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The Worship of Giving - 24

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman
The Truth Network Radio
September 18, 2022 7:00 pm

The Worship of Giving - 24

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman

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September 18, 2022 7:00 pm

Giving with the right motive is acceptable worship to God. Pastor Greg Barkman continues the exposition of Philippians.

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Well, today in our preaching section, our text for today, we will find included the well-known text in Philippians 4, 19, which says, and my God shall supply all your need according to his riches and glory by Christ Jesus. The question as we look at this text is, is this a blanket promise or is it a limited promise? It's usually quoted as if it's a blanket promise. My God shall supply all your need, a general promise to all of God's children. Indeed, for some people, a general promise to all people everywhere, saved or not. But the question is, does the context support that understanding of this text?

We'll look at that to answer, we'll look at this to answer that question as we go along. The Philippian Epistle, as you know, was written by Paul from Roman imprisonment to the first church established on the European continent in the city of Philippi in Macedonia. It is a short epistle of four chapters, but it contains much helpful doctrine and exhortation and encouragement and concludes in the last section as we read it a moment ago with an extended thank you note by the Apostle Paul to the church at Philippi for their generous gift which they sent to him in his Roman confinement. And that extended thank you note actually contains two famous texts, the first one we've already looked at in verse 13 and the second one we'll be looking at today in verse 19. Verse 13 says, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

That text has certainly been applied, announced, proclaimed and applied in a way that is not suitable to the context. It is not a broad general promise about all things, but it is a specific promise in the context that though Paul found it challenging to suffer hunger, to suffer poverty, to suffer need along with other times of bounty, nevertheless, by God's help and strength, he says, I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me. I can enjoy times of scarcity with God's help. I can be as thankful for those times as I can for the times of plenty.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. The question is, should our texts, our famous text for today in verse 19 be understood in a similar way? And my God shall supply all your need according to his riches and glory by Christ Jesus.

Let's take a look at it. We will see in verse 18 and an informative report. In 19, an encouraging promise and in verse 20, an appropriate praise. First, an informative report. Paul says, indeed, following his report that their gift had come to him. Indeed, I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet smelling aroma and acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God.

An informative report. It tells us about the effect of their gift on Paul. It gives a brief description of their gift that came to him, and it concludes by reminding them of the spiritual nature of their gift, which they may have thought of only in material and physical terms. But Paul assures them that it ought to be understood in the realm of things spiritual.

But first, the effect of their gift. Indeed, I have all and abound. I am full. Paul considered their gift to him to be an honorable gift in this sense. Our translation that says I have all is a translation of a Greek word some translations say I have received, but it is a word that usually is used of the issuing of a receipt upon the reception of funds, a payment. In other words, Paul is saying paid in full. I have been paid in full, I have all, I have everything that, and the question is that what?

I have everything that you intended to send, it all got here safely, that's for sure. But I have everything that could have possibly have been considered an obligation, a debt on your part. It's all paid in full. The obligation has been satisfied.

A debt has been discharged. And therefore, we realize that it's right to consider giving as the satisfying of a debt. Now, we don't normally think of it that way. We normally think of our giving as something that is above and beyond anything that is required, that is expected, anything that we owe, and normally that is the right way to think of it. However, there is this other aspect that we should not lose sight of, and that is that we owe God our gifts. We owe God's servants our support. We have a debt, we have an obligation to give to God.

In the Old Testament, this was spelled out in great detail, the tithes and the offerings and exactly how much and how often they were to be rendered. And you remember that Paul, I mean, not Paul, but God through the prophet in the book of Malachi, accused God's people of robbing God. That is, keeping for themselves that which actually belonged to him. It was an obligation.

It was a debt which they owed to him that they were failing to discharge. And so that would be the Old Testament version of what Paul is saying here. The New Testament does not spell out the same details in our giving, and yet there's still this aspect. It is not that our giving is totally, what should I say, totally extra, totally something of which we have no responsibility or obligation, but we do it gladly and willingly.

It is that, but there's this underlying understanding. We owe our gifts to God. Everything we have, God gave us. Everything we have actually belongs to him and needs to be recognized as such. Everything that we have is actually committed to us, not in our ownership, but as a stewardship that we manage his resources for his glory, according to the instructions that he has given us. And he's given us a lot of instructions, our obligation to financially care for our families, our obligations to care for the poor and the needy, and particular details as to who ought to be considered objects of our giving in that category, our responsibility, as I mentioned earlier, to support the servants of God who are involved in the work of the kingdom and so forth. And this is something that God has given us as an obligation. We are expected to be stewards who manage these resources in all of these areas where God has given us instructions, including in the area of giving. And we're going to stand before him someday and give an account of whether we have discharged that obligation properly or not. And if we have failed to give, then there's certainly one part of that obligation that we have not discharged faithfully. And so Paul says the effect of your gift was to honorably discharge a responsibility. Paul says, I haven't asked you for it, I haven't nagged you for it, I haven't begged you for it, I haven't pressured you for it, but I have taught you that those who receive spiritual ministry have a responsibility to support those who have brought the word of God to them.

You can find that scattered throughout Paul's epistles. And you've done that. In sending this gift, you have recognized that you owe a debt to me. I brought the gospel to you.

You're saved because I was faithful to minister the gospel to you. And that calls for some expressions of appreciation and return on your part. I gave you the word, you give me of your substance, you've done that. I have received, I have been paid in full. It was an honorable gift, it was a bountiful gift.

He says, I have all or I have received, I issue this receipt and abound. Paul had already talked earlier in the passage about different stages of financial well-being. I have learned to be hungry. I have learned to be in need. I have learned to suffer in my financial circumstances. God has appointed that for part of my life and when that has been my lot, I have learned to be content. I have learned that I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me, but at other times I have bounty. I am full, I abound.

And your gift has moved me into the bountiful category. We would assume because Paul had told them earlier that he really was not in need, that their gift did not rescue him from a desperate need but that his needs had been and were being met in some other way we would presume by others who were giving to him. But the assumption would be that his circumstances allowed him to be cared for in an adequate fashion. He was able to pay the rent on his rental house in Rome. He was able to buy the food that he needed in order to live. He was able to purchase the ministry supplies, the parchment, the pen, the other things that he needed for his ministry, but that he probably didn't have a whole lot beyond that. But now, in the coming of their gift, he abounds, he's full.

He has more than enough. He has some surplus, which means that even though he's in Roman confinement, and that's going to be uncomfortable any way you slice it, there's nothing that they could do to completely remove the difficulty and discomfort of his situation. He was under the care of Rome. He was trained to a Roman soldier.

He was confined until the day of his trial. They couldn't change that, but they could make sure that as far as possible in that situation, he wasn't burdened down with worries about how he was going to pay the rent. He could enjoy some surplus. And their gift made that possible.

It had that effect upon him. It was a bountiful gift. In fact, he uses another word to describe it, a satisfying gift. Not only does he abound, but he says, I am full. Sometimes we eat a meal, and we eat enough to satisfy our hunger, and we say, I am satisfied. Sometimes we eat a meal.

I won't get into any details, but I heard something like this very recently. Sometimes we eat a meal, and we eat probably more than we should have, but we are stuffed. We are full. We know that we have eaten all that we could possibly eat and maybe a little more too, and that's a step beyond. So starting out, we're hungry. God supplies the meal. We eat enough to satisfy our hunger. We are satisfied. We eat a little bit more. We are full. Paul says, your gift has made me full.

That's the effect it's had upon me. The effect of their gift. What about a description of their gift?

Well, very brief. There's not a lot of detail, but he says, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you. So we know how the gift got there. We know the name of the courier, or we might say the main courier. He is Epaphroditus, of which we don't know a great deal, but we do know that he was a leader in the church at Philippi, and so they sent one of their primary leaders along, no doubt, with some others to travel with him. It would have been unthinkable for him to travel alone with any sizable amount of money, but they didn't just send it by unknown couriers or little known couriers. They sent it by Epaphroditus, a well-known leader in their church because, number one, they wanted to assure integrity, accountability for the offering and a spiritual leader, an elder in the church would certainly satisfy that need. But they also needed to demonstrate to Paul how much they loved him and honored him so that they were willing to send one of their leaders, which would mean their church was going to have to do without that leader for the time that he was gone, probably a period of a few short months.

And yet, so honored was the Apostle Paul in their minds that they were willing to do this. And so the courier is Epaphroditus, which bestows greater honor upon the gift than the actual substance itself would have bestowed. But there is reference to the substance of the gift, but not in any detail.

He just says the things. Having received from Epaphroditus, verse 18, the things, what are those things? Well, from what Elsa said, we know that there had to be money involved, had to be a pretty substantial amount of money.

The question is, are there other things as well? Did they send clothing? Did they send writing materials? Someone said maybe they sent food. That doesn't make a lot of sense to me that they would travel all those miles with food. If they want to supply food, better to take some money and buy it in Rome and be fresh.

But they may have done that. They may have purchased some food in Rome and brought it to Paul's imprisonment. But the things, whatever it was, it was substantial. But we can also consider the message that this sent to him as we're talking about the description of the gift. The things sent from you. What is communicated by this gift?

And it communicates, first of all, concern. The things sent were the right things, the things that could really benefit Paul in his circumstance, the things that you sent, but things sent from you. And that communicates fellowship.

And so the message indicates love and concern and fellowship. But now we come thirdly to the spirituality of their gift in the last part of verse 18. The things sent from you, now this, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God.

There's actually three phrases here that describe the spirituality of their gift. First of all, Paul says it is a sweet-smelling aroma. If you went back to the book of Leviticus, you would read a number of times of the animal sacrifices of certain categories that God said, when you make that sacrifice, it is a sweet-smelling aroma. The picture, of course, is like God smelling the rising smoke from that sacrifice. And to him, it's a wonderful smell that would only be metaphorically speaking.

God does not have a body. And I doubt that he is talking about smelling the gift, but he wants us to have this idea that this is a pleasing smell. We all know the difference between pleasant odors and unpleasant odors. And we go by a plant, a rose bush, and there comes this sweet, sweet smell that arises from that bush. And that's pleasing to us, it's a sweet-smelling aroma.

We go by a garbage can and we get the opposite. We get something that's not a sweet-smelling aroma. So Paul says this gift is a sweet-smelling aroma, just like the sacrifices in the Old Testament that God called a sweet-smelling aroma. So this gift of your money and other things sent to me is a sweet-smelling aroma to God.

Let me quote another text where we find this same language in Ephesians 5, two. Paul says, and walk in love as Christ also has loved us and given himself for us an offering, a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. Christ's sacrifice on the cross was to God a sweet-smelling aroma, just like the gifts of the Old Testament. In fact, I'm sure in far greater measure than the sweet-smelling gifts and sacrifices of the Old Testament.

And Paul says, your gift that you sent to me in Rome falls into that same category. It is a sweet-smelling aroma to God. It's a sacrifice of which God is well pleased. And that brings us to our second phrase, which is an acceptable sacrifice.

A sweet-smelling aroma, number one, an acceptable sacrifice, number two. Now, in our New Testament worship, we don't commonly think in terms of offering sacrifices. That's Old Testament, right? But there are a number of times in the New Testament where God talks about acceptable sacrifices to him. One of them is the well-known text in Romans 12, one, which many of you could quote. Paul said, I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies, what, a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. In the New Testament, we don't offer animals upon the altar, but if we have been regenerated by the work of God's Spirit, if we have been purchased by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, if we have been made children of God who are worshiping him, then there are certain offerings that we bring in worship, not animal sacrifices, but we present our bodies a living sacrifice. We give our lives to him in service.

What else? Well, Hebrews 13, 15 tells us that our praise is a sacrifice to God. Therefore, by him, let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God. What is that?

I'll tell you, keep reading. That is the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. Articulating thanksgiving and praise to God as we do when we sing to him, and there are other ways to do that too, but particularly as we sing to him, that is acceptable New Testament worship. That is a God pleasing New Testament sacrifice.

That's why it's important that we do it. We don't stand silently when the congregation around us is singing the praise of God, not if we know the Lord, not if we've been regenerated, what do we do? We render to him this wonderful offering of our lips.

We give to him energetically and with thoughtfulness, the praise that is due unto his name, we proclaim that with our lips. That's a sacrifice well pleasing to God. So there are some sacrifices in the New Testament. Number one, we present our bodies a living sacrifice. Number two, we present our praise, an acceptable sacrifice.

What is number three? Our offerings, our giving, our tithes and our offerings as we give them to the Lord. If we're giving in the right way with a right heart attitude, then this too is an acceptable sacrifice to God, well pleasing to God. How do we know that?

Our text says so. Philippians 4 18, a sweet aroma, the things you sent, a sweet aroma, an acceptable sacrifice. God considers it an act of worship, an acceptable sacrifice, like committing our bodies to him in living service, like praising him in song and in verbal testimony. So our giving is an acceptable sacrifice to him. All of this we are told well pleasing to God.

That's the third phrase. And that actually moves us in Hebrews 13 to verse 16, where God says after telling us about the sacrifice of praise to God, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to his name, he says in verse 16, but do not forget to do good and to share. For with such sacrifices, God is well pleased. The spirituality of their gift, it is an act of worship.

It is giving sacrificially, which is acceptable to God. And so that's the informative report, but we move on secondly to an encouraging promise in verse 19 and connection. My God shall supply all your need according to his riches and glory by Christ Jesus. Five questions to examine this promise, an encouraging promise. Number one, to whom is the promise made?

My God shall supply all your need, writing to the Philippian church, the Philippian believers. Believers, Philippian believers who are faithful and generous givers as the preceding verses clearly tell us are to whom this promise is made. Now in thinking about this, and I thought about it a long time, I'm not saying that this promise necessarily excludes others, but I'm saying it does not specifically include others either. In the context, this promise is made not to all people, everywhere, saved and lost, certainly not, and not even necessarily to all believers, though there are other texts in God's word that might offer a similar promise to God's children and their need. But this promise is made specifically to those who have just sent a generous offering to Paul, which turns out to be an offering to God. They gave it to Paul, but whether they realized it or not, they were giving it to God.

This was an act of worship. And Paul says, and on the basis of that, on what you have done and your sacrificial gift, and my God shall supply all your need. So to whom was the promise made? The Philippian believers who gave generously. From whom is the promise received?

Who's making this promise? Paul says, my God, my God. And that means that the promise is made first of all by Paul, but it's made secondly by God, Paul speaking for God. But my God, we find that language a time or two in the New Testament, a very personal way of Paul speaking about God.

My God, this is my personal testimony. This is the God that I have come to know personally. This is the God who has faithfully provided for me down through the years, whose loving care and faithful provision I have personally experienced. My God will assume responsibility to reciprocate your generous gift to me, which was really given to God.

Paul is saying, I'm able to thank you, but that's all I'm able to do. But my God is able to reward you and he will. My God shall supply all your need. God, the one and only true and living God, the Supreme One. God, the God who reveals himself in scripture for otherwise we wouldn't know very much about him.

God, the omnipotent God, the creator of the universe who is fully able to do whatever he promises. I'm promising on behalf of this God that my God shall supply all your need. Question number three, this promise concerns what? When he says all your need, what does that involve? It certainly involves adequate material supply. All your need, not all your desires, but all your need. And here in the context, your physical needs.

But it is certain that this goes beyond that. Not simply my God shall supply your need, but my God shall supply all your need, or we would actually at this point put it in the plural, all your needs, not just the physical ones, but other ones as well. Your emotional needs, your relational needs, your physical needs, your health needs, your spiritual needs. You met my one need, the one you were able to meet, because that's the only one you could meet, but God for his part will meet all your needs. Because of what you have done, my God shall supply all your needs. Well, in what measure? Question number four, does this supply come?

The potential is great. My God shall supply all your need according to his riches and glory by Christ Jesus, or many have translated that according to his glorious riches. God's rich, are we agreed about that? God's rich, any way you measure it, any way you slice it, God's rich. And God's riches are glorious, because God is glorious. But the potential is not simply related to his glorious riches, but the bestowment we are told is according to his riches, and this is an important finer detail. Paul did not say, my God shall supply your need out of his glorious riches, but according to his glorious riches.

What's the difference? Well, not only according to the size of your need, which is the first part of the promise, my God shall supply all your need, but according to what his riches suggest, according to what his perspective would be, according to the bounty that his riches allow and suggest, let me illustrate it this way. You're raising money for a good cause. You make that known to the people of God. People who are not particularly wealthy see the need, and they respond by sacrificially writing you a check for $1,000. You make that need known to a multimillionaire. He pulls out his checkbook with a flourish, and he writes you a check for $1,000.

That's a bit disappointing, isn't it? He could have done so much more. He didn't respond according to his riches. He responded out of his riches, just a little drop out of his riches. That wasn't much from him. Yes, the $1,000 is the same value as the $1,000 that came from those who couldn't offer more, but coming from him, that's pretty disappointing that out of all of his millions of dollars, he could only spare 1,000 for this cause, but you see, he gave out of his riches, but what if he had given according to his riches?

What would that have been? He might have pulled out his checkbook and written a check for $100,000 or half a million dollars because he could afford that. That would be according to his riches, according to his circumstances, according to the way that God has blessed him. Now, take that up to the divine level. God's riches are so great, so vast, so infinite, there's no way to measure them, but one thing is clear. If he gives to us not just out of his riches, but according to his riches, in proportion to his riches, in something that demonstrates his perspective on things and how much he has and how much he's able to bestow, wow.

Can you imagine what the potential for that is? Well, that's what Paul says is the promise to those who have sacrificially given to God's work, those who have sacrificially given to God. My God shall supply all your need, but beyond that, because we're talking about God, we're talking about amazing resources, my God shall supply all your need in accordance with, in perspective with, in a manner that represents all his glorious riches. In other words, he will bestow far more than the bear needs. He will bestow far more than you gave, because the Bible indicates that elsewhere, so surely that's involved here in this phrase. My God is going to repay you richly and bountifully if your giving has been from a heart that is right, giving for the right reasons, the right motive. And the final question, how will this bestowment be delivered?

We might put it that way. Well, he tells us by Christ Jesus. My God shall supply all your need according to his riches and glory, by Christ Jesus. He's gonna do it in such a way that Christ is honored. Christ is exalted. That the person of Jesus Christ will be exalted in this giving, this reward from God. That the power of the Lord Jesus Christ will be expended in this bountiful, rich giving from God.

That his people will be enriched. Those who belong to the Lord Jesus Christ, those who are in Christ are going to be richly rewarded by Christ, who is of course, God, a member of the triune Godhead. This promise is certainly for those who belong to Christ.

We can certainly restrict it to that. And the way I look at it, based upon other texts in scripture, I think I could say that the first part of the text, my God shall supply all your need, probably applies to all God's people. But according to his riches and glory, I think that applies to those who are giving as an act of worship and sacrifice to God.

God is going to give back to you in accordance with his riches, in direct proportion to, in direct response to the way that you are giving. And he's going to do that in a way that he exalts Christ. Which brings us now to number three, an appropriate praise, the doxology of verse 20. Paul concludes this section by saying, now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever, Amen.

Appropriate praise. This is an extra doxology thrown in a few verses early. Paul couldn't wait to the end.

He's almost at the end. And sure enough, there'll be a suitable benediction at the end, but this doxology just breaks forth from his heart as he thinks about the glorious promise that he has just made on behalf of God to the children of God the giving Christians of the church at Philippi. Appropriate praise comes without delay. Paul could not wait for the usual placement of this doxology at the conclusion. Though actually in his epistles, you'll find other places where he breaks in to his teaching to usher a great doxology of praise to God.

And this is one of those places. But such great promises as Paul has just delivered demand immediate praise. We can't wait. Praise him now. Praise him immediately. Praise him without delay. And Paul shows us how important that is. Appropriate praise is without delay.

Appropriate praise is without distinction. Now to our God and Father be glory forever. My God of verse 19 becomes our God in verse 20, the God of all God's people. But also the Jesus Christ of verse 19 becomes the God and Father of verse 20. According to his riches and glory by Christ Jesus, now to our God and Father be glory forever. So to praise the Father is to praise the Son, is to praise the triune Godhead, three in one.

It is without distinction. And finally it is without reserve. Recognize and ascribe to him the glory that is due his name. Give to him the ultimate honor and exaltation which he is due. Give him glory without end.

Start now and never stop. And now may we consider a few applications. First of all concerning our giving. We learn in this text that right giving is indeed worship. It's part of our worship. And that's why we have decided that we have delayed. We have decided that we are going to return to passing the plate in our worship service as one of the items in our order of worship.

And this is the reason why. In our corporate worship we do the things that the Bible indicates are elements of God honoring worship. We praise him because the Bible indicates that's part of our worship. We pray to him and join our hearts together in prayer because the Bible indicates that's part of our worship.

We consider a portion of his word because God instructs us to include that in our order of worship. That's part of what we do when we come together in worship. But we need to make sure that we also recognize that our giving is an act of worship. Now I've been very encouraged and pleased by our COVID practice of putting plates out and people just putting money in the plates and mailing it in if they don't get here. And we have been so encouraged by that because giving has not suffered. God's blood-bought people have a delight and desire to give and joy in giving and they're gonna give. They're gonna find a way to give. And in some ways it's very satisfying to just do it like that, don't pass the plate.

But when you do it that way, though it doesn't, what should I say, it doesn't wrench giving from worship, but it doesn't focus on giving as an element of worship in the same way. And so we're gonna return to that. And this is an announcement starting in November. So we can start getting ready for it, takes a little change in our thinking, the way we do our counting and all of this is involved.

But starting in November, we're gonna return to passing the plate. So as we're going through the elements of our worship service, as we do, you see it in your bulletin, we will praise Him in song, more secure as no one ever. We shall worship Him in prayer led by one of our men. We shall listen to the choir praise Him, praise the Lord who reigns above. We shall praise Him again with our singing, let the whole creation cry.

I'd never heard that Him before. Thank you for including that new rendering of Psalm 148. Beautiful, words are so, so important. We will read scripture together because that's part of what God indicates needs to be done when the saints of God gather together. We will pray again, we will sing again. But in that order of worship, we will also have a time of corporate giving, focus upon the worship of giving, because this text tells us very clearly that the right kind of giving is worship. And furthermore, the right kind of giving is rewarding. It's deeply satisfying to the giver, it's satisfying to God, it's rewarded by God. And elsewhere, the Bible teaches us that the more we give, the more God enables us to give if we have a heart's desire to do it.

Wonderful promises about giving. But then thinking through the other elements of what is a sacrifice to God in the New Testament, we might consider some lessons concerning praise. The praise of our lips, the fruit of our lips, praising God is an act of sacrificial worship which He delights in. And so not only is giving worship, but praise is worship. And not only should giving be glad and joyful and enthusiastic, but our praise of our lips ought to be glad and joyful, enthusiastic, energetic. Our praise should be bountiful.

Our praise deserves our best efforts. Not a sleepy-hearted, distracted, paying little attention to what we're singing sort of wrote, but really entering in with heart and voice and mind as we lift to God our praise with the best we can give Him. You say, I don't have much of a singing voice. Give Him what you've got.

I don't have a very loud voice. Give Him what you've got. I, whatever excuses you can come up with, lay them aside, worship God in praise, which brings me third to worshiping God in our service. Committed service is worship.

Present your bodies a living sacrifice to God. And like in our giving and like in our praising, we honor God in our service by giving Him our best, not our leftovers. How can you honor such a great and glorious God by giving Him the crumbs, giving Him the leftovers?

You can't. We give Him the first fruits. We give Him the best that we can offer to Him.

He is deserving of that and far more besides. And we do that in our service, not we'll serve Him if we have time left over, not we'll serve Him if we don't have anything else to do, not we'll serve Him if it becomes last on a whole series of other things that we must do, but we will serve Him. And obviously, all the things that He commands us to do are an area of service. We're serving Him when we're tending to our families appropriately. We're serving Him when we're working our job in a God-honoring way, of course.

But we find areas that are specifically part of helping the advancement of Christ's kingdom on earth. And we commit ourselves to that. You say, but oh, my schedule is tight.

My, I can't do that. I've got this, I've got that. I've got sports. I've got recreation.

I've got... But give Him the service that indicates your love and devotion and gratitude. It's an act of worship that you give to Him.

And finally, a lesson concerning salvation to be reminded that the wonderful promises that we have looked at here are all mediated through Christ to qualify you must be in Him. An unbeliever cannot worship God in his giving. He may give, but he's not worshiping God in his giving. An unbeliever cannot worship God with his praise. He may sing, but he's not really worshiping God with his lips. An unbeliever cannot worship God in his areas of service. He may be helping his neighbor and doing good things, but if he's not yielded to the Lord Jesus Christ, if he's still unbelieving and unsurrendered to Christ, he cannot worship God in those things.

To qualify, we must be in Christ. We must give ourselves to Him first and foremost, and then we can start demonstrating our love and devotion and gratitude in the areas which He has prescribed. We don't say, well, I think this would please Him.

I think that would please Him. I think this is a way to worship Him. I think that is a way to worship Him.

No, we get our noses in the book and we find out. Ah, this is the way to worship Him. This is the way He tells us to worship Him. He tells us in our text for today that giving to Paul, giving to the Lord's work, giving to God's servants is actually giving to God.

There's another layer, another level. On one level, we're giving to a specific need, and anybody can do that. You don't even have to be a Christian to do that. You see somebody who's hungry and you give them something so that they can eat, but only a Christian can give rising to that higher level.

I give to men because that's the way we do it, but when I'm doing that with the right heart attitude, I'm giving to God. I'm worshiping Him. But to qualify for that kind of worship, we must be trusting Christ. We must be surrendered to Christ. But the question that's in my mind is if you're outside of Christ today, why would you not give yourself to someone like this? I know why, it's a sinful heart, spiritual blindness. But why, why, why, why don't you see the beauty of Christ? Why don't you see the necessity of salvation? Why don't you see the glory of belonging to one like this and living out your life in service to Him, fulfilling the purpose for which He gave you life? Why?
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-23 19:16:53 / 2023-01-23 19:32:56 / 16

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