Main Idea: Be overflowing with thankfulness, have open-handed generosity toward all and heartfelt worship toward God. Key Verses: Colossians 2:6-7; Deuteronomy 15:1-2, 7-10; Matthew 6:2-4; Luke 6:32-35; Romans 8:31-32; 2 Corinthians 8:1-5; Matthew 26:26-28 Sermon Notes: When you receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior, and endeavor to live by His rules and His teachings, your trust in Him grows and you “overflow with thankfulness.” In the ancient world of Greece and Rome, this “overflowing thankfulness” that Jesus is talking about was not the same idea as most people understood it – they may not have even comprehended this type of thankfulness until Jesus taught them. Gifts were given and received, but with an expectation of reciprocity, and indebtedness to the giver. It was not out of love or caring, but out of selfishness - you gave a gift to have someone else be indebted to you. We still see this today when we hear of politicians making deals, they become indebted to one another and therefore make decisions not on what is best for those they are serving, but for themselves. The God of Israel taught instead to be generous, to give without any expectations, to anyone and everyone, even those who by all current cultural standards did not ‘deserve’ a gift. He also taught us to have heartfelt worship towards Him, who gave us our very existence. This was in complete contrast to the way other gods were worshiped, people worshiped them and expected favors for their worship. With the God of Israel, He only want our true selfless love. In the Law of Moses, debts were even cancelled every 7 years, even the debts just incurred, regardless of reason, without exception, this is God’s commandment. Jesus takes generosity even further by teaching that your motives also matter – the motives that lie in your heart. You may give generously, but how do you give – from a stage, where everyone sees, and gives you recognition for your giving or from behind the curtain, where no one can see you, just as God gives to us yet we cannot see it. The type of thankfulness and generosity that Jesus wants is the type that can only come from a deep trust in God and deep love for God. Four words lie at the heart of genuine worship: take, bless, break, and give. Jesus gave himself to His Father, God took Him, blessed Him, broke Him on the cross, and gave Him to all of us. We are invited to do the same, give ourselves to Jesus, He will take us whenever, however we are, as we are, all our imperfections and sins, He blesses us, gives us God’s grace and mercy, then he breaks us of sin, breaks us free of selfishness, fear, anxiety, bondage to darkness, and the finally He gives us away to meet the needs of those in this world who also need us and the light of Jesus. Application Questions: 1. As you look back on your life, what grace has God given to you? 2. Was this material possessions, money to get the car fixed, or make the mortgage payment, or spiritual grace, a forgiving heart for someone who had wronged you, or healing your heart from the loss of a loved one? 3. How are you and your family planning to spread this message to others? 4. Discuss some ideas with your study group about how you could share this message in your neighborhood. 4.a. At your office or place of employment. 4.b. At your school, with your friends. 5. Unfortunately, at this time of year, we sometimes see people fighting over sale items in the stores, or parking spaces at the mall. How would you react if someone wanted to 'fight' you for the last toy, sweater, or whatever? Could you share this message of thankfulness and generosity with them and let them have the 'whatever' and if they were rude to you still, could you pray for them? 6. What are some other ways we as individual Christians can model Christ's behavior and love toward others?
November 27, 2016
November 27, 2016 • Pavi Thomas • Extended Worship Service