Everyday of the Luke Challenge has been a challenge! The challenge is not in reading each chapter of Luke one chapter at a time, I do that first thing when i wake up in the morning, the challenge has been to put up a blog post each and every day on each chapter read and to give the mind of God on each of the chapters! It takes 2-3 hours average each day to write, edit, do graphics, create short links, publishes and publicize the blog post!
Some people have written me privately to express their joy at newfound revelations that this study has brought to the fore. Someone once asked if I wake up with God every day sitting by my side and telling me what to write? Literally, that is not the case but it's not far from the truth. The Luke challenge series has been all about the Holy Spirit illuminating the mind and heart and showing specific truths from the word that before were missed or glossed over! I can't take credit for this.
The truth is 50% of the time when I pick my laptop or phone to write I don't know where to start or where to end. It's like what Jesus said here in Luke 21:15, "Open thy mouth wide and I will fill it"(well not the literal words that were used) In my own case, it is open thy laptop wide and I will fill it! For 20 days He has been filling us! Have you been blessed by this series on the LUKE CHALLENGE, please don't keep silent, write to me privately, write it publicly and tell me how this series has been a blessing to you. What one thing did you learn anew? Write and please let me know. The writer's joy is the feedback he receives, whether positive or negative!
I face the everyday challenge that you face, the challenges of making a living, making an impact and rising above the odds in order to reach the top. I face those. And as I write this, the time is17:56, that's 4mins to six and I fear this broadcast won't be ready until 9 pm. It has been a gruesome week that has left the body weak and tired. I have tried to lift my hands to type and somehow they have remained down, until now. Today is the 21st day, it is significant. It's the number of days it takes to form a habit. So whenever you get this broadcast please forgive me and its lateness. Surely however the Luke 21st gospel will be delivered to you on the 21st day of December as we continue our adventure in understanding Christ and a great habit of studying the word of God would have been formed.
JESUS SAT OVER THE OFFERING
As I lie down typing this, that's the much strength I could muster now, the Holy Spirit is making me see from Luke 21 amidst many other matters, three doctrinal issues that are so crucial to the church of Jesus Christ.
The issues that Luke 21 highlights are the issue of
2. The second coming of Christ
We will look at 1 of this and we will be done for today.
And he looked up and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. And he said, Of a truth, I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had. Luke 21:1-4 KJV
I mean Jesus literally sat over the offering basket here and was watching the people casting their offering. Picture this in the modern setting: one of the fathers of faith at a faith convention sitting over the offering basket and rating the offerings of the people. This was what Jesus did here. This would have made the headlines today and would be the trending subject over the social media, now that everyone is an expert Bible teacher! You can imagine how this would be heavily criticised? Anyway, Jesus sat over the offering here and some lessons can be deduced from here.
1) God is interested in what we give . For what we give is proof we have conquered greed. When the rich young ruler came to Jesus and offered to give his life the last test he could not pass is the material test! Jesus said to give all you have to follow me and then I will know you are ready to give your life! Those who cannot give have not yet conquered greed and those who haven't conquered greed cannot be entrusted with the true riches of life! Jesus said if you have been unfaithful with the unrighteous mammon who will commit to you true riches! Giving is the test that proves we have overcome greed.
2) God rates what we give. Jesus had observed the givings done on this particular worship day and concluded that the widow gave the most! Why? She gave out of her lack while others gave out of her abundance. This woman didn't give 10% - the tithe, she gave all, 100%, and now that is the new testament order of giving!
This rating issue started back in Genesis when two brothers gave it to the Lord. God rated Abel above Cain. Rating of giving was what precipitated the events that led to the first murder in the history of mankind. Giving is that important to God, it proves how much greed and ourselves that we have conquered! Giving is a major proof of our dependence on God. Giving signals our victory over greed, our victory over greed signals our entrance into covenant prosperity
This widow woman mirrors the other widow woman in 1 Kings 17, she gave her last of what she had to the prophet. However the last of what she gave was the beginning of abundance that she would possess!
And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand. And she said, As the Lord thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die. And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son. For thus saith the Lord God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the Lord sendeth rain upon the earth. And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days. 1 Kings 17:11-15 KJV
She gave her last but it was the beginning of plenty. Those who put God first never comes last. There is a lot to learn from the widow.
3) Cost is what determines value. This woman gave all she had. The value of what we give is not determine by the volume but by its cost. Cost here is scripturally and mathematically calculated as the ratio of what we give as it relates to what we have left! David set an example for us when he was to give a sacrifice to atone for his sins, he said i would not give to the Lord that which cost me nothing! And the greater the cost the greater the blessings!
The great blessings that was released in Phillipians 4:19 was provoked by a sweet smelling sacrifice, an offering that cost something. That sacrifice broke the yoke of poverty.
Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity. Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account. But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God. But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus
Philippians 4:15-19 KJV
The cost of what you give determines the level of blessings that you receive!
THE HIGHEST GIVING
We live in a generation that as of late has been questioning the need for giving. These self-deluded Bible teachers have argued that if we must give it must be to the poor. Well, this appears a new thing, but it isn't for even from Jesus days he was criticized for receiving big offering while such offering could have been given to the poor.
Then Jesus six days before the Passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead. There they made him a supper, and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him. Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment. Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, which should betray him, Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this. For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always. John 12:1-5, 7-8 KJV
It was a contention to either give to the Lord or give to the poor! And Jesus said there is no debate when it comes to this, I take priority over the poor! Hence the highest level of giving we can do is the one done at the feet of Jesus! Jesus said I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it! The church of Jesus Christ is the bodily representation of his person on the earth. Yes, I should give to the poor, but the priority giving is to the church of Jesus Christ on the earth!
The practice of giving is what brought the church to the present level of prosperity that it enjoys, we must not allow the devil deceive us other wise. We have a responsibility to give as believers, the ministers have a responsibility to administer what we give. The responsibility or irresponsibility of one group should not dictate what the other group does. I have a responsibility to give and i will give!
I would stop this blog post here today but in the days ahead will add my thought on the other subjects raised in Luke 21 but for the purpose of today's broadcast, I will stop here so I can share right away. And please do not forget your comment and feedback on the Luke Challenge. Thank you for reading thus far. God's blessing is on you and yours!