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Sermon No: 1369-God's gift



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SERMON TOPIC: God's gift

Speaker: Ken Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 22 December 2013

Topic Groups: CHRISTMAS, LOVE OF GOD, JOHN 3v16

Sermon synopsis: John 3:16-17 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
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God’s gift.

God owes us nothing.

Job 41:11.

Who has first given to me, that I should repay him? Whatever is under the whole heaven is mine.

Everything belongs to God and even our ability to generate income comes from Him.

1 Chronicles 29:13-14.

And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name. But 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.

Deuteronomy 8:17-18.

Beware lest you say in your heart, My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth. You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day.

God’s gift.

John 3:16-17. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

Galatians 2:20. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Romans 6:23. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

God’s gift.

The Death-Dealing Sin, the Life-Giving Gift

Romans 5:15-19.

Yet the rescuing gift is not exactly parallel to the death-dealing sin. If one man’s sin put crowds of people at the dead-end abyss of separation from God, just think what God’s gift poured through one man, Jesus Christ, will do! There’s no comparison between that death-dealing sin and this generous, life-giving gift. The verdict on that one sin was the death sentence; the verdict on the many sins that followed was this wonderful life sentence. If death got the upper hand through one man’s wrongdoing, can you imagine the breathtaking recovery life makes, sovereign life, in those who grasp with both hands this wildly extravagant life-gift, this grand setting-everything-right, that the one man Jesus Christ provides? Here it is in a nutshell: Just as one person did it wrong and got us in all this trouble with sin and death, another person did it right and got us out of it. But more than just getting us out of trouble, he got us into life! One man said no to God and put many people in the wrong; one man said yes to God and put many in the right.

God’s gift.

Let us look at what God gave in the person of Jesus Christ so that we could be saved from the penalty of sin.

He gave up His Glory.

John 17:4-5.

I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.

And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.

Hebrews 2:9.

But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honour because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

God’s gift.

He gave up His divine power and knowledge as part of the God-head.

John 5:19. Jesus gave them this answer: Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.

Matthew 4:1-3. Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.

God’s gift.

He gave up His divine power and knowledge as part of the God-head.

Matthew 26;53-54.

Put your sword back in its place, Jesus said to him, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?

Mark 13:32.

But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

God’s gift.

He gave up His reputation.

Philippians 2:7.

rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant,

being made in human likeness.

1 Peter2:20

When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness.

God’s gift.

He gave up His reputation.

Born in a stable.

Brought up in Nazareth.

Called a child of fornication.

Accused of been a Samaritan and demon-possessed.

Called Beelzebub the prince of demons.

Called a glutton and a wine bibber.

Called a law-breaker.

God’s gift.

He gave up basic needs for the sake of ministry.

Matthew 8:18-20.

When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake.

Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.

Jesus replied, Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.

God’s gift.

He gave up His life on the cross of Calvary.

John 10:17.

The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again.

God’s gift.

God still continues to give to us on a daily basis.

Romans 8:32.

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

We pray in the prayer Jesus taught His disciples

“Give us this day our daily bread”

but we are blessed far beyond this as He cares for us in so many ways.

Giving.

Matthew 25:44-45. They also will answer, Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you? He will reply, I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.

Matthew 5:42. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

2 Corinthians 9:6-7. The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

Giving.

Luke 14:12-14.

He said also to the man who had invited him, When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbours, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.

Ephesians 4:28.

Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labour, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.

Giving.

Philippians 4:14-18. Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit. I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God

God’s gift.

Giving.

II Corinthians 8v1-7. (Macedonians)

They gave not only what they could afford but far more; and I can testify that they did it because they wanted to and not because of nagging on my part. They begged us to take the money so they could share in the joy of helping the Christians in Jerusalem. Best of all, they went beyond our highest hopes, for their first action was to dedicate themselves to the Lord and to us, for whatever directions God might give to them through us. They were so enthusiastic about it that we have urged Titus, who encouraged your giving in the first place, to visit you and encourage you to complete your share in this ministry of giving. You people there are leaders in so many ways you have so much faith, so many good preachers, so much learning, so much enthusiasm, so much love for us. Now I want you to be leaders also in the spirit of cheerful giving.

Giving.

II Corinthians 8v8-11.

I am not giving you an order; I am not saying you must do it, but others are eager for it. This is one way to prove that your love is real, that it goes beyond mere words. You know how full of love and kindness our Lord Jesus was: though he was so very rich, yet to help you he became so very poor, so that by being poor he could make you rich. I want to suggest that you finish what you started to do a year ago, for you were not only the first to propose this idea, but the first to begin doing something about it. Having started the ball rolling so enthusiastically, you should carry this project through to completion just as gladly, giving whatever you can out of whatever you have. Let your enthusiastic idea at the start be equalled by your realistic action now.

Giving.

II Corinthians 8v12-15.

If you are really eager to give, then it isn’t important how much you have to give. God wants you to give what you have, not what you haven’t. Of course, I don’t mean that those who receive your gifts should have an easy time of it at your expense, but you should divide with them. Right now you have plenty and can help them; then at some other time they can share with you when you need it. In this way, each will have as much as he needs. Do you remember what the Scriptures say about this? “He that gathered much had nothing left over, and he that gathered little had enough.” So you also should share with those in need.

Giving.

An unconverted person thinks giving 10% of your salary to GOD is crazy, but once you have given yourself to GOD, giving 10% of your earnings to Him is just a starting point.

Hebrews 13:16.

Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

Acts 20:35.

In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.

Proverbs 11:24.

One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.

Giving.

Amos 8 (MSG)

My Master God showed me this vision: A bowl of fresh fruit. He said, What do you see, Amos? I said, A bowl of fresh, ripe fruit God said, Right. So, I’m calling it quits with my people Israel. I’m no longer acting as if everything is just fine. The royal singers will wail when it happens. My Master God said so Corpses will be strewn here, there, and everywhere. Hush! Listen to this, you who walk all over the weak, you who treat poor people as less than nothing, Who say, When’s my next pay cheque coming so I can go out and live it up? How long till the weekend when I can go out and have a good time? Who give little and take much, and never do an honest day’s work. You exploit the poor, using them and then, when they’re used up, you discard them. God swears against the arrogance of Jacob: I’m keeping track of their every last sin.

You can tithe and have no compassion.

Mathew 23:23-24. (The Message)

You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You keep meticulous account books, tithing on every nickel and dime you get, but on the meat of God’s Law, things like fairness and compassion and commitment—the absolute basics!

you carelessly take it or leave it. Careful bookkeeping is commendable, but the basics are required. Do you have any idea how silly you look, writing a life story that’s wrong from start to finish, nitpicking over commas and semicolons?

You can tithe and have no compassion.

Mathew 18:9-14.

Then he told this story to some who boasted of their virtue and scorned everyone else: Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a proud, self-righteous Pharisee, and the other a cheating tax collector.

The proud Pharisee ‘prayed’ this prayer: ‘Thank God, I am not a sinner like everyone else, especially like that tax collector over there! For I never cheat, I don’t commit adultery, I go without food twice a week, and I give to God a tenth of everything I earn.

But the corrupt tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed, but beat upon his chest in sorrow, exclaiming, God, be merciful to me, a sinner. I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home forgiven! For the proud shall be humbled, but the humble shall be honoured.

Our attitude or motive when giving.

Luke 6: 27-34.

To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer for that person. If someone slaps you in the face, stand there and take it. If someone grabs your shirt, gift-wrap your best coat and make a present of it. If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously. Here is a simple rule of thumb for behaviour: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them! If you only love the lovable, do you expect a pat on the back? Run-of-the-mill sinners do that. If you only help those who help you, do you expect a medal? Garden-variety sinners do that. If you only give for what you hope to get out of it, do you think that’s charity? The stingiest of pawnbrokers does that.

Our attitude or motive when giving.

Luke 6:35-38. I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You’ll never I promise regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind. Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults unless, of course, you want the same treatment. Don’t condemn those who are down; that hardness can boomerang. Be easy on people; you’ll find life a lot easier. Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity.

Our attitude or motive when giving.

Matthew 6:1-34.

Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.

Givers & Takers.

Adam Grant: Givers and takers - who are the best performers in the workplace?

AFTER A DECADE OF RESEARCH IN SETTINGS RANGING FROM GOOGLE TO GOVERNMENT AND MILITARY ORGANISATIONS, I'VE FOUND THAT THERE ARE NOT TWO, BUT THREE KINDS OF PEOPLE IN THE WORLD. I CALL THEM TAKERS, GIVERS AND MATCHERS.

Takers are the people we love to hate, who try to get as much as possible from us without giving anything back. They specialise in critical skills such as shirking and free riding, credit hogging, and self-promoting to make sure they're alone at the top. In contrast, givers enjoy helping others with no strings attached. They often go out of their way to share knowledge, solve problems and make introductions, without seeking anything in return.

Givers & Takers.

You might think like a taker when negotiating your salary, and a giver when mentoring a new recruit, and it's rare for anyone to be purely one or the other. Most of the time, the majority of us are matchers – striving to stay at equilibrium between giving and taking. When someone does us a favour, we expect an equal one back. By matching others evenly, we escape the relationship and reputational damage that torments the takers, while simultaneously protecting ourselves against the exploitation and exhaustion that plague the givers. The matching approach seems like the safest way to live our professional lives, but is it the most effective way to operate?

Givers & Takers.

To answer this question, I analysed studies of success in three very different arenas: engineering, medicine and sales. In each context, researchers gathered data on whether employees tended to operate like takers, givers or matchers, and then collected objective data on their success – productivity and error rates in engineering, grades in medical school, and revenue in sales.

Across all three settings, the givers were the worst performers. The engineers with the lowest productivity and the most errors were those whose colleagues rated them as doing many more favours than they received in return. Similarly, the medical students with the poorest grades, and the sales people with the lowest annual revenue, were those who agreed most strongly with statements like "I love to help others". By putting other people first, the givers ran out of time and energy to complete their own work effectively.

Givers & Takers.

So who were the best performers? A close look at the data revealed an unexpected answer: not the takers, not the matchers, but the givers again. The engineers with the highest productivity and the fewest mistakes were those who did more favours for colleagues than they received. Engineers who took at least as much as they gave were more likely to have average results; the givers went to the extremes. The same pattern emerged in medicine and sales: the highest achievers were those most driven to help others.

What determines whether givers sink to the bottom or rise to the top? I find that failed givers are too altruistic: they sacrifice themselves to the point of burning out and allowing takers to use them. Successful givers put other people first most of the time, but they focus on helping in ways that are not at odds with their own interests. For example, it turns out that successful givers specialise in five-minute favours, looking for ways of offering high benefit to others at a low personal cost. They also ask the people they mentor to "pay it forward", expanding their giving to a broader audience, and are more cautious when dealing with takers.

Givers & Takers.

Equipped with these self-preservation strategies, givers can climb higher than takers or matchers. Their generosity tends to forge deeper relationships, while opening doors to new networks as their reputations spread. They become trusted collaborators, winning the loyalty of their colleagues, and the leaders whose staff rise to the occasion. After all, most people are matchers, so one good turn earns another.

Even if givers don't exceed the accomplishments of takers and matchers, their success takes on a different quality. Instead of cutting other people down on the way to the top, they pursue their personal goals in ways that lift other people up, earning friends, not enemies. So when givers do ascend, it isn't lonely at the top.

Giving.

Two Kinds of People

There are two kinds of people on earth today, Just two kinds of people, no more, I say, Not the good and the bad, for ’tis well understood The good are half bad and the bad are half good.

Not the happy and sad, for the swift flying years Bring each man his laughter and each man his tears. Not the rich and the poor, for to count a man’s wealth You must first know the state of his conscience and health.

Not the humble and proud, for in life’s busy span Who puts on vain airs is not counted a man. No! The two kinds of people on earth I mean Are the people who lift, and the people who lean.

Wherever you go you will find the world’s masses Are ever divided in just these two classes. And, strangely enough, you will find, too, I wean, There is only one lifter for twenty who lean.

This one question I ask. Are you easing the load Of overtaxed lifters who toil down the road? Or are you a leaner who lets others bear Your portion of worry and labour and care?

–Ella Wheeler Wilcox

COPYRIGHT INFORMATION

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are taken from the NIV:

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. (www.Lockman.org)




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