Summary: A sermon challenging God's people to be net "givers" of their life and ministry rather than net "takers" of the ministry of others.
Taker or Giver: Which One Are You?
August 16, 2014
TEXT: Please turn in your Bibles to Acts 3.
Illus. – We love “FaceTiming” (the Apple equivalent of Skyping) with our grandchildren, Keira and McCartney and their parents, Chris and our daughter-in-law, Sarah. Our grandkids are 3 and 1 with fairly short attention spans, so after talking a little with the grandkids, we’ll often talk with Chris or Sarah, while they keep the camera on the grandkids so that we can get our “grandkid cups” filled up for awhile.
One time, while Susan was talking with Sarah and I was just watching and listening, I observed Keira interacting with McCartney, whose nickname is McKK. McKK was sitting contently on his blanket while Keira was up and about. She’d run to her room and bring McKK a toy…and he’d take it. Then she’d run to the kitchen and grab a cracker for him…and he’d take it. Then she’d grab his pacifier and give it to him…and he’d take it. Every now and then she’d interrupt and say, “Mommy, McKK needs this or that,” and Sarah would say, “No, I think McKK’s just fine, Honey,” which seemed to satisfy her for awhile. But pretty soon, she was up looking for something else to give McKK. Back and forth and back and forth she went—One giving, the other taking.
The fact is that every one of you in this room this morning are primarily a giver or a taker. I’m not really talking just about money, though that’s included in what I’m talking about.
We’re all both givers and takers at various times. But ADDING what you give in service and financial support and SUBTRACTING what you receive from the preaching and teaching and ministry to you and your children, does the SUM show that you are a net giver, or a net receiver?
In our text, we have the story of two givers (Peter and John) and a receiver (the lame man). Let’s look at the characteristics of givers and see what we can learn from this passage.
I. FIRST, GIVERS ARE DOING THE RIGHT THINGS FOR GOD GO WORK THROUGH THEM. – Acts 3:1 – “Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.”
The custom in Jewish society was to go to the Temple at 3 PM every day to pray. Peter and John were where they should be, doing what they ought to do. It was while doing the right thing that God used them in such a wonderful way.
What if, at prayer time, they didn’t do what they should have been doing?
• This man would not have been miraculously healed and would have gone through the rest of his life a miserable cripple.
• Peter and John would not have been used by God in such a wonderful capacity.
• God would not have been glorified.
• This story would not even be in the Bible.
People all the time say, “I want God to use me.” Okay, then just start by doing the right things in your life. If you start by doing the right things, God has a way of bringing the right people together at the right time for the right reason for the right ministry to happen.
Have you ever noticed who it is who grows in the Lord and gets involved in ministry and are used by God? It’s those who hear sermons—but do more than just HEAR the Word; if their lives don’t line up with what they hear, they become DOERS of the Word. James 1:22 exhorts us, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”
Now this will have a different application for each one of you. What might the Lord be pinpointing in your life that you should START doing, or that you should STOP doing in order for you to do the right thing? God help you to obey the Holy Spirit’s prompting, however He speaks to you.
II. SECOND, GIVERS LOVE PEOPLE – Acts 3:2-3 – “And a certain man lame from his mother's womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple; 3 Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms.”
God uses people who love PEOPLE. Peter and John are headin’ to church, and they’re stopped outside the church house.
Wait a minute: God works in the CHURCH, right?—Well, not just there! God works wherever there are PEOPLE—whether they’re in church or not. John Henry Newman wrote these poetic words:
I sought to hear the voice of God and climbed the topmost steeple: