Giving Gifts

Date Preached: September 16, 2018
Topics: giving, worship
Scripture: Mark 14:3-11
Notes: Download PDF
Speaker: Gary Combs

Summary

How can we express our love and worship with all heart, soul, mind and strength? It’s only possible because God has first loved us.
How has God loved us first? He created us. He gave us everything we have and everything we are. And even though we have rebelled against Him in sin, He loved us so much that He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus to redeem us. And to those of us who believe in Him, He has given us His Spirit to live in us, making us His children, and promising us eternal life with Him forever in glory. That’s how He has loved us!! So what gift can you give to the Lord to express your love and worship to Him? In the gospel according to Mark, Jesus commended the extravagant gift of worship given by the woman who anointed Him. We can learn to express our worship by giving to the Lord from this woman’s example.

Transcript

Below is an automated transcript of the sermon:

Thanks for listening to the podcast from gary combs in the preaching team at wilson community church in wilson, north carolina check us out on the web at wcc nc dot award for more and now here’s the sermon

all right good morning church wow god is good and we’ve got a lot to be thankful for this morning don’t we church i’m telling you it was a long weekend but god is good i’m reminded of that story in the bible where the disciples were in a boat with jesus and the news in jerusalem had been that there was a category five storm coming out on the sea of galilee yeah and they were afraid and they didn’t think that jesus cared they said lord, don’t you care there you are asleep in the boat and we’re about to die don’t you care? But the lord awoke and he heard them and he said peace be still and immediately the storm and the waves were at peace and the disciples who had been afraid of that which was outside the boat now were afraid of that which was inside the boat they said who is this man that even the winds and the waves obey him? A category five storm became quickly a category one and then a tropical storm as it approached their coast that’s something and there was a lot of prayers taking place

but yet some people have lost their lives and many people have lost possessions and homes but not so much of us if you notice that wilson rocky mount it looked like it was headed right for us and it didn’t i’m thankful to the lord but at the same time i’m asking the lord to empower us to care about those friends and many of us who have family members that we have in wilmington and new bern and other coastal areas and south of us and so church let’s pray before we preach today and be thankful isn’t that why you came today that express your worship in thanks to the lord

lord you are in charge you are sovereign you never left the throne and you never will and so lord we trust you you’re a good god and so we don’t understand why storms come but we trust you and so now we’re thankful today that for us wilson has been largely kept safe from the worst of it and so lord we’re thankful for that but at the same time i think lord you might be calling on us because we saved up so much water and etcetera that maybe we have some extra to share with coastal areas and lord i pray that you would empower us now not only to be thankful but to be servants to be givers toward you and towards your people we prayed this all now in christ’s name all god’s people said amen

so that’s what we have to do this morning right we have to be thankful but we also want to be strong in the lord to help others now we’re in part three of a series entitled the five love languages of worship we’re playing that off of gary chapman’s book that was really primarily written for couples to help married couples understand that we don’t all love with the same language some of us appreciate words of affirmation and others need gifts and other forms and so he as a pastor and as a marriage counselor he observed this that sometimes we don’t give what the other needs and so it might be our favorite love language to give gifts but the other person needs to be built up through words of affirmation so that’s kind of the book

my son steven he knew i was going on vacation i said tell you what i’m going to do son i’m not going to tell you what to preach this is usually what i do with my preaching team i usually tell them here’s what we’re preaching i’ve prayed about it here’s what the congregation needs and so i want you to jump in here and they’re all strong players they all follow the lord and they follow the vision that we have but i said i left a couple blank spots for you this year because i want you to grow and so you pray about what kind of sermon series you think we should do and so Stephen has got a heart for worship right you all knew that and what can we preach on worship and and he came up with this idea so this is what we’re doing we’re playing off the book for couples but we’re actually thinking about how love and worship are synonymous and how can we be informed by these five love languages. there might be a thousand love languages but there’s five here listed how can we be informed by this as we apply towards how we want to express our love and worship towards god that makes sense

today we’re going to be in part three talking about giving gifts how do we express our love and worship to god by gift giving that’s what we’re talking about today there are serious things found in mark twelve verse thirty and you shall love the lord your god with all your heart with all your soul with all your mind and all your strength this is called the great commandment right now

how do you give a gift to the one who owns everything right you know all of us have that person that’s hard to give a gift to because it seems like you don’t know what they like how do you give a gift to the lord he already owns everything and so i would say the first thing that i would ask you this morning have you given your life to him because that’s the first thing is have you given yourself to the lord that would be the first gift give your whole self give your life to the lord

there are other ways that we might think about this how can we express our love to the lord how can you do that? How can you express it through gift giving and i was thinking about first john four nineteen where the apostle writes we love because he first loved us and so that’s where our ability to love god comes from it comes from the fact he loved us first and so because he’s given many gifts way we want to give back to him because he first loved us

now we have to be reminded that he’s the creator and he made us he made the earth and and he’s the owner and he gave us the word of god what a wonderful gift the greatest gift of all that he gave us jesus because even after we rebelled and rejected god he sent us jesus to redeem us and bring us back from sin and death and the grave

we ask, how much does god love us? And jesus answers this much. I love you this much. And he stretched forth his hands, and died on the cross for our sins, but knowing that god raised him on the third day, so that he could live forever. And then he sent his holy spirit for those that believe so the holy spirit could live in us, so that we could be children of god, connected to the father. Oh, how much he loves us, he’s a good god, how much he loves us.

the thing about us is that we’re so broken, and sin has such a hold on us, even after we come to christ, they is still this tightness of soul that wants to hang on to our stuff, and and were afraid to let go. But sometimes he has to break us. it’s really kind of a gift. Sometimes he has to allow a storm to come into our lives so that we would recognise what really matters. So if the stuff doesn’t matter, you know, and so we have to be broken sometimes before will pour out.

today we’re going to be looking at this text found in the book of mark chapter fourteen where a woman gives a wonderful beautiful gift to the lord and he commends her for her gift and he has to rebuke the disciples who have some snide words to make about her gift and i believe as we look at this story found in the book of mark chapter fourteen we too can learn to express our love and worship to god by giving gifts to him and as we look at the text today i think we’ll see three ways that we can learn to express their love and worship to the lord in giving gifts now here’s the text

chapter fourteen we will start at verse three this seems to be the week before christ’s crucifixion it seems to be during the week of passover it may have been before passover week or it may have been actually three days before his crucifixion we’re not sure which wednesday but he’s in bethany and here’s the text let’s listen

and while he was at Bethany in the house of simon the leper as he was reclining at the table a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard very costly and she broke the flask and poured it over his head, and there were some who said to themselves indignantly why was this ointment wasted like that for this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor and they scolded her but jesus said leave her alone why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me for you always have the poor with you and whenever you want you can do good for them but you will not always have me she has done what she could she has anointed my body beforehand for burial and truly i say to you wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world what she has done will be told in memory of her then judas iscariot who was one of the twelve went to the chief priests in order to betray him to them and when they heard it they were glad and promised to give him money and he saw an opportunity to betray him this is god’s word

we’re looking for three ways on how to express the worship of giving to the lord here is the first give your gifts exclusively to the lord when you bring a gift give it to the lord give it to him not to the church when you bring a gift you’re not giving it to the church you’re not giving it to the preacher you’re not giving it to be seen. Give it to the lord. Make sure that that’s your motivation and that’s the person you’re aiming your gift at unique to the person of the lord

i want you to take note that in this passage all three of the ways that will be discussing today come out of the commendation that jesus gave the woman i’m always interested when i read a narrative like this what did god say in this now all of of god’s word is god’s word but when you read in a narrative i’m almost always looking did an angel of the lord speak or did the lord himself speak and if he did what did he say because that’s often where i will pull out what we need to learn what i need to learn what you need to learn so i took note that his commendation of the woman’s gift he made three observations of what she had done and so that’s where three ways will come from people this is not rocket science i just read what the word says and then i pray over it and prepare and labor over it and then i first apply it to my own life because i can’t bring it to you until it’s applied to me and then i bring it here because i’m just like you i’m saved by grace i’m a sinner saved by grace and god gave me everything i have and he has you too so this is where the three ways are coming from it’s from christ response

now here’s where he’s at in verse six is the first response he gives which is where we get our first way verse six he says she has done a beautiful thing to me he didn’t say she did a beautiful thing for you disciples he didn’t say she did a beautiful thing for you to take note of he said she did this to me for me unto me so be quiet that she did this for me take note of that that’s his first commendation she did it to me and he knew her heart he knew she was doing it for him

where was this taking place in a little town called bethany bethany is about a mile and a half from jerusalem it’s a stiff walk because i’ve been there you have to walk up the mount of olives cross over the valley of kidron from jerusalem so you go down from jerusalem into the valley of kidron and then you go up the mount of olives and then down the back side and you’re in bethany jerusalem is one of the biggest cities in all of israel at this time but here is this little podunk town and jesus was a country boy y’all know that right? He spoke southern what hebrew he was from the Sea of Galilee

people took note when he would come to jerusalem saying aren’t you from galilee aren’t you from nazareth they could tell by his accent and by the accent of his disciples and so when he would come to jerusalem he would do work in jerusalem but he would pull away to bethany to get rest so that’s where he’s at he is in bethany because he’s about to be crucified it’s coming close to the finish line and he goes to bethany normally he would be hanging out at the house of lazarus martha and mary who lived in bethany that was one of his favorite places to go but on this particular occasion he’s at the home of simon the leper i think it probably should say simon the former leper because i can’t imagine jesus being at anybody’s house that’s still a leper i guarantee he’d already healed him he must have been known all about the little town of bethany as the guy who used to have leprosy and so they just kept calling him simon the leper but he is having a banquet here for the lord jesus and i would imagine that lazarus and martha and mary are in attendance wouldn’t you they are in that same small town

in fact in the gospel of john the woman is identified as mary and i believe it’s the same story matthew, mark and john all record this story matthew mark don’t tell us who she is, but john does. Luke has a similar story, but it has different details and i think it’s describing another anointing. But matthew, mark and john seemed to be describing the same event

so it’s taking place in this little podunk town of bethany at the home of simon the leper and the woman i believe to be mary, the younger sister of martha and lazarus, who jesus had raised from the dead. No, martha was the talker and the doer. Mary was probably an introvert. We only have a few records of her saying anything in the gospels in this story, she says nothing. She didn’t say anything.

Martha was the talker, and she was the doer. Mary was the quiet listener. She’s the one who got chewed out by her big sister in front everybody because she was hanging out with the men folk in the room with jesus when the womenfolk were in the kitchen cooking martha came out she said lord don’t you care that i’m in here laboring can you see her with her hands on her hips the bible didn’t say her hands were on her hips but i feel like the were lord don’t you see that my sister mary is sitting in here with you men doing nothing and we’re in here working and jesus goes martha martha you are worried and concerned about many things but only one thing is needed and mary has chosen what is better they didn’t say what martha was doing wasn’t good he just said that what mary was doing was better because she was sitting at the feet of jesus listening she was known for it she was known for focusing and listening to jesus and on this day she did a beautiful thing to get the other disciples worked up about it they were probably halfway aggravated that she was in the room reclining at the table or in the room where they’re eating dinner anyway there she was again in the room with the guys listening to jesus and she brought this gift what kind of gift was it? Well, it was an alabaster flask it says in verse three i’ve got a picture of what i found online it probably looks something like that it was sealed. some years ago a family from our church had spent eight years in egypt as missionaries from our church, the Gurgone family. And when they came back on one of their visits they brought all this alabaster and many of us purchased it. They were trying to help some local egyptian women find a way of making a living when they came to christ because often they’re rejected by their families. So we we bought a lot of alabaster so my wife and i still have a lot it’s expensive it comes from egypt to this day and that’s probably where it came from in her day in mary’s day so it’s just the jar was expensive and the only way to open it was to break off the lid because it would not have a screw top you had to break it off. It was a single use used at one time and it usually was something kind of like a life insurance policy where someone would save up and own it for their own burial. It was set aside probably on a mantle or some shelf and it would be the most expensive thing a person owned for their own burial very expensive and so it was in an alabaster jar what was in it

ointment of pure nard it was called spikenard today we call it spikenard because the flowery plant that comes from the himalayas outside of the himalayas near china and nepal india this particular plant that spiky root is what they grind down and make spikenard which is an essential oil that comes from that it’s amber in color here’s a picture of it of what it looks like in its liquid form and it has a very strong aromatic scent very expensive because of the jar and because the distance it came from it had to be imported into israel outrageously expensive so expensive that john reports that the person that was grumbling was judas because know he knew the prices on everything he was the treasurer the business manager of of the disciple team and john identified him as a thief that he often stole from their treasury and he goes what in the world we could’ve sold this that’s worth three hundred denarii

now what’s a denarii it’s a daily wage a denarii was the amount you would pay someone for working for you for one day it’s worth three hundred denarii other words a year’s wages this is worth a year’s wages it would be like saying the average wage in eastern north carolina at least in the wilson county might be let’s say it’s forty thousand per family or something like that. I think that’s pretty close to what i read recently. It’s worth forty thousand dollarswe could have given it to the poor.

Now, that sounds like a very christian thing to say. John said he actually had in mind that he was going to steal it. That is crazy to pour that on his head and on his feet and it’s a single use the only way to get in she had to break the top off. that’s, what she did, he said. It was a beautiful thing jesus saw it in that way the way some of the disciples, especially judas, saw it, was completely opposite. This is beautiful.

What she did in the greek that word beautiful could be translated good, excellent, imminent, surpassing precious, commendable pastor charles spurgeon. Some years ago, when he looked at that passage he saw seven beauties in the gift, he said. He said it was all together, glorifying of jesus, he said. It was an act of pure love. It was done with considerable sacrifice. It was done with preparation. She thought about it before she did it. She considered it was the most valuable thing she had. Number five, it was done without a word, she’d not said one word. She just came in, broke it, and poured it out. She didn’t make a big introduction, and now i will give the most expensive thing i own to the lord now she came in with tears pouring down her face, and she broke it, and she put it, she didn’t say, not one word of introduction, nor does she say one word of explanation. Nor does she say one word to defend herself to a jesus defender. Number six spurgeon said it was done in reference to christ death and number seven. It gave some glimpse of his resurrection seven beauties he saw when he preached the sermon some couple of hundred years ago.

She did it to me, not for the approval of the others. I don’t think she talked it over with practical martha, either. I think she did this all on her own the book of matthew chapter six sermon on the mount jesus is preaching the sermon on the mount is, just beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them. For then you will have no reward from your father, who is in heaven. She didn’t do this to be seen. She gave this to jesus, she didn’t give it to judas to put in the treasury, she poured it out. I can only use it one time, john said, the fragrance of this offering filled the whole room.

I want to tell you a couple of personal stories. I’ll tell you one now and another later. The first one is i was, i think, around thirteen years old . And christmas time was coming and i wanted to buy my mother a gift and we had been doing very well that year i was starting to rebel a little bit and wanted to grow my hair long you gotta recognize this is the late sixties and teenagers and parents were really having a rough go of it and i’m the oldest so i was the one breaking the way for the rest of them right my father died when i was eight years old so it was it was me and mom trying to work things out and christmas was coming and she were going to a church where just about every sunday the pastor would say that if you listen to the rock’n’roll music you’re going to hell and if you grew your hair long you know he’s preaching against that and so i was starting to try to get my hair to go over my ears i remember that when i was at home i’m combing my hair behind my ears and as soon as I would i get on the school bus i would comb my hair over my ears and mom was worried about me the preacher was worried about me

i thought i’m gonna buy her a record an album and the beatles had just broke up and so paul mccartney had a new record out he’d moved to canada with his wife he had a record called ram with a ram head on the front. It was on a farm, and i felt this is a good median where me and mom can listen to this record together, and we’ll be friends. She’ll recognize that this is him singing love songs, and they’re nice. It had the words on the back of the album, so we could read them together, and that was part of my motive now. the backup motive was if she don’t like it I can keep it. so christmas time came, and she opened up her gift, it’s hard to disguise an album you could kind of tell what it’s going to be right, she opens it up and she looks at it, looks at it, flips it around, she looks at me and says Gary Wayne I believe you bought this for yourself I admit the words hurt my feelings partly because she was right. I really didn’t think about what she would like, what she would want, what it would mean to her. I was kind of thinking more about what it would mean to me to give her that gift that’s one story i’d like to share with you that i’m not particularly proud of

this woman, mary, gave jesus a gift that wasn’t for anybody else, his forehead she anointed him, which in hebrew is translated messiah and in greek, Christus, christ anointed one she anointed him. She knew who he was. She gave a gift for him, it’s for him. When you give your tithes and offerings, you’re not giving them to the church people this church is the bride of christ and we are his hands his feet he’s the head but we’re the arms reaching out, sharing the gospel this is a gospel church and we’re telling people about jesus and yeah, we give them a cup of water and we give them food and we’ve saved up a whole lot of water haven’t we people how about we got enough generators to run the east coast you know, Lowes about went out of business selling us generators hope y’all didn’t line up yesterday to get him back hope you don’t try to refund tomorrow but we’ve we’ve saved up alot of stuff so it seems like to me that we could give that to jesus so that those people that are in need could use it i want you to think about what it is that’s happening here on sunday mornings that this is a worship service and when you bring gifts and put him in those buckets that they touch people around the world in guatemala and uganda indonesia and the czech republic places that we directly fund ministries and then in general through the international mission board but then we support what’s happening right now in the east coast as the baptist on mission people are over there with their eighteen wheelers with feeding trucks and shower trucks and and so forth already they arrived yesterday, and we support that. When you give your offering to jesus, it is meeting needs. Will you think about that when you bring your offering? it’s, an act of love and an act of worship.

Number two she did this for him and number two give your gifts according to what you have give your gifts according to what you have look a verse eight this is his second commendation she has done what she could he doesn’t say she has done what she wished but what she could this is what she had now i don’t know why she’s a single woman living with her brother and sister i don’t know why martha’s there in that house i don’t know if they’re widow ladies and they are older the sense you get is that they might be younger and still single i don’t know how they are i don’t understand it the bible doesn’t say normally women would be in a household with their husband and children but they’re in this house i think that’s part of why jesus loved going to that house so much as he’s a single man in his early thirties and he could hang out in that house and they could sit up late and they could talk about god and so forth

i try to visualize when he would pull away to that house and how much they loved him and how safe it felt there just like good food i don’t know i can’t figure out exactly how they came to be the bible doesn’t explain it someday we’ll ask him, we’ll find out, won’t we? We all do it, but anyway, it says something that looks like they’re all single people and there’s room for single people here today. Yeah, if you’re single here today, you could give a great gift to the lord you can give your whole life you don’t have any distractions.

So mary was a single woman and she gave the best she had she gave according to what she had she gave what she could and it is the most expensive thing she had and it cost her a year’s wages she’d worked. Who knows how long to have that? And she gave the best she had. She gave it to jesus have you ever heard somebody i’ve had people come to me and say this or you heard somebody say, if i win the lottery, i’m going to give this much to the church i’ve had people come to me say, pastor, i just bought a lottery ticket would you pray that i get it? So that I will give some to the church? I’m like, don’t you come to me again with something like that? I praying you stop wasting your money, stop gambling anyway, that’s my opinion, take it or leave it people but they say if i had this, then i would give they think that giving is some future event that will happen when they will have not just their needs, but all their greed has been answered like everything their wants have been answered. Then i’ll be a giver. But here’s, what we learned, here’s what i’ve learned, the more you have, the more you spend, the more you want and you’ll never get to that place unless you go ahead and break it down now and sometimes for some of us we are so eat up was selfishness and greed that the only way god can pry our little fingers off of our stuff is to send a storm and take it from us. Then you find out what really matters.

This was a single use jar. The only way to get the good stuff out was to break it and sometimes that’s the only way god can get anything good out of you is to break you. It hurts, but he loves you enough so that you’re broken and spilled out so the essence and the fragrance of what he really wants to do in your life. I’m really kind of convinced that the most generous people in the world are the most broken. Once you get down to that place, you go well if it were’nt for god, i wouldn’t be here, and you get more generous. If you’ve got the attitude of i got this and you are a genuine christ follower, you better watch out because you’re going to get this and you ain’t got this anymore. You think you can run this life yourself with your own self effort. Your own resources i don’t need anybody else. Not generous? Not filled with grace. Sometimes we’ve got to get broken down. Sometimes a storm hurricane has to come to knock us flat of our face, so that we will be broken and spilled out.

She gave, according to what she had. Remember the story of the little boy who had two fish and five loaves ? The disciples were looking for something like you know, people were hungry over five thousand men perhaps twenty thousand total in this crowd and one of the disciples came to jesus and said we need to send them home i can hear their bellies growling and they’re hungry and he said you feed them and they said well if we had a year’s wages we couldn’t feed all these people and then andrew who was always good at bringing people to jesus he brought this little boy over he imagined being the little boy like he thought ahead he brought he brought his packed lunch i don’t know about y’all but i got food and they don’t know how i can feed all these people i don’t know what he was thinking he just gave it to jesus the boy gave his little packed lunch to jesus i don’t know it doesn’t say in the scripture but i kind of like to imagine that jesus pulled that little boy up next to him and said watch this and he broke the fish and the loaves he just kept putting in baskets he kept pulling out of his little sack what my papa used to call a poke you know i’m talking about you from up there you know what i’m talking about? they’re up there in the appalachians pull out the poke, break it down the boy’s looking like what it just kept coming out just kept coming out just kept coming out because you give your little bag lunch to jesus it might be all you have to give it to him and he multiplies that gives it meaning and that’s what he says to this woman listen what he says to this woman he says she has done what she could she has anointed my body before it’s burial

i don’t know if she knew that that’s what she was doing i don’t know if the holy spirit had given her insight because we know she was a listener and that she was a learner she wasn’t a talker she was a learner and a listener and she loves sitting at jesus feet and maybe she’d actually been listening when some of the disciples hadn’t been listening that close that you know what jesus says he’s going to be brought up before the chief priest and the Saducees the Pharisees they’re going to kill him but on the third day he is going to rise and and maybe the holy spirit revealed to her that was getting ready to happen and maybe that’s what he’s taken note of that she knew what she was doing the other option is she didn’t know but as she anointed him and he defends her she hears it. You may not know what you just did, but you’ve prepared my body for burial. Oh i’m going to take your gift, and i’m going to multiply and give it meaning. But you gotta let go of it.

In the book of second corinthians, the apostle paul says. Whatever you give is acceptable. If you give it eagerly and you give it according to what you have. Not according to what you don’t have. Stop thinking i will give if and start thinking oh he’s always giving me so much there is nothing i have that i don’t owe him.

There’s a story in the book of second samuel where king david took a census of his lands Joab his general who usually didn’t give great advice on this day he gave him great advice oh king don’t do this don’t count the people you know the lord doesn’t want you do it now but if the lord tells you to do it but don’t and david insisted they counted and then Gad the prophet came to him and said you’ve done a thing that’s displeased the lord and the lord’s going to give you three choices for your discipline the first two involved other people but that third one he said that the lord would send a plague over three days oh the lord is merciful let’s fall into his hands and he chose number three and then Gad comes back to him after many thousands of people had died of this plague he comes back to him and says the lord wants you to offer a sacrifice and he’s going to stop and he said i want you the plague stopped right there at Araunah’s house right there on his threshing floor where he threshed wheat and he says i want you to go right there and i want you to make an offering so he goes there and he goes to Araunah and he says, i need to buy your threshing floor in this piece of property because i’m going to make an offering to lord this is the place the plague stopped right here and Araunah says (Araunah was a Jebusite) you sight he says oh king i’ll give you the threshing floor i’ll give you the wood i’ll even give you the ox to offer and david says this to him it’s found in second samuel twenty four twenty four but the king said to Araunah no but i will buy it from you for a price i will not offer burnt offerings to the lord my god that cost me nothing i will not give a gift to the lord that costs me nothing i won’t let somebody else pay for my gift no it’s going to cost me

i think mary is kind of like a female version of david there is something about her david man he had a heart for god the bible says that david had a heart for god and that god had a heart for him and then i think mary was one of Jesus’ favorites you know i kind of want to be one of jesus favorites don’t you want to be one of his favorites? He’s got a lot of favorites but i think mary was kind of one of his favorites

we know that when lazarus was dead and he lay in the grave for four days that jesus came towards that area of bethany. He arrived four days after lazarus had died and martha goes out to greet him and you can see martha, the practical martha, the good speaker, the elder sister. She comes out, she says, lord, no tears straight lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died, i guess. Do you believe in the resurrection sister Yes, lord. I know in the final days that on the last day so she believed doctrinally she had good doctrine, but she didn’t know who she was. She was standing in front of the doctor. He, says, i i am the resurrection and the life he who believes in me well, we live and never die. And even if he dies, he’ll live. You believe this? And martha says, yes, lord, i believe it.

And then he moves towards the little town, moves towards the graveyard. And then little mary comes running out with a bunch of crying women around her. She had a lot of buddies, i think, and they come running out. She goes lord, if you’d been here and the shortest verse of the bible happens in response, jesus wept. Man, she had a piece of his heart. Jesus wept and she’s the one who brought him this costly sacrifice and and he says, mary she did according to what she could and she’s anointed my body before it’s burial stop saying, i’ll give when i get here, and start responding to christ and worship, recognizing what he has given you oh it’s a time to be thankful, listen to friends it’s time to recognize what god has done for us

here’s the final point give your gifts as gospel partners give your gifts as gospel partners verse nine the third commendation that jesus gives her, and truly i say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done there it is again what she has done will be told in memory of her, because you know what? This gift is going to be connected to the gospel from now on you didn’t know this, mary, when you were giving me this gift, you perhaps didn’t know that it was going to be an annointment for my body. But the other thing you didn’t know is that this is going to be like a story that we tell to help pull people into following me so that when we tell the gospel we’re going to tell this story it is going to be part of the gospel story. And so it is in three of the four gospels. It’s in there, it’s in memory of her. Because the thing about this is god never forgets anything you do for him. It’s not lost. Nothing you do for christ is lost. He multiplies. It gives it meaning, and he remembers it. He rewards it.

Vernon McGee says the fragrance of the box of appointment she broke that day has been borne across the centuries by the holy spirit unto our day, it still fills hearts, with its sweetness, even at the present hour. Oh, can you smell it? You have a sense of it broken and poured out. You see when you give you become a partner for the sake of the gospel because the gospel is the greatest gift of all what’s the great commandment what’s the great commission rather go therefore making disciples of all nations and so we see that the women were the ones who supported the good news ministry of jesus

if you look at luke chapter eight it says soon afterward jesus began a tour of the nearby towns and villages preaching and announcing the good news about the kingdom of god he took his twelve disciples with him along with some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases among them where mary magdalene from whom he had cast out seven demons joanna the wife of a Chuza, Herod’s business manager and susanna and many others who were contributing from their own resources to support jesus and his disciples did you know that the gospel ministry of jesus was supported by wealthy women yeah

one of the things i’ve found churches that women christ following women are often the best givers it takes men a little longer i’m ashamed of the men i’m ashamed of how we are sometimes it takes us a little longer but once we get on board we get on board but the women are often more tender hearted for spiritual things thank god for women right? You should have heard some more masculine voices there but i was pulling for that. But there’s your chance, man. But there we go again. So these women and i like especially that joanna her husband was herod’s business manager and she was like going out and spending money and who’s the business manager of herod who was making his money off a king here is going where are you spending all this money and she goes it’s good i’m doing good things with it so here’s king herod over here living for the devil and over here is his money i like the way that goes right there i don’t know about you i like that part

then paul commends the philippians for their gospel partnership he says in chapter one of philippians i thank god in all my remembrance of you always in my every prayer i pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now you’ve been gospel partners with me and in chapter four when he closes the book he brings this body opens it like that and he closed it like that you philippians yourselves know that in the beginning the gospel when i left macedonian no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving except you only you were the only church that supported my gospel ministry he says even in thessaloniki you sent me help for my needs once and again i have receive full payment and more i am well supplied having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent a fragrant offering. Wow, look at that. A sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to god and my god will supply every need of yours according to his riches and glory in christ jesus, he says. Thank you, church at Philippi for supporting my gospel ministry for the sake of carrying the gospel to others.

Our church’s ministry is a gospel ministry, all the tithes and offerings and gifts that you bring here, bring him to jesus, bring them according to what you can, and not according to what you can’t bring it sacrificially and bring it focused on him, and then finally bring it, asking him to multiply it for gospel results.

I tried to take a moment, and often, if my wife’s not on the stage, singing and she’s sitting where you are, she will join me at one of these tables. And we’ll take our offering envelope. And after we’ll put our hands up, i put my hand here , and she’ll put her hand there and will lean over. I say, lord, multiply this to your kingdom’s. Use that’s what we have. But you take it and you make it have meaning and you make it do something bring people to you oh what a joy it is to join christ in generosity and giving what a privilege it is

then we have these closing remarks and it might be that you would say well gary why’d you read verse ten and eleven that’s not part of the story oh yes it is judas was the lead complainer john says he was ticked off because that three hundred dinarii could have been in his pocket because he was a thief and a liar and a betrayer you know both mary and judas had this in common they followed jesus for three years they were following him around they had that come from the outside looking in you think while judas is a good guy but in his heart he was following jesus for his own results for what he could get out of it he went following jesus for jesus he was following jesus for what he did get those final two versus said that was the final straw for him talking about money and then accepting that like you’re the son of god or something i tell you what the jews have already told me they’ll give me thirty pieces of silver and he left that very moment and wouldn’t talk to them about getting that money so he could betray

sometimes when we talk about money. People who aren’t true christ followers get all ticked off about it and say, i’m leaving, i’m going somewhere else. They want my stuff. They completely misunderstand the call of christ, and then others are like mary, and they’ve been following jesus, not for what they can get but following him for who he is and what he’s done. And then they get so much from him. When you give your gifts to the lord, according to what you have and for gospel partnership

let’s, pray lord, thank you, thank you for jesus, the greatest gift of all. Lord jesus, you’ve only given yourself that you died, you were buried and you were raised again, but you’ve given us the holy spirit to dwell in us and make us children of god. Thank you, there’s. Nothing too wonderful, too beautiful that we couldn’t give back to you because everything we have you gave us. I’m praying right now for that person in the room who has not given their life to you is that you my friend right where you are what’s the gift you should give today what’s the most beautiful gift you could give today it would be you to give your life and to make him your saviour and lord to surrender to be broken today and spilled out for him you could do it right now by faith praying along with me believing what you’re saying there lord jesus i’m a sinner you pray that right now right where you are dear lord jesus I am a sinner i believe you died on the cross for my sins that you were raised on the third day and that you live today i believe that and i surrender my life to you willyou come into my life forgive me my sins and make me the person you want me to be a i want to be a christ follower i want you to be my lord and savior if you are praying that prayer right now the lord will save you give him your life and then for those that have given your life to jesus for those of us that have given our lives to him what are you holding back that has become like an idol to you that you won’t release it be generous in ways to the lord he wants to take what you have and give it meaning and to multiply it for kingdom use. Don’t hold back, will you repent right now and determined in your heart. Express your love and worship to the lord and giving in christ’s name. Amen.