Freely Give

We’ve learned the past few weeks about the secrets and treasures that God gives us everyday that we too often overlook and miss out on.
This week, we’re going to take a look at a powerful statement of Jesus that is truly life transforming.  It’s not one that I’ve ever heard preached on or focused on and so I believe it often goes unnoticed.  However, just as we learned the past few weeks, that’s often how the greatest secrets and priceless treasures from God exist.  They are out there right in the open, but yet so cloaked by their simplicity that their fullness can only be noticed and revealed by those who are seeking after it and have a tremendous hunger for it.
This statement of Jesus has the potential to completely and radically change our perspective on everything in life and empower our lives in a way that we never dreamed possible!  I can say this with absolute certainty because that’s exactly what it did in my own life.  It became a motto for Becky and I early as our lives together began and is still a mindset that we carry throughout our family.  Many times, when faced with significant life decisions that we have had to make together, this statement is what brought us from worry, stress, and indecision to a certain and joy-filled choice that has always been blessed.
Would you like to hear what this statement of Jesus is?
Matthew 10:8b
Freely you have received; freely give.
When we begin to realize just what we have received when we accepted God’s salvation, we can’t help but to give joyfully and generously from all that we’ve been so generously given.  We’re compelled to because of His love for us.  It’s a way in which we show our love and gratitude to Him and also a way in which we serve Him.
The word in the Greek used for freely is the word dōrean (not to be confused with a delorean), which means:
A gift given
1. Without a Cause/Undeserved (not earned or worked for)
2. Freely (can’t be bought)
3. In Vain/For Naught (given even if it’s not put to use and it results in no change)
Matthew 10:1-8
1 Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.2 These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.5 These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. 6 Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. 7 As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.

Here we see that Jesus freely gave the apostles supernatural authority and a very simple message.  They were to go out (this time only to Israel, but later to all nations and people) and declare that ‘the kingdom of heaven is near’ and to backup this message with action by showing them the kingdom of heaven.  They drove out demons, raised the dead, and healed every sickness and disease.
These men were common, ordinary men and not ones that you would exactly expect to be called into such a powerful ministry.  They were thieves, tax collectors, zealots, and fishermen.  What made these men the renown, supernatural apostles that they are and to perform the mighty miracles that they did was not where they came from or even being without areas of sin in their lives.  What enabled these men to be who the were was simply their commitments to follow Christ and the gift that He freely gave them.
It’s no different for us today.  We are all ordinary, imperfect people who simply accepted the call of Jesus and as a result have been transformed into a new creation and have been given supernatural gifts and power to freely give to everyone.  We, just like the apostles, have been sent to tell everyone that the kingdom of heaven is near and show them what it looks like.
We did not transform ourselves into a new creation to be able to accept His salvation, we accepted His free gift of salvation and then was transformed by Him.  It’s critical for us to remember this fact.  When we live always with this fact in mind, it not only helps us to be grateful, humble, and thankful for what we’ve been freely given, but it compels us to share it with everyone because they, too can receive it.  Much to our shame, the more mature that we become as believers, often the more that we forget this and tend to look down on others in judgment and list the sins of others, which steals away our hope for them.  This is an absolute shame because God’s free gift is available for anyone.  In fact, Jesus said to those with this same shameful mindset that those who are forgiven much love Him even more than those who are forgiven little.
In fact, Jesus valued them so much that He not only chose ones like them to be the apostles and His disciples, but spent most of His time in ministry reaching out to the very same ones that we tend to purposefully distance ourselves from.  We act as if though being a friend of sinners is un-Christlike when in reality, it is being exactly like Christ.  It’s not at all that we join others in their sin or ungodly ways, but that we value them as people who were intentionally created with a purpose and destiny in the image of God Himself and we choose to reach out to them just as Christ did.  Remember, He was sinless and yet spent most of His time in the midst of the worst of sinners, outcasts, those demon possessed, and those deemed unclean by the ‘spiritual’ authorities.  Jesus set the example for us that we are to freely give to them what we have been freely given from God.
1 Corinthians 2:12
What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.
Do we really understand just what have we been freely given?  Let’s start listing off just the beginning of what we’ve been freely given!
Life abundant
Eternal life
Eternal security
Adoption into the family of God
An inheritance of the kingdom of Heaven
Deliverance from bondage
Purpose and meaning
The list goes on and on…
So, what are we to do with all of this which we have been freely given?  Freely give it!
Remember, the word in the Greek used for freely is the word dōrean, which means:
A gift given
1. Without a Cause/Undeserved (the person doesn’t deserve it)
2. Freely (it’s given cheerfully with no strings or obligations attached)
3. In Vain/For Naught (given even if the person does not put it to use and it results in no change)
This is where it becomes challenging for us.  We love to receive freely from God, but it is difficult for us to freely give to others in the same way.  Let’s take a simple $20 bill that is here today and gone today.  Let’s say that God leads us to give it to someone.  How many times have we hesitated and told ourselves: that person wastes what they have (#1), they need to learn the value of hard work and earning a living (#2), and they are probably just going to waste it on alcohol and cigarettes anyways (#3).  God gives gifts to us freely every single day and we do much the same with even His priceless treasures.  We may have worked 2 or 3 hours for that $20, but Christ gave His very life so that we could receive His free gifts that we (#1) don’t deserve, (#2) can’t buy, and (#3) receive without allowing them to change our lives and often without even putting them into use.
Now, of course, we need to use discernment and wisdom in these cases.  However, if the Spirit is leading us to do something, our responsibility is not to question it and list off reasons why it shouldn’t be done.  Our responsibility is simply to be obedient to what God is calling us to do and to leave the rest up to Him.
2 Corinthians 9:6-15
6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9 As it is written:“They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor;
their righteousness endures forever.”
10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13 Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. 14 And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. 15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

What happens when we choose to give generously and cheerfully?
Proverbs 11:24-26
24 One person gives freely, yet gains even more;
another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.
25 A generous person will prosper;
whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.
26 People curse the one who hoards grain,
but they pray God’s blessing on the one who is willing to sell.
When we choose to freely give; first and foremost, God is honored, thanked, and glorified through our choice and the good news is confessed to others.  When God receives honor, thanksgiving, and glory as a result of our generosity, He honors us and as a result, we are blessed, have all of our needs met, gain even more, and are enabled to continue the good work that God has called us to.  Giving freely starts this beautiful and powerful cycle of giving freely.  God didn’t freely give to us to have the buck stop here with us and so that we would be blessed.  Rather, God freely gave to us so that we would freely give to others.
Freely you have received; freely give!