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Summary: A Thanksgiving Sermon - Imagine. Your life when you take the words of Jesus……Seriously

There was a man who was in desperate need – all he needed was a little cash and he could get by. So he decided to go from house to house to see if there were any odd jobs he could do. After being turned down by several home owners he came upon a house where an older woman answered the door. He gave his usual pitch and to his surprise the woman said yes should could use some help – it was perfect that he happened to stop by for the painter she hired had just then cancelled on her.

She told the man, I need my porch painted. Walk around to the back of the house and there you’ll see the porch, the paint and all the equipment needed. When your done, come back to the front door and I’ll pay you $500.

This was better than he expected. He walked around to the back and to his surprise and delight, everything he needed was there ready to go. He set to work taping and prepping, then fired up the paint sprayer and in no time was done.

The woman of the house was surprised that the man was so quick, but, she thought, maybe he had a lot of experience as a painter – so she counted him out the cash. The man pocketed the cash, thanked the women and as he was leaving he hesitated and said, “By the way lady, you need to know, its not a Porsche that you have parked back there, it’s a Mercedes Benz.

Notice in this passage, verse 2, that Jesus says – when you give to the needy. This is an assumption that you already are doing it on a regular basis. He is not saying nor even insinuating: Let’s talk about the possibility of giving to the needy; Let’s talk about who we should give to; Hey, let’s evaluate this…giving to the needy thing...Jesus says give to the needy. There is nothing we can say, are argue to get around that. It is as plain as day isn’t it? Give to the needy.

Let me say right up front here: this is not a stewardship sermon. This is not about giving money to First Presbyterian Church. We have already talked about that recently. So put that out of your mind – this is not about money going here. Is that thought gone? I’ll wait a couple of moments more…I am not talking about giving money and time here.

This is about helping those in need. God expects us to give to the kingdom of God – that is a given.Hopefully we get that. But he also expects us to help those who are needy above any gift to Christian causes. Let me repeat that clearly above and beyond our tithe.

Jesus says to help the poor, Verse 2, verse 3, see that when you have your cup of coffee…assumes you drink coffee; When you help the poor…assumes you help the poor.

The Homeless guy debate.

One of our favorite debates as Christians is the homeless guy debate. You know the woman that ask you for cash on the street, or the guy on the corner with the sign (that is probably a lie). We love to speculate, philosophize, postulate. Do we not give, because they are addicts? Do we give, they need help? If we do give how do we know we are helping?

We could spend all morning on this debate and get nowhere - And we are not going to go there today, because the homeless are needy, but they are not the elected representatives of the needy -They are just the visible poor.

Let us know – there are thousands of poor in this city – we never see

Jesus tell us: first I assume your helping them, each one of you here…..

In Jesus day there were three expectations of Jewish life. Other than sacrifices, these things were expected in every life of a Jew: Giving – our passage; Give to the temple and the poor; Prayer – addressed in verses 5-15 (9, noon, 3 {just like Dr Pepper – remember on the old bottles the recommended times for Dr Pepper?}); Fasting – addressed in verses 16-18 at certain times to seek God’s will and blessing.

Today as we look at giving to the needy in verses 1-4 & 19-24. Let me reiterate – Jesus does not look at this as optional.

First and foremost Jesus demands that we give. You may not be able to see this in the English, it is very strong there in the original Greek. But also notice that there is a promised attached, some kind of reward

4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you

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