What Exactly is “Benevolence”?

What Exactly is BenevolenceBenevolence is the desire to do good to others; goodwill; an act of kindness; a charitable gift. What input can we find in God’s revelation concerning benevolence? What does God expect of us as individuals and as a congregation when it comes to the stewardship of our material blessings?

What Benevolence WASN’T in the Life of the Early Church

  • Benevolence wasn’t the means of propagating Christianity; it was the “fruit” of Christians (John 15:8).
  • Benevolence toward physical needs wasn’t the point of Jesus’ mission; “eternal life” was (and is) the point (John 6:26-27).

The Call for Every Disciple to be “of Christ” (Mark 10:45)

  • 1 Timothy 6:17-18 — “As for the rich in this present age…”
  • Hebrews 13:16 — “…such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”
  • 1 John 3:16-18 — “Let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”
  • Matthew 25:31-46 — “As you did it to one of the least of these, you did it to me.”
  • 2 Corinthians 5:10 — “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ…”
  • Galatians 6:1-10 — “As we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone…”
  • James 1:19-27 — “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this…”

The Call for Every Church to be “of Christ” (Eph 1:22-23)

  • 1 Timothy 5:16 — “Let the church not be burdened…”
  • Historical examples of benevolence under the guidance of Spirit-led apostles:
    • Romans 15:25-26 — “I am going to Jerusalem bringing aid to the saints.”
    • 1 Corinthians 16:1-3 — “Now concerning the collection for the saints…”
    • 2 Corinthians 8:1-4; 9:1 — “…the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints.”
    • Acts 2:44-45 — “All who believed were together and had all things in common…”
  • 1 Timothy 5:3-16 — “…care for those who are truly widows.”

God-Breathed Perspective for Those Who are “of Christ”

  • “The point is this…” (2 Cor 9:6-11).
  • The grace of God is glorified when we cheerfully submit to his will (2 Cor 9:12-14).
  • “Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!” (2 Cor 9:15)

This sermon was delivered on July 28, 2013.

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