Living in the 'therefore' is a gift

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SUNDAY 15 JULY 2018

Ephesians deals with topics at the very core of what it means to be a Christian—both in faith and in practice, it invites us to continue our journey of “Shema” - hearing and responding to the invitation and challenges God is placing on our hearts as individuals, households and as a community.

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Living in the THEREFORE is a gift, it is about experiencing life to the full as we allow the Holy Spirit to work in us we move into the fullness and provide.

“Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbour, for we are all members of one body. ‘In your anger do not sin’: do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. 
Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
- Ephesians 4:25-32 NIVUK

Paul layers it, to show us the process of santification (the process of becoming holy).

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Jesus talks about money and possessions 16 out of the 38 parables. One in seven verses in the Gospels is Jesus talking about money and stuff. This is an area that God has for us to experience and know that living in the THEREFORE is a gift. This is an area when we understand 'do not steal, start to work, then be generous - then we start to move in the golden life of the miraculous.

Our culture is deeply materialistic, consumerist and individualistic - we live, eat and breath that all week long, and as we do, it invades our pores... and it invades our bank accounts, our wallets, and our thinking about money and possessions. We become shaped by our culture, rather than what the biblical story is.

The principle of tithing is not only in the Old Testament. These are just some of the NEW TESTAMENT references.
Cheerfully – 2 Corinthians 9:7
Generously – 1 Timothy 6:17-19
Reverently – Matthew 2:11
Proportionally – 1 Corinthians 16:2
Joyfully – 2 Corinthians 8:2
Willingly – 2 Corinthians 8:12
Expectantly – Luke 6:38, 2 Corinthians 9:6–11
Extravagantly – John 12:1 – 8, Mark 12:41-44
Eternally – Matthew 6:19–20, 1 Timothy 6:19, Mark 10:21, Hebrews 11:13-16

When Jesus talked about tithing in Luke 11:42, he said you've tithed your mint and your dill and your sage but you've not done justice, or mercy. He says you should have done the former, but not forsaken the latter. Jesus never says 'don't worry about your tithing anymore - he's just assuming that your doing it.

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      What is it that giving unlocks in our heart? What's the biblical principal that it does?

      Giving is about: LORDSHIP
      It says… You are my Lord, you have my allegiance, you are my priority
      Scriptures: Genesis 14:17-20, 28:16-22, Leviticus 27:30, Proverbs 3:9–10, Malachi 3:7–15,  Matthew 23:23, Deuteronomy 14:23, Malachi 1:6-8, 1 Chronicles 29:11–18, Psalm 24:1–2, 50:10–12, Haggai 2:8, Matthew 6:19–24, Luke 12:16–21, 1 Timothy 6:6-10, 17-19

      Giving is about: TRUST
      It opens the door for miraculous provision, for growing in faith and it is a tangible belief in the eternal.
      Scriptures: 1 Kings 17, Proverbs 3:9-10, Malachi 3:7–15, Haggai 1:4-11, 2:15–19, Luke 6:38, Deuteronomy 28, Philippians 4:15–19, Mark 12:41-44, Deuteronomy 14:23, Proverbs 3:5-6, 2 Corinthians 8:5, 1 Timothy 6:18-19, Matthew 6:19–21, Hebrews 6:10, 3 John 8

      Giving is about: PASSION
      It enables the work of the church, it enables mission, it provides for practical needs.
      Scriptures: Acts 2:42-47, 4:32, 2 Corinthians 9:12-13, 1 Corinthians 9:9-14, 1 Timothy 5:17–18, 3 John 5–8, Philemon 4:15-19, Galatians 6:6, Luke 8:3, 2 Kings 4:8-10, 2 Chronicles 24:4–14, Exodus 35–36, 2 Kings 12:2-16, Ezra 1:4-6

      How is this area of your discipleship?
      What is your invitation or challenge?
      How do you need to respond?