Giving By Grace
Pastor Mike Hayes
Sunday February 5, 2017
Theme – When we give – whether to the church or other good purposes – we should do so by grace, and because of grace. Giving solely because it is a rule, or done because of an expectation, will not establish a relationship with God.
Update on the Center for National Renewal
- God’s Kingdom is being directly represented in Washington, DC through Covenant Church and the Center for National Renewal.
- The Center for National Renewal is already experiencing divine appointments.
- Most people are not aware of the amazing things God is doing in the world that funnel through Washington, DC.
- There is intense spiritual warfare taking place in this important city.
- Continued prayer support for this ministry – and for Pastors Mike and Kathy particularly – is critical.
Two contrasting Bible stories about giving
- Everyone regularly balances receiving and giving in life. Knowing how & when to receive, and how & when to give, is important to having a relationship with God.
- The Rich Young Ruler story represents giving by someone who focuses on the Law; because it is a rule (Mark 10: 17-27). This mindset is a hindrance to having a relationship with Jesus.
- The story of Zacchaeus (Luke 19: 1-10) represents giving by grace and because of grace.
Giving under the Law
- The rich, young ruler story in Mark 10 tells of a “religious” man who desired to have a relationship with God through keeping the rules of the Law.
- He had a desire for relationship with God, but could not overcome his attachment to his possessions. This attachment was the stumbling block that prevented him from having a real relationship with God.
- Giving by the Law – even correctly following the rules – does not establish relationship.
- If our possessions possess us, we will not be able to have a friendship with Jesus.
- Everything we have in life originally belonged to God. We must be intentionally willing to acknowledge that everything we own belongs to Jesus.
- Knowing everything we own belongs to Jesus is a foundational principle we must be aware of when we accept Him as our Savior.
Giving by Grace
- The story of Zacchaeus in Luke 19 tells of a wicked, pitiable man who only casually had an interest in Jesus.
- Zacchaeus was a corrupt tax collector; a Jewish man who extorted money from his own people on behalf of the Roman government. Because of this, he also was rich.
- The Bible tells us he was short; which might imply insignificance as well.
- Zacchaeus was not a “religious” man. He likely had little, or no, knowledge of the Law.
- Upon spending some time with Jesus he voluntarily, willingly gave away everything he had.
- Zacchaeus was able to make this sacrifice because he had been filled with grace that came from having an open heart and mind about Jesus.
- Grace changed Zacchaeus from the inside out. He was given grace, and he responded by extending grace.
- Historians believe Zacchaeus later became a significant leader in the early Church.
- The rich, young ruler was good at following religious rules, but was unable to truly love God because of his attachment to his possessions.
- Zacchaeus willingly gave up his possessions because of his love for Jesus. All he had worked hard to acquire no longer had significance for him.
- Like Zacchaeus, believers give by grace because of grace.
Reflective Questions for Giving By Grace
- Tell a story of your own challenges with the balance between giving and receiving in life. What are the benefits and tests that come from acquiring things? What are the benefits and tests that come with giving?
- What are some common “rules of giving” in today’s world? To what extent should we follow those rules?
- Historians tell us Zacchaeus not only made a heart-felt promise, but he also followed up on that promise. What is most easy for you: to make a heart-felt promise or to follow up on that promise? How does grace play a part in that whole process?
- What does it mean when you say, “Everything I have belongs to Jesus”?
- If you were to ask Jesus for something right now regarding the concept of giving by grace, what would it be?