WHEN GOD INFLUENCES THE HEART
When God influences the heart great things happen. In 2 Cor 8:16 Paul is organizing a collection for the Church in Jerusalem. The church had needs and we see something wonderful that God did.
2 Cor 8:16 I thank God, who put into the heart of Titus the same concern I have for you. 2 Cor 8:17 For Titus not only welcomed our appeal, but he is coming to you with much enthusiasm and on his own initiative. 2 Cor 8:18 And we are sending along with him the brother who is praised by all the churches for his service to the gospel. 2 Cor 8:19 What is more, he was chosen by the churches to accompany us as we carry the offering, which we administer in order to honor the Lord himself and to show our eagerness to help. 2 Cor 8:20 We want to avoid any criticism of the way we administer this liberal gift. 2 Cor 8:21 For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of men. 2 Cor 8:22 In addition, we are sending with them our brother who has often proved to us in many ways that he is zealous, and now even more so because of his great confidence in you.
GOD PUT CONCERN INTO HIS HEART
What a powerful passage! God put into Titus heart concern for his people. Over and over we see God influencing the hearts of people. The psalmist says in:
(Psa 4:7 NIV) You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound.
Prov 21:1 The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases.
Ezra 1:5 Then the family heads of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and Levites--everyone whose heart God had moved--prepared to go up and build the house of the LORD in Jerusalem.
Everyone whose heart God had moved – prepared to go up and build the house of the Lord. When God moves peoples hearts his work gets done. We need to pray that God moves people to serve, to give, to build, to share.
It’s important that our hearts be soft before the Lord. I want to be moved, I want to be directed by the Lord. Do you?
Because of this concern that God put into Titus’ heart we see that he welcomed the appeal, he had his own enthusiasm and he went on his own initiative. This is how we want people to respond to giving in the church! They have their own fire, their own conviction!
We pray that God will place a concern in everyone’s heart for India and for the campuses. PT 2:
GOD IS CONCERNED FOR HIS PEOPLE
Do you realize that God is concerned for the problems in your life. Look at his concern for the Israelites.
(Exo 3:7 NIV) The LORD said, "I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering.
(Exo 4:31 NIV) and they believed. And when they heard that the LORD was concerned about them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped.
God is concerned and he does something about it. We can’t be concerned like God and do nothing. God is always concerned about the right things; people!
Sometimes we are just concerned about the wrong things. Look at Jonah.
(Jonah 4:10 NIV) But the LORD said, "You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. (Jonah 4:11 NIV) But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?"
Jonah was concerned about a vine. God is concerned about people. God is not just concerned about the church. God is concerned about people. It’s amazing to me that we can sometimes reduce church to just a place that we go. It’s a function. It’s a set of things that we go to and do. If that’s how you view church then it will be easier to switch churches when things get difficult. It’s just midweek, its just special missions again. It just bible talk.
Brothers and sisters it’s the people. It’s the family of God. We are not islands here. What I do effects you! AND YOU ME. If I don’t give it effects the dream. If I’m negative or critical I’m just tearing down the house, not building it up.
Prov 14:1 The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.
The choices that I make effect you. If I were to leave and go build with another family that would effect all of you. We take all of our resources, the wisdom that God has given us, counseling skills, money, helping people to change and give that to another group of people. Often this happens with little or no regard for the family of God. I wonder how much of a family it was to those that leave or was it just church? The scriptures teach us that:
1 Cor 12:12 The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ.
1 Cor 12:13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free--and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
1 Cor 12:14 Now the body is not made up of one part but of many.
1 Cor 12:15 If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 1 Cor 12:16 And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body.
1 Cor 12:17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?
1 Cor 12:18 But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.
1 Cor 12:19 If they were all one part, where would the body be?
1 Cor 12:20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
1 Cor 12:21 The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don’t need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don’t need you!"
1 Cor 12:22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable,
1 Cor 12:23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty,
1 Cor 12:24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it,
1 Cor 12:25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.
1 Cor 12:26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
1 Cor 12:27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
Are you adding to the dream or tearing it down. Adding to the fellowship or taking away?
There are many things that God desires to do with his people. I’m thankful that God is able to influence the hearts of people and I’m thankful that God is concerned.