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Barrett Berry, Lead Pastor

MESSAGE AS PREPARED FOR PASTOR BARRETT

I Have Overcome the World

“It is More Blessed to Give”

WELCOME & VISION OF SERMON SERIES

Welcome to the Empowered Living Church (The ELC). We are celebrating our first church anniversary! Thank you for being a part of God's victory. Our objective is to save souls, make disciples, and build God's kingdom.

BIG IDEA

Paul wrote, "remember the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

KEY SCRIPTURE - Acts 20:32-35 (NIV)

32 “Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. 33 I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. 34 You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions.35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”

CONTEXT

There are three kinds of givers: the flint, the sponge, and the honeycomb.  To get anything out of the flint, you have got to hammer it. Then you only get chips and sparks.  To get water out of the sponge, you have got to squeeze it. The more you squeeze, the more you get.  But the honeycomb simply overflows with sweetness.


When a person understands what God has done for them, you don’t have to prime them to give and you don’t need ten collections.  They understand that He is a great God. In fact, at offering time, we ought to jump to our feet and applaud that we are here to give, have something to give, and have been blessed to have strength enough to work that we might be able to give.  We ought to just applaud the privilege of giving.


TEACHING POINTS / THOUGHTS TO BUILD ON

Lesson 1: Get Your Inheritance


Acts 20:32 ~  32 “Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.


The word of God says in Colossians chapter one that we as Believers have been qualified to share in the inheritance of God’s holy people, God’s chosen people.  We live today under the unique gifts of grace and mercy. These gifts from God was not earned by any of us in this room today, but God blessed us with them because He loves us so much that he created us, he formed us, he built us up through the work of the cross to give us an inheritance of eternally life with Him and other believers.  


Colossians 1:10-14 (NIV)

. . . 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.


Paul, the author of Colossians, makes mention of light, which is an important part of Hebrew thinking. According to the Jewish people, all knowledge and goodness was symbolized by "light," while sin and ignorance were characterized by "darkness."


Galatians 3:23-29 (NIV)

23 Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. 24 So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.


26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.


Who Are the Heirs? Three major characters dominate the inheritance usage in the New Testament: Abraham, Christ, and the believer. The New Testament continues the focus on Abraham as a central figure of the inheritance metaphor. The initial promise to Abraham of the land of Canaan ( Hebrews 11:8 ) is broadened to include "the world" ( Romans 4:13 ). While the fact of Abraham's inheritance is significant, the New Testament concentrates on the means by which he received the inheritance: God's promise and Abraham's faith, not by works of the law ( Romans 4:14 ; Galatians 3:18 ).


The second major character is Jesus Christ. His prominent position as the Son of God uniquely qualifies him as God's heir. He is presented as the heir of all things ( Hebrews 1:2 Hebrews 1:4 ) and the promises of God's kingdom are focused in him ( Matthew 21:38 ).

Finally, for the believer in Christ, heirship is a natural result of justification: "He saved us, … so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life" ( Titus 3:5-7 ).Since all believers are children of God they are necessarily heirs of God ( Romans 8:17 ; Galatians 4:7 ). It follows naturally that Christians are also heirs along with Abraham and Christ ( Galatians 3:29 ). They receive their inheritance by faith as did Abraham ( Romans 4:13-14 ) and share in the inheritance with Christ as sons ( Romans 8:17 ).


What Is the Inheritance? Throughout the New Testament, a striking promise for believers is simply "the inheritance" ( Acts 20:32 ; 26:18 ; Ephesians 1:14 Ephesians 1:18 ; Colossians 3:24 ).Generally, the promise refers to the possession of salvation ( Hebrews 1:14 ). The believer's inheritance is described more specifically as eternal and joyful existence with God. Believers are promised "an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you" ( 1 Peter 1:4 ).Inheriting the "world to come" is a guarantee for all those who belong to God's family.


Get your inheritance!


Lesson 2: What God has for you is for you


Acts 20:33-34 ~ 33 I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. 34 You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions.


Deuteronomy 3:21-26 (NIV) ~ 21 Do not be terrified by them, for the Lord your God, who is among you, is a great and awesome God. 22 The Lord your God will drive out those nations before you, little by little. You will not be allowed to eliminate them all at once, or the wild animals will multiply around you. 23 But the Lord your God will deliver them over to you, throwing them into great confusion until they are destroyed. 24 He will give their kings into your hand, and you will wipe out their names from under heaven. No one will be able to stand up against you; you will destroy them. 25 The images of their gods you are to burn in the fire. Do not covet the silver and gold on them, and do not take it for yourselves, or you will be ensnared by it, for it is detestable to the Lord your God. 26 Do not bring a detestable thing into your house or you, like it, will be set apart for destruction. Regard it as vile and utterly detest it, for it is set apart for destruction.


Proverbs 6:16-19 (NIV) ~ There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him:

17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood,

18 a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil,

19 a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.


What is detestable to God must not enter into your life, your home, your family, and definitely not your church.  What God has for us is for us. We can’t live our best lives chasing after images of false Gods coated with silver and gold when God has already promised us an inheritance in heaven where the streets are paved with gold.  Where God has promised to bless us with lives here on earth as it is in heaven when we worship Him in Spirit and in truth. God is turned off by our lies, backbiting, creation of confusion, and stirring up conflict in our homes, families, workplaces, and church.  


What God has for you, is for you!


Lesson 3: It is more blessed to give than to receive.


Acts 20:35 ~ 35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”


CONTEXT:


ONE day a man was lost in a desert without water, but he saw an old shack.  He was dying of thirst. He knew he didn’t have much longer so he painfully made his way to the shack.  Inside the shack was a little jar of crystal clear water set on the floor next to a pump. Flooded with relief, he walked over to the jar to quench his overbearing thirst.  As he reached down to pick up the jar of water, he noticed a sign. The sign said, “use this water to prime the pump out back. When you are satisfied, refill it and leave if for the next person who will pass this way.”


He found himself on the horns of a dilemma because he was so very thirst.  What if he followed the directions on the sign and threw was no water in the well?  He had to make a decision to either serve himself now or invest and take the chance that deep down there was so much more.


Giving is a method of priming the pump of God’s blessing in the life of a believer.  You have a choice. You can take the little that God has given you now and consume it for yourself.  Or you can use it to prime something that’s go so much more. It all boils down to whether you believe there’s something underneath the ground.  

CLOSING THOUGHT / CHALLENGE

  • Giving sets us free, while hoarding entraps us (James 5:2).
  • Giving changes the lives of others (John 3:16).
  • Giving brings blessing back to us (Luke 6:38).
  • Giving allows us to store up treasures in Heaven rather than here on the earth (Matthew 19:21).
  • Giving really is fun — we need to be in on it.


Paul wrote, “remember the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”