Channels of Blessing

CHANNELS OF BLESSING

The main idea of last Sunday’s sermon was that “God supplies our needs so that we might meet the needs of others to the glory of Christ.” Meeting the needs of others can be translated as being a channel of blessing to others. Not just fellow brothers and sisters – as important as that is – but more urgently to a lost and dying World.

For we were lost and without hope when God pursued us and opened our hearts to the truth and power of the Gospel; the finished work of His Son Jesus Christ. And who did God use to bring us the saving message of the Gospel? Answer: A channel of blessing! It was someone who offered to us what they had already received!

"For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures." 1 Cor 15:3-4

TESTIMONY

I will never forget when one of my colleagues and friend from work, Carmen Torres, was diagnosed with leukemia. When she was in the hospital and undergoing chemo, I asked for prayer for her at our Wednesday night prayer service. I specifically prayed with our dear sister Delia – who is now with the Lord – and she prayed for Carmen.
 
Delia at the time was also battling cancer, and as a nurse for many decades she knew how serious the progression of her cancer was. She never lost faith that God could miraculously heal her, but she was also resolute that no matter what happened, she was in a win win situation! Do you believe I had the audacity (because I knew how much Delia loved the Lord) to ask if she would visit my friend Carmen in the hospital? Delia agreed without hesitation!

When Delia walked into Carmen’s hospital room, Carmen was also suffering from an infection that caused a rash throughout her entire body. Within minutes of Delia’s visit, Delia began to minister, nurse and pray for Carmen in a way that personifies what it means to be a channel of blessing! As God is my witness, Carmen was so infused by Delia’s channeling of the love of Christ, that despite her condition, she was smiling, uplifted and encouraged!

Fast forward: Carmen Torres physically recovered! Our sister Delia went to be with the Lord! Delia received the ultimate healing! Up until the Lord took her home, Delia was a channel of blessing to all who knew her!

When I made the notification to Carmen Torres that Delia had passed away and was now with the Lord, she told me she must come to the wake! And she did!

THE GREATEST COMMANDMENTS

When we our meeting the needs of others we are fulfilling the two greatest commandments;
36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:36-40

We cannot say we love God with all our heart, our soul and our mind and not love our neighbor as ourselves. Loving God means dying to self and dying to self means conforming to the image of Jesus Christ and conforming the image of Jesus Christ means putting the interests of others above our own. If we learn to live with true contentment, humility and trust in God, He will always bring to remembrance what He has already done in the past, is doing in the present, and will do in the future: He supplies exactly what we need “according to His riches in Christ Jesus.” Despite our circumstances, feelings, emotions and attacks from the enemy, we will live fulfilled lives we never dreamed possible!

OUR NEEDS

God supplies our needs, not our wants/desires. We need to learn that when God supplies our needs it is always in accordance with His will and love for us as our Father! Our wants/desires are often motivated by our fleshly desires. OUCH!

"You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. 4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God." James 4:3-6

“We can never out give God!” The more we give to others, the more blessings we receive from God! But the blessings we receive from God are not material, they are immaterial. In other words, they are spiritual rather than physical. Not that God does not also supply our physical needs, but He does so in accordance with His divine omniscience. He knows our hearts and knows what would be detrimental to our fellowship with Him. Therefore, the Apostle Paul could be content in all circumstances. He knew that God was in control of His circumstances as well as his needs and Paul knew in his heart, no matter what, he was well supplied!  

What can bring us more joy than imitating Christ, being a channel of blessing to others and experiencing the sanctifying results of dying more and more to ourselves and bringing more and more Glory to God? Nothing!

"I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." Galatians 2:20

Generosity is defined as the quality of being kind and generous. Is a wealthy Christian who gives from his abundance generous? But Christians who know the Joy of the Lord are generous despite personal circumstances. To be a channel of blessing we must learn contentment and be others minded.

BELIEVE THE GOSPEL

Always remembering the Gospel and our own transformational initiation into the family of God is the key to becoming a consistent channel of blessing. Don’t lean on prosperity or anything this world has to offer, rather, always lean on Christ and keep the Gospel fresh in your heart. Continual remembrance of what we have received in the Gospel will compel us to share the Gospel out of a perpetual joy that radiates from our hearts. Is the outflow of what the Gospel means to us. Sacrificially meeting the needs of others brings all the Glory to God and simultaneously proves our trust in God to supply our needs. It is an act of worship. “Where God leads, he will provide.”
 
“Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. 15 And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only.” Philippians 4:14-15

Paul was overjoyed with the Philippian Church not because of what he received from them, although he was extremely grateful knowing that God was supplying his need; Paul was filled with unspeakable joy because in there poverty and affliction they still met his needs and this meant to Paul that the Gospel was continually fresh in their hearts and that made them channels of blessings bringing Glory to God! Paul did not seek the gift; he sought the fruit that would increase to their credit!

 “Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. 17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit. 18 I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God... “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. 20 To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.”  Philippians 4:16-18; 19-20

TRULY BLESSED

“Pain and loss transform us. While they sometimes unravel us, they can also push us to a deeper life with God than we ever thought possible. They make us rest in God alone. Not what we can do or achieve for him. And not what he can do or achieve for us.
 
In pain and loss, we long for Presence. We long to know that God is for us and with us and in us. Great families, financial wealth, and good health are all wonderful gifts we can thank God for, but they are not his greatest blessings. They may make us delight, not in God, but in his gifts.

God’s greatest blessing always rests in God himself. When we have that, we are truly blessed.”

“My trials grounded my faith in ways that prosperity and abundance never could.”

“Suffering and trials are not blessings in themselves, but they are channels for God’s grace.”

“Unmet desires keep me on my knees and make me ransack the Bible for God’s promises.”
- John Piper

Oh God, no matter what, I know I am well supplied!

Blessings!
Brother in Christ, Eric David