Heb 13:15-16 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise–the fruit of lips that confess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
There was a period when I was first getting involved in Charismatic worship that it seemed like somebody quoted verse 15 at least once a day. That’s not at all to put this verse down, because praise is indeed important and powerful spiritual warfare against all the forces of darkness. However, verse 16 is very rarely quoted, even though the end of it says that “with such sacrifices (plural) God is pleased.” God delights in praise, but He also delights when we share what we have with those who have need. This is the opposite of what some are proposing so vigorously at this point: the government taxing those who have and then dolling it out to those who have need. That is the devil’s counterfeit of Christian charity. Many people point to the practices of the early Church in Jerusalem, described in the first chapters of Acts, as justification for communism, or at least some form of socialism. However, that is completely overlooking the point that there was nothing compulsory about what was done in the Church. Even in the famous story of Ananias and Sapphira, recorded in Acts 5:1-11, Peter explicitly says, “Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal?” (Acts 5:4) The issue wasn’t at all whether they gave the money or not, it was whether they lied about it to “gain points” with people, instead of being honest before God and man. It is a statistical fact that Christians are the most generous people on earth. The more someone praises God, the more likely they are to share what they have materially with others. It is past time for the Church to wake up and act like the Church, and refuse permission to politicians to counterfeit the activities of the church in order to gain power for themselves.
Well I certainly didn’t expect that to become political! However, truth is truth, and it needs to be applied to all areas of life. That said, I need to examine my own life and the stewardship of the resources I have at hand. I have tithed consistently for many years, but I have been slow to hand out cash to individuals. However, we have delighted to give things we had to those who could use them, and that too is part of this. I am to remember at all times that God is my supply, and everything in my hands is on loan from Him. I have been very slow to give money to organizations outside of the local church, but such organizations are often valuable parts of the larger Body of Christ, and I need to be perceptive and obedient. I am not to operate in a “poverty mentality,” but know that indeed “my God will meet all [my] needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19) I want every part of my life to be pleasing to God!
Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for Your presence in the service yesterday, and that we could have Min’s baptism. Thank You for that as a cap to this year. I pray that everyone in this church would look forward to what You are going to do in the coming year, offering themselves to You in every way, in praise and generosity, so that Your purposes may be fulfilled in and through us for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!