Spiritually speaking, you want the blessings to flow through you, and far too often we're like, oh, I want blessings.
Well, the question is not are you being blessed, but are you being a blessing? Friend, you should think that as an individual, and we should think that as a church. We need to keep the mentality that we want to be a blessing to people outside this church, to other people, and we want to keep that ever in front of us. We need to be others centered.
Welcome to Cross the Bridge with David McGee. David is the senior pastor of the bridge near Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Let's join Pastor David in the service as he continues in the Book of Romans chapter 15. Romans chapter 15 verse 25 says, but now I am going to Jerusalem to minister to the saints, for it pleased those from Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor among the saints who are in Jerusalem.
Now I want you to notice something. It's a phrase that's going to, verse 26, it says, for it pleased those from Macedonia, and if you look at the first couple of words in verse 27, it says, and it pleased them indeed in verse 27. So these people were happy to do this. They weren't doing it begrudgingly. They weren't doing it because they were forced to do it.
They weren't doing it because they saw some tearful video plea with malnourished children. They were happy. They were looking for a way to express the blessings of God.
Now Macedonia was kind of part of Greece, if you will, and they were looking to help out somebody else in a different place. I think this is one of the marks, if you will, one of the characteristics of somebody who is really following Jesus is they are looking for a way to bless others. Let's realize God is a blessing God. God desires to bless you. Now sometimes we think, well, we got to chase him.
We got to make all sorts of promises. We got to tug on his shirt tail or whatever so that he'll bless us. No, God's heart is to bless you. It's to bless you.
You know, that prayer I pray at the end of every service, it's called the Aaronic benediction or Aaronic blessing after Aaron the high priest, and I say the Lord bless you and keep you. See, you know that God is a blessing God and God is a keeping God. So God wants to bless you.
Now here's the thing. God doesn't want to just bless you, but he also wants to bless others through you. And far too often, what happens is we get very involved in God will bless me, bless me, bless me, bless me more. The question is, are you blessing others through you? Are others being blessed through you? Because far too often the blessing comes to us and stops.
And that's not what God intends with blessings. Let me give you a kind of a mental picture, if you will. Some of you may have bird baths in your backyard, you know, the little round thing with the column going down the middle and you put water in there and then birds occasionally come and drink and wash and do whatever birds do. And so those things, if you notice after a while, the water in there begins to turn colors, begins to get green and kind of nasty and slimy and smelly.
Okay. Now when you look at a creek and the water flowing through, that water is clear. It's pure. You can drink from it. I don't think anybody would look at a smelly, slimy bird bath and think, oh, I really want to drink from that. But you would look at this creek. Now they're both water.
What is the difference? Well, you see the creek water's flowing through it. The bird bath has no outlet for the water. It's just receiving the water. And friend, I think spiritually speaking, our lives can become that. If there's not an outpouring of the blessings of God, if we're just receiving them, what's going to happen is we're going to be in love.
You're going to begin to get stinky, slimy and smell bad and then just look weird. So you don't want to do that. I don't think when you heard those two pictures, I don't think you went, oh, I want to be the bird bath.
You thought, no, I want to be the creek. Spiritually speaking, you want the blessings to flow through you. And far too often we're like, oh, I want blessings. Well, the question is not, are you being blessed, but are you being a blessing? The life lesson here is we are so blessed we should look to bless others.
We are so blessed we should look to bless others. Friend, you should think that as an individual and we should think that as a church. We need to keep the mentality that we want to be a blessing to people outside this church, to other people. And we want to keep that ever in front of us. We need to be others centered.
And Paul certainly was others centered. And there needs to be, see, because here's what happens as we desire to be a blessing to others. Do you know who we're looking like and acting like? Jesus. We're looking like Jesus. Even in the midst of you're going through a hard time or going through a trial, you want to be a blessing to others.
That looks like Jesus. See, that's what we need to be doing. And that's what as a church, we want to do that. I got a little thing on my table says, sir, we want to see Jesus. And that's a quote from the Bible when these people came and they said, well, what do you guys want? And they said, sir, we want to see Jesus. And I'm reminded, that's what people in this world need to see.
That's what you guys need to see. Early on when we were beginning the church, we had a decision to make. And for me, it was a fairly easy one.
I'll tell you what it is. We had to decide whether to offer food to people who need food or to just give money to another ministry that offers people food. We had the choice to offer clothing to people who need clothing or to give money to a ministry that offers clothing. We had the choice to offer, to give people benevolence in order to keep their power on or whatever, or to support an organization that does those things.
So we made some phone calls. Interestingly enough, almost all those organizations that we called when we said, do you share the gospel when you help people out said, no, that's not for us to do. That's more for the church to do. So see here was what happens. We separate the blessing from the opportunity to share the gospel.
And see, when we were aware of that, that's an easy decision. And not like, well, I guess I got to bless you. I mean, wouldn't that be a drag? I mean, you know, you guys show up on Sunday, well, I guess y'all are here, or I guess I'm going to teach you the Bible.
I guess I got to. No, I have a desire to bless you guys. And so you guys, we in turn need the desire to be a blessing to others, not begrudgingly, but willingly. Look what Paul says in second Corinthians. And I know that people have applied this to finances.
That's a narrow view of this. This is applying to life. But I say that, 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. Amen. So now we're going to take an offer and no, I'm kidding.
We don't pass the plate. I believe in giving. We have the boxes, but, but look at the way we're supposed to give cheerfully, not begrudgingly. And some people go, well, does God really think you're supposed to give him 10%?
No, God thinks you get to keep 90. If you look at something a little differently, it just changes your complete outlook and life, friend, the way you look at life, when you look at it through the lens of scripture, it can change you. And as we look at it and go, well, do I have to bless others?
No, no, no. You get to bless others. And this word cheerful giver, it's the word Greek word hilarion.
It's where we get our word for hilarious. Paul is wanting to be a vehicle of blessing to others. And these others are seeing his model and it's pleasing them to do this. Now, Paul has a heart for the Jewish people.
We know that. And Paul is a Jew, was a Jew. It wasn't like he converted from Judaism.
He was a Jewish believer or a Jewish Christian more on that another time, but he was a Jewish person who he came to believe in the Jewish Messiah. So why Jerusalem? He want to go back to Jerusalem. Why did he want to go Jerusalem?
Well, the answer is kind of interesting and it might help us in some ways to understand why. Before Paul was a Jewish Christian, he was a Jewish rabbi who was going around and he was convinced that Jesus was not the Messiah, not the Messiah, the Prince. And he was fighting these people that believed he was. Not only fighting against them, he was throwing them in jail. He was overseeing them being beaten and possibly executed.
And where did a lot of this take place? Jerusalem. Gang, there's nothing, there's no filler material in the Bible. Everything is in there by design.
Nothing in there by accident. It's all for our benefit, for our blessing, for our learning. Acts chapter seven, verse 57, we're told about the martyrdom of Stephen, the first martyr of the church, if you will. And it says, then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears and ran at him with one accord. Talking about Stephen. And they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God saying, Lord, Jesus received my spirit.
Later, Saul's name is changed to Paul. And he was there that day. And some people believe, and I kind of lean this way, that because they laid the clothes at his feet, it was actually in charge of what was going on that day. Of the public execution of somebody that believed in Jesus. It's kind of interesting, when I went through the book of Acts and I compared what Stephen said that day to Paul's first message, there's a lot of parallels. Paul was impacted that day. Now, Paul didn't give his life to Jesus that day. That came later, but he watched what Stephen did.
And brother, sister, I believe it bothered him till the day he took his last breath here. He wanted to undo some of the damage that he had done. It's a good thing. Let's all be honest. We've all done some damage in our lives. Some more than others, but we've all said the wrong thing at the wrong time or done the wrong thing. And too often when we're caught into a count, we get defensive. Oh, I said that because I said that because you did this and you shouldn't have ever done that.
And instead of going, you know what? That was so wrong. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Hey, we've, we've hurt family members. We've hurt friends. And I know that I've done things that I am eternally regretful about, but see in those things, there's an opportunity. I don't say those things to say, well, let's all feel bad.
I say those things to say, you know what? We did some damage. Now let's undo the damage.
Let's be restorers of the breach, if you will. See, you will get opportunities with family, with friends to reach across those lines. I remember years ago, I came back to the Lord for a few years and I heard of a guy had played in a band with was coming by locally at a large bar. It's not there anymore, but, and I'd played that bar and I was aware he was coming through on a tour. And I thought, man, I really want to go share the Lord with this guy, you know? And I was in a church that, well, I'll give you details, but I couldn't find anybody to go with me. You know, I'd go, Hey, I want to go witnessing at this bar on this particular evening.
And they'd say, no, well, no, I'm not going. And you shouldn't either. Thanks. But I feel like God's telling me to go now. Now be careful with this one. Okay. If you write down in your notes right now, pastor David wants me to go to a bar. That's not what pastor David said. Okay. But I was going there with the intent of witnessing and I tried to get somebody to go with me.
Couldn't find them. And I prayed. I said, God, I'm willing not to go. And God said, no, you going. I said, okay, well, I'm going, you know? So I prayed, you know, God helped me be a light in a dark place, you know? I walked in and, and I walked in for about 10 feet and I was like, Oh, Jesus helped me.
You know what I mean? It was like, ah, you know, part of me was like, I don't belong here anymore. But as interesting as I stood there and I was just kind of, you know, praying and this guy said, I heard somebody go, David McGee. Did I owe you money or, you know, he said, nah, man, I saw you play years ago and loved your style, loved your playing and was familiar with some stuff I've done.
And he was a musician. We started talking, you know, and, and I'm sitting there thinking, well, you know, I need to get ministering, you know, and, and, and so, and, and so, well, you know, so you play and he said, yeah. So I said, well, what are you doing now?
And this guy, man, he had leather chaps on here down to his, you know, his back and stuff, all pierced up. And I said, so what are you doing now? And he said, well, I'm actually working on a contemporary Christian album right now. I said, what? He said, I'm working on a contemporary.
I hadn't told him I was a Christian. I said, that's awesome. He said, what are you doing these days? And I said, I'm giving my life to the Lord.
I'm also doing contemporary Christian music. He goes, that's awesome, man. So in that place, we, we fellowship together. So then two long hairs start walking through the bar and of course people are going, Hey, you guys in a band, you know? And so we talked to him and we talked to him for a couple of minutes and then we'd kind of turn it towards talking about the Lord.
And that night I was able to share with the guy. Now the guy in the band didn't come to the Lord, but man, there was like 40 or 50 people in that bar that got to hear the gospel that night undoing the damage. So God will open these doors for you occasionally to undo some of the damage that you've done. And when that happens, be bold, be courageous. Do you think it was easy for Paul after he persecuted the church of Jerusalem to go back in and go, Oh yeah, by the way, gang, I switched sides.
That wasn't easy. That took a lot of courage to try and take heart in what he did and the way that he did it. Thank you for listening to Cross the Bridge. We'll return to David's teaching in just a moment.
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The whole book for the whole world. Now let's return to David McGee's verse by verse teaching in the book of Romans. Let's move on to verse 27. It says, It pleased them indeed. Again, when you see something twice in the Bible, pay attention to it. Verse 26, It pleased those. Verse 27, It pleased them indeed.
And they are their debtors. For the Gentiles had been partakers of their spiritual things. Their duty is also to minister to them in material things. What is Paul talking about? When Paul uses the word Gentiles, and it means literally out of worshiper, but for goyim in the Hebrew, it means non-Jewish, loose definition. So he's saying the Gentiles have been partaker of the spiritual things and so they should minister in material things to who? To the Jewish people. Well, why should the Gentiles do anything for the Jewish people?
Let's think through this. First of all, let's understand Jesus was a Jew. I was raised in church all my life and I was in my 30s before that truth really hit home. I mean, I heard bad things about Jewish people and racist, bigoted stuff and I accepted in Christian and racism and bigotry have no place in Christianity. And then, you know, I shared, somebody was talking to my, well, Jesus, you know, Jesus was a Jew. Oh, he wasn't a Jew. He was a Jew. And then he converted.
No, he was a Jewish Messiah prophesied by Jewish scriptures. So we owe a debt to the root of Jesse, to the line, to the seed of Abraham for the Messiah. But there's even more beyond that. From the book that we're reading from, we owe a debt for that. That book was preserved at the cost of many lives.
The Hebrew scriptures, the Old Testament, what we refer to, was kept for hundreds of years. And this was before Xerox and HP printers and stuff came, they copied it hand by hand and they would copy it and they would, they would write a page. And then they were so exact, they would count by the columns.
How many letters were in each column up and down across ways. And if it was the wrong number, they threw the piece of paper away. They didn't even try to correct it.
They want to make sure it was exactly right. And they kept the word of God, but that's not just the Hebrew scriptures gang. You need to understand that this whole book with two exceptions, I'll tell you about what was written by Jewish people. There were 12 Jewish apostles with the exception of the gospel of Luke, who I believe was a Gentile physician. I could, I'm not going down that rabbit trail, but I believe he was a Gentile physician. And he also wrote the book of Acts.
So there's those two books. And then there's a small portion of the book of Daniel written by Nebuchadnezzar, who was a Gentile. Other than that, this whole book is written by Jewish people.
I don't know. Why should we feel like we owe them anything? Because this book, our Messiah, has its lineage and Jewish roots. You know, we sometimes arrogantly say, well, I don't owe anybody nothing.
Well, that's just a silly statement. First of all, if you're a Christian, you can't say that because the Bible says you've been bought with a price, not with the blood of bulls and goats, but the precious blood of Jesus Christ. And we owe Jesus, and we owe a debt to the Jewish people. Now, understand that I have a heart for Israel and some people are like, well, why do you have a heart for Israel? You know, I've had actually people stop me in the hall and go, what's this whole Jewish thing going on here? Well, gang, the book of Romans, if you read it, chapters 10 and 11 and 12 will explain, or 9, 10, 11 will explain what the whole Jewish thing of Christianity is.
It says we're grafted in and that we're not supposed to boast against the roots. And yet we pridefully say we don't owe Israel or Jewish people anything. This book tells us in the Hebrew, sha'alu sharom yerushalayim, which means pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Do you pray for the peace of Jerusalem?
When you see something online or you see something in the newspaper, trouble, something going on, really do you stop me? Well, God, I just ask that you would have peace in Jerusalem. Because understand the world sentiment is anti-Israel. I don't think that's just political. I think it's probably, I think it's demonic because you need to understand that at some point in time, all of the nations of the world, sadly, including this one will align themselves against Israel.
I don't, you could make an argument that it's happening even now. So praying, and again, it's that mentality of, I want to be a blessing to other people. That's not just a statement, that's a lifestyle that we should be adopting. 1 John 3.17 says, but whoever has this world's goods and sees his brother in need and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? See, this is what the love of God looks like.
We can't be like, well, you have a need. Well, I pray for you. May God bless you, keep you warm, be at peace. As that Keith Green song says, when that happens, all of heaven just weeps because Jesus came to your door and you left him out in the street. The Bible tells us that whenever we do these things to people, it's like, we're doing it to Jesus. When we give these shoes to these orphans, it's like we're giving shoes to Jesus. When we give clothes away, it's like we're giving clothes to Jesus. When we give food away, it's like giving food to Jesus. Now, the Bible calls us to do this. Ephesians 4.28 says, let him who stole, still no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands with his good, that he may have something to give him who has need. Acts chapter 4 verse 34 says, nor was there anyone among them who lacked.
For all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold and laid them at the apostles feet and they distribute to each as anyone had need. Notice this is to each as anyone had need. It doesn't take to each as anyone had greed, okay?
There's a difference. See, let's understand because when I'm talking about this, I'm gonna go, well, I don't have enough. You are so blessed. Friend, you begin to travel and you begin to look at people living in tin shacks and dirt floors. You're gonna, you realize how blessed you really are. Now, let's understand there is a multi-billion dollar industry built, the advertising and marketing industry built to make you unhappy with what you have so that you buy more stuff. You can be totally happy with your car until you see a car commercial and be like, I don't have that car.
I need to buy this car that I don't need to impress people I don't like with money I don't have. You're already blessed. So don't be in here going, well, God, if you bless me, I'd be, no, no, no, you be a blessing to other people. You show God you can be entrusted to be a blessing to people. You watch what God will do because once he finds people like that, man, he will just pour blessings out on them. He'll do it.
He'll do it. So that Paul is bringing these messages and here's the thing that we need to understand. Do we have to be a blessing to other people? No, we get to be a blessing to other people. And to be honest, it's not really an option. It's what we're supposed to be doing. Friend, do you know for sure that your sins have been forgiven?
You can know right now. I want to lead you in a short, simple prayer, simply telling God you're sorry and asking him to help you to live for him. Now, God wants you to pray this prayer so much that he died to give you the opportunity and the ability to ask him to forgive you. Please pray this prayer with me out loud right now. Dear Jesus, I believe you died for me that I could be forgiven and I believe you were raised from the dead that I could have a new life and I've done wrong things. I have sinned and I'm sorry. Please forgive me of all those things. Please give me the power to live for you all of my days. In Jesus name.
Amen. Friend, if you prayed that prayer, according to the Bible, you've been forgiven. You've been born again.
Jesus said he would not turn anybody away who comes to him and he came for those people who knew they needed forgiveness, those who were sick, not the righteous. So congratulations, friend. You just made the greatest decision that you will ever make. God bless you. If you prayed that prayer with David for the first time, we would love to hear from you. You can call us toll free at 877-458-5508 to receive our First Steps package with helpful resources to help you begin your walk with Christ. When you call, ask about this month's special offer featuring David's devotional book, Cross the Bridge Every Day. This inspirational book offers 365 daily devotions as well as a detailed topical index to help you grow deeper in your relationship with the Lord. Cross the Bridge Every Day is available now for your gift of any amount. Again, the number to call is 877-458-5508 or you can go online to crossthebridge.com. Thank you for listening. We pray that you will join us next time as we continue to cross the bridge.
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