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Summary: This sermon challenges us to determine what we are living by and how to put our giving into practice

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Acts 20:17-38 It is more blessed to give than to receive

Introduction

This portion of scripture is part of the Apostle Paul’s farewell tour. He is on his way to Jerusalem and foresees that he will never see the elders in the church of Ephesus again. As Paul speaks his farewell message he does so having no regrets. No apologies are needed and there is nothing that Paul would like to go back and change.

Can any of us say today we have no regrets? That we have no one we need to apologise to. That there is nothing we would like to go back and change.

Why does Paul have no regrets? Has no apology he needs to offer? Has nothing he would like to go back and change?

I believe it’s because Paul had a life verse that he lived by.

He gives us this life verse in verse 30. “It’s more blessed to give than to receive.”

Everything Paul says to the elders in Ephesus in Acts 20:17-38 revolves around this life verse. He has no regrets, no apology he needs to give them because he lived by the scripture “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Why is it more blessed to give than to receive?

Well the simple answer is because Jesus said it is.

“Remembering the words that the Lord Jesus himself said: it’s more blessed to give than to receive.”

There is a car bumper sticker found in the States that reads “God said it. I believe it. That settles it.

Someone pointed out that it is bad theology to have a car bumper sticker that reads “God said it. I believe it. That settles it.” The car bumper sticker should read “God said it. That settles it.” You see it really does not matter if I believe it or not. If God said it then that settles it.

Jesus said to Paul it’s more blessed to give than to receive and that settled it. Paul took Jesus at his word and put it into daily practice.

Its implied in verse 18 that he lived out this verse every day of his Christian life. “You know how I lived the whole time I was with you, from the first day I came into the province of Asia.”

Paul then proceeded to tell how he lived out these words of Jesus the whole time he was a Christian?

1. First Paul lived it out in his giving to Jesus. (19)

“I served the Lord with great humility and with tears, although I was severely tested by the plots of the Jews.”

Paul’s relationship with Jesus was not one sided- Paul was not interested in only receiving from Jesus. He was just as interested in giving to Jesus too.

This are incredible statements in verse 19 that Paul makes about our giving to Jesus

1. When giving to Jesus give greatly.

Notice he said I served the Lord with great humility. He could have said I served the Lord with humility. But no he does not say that. He said I served the Lord with great humility. Since it is more blessed to give than to receive then when you give to Jesus give him something great.

If it is more blessed to give than to receive then it makes total sense to give greatly. Don’t give Jesus just a little. Give him something great.

Illustration: if I asked all of us to give Jesus a hand clap- how many of us would give him a great hand clap?

Lesson 2. Give to Jesus even in the tough times!

Since it is more blessed to give than to receive you would expect Paul to say that I served the Lord with great humility and joy. Instead he told the truth and says I served the Lord with great humility and tears.

Sometimes in life you have to give with tears instead of joy.

There are certain things that are not easy to give. Giving forgiveness to others for example. Just remember that when you give your tears to Jesus, Jesus can turn those tears into joy.

“For weeping may endure for the night but joy comes in the morning.”

Lesson 3.Giving to Jesus will be severely tested

“I served the Lord with great humility and with tears, although I was severely tested by the plots of the Jews.”

It’s not easy to live by scripture. Whenever you decide to obey scripture you will face resistance. Those that live by scripture make a lot of enemies.

Lesson 4 Giving to Jesus requires a plan.

Plan to be a blessing. The Jews planned and plotted in order to severely test Paul. That’s a bad example of planning. A better example of planning is to plan your giving to Jesus. Since it is more blessed to give than to receive then it makes sense to plan your giving. You plan your giving in order to be a blessing and in return to receive a blessing.

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