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Sermon No: 37050-The evil eye and good eye



Gavin-Paynter/Matthew6-Good-eye-Evil-eye.jpg

SERMON TOPIC: The evil eye and good eye

Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 15 April 2018

Topic Groups: FINANCES, PARABLES, TITHING

Sermon synopsis: Matt 6:22-23 The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

Q: What does this passage mean?
A: There is disagreement about the meaning of this saying of Jesus. Some options as to what Jesus meant are:

1) Developing good or wrong images in your mind.
2) Being careful what you watch - Jesus is referring to the images we take in visually.
3) Getting our priorities right with regards to money and material possessions.

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EVIL EYE

GOOD EYE

MATTHEW 6 (KJV)

The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.

But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great [is] that darkness!

MATTHEW 6 (NIV)

The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light.

But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

Q: What does this passage mean?

A: There is disagreement about the meaning of this saying of Jesus. Some options as to what Jesus meant are:

Developing good or wrong images in your mind.

Being careful what you watch - Jesus is referring to the images we take in visually.

Getting our priorities right with regards to money and material possessions.

GOOD EYE – EVIL EYE

A well-known prosperity preacher interprets Matt 6: 22-23 like this, “God is saying, in effect, if you focus on your problems on what you can’t do, or if you think you’ve already reached your limit, then that image of mediocrity will keep you stuck right where you are ... You’re developing wrong images in your mind. On the other hand, if you can learn to look through eyes of faith and start seeing yourself rising to new levels...”

NO!!! Jesus was not talking about using positive imagery or visualization to become a successful CEO. Besides the fact that this is Christian Science and not Biblical Christianity, the context of the passage doesn’t support this view.

POSITIVE IMAGERY

Some feel that Jesus is referring to the visual images that we take in through our eyes.

CAREFUL WHAT YOU WATCH

Is there a link between what we look at and how we act? Absolutely! There is a lot of truth in the words of the old Sunday school song, “Be careful little eyes what you see.” Why has our present society has become so violent and sexually immoral. Part of the reason is the explicit violence and sex that are watched on TV, movies, email, the Internet and other mass media. But while this interpretation has a message that is Biblically sound, this doesn’t seem to fit the context of what Jesus was teaching here.

CAREFUL WHAT YOU WATCH

Hermeneutics is “the art of finding the meaning of an author’s words and phrases, and of explaining it to others.”

We looked at hermeneutics in a previous study. Some of the points covered which are relevant to this passage are:

Always look at the context of the passage and the theme of the book. Many heretical doctrines violate this rule by taking single verses ‘out of context’.

Look up the actual meaning of each word (especially keywords) in the original languages.

Check out cross-references to see how the keywords are used in other contexts.

If required, learn the cultural setting of the passage.

HERMENEUTICS

Authorial intent – don’t impose your own ideas on the text. The true meaning is what the author himself intended.

If the literal sense - makes sense, seek no other sense.

The Bible does at times use figures of speech, like idioms, symbolism, metaphors or parables. If figurative language is used, then interpret Scripture with other Scripture.

An “evil eye” does not make literal sense. So we are dealing with a figure of speech. But rather than guessing, we need to apply these principles to determine what is meant.

HERMENEUTICS

CONTEXT

Matt 6:19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

24 “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.

Matt 6:19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

24 “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.

Money

???

Money

CONTEXT

Matt 6:19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

24 “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.

2 Treasures

2 Visions

2 Masters

TREASURES, VISIONS, MASTERS

2 TREASURES 2 VISIONS 2 MASTERS

KINGDOM PERSPECTIVE

WORLDLY PERSPECTIVE

2 TREASURES

TREASURE IN HEAVEN

TREASURE ON EARTH

2 VISIONS

GOOD EYE

EVIL EYE

2 MASTERS

GOD

MONEY

We learn from Matthew 6 that:

Treasures on earth are susceptible to corruption and theft and so do not hold their value like a heavenly investment.

Treasures in heaven are secure and have eternal value.

If you focus on earthly treasure – that is where your life’s emphasis and effort will be expended (“where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”)

Then we see in Luke 12 that heavenly treasure will not be exhausted:

“... Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted…” (Luke 12:33)

2 TREASURES

We can buy a car – but it may rust.

2 TREASURES

We can buy clothes – but moths may damage them.

“Moth and rust destroy” (Matt 6:19)

But then we face the other problem that Jesus spoke about: “Thieves break in and steal” (Matt 6:19).

So instead we might invest in gold which is the least corrosive metal – or diamonds which are one of the hardest and most durable stones.

2 TREASURES

COMPARE THESE 2 INVESTMENT PORTFOLIOS

TREASURE ON EARTH

TREASURE IN HEAVEN

CORRUPTIBLE (MOTH & RUST DESTROY)

INCORRUPTIBLE (MOTH & RUST DO NOT DESTROY)

NOT SECURE (THIEVES BREAK IN & STEAL)

SECURE (THIEVES DO NOT BREAK IN & STEAL)

CAN BE EXHAUSTED

INEXHAUSTIBLE (PURSES THAT WILL NOT WEAR OUT)

HEART ON EARTH

HEART IN HEAVEN

WHICH IS THE BETTER INVESTMENT?

Basically, the message behind the passage is that God wants us to be free from the unhealthy and temporal motivations that direct our actions here on earth. Instead, God wants our lives to have an eternal perspective and wants us to be motivated by Him and what He offers us in Heaven. 1

Bottom Line: Retirement is over- rated…we’ll all live forever and outlast the retirement we build here on earth. So what are you doing about your eternity? 1

1 “How’s your stock portfolio…in Heaven?” by Edward Lui "http:// www.georgetowncustomhomes.com/ blog/ hows-your-stock-portfolioin-heaven">www.georgetowncustomhomes.com/ blog/ hows-your-stock-portfolioin-heaven

2 TREASURES

Today we have our moth balls, our rat poison, and our burglar alarms and still none of our wealth is very safe. You are better off sending it into the Kingdom and reaping the eternal rewards. People say, “Well I have mine in a bank.” Those of you who went through the Depression know how secure banks are. There is no place of security in this life. Even if you kept it all until you died, you would still leave it behind. 1

Naked a man comes from his mother’s womb, and as he comes, so he departs. He takes nothing from his labor that he can carry in his hand. (Eccl 5:15 also Job 1:21)

For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. (1 Tim 6:7)

1 “Overcoming Materialism -Treasure in Heaven - Part 2” by John MacArthur "http:// www.biblebb.com/ files/ mac/ sg2246.htm">http:// www.biblebb.com/ files/ mac/ sg2246.htm

2 TREASURES

Q: How do you measure the performance of your portfolio in heaven? How do you get treasure in heaven?

A: Giving alms

Matt 19:21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

2 TREASURES

Luke 12:33-34 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Matt 6:3-4 But when you give to the needy… your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Q: How do you get treasure for the coming age?

A: Generosity

1 Tim 6:17-19 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

This is the opposite of worldly wisdom. In the world’s system we hoard to acquire wealth. In God’s system we give to get heavenly treasure.

2 TREASURES

Once when Mark Twain was lecturing in Utah, a Mormon acquaintance is reputed to have argued with him on the subject of polygamy (having more than one wife at the same time). After a long and rather heated debate, the Mormon finally said, “Can you find for me a single passage of Scripture which forbids polygamy?” “Certainly,” replied Twain. “‘No man can serve two masters.’” 1

Now obviously this is not what Jesus meant. Jesus was referring specifically to money as the second master.

Matt 6:24 “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”

1 Louis Utermeyer, A Treasury of Laughter (Simon & Schuster)

2 MASTERS

Your ‘god’ is who or what you serve. The most important thing in your life - that is your god.

If money or possessions are the most important thing, then money is your God.

Who or what is your God? Is it the true God of heaven - or money and the pursuit of wealth?

2 MASTERS

Someone might say, “I have two jobs, so I am serving two masters.” The reason people say that is they don’t understand the words ‘serve’ and ‘master’. It does not refer to an employee in an eight to five job. ‘Serve’ is the Greek word douleuo, from which we get doulos, which is the word for ‘bondslave.’ And ‘master’ is the Greek word kurios which denotes absolute ownership. We could translate this, “No man can be a slave to two owners.” 1

Now a slave has no possessions of his own and no time of his own. As a slave it is impossible to serve two masters, because you are obligated to give your entire self to one master who demands your entire being. God and money are opposing masters.

1 “Where's Your Heart? ” - David B. Curtis "http:// www.bereanbiblechurch.org/ ">http:// www.bereanbiblechurch.org

2 MASTERS

Jesus didn’t say, “You must not serve both God and Money” but instead, “You cannot serve both God and Money”. In other words – it is an impossibility to love or serve both. Where your heart is, your treasure will be. Your heart is either in heaven with God or on earth with possessions.

It is impossible to serve God when your heart is fixed on something else. The love of money and material possessions necessitates you to build your life around them. In order to acquire more or even to maintain what you have, you are obliged to invest all your time to that purpose.

We need to choose between God or money. We can serve one or the other, but not both. Whose slave are you?

2 MASTERS

An interesting transition has been made here. You may now be pursuing treasure for yourself, but in so doing you have become the slave of that treasure. The treasure becomes the master, because now you are dominated by thoughts of whether your activities will enhance your treasure. Will this enable you to make more? Will it secure your treasures? With all of these thoughts, you have now become the slave of your treasures. 1

“There are three conversions necessary: the conversion of the heart, mind, and the purse.” ~ Martin Luther

1 Ibid

2 MASTERS

The orders of these two masters are diametrically opposed. The one commands you to walk by faith, the other to walk by sight; the one to be humble, the other to be proud; the one to set your affections on things above, the other to set them on the things of the earth; the one to look at the things unseen and eternal, the other to look at the things seen and temporal; the one to have your conversation in heaven, the other to cleave to the dust; the one to be careful for nothing, the other to be full of anxiety. They are diametrically opposed - you can’t serve them both. 1

If you have a worldly value system you will measure everything in light of how it will affect your goal to increase your net worth in terms of money and possessions.

1 Ibid

2 MASTERS

According to the world system, certain things are valuable and worthwhile. We are asked what will happen to us if we do not have all of these things.

Is your life focused on Jesus Christ? Or are you trying to build your life around earthly security and earthly possessions? We don’t have to worry about the stock market, the dollar exchange rate or inflation because our security is not placed in those things. It is placed in Jesus.

If all of our possessions collapse and are gone tomorrow, the purpose of life will not change if Jesus is the centre. We live in this transitory world but we should invest our lives in what is eternal.

2 MASTERS

As we have seen, right between this passage about 2 treasures (one in heaven, one on earth) and 2 masters (God and money) Jesus speaks about 2 types of vision:

Matt 6:22-23 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (NIV)

2 VISIONS

The eye is a ‘window’ by which the light gets into the whole body. The condition of a window determines how much light gets into a room. If the window is clean much light will enter the room. If the window is dirty or tinted less light will enter and the room will be poorly lit or totally dark.

The same thing is true of the heart. The light which enters a man’s heart depends on the state of the window (or eye) through which it has to pass.

Matt 6:22 “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.”

The Greek word translated ‘single’ or ‘good’ is ‘haplous’ 2 and is only used here in the NT. But its corresponding noun is ‘haplotes’ 3 which means:

singleness, simplicity, sincerity, mental honesty

the virtue of one who is free from pretence and hypocrisy

not self seeking, openness of heart manifesting itself by generosity 1

This last sense of ‘haplotes’ is the only one which relates to money and thus fits the context of Matthew 6:19-24.

1 "http:// haplotes.org/ haplotesdefs.html">http:// haplotes.org/ haplotesdefs.html 2 Pronounced:hap-looce' 3 hap-lot'-ace

CROSS REFERENCING

Haplotes is used 8 times in the NT. 4 times the context implies ‘sincerity’ 1 but the other 4 times the context of ‘haplotes’ implies generosity:

Rom 12:8 if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously (haplotes) …

2 Cor 8:2 Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity (haplotes).

James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously (haplotes) to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

1 2 Cor 1:12, 2 Cor 11:3, Eph 6:5, Col 3:22

CROSS REFERENCING

2 Cor 9:11 You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous (haplotes) on every occasion, and through us your generosity (haplotes) will result in thanksgiving to God.

In Matt 6, Jesus is talking about money, not sincerity. So based on the usage of ‘haplotes’ elsewhere in Scripture, and the context of Matt 6 the ‘good eye’ would be a ‘generous eye’.

CROSS REFERENCING

A figure of speech is an expression implying an idea other than what is actually stated. In English we use idioms – or figures of speech that don’t make sense literally, like:

CULTURAL IDIOMS

He bit my head off – He shouted at me.

It’s raining cats and dogs - It’s raining very hard.

It costs an arm and a leg – it’s too expensive, more than it's worth.

I was only pulling your leg - I was only joking.

CULTURAL IDIOMS

It’s a piece of cake – it’s easy to do.

He’s got a chip on his shoulder – He has a grudge because of a past bad experience.

CULTURAL IDIOMS

The French have a saying, “j’ ai le cafard,” of which the most literal English translation would be, “I have the cockroach.” Why the French would have such a saying might seem beyond human reason until one discovers that a literal translation does not always convey the real meaning of the original saying. “J’ ai le cafard” is an idiomatic expression, one that has special meaning not evident by the words themselves. Specifically, it means, “I am depressed”, or “I have the blues.” If someone wanted to provide a French-to-English translation that accurately reflects the meaning of the French, one would not render it “I have the cockroach” but “I am depressed.” 1

1 “The King James Only Controversy” by James White

CULTURAL IDIOMS

The Bible also at times uses figures of speech, as is indeed common in all languages. Although the NT was written in Greek, Jesus spoke Hebrew and Aramaic. In a similar fashion to our use of English idioms, we should expect that the sayings of Jesus may sometimes contain Hebraic idioms that don’t make literal sense in English (or Greek).

There is a great debate today as to whether dynamic equivalents should be used in Bible translations i.e. when an idiom that is not understood in a particular culture is substituted with an equivalent cultural idiom. E.g. In a particular culture which was unfamiliar with snow, the United Bible Societies translated Isaiah 1:18, “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as the inside of a coconut” instead of “they shall be white as snow”.

CULTURAL IDIOMS

Some believe that Jesus may have been using a Hebraic idiom by contrasting a “good eye” (ayin tova) and an “evil eye” (ayin ra’ah). Some Jewish commentators say that a “good eye” means a person who is generous, and an “evil eye” a greedy person. 1

Thus Jesus’ meaning about have a good (or single) eye may be that if a man is generous, rather than being stingy - he will be blessed and righteous in all areas of life (i.e. his whole body is filled with light).

1 An article on "http:// www.torah.org/ ">www.torah.org says, “The Mishna [Avos 5:22] teaches: ‘Those who have a good eye, a humble spirit, and a meek soul (ayin tova…) are among the disciples of our forefather Avraham. Those who have an evil eye, an arrogant spirit and a greedy soul (ayin ra’ah…) are among the disciples of the wicked Bilaam. What does ayin tova (a good eye) really mean? It means a generosity of spirit and a generosity of dealing with people…” "http:// www.torah.org/ learning/ ravfrand/ 5768/ balak.html">www.torah.org/ learning/ ravfrand/ 5768/ balak.html

CULTURAL IDIOMS

The Hebrew phrase ‘good eye’ is used in Proverbs 22:9 where it is translated “a generous man”.

He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor. (KJV)

A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor. (NIV)

On the contrary in Proverbs 28:22 we see how an “evil eye” refers to a stingy man.

He that hasteth to be rich [hath] an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him. (KJV)

A stingy man is eager to get rich and is unaware that poverty awaits him. (NIV)

CULTURAL IDIOMS

Again in Deut 15:9 the evil eye refers to stinginess:

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… (KJV)

Be careful not to harbor this wicked thought: “The seventh year, the year for canceling debts, is near,” so that you do not show ill will toward your needy brother and give him nothing… (NIV)

In English, an equivalent idiom for “evil eye” could be “tight fisted”.

CULTURAL IDIOMS

In Prov 23:6-7 an “evil eye” indicates a stingy person:

Eat thou not the bread of [him that hath] an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats: For as he thinketh in his heart, so [is] he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart [is] not with thee. (KJV)

Do not eat the food of a stingy man, do not crave his delicacies; for he is the kind of man who is always thinking about the cost. “Eat and drink,” he says to you, but his heart is not with you. (NIV)

Matt 6:23“ But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness…” (KJV)

So the person with an ‘evil eye’ of Matthew 6 is a stingy person?

CULTURAL IDIOMS

Later in Matthew’s gospel (20:15) Jesus himself uses the idiom of “evil eye” in the context of greed. In the parable of the generous landowner who pays all the labourers the same, the landowner says to the disgruntled workers:

CULTURAL IDIOMS

Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good? (KJV)

The NIV renders it:

“Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?”

The Greek term here is ophthalmos (eye) ponēros (evil) and it is identical to the term used in Matthew 6:23.

Greek

KJV

NIV

Matt 6:23

ophthalmos ponēros

thine eye be evil

your eyes are bad

Matt 20:15

ophthalmos ponēros

is thine eye evil

are you envious

CULTURAL IDIOMS

William Barclay was a Church of Scotland minister and Professor of Divinity and Biblical Criticism at the University of Glasgow.

His paraphrase of the New Testament takes into account the Hebrew idiom in Matt 6:22-23 and renders it:

The light of the body is the eye. So then, if your eye is generous, the whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is grudging, your whole body will be in the dark. If, then, the light which is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

CULTURAL IDIOMS

William Barclay (1907-1978)

James Moffatt produced his translation of the New Testament while serving as Professor of Greek and New Testament Exegesis at Oxford.

He rendered Matt 6:22-23 as follows:

The eye is the lamp of the body: so, if your Eye is generous, the whole of your body will be illumined, but if your Eye is selfish, the whole of your body will be darkened. And if your very light turns dark, then — what a darkness it is!

CULTURAL IDIOMS

James Moffatt (1870-1944)

If Jesus is using the Hebraic idioms “good eye” and “evil eye” to mean generosity and stinginess, the teaching about your ‘eye’ fits the context of treasures in heaven and the 2 masters. The entire passage is then about how we ought to use money in a way that honours God.

Jesus seems to be equating how we use our money with our basic attitude on life, and says that it is the true measure of us as persons. When you get right down to it, if money rules us, God doesn’t. It is one of Jesus’ many teachings on money and what our attitude should be towards it. Especially in our materialistic culture, his words hit home. 1

1 Jesus’ Strange Teaching About a ‘Single Eye’ by Lois Tverberg, En-Gedi Resource Center "http:// www.egrc.net/ articles">http:// www.egrc.net/ articles

CULTURAL IDIOMS

Do we use our money to help others, and find ways to meet their needs? Or, in our hearts, is our own comfort and wealth our number one priority? Jesus is saying that we can’t be both greedy and self-centered, and followers of him - we need to choose who we will serve - God or ourselves. 1

Luke 16:11 says that if you don’t know how to take care of money, why would God commit to you the true riches. Our Lord is saying that this issue is so big that it may be blinding us in spiritual perception. 2

1 Ibid 2 “Overcoming Materialism -Treasure in Heaven - Part 2” by John MacArthur "http:// www.biblebb.com/ files/ mac/ sg2246.htm">http:// www.biblebb.com/ files/ mac/ sg2246.htm

GENEROSITY

So Jesus is saying, “There is nothing like generosity to fill you with light; and there is nothing like a grudging and ungenerous spirit for filling you with darkness. When sighted people see with their eyes, their body is filled with the light that comes in from the world, which they perceive through their vision. But if their eye is dark, there is no light, and they perceive nothing. The same thing is true of the heart. If your heart is generous, which would be Christ-like, your entire spiritual being is enlightened, but if your heart is selfish, fixed on the material things and the treasure of the world, the blinds come down on your spiritual perception, and you do not see spiritually as you should.” 1

1 “Where's Your Heart? ” - David B. Curtis "http:// www.bereanbiblechurch.org/ ">http:// www.bereanbiblechurch.org

GENEROSITY

Giving is commanded.

Earlier in Matthew 6:2, Jesus said, “when you give to the needy” not “if you give to the needy”.

Deut 15:11 There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.

It is considered “pure and faultless” religion.

James 1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

GENEROSITY

Generosity is a sign of righteousness.

Ps 37:21 The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously;

Ps 37:25-26 I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread. They are always generous and lend freely; their children will be blessed.

It is external evidence of inner faith and love.

1 John 3:17-18 If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.

GENEROSITY

James 2:14-18 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.

PURE RELIGION

Giving is a privilege.

2 Cor 8:1-4 And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints.

Acts 20:35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

GENEROSITY

Giving is a grace.

God’s grace is given to the undeserving. So like our heavenly Father, we too extend grace by our generosity – which is sometimes directed even at the undeserving:

2 Cor 8:6-7 So we urged Titus, since he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part. But just as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us —see that you also excel in this grace of giving.

GENEROSITY

Our giving must not be done grudgingly.

Deut 15:10 Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart

2 Cor 9:7 Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

HOW NOT TO GIVE

Our giving must not be done to attract publicity.

Matt 6:2-4 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honoured by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

HOW NOT TO GIVE

A generous person will be blessed.

Ps 112:5 Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely, who conducts his affairs with justice.

Prov 12:25 A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.

Deut 15:10 Give generously … then because of this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to.

2 Cor 9:6,8 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously … And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

GENEROSITY

The context of this passage in Matthew 6 seems to indicate that Jesus is teaching us to get our priorities right with regard to material possessions.

Regarding the 2 treasures, 2 eyes (visions) and 2 masters, Jesus highlights 3 choices that we have to make regarding finances:

2 treasures: Choose to store up treasure in heaven rather than on earth.

2 visions: Choose God’s perspective on finance.

2 masters: Choose to serve God rather than money and the system of the world.

3 CHOICES

Lois Tverberg gives this dynamic translation of Matthew 6:21-24, incorporating the idiomatic language Jesus appears to be using. 1

So give generously to the poor and invest your energy and resources in eternal things, because when you do, your priorities and outlook will change. Your outlook toward others shows your true inner self. If you have a sincere, un-envious heart that wants to help others, your whole personality will shine because of it. But if you are blind to the needs of others and are self-centred and greedy, your soul will be dark indeed. You cannot be a slave to your own greed and try to serve God - you have to choose.

1 Jesus’ Strange Teaching About a ‘Single Eye’ by Lois Tverberg, En-Gedi Resource Center "http:// www.egrc.net/ articles">http:// www.egrc.net/ articles

CONCLUSION

COPYRIGHT INFORMATION

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are taken from the NIV:

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. (http:// www.Lockman.org)




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