Monday, February 7, 2022

The Joy Of Giving


T
his message was preached at Word Of Grace Church on February 6th 2022  by Colin D'Cruz via zoom. For the audio & video please click here.  To listen to the worship please click here.

The Joy Of Giving

God has been speaking this morning about breakthroughs in life. Today we will look at an OT account of a lady who was looking for a breakthrough. 1 Cor 10:11 tells us how we are to relate with the Old Testament - “These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come” So we are supposed to learn from these OT stories

1 Kings 17

Elijah came to a town called Zarephath. In 1 Kings 17: 1- 6 we see that there is a famine in the land and Elijah is instructed to hide in the Kerith Ravine where he was supernaturally fed by Ravens. God can provide for us even in impossible situations.

Sometime later, the brook dried up and God told Elijah to go to Zarephath. God said, “ have directed a widow there to supply you with food.”. But as he arrived at Zarephath he saw the widow gathering sticks. It goes on to say “Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?” 11 As she was going to get it, he called, “And bring me, please, a piece of bread.” This is what the widow responds ““As surely as the Lord your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.”

This woman needed a breakthrough. God provided her with an opportunity to get hold of her breakthrough. Elijah was the doorway to her breakthrough. Elijah says in verse 13 onwards “Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. 14 For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.’” God was saying to the widow that he was supernaturally going to provide for her until the famine came to an end. But she had to do something.

She was to first make a loaf of bread for Elijah. And she obeyed and the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah. This was the first miracle that she experienced. That was not the end of it.

Verse 17 onwards “Sometime later the son of the woman who owned the house became ill. He grew worse and worse, and finally stopped breathing. 18 She said to Elijah, “What do you have against me, man of God? Did you come to remind me of my sin and kill my son?”

Sometimes we could be doing everything right and things still go bad.

Verse 19-24 ““Give me your son,” Elijah replied. He took him from her arms, carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his bed. 20 Then he cried out to the Lord, “Lord my God, have you brought tragedy even on this widow I am staying with, by causing her son to die?” 21 Then he stretched himself out on the boy three times and cried out to the Lord, “Lord my God, let this boy’s life return to him!”

22 The Lord heard Elijah’s cry, and the boy’s life returned to him, and he lived. 23 Elijah picked up the child and carried him down from the room into the house. He gave him to his mother and said, “Look, your son is alive!”

24 Then the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the Lord from your mouth is the truth.”

After this breakthrough the woman finally realises that Elijah was a man of God. If the woman had turned Elijah away, she and her son would have died. They received 2 massive miracles as a result of obedience.

We want to operate in faith. Without faith it is impossible to please God. We want to be biblical in everything we do.

The story of Cornelius:

Acts 10: 1- 4: “At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. 2 He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. 3 One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, “Cornelius!” Cornelius stared at him in fear. “What is it, Lord?” he asked. The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God.”

The deeds and prayers of Cornelius came up to God as a memorial offering to God.

Because of the offering that all of you give, we are able to help widows, support 6 churches that are in need, be involved in the RB Training and support that work, supporting the widows of pastors who died. We have been used greatly to start this effort and inspired other churches to give over 12-13 lakhs of rupees. We’ve given medical assistance to those in need and used it for investing in our own development. We are also involved in working with the singles and trying to see godly marriages.

Think about what kind of a wedding would you like? There is the cake and wine wedding, then something that all of us are used to and then there is the Parsi wedding! Prepare yourself to give, like a Parsi wedding. 5 ways in which we should give:

1.      Give passionately – we can just give or we can give with love. John 3:16 God gave out of passionate love for us. Our giving should be accompanied by love. When we have love in our hearts, our giving is not measured.

2.      Give proportionately – the amount is not as important as the proportion. When we give, Jesus is watching and evaluating. Mark 12:41 – 44 “Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. 43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”” Jesus was not impressed with the rich people throwing in bundles of money. The poor widow who gave out of her poverty caught His attention.

3.      Give Generously – When God touches our hearts, we can’t help but overflow with generosity. Mary poured out a perfume worth one year's wages on Jesus. When Zacchaeus was saved he gave away half his possessions to the poor.

4.      Give Sacrificially – there was a plague and people were being killed. Araunah told David to take his things and sacrifice them to God, but David says, he will not sacrifice something that costs him nothing.

5.      Give in Faith – God is going to give back much more. We acknowledge that everything we have comes from God. The Father wants to build us up in the grace of giving. God honours giving because of the principle that operates – Give and you shall be given, we sow and we reap.

1 Timothy 6:18-19Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 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. ” Jesus is not against storing up treasure but to store up our treasure in heaven.

God has blessed us abundantly and we are called to honour him with our wealth. Jesus said in Matthew 6:24No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” We cannot serve both God and money. We give as an act of faith.

 

Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again),  Spirit-filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking church in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that has people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the Great Commission into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service.  Word of Grace is a part of a wider international family of Churches called RegionsBeyond.To know more about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.  

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