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The Privilege of Sharing | FIRST FRUITS

First Fruits  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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God is less interested in the amount we give than the attitude with which we give. Individually and collectively, our offerings come together to make an impact that can change the world.

Notes
Transcript
Handout

[VIDEO] First Fruits Bumper

Introduction

Church Online
Recap
Wk1 - The importance of giving our First Fruits
Wk2 - Obedience > Sacrifice - It unlocks God’s favor and blessing and your life
ILLUS: Pickup Basketball Game
No one likes to be picked last.
Some of us tend to treat God like that 6 when it comes to our resources. We spend money on shopping, bills, food, and other items—and after all of that we might give God consideration.
Just like we don’t want to be last, God doesn’t want to be last in our lives in any area. In fact, he expects us to consider him first. So much so that he introduced to us the concept of “first fruit.”
Breaks down: Like picking LeBron or MJ last for your team.
Pick LeBron or MJ first and everyone else can sit down. Me & MJ got this.
ME & GOD GOT THIS
First fruits mean offering to God our very best without hesitation or regret. This includes our finances, time, gifts, and whatever he asks from us.
>>> In Luke’s Gospel we read of a striking contrast between two kinds of givers.

Warning to the Crowds

Jesus has been teaching in the temple and crowds have begun to gather around to listen to his teaching.
Luke 20:45–47 NLT
Then, with the crowds listening, he turned to his disciples and said, “Beware of these teachers of religious law! For they like to parade around in flowing robes and love to receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces. And how they love the seats of honor in the synagogues and the head table at banquets. Yet they shamelessly cheat widows out of their property and then pretend to be pious by making long prayers in public. Because of this, they will be severely punished.”
lk20.45-
These religious leaders and teachers have stopped putting God first.
They should have looked out for the widows.
They were picking teams, but in God’s eyes they had all the wrong players.
Instead, they began to look out for their own self interest, sought the attention of those around them, and even took advantage of the widows and less fortunate.
They were picking teams, but in God’s eyes they had all the wrong players.
I told you last week, that as soon as we lose sight of the mission, our vision turns inward and we begin looking at how to gratify our own selfish desires.
>>> Luke then juxtaposes this with a story about a woman who understood the importance of trusting and keeping God first in her life.

A Widow’s Offering

In the very next verse we catch Jesus people watching as He continues to teach. He looks up and something catches His eye.
Luke 21:1 NLT
While Jesus was in the Temple, he watched the rich people dropping their gifts in the collection box.
Luke 21:1–4 NLT
While Jesus was in the Temple, he watched the rich people dropping their gifts in the collection box. Then a poor widow came by and dropped in two small coins. “I tell you the truth,” Jesus said, “this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them. For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has.”
Imagine if I stood by the Giving Center to “watch” — “Huh...”
If Jesus was a pastor today — “Cha-ching!” ≠Ramen Noodles > Eating steak tonight! J.C. is in the house today… (Carmen)
Luke 21:2 NLT
Then a poor widow came by and dropped in two small coins.
In the temple, people gave money into 13 different receptacles called “trumpets,” located in the Court of Women. Each receptacle had a different purpose: Temple tribute, taxes, fees, etc.
Some of the trumpets were considered a voluntary offering.
The rich put in a lot of money. Didn’t really make a dent in how much they actually possessed. Their lifestyle wasn’t altered.
Yet, Jesus notices that this widow only puts in two small coins.
Mark, in his Gospel, notes that these two coins were all the woman had to live on ()
Two coins = Lepta
Lepton was the smallest & least valuable Greek coin in use.
Worth ~ 1/2 penny
This setup is important, because Jesus is getting ready to say something sos outrageous it’s hard to comprehend.
Luke 21:3–4 NLT
“I tell you the truth,” Jesus said, “this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them. For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has.”
Given everything she has...
Have you ever given like that?
Joy & I - Dirt poor, made a commitment to give
Joy & I - Dirt poor, made a commitment to give
ILLUS: Coin Vortex
If you want your giving to go the distance you’ve got to give the right way — in obedience; in surrender.
Mother Theresa - “It’s not about how much you give, but how much love you put into the giving.”
It’s about having the right heart/the right attitude
Apostle Paul - “God loves a cheerful giver.” ()
$25,000 Check vs $25 per month
**Luke is not prescribing an amount required to give to earn God’s approval. This is a study in attitudes and hearts. He shows us the devastating effects that take place when God isn’t first in our lives and contrast those to the poor widow who give everything she had to live on. The latter is held up as an example to be followed, the former as a warning and caution to “comfortable” believers.**
>>> The Apostle Paul in a letter to the church in Corinth, shows what this looks like at a corporate level.

The Privilege of Sharing

2 Corinthians 8:1–5 NLT
Now I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters, what God in his kindness has done through the churches in Macedonia. They are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity. For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford, but far more. And they did it of their own free will. They begged us again and again for the privilege of sharing in the gift for the believers in Jerusalem. They even did more than we had hoped, for their first action was to give themselves to the Lord and to us, just as God wanted them to do.
2cor8.1
In his letter, Paul is seeking for financial assistance for impoverished fellow believers in Jerusalem.
To do this, he highlights the extraordinary generosity of the Macedonian Christians:
They are very poor, yet filled with abundant joy.
This has overflowed into rich generosity.
Doesn’t make sense
Gave more than they could afford
Did it over their own free will
Begged to join in the privilege of sharing
KEY: Gave themselves first to the Lord, then to us.
Paul used this picturesque language to explain how a church that seemed unlikely to make a financial impact, actually served God’s mission more than other churches.
We might not have the resources that some other churches have, but that does not excuse us from participating in the mission God has called us into.
And so, Paul uses the example set by the Macedonians to spur the Corinthians on towards the completion of their gift.
2cor8:7
2 Corinthians 8:7–12 NLT
Since you excel in so many ways—in your faith, your gifted speakers, your knowledge, your enthusiasm, and your love from us—I want you to excel also in this gracious act of giving. I am not commanding you to do this. But I am testing how genuine your love is by comparing it with the eagerness of the other churches. You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich. Here is my advice: It would be good for you to finish what you started a year ago. Last year you were the first who wanted to give, and you were the first to begin doing it. Now you should finish what you started. Let the eagerness you showed in the beginning be matched now by your giving. Give in proportion to what you have. Whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly. And give according to what you have, not what you don’t have.
2cor8.7-9
2 Corinthians 8:7–9 NLT
Since you excel in so many ways—in your faith, your gifted speakers, your knowledge, your enthusiasm, and your love from us—I want you to excel also in this gracious act of giving. I am not commanding you to do this. But I am testing how genuine your love is by comparing it with the eagerness of the other churches. You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich.
Jesus juke
2 Corinthians 8:10 CSB
And in this matter I am giving advice because it is profitable for you, who began last year not only to do something but also to want to do it.
2 Corinthians 8:10–12 CSB
And in this matter I am giving advice because it is profitable for you, who began last year not only to do something but also to want to do it. Now also finish the task, so that just as there was an eager desire, there may also be a completion, according to what you have. For if the eagerness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have.
2cor8.
You don’t have to. You get to.
2cor8.11
2 Corinthians 8:11 CSB
Now also finish the task, so that just as there was an eager desire, there may also be a completion, according to what you have.
Finish. Finish the task.
Desire isn’t enough. Work to completion.
Mantra: We don’t just give until it hurts. We give until it stops hurting.
Disciple
Need is met
2 Corinthians 8:12 NLT
Whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly. And give according to what you have, not what you don’t have.
Quit looking at your neighbor—this is about you.
It’s about your attitude, your desire.
Paul reiterates his point that this is not a command.
The Macedonians gave of their own free will. No one had to compel them or make them feel bad.
They identified with a mission and were eager to support it.
The same is true for the Corinthians, yet their support has waivered. Paul challenges them to finish what they started.
Let your eagerness lead to completion.
Paul’s point is that giving should not be out of mere routine or coercion, but out of our obedience and love for Christ.

Series Close

In this series, we’ve learned that offering first fruits means offering God our best without hesitation. And we’ve learned that neglecting to keep God first has unexpected results.
The example of the poor widow and the Macedonians, shows us that giving is a voluntary gesture that takes incredible faith and trust in God. They show us that anyone can participate, regardless how small or large the gift is. God is less interested in the amount we give than the attitude with which we give. Individually and collectively, our offerings come together to make an impact that can change the world.
Finally, these examples show us that this matters to God. He takes notices and His worked is glorified when we offer Him our best.

Vision Cast

Communion

Communion

Bread
1cor11.
1 Corinthians 11:13–14 NLT
Judge for yourselves. Is it right for a woman to pray to God in public without covering her head? Isn’t it obvious that it’s disgraceful for a man to have long hair?
1 Corinthians 11:23–24 NLT
For I pass on to you what I received from the Lord himself. On the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
Cup
1 Corinthians 11:25–26 NLT
In the same way, he took the cup of wine after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood. Do this in remembrance of me as often as you drink it.” For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death until he comes again.
1cor11.
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