Inspired By Grace

Listen to the message
(To download: Right Click, choose “Save Target As…”)

Series: Other speakers; Generosity; Giving

Sun am 30 March 2014 – Alan Scotland

Matt. 26:5-13; (Eph. 1:3); (Rom. 8:1, 34); (Mal. 3:10)

How do we help the Church to grow into its stature? Love is costly. God so loved the world that He gave His Son; it cost Him. God does not want us to grow apart from Him; it does not mean He wants to keep us immature, but connected to the Source. He is committed to you through thick and through thin. We are connected through blood. Crucifixion was the worst torture instrument you could have.

My greatest grief is to see the sacred place violated. I do not mean the building; I mean that which has been entrusted to us by God. He who was rich, for our sakes became poor. He who rules the universe took a towel and basin and washed the disciples’ feet. Do not be hoodwinked or deceived by religion that looks great, but it is like cheap perfume and it stinks. Religion is full of politics, full of manipulation, full of control; after money, after fame, after ambition, but Jesus emptied Himself. This is kingdom – He emptied Himself! Not just His coat, or His ring, but His blood! Why does that the Church become so stupid to believe that people have the right to behave like kings? Religion distorts the paradigms of what God wants to do.

Now when Jesus was in Bethany, at the home of Simon the leper, a woman came to Him with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume, and she poured it on His head as He reclined at the table. But the disciples were indignant when they saw this, and said, “Why this waste?” (Matt. 26:6-8). Do not be a cheap-skate for God! Do not give God a tip; do not make Him your post-script, make Him your priority. They were indignant! If you have an eye for faults and you are blind to virtue, then you get angry about the wrong things.

Worship is not a commodity; it is the centre of our being. God is greater than the devil. He is going to take hold of death and strangulate it. He is going to take the sting and take the poison out of it. Jesus takes the cup and says, “This is My body which is broken for you and this is the new covenant in My blood which is poured out.” We have to lay down our lives for our friends. He must increase and I must decrease. You are not a peasant; you are neither a victim nor an orphan. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ (Eph. 1:3). It is too much! Yet we cannot handle the little we have got. We are born into blessing, born into favour. The fight is already won. There is no condemnation (Rom. 8:1). Why do you condemn others? Thank goodness that you and I are not God. Stop trying to put people right. Do not judge that which does not fit into your box. She comes with the ointment and pours it out. He pours out his forgiveness; pours out His acceptance, pours out His gifting, pours out His talents and characteristics. He is merciful, He is loving, joyful, hopeful; He has saturated you with Himself.  Stay connected to the grace of God.

The woman had a reputation, they seem to think she is a prostitute; she had a past. People freeze their perception of you by your past, your mistakes. Something happened; she connected to the grace of God and she pours out! The Lord says, “Why are you bothering her? What is your problem? She has done a beautiful thing. You are saturated; you are blessed, born of hope by the God of all hope. You are richly endowed with the grace of God.” How do we unlock the grace of God, the ministry of Christ and the body of Christ so that in the streets and market places, in their jobs and spheres of influence, that the church will grow up to be salt, light and leaven and saturated with blessing? Agents of hope and reconciliation! Truly I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her (Matt. 26:13). She will not be remembered for her mistakes. She will not have an identity of a victim. She will be remembered for her absolute saturating of Jesus with her life, her worship, with her ministry. She is remembered for who she is in Christ. “She understands my death” Jesus said. Through one Man grace has come so that we can rule our flesh, rule our disappointments, rule our religiosity, and rule our stinginess. The hallmark of maturity is full-blossom, fruitfulness; the generosity of God’s love, God’s righteousness, God’s peace, God’s hope.

We have to find one another in a new way. We have to stop looking at what we have not got. Saturate the Lord with your youth. Spend your youth for Jesus! Spend your middle age, spend your experience, and spend your old age for Jesus! We were influenced by one act in one moment of generosity. “Prove Me” says the Lord, “prove Me if you will bring into My house all of your tithes”, not creative giving which is a polite word for fraud. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows (Mal. 3:10). Pour out a blessing, of provision, of resource. When God asks me to give and I say, “If I give this, I have nothing left.” Oh, you have no idea, if the sower does not sow, there will be no harvest. Sow Church! Does your gift manifest who you are? God so loved that He gave! “Prove me” says the Lord, “if you start giving to me, I will pour out a blessing.”