Generosity is the heart of heaven, and God is honored when we develop the same attribute.
What is the best gift you have ever given someone?
In our 4th sermon on Rise Up, Pastor Chris addressed generosity. If you check out our website, you will find that one of our values at FP is to “develop heaven’s heart- generosity. We believe that our God has a generous heart. ‘For God so loved the world He gave….’ He is most honored when we develop the same attribute. At Faith Promise we strive to teach every person to tithe his or her income and go beyond in giving to our Lord. God blesses sacrifice and generosity.” Pastor gave a quick overview of the book of Ephesians, where the first 3 chapters tell us who we are in Christ and outline God’s generosity towards us. In chapters 4-5, Paul outlines our duty to walk out our faith in response to His calling we have received. Finally, chapter 6 addresses how we are to “Rise Up” and win the war, putting on the full armor of God. We learned that greed is a mark of an unbeliever’s life not a saint’s life and that it is essentially a form of idolatry (Col 3:5). Pastor used the illustration of God calling Moses from the burning bush in Exodus 3-4 to urge us to surrender our identity, income, and influence to the Lord. He wanted Moses to surrender all, and all Moses had was what was in his hand- his staff. Moses threw it down, and the Lord used it miraculously in many ways as He liberated the Jews from bondage in Egypt. True victory in life is found when we surrender all to Him! What’s in your hand?
ENCOUNTERING GOD THROUGH BIBLE STUDY:
Read Ephesians 4:1.
1. We are God’s representative on earth. We are to live our lives worthy of the calling we have received. People are watching- in what ways must we look different? How can the world see Christ in us?
Read Ephesians 4:17-24.
2. With regard to the sermon and generosity, what is a mark of the unbeliever? Share with your group a time where you have overcome greed or covetousness in your life. How was your life changed by it?
Read Ephesians 5:1-3.
3. How can we be imitators of God? How can this look day in and day out? How does God see our sacrifice? God sees us as His holy people, set apart from the world around us. We are called to live a different life, one without sin. Although we are set apart, we still have our sin nature. How does a Christ follower live a holy life?
Read or summarize Exodus 3-4.
4. Moses is called by God to lead His people out of captivity into the Promised Land. Moses reponded the way we often respond to God’s commands and callings… “But…” He was reluctant and fearful when he should have been trusting. God is faithful to equip those He calls with courage, confidence and resources. Are you or have you faced a challenge where you felt inadequate? How and why can you trust God to provide everything you need? If possible, share a time where God faithfully provided for you.
5. Pastor touched on the usefulness of the shepherd’s staff. Recall how it was important in the life of the shepherd. How did God use the shepherd’s staff to teach Moses a lesson? Share with your group some of the miraculous ways God would later show His power through Moses’s staff/rod. (Hint: the answer is not in these 2 chapters!)
6. How can you commit to surrendering what is “in your hand” this week? What do you need to surrender? Your money? Your time? Your leisure? Consider your financial giving. Are you where you need to or want to be? Is there something holding you back? How can your group pray for you as you step out in faith, seeking the heart of heaven in your giving and generosity?
1. Through our humility, patience, unity in the body, gentleness, understanding, peacefulness, kindness and compassion.
3. Be generous- with our money, our time and our talents. Walk in love. God views our sacrifice as a “fragrant aroma”. PRAY! Surrender all everyday to Him.
5. The shepherd’s staff a form of identity to the shepherd, it indicated their means of income and influence and was useful for walking, guiding, killing snakes, among other things.
God used an ordinary thing and showed how it could be used for extraordinary purposes. He turned a shepherd’s staff into the rod of God. He would use it powerfully in the 10 plagues, parting the Red Sea, causing water to gush from rocks in the desert.