Sermon Notes: I Chronicles 29:1-9

Sermon Notes: I Chronicles 29:1-9
October 11th, 2015
Generosity Defined:  Free, cheerful, sacrificial giving
Free means we give because we want to. We are not being forced or coerced. Also we are not giving to get. 
Cheerful means our hearts are in it.
Sacrificial means it hurts and that is what makes free and cheerful so hard. It is not difficult to give when we it doesn’t hurt. It is not difficult to give when there is no sacrifice involved. 
We give generously because God’s house is great (vs. 1).
It is a great work.  It is not a work for man, but a work for God. 
 We give generously because we love God’s house (vs. 3).
 ESV Devotion/ NKJV-Affection
David has a love for God’s house. You could translate this as David had his pleasure set on God’s house. Often our failure to give generously and freely comes from our failure to love God’s house.  We love ourselves and our houses a lot. We love our comfort and ease. But our affections are not set on God’s house and God’s people. Notice how different David’s attitude is towards God’s house than ours is. Psalm 26:8, 27:4, 84:1, 10, and Psalm 122:1-9.
Why does David love God’s house so much? Because the Lord is there. It is His dwelling place. And because the people of God are there.
 The Church is not perfect. Our church is far from perfect. Yet the Lord is here and we are called to love her and support her. But this devotion cannot be just a heart devotion. There must be tangible proof of that devotion and it comes in the form of energy, money, and time.
  
We give generously beyond our own homes and needs (vs. 3).
There is an excess of giving towards God’s house from David. What this means is the priority is on building the Kingdom and building up the people of God.
People did not give from the extras. They did not give the leftovers.  They gave gold, silver, bronze, iron and precious stones. Proverbs 3:9-10
 God’s Kingdom is greater than our little kingdoms therefore we are to give generously to ti.   
We give generously as a sign of our consecration to the Lord (vs. 5).
Where we put our money is a sign of where our devotion is.  Where our money goes is a sign of where our heart is.
  
We give generously because it produces more generous givers. (David gives the people follow.)
Generous leaders create a generous people. 
Men are you generous in your homes? Ladies are you generous with your families?
            Illustration: Grandma Bethel’s cooking.
Do you give willingly and cheerfully? One way you can tell you are giving generously is that those you give to give to others and not back to you. There is a type of giving that expects a return. I give to my children so they give back to me. But what you should be looking for is I give to my children and my children give to God and others. If you give to your children so they give back to you that is not generosity. 
Jesus was generous. He gives gifts to men (Ephesians 4:7-11).  God pours out upon his kindness.
  
We give generously because it brings joy. (vs. 9)

There are few more joyous occasions than when people give generously to a work. A few months back some friends of mine wanted to record some Psalms. They did not have the money so they started a Kickstarter fund. Over several weeks the money they needed came in. But a lot more did as well.  It was great to see these men who are trying to raise up wonderful music for the church be given to generously. 

We often think that giving generously will steal our joy. But it works the other way. Free, cheerful, sacrificial giving for God’s house brings us great joy. 

Jesus Takes a Faithful Church from Bad to Worse

In America, too often we believe following Jesus equals comfort and prosperity. When we sign up to walk after Christ we sign up for a life of occasional problems, but mainly ease and peace. Church is the place we gather to talk to like-minded folks and hear some nice words about the Bible but not a place to regroup and then go fight. We do not expect our Christian faith to cost us. This also means that when we do run up against something difficult or a time of hardship we expect Jesus to deliver us. This can be something as small as a broken vehicle or something as large as cancer. Our assumptions about discipleship mean we expect Jesus to rescue us, especially when we are faithful.

But in this life Jesus does not always deliver the faithful. The church at Smyrna (Revelation 2: 8-11) found this out. When Jesus comes to them they are a church that has already suffered. Jesus says he knows their works. He knows their “tribulation and poverty.” Because they followed Him they have already sacrificed. Their love for God has made them poor. Though there is not direct praise, it is clear from verse 9 that Jesus is pleased with their steadfast faith in the midst of persecution.

What do you think is going to happen now? Surely Jesus is going to swoop in like one of the Avengers and rescue this faithful church. Smyrna has been faithful now they will be rewarded with peace, right? No. In fact, he takes them the exact opposite direction. Jesus says, “Do not fear the things you are about to suffer.” More suffering is coming, a suffering  so great they will be tempted to fear and possibly abandon the faith. Jesus is not promising them an easy time. But it gets better. The Devil is going to throw some of them into prison. You are already poor, but you will become poorer. You have lost your possessions. Now you will lose your freedom. Then comes the crowning moment, they will die. Jesus says, “Be faithful until death.”  The implication is clear. “I am not going to rescue you this time.”

There are a lot of lessons in these few verses. Jesus knows our suffering. Jesus is with us in our suffering. Because of that we need not be afraid. If we overcome, we will not be hurt by the second death (Rev. 2:11) because our Lord was dead and came back to life (Rev. 2:9). If we are faithful to death we will receive the crown of life (Rev. 2:10).

But the lesson most of us need to hear is that Jesus does not always rescue the faithful in this life. We all know this in our heads, but our day to day life does not reflect this truth. We expect ease and comfort. But he does not always take us from green pasture to green pasture. Sometimes he takes us from very little grass to no grass at all. Sometimes he moves us from loss of a job to cancer or from one friend stabbing us in the back to being lynched by a whole bunch of former friends. We can be faithful to Jesus and become poor. We can be faithful to Christ and enter tribulation. We can be faithful and Jesus lets the Devil throw us in prison. We can be faithful and Jesus says, “I want you to die.” Is this the Jesus we follow? A Jesus who might tell us, “Good job suffering. Now I want you to suffer more.”