Well, last week we considered some of the biblical principles of stewardship, and we learned a very important lesson, a very basic lesson, that everything that we have, everything that we are, comes from God and belongs to God, and therefore it's impossible to outgive God. Jesus said it's more blessed to give than to receive.
We all like to receive. We are surrounded perhaps in our family and friends by gracious giving people, but how wonderful to understand that there is more of a blessing to give than to receive. And I believe here at Calvary Church, if each one of us, and this challenge goes to all of us, to our students, to every single one of us who look on Calvary Church as our spiritual home, if each of us give with generosity and give sacrificially, our goal of over $11 million for that expansion that we have just seen, will not only be realized but exceeded.
John Calvin said, where riches hold the dominion of the heart, God has lost His authority. If you bow to the lordship of the Lord Jesus Christ, riches will not have the dominion of your heart, but rather you will give. So as we've heard from a couple of our elders, next Sunday towards the conclusion of the service, we have an opportunity. We'll take an offering, and these commitment cards which have been given to you, if you haven't got one, you can get one before you leave. These commitment cards will be completed by each one of us. We're asking you that you will make that commitment for the next three years over and above your regular giving because we want to keep our impetus with our ministries and with our missionaries.
This is over and above our normal giving, what we might call a free will offering, that if we do that, that will be… that goal will be realized. Now on the form, I hope you've looked at it and are praying about it. You can give the details, your name and address. If you prefer not to do that, you can complete the amount anonymous. I want to assure you that all of our financial giving, our records for the regular giving, and certainly for this are kept confidential. The tallies will be made by our accounting staff in strict confidentiality, and I think that's very important that you understand that. So pray about it. Come with that completed.
If you haven't signed up for one of the dinners Thursday or Saturday, do that. We'll have a great time. Well, we saw about some of the principles of giving from the New Testament and learned that our giving, I want us to catch this, is to be a response to the abundant grace of God, God who lavishes His grace upon us. We saw that God's mercy is not little.
It is with great mercy. He doesn't love us just a little bit. His love is great towards us. And so our response is, as I challenged you last week from Scripture, and if you missed that message, go online and hear it.
I think it's called Everything Belongs to the Lord. We are to give generously, systematically, proportionately. If you're wealthy, you give a lot.
If you are not so wealthy, you give less, obviously. And very importantly, and we're going to see this in the Scriptures today, we're to give cheerfully unto the Lord. And I want us to consider some biblical examples of generous giving. And the first is in the Old Testament in the book of Genesis. I hope you've come with your Bible because we're going to be reading our Bibles today, and all of you can find Genesis as the very first book of the Bible, the book of beginnings. And we're going to read about this important character in Scripture called Abraham. And we're going to read from Genesis 14, verse 17. Genesis 14, verse 17.
Here's an Old Testament example of giving. Genesis 14 and 17, after his return from the defeat of Shehduch Leomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the valley of Shevah, that is the king's valley, and Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought out bread and wine. He was a priest of God Most High, and he blessed him and said, blessed be Abraham by God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth, and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand. God is blessing Abraham, giving him victory. Notice what the writer says next, and Abraham gave him, that is gave to Melchizedek, who is a picture of our Lord Jesus Christ, as explained in the book of Hebrews, and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything, a tenth, a tithe, a tithe means a tenth. So Abraham is a very rich man, and he gives a tenth of everything he had of the spoils of war to Melchizedek. Now, very interestingly, this was before the Mosaic law, so Abraham is not giving out of a legalistic obligation, rather he's giving out of gratitude to God.
God has blessed him, and so he gives this man, Melchizedek, a tithe, a tenth of all of the spoils of war. Now we go over to Leviticus, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, the last chapter of Leviticus, Leviticus chapter 27. Leviticus, the book about the Levites, and a book of worship, Leviticus 27, another example. This is under the Mosaic law now, the law given by Moses, but delivered to the people from God. Leviticus 27, verse 30, every tithe against a tenth of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the trees, it is the Lord's. It's holy to the Lord. A recognition here of farming people that God blesses you, you've had a great harvest, and now you give a tenth to the Lord.
It is holy to the Lord. For man wishes to redeem some of his tithe, he shall add a fifth of it. And every, verse 32, and every tithe of herds and flocks, every tenth animal of all that passes under the herdsman's staff shall be holy to the Lord. The tithe was part of the Mosaic law. Jesus refers to tithing in Matthew 23, verse 23. And the principle is this, a very important principle, that God blesses us, and we give the first to God.
We give the first of our resources to God. Turn to the book of Proverbs, Psalms, Proverbs, Proverbs, verse 3. I told you, you're going to read your Bible. Proverbs 3, probably two of the most famous verses in Proverbs are found in Proverbs 3, verses 5 and 6, which I'll read. Proverbs 3, 5, trust in the Lord, with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your… and He will make straight your paths. Many of you have memorized these verses. Be not wise in your own eyes, fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones. Now notice verse 9, honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce. Then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.
What is it? We're to honor the Lord with our wealth. It doesn't mean to say if you're just wealthy, all of us have money. We're to honor the Lord. We're to worship the Lord with our resources and with the firstfruits of all your produce. That is, the principle is this, we give the best. We give the first to the Lord. It's not that God blesses us and we spend all of our money. We take care of ourselves and then, well, perhaps there might be something left over, and then we give it to the Lord.
That's not the principle at all. The principle is we give the first. We give the best to the Lord. Of all the money that we spend, of all the checks that we write, of all of the ways we spend our money this week, the first is to the Lord. See, in the Old Testament as well as the tithe, there was the principle of the freewill offering, and God is honored when we give over and above the tithe. Giving in Scripture in the New Testament is not seen as a legal obligation to be discharged in a perfunctory way, like paying your taxes. Who enjoys paying their taxes?
It's citizens. We want to be honest and we pay our taxes, but we don't necessarily do that cheerfully. We do it because it's required by the law. If it was less to us how much we give to the government, probably we wouldn't give very much. That's not giving to the Lord. No, giving to the Lord is part of our worship. It is a reflection of our devotion, our love for the Lord.
It's easy to sing about loving the Lord. It's easy to talk about it, easy to preach about it, but a true reflection of our love for Christ and our love for the Lord is reflected in a very practical way by our giving. Now I want us to go back to Exodus chapter 35 for another example of giving, a wonderful example.
Abraham in Genesis, here is Exodus, Exodus chapter 35 and verse 21, and they came, Moses is about to build a tabernacle, and they came, everyone whose heart stirred him and everyone whose spirit moved him and brought the Lord's contribution to be used for the tent of meeting, the tabernacle, and for all its service and for the holy garments. Now notice the giving was by people whose heart was stirred, whose spirit was moved. This is not an obligation. This is not giving with a gun pointed to your head. It's giving out of devotion for the Lord.
Verse 22, so they came, both men and women, all who were of a willing heart. You say, well I don't want to give. Someone said to me, I'm not going to give to the campaign. Don't give. Don't give. If you can't give willingly, if you can't give joyfully, don't give.
You'll lose the blessing, but don't give. I'm sure there were some people who didn't give to the tabernacle. They had used their gold for the calf earlier.
No, it's those who were of a willing heart. They brought brooches and earrings and signet rings and armlets, all sorts of gold objects, every man dedicating an offering of gold to the Lord, and everyone who possessed blue or purple or scarlet yarns or fine linen or goats' hair or tanned ramskins or goatskins brought them. Everyone who could made a contribution of silver or bronze brought it as the Lord's contribution. And everyone who possessed acacia wood of any use in the work brought it. And every skillful woman spun with her hands, and they all brought what they had spun in blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twisted linen.
All the women, notice again, whose heart stirred them to use their skill spun the goats' hair. And the leaders brought the onyx stones and stones to be set for the ephod and for the breastpiece. Remember the high priest and with the ephod there's these 12 jewels representing the 12 tribes.
Verse 28, and spices and oil for the light and for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense. Some of these things would have been much more expensive than others, but Moses is taking time to tell us that everyone is involved in this. Verse 29, all the men and women, the people of Israel whose heart moved them to bring anything for the work that the Lord had commanded by Moses to be brought done, brought it as a free will offering to the Lord.
The capital campaign, reach, welcome, and grow is a free will offering. And the people responded so generously. Look at the next chapter, Exodus 36, verse 6.
This must have been wonderful, would you picture it? So Moses gave command and the word was proclaimed throughout the camp, let no man or woman do anything more for the contribution for the sanctuary. So the people were restrained from giving for the material they had was sufficient to do all of the work and more. God was at work. The Spirit of God was working. They're going to build a tabernacle. The people, men and women, in different ways, different skills, different resources, and they bring it to the Lord as an offering to the Lord, and the tabernacle is built. Example of Abraham, the example under the Mosaic law, examples of a free will offering, and now turn to the last book in the Old Testament, the book of Malachi.
If you can find the four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, it's just before them. Malachi, for another example of giving in the Old Testament. Malachi, last book in your Old Testament, the Old Covenant, chapter 3, verse 6. For I the Lord do not change, therefore you son, therefore you, the children of Jacob, are not consumed. God is immutable.
God is unchangeable, a reminder of that. Verse 7, from the days of your fathers, here's the rebuke, you've turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts.
But you say, how shall we return? Well, man robbed God, yet you're robbing me. But you say, how have we robbed you in your tithes and contributions? You're cursed with a curse, for you're robbing me, the whole nation of you. Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house, and thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you, and pour down for you a blessing, until there is no more need, I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the Lord of hosts. Then all nations, notice verse 12, then all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land of delight, says the Lord of hosts. Did you notice that our relationship with God demonstrates our giving? Malachi is saying here, in verses 6 and 7, you want to talk about repentance.
You want to return to me. But if you're not giving, you can talk about it. But if you're not giving, you are robbing God.
That makes us think, doesn't it? Are you a thief? You've come to Calvary Church for some time, and some of you haven't given anything. You say, well, it's a wealthy church, there's other people who can give. You are robbing God. That's the Word of God.
You're a thief. And how can you enter into a loving, joyful relationship with the Lord if you're not giving with generosity? All of us want the blessing of God. Notice verse 10, that God would pour a blessing until there is no more need. God doesn't need our money. The heavens and the earth are His.
The earth and His fullness thereof. God's work will continue. The kingdom of God is advancing, whether we participate or not. God is great. God's in control, but He says to His people, you are to be part of this blessing, and if you give with generosity, the Old Testament people are assured of His blessing. See, our goal at Calvary Church is not just of a larger building.
Undelivers can build great buildings. Our goal is to glorify God. Our goal, as Malachi is saying, so that all the nations will be blessed. Psalm 27, may God be gracious to us. May His face shine upon us. May He bless us.
Why? Why would we at Calvary Church pray that God would bless us? Why would you as an individual pray for God to bless you? Why would you as a family pray that God's grace would shine on you? The answer is given in Psalm 67, so that your way may be known on the earth, and your saving power to all the nations. What's God's saving power? It's the gospel that we're not ashamed of, for it's the power of God unto salvation, and God blesses us at Calvary Church with gifts, with abilities, with resources for us to consume in our own self-indulgence, for us to have a comfortable life.
It is that as God blesses us, we bless others so that the ends of the earth will know that there is a God and that the only way of salvation is found in Jesus Christ. Now another example in the Old Testament is in the building of the temple. Turn to 1 Chronicles chapter 29, the last chapter of 1 Chronicles. Old Testament, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 1 Chronicles chapter 29. King David desires to build a temple for the Lord.
He's convicted. He's living in a beautiful palace while the ark of the covenant is in a tent, a tabernacle, and he wants a temple, a magnificent temple to be built for the Lord. The privilege of building that temple is not going to be David's, it's going to be his son Solomon, but David is given the privilege, as we're going to read here, of preparing for the building of the temple. First Chronicles 29, verse 1, and David the king said to all the assembly, Solomon my son, whom alone God has chosen, is young and inexperienced, and the work is great. For the palace will not be for man, but for the Lord God.
So I have provided for the house of my God, so far as I was able. He's the king, and he's going to lead by example by giving all that he can. We have in our leadership meeting a few weeks ago, and Dennis Abbott, who you've just heard, he challenged the leaders, the pastors, the elders, the deacons, our directors. He challenged us, as I have challenged them, that we who are leaders, and I speak to my fellow leaders today, we are to lead by example in giving. That's what David does, he gives. And notice the challenge at the end of verse 5. He asked this question, who will then offer willingly?
Notice that word, willingly. Consecrating himself today to the Lord. This is an act of worship, it's an act of consecration. Who, David is saying of all the people, which one of you are going to give willingly, consecrating yourself to the Lord?
And notice the response. Verse 6, then the leaders, I speak to our leaders, the leaders of fathers' houses made their free will offerings. Notice it, the free will offerings, as did also the leaders of the tribe, the commanders, and so on.
They gave, and you see the details there. And then verse 9, then the people rejoiced, because they had given willingly, for with a whole heart, they had offered freely to the Lord. David the King also rejoiced greatly. Again, there's a tremendous response, and the people rejoice, not because they're compelled to give, not because it is a command as it were, but they give freely from their heart.
Verse 17, I think, yes, there it is. I know, my God, that you test the heart and have pleasured in unrightness. In the uprightness of my heart, I have freely offered all these things. So David is doing it freely, and now I have seen your people who are present here offering freely and joyously to you. That's what I want this to do, brothers and sisters, not to give out of compulsion, but as you give, to give freely, to give generously, to give willingly from the heart. And in the building of the temple, no expense is spared.
The best of the materials were to be contributing. Worship is costly. In the Old Testament, you brought an animal.
It cost you something. And worship then must never be done in a casual, lackadaisical way. God seeks our very best surely.
Isn't that true? Malachi, if you read the book of Malachi, he reproves the people because he says to them, you really should stop the worship. It would be better if you shut the doors of the temple.
That was a strong statement. To stop the worship, yes, he said, it would be good if you did that because you're not bringing your best. In your offering, you're bringing the lame, lame animals.
You're bringing the diseased animals. You're not giving your best. You're not giving your first. You're giving the leftover. It would be like giving some old clothes that you have no use to to missionaries and then looking for a tax deduction. That's not the way to give to the Lord.
And Malachi is saying, stop. Remember what the Lord said to the Pharisees, you honor God with your lips, but your heart is far from you. These people give generously, they give sacrificially, and they give joyfully.
And this was an act of celebration. Notice verse 14, David says, who am I? Who was he? He was just a shepherd boy from Bethlehem.
Nothing significant. Now he's the king. Who am I and what is my people that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you. Everything we have comes from God. We're giving to God just what He has given us.
Verse 15, for we are strangers before you and sojourners as all our fathers were. Our days on earth are like a shadow. Then it's reminded us to think of eternity.
What's our days? It's like a shadow, and there is no abiding. Oh Lord our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building your house for your holy name comes from your hand and is all your own.
Magnificent, isn't it? And if the people had not responded, the temple would not be built. If we don't respond to the challenge, the expansion will not be built. We're not going to go into long-term debt. I praise God that our elders representing you the congregation are very clear that Calvary Church isn't going to go into long-term debt.
When we built the Life Center, we didn't pay one cent in interest. You the congregation responded over and above your giving. Now, I want to give three reasons why you should give next Sunday for the building expansion. I want to mention three.
There are many. First of all, the person, verse 10. Who are we giving to? You're not giving to me.
It's not my project. You're giving to the Lord. And who is the Lord? 1 Chronicles 29, verse 10.
Tim referred to this at the beginning of our worship. Therefore, David blessed the Lord in the presence of all the assembly and said, blessed are you, O Lord the God of Israel, our Father forever and ever. I'm going to be with my God forever and ever. Yours, O Lord, think of who God is, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Everything you have is the Lord's.
Why are you holding us tightly? The Lord gives and the Lord takes. Blessed be the name of the Lord. But notice what David goes on to say, yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name.
How wonderful. Notice how David describes the Lord, His greatness, His power, His glory, His victory, His majesty. David recognizes that the Lord owns everything for all that is in the heavens and the earth is yours, he says. David also recognizes that David is king, that the Lord rather is king. Verse 11, yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. Not only does everything come from God, He is the King over all.
He gives and He takes. You have success in your business, you have success in your career, you've done well, that's a gift from God. Everything we have comes from God. David is telling us He's a God who can make strong, He can make you successful, He can bless you. Everything is in the hands of this magnificent God that we love and that we worship.
He's great. Why should I give Him? Because of God, I'm giving to the Lord. What could be greater than giving to the Lord? And because we're giving to the Lord, we give generously and sacrificially. He's the all-glorious, all-powerful God, the great King, the eternal one forever and ever. Your life and mine is like a shadow.
It's soon gone. And here is an opportunity for these people to give to the temple, to build a temple for the glory of God. And through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and the grace of God, we bow before the great King, the one who is all over our life, the one who holds us in the palm of His hand, who watches over us, who cares for us, with whom we're going to be for all of eternity. Therefore, because of who God is, we give generously. First of all, the person.
Second, the cause. David encourages the people to give because their contributions are going to be used for the building of the house of God. God desires to dwell with these people. The tabernacle is built. There in the Holy of Holies is the very presence of God. This temple that Solomon is going to build is built for the glory and the worship of God. In the New Testament, Paul reminds the Corinthians that when they come together, they come as the temple of God, 1 Corinthians 3, 16 and 17. Do you not know that you, plural, are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? For God's temple is holy and you are that temple. When we come today, do you believe this?
I do. The very Spirit of God is here. He indwells us, yes as individuals, but in a marvelous way as we come together as the people of God, we are the temple of God, and God is dwelling in our midst. Listen, there are thousands of ways you can spend your money. I read recently that Americans spend billions, do you get that? Billions on video and computer games.
Talk about a shadow. They spend billions on self-help products and services. There's thousands of worthy causes in which you could give money. But to have a place like Calvary Church set aside for a transcendent meeting with the living God so that we worship this great God surely must be the highest of causes. We have an understanding of the majesty of God, His glory, His power, His eternality. Here we reach out with the gospel. This message is not just for us.
It goes to all the nations. Here we have fellowship. Here we welcome people. Here at Calvary we grow deep in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Why do we give generously? Because of the person. It's the Lord. You're giving to the Lord.
Secondly, because of the cause. Third, because of the need, and it's been mentioned by our elders for many years we have prayed, really almost since I came here over 17 years ago, we have prayed and we've talked and we've researched about planting churches in the Charlotte area. It was a kind of the in thing for church growth. You know, there are many churches in the city, and we're grateful for them, that they plant little churches, often with their own name throughout the city, throughout the area. And we thought, is this something that God would have us do?
And so we have researched that. Some of our pastors in the past spent a lot of time researching where would we plant churches. We thought we had an opportunity in the community of Monroe, not too far away, with a church that was in decline. And myself and one of the pastors went there, and we interacted with the people, and that door didn't open. And so as we've researched that, as we've prayed about it over the years, God has not led us to plant little churches, other churches, sister churches, in the Charlotte area.
He seems to want us, at least for the moment, to stay here on this campus, on these hundred acres. We support, of course, many missionaries, over 80 families of missionaries. Many of them are planting churches throughout the world. We are concerned as a church with furthering the gospel, with planting new churches.
So why are we expanding this building? Some people would say, why didn't we, why don't we start another little church? Do you know how many churches that are in Charlotte?
Hundreds and hundreds. I tell people, newcomers, that you could visit a church in Charlotte, a new church, on every Sunday, and it would take you years to visit them all. How many of them are true churches? How many of them are preaching the gospel and the Word of God are another story, but there are literally hundreds and hundreds of, quote, churches in this area? Not too sure that we need other, more churches. We need better churches that are committed to the gospel and are not pandering to the pagan culture around us. So why Calvary Church? Well, Calvary Church, we want to be a continuing center for worshiping God, for preaching and teaching the Bible, so that we come and we have a deeper understanding of who God is. Not the God in your image, not the God who you can manipulate, but the true God, the greatness of God, the grace of God, so that we come and we worship God, and we are confronted with the voice of God. Do you know how much we need to hear from God in our society today?
We are bombarded with error. We're bombarded with false views and fads, and how important it is that we continue to open our Bibles, and I trust until the Lord comes and if Calvary Church continues, that whoever preaches in this pulpit and in these classrooms will always say let's open our Bible and hear what God has to say, that we would be a center for worshiping our God, a center for preaching and teaching the Word of God, that we would be an evangelism center for reaching out with a glorious gospel. People come at Calvary.
Many of you have done this and are trained about sharing Christ as we go out to the schools, to the communities, to the festivals, to the prisons, to the homeless, with Calvary Church as a center where we come, where we're called by God, where we're equipped, and where we are sent locally and globally. We want to be a worshiping center. We want to be an evangelism center. We also want to be a welcoming center. People from all over the world find themselves at Calvary.
I'd never heard of it before I was contacted 17 years ago. But God in His grace brought me here and brings people like you from all over the world, parents bring their children here to go to Sunday school, to nursery, to Awana, to youth ministry, to our child development center, to our new school, Calvary Christian Academy, to Champ Sports. People stop. They see the building and they come in and want to find out what kind of building is this. Thousands of people, yes thousands of people, every week come onto this campus. We want to welcome them. We want to love them. We want to engage them. Many people think that a church that preaches the Bible hates people who disagree.
No. We welcome every person in the name of Jesus Christ. We want to engage them. We want to help them in their spiritual journey. As you read the New Testament, you find that Jesus Christ always meets people at their point of need. So whoever comes onto this campus, whoever they are, whatever they believe, we want to welcome them in the name of Christ, to love them, to engage them.
We want to fulfill the command of Christ to be and make authentic followers of Jesus Christ. Did you witness the baptisms last Sunday? Do you know how many ethnicities we had? There were ten people baptized. Think of the ethnicities. Filipino, Russian, Hispanic, Ethiopian, African and Caucasian Americans, Ukrainian, being baptized by Scotsman.
I mean, isn't that amazing? That in one celebration in a small way of the ordinance of baptism, we see something of this magnificent gospel going to all of the nations. Whoever you are, we want to welcome you in the name of Jesus Christ. Now, I know the churches would say that.
We want to make that a reality. And one of the wonderful comments I hear from people who are new will say to me, John, this is a big church, but it has a small feel. And we trust that you are welcomed, whether you're seeking, whether you're a mature Christian, whether you're an unbeliever, that you are welcomed, that Calvary Church would, with these increased facilities, be more geared and more effective to welcoming people that we pray with people in that new prayer room. It's also a center for growing Christians. We believe very strongly in discipleship. We want to instruct people in their faith to love them, to disciple them, to equip them, to pray for them, and to reach our culture. You've heard the story of Calvary Christian Academy.
It's true I was initially a reluctant convert, but the more I thought about it, the more we prayed about it as leaders, the more the Lord impressed on our heart. Think of our culture where children and grandchildren, young people, are exposed even in the public schools to perversity, to false ideas, that this book that once was opened in the public schools not only is not opened, but would be openly rejected. And I praise God for Christian teachers who are in the public schools. I was raised in the public school system.
I praise God for parents who train children that they can stand strong in the public schools, but let's face it, it's getting more and more difficult. And here we have the opportunity at Calvary Christian Academy to have academic excellence as we're committed to with spiritual vitality, that we are openly teaching these young children the Word of God and the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ. Now, some of you have said that we're only doing this expansion because of Calvary Christian Academy. That is not right.
In fact, it's quite wrong. If you listen carefully to our elders, this project, if you can call it, has been prayed about and discussed for a long time. Ever before we heard of Calvary Christian Academy, we were praying for, strategizing about the additional classrooms. The wonderful thing in the Christian life, I hope you've experienced it as I have in my personal life and the church life, that God goes ahead of us.
In Deuteronomy, as the people are going into the land and they're fearful Moses is about to die and they're going to have their new leader, Joshua, the Lord says, it is the Lord who goes before you, Deuteronomy 31 verse 8. And how wonderful that the Lord was going ahead of us. We didn't know we were going to have a school.
In fact, if you suggested, I would say, no, I've got enough headaches. I don't need a school. There's plenty of Christian schools, but God had gone ahead of us. And so the classrooms that we will use for life groups, for children's ministry will also be used for Calvary Christian Academy. God going before us. It is a center for the gospel, a center for growing Christian of all ages.
It is, I trust, a military academy. We need strong men and women, particularly young men and young women, but yes, also men and women who retire who maybe think of taking it easy. We want them to be strong, to equip, to be equipped, to obey their commander in chief, to go to the front line, to be able in a winsome, biblical way, accurate way, to deal with the forces of darkness and those who oppose the gospel, which is increasing in our land, that they can stand strong because they know the Word of God, that they are rooted and grounded in the Word of God, and we look out. And yes, our world is dark, but this is the world.
This is the society. This is the country that God has called us to shine as light, to be salt permeating the corruption. And how wonderful that our spiritual predecessors here at Calvary, over 30 years ago, this man donates these hundred acres, and the church that we now know as Calvary Church is built right on the outskirts of the town where some thought it was crazy to be building a church, and now we're in this prime location here, not only in Charlotte, but in the Carolinas, and we look out to a world, and we want brothers and sisters not to rest on their status quo.
I love being pastor at Calvary Church. I thank you for your encouragement, for your prayers, for your patience with me, for your forgiveness of me. But we cannot stay still, and next week we have the opportunity in a tangible way, in a prayerful way, in a joyful way, in a willing way to say, now, I'm going to trust God that He's going to provide these funds so that I'm able to give this fund over the three-year period. I'm thankful that during COVID, Calvary Church didn't go into retreat, didn't close down. We refused to let… We refused to let the debates about masks and vaccines to divide us and distract us as happened in many churches. Rather, in the goodness of God, we reached out. We continued to worship. We continued to preach.
We expanded our outreach through live stream, through the verdict radio programs, through podcasts, through Zoom, through social media and so on, so that today Calvary Church is reaching more people than ever before, and we trust that that will increase more and more. So today, as I conclude, and I've gone over time, but you can blame the two elders who preceded me for that. When in doubt, blame the elders and say the pastors got it right.
That's good advice. But today, I take the words of King David in 1 Chronicles 29, verse 5. Here's the challenge. Are you listening? Who then will offer willingly, consecrating Himself today to the Lord?
The issue is not our money. The issue is our consecration to the Lord. Am I truly consecrated to my Lord Jesus Christ? Am I living in the light of eternity as Dennis challenged us, or am I just concerned with my tiny little life, which is a shadow, which is a vapor? You have a week to prayfully to consider your response.
I say to you, what better investment could you make? God has poured His blessings on us. Let's not use our blessings in a self-indulgent way. Use our resources in a way to bring glory to God, to reach out to the unbeliever, to welcome all who come, and to help all of us in the grace and goodness of God to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, that we would stand strong on the theme verse of Calvary Church, which has sustained us and kept us on track through these many years for the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. We bow as we pray. Father, these verses are convicting, and we do seek to consecrate ourselves to the Lord. We're often selfish. We get sidetracked.
We are microscopic in our living sometimes. Jesus tells us to lift up our eyes and to look into the fields. We've been challenged to live in the light of eternity, and so help us, Father. We thank You for Your Holy Spirit. May He come and guide us, empower us, and that we as the people of God at Calvary will give willingly, generously, and an act of consecration to the Lord. And I pray that if someone here who doesn't know Christ, who doesn't have that living relationship with them, who may be afraid of dying, may they today come to Jesus Christ. He who has the Son has life, and may each of us receive that eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord. In His name we pray. Amen.
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