Posts Tagged ‘sermons’

Joyful Giving

January 6, 2015

Deciding what to give your friends and family for Christmas can be a difficult decision.  Knowing that the greatest Christmas gift is the one that God gave us in Christ is relatively simple.  Recognizing that we should give something back to God should be natural, just like we exchange gifts on earth with our friends and family.  God gives to us.  We give back to God.  Of course, we cannot literally give to God, but we are able to give to God by giving to the local church, missionaries, and various humanitarian organizations.

I.  Sow Bountifully:  II Corinthians 9:6-7

 But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.

A.  Be generous.  This does not mean that we give the rent money to the church, but we should establish our budgets in such a way that we are living well within our means so that we are able to give, and we should give generously.

B.  II Corinthians 8:12-13

 For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have.

13 For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened;

I believe that Christians should tithe on their income to their local church.  A tithe is ten percent.  I believe that when we are faithful to give God the tithe, He will enable us to live on the rest.  What we give beyond the tithe is our offerings.  Our offerings are given according to our ability.

C.  We should pray about what we give in offerings.  God will direct us if we have an open mind and heart.

D.  Be happy that you are able to give.  Do not worry if the amount is small.  If each person does what they are able to do the need will be met.  If we give only a small amount, we are still participating in the effort.  We should do what we can, not what we cannot.

II.  God is Able to Supply:  II Corinthians 9:8-9

And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. As it is written:

“He has dispersed abroad,
He has given to the poor;
His righteousness endures forever.”

The grace of God abounds towards us.  My wife and I plan our offerings into our budget.  We have a set amount of money that we set aside each month so that we have money available to give in both tithes and offerings.  We give the full tithe each month and the offerings we give as the Lord leads.  When Gloria left her secular job we did not reduce the amount we give as offerings and God has enabled us to continue to live within our budget.

III.  The Greatest Gift:  II Corinthians 9:10-15

Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, 11 while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God. 12 For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God, 13 while, through the proof of this ministry, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal sharing with them and all men, 14 and by their prayer for you, who long for you because of the exceeding grace of God in you. 15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

    A.  God supplies in ways that we do not always understand.

    B.  There is much giving of thanks.  Both those who give and those who receive, give thanks to God.

    C.  To God be the glory!

    D.  It is natural to give God both thanks and praise.  It is also natural to offer prayers for the people who have generously met the need.  Prayers are powerful and we should never underestimate their value.

    E.  All of this talk of giving reminds us of the greatest gift which is, of course, the salvation offered to us through Jesus Christ.

Even as God has given to us so richly and generously, in so many ways, so we should look for ways to generously and joyfully. give back to God.

These are the sermon notes from 12/7/14.  Any advertisements that may appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

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Warning!

January 10, 2013

Here are the sermon notes from January 6, 2013.

Introduction:  I had an interesting dream last night that I believe was from the Lord.  It will serve as both the introduction to the message and the conclusion.

In my dream I was in a small town set in a valley.  When the dream began I was a little ways up the hill looking down on the town.  I walked down the hill and through a few blocks to the home of some people that I knew.  I walked into the house and called out to the people who live there.  There was no answer so I walked further into the house.  I passed by the stove in the kitchen and noticed that there was a very large frying pan filled with grease to the very top on the stove, which was lit.  There  was additional bacon floating and sizzling on top of the grease.  The oven also was on.  I looked at that and thought that it was a definite fire hazard.  Then I heard someone finally answer my call.  They were in the shower, so I left.  I walked back up the hill and looked back and the house was on fire.  

First let me say that I never walk into people’s homes without being invited in.  Second, I would have shut off the stove and oven before I left, but this was a dream and I believe there was a reason for it.

I.  Something to Boast About:  Jeremiah 9:23-24

 Thus says the Lord:

“Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom,
Let not the mighty man glory in his might,
Nor let the rich man glory in his riches;
24 But let him who glories glory in this,
That he understands and knows Me,
That I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth.
For in these I delight,” says the Lord.

We are not to glory, or boast, in our wisdom, strength or riches, but we can glory, rejoice in, even boast about, the fact that we have the opportunity to know God.

God exercises lovingkindness, judgement, and righteousness.  We serve a God who inspires us to be more like Him.

II.  The Wrong Thing: Jeremiah 13:1-11

Thus the Lord said to me: “Go and get yourself a linen sash, and put it around your waist, but do not put it in water.” So I got a sash according to the word of the Lord, and put it around my waist.

And the word of the Lord came to me the second time, saying, “Take the sash that you acquired, which is around your waist, and arise, go to the Euphrates,[a] and hide it there in a hole in the rock.” So I went and hid it by the Euphrates, as the Lord commanded me.

Now it came to pass after many days that the Lord said to me, “Arise, go to the Euphrates, and take from there the sash which I commanded you to hide there.” Then I went to the Euphrates and dug, and I took the sash from the place where I had hidden it; and there was the sash, ruined. It was profitable for nothing.

Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Thus says the Lord: ‘In this manner I will ruin the pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem. 10 This evil people, who refuse to hear My words, who follow the dictates of their hearts, and walk after other gods to serve them and worship them, shall be just like this sash which is profitable for nothing. 11 For as the sash clings to the waist of a man, so I have caused the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah to cling to Me,’ says the Lord, ‘that they may become My people, for renown, for praise, and for glory; but they would not hear.’

The sash was perfectly fine while it was worn around the waist of the prophet.  Once it was separated however, it became ruined and worthless.

The people had refused to listen to God’s Word.  They had followed instead, the dictates of their own hearts.  They chose the to follow the wrong thing.  

As long as we remain in a right relationship with God everything will be fine.  If we leave God, or are willfully disobedient to His word, we can expect our lives to deteriorate.

III.  Our Hearts’ Choice Jeremiah 17:5-10 

Thus says the Lord:

“Cursed is the man who trusts in man
And makes flesh his strength,
Whose heart departs from the Lord.
For he shall be like a shrub in the desert,
And shall not see when good comes,
But shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness,
In a salt land which is not inhabited.

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
And whose hope is the Lord.
For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear[a] when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit.

“The heart is deceitful above all things,
And desperately wicked;
Who can know it?
10 I, the Lord, search the heart,
I test the mind,
Even to give every man according to his ways,
According to the fruit of his doings.

Those who chose to trust in the flesh will be under a curse. 

Those who trust in God will be blessed.

God sees our hearts and will not be fooled by outward compliance that is not consistent with an internal commitment.

Conclusion: There is a clear distinction between clinging to, and serving God: and rejecting God, or God’s Word to do our own thing.  If we see people who have rejected God or His Word, we have a responsibility to do something.  We should warn them.  We should pray for them.  We should live our own lives as an example to them.  

To do nothing, would be like walking away from a fire hazard that could be easily addressed.