Some people can be miserly over Christmas, just like a tight fisted Scrooge and his – “Bah humbug!” And the Apostle Paul was dealing with a less than generous church in the city of Corinth as he tried to get them to “excel in the grace of giving” (v 7) and contribute towards his collection for the famine stricken mother church in Jerusalem. He encouraged and cajoled them by holding up the example of the generous Macedonian church; as well as reminding them of the sacrificial giving of Jesus of himself about which he says three things:-
1 – Jesus was rich.
A – In his Person – In that he was eternal God in the flesh (John 1 v 1 & Philippians 2 v 6.)
B – In his Position – In that he rules and reigns over all things (Colossians 1 v 15 & 18.)
C – In his Power – In that he is the cosmic super glue that bonds all things in heaven and earth together (Colossians 1 v 17.)
So in his heavenly pre-existent state Jesus was a millionaire, yet despite such lavish riches:-
2 – Jesus became poor.
Not many people are poor from choice, but Jesus chose voluntary poverty on our account, becoming poor in:-
A – His birth – None of us were able to choose our place of birth, but Jesus was, and chose not a palace but a stable; not a cradle but a manger.
B – His life & ministry – The carpentry business in Nazareth would not have been all that lucrative. His later public ministry was financed by a group of women and whenever he wanted anything he tended to borrow it, a boat for a pulpit; a donkey to enter Jerusalem; an upper room for a Passover celebration and a tomb for his burial.
C – His death – On the cross he became the poorest of the poor (Philippians 2 v 8) in terms of physical barbarity and the spiritual torment of becoming sin for us.
The one who had everything gave it up and became a poor nothing. Why did he do this?
3 – So that we might become rich.
Not financially rich, because wealth does not bring happiness, contentment and fulfilment, but spiritually rich unto God. Jesus offers forgiveness and a relationship to God that can transform the spiritually bankrupt pauper into a spiritual millionaire.
Challenge – How rich are you this Christmas?
Theme: “Who wants to be a Christmas millionaire?!”
Reading: Philippians 2 v 1 – 11 & key verse = 2 Corinthians 8 v 9
Preacher: Chris Hughes
Led by: Marion Brenchley