Renew The Mind; Transform Your Life

Sermon - A Lover is a Giver

February 19, 2022 Neil McKee
Renew The Mind; Transform Your Life
Sermon - A Lover is a Giver
Show Notes Transcript

"A Lover is a Giver; A Giver is a Lover."  This inspirational message and sermon explores the link between giving and genuine faith.

It was recorded while Storm Eunice was raging outside.  This means it's atmospheric but not using the usual broadcast level of equipment I have... after all, the power was out!  Thus, I've used battery-powered kit.

Do you enjoy the benefits of having a generous heart?  Those who truly love are naturally generous givers.  They give without expecting to receive in return.  They give without any hidden agenda.  They give because they LOVE to give.  They give for pleasure.

This is a ministry and a gift.  It is also the secret of divine prosperity until you start giving in order to receive... then it goes a little haywire!

The path to prosperity is to realise that giving is like planting seeds.  What you plant is not what is going to come up.  In a similar way, what you plant may not be returned to you from the place or people where you planted it.

Become a greater Lover by becoming a greater Giver.

A Lover Is A Giver


It’s Lex here from Messenger Ministries, with a message on my heart from God to you and to me.  I believe God has impressed upon my heart this week that, and I quote, “You get what you preach.”  Paul said he preached Christ, and Him crucified… and thus he saw the results of what the crucifixion made available.


Evangelical churches that have consistently preached a message of salvation from sin get sinners saved!  Liberal churches who preach a message of non-judgmental acceptance attract people from all walks of life and give them sanctuary.  Charismatic churches who preach a message of divine healing, get many people healed.  Prosperity churches that preach God wants your soul to prosper, get people beginning to enjoy the prosperity of their souls… and that, according to 3 John 2, should lead to a better journey in life (the literal translation of ‘prosper’) and good health.  In other words, health, wealth, and wellbeing.  This is, of course, wealth as God defines both the content and the process.  For multitudes of Christians, wealth is not a blessing but a master.  Money makes for a wonderful servant, and for a merciless master – you cannot serve God and Mammon.


I reflected today on many important matters including how many significant heroes of the faith were great givers.  One who loves is one who gives.  Think of Dorcas, Cornelius, and Paul.



In Joppa there was this amazing disciple who we know as Dorcas and Tabitha.  Dorcas was, “full of good works and almsgiving.”  She was a dress-maker, at least as a hobby, and this is important to the story.  Dorcas became ill and died.  Yes, believers still become ill and sometimes die.  This may be a shock to some faith-preachers but is hugely useful in setting correct expectations!  Nevertheless, it was clearly God’s will that something wonderful could happen – something that was then recorded in the Scriptures forever.


Knowing that Peter was in a nearby town, the disciples sent him a message, pleading with him to come without delay.  Peter came to Joppa and was taken to the upper room where Dorcas had been prepared for burial.  Here’s the ‘giving’ aspect.  Surrounding Dorcas’ body were a group of weeping widows.  They showed Peter the tunics and garments that Dorcas had made for them.  Dorcas, our hero of faith, was a giver.


Of course, we have a delightfully happy ending to the story.  Peter shoos them all away so that he can pray.  He knelt down and prayed, then turning to the body, he says, “Tabitha, arise!”  She opens her eyes, and, touchingly, he offers her his hand and lifts her up so that she may be restored to the saints and widows.  You can read all about this for yourself in the ninth chapter of the book of Acts beginning at verse 36.


Tabitha or Dorcas wasn’t raised from the dead because she was a giver, but it is nevertheless interesting that the account draws attention to her generosity.



The very next chapter celebrates the opening of the Way to Life – the Gospel - to the Gentiles – the non-Jewish people.  From verse 1 of chapter 10 of the Book of Acts, we learn about a Roman Centurion called Cornelius.  He is described as, “…a devout man and one who feared God with all of his household, who gave many alms to the peopleand continually prayed to God.”


I find this fascinating – that spirituality is most definitely of earthly good.  Jesus was unambiguously clear on the point that genuine spirituality is shown in acts of generous kindness to others.  In the parable of the Sheep and the Goats (Matthew 25 from verse 31), Jesus says, “Truly, I say to you, as you have done it for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you have done it for Me.”  Whatever we do to others is counted as being done to Jesus.



Paul is very strong on the grace of giving.  In fact he quotes a saying of Jesus that we have not yet found in any gospel, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”  You can read this in Acts 20:35.  Paul places this in the context of the way he had provided for his needs and for those who were with him when serving the Church at Ephesus.


In Philippians, Paul thanks them for investing in his ministry.  Reading from chapter 4 verse 15 following…
“…no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you alone.  Even in Thessalonica, you sent aid once and again for my necessity, not because I desired a gift, but I desire fruit that accumulates to your account.”


This seems like commercial language to me!  We all want to be fruitful in our walk with God – after all, God looks for fruit.  Here then, Paul is suggesting, I think, that he didn’t need their help – his eyes were on God as his Supplier – but he did desire that they bear good fruit.  He continues, “But I have everything and abound.”  This encourages me enormously.  Why?  Because Jesus was equally unambiguous in His promise when He says, “I have come that you may have Life and have it more abundantly.”  That’s John 10:10.


The letter continues, “I have been filled, having received from Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, like a sweet fragrance, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God.”


At Church, we’re working through Leviticus.  What strikes me is the enormous cost of worshipping God under the pattern of the Old Covenant.  It goes way beyond tithing (which one would argue is pre-covenant given Abraham giving a tithe to Melchizedek.)  Worshipping God is expensive!  It costs!  Yet how many of us give almost nothing material in our worship of the Living God?


Paul has a different heart.  He concludes, “But my God shall supply your every need…”  God was Paul’s Employer, Paul’s Paymaster, Paul’s Banker, Paul’s Financier, Paul’s Supplier.  Like Abraham, Paul was looking to no man to make him rich.  But Paul’s next words should strike joy into the heart of every believer.  God will supply every need of the generous Philippians according to God’s own measure.  Here’s what he says… “But my God shall supply your every need according to His riches in Glory by Christ Jesus.”  God, in Glory, is rich – and He’s going to supply our needs not according to mankind’s measure but according to His measure.  He’s got a BIG hand – His span measures oceans!



Let’s let the Master have the final words.  In Luke 6:38, Jesus says, “Give, and it will be given to you: Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will men give unto you.  For with the measure you use, it will be measured unto you.”


In how much of what we’ve shared above does human activity play a role?  In all of it.


Dorcas made garments for the widows.  She was full of good works and almsgiving.


Cornelius expressed his life of devotion not only through prayer but also practical works of almsgiving – something God’s angel declared to be a sacrifice pleasing to God.  Acts 10:4 the angel says, “Your prayers and your alms have come up as a memorial before God.”


Paul says the gifts of the Philippians are like offerings.  In fact, most churches, when taking up the ‘collection’ call it an offering.


To love God is to give to others; to give generously to others is ‘as if’ we are doing it to Jesus.  To give is to love God.


I am grateful that God makes His leading and direction so simple to understand.  Be a lover; be a giver.


Oh, I suppose I’d better make one final thing unambiguously clear.  When you give because you feel compelled to, it doesn’t count!  If you’re giving hoping to receive, it doesn’t work!  It’s not magic and you’re not twisting God’s arm, making Him give to you!  No, God loves a cheerful giver – someone who gets a thrill, who gets a buzz, out of giving. Someone for whom giving is a pleasure – even fun!


Check out the words written by Paul in 2 Corinthians chapter 9.  We’ll start at verse 6 but I’d recommend you read the whole chapter.


“But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sow bountifully will also reap bountifully.  Let every man give according to the purposes of his heart, not grudgingly or out of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver.”


Do this and the promise is gorgeous…

God is able to make all grace abound toward you, so that you, always having enough of everything, may abound to every good work.”


Isn’t that wonderful?


I feel a need to finish with the verses that follow…

“As it is written: 

He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor;

His righteousness remains forever.

Now He who supplies seed to the sower and supplies bread for your food will also multiply your seed sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness.  So you will be enriched in everything to all bountifulness, which makes us give thanks to God.


For the administration of this service not only supplies the need of the saints, but is abundant also through many thanksgivings to God.  Meanwhile, through the performance of this ministry [Lex note: yes, it’s a ‘ministry’], they glorify God for the profession of your faith in the Gospel of Christ and for your liberal sharing with them and all others.”


And the result is more prayer!


“And in their prayer for you, they long for you because of the surpassing grace of God in you.  Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift.”