.”

From J. I. Packer in God’s Words.