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Remember the Poor (13 of 14)
Galatians 2:10; Acts 11:27-30; Romans 15:25-29; II Corinthians 9:6-15
INTRO: One of the most defining characteristics of Christianity is compassion. Even Jesus said that the most important quality that would define us as Christians to the world would be LOVE – "by this shall all men know that you are my disciples, that you love one another." OUR CONDUCT therefore will define us more than OUR CREEDS in the world. We are the "2nd mile" people; we don't just respond coldly to those in a crisis, we are to respond generously. IF we don't we really are no different from this world and therefore the witness of the life changing quality of Jesus Christ becomes meaningless to those in this world who will never read the Bible. Paul said however that those who witness our actions are reading "living epistles."
Look at what was written about Christians during the 2nd century, about 100 years after the Apostle Paul died:
ILLUS: "CHRISTIANS ARE NOT DIFFERENTIATED FROM OTHER PEOPLE BY COUNTRY, LANGUAGE, OR CUSTOMS; YOU SEE, THEY DO NOT LIVE IN CITIES OF THEIR OWN, OR SPEAK SOME STRANGE DIALECT; THEY LIVE IN BOTH GREEK AND FOREIGN CITIES, WHEREVER CHANCE HAS PUT THEM. THEY FOLLOW LOCAL CUSTOMS IN CLOTHING, FOOD, AND OTHER ASPECTS OF LIFE, BUT AT THE SAME TIME THEY DEMONSTRATE TO US THE UNUSUAL FORM OF THEIR OWN CITIZENSHIP. THEY LIVE IN THEIR OWN NATIVE LANDS, BUT AS ALIENS; EVERY FOREIGN COUNTRY IS TO THEM AS THEIR NATIVE COUNTRY, AND EVERY NATIVE LAND AS A FOREIGN COUNTRY. THEY MARRY AND HAVE CHILDREN JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE, BUT THEY DO NOT KILL UNWANTED BABIES. THEY OFFER A SHARED TABLE, BUT NOT A SHARED BED. THEY ARE PASSING THEIR DAYS ON EARTH, BUT ARE CITIZENS OF HEAVEN. THEY OBEY THE APPOINTED LAWS AND GO BEYOND THE LAWS IN THEIR OWN LIVES. THEY LOVE EVERYONE BUT ARE PERSECUTED BY ALL. THEY ARE PUT TO DEATH AND GAIN LIFE. THEY ARE POOR AND YET MAKE MANY RICH. THEY ARE DISHONORED AND Y ...
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