Giving the Gift to others…
“We have this treasure in earthen vessels,” writes Paul (2 Cor. 4:7). This treasure… this Gift… about which we have been speaking thus far this week. The Gift is the Holy Spirit deposited within all who believe, the effect is salvation… eternal life with our Lord and in His Kingdom, and the means is the Gospel of God… the true message that God has not abandoned us to the consequences of our rebellion. He has not tossed us aside as we might toss an item marred on the assembly line. No. He has come to us, given Himself to be tossed aside instead, tormented, punished, destroyed. And of us He has not merely made repair, but He has given us a whole new being,
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20).
“God… has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ,” Paul prefaces. “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels” – God has seen fit to entrust Eternal Spirit to temporal clay. Why? “…that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.” (2 Cor. 4:6-7).
To carry such a treasure into such a fallen world, this is the evident and fearful plan of God, your and my Creator,
“For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things?” (2 Cor. 2:15-16).
“…Who is sufficient for these things?” Or, as the NIV has it, “…Who is equal to such a task?” Who can rise to it? This is not a true question, for God Himself has evidently answered it, and His answer is you! Every believer in that instant of faith becomes also an evangel, a bearer of the undiminishable Truth. Within him resides not only the “Gift,” the “deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession” (Eph. 1:14) but also the Gospel, “the power of God to salvation” (Rom. 1:16)!
“We have this treasure in earthen vessels,” writes Paul. It is true of every believer. And God expects each one to share it with this dying world.
To hear Pastor Andrew’s Sunday message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.
Evangelism (& COVID-19)
There is a difference between what it means to “pass it on” (see yesterday’s blog) and “pay it forward” ( a phrase popularized since the 2000 romantic drama film by the same name.) To “pass it on” is to have been given something from someone else and then to give that thing to another. The item was never yours, you received it freely, and it cost you nothing to give it to someone else.
To “pay it forward” means to have received some benefit, assimilated it fully, and then when an opportunity arises you give from your own consolidated resources a benefit of some kind to someone else. In short, someone does a gracious act to you and so you in turn do a gracious act to another. When you “pay it forward” you receive a thing or a service and make it your own, then later from your own resources sacrifice a thing or a service to someone else.
“Passing it on” honors the original giver; “paying it forward” honors yourself. “Passing it on” is sharing; “paying it forward” is transaction.
It is really only possible to give grace out of your own experience of having received grace. The “beggar” who finds bread and shares it with another can accept no praise for having created the bread. No… He knows that in his own self he is still merely a beggar. It is like this with all God’s graces.
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life…” (1 John 1:1…)
“…I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you…” (1 Cor. 11:23)
“…I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures…” (1 Cor. 15:3-4…)
“Praise… the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God…” (2 Cor. 1:3-4).
Have you fretted during Covid-19 and found solace in Christ? Have you rested calmly through this crisis because your confidence is in Christ? Have you been thrust into financial need and found hope, strength, resources through Christ, His people, His Church? Have you lost loved ones or suffered personally because of the virus yet found comfort and encouragement in the Lord? “Pass it On.” When it comes to grace, we can only truly give what God has given to us.
“Pass it On”
Are you interested in being discipled one-on-one in the fundamentals of new life in Christ? Or, perhaps you would you like to begin this journey by turning from your current path and committing your path to Christ? — Use the Contact page and we’ll get you started.