Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: A powerful series based on the book "Grace: More than we Deserve, Greater Than We Imagine." The series will look at the many different aspects of Grace. Part 6

December 16, 2012

Grace Happens - 6

Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster. The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shriveled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue; and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice. A frosty rime was on his head, and on his eyebrows, and his wiry chin. He carried his own low temperature always about with him; he iced his office in the dog-days; and didn't thaw it one degree at Christmas.

Isn’t that a great description of Ebenezer Scrooge? Can’t you just picture him walking down the street . . . everyone moves out of his way, nobody looks at him, nobody acknowledges him, babies stop crying, youth run, and old people shake. As Dickens wrote, “Even the blindmen’s dogs appeared to know him; and when they saw him coming, would tug their owners into doorways.” That’s great!!

He was a hard-hearted, stingy, tight-fisted, angry, ready to bite your head off, mad at the world and Christmas — old man. Can’t you just see old Ebenezer Scrooge? Sometimes you can — — — when you look in the mirror? There’s a piece of Scrooge in the best of us? We don’t want there to be, but there is.

We go to make a donation; and as we write the check, we hear the voice of Scrooge telling us not to overdo it. We start to give time to a needy family, but Scrooge reminds us, we only have so much time. We start to forgive an old enemy; and Scrooge reminds us of all the pain we’ve experienced, so we don’t want to give them too much grace and mercy.

Scrooge is stingy, not just with the checkbook, but with kindness, compliments — stingy with encouragement and second chances. Nobody wants to be called a hard hearted Scrooge. After all, who makes a list of to-do’s for the week and writes down ~

Be stingy with someone

Wake up in a grumpy mood, and stay grouchy, so I feel better

Hope a friend would thank you for your cold, hard heart.

Stinginess doesn’t get us anywhere. We would agree with Proverbs 11:24 ~ 24 One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. How true that is. The stingy one thinks they’re getting away with things, yet they suffer more than those who freely give.

Have you ever stopped to consider about the generosity of God? We’re told to be generous, and for good reason, after we realize how generous God is, we should want to give even more.

In the creation story, notice God’s generosity. The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. (Genesis 2:9) A few trees would have been nice, but God decided to fill the garden with all kinds of food, imagine garden of Eden — watermelon, strawberries, grapes, bananas, cantaloupe and chocolate covered raisins. Why would God create such a variety?

He didn’t just put a few fish in the sea, He filled the sea with fish. Would Adam and Eve be able to see all the fish? No, but God did it anyways. What about all the stars in the universe. We can’t count them all, yet God placed them there. If we can’t see all of them, then why create them? A few hundred would have been enough, but God created a sky which glimmers with stars we can’t even see.

The scrooge in us, would have limited the number of stars, but that’s not God. You see, God has been said to be ~

+ Rich in kindness, tolerance and patience (Romans 2:4).

+ His grace has been described as exceedingly abundant (1 Timothy 1:14);

+ Indescribable (2 Corinthians 9:15).

+ God doesn’t just love us, God lavishes us with His love (1 John 3:1).

+ God doesn’t just give out wisdom, but He gives generously to all

without finding fault (James 1:5).

Our God is constantly generous. Need more?! Generous enough to give the Hebrew slaves a land flowing with milk and honey. Not just a land with milk and honey, but flowing. Generous enough to give us goodness and mercy which will follow us . . . all the days of our life. And where will we dwell? In the house of the Lord!! And for how long will we live there?! Forever!! PRAISE GOD!!

Generous enough to give rain to the just and the unjust. Generous enough to overflow the prodigals table with a banquet; to overflow Peter’s boat twice with fish. Jesus is generous enough to heal all those who asked to be healed. All who asked to be forgiven and to receive salvation, received it.

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