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Sermon Notes: 4/30/23

"Open Hands and Willing Hearts"

Pastor Albert Almore


FOUNDATION #1

JESUS IS OUR REASON


FOUNDATION #2

DISCIPLESHIP IS HOW WE GROW


THIS WEEK WE’RE GOING TO TAKE A LOOK AT THE POWER OF GIVING, BETTER KNOWN TO US AS GENEROSITY.


I want to share a story with you that displays generosity at its best.


As we open up this story….open up our hearts….


I imagine she wrestled for days, for weeks, even for months if she should do it or not. "It’s a silly idea,” she thought to herself. "It’s a foolish idea certainly, isn’t it? Would He even like it? Would He accept it? What would others think? A woman? A woman showing up in the presence of men? A woman with such an undignified past, doing such an undignified thing, in the presence of other men?” Could she even afford it?

She saw it the other day at the market place and couldn’t shake the idea since. But over a years worth of wages??? How would she be perceived??? What else could she do with that money??? Certainly she could honor him in a different way, in a different fashion. Yes, yes, I’ll do that. I’ll find another way to be a blessing. I’ll spend MY TIME cooking him the best meal He ever tasted. Everyone says I have one major talent when it comes to cooking. No, no, I’ll take some TIME and go visit some of the beggars on the side of the road on behalf of His name, and go honor Him that way. That’s what I’m going to do. That’s what I’m going to do.

But the more she thought about it, she couldn’t shake it. Even though those deeds were good deeds, GREAT DEEDS even, that represented her TIME, and her TALENT, that’s not what God was asking her to do. God was calling her heart deeper. So little by little, she began to put her money to the side. She would go down to the marketplace and still see it there. Days, weeks, months went by. The time finally came for her to purchase this beautiful alabaster jar of expensive perfume made from nard. On her way to the marketplace the thoughts came, "You’re crazy. This doesn’t make any sense!” As she emptied the money out, the thoughts got louder and louder. "What are you doing? This is a waste. What’s the big deal about this moment?”But she did it. She purchased the alabaster jar of expensive perfume.

As she purchased it and took it home, she now had to overcome even more thoughts. What is everyone going to think? What is everyone going to say? Does it really take all of that? She wrestled with her thoughts. She wrestled with her obedience. "There’s still time” she thought to herself. "I could sell it and make my money back. I could keep it for myself you know, and spoil myself just a little bit. God knows my heart.” But the more she thought those thoughts, the more she knew what she had to do. Finally the time came. She set one foot in front of the other. With her thoughts behind her, and with her faith and obedience in front of her, she began to make her way towards Jesus. Mark 14:3 reads,


“Now Jesus was in Bethany, in the home of Simon, a man Jesus had healed of leprosy. And as he was reclining at the table, a woman came into the house, with an alabaster flask filled with the highest quality of fragrant and expensive oil. SHE CAME TO JESUS, and WITH A GESTURE OF EXTREME DEVOTION, she broke the flask and poured out the precious oil over his head.”

‭‭Mark‬ ‭14‬:‭3‬ ‭


“But some were highly indignant when they saw this, and they complained to one another, saying, “WHAT A TOTAL WASTE!”

‭‭Mark‬ ‭14‬:‭4‬ ‬‬


“It could have been sold FOR MORE THAN A YEAR’S WAGES and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.”

‭‭Mark‬ ‭14‬:‭5‬


“Jesus said to them, “Leave her alone! Why are you so critical of this woman? SHE HAS HONORED ME with this beautiful act of kindness.”

‭‭Mark‬ ‭14‬:‭6‬‬‬


“You will always have the poor, whom you can help whenever you want, but YOU WILL NOT ALWAYS HAVE ME.”

‭‭Mark‬ ‭14‬:‭7‬ ‭‬‬


“When she poured the fragrant oil over me, she was preparing my body in advance of my burial. She has done all that she could to honor me.”

‭‭Mark‬ ‭14‬:‭8‬ ‭‬‬


I want to talk to you for a moment from this subject…


OPEN HANDS AND WILLING HEARTS


That’s where we need to be. That’s the place where God is calling us all to, OPEN HANDS AND WILLING HEARTS. Let’s break this moment down as we take a look at generosity at it’s best. Verse 3 says,


…A woman came into the house, with an alabaster flask… Mark 14:3


An alabaster flask itself would be considered a luxury item in that day. An alabaster was a type of gypsum, very white and translucent. It was found in caves and limestone deposits. This detail lets us know that when she came to Jesus, she offered Him her best. To her this wasn’t about being seen or Jesus knowing her thoughts would’ve rebuked her. This wasn’t just about giving. This wasn’t just about generosity. To her THIS WAS WORSHIP. To her this gesture was EXTREME DEVOTION. May we learn the same. Point number 1…


📝 Giving is a matter of WORSHIP.


“Then King David turned to the entire assembly and said, “My son Solomon, whom God has clearly chosen as the next king of Israel, is still young and inexperienced. The work ahead of him is enormous, for the Temple he will build is not for mere mortals—it is for the Lord God himself!”

‭‭1 Chronicles‬ ‭29‬:‭1‬ ‭


‬‬ ““And now, BECAUSE OF MY DEVOTION to the Temple of my God, I am giving all of my own private treasures of gold and silver to help in the construction. This is in addition to the building materials I have already collected for his holy Temple.”

‭‭1 Chronicles‬ ‭29‬:‭3‬ ‭‬‬


I AM DONATING more than 112 tons of gold from Ophir and 262 tons of refined silver to be used for overlaying the walls of the buildings”

‭‭1 Chronicles‬ ‭29‬:‭4‬ ‭


“and for the other gold and silver work to be done by the craftsmen. Now then, who will follow my example and give offerings to the Lord today?””

‭‭1 Chronicles‬ ‭29‬:‭5‬ ‭‬‬


“Then the family leaders, the leaders of the tribes of Israel, the generals and captains of the army, and the king’s administrative officers ALL GAVE WILLINGLY.”

‭‭1 Chronicles‬ ‭29‬:‭6‬ ‭‬‬


“Then the people rejoiced, for THEY HAD OFFERED WILLINGLY, because with A LOYAL HEART THEY OFFERED WILLINGLY TO THE LORD; and King David also rejoiced greatly.”

‭‭I Chronicles‬ ‭29‬:‭9‬ ‭‬


Verse 4 says,


….they complained to one another, saying, “WHAT A TOTAL WASTE!” Mark 14:4


What you offer to God is never a waste!


📝 What others deem as a WASTE, we deem as WORSHIP.


They said in verse 5,


“It could have been sold FOR MORE THAN A YEAR’S WAGES and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.”

‭‭Mark‬ ‭14‬:‭5‬


What they forgot is, we’re called to do both. We’re called to give financially and we’re called to serve and love others. Jesus says in Matthew 23:23


““What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore the more important aspects of the law—justice, mercy, and faith. YOU SHOULD TITHE, YES, but do not neglect the more important things.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭23‬:‭23‬


I wonder has it flipped during our time. I wonder if we don’t mind doing what Jesus deemed as the more important things, but when it comes to giving we become reluctant.‭‬‬


“Jesus said to them in verse 6,


"…Leave her alone! Mark 14:6


That’s what happens when you give according to Malachi 3:8-11, emphasis on verse 11.


‭ ““Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings.”

‭‭Malachi‬ ‭3‬:‭8‬


‬‬ “You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation.”

‭‭Malachi‬ ‭3‬:‭9‬ ‭‬‬


“Bring all the TITHES INTO THE STOREHOUSE, That there may be food in My house, And try 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 such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it.”

‭‭Malachi‬ ‭3‬:‭10‬ ‭‬‬


““AND I WILL REBUKE THE DEVOURER FOR YOUR SAKES, So that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,” Says the Lord of hosts;”

‭‭Malachi‬ ‭3‬:‭11‬

‭‬‬ "…Leave her alone! Mark 14:6


“Jesus goes on to say in verse 6,


.SHE HAS HONORED ME with this beautiful act of kindness.”

‭‭Mark‬ ‭14‬:‭6‬ ‭


Isn’t that what we’re called to do. We’re called to honor God with our finances. We’re called to honor God with our resources. Proverbs‬ ‭3‬:‭9‬ says,


HONOR THE LORD WITH YOUR WEALTH the and with the best part of everything you produce.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3‬:‭9‬ ‭‬‬


“Then he will fill your barns with grain, and your vats will OVERFLOW with good wine.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3‬:‭10‬ ‭

Because He can trust you with more.


Why do we honor God with what we have? We honor God with what we have because ALL THAT WE HAVE CAME FROM HIM. Deuteronomy‬ ‭8‬:‭18‬ ‭‬‬says


““And YOU SHALL REMEMBER THE LORD YOUR GOD, for IT IS HE WHO GIVES YOU POWER TO GET WEALTH

‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭8‬:‭18‬ ‭‬‬


“Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. THEIR TRUST SHOULD BE IN GOD, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment.”

‭‭1 Timothy‬ ‭6‬:‭17‬ ‭‬‬


Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others.”

‭‭1 Timothy‬ ‭6‬:‭18‬ ‭


“By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life.”

‭‭1 Timothy‬ ‭6‬:‭19‬ ‭


Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”

‭‭James‬ ‭1‬:‭17‬


Jesus goes on to say in verse 7,


“You will always have the poor, whom you can help whenever you want, but YOU WILL NOT ALWAYS HAVE ME.”

‭‭Mark‬ ‭14‬:‭7‬ ‭


This woman recognized the moment.

The same way they wouldn’t always have Jesus, is the same way we won’t always have this moment. Beloved, we’re in a moment, but at the same time life is just a moment. Psalm 90:12 says,


“So teach us to NUMBER OUR DAYS, That we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭90‬:‭12‬ ‭


📝 "Every person going through life gives something and take’s something. LEAVE MORE than you take."


Jesus goes on to say in verse 8,‬‬


SHE DID WHAT SHE COULD…

‭‭Mark‬ ‭14‬:‭8‬ ‭


📝 The expectation isn’t for you to do everything when it comes to generosity. The expectation from God is that you DO WHAT YOU CAN.


📝 When it comes to generosity, do what you can but DON’T DO NOTHING.


The last thing that Jesus said about this lady was….


“I promise you that as this wonderful gospel spreads all over the world, the story of her lavish devotion to me WILL BE MENTIONED IN MEMORY OF HER.””

‭‭Mark‬ ‭14‬:‭9‬


HOW WILL YOU BE REMEMBERED?


📝 People aren’t remembered by what they KEPT. People are remembered by what they GAVE.


Unlike the rich young ruler that we took a look at last week, somewhere along the way she surrendered. Somewhere along the way she surrendered her ONE THING, AND IT WASN’T THE YEARS WORTH OF WAGES. IT WAS HER HEART. THE ONE THAT NEEDS TO BE SURRENDERED MOST IS OUR HEART.


DOES GOD HAVE YOUR HEART?


“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. YOU CANNOT SERVE BOTH GOD AND MONEY.

Matthew 6:24


📝 FOUNDATION #3

GENEROSITY IS OUR NATURE.


📝 Beloved, generosity is our nature, because generosity is HIS NATURE.


“For God so loved the world, that HE GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

‭‭John‬ ‭3‬:‭16‬


“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: WHILE WE WERE STILL SINNERS, Christ died for us.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭5‬:‭8‬ ‭


📝 God gave us His BEST, while we were at our WORST. ‬‬


Generosity is our nature, because generosity is HIS NATURE. We’re created in His nature.


“Then God said, “Let Us make man IN OUR IMAGE, ACCORDING TO OUR LIKENESS; LET THEM HAVE dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.””

‭‭Genesis‬ ‭1‬:‭26‬ ‭


The highest heavens belong to the LORD, but the earth he has GIVEN to mankind. Psalm 115:16


One of the times you look the most like your Heavenly Father is when you give.


“But generous people plan to do what is generous, and they stand firm in their generosity.”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭32‬:‭8‬


Plan to do what is generous. Stand firm in your generosity.


📝 Don’t allow your LIFESTYLE to drive your GIVING. Allow your GIVING to drive your LIFESTYLE.


📝 Make being generous with your tithes and offerings to your local church A PRIORITY.


How do you do this? You do it just like she did it. You set one foot in front of the other. You start somewhere. You take it one step at a time. You set one foot in front of the other. With your thoughts behind you, and with your faith and obedience in front of you, began to make your way towards Jesus.


Towards Jesus? I thought I was giving to the church? I thought I was giving to the outreach, to the preschool, or to our new building who’s going to host the lost. To this Jesus says in Matthew 25:40,


““The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, YOU DID FOR ME.’”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭25‬:‭40‬‬‬


SHE CAME TO JESUS, and WITH A GESTURE OF EXTREME DEVOTION…


HOW’S YOUR WORSHIP? HOW’S YOUR HEART?


“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. THE LORD DOES NOT LOOK AT THE THINGS PEOPLE LOOK AT. People look at the outward appearance, but THE LORD LOOKS AT THE HEART.””

‭‭1 Samuel‬ ‭16‬:‭7‬ ‭‬‬


SHE CAME TO JESUS, and WITH A GESTURE OF EXTREME DEVOTION…


HOW’S YOUR WORSHIP? HOW’S YOUR HEART?

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