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Give what You got
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Give what You got

Posted on Mon, Jul 13, 2009

What is one of your most memorable experiences? Perhaps it was a day when someone was generous to you. Discover what Generostiy really means.

Acts Chap. 3: 1 -26 "Give what you Got"
 What is the best thing that has ever happened to you? What was the most memorable thing that comes to your mind?
Perhaps the best thing was an event that suddenly happened when you least expected it! A surprise has a way of creating lasting impact on our minds. Perhaps it wasn’t a surprise, instead it was an event, like a birthday or anniversary. A picnic, movie or a play. 
Or maybe is was the day the doctor said “It’s not serious” or “Cancer Free” Maybe you can only remember the sad things that happened and when you try to think of the good things, the good things are quickly crowded out by the shadows of the bad. 
Maybe the best thing that ever happened to you was the day that you asked Jesus into your heart, or maybe it was that day when you first recognized the Holy Spirit working in you. 
In Acts 3 we learn about a man who had something happen to him that I’m pretty sure he never forgot. The Bible records that this man was handicapped from the day of his birth. Think about it for a moment, here is a man who has never walked in his life. Can you imagine his legs—no muscle, no strength, and certainly no coordination. It must have been relatively difficult to look at him. The hopelessness, the despair, the only thing he had to look forward to was perhaps the tinkle of a coin as it ricocheted into metal can he was holding. 
You need to notice where they laid this hopeless case of a man. They laid him at the door or gate of the temple called Beautiful. Is there something significant about that gate?? 
Why place this hopeless man at the most beautiful door/gate in the temple? For this door was a bronze door overlade with gold. It symbolizes the gates of heaven in all their golden splendor. 
So why was this poor physically challenged man laid at the gate called beautiful? Why does the Bible detail where they laid this helpless man?? 
The reason is that it illustrates for us the beauty of what heaven is like and what God is like compared to what man is like. A man or a woman can do a lot to make themselves look good on the outside. Men can buy nice clothes, do various things with facial hair; women can put on makeup, wear clothes that hide parts, and clothes that bolster other parts, but the reality is that a man or woman cannot improve themselves. The contrast here is the outer adornment of the temple gate, and this poor crippled man who was totally dependent on others. 
Every day this physically challenged man sat at the temple gate colleting money from people who hated to even look at him; perhaps they would turn the other way and throw their money into his can, walking away thinking they had done their duty. They found relief from the burden of caring as they threw a few coins into his can, all the while feeling little compassion for this man. 
And it makes me wonder what you and I walk by every day, whether it be on our way to work, to the mall, or to church? What excuses do you and I make for paying little attention to those who need our attention the most? 
Some may argue with me, but I believe that one of the greatest gifts anyone could receive is Generosity. There are plenty of good givers around, and plenty of not-so-good givers around. I’m not merely talking amount of giving, instead I’m talking about attitudes towards doing and giving. 
Usually when you and I hear the word “giving”, we reach for our billfold or our purse. Often the attitude is something like—Okay what will it cost me to get out of this one? What will I have to pay to get this monkey off my back? Often we see giving as a burden rather than a joy. We often make the mistake of thinking that giving our money releases us from giving what is most valuable to us. 
We have been walking through Acts learning about the early church—why was the early church so successful in reaching the world for Jesus Christ? What can we learn and apply to our lives and to the life of this church? 
Last week’s sermon word was “DEVOTED” Instead of being distracted, I encouraged you to be devoted. Devoted to the 1. Apostles Teaching; 2. Fellowship, ; 3. breaking of Bread: 4. To Prayer. None of them seems all that difficult, yet why does it seem we have difficulty carrying them out. I think if all falls on today’s sermon Word “GENEROSITY”  Not “giving” not “got” but generosity. 
The problem you and I have is that we tend to think we have little to offer others. If you don’t have a dollar in your billfold when the offering is taken, you may feel guilty, at least temporarily. You may even feel like you have let God down because you have come to the end of the week and you don’t have much to give. Perhaps your credit cards are really putting the squeeze on you, and you simply cannot give more. 
What’s a person to do? How can I be generous when generosity is tied to a monetary system of giving?? 
While I’m glad you asked, because today, I’m praying that our Lord will so work in each heart gathered here today, that a new understanding of GENEROSITY will be birthed out of your being here today. 
Acts 3:1-26 (NIV) Edited by Pastor Duane
1 One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer--at three in the afternoon. (this would have been the busiest time of day, people were coming to pray and see the sacrifice2 Now a man crippled from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts.  (Imagine this poor man, laying there, his legs would have no muscle tone, Acts 3:7 says his ankles had no strength—apparently there was something wrong at the point where his legs and feet came together. 
3 When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money.
This poor man cared little about the people; after all they cared little about him. The crippled man never made eye contact because no one ever made eye contact with him. This man didn’t see people coming through the gate called beautiful, all he saw was money, food, and lodging. Surely after sitting at the gate for 40 years this man had lost his optimism. Another day at the temple is just another day at the temple when the Holy Spirit is not present.

4 Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, "Look at us!"
While other people looked the other way, Peter and John looked at this poor man, and something came over them, what do you suppose it was?? Could it have been the spirit of generosity? Maybe just for a moment, Peter and John wished they had something to give, but they didn’t have anything, at least not that they could throw in the poor man's can. 
But you see something had happened to Peter, he did have something to give
So Peter looks at this man and in one of the greatest testimonies in all of Acts, Peter offers the crippled man what he had himself been given. The healing hand of Jesus.
So Peter says “look at us” 
Now I can imagine this man’s hopelessness, the Bible gives us evidence that most likely this man was at this same gate to the temple when Jesus was there. He was most likely there when Jesus was healing people at the temple. And most likely this man saw Jesus come and go and he wandered “why didn’t I get healed today?” Why didn’t Jesus come my way today?” This man would have heard all about Jesus and his disciples, about Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. But after 40 years of being crippled, he may have all but given up.  Perhaps you have been dealing with something in your life for a long time, it may seem to you like "some things will never change."  I gave great news for you--Our Lord's timing is always right on time!!  This man was at the temple gate every day, don't give up, God still has plans for you, as He did for this man as we will see in a few minutes. 
5 So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.
6 Then Peter said, "Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of
Nazareth, walk."
You see Peter and John didn’t have any money in their pockets, but they had Jesus in their hearts. They were not able to give something they had, but they could give what they had received. And in a moment when they realized their poverty, they also recognized their prosperity.  Peter and John couldn’t give the man what he wanted, but they could give him what he needed. They could give him the most valuable thing they had ever received. “in the name of Jesus Christ” When you have received Jesus, and his Name is imprinted on your heart, you always have something to give. 
7 Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man's feet and ankles became strong.  (King James version says “his feet received strength”
Do you suppose Peter hesitated, as he reached for the man’s hand? They didn’t care for the handicapped like we do today. This man most likely hadn’t bathed in some time; he probably was quite a sight to see. Peter and John didn’t simply throw money in the can, they didn’t merely say, “get up and walk” Instead Peter, filled with "GENEROSITY of Jesus” took the man by his hand, and helped him up. And the Bible says immediately his legs became strong. 
8 He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God.
Can you imagine this scene?? Here is a man that everybody in the temple had walked past, they had ignored him, they had thrown their coins his direction, but they had never seen him walk, not to mention that he was jumping and praising God. You may wander why it seems some people have to suffer through life so long, sometimes of course people inflict suffering on themselves, but for this man, it seems like there was no real reason for him to lay at this beautiful temple gate day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year and one decade after another. Why do some people have to struggle so long?? All I can say is God’s timing is sufficient. Why didn’t Jesus heal this man when he healed others, we know Jesus had previously been at the temple.
On this particular day this man was healed, because God's timing regardless whether it is healing, injury, or illness, is always on time. Could it be that our Lord would wait to heal this man physically, so many would come to know Jesus personally/spiritually?  The sooner you and understand God's timing is always set to benefit those who will respond to him best the sooner we can find complete confidence in His timing.  Here we see the stage was all set for the early church. The Holy Spirit was greatly at work, and this one man who had nothing to offer, nothing to give, suddenly had everything to offer, and everything to give. He had received generously and now he was giving back generously. This apparently was not a private celebration for this man, instead it was a public proclamation. 
9 When all the people saw him walking and praising God,
10 they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
Last week I asked you whether you had been amazed by God? Have you been amazed by Him at home?? At church lately ?  Something happened in the temple that day. Something that was fueled by a spirit of GENEROSITY. Have you ever been amazed by someone’s generosity? 
11 While the beggar held on to Peter and John, all the people were astonished and came running to them in the place called Solomon's Colonnade.
The Greek word for “held” means “to cling” The beggar clung to Peter and John—why?---because of their GENERORSITY. 
It was also because the people came running to see if the man had truly been healed. They were (filled with wonder and amazement) It’s almost like they were thinking “what is going to happen next? Oh if we would have that kind of excitement about the things of God. What if we would understand and grasp the importance of having a spirit of GENERSITY? 

12 When Peter saw this, he said to them: "Men of
Israel, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?
One of the greatest surprises is to be surprised by God. 
Peter is assuring them, that he was only giving what he had received. He did not claim any particular power, in fact, Peter never took credit for what God was doing through him.
The healing of a man disabled for 40 years was an opportunity for people to recognize the power and authority of God. 
13 The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. 14 You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. 15 You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this.
You and I are just as guilty of killing Jesus as the people Peter addressed on that day in Acts.  For everytime you and I sin, we drive another nail through the hands of Jesus and into the old rugged cross.  Peter is telling you and I that we killed the Son of God.  We are like the handicapped man laying outside the "Beautiful Temple Gate"  (Heaven's Gate).  We have no way to get into heaven, becasue our sin has"crippled" us and there is no way we can enter Heaven! 


Even though you and I are responsible for Christ's death, God, our Heavenly Father looks at us with even greater compassion than Peter had when he looked directly at the crippled man. Our Father in Heaven looks at us and says "even though you killed My one and only Son, I'm going to  show you that I am a Generous God; I offer you healing that will allow you to enter heaven whole and complete with no physical defects whatsoever.  Even though you have done nothing to deserve eternal life, and I'm going to offer you the greatest gift of all.  Now that's generostiy!! To recieve something you cannot buy, to be given something you don't deserve. But God! 
Peter and John had received much from Jesus, so they had much that they could offer.  They gave what they got! If you have recieved Jesus, you have something to give!
16 By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus' name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.

Maybe you're so busy today thinking about what you don’t have, you have mislaid what you do have. Or maybe so busy taking care of what you do have that you have forgotten the most valuable gift you hold. 
True GENEROSITY comes from a heart that has received something it cannot buy, a heart that has received something is cannot earn, a heart that has been touched by the Master of GENEROSITY. 
What will you give this week? will it be something that comes from your heart? 
The church in Acts was devoted to generoustiy, they opened their homes to one another (Acts 2)  The served each other in their homes and at church, they sold some of thier own possesstions so they could help those in need. What about you?  Are you a generoous giver of your time, and efforts? 
 Your greatest treasure can be your greatest Gift
Generosity ---What the heart gives away is never gone... It is kept in the hearts of others
How to be Generous…. Acts 3: 1-26 
1. Calculate  what you have received. Acts 3:6-7
Exodus 4:1-2 (NLT)
1 But Moses protested again, “What if they won’t believe me or listen to me? What if they say, ‘The Lord never appeared to you’?” 2 Then the Lord asked him, “What is that in your hand?” “A shepherd’s staff,” Moses replied.

What has God placed in your hand?  Can you be generous to others with it? 
Ecclesiastes 9:10 (NIV)
10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.
Your opportunities to be generous come with an expiration date. 
Romans 12:6-13 (NIV)
6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us
2. Consider the Source. Acts 3:12-16 
 A. Generosity takes preparation
 When you harvest your crops, do not harvest the grain along the edges of your fields, and do not pick up what the harvesters drop. It is the same with your grape crop—do not strip every last bunch of grapes from the vines, and do not pick up the grapes that fall to the ground. Leave them for the poor and the foreigners who live among you, for I, the Lord, am your God. (Leviticus 19:9-10 and Ruth 2:2)
From practically the begining of time (Leviticus) God had a plan of Generosity.  The wealthy were to give to the the not-so-wealthy.  In Ruth chap two we find that God's command to be Generous in Leviticus changed the lives of Ruth and Naomi, as well as yours and mine.  (Christ is decendent of Ruth)

Do you have a plan to be generous?  Know that your generosity needs to have it's basis in what God has done for you in sending Christ to die for your sins and  bring eternal healing to you.
3. Calibrate what you have done/given Acts 3:23-26
 Moses gave the command, and this message was sent throughout the camp: "Bring no more materials! You have already given more than enough." So the people stopped bringing their offerings. Their contributions were more than enough to complete the whole project.(Exodus 36:6-7)

What a great problem Moses had!!  The people were so generous in thier giving that Moses had to tell them to stop.  Here at Bible Fellowship Church we have Vacation Bible School coming up.  Wouldn't it be great if I had to get up in front of church on Sunday morning and say "stop volunteering to help with VBS!  We have too many people who have already volunteered. 
Or what if you as a congreagation were inviting so many people to church, that we needed to begin a second service? 

Think about an area of your life where you have been generous, then grow in that area. 
Isaiah 32:8 (NLT)
8 But generous people plan to do what is generous, and they stand firm in their generosity.
Acts 10:1-4 (Reference only??) At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. 2 He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.
3 One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, "Cornelius!" 4 Cornelius stared at him in fear. "What is it, Lord?" he asked. The angel answered, "Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God.
4. Capitulate  every opportunity. Acts 11:29
 --to surrender based on stated conditions or to yield or give in submission
 A. Generosity means giving cheerfully and enthusiastically 
Proverbs 21:26 (NLT) 
6 Some people are always greedy for more, but the godly love to give!
 2 Cor. 9:7 7 You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.”
B. Generosity flows out of a concern for those in need.
 The believers in Antioch decided to send relief to the brothers and sisters in Judea, everyone giving as much as they could. (Acts 11:29)
 1 Timothy 6:17-19 (NIV)
 17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.
Proverbs 11:24 (NIV)
24 One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. 25 A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.
What the heart gives away is never gone... It is kept in the hearts of  others

1. Jesus received from His Father And Jesus gave it away
2. Peter received from Jesus and He gave it away. 3. Crippled Man received from Peter and gave back to the people. 4. What will you do with what you have received from Jesus? 

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