I. HOW DO WE KNOW THAT GOD LOVES US?
A. Because He sent His Son to die for our sins.
B. How do we know that Jesus loves us?
1. Because He laid down His life for us.
2. "Greater love has no man than this."
C. God didn't just say, "I love you." He proved His love by His deeds.
D. How do people know that we love them?
1. Not by just verbally affirming it.
a. I have had people tell me how much they loved me as they were ripping me off.
b. I have learned to put up the red flag when a person is too effusive in their praise. As Shakespere said, "Thou protesteth too much."
2. Love can be expressed in words, but the proof is in the deeds.
II. "IF YOU HAVE THIS WORLDS GOODS."
A. If you have been blessed financially, and you see a brother who has had a reversal, perhaps an accident or illness that has prevented him from working and has perhaps had the utilities turned off in his house. Or is trying to survive on a rice diet.
1. If you have the capacity to help them and refuse to do so, how can you say that you love them?
2. You can talk all day about how much you love that person, but talk does not put food on the table.
B. In the law of God, He made provisions for the poor. God's law says,
If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother:
But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need in the thing he is lacking.
Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked heart, saying, The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand; and thine eye be evil against thy poor brother, and thou givest him nought; and he cry unto the LORD against thee, and it be sin unto thee.
Thou shalt surely give him, and thine heart shall not be grieved when thou givest unto him: because that for this thing the LORD thy God shall bless thee in all thy works, and in all that thou puttest thine hand unto.
For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.
C. In Proverbs we read,
He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.
1. What a priviledge to lend to the Lord.
2. You know that He will make the payments.
3. I have often wondered how can I better serve the Lord, I never think of Him really needing anything from me.
4. What can I give to God that He does not already possess an abundance of?
5. I can lend to the poor, and God takes it as a personal obligation to repay me.
D. Isaiah was told by the Lord to cry out against the transgressions of His law by the people, they were still going on with their religious activities yet they had forsaken His laws. They were saying to God,
Why is it that when we fast, You do not honor us? Why is it that when we afflict our souls you do not acknowledge it. God answered them, "In the day that you fast, you are seeking pleasure, and you are forcing all your servants to work overtime. You are fasting for contention seeking to win a debate. The motives are wicked. You fast only to make your voice be heard above the others. Is this the kind of fast that I have chosen? Do you call this afflicting your soul? Just because you bow your head, and spread a sackcloth under you and put ashes on your forehead, do you call this fasting? Do you think that this is acceptable to the Lord? This is what I have chosen for a day of fasting, turn from wickedness, undo the heavy burdens that you have imposed on others, let the oppressed go free, break the yokes of bondage Feed the hungry, invite the poor to dinner. When you see a person who is naked, clothe
E. If they would do this then God promised His blessings upon them.
Then shall light come forth as the morning sun, and your health spring forth speedily: and righteousness shall be before you you, and the glory of the LORD shall be behind you. Then when you pray the Lord will answer. You shall cry and He will say, here I am. If you will relieve others burdens, and get your finger out of their face, and quit yelling at them, if you will reach out to feed the hungry, and help the person in need, then you will walk in the light, even your darkness shall be as the noon day. The Lord will guide you continually, and provide abundantly for you in your time of need. He will prosper all you do, you will become like a watered garden, like a never ending spring of pure water.
F. John the Baptist was a fiery preacher and when multitudes came to be baptized by him, he declared to them, You generation of poisonous snakes, who warned you to flee from the coming judgment? Bring forth the fruit that shows that you have truly repented and don't boast in your spiritual heritage. God is able to turn these stones into His children. The time has come for every tree that does not bring forth good fruit to be cut down and cast into the fire. The people then asked him, "What shall we do?" He answered, "If you have two coats give one to a person who has none, and the same with meat."
G. James spoke of the same principle in regards to faith and works.
If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be warm and be full, yet if you do not give them clothes or food, what does it profit?
H. Paul wrote to the church in Corinth which was prospering about giving to assist the poor church in Jerusalem.
Moreover, brethren, we want you to know the grace of God that was bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; Though they were going through a great trial of affliction, and deep poverty, yet they were filled with joy and were liberal in their giving. For according to their ability even above their ability they insisted that we receive their gift, because they wanted to share in giving to the need. They first gave their own selves to the Lord, then gave unto us by the will of God. Since you abound in everthing, in your faith, witnessing, knowledge, diligence, and in your love for us, see that you abound in this grace also. I am not commanding you to do it, but I am only asking that you prove the sincerity of your love. You are aware of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, though He was rich, yet for our sakes He became poor, that we though His poverty might be rich. So I offer to you my advice, for I think it is
necessary for you who started last year to give, now I encourage you to do it, even as you were then willing to do it, the time has now come to do it. For if you have a willing mind God accepts what you have, and does require what you don't have. For I don't mean to let others off and place the whole burden on you. I believe there should be equality, and since you are prospering at this time your surplus should go to help supply their need. It may be in the future that the situation may be reversed, and in their abundance they could supply your need. It is written, He that [had gathered] much had nothing over; and he that [had gathered] little had no lack.
I. Talking to them about their giving Paul said,
If you sow sparingly you will reap sparingly, and if you sow bountifully, you will reap bountifully. So let every man as he has purposed in his own heart give. You should never give grudgingly, or under pressure, for God loves a cheerful giver. God is able to make all grace abound toward you that you might always have sufficiency in all things and that you might abound in every good work. As it is written, "He who has been generous and has given to the poor, his righteousness remains forever."
III. LET US NOT LOVE IN WORD OR TONGUE ONLY, BUT IN OUR DEEDS AND IN TRUTH.
A. When Jesus returns to the earth He will gather the nations for judgment to determine who will be allowed to enter into the Kingdom age. Matthew tells us about the judgment,
Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was hungry and you did not give me any meat; I was thirsty and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in; I was naked, and you did not clothe Me. I was sick and in prison, and you did not visit Me. Then they will ask, "Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?" He will then answer them saying, "I am telling you the truth, as you did not do it unto one of the least of these you did it not to Me."
B. We are told to bear one anothers burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.