April 8, 2007
Unnamed Saints Living in Resurrection Light
Introduction: In the NT we meet a number of well know men and women who are famous for what they did and how they responded to Jesus Christ. For centuries Christians have named their children after Bible heroes and heroines. There are also others in the NT who did wonderful things for the cause of Christ but until the Judgment Seat of Christ will remain nameless.
- Four friends who let down the man on a stretcher through the roof…Christ saw their faith
- Boy who gave his lunch to feed 5,000
- Samaritan leper 1/10 – returned to thank the Lord and to praise God for his healing
- Jairus’ daughter – resurrected
- Centurion…and his servant – healed the servant and used Centurion as an example of faith
- Woman at the well and the woman caught in adultery – used to teach forgiveness and grace
Under the shadow of Calvary and in the light of the resurrection I would like for us to focus on two wonderful responses from the heart of man to the living God: giving and worship. These two responses are intimately connected. We see this in the life of King David who, wanting the placate the wrath of God sought to worship through the offering of sacrifice. 2 Samuel 24:21-25 “And Araunah said, Wherefore is my lord the king come to his servant? And David said, To buy the threshingfloor of thee, to build an altar unto the LORD, that the plague may be stayed from the people. 22 And Araunah said unto David, Let my lord the king take and offer up what seemeth good unto him: behold, here be oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing instruments and other instruments of the oxen for wood. 23 All these things did Araunah, as a king, give unto the king. And Araunah said unto the king, The LORD thy God accept thee. 24 And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. 25 And David built there an altar unto the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the LORD was intreated for the land, and the plague was stayed from Israel.” In the same way, giving and worship are inseparably intertwined with N.T. believers – not just with the “spiritual stars” but with the unknown and unnamed saints
I. The Giving of Unnamed Saints
A. Our Giving Moves God’s Plan Forward (Luke 19:29-35) Christ rode into Jerusalem on a borrowed donkey. The man’s gift assisted Christ to enter Jerusalem as a king coming to his people. Christ’s presentation fulfilled O.T. prophesy in Zechariah 9:9 “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.” This was God’s plan.
We think of God’s sovereign providence and His eternal plan as so huge and grand and mysterious that it is impossible to get our arms around it—and we are right! It is incomprehensible. No puny little brain of man will ever grasp the totality of what God is up to. Let me say that God not only determines the ends but He also determines the means. We are the means of moving the plans of God forward. We see that in:
· Our Missionary Giving – Fulfills Christ’s commission to reach the world with the gospel.
· Loaning our (donkey) car to God’s servant for ministry (War of Special Forces).
· Bringing someone to where Jesus is…believers using their (donkey) car to pick someone up on the way to church. For some a car is too small. Their vision is to drive a (donkey) bus.
B. Our Giving Provides for Fellowship and Spiritual Intimacy (Mark 14:12-16) An unnamed man allowed Christ use of the upper room providing the means for the disciples to enjoy intimate fellowship. Notice the response of the master of the house when approached by Jesus’ disciples. It was immediate and whole hearted. He gave exactly what the Lord asked for. When the Holy Spirit nudges your heart I trust that your response matches the willing generosity of this unnamed saint. Think of the blessing that could have been lost if the master of the house had declined Christ’s request. Think of the incredible privilege of hosting Jesus’ last meal before going to the cross. Today we still have opportunity to provide others an opportunity for fellowship and spiritual intimacy. This takes place in several ways:
· Hospitality – opening up our homes for visiting speakers.
· Social Committee – serving tables – being hosts and hostesses in the house of God
· Camp Scholarships – Kids are given the opportunity to be where the Spirit of God is at work.
· Nursery & Children’s Church Leaders – This is two-pronged ministry. Not only are the children ministered to in a loving fashion but dads and moms are given the opportunity to meet with God in worship and fellowship.
C. Our Giving Provides the Resources for Ongoing Ministry (Luke 21:1-4) This widow woman is an example of sacrificial giving– She gave out of her poverty even as the Macedonian church.
As men count giving, what she placed in temple treasury was insignificant, yet Jesus said she was the biggest giver in the congregation that day. What was the measure Christ used to make that statement?
· Not in terms of absolute amount: it was the least amount that could be given.
· Not in comparison to need: the temple and its ministry were huge—expenses were staggering.
· Not in comparison to giving of others: several large gifts were given (annual visit).
· Measured in terms of what was left: nothing was left; she had given everything.
She was unrecognized among men. The Jewish High Priests would have looked past this woman. The Most High God used this woman as an object lesson to teach His disciples and us what giving is all about. While her name is not mentioned in the pages of Scripture, she has laid up an incredible treasure in the bank of heaven
II. The Worship of Unnamed Saints – Man has been created from the ground up to be a worshiper. As Paul outlines in Romans 1, the tragedy for mankind has been ingratitude and intentional suppression of the truth so that man has turned away from the true God to worship the creature instead of the Creator. We turned away from the light of God to what?? – Spiritual blindness.
A. The Precious Gift of God to the Believer (Luke 24:13-35) One of God’s most wonderful and gracious gifts to man is to take away that blindness – to open our eyes to truth. God shows us the world the way it really is! More than that He shows us Himself! That is part of the worship experience—to have God take away the lies and the false ideas with which we surround ourselves—and instead God reveals Himself. Jesus once said “I am the truth.” This is exactly what happened in resurrection.
On the afternoon of Resurrection day Jesus walked with two disciples on the way to Emmaus (suburb of Jerusalem). We are given the name of one of these men (Cleopas) but the other is an unnamed disciple. In terms of revelation, there are two important things that take place.
· Jesus Opens Up the Word of God Luke 24:25-27 We might say that Jesus demonstrated how that the inspired Word of God focuses on the incarnate Word of God.
· Jesus Reveals Himself Luke 24:30-31 These two men (one named and one unnamed) experienced personal enlightenment in the presence of Christ. They recognized the Truth. The saw the resurrected Christ.
This is a precious gift we have as believers; not just to know about God but to know God; to be engaged in Bible study, to listen to a sermon, or sing a hymn and to be confronted with the presence of God
· to suddenly get a glimpse of who God is and to be surprised by His glory
· to experience His love (undeserved and unfathomable but it is yours)
· to feel the burden God feels for the souls of men
This is not reserved just for the Christian “super-star”. This is the inheritance of every child of God…to know the Father and to live in the light of His presence. If this is not our experience it is because we don’t hunger and thirst after righteousness and not because God doesn’t want to give it to us.
B. The Precious Gift of the Believer to God (John 20:25-28) Worship begins with God giving Himself to us in revelation (Moses – Isaiah – Thomas) Did you notice the worship of Thomas in response to Jesus’ revelation? “My Lord and my God!” Thomas surrendered to the resurrected Christ. There was no more cynicism or skepticism – just submission. There was no more “I’ll believe what I want to believe” – or – “I’ll live the way I want to live”. It was “My Lord and my God”. That’s the way God wants all of us to be.
It wasn’t that long ago that a woman wept at the feet of Jesus. She anointed His feet not only with tears of gratitude but with a precious ointment. Jesus noticed this unnamed woman.
· He noticed her tears
· He noticed her using her hair to dry his feet
· He noticed the precious nature of the ointment
· He noticed her faith – she was preparing his body for burial (commented on that)
· He noticed her love – because of forgiven sin
· He noticed her worship
I wonder what God notices about our worship on this Easter morning.
Conclusion: My message this morning has been about unnamed saints – their giving and their worship. It wasn’t just big-named saints who did spiritual exploits and who will receive rewards at the coming of Christ.
· Unnamed saints gave sacrificially.
· Unnamed saints gave willingly and promptly.
· Unnamed saints gave exactly what the Lord needed exactly when the Lord needed it.
Beloved, by the grace of God let us resolve to give like that.
· Unnamed saints worshipped with the precious revelation of the resurrected Christ
· Unnamed saints worshipped by giving themselves (without reserve) to Christ.
Beloved, by the grace of God, let us resolve to worship like that.