USE WHAT YOU HAVE
· (v10) Jesus always kept his main objective in focus - seek and save the lost.
· The heart of God is continually toward people coming to know His great love for them.
· Parable added to confront wrong thinking about Kingdom of God.
· Key directive = “occupy” (4231 Strongs) to busy yourself, to work, or to create.
· The nobleman = Jesus entrusts his servants with resources and expects us to be productive.
· v15 “Returned” - yet to come! Key question “How much gained by teaching.
· God works by principles of sowing and reaping - expects increase so can further invest.
· (v17) “Faithful” = productive - rewarded by new opportunities.
· (v22) “Wicked” = failed to make effort, to use opportunities given, not productive.
· God’s standard for “wicked” 1) doing evil; 2) failing to do good.
· jam.4:17 To him that knows to do good and does it not - to him it is sin.
· Whatever God entrusts to us is 1) To bless us; 2) To bless others; 3) To give us opportunity to increase.
2. LAW OF INCREASE
a) Prov.11:24 There is that scatters and yet increases; withhold more than is right - tends to poverty.
· Increase is not an accident - it follows a law of sowing and reaping.
· Increase comes through releasing and sowing what we have in faith and expectancy .
· Poverty is not an accident - it follows a law of withholding, holding back e.g. relationships - withholding impoverishes the relationship.
· Don’t wait until conditions are favourable - learn to sow continually.
· Make sowing, scattering a lifestyle - don’t know what will prosper!
· Jesus made sowing (giving) a way of life - continually gave out.
· Mt. 20:28 Came to minister not to be ministered to.
· There were many times people ministered to Jesus - i.e. he reaped benefits.
· His focus was on “increasing the value” of people he interacted with, i.e. what can I put into this? Rather than what can I get out of it?
· Much anger and frustration occurs because people expect life and others to serve them.
· Jesus gave his life i.e. sowed his life as a ransom = price paid to free, loose.
· His whole ministry success depended upon sowing into others and producing a harvest in their lives that would multiply.
· Finally he sowed his life and his ministry - both were given, scattered and yet increased. E.g. Pentecost 3000 saved in one meeting.
3. DON’T MAKE EXCUSES - USE WHAT YOU HAVE
Exod.4:1-2 Moses excuses for not doing what God wanted done.
· Whenever God works He accomplishes his purposes through people.
· People must make available to God what they have.
· Moses excuses : (3:11) Who am I? (3:13) What shall I say? (4:7) Who will believe?
· v2 “What is in your hand?”
· God knew! Made Moses focus on what he had, what he already possessed.
· Power of God transformed shepherds rod into “rod of God” v20.
· Excuses are a cover for a heart resistant to obey God.
· What is in your hand? Will you make it available to God
· Eg Jn.6:5-13 Miracle of loaves
· Multitude of people in need - Question: How shall we provide?
· Easy to be overwhelmed by needs, problems and avoid any personal involvement.
· What do you have in your hand? 5 loaves and 2 fishes.
· Increase: 1) Put God first
2) Make available what you have
3) Put resources in Lord’s hands - He has power to increase it
4) Sow expecting increase.
· Results : Boy fed - Crowd fed - Crowd believed.
· Greatest miracles of increase came in spreading gospel.
4. WHAT IS IN YOUR HOUSE?
2 Kings 4:2 Widow woman in debt and distress - focused on needs.
· What is in your house? Focus on putting what we do have to use.
· Bought empty vessels into house and poured out what she had.
· Put God first; Made available what had; Put resources to work; Poured out expectancy.
· What is in your house? Everyone has a house they live in.
· 3 ways to increase the value of your house.
1. Maintain and improve it - increase its value $
2. Build a spiritual atmosphere - increase its value spiritually
3. Make it available for hospitality - increase its value to spreading God
· Whether the house is rented or owned you can increase its value!
· Maintaining the home and building its atmosphere are part of the foundation for building a credible witness to neighbours.
· The simplest way to make your house available to God is hospitality.
· E.g. Jesus Jn.1:38-39 Lord where do you live? Come and see. They came and saw where he lived and stayed with Him”.
· E.g. Paul Acts 28:30 Paul lived 2 whole years in a rented house and received all who came to him preaching and teaching.
· E.g. NT Church Birthed in someone’s house and carried on in homes.
Act 2:2 Pentecost - 120 in someone’s house
Act 10:23 Cornelius house - family and friends gathered.
· Why withhold? 1) Fear; 2) Unfavourable comparison; 3) inferiority; 4) Priorities wrong?
· Act 5:42 Church met daily in the temple (corporate gathering) and in every home.
· Everyone made their house available for extension of gospel.
· How can you do likewise? What is in your house?
Don’t attempt to answer all questions)
1. Law of Increase
a) Share personal examples where giving, sowing or reaching out with kindness has produced unexpected benefits.
b) Share personal examples where withholding has caused unexpected loss or deterioration in a relationship or situation.
c) What could you do that would improve relationships with family members, with friends or with unsaved neighbours.
d) Why does expecting to receive or benefit from people and situations without first sowing into them result in disappointment, anger and frustration..
e) Can you think of a situation where you have sown or given but have received no benefit or even have experienced reaction. How can you reconcile this with God’s law of sowing. How do you handle it? (Gal.6:7-10)
2. Using what you have
a) Why do you think Moses was resistant to God’s purpose? (Act2:23-30)
b) How did God respond to that resistance? (Exod.3:13-17)
c) Is there something God has been impressing on you to do? What excuses have you been making?
d) What is the most common excuse you use to avoid new situations or experiences? How could you overcome it?
e) What strengths and gifts do you have? What do others say you are good at? How could you develop and put it to use?
f) What could others do to help you stretch out and take risks?
3. What is in your house?
· Why did the prophet ask the widow what she had?
· Why do people tend to focus on lack instead of opportunity?
· Do you tend to focus on needs and lacks or on possibilities?
· What could you do to maintain or improve the house/property in which you live? What plans do you have for this? What needs doing? When will you do it.
· What could you do to improve the spiritual atmosphere of your home? What is eroding that atmosphere?
· How open and welcoming is your home? Do people feel free to visit? What are you doing in the area of hospitality - making your home available for building relationships and sharing the Gospel.