Let me ask you this. You ready?
Do you believe that God can use you?
Do you really, truly believe that God has a desire, God has the ability, and God will use you to impact people, to bring him glory and to see the kingdom grow.
That’s a question we need to wrestle with, because I really believe that if we truly, truly, truly, deep down in our hearts, believe that, then it’s going to change everything. It’s going to change so much.
It’s going to change the way that we see gathering like this. It’s going to change our devotional habits. It will change the way that you pray. It’ll change the way that you approach your Bible study at your Sunday school class.
You’re going to say, "I’m going. I’m going to connect. I’m going to invest. I’m going to dig in." Why? Because I’m there so God can use me to impact other people.
I’m just telling you, if you really do truly believe that God is going to use you, then it’s going to affect every waking moment of our day.
And in fact, as we’ve been thinking about spiritual gifts at Trinity Baptist Church, I think if we really truly believe that God can and will use us, we’re going to do everything we can to try to learn about spiritual gifts.
So that God can work in us and through us. That’s what we’ve got to know. So what we’ve been doing is we’ve been looking at Romans Chapter 12.
I’m grateful to be in the room with you today. My name is Adam and the joy of serving Trinity as the teaching pastor.
And today we’re going to be looking at Romans chapter 12. This is a foundational passage for us.
Let me read it to you. Start in verse three.
This passage has been, like I said, a foundation for us as we’ve been thinking through all the different ways that God has gifted His church to be used for the work of ministry.
I hope you know this as a Christian, If you’re a Christ follower, you have a spiritual gift, plain and simple. You do, and God wants to use you and grow that gift.
So let’s take just a quick second to recap these. All right? Because this is the conclusion of our series. So far, we’ve looked at prophecy, teaching, service, mercy, encouragement and administration.
You’ll remember that prophecy is not about future telling, but rather it’s about declaring a timeless message in a timely way. “Thus, saith the Lord.”
Teaching is all about exploring and explaining the depths of Scripture. Service is about meeting practical needs.
Mercy is about care and concern lived out. Last week we looked at encouragement. You remember that? That’s about breathing life and courage into the lives of those around us. All right, if you’re looking for an easy test. I’ve already said this before, but if you’re looking for an easy test to know if the person next to you needs encouragement, just look at them and ask, Are they breathing? Because we all need encouragement.
And then last week we also looked at the gift of administration. This is the special leadership ability that God gives to some so that they can visualize, analyze and organize spiritual matters.
Today, we’re looking at the gift of giving. And as always, we want to think it through and we want to be biblical as we look at this spiritual gift.
I’ve got several things that I want to share with you today. If you take a note, you got a little worship guide, you can fill it in there or just follow along.
But the first thing we want to look at is the heart behind giving. And if you’re taking notes in the blank, there is Treasuring Christ.
So let me ask you this. What is it that you treasure most? I think there’s a question, a question that comes to us from scripture, a question that we must wrestle with, because here’s the deal: money reveals what we treasure most. It’s not that money is the treasure, but money reveals our treasure. That’s what Jesus deals with it so much in the New Testament.
Through his sermons and his parables, we see that Jesus ministered to a people who, for the most part, were poor, and they would have been tempted to think that if I could just have more wealth, then that would be the thing that that’s the solution to my problems.
Now, Jesus was not blind to the needs of the poor, but by his example and by his example, by his teachings. He calls Christ followers to be generous and to share all these different things. But the message is clear: money is not the answer to your most fundamental problem.
You can place your hope in money or you can place your hope in the Lord, but you can’t do both. And that means in order for us to practice the spiritual gift of giving every single one of us needs to take a deep look in our heart and ask, What is it that I treasure the most? Am I treasuring Christ above all else?
Because we cannot serve two masters. You just can’t have two gods. We’ve got to make up our minds.
Will we serve the false god of money? The false God of possessions, which all that is, is idolatry, right? Or will we serve the one true living God who owns it all To be devoted to the one is to hate the other. There’s there’s no two ways about it.
We declare who our God is every time we make a money decision. Either our money is lord or Christ is Lord. Now, we might be tempted to think as a result of just the world in which we live, that true wealth is measured by what you have.
But it’s just the opposite. You see, in God’s economy, God’s kingdom, true wealth is measured by impact, not income. Another way to say it is it’s really not about how much you have, but it’s about how much you give.
And so church the question for us is, will we be a people of consumers or will we be a people consumed with the mission of God and live our lives for the sake of others? Because the way that we handle our finances is like a window to our spiritual lives.
In Matthew six, Jesus said it like this, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Therefore, man, when we talk about finances, it’s really not a money issue. It’s always a heart issue. And I think it’s super important. Let me just indulge you for a moment,
I think it’s really important that you know, here at Trinity Baptist Church, that we believe that integrity in this area is a premium. And in fact, part of the way that we have organized ourselves is we have a team we call our finance team, and they meet every single week. And some of you are on this team. Thank you so much for being diligent.
You need to know there’s a team that every month goes over everything that happens financially at this church and Greg Bath and his team, they work tirelessly to prepare reports so that they have accurate information in order to make sure that everybody is doing what they say they’re doing.
And in fact, you may not know this, but we, every year in January, we willingly voluntarily submit ourselves to a review from an outside CPA organization who come in and we say, hey, this is what we say we’re doing. Would you check us and make sure we’re doing it? We’ve not been mandated to do that. That’s just something we do because we know in the world in which we live there’s a lot of temptation and we believe that it is our calling to be above reproach and with integrity.
I tell you that to say this: when you give to the ministry of Trinity Baptist Church, we take it seriously and you can do so with confidence. Now, let’s dig a little further into the spiritual gift.
Next thing I want us to see is this:
Here’s the challenge. We’re all called the gift. We are all called to give. Just like the gift of service, for example, is is something that even if you don’t have the gift, you still have to serve.
This is the same with giving. That means you can’t say, Well, I have the gift of encouragement, so I’m just going to go outside to one of these giving boxes and I’m going to stand next to the box. And every time somebody comes up, I’m going to encourage them. “Good job. Way to give.”
Now, it doesn’t work like that. Please encourage one another. But the idea is that just like service, we believe that giving is something that God wants from from every Christ follower.
Now, with service, the way I like to say it is this Everybody doesn’t have to do everything and everybody has to do something. And that’s the same with giving.
Just because you don’t have the gift of giving does not exclude you from giving. And here at Trinity, we believe that one of the expectations of being a member, we don’t put this on other people. But if you’re a member is we believe you ought to be practicing tithing.
Now, we’ve talked about it a lot through the years. We’re not going to go too deep into it right now.But remember this: God doesn’t need your money. He doesn’t. What he wants is your heart. And when it comes to giving financially, that seems to be the last frontier for a lot of people to surrender unto the Lord.
Another thing you need to know is this. In the same way that you don’t have to be a pastor in order to have the gift of prophecy or teaching.
You don’t have to be rich in order to give. You don’t have to have a lot of material wealth. Many people give the gift, they utilize this gift by giving financially. But there are other ways that people give too. They give of their time, their talent and their resources. And in fact, let me let me give you a biblical example of this lived out.
Now, we could just point back and say, VBS, wow. But listen to what it says and chapter three, And this is an amazing story. And the truth is, from what God has given us, we are called to give. That’s about as plainly as we know how to say it from what God has given. We are called to be givers.
Now, the next thing I want us to look at is the promise of giving.
Here’s the promise. This is a good one. You want to write this down. God will provide. God will provide. Now what I don’t want to do, hear me, what I don’t want to do is to pretend that giving is always easy for everyone. I’m aware of the situation. I understand that there can be a level of fear associated with this practice. All right? If I, If I release this to the Lord, what’s going to happen? I understand that there can be fear there.
But what do we do with fear? We treat it with truth. That’s what we do with fear. And in the book of Philippians, Paul writes these words, “My God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.”
He doesn’t say that God might meet your needs. He doesn’t say that God will meet some of your needs. He says that God will meet all your needs. And then He goes on to say that God’s going to do this according to the riches of His glory.
That means the basis for the promise is not my merit, but his grace. And that’s good news for us, because His grace doesn’t run out, folks.
So here’s the promise. God will provide. We should also consider the attitude of giving, the attitude of giving that is cheerful and content.
Now, understanding this: cheerful and content, that needs to be our attitude when it comes to giving. Understanding and maintaining this is imperative for us for Christ followers.
In fact, Paul wrote these words for the church in court. He says, “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion. For God loves a cheerful giver.”
Guys, it’s so important that we maintain this attitude of cheerfulness as we approach this. Because if you come and you give begrudgingly what that showing is a heart that is discontent. That is struggling, we can give cheerfully. We can when we remember that our God is the source of everything we have. When we recognize him as that, everything is a gift from him.
Now we also must work to give from an attitude that is content. Now I want to read a passage to you, but you got to know this. There’s a verse in here that is probably one of the most well memorized verses in all scripture. Maybe not the most one, but it is up there like it’s a top five. Okay? But you’ve got to understand it in context. And so I want to read the whole thing to you.
Start in verse ten. This is what Paul wrote.
All this through him, who gives me strength. It’s that last verse that we really like to put on a coffee cup and, you know, carry around with us, and rightly so. It’s an amazing verse.
But what when you read in context, what you understand is it’s not about being capable, it’s about being content that we can do all things when we approach the Lord and understand that He’s the source, that that he’s the one that meets our needs, that we do all this for him. What it means is I can do all things because I’ve learned to be content no matter what the situation.
Now, right here, I want us to think practically just for a minute, okay? I really want us to think when it comes to having this attitude. There’s a couple of things we need to remember.
One, that part of it, talking about cultivating contentment, cultivating cheerfulness. Okay? You with me? That’s the work of the Holy Spirit. That’s what the Holy Spirit does within us to produce these things.
But there is another point, a degree to which we are called to adopt habits and mindsets and attitudes that put us in the right posture in order to grow in this way.
What I’m saying is we’re completely dependent on the Lord to do it in us, and yet we also are called to pursue it. Now, why is this important? It is because we are responsible for our, for growing to look more like Christ And so if you’re looking for one way that you can grow more cheerful, grow more content,
You’re looking for that? I’m glad you asked.
Here it is. Super simple. Write it down: practice gratitude. If we will practice gratitude, it will begin to cultivate these things within us.
Because when we are grateful, think about a Roman guard for a second, okay? When we are grateful and we focus on that, it’s like a posted military guard on the front of our heart. What’s it guarding us from? It’s guarding us from fear, it’s guarding us from the trap of comparison, and it’s guarding us from cynicism.
Truly, if you will practice gratitude and make that just a normal, everyday part of your life to focus on what you are grateful for, it will protect against those things.
Can we be honest? Is anybody struggling with those things, or have you struggled in the past with fear? With comparison, looking at somebody else’s situation, somebody else, whatever comparison or cynicism, just being jaded in that way?
I’m telling you, Being grateful will guard against that and it will produce cheerfulness and contentment. And if that’s you this morning, I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know because you’re living it. I get that.
But what I’m calling you to do is to change the way you think about it and bring it to the Lord. Change the way you’re thinking about your situation, change the way you’re thinking about the details of of whatever it is. Because when you change the way you think about fear, when you change the way you think about comparison and cynicism and replace it with gratitude, the Lord begins to work in our lives.
That’s one of the reasons, y’all, that we come in here and we sing. Like that’s that’s what songs do for us when we praise the Lord together. Like we come in here, right?
We gather around and we lift up truth about God. Why? So that our hearts will be reminded that they don’t have to fear, We don’t have to compare. We have to go cynical.
We can be grateful for what God has done. That’s why we sing the songs that we sing. Every Sunday morning should be a time when we remind ourselves, “Man, God is good.” Right? Amen.
We’re getting there. If you will come, and you will sing at the top of your lungs Now, the people beside you may have to move, but it will have a formative effect on your life. It will begin to shape you. It will begin to change the way you think about your life.
So let’s look at the next thing. This is the goal of giving. All right. Well, what’s the goal?
Did you know that vacation Bible school I think it was like 5030, but there was a lot of pennies. They were counting that for days. And so specifically to Operation Shoebox and to ABC Pregnancy Center.
Like that’s... the kiddos guys. That’s awesome.
Now, the goal in giving is this: to grow more like Christ. Got to be our goal. Our goal here is to grow more like Christ. Remember, God is far more interested in your identity than He is your activity.
If you’re a Christian today, God’s desire for you is to grow you, mature you, shape you, so that you look more like Jesus.
Now, this passage that we’ve been anchored, this whole thing in Romans 12, I read that at the beginning. The beginning of that passage starts like this: before he ever gets to spiritual gifts, this is what Paul writes.
You see when you and I exercise our spiritual gifts, That’s that’s the first two verses. And he goes on to say, “Do all these things,” When we practice these spiritual gifts, not only does it bring glory to God, not only does it serve the body, but God uses it to transform you, to shape you, to grow, you, to mold you. And when it comes to the spiritual gift of giving, this is absolutely true.
In fact, it’s huge because for many people, the area of finances and resources, time, all of that, is something that they have the hardest releasing and surrendering to the Lord. Oh but again, right to the church in Corinth. This is first Corinthians chapter three.
I’m telling you, if you will begin to put this spiritual gift into practice, God will use it to shape you, to transform you so that you look more like Christ. Because this this reflects the heart of God.
I mean, just think about your Bible for a minute. Well, probably the most well known verse of Scriptures is what? John 3:16 maybe? What’s it say about God?
“For God so loved the world that He...”
That He gave. That He gave.
Galatians chapter one verses three and four says, “Grace and peace to you from God, our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will...”
And then in Ephesians five, verse two, Paul writes he says, “Walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice.”
Here’s the foundation, guys, because God gives, we give. That’s it. And when we practice this, we look more like our Father. The goal in all of it is to grow more like Christ.
And lastly, I want us to consider this: the result of giving.
Now, for this one, I’ve got three things.
The first one is this: when you give, needs are met, when you give, when you practice this, whether you have the spiritual gift of giving and you’re, you’re really practicing, or maybe you’re just doing it as a part of God’s call in your life to be a faithful disciple.
I’m telling you, when you give needs are met. We have a great biblical example of this truth that comes to us from Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth.
This is what he writes.
Now, this is not just a verse about giving. What Paul’s doing here is he’s carefully and strategically organizing the church to practice giving, so that they can help meet the needs of the struggling church that was in Jerusalem.
You see the church in Jerusalem, the the place where it kind of all started, the the place where they launched everybody out. There was a great famine and they were in need and the people were struggling. And so the churches that they had started were then in turn giving back to them.
And it’s just a great picture of the way that God’s family works, in the way that God’s economy works is that we help one another. And so, Paul, he makes good on a promise that he made back in a place called the Jerusalem Council to always help.
He writes about this in Galatians chapter two.
And so here’s Paul saying, you know what? We’re not going to leave the church high and dry. We’re going to do what we promised. We’re going to be faithful.
And here he’s also putting into practice the very same admonition that he wrote about in Galatians chapter six, which says, carry each other’s burdens. And in this way you fulfill the Law of Christ
Church, I want you to know we’re not perfect. Some of you, you’re thinking, well, we knew that, right? We’re not perfect and we aren’t always able to help as much as we’d like.
But because you give faithfully, I’m here to tell you that Trinity Baptist Church has been used as a light on this corner for the Lake Area. And we’ve seen thousands of people over the years benefit because of your generosity, because of your faithfulness to give.
And that includes people here, but it also includes people all over the world. And I don’t want to oversimplify it, but here’s the truth. The more we give, the more we can help. Like that, that’s just that’s how it is. The more we give, the more we can help. The more needs are met.
Now, listen to this. The result of giving number two:
When we give it funds, the work of sharing the gospel. I know right here we just spent last week hosting what felt like millions of kiddos. Thousands.
You know what?
Every single one of them heard the gospel. Every single one. And it’s our job now to go after those families so that they can go from darkness to light so that truth and hope can infiltrate that home because of what Jesus has done for us.
Church, that’s our responsibility. And when we give it, we Vacation Bible School goes from just something that we, “Yeah man, wouldn’t that be just a fun thing for the kiddos to...” No! This is a part of our mission strategy: to see the Lake Area transformed.
Church I know that you talked about the missionary teams that we’re sending out.
I got it somewhere. And you got your little card, right? You got it? Guys look, these are people that we’re sending across the world.
Two of these fellows, I can’t even tell you where they’re at because it’s so dangerous.
Like, the more we give, the more the gospel is shared. And we have no other purpose. That’s why we’re here is to share the gospel.
And I trust that this is not just something that’s going to end up in the trash can, that you’re going to take this church and see it as your divine responsibility to be praying for every single name on here and for the hearts that they’re going to encounter. We must be the people who do this, who share the gospel.
Because thirdly, when you give the kingdom grows.
The kingdom grows. Make no mistake, we exist to grow. God’s kingdom, not the kingdom of Trinity Baptist Church, not the kingdom of any particular ministry, not the kingdom of Steve James, not the kingdom of Adam Brock, not the kingdom of any person.
We exist to grow God’s kingdom. And when we exercise our spiritual gifts, all of them, what happens is God uses us in ways that we could have never even imagined, ways that that are for his glory and impact the lives of people.
So do you remember how we started this with a question that says, Do you believe that God can use you? Do you?
Listen to our last Scripture for the day. This is the last one. It’s so good. The first chapter of Acts. Luke writes this, He says,
This is clear.
Scripture is clear. We are called to be his witnesses. We are called to be the ones who hold out to the world the Savior, the only hope any of us have.
That’s what it’s all about. Taking the good news of the Gospel to the world for God’s glory and for the good of all people.
My prayer is that when God looks at Trinity Baptist Church, hey, that’s us. That’s us. My prayer is that when God looks at us, He will see a people sold out to his mission, sold out to his kingdom, willing to do whatever it takes to exercise our gifts.
Whether that means that we sacrifice, whether that means it puts us in a place where we’re uncomfortable, it doesn’t matter, our prayer is that God will look at us and see people who are ready to be light to a dark world that is both to the Lake Area and to the whole world.
We’ve got to be a group who are willing to use what God has given us. That is our spiritual gifts to see this happen.
If we are going to be the people that God wants us to be and if we are going to accomplish the task that God has uniquely given to us right here on this corner, then we’ve got to be all in when it comes to following Jesus wherever he leads.
And so, guys, as you think about takeaways from today, one thing is this: we must be praying for our summer missionaries. Please make that a priority in your life and know this: God is moving, God is stirring.
And if we are going to be in the middle of it, we’ve got to know our gifts and we’ve got to use our gifts, every single one of us.
But before a person can know or use their gift, they’ve got to know the Giver of the Gifts. They’ve got to surrender themselves to Jesus because he’s the reason for all of it. He is. He is the reason that we can talk about being in the family. He’s the reason I can say that we’re family. He’s the whole reason we can talk about a kingdom or being a part of a body or whatever metaphor for you is your favorite.
It’s all because Christ has made it possible. You see, the Bible tells us that Christ lived a perfect life, died a terrible death, sacrificially, and rose again in victory on the third day, and all of it demonstrating that he is who says he is (the Son of God) and he can do what he says he can do (forgive sin).
And so I’m here today to say to you, if you’ve come into this room and you are not yet a part of God’s family, the invitation is this: you come, you believe, trust Christ, and he’ll take care of the rest. He set a table. He’s put a meal right in front of us and he’s pulled out the chair. And what he’s waiting for is for you to come.
That’s the good news of the gospel, that Christ has done for me, that Christ has done for you, what we could have never done for ourselves.
And now he wants you to come because he wants to use you.
He wants to use this church. He wants us to know our gifts. But if you try to practice a gift like this, like giving or service or encouragement, whatever it is, if you’re trying to practice it without a relationship with the Lord, the only thing that’s going to happen is you’re going to grow bitter or you’re going to grow burned out. Some of you have tasted that, right?
No, no, no. We come, we serve. We give because Christ has given to us.
And if you’re here in the room today and God is stirring something within you in that regard, man, we want to pray with you, we want to help you take a step of faith so that you can go from a not part of the family to being a part of the family.
If you need prayer, if you’re ready to commit to whatever this is as we sing and Leo’s going to lead us, I want us to sing out during this time because we are asking the Lord to do in us what only He can.
But if you need prayer, I’m going to be right here in the front. And I would love to pray for you. I would love to help you take a step. I’ve got friends in the room as well who could help counsel you, who can help give you some some godly encouragement
about what it means to follow Christ. Nothing would be more of a joy to us today. So whatever it is that God’s calling you to do, you don’t have to take that step alone.
Let me pray for us. So we’re going to lift our voice.
We’re spend a few minutes, we’re going to rush out, and then we’ve got a really important video announcement at the end of that time. So stick around. You don’t want to miss that.
But let me pray for us and then we will respond to the word of God today.
And Lord, we love you and we say thank you for this.
Lord, You are our only hope. And so I pray that if there’s anybody in the room who is seeking after you through some other means, then Christ Jesus, Lord, would you just convict them of that and bring them home. Call their name.
Help us to be bold, to follow you wherever you lead. Help us to see all of these spiritual gifts, especially the gift of giving as something that you want to use for your kingdom and for mission. So we pray all of this in the name of Jesus. This time is for you, Jesus, our King and our Savior. Amen.