December 16, 2012 – Pastor Tim – “Re-Gift” – Click to download
This time of year, many people are preoccupied with thoughts of giving and receiving. We make gift lists and spend time buying, wrapping, and delivering gifts. As we receive Christmas gifts, we may keep some and share others or what is called re-gifting.
For a moment, I’d like us to consider some gifts we have received from God. In Matthew 10:7-8, Jesus told His disciples, “And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ 8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. FREELY YOU HAVE RECEIVED, FREELY GIVE.’” I believe that Jesus’ commission here to the twelve apostles applies to all of us who are His disciples.
First, what we freely received? Jesus Christ gave His life so that we who believe in Him would receive eternal life. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” We’ve also received the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:4, “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” We have received healing.
1 Peter 2:24, “who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed. All our needs are supplied. Philippians 4:19, “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” We have also received joy. 1 Peter 1:8 (NLT), “You love Him even though you have never seen Him. Though you do not see Him now, you trust Him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy.” And we have received peace. John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” And we are His Children. John 1:12, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:”
As we rejoice over all that belongs to us through Christ Jesus, we need to remember that we also have received a commission: “FREELY YOU HAVE RECEIVED, FREELY GIVE.” God set the example for us, For God so loved the world that he GAVE…
What are we to give? Jesus said in Mark 16:15, “…Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. We are to give by going into the world and preaching Jesus to them. And according to Matthew 10:8 we’re to “heal the sick.” Mark 16:18b says, “…they [believers] will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
According to this Matthew 10:8, we are to cleanse the lepers. Immediately, when we hear the word “leper,” we think of someone with a skin disease. But leprosy can also be a type, or a sumbol, of sin. Although Jesus talks here about healing actual lepers, I want to apply this verse as an illustration of Jesus telling His disciples to go out and tell people how to be cleansed from their sin. 2 Corinthians 5:18-20, “Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.”
1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
We’re also to raise the dead. In Ephesians 2:1b, the Bible says that before we believed in Jesus we “…were dead in trespasses and sins, When you preach Jesus and someone is born again as a result, in one sense, you just raised that person from the dead. Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
We’re to cast out demons. While this phrase, too, is literally driving the devil away. The Bible says in James 4:7b, “…Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” Like Jesus, we’ve been raised from the dead. The devil already had to do battle with Jesus, but Jesus didn’t emerge victorious just for Himself; He did it for you and me! When He was raised as our substitute, we were raised with Him.
Romans 6:6-8, “knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,” Now we have the same power within us that Jesus had. In Luke 10:19 we read what Jesus said to His disciples, just before sending them out, “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” We can tell the devil, “I resist you in the Name of Jesus!” Because of Jesus, the devil is under our feet!
Someone gave us the Gospel message and we freely receive salvation through Jesus Christ. Now it is our turn to go out freely giving that Gospel message to others.
Friends, if we have become selfish, hoarding all of the blessings of salvation for ourselves, we need to repent and ask God for forgiveness. The best way to enjoy the blessings we’ve received from Jesus is to give them away to others—“re-gift.” Show them the way to receive God’s best. The principle is true that the more we give, the more we will receive. This is true with money, time, talent, and so on. We can’t out-give God! Who would’ve thought re-gifting was Biblical.
So this Christmas season, let’s purpose in our hearts to give freely of the blessings God has freely given to us, including salvation, the Holy Spirit, healing, joy, and peace. Freely we have received—now freely we can give!