God's Generosity

The front cover of the Radio Times this week says ‘Happy Easter’. It is a message of joy that we celebrate today on this Day of Days – Resurrection Sunday. It’s a shame the Radio Times identifies the message with Easter bunnies and chocolate eggs rather than the life transforming power of the empty tomb, but then at least it is using the word ‘Easter’ rather than ‘Happy holidays’.

One of my favourite modern songs that captures the awesome power of the resurrection is that by Stuart Townend; ‘See what a morning’. The words underline the cosmic impact behind the popular greeting of ‘Happy Easter’.

 

‘And we are raised with Him

Death is dead, Love has won, Christ has conquered;

And we shall reign with Him,

For He lives: Christ is risen from the dead!’

 

Easter gives us good grounds for being Happy: ‘Death is dead, Love has won, Christ has conquered’. The great enemy of death that produces such sorrow and grief as it mercilessly tears people apart, leaving emptiness and loneliness in its wake, is now defeated. Yes we still have to pass through the curtain of death but it is not the end of the story. Jesus’ sacrifice for us on the cross has opened up the way to life in all its fullness, life in a new dimension, life in a reality above and beyond all we might hope, dream or imagine.

 

The resurrection of Jesus as a historical fact is the foundation of our faith. It means that those we love who have died in the faith of Christ, continue to live in his presence and we will be united with them one day. It means that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead will also give life to us and raise us up with Christ when our turn comes. This is the extraordinary generosity of God who,

    ‘loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that whosoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life’(John 3:16)

 

God’s generosity is all around us. It is seen in the beauty of the natural world. Do you know there are over 25,000 varieties of orchids? And the orchid is

just one of 270,000 species of flowers. God is extraordinarily, extravagantly generous, ‘creations voice proclaims it’!

 

Sermon Series

During Lent we have been reading and preaching on the Book, ‘The Good and Beautiful God’. We will continue to complete this study throughout April. Each of the remaining 3 chapters testify to the generosity of God:

               God is Generous (Chapter 4)

               God is Love (chapter 5)

               God is Self-Sacrificing (Chapter 7)

 

Stewardship Sunday  29th April

To conclude our series we will consider our response to all that we have learnt about God, his love and his ways, by making a fresh commitment to Him with our tithes and offerings. That is, we will reflect on how we exercise good stewardship over the abundance with which he has blessed us financially and commit ourselves afresh to give Biblically and sacrificially for the purposes of extending God’s Kingdom, here in our community.

 

Generosity encouraged

Nicky Gumbel in his ‘Bible in the Year’ App tells the story of Mick Hawkins.

‘He was the most generous person I have ever met. He was always giving and always offering to pay for everything. We thought he must be very rich. Actually, he wasn’t. He was just very generous. His life overflowed with thankfulness for God’s grace. This opened his heart and his wallet in a way which inspired all who knew him’.

 

Easter – God’s extraordinary generosity

Let me conclude these thoughts with some more words from Stuart Townend’s marvellous hymn:

 

See God’s salvation plan,
Wrought in love, borne in pain, paid in sacrifice,
Fulfilled in Christ, the Man,
For He lives: Christ is risen from the dead!

 

May our lives overflow with thankfulness and praise this day and every day as we reflect afresh on God’s extraordinarily generous act of love and sacrifice to us expressed in ‘Happy Easter’.    

                                                                                   Stephen