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Not too small for God to use
Do you think that you are too small to make difference in the world?
Star of Bethlehem
Not Too Small: Introduction
Micah 5:1 Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter of troops: he hath laid siege against us: they shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek. 2 But thou, Beth-lehem Ephratah, [though] thou be little among the thousands of Judah, [yet] out of thee shall he come forth unto me [that is] to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth [have been] from of old, from everlasting. 3 Therefore will he give them up, until the time [that] she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel.
We live in a big world, with many people and a long history. We have big governments and great corporations that influence most of what we see going on around us. Sometimes, when we see the shear immensity of the world and society we are tempted to think that one person cannot really make a difference. Surely, one choice cannot really change the outcome of the cosmic course of events.
There were people and things in the Bible that people were too small to make a difference. Certainly, Bethlehem is a perfect example. This little, insignificant town in Judean obscurity could not affect the course of world events. It did not even have its own name. It had to share the name with another town in Israel. That is why the Bible says “Bethlehem of Judah.” There was more than one.
Yet, few towns are more famous today. Everyone wants to go to Bethlehem. It was the birthplace of our Savior. It is still a little place, and yet it has a great significance for all of man.
There was another person that came from Bethlehem that people thought was insignificant and too small. That was David the last born son of Jesse.
Are modern teen-agers prepared properly like they should be for adulthood?
Point 1 of 3
I. Too Small a Teen I Samuel 17:33 And Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou [art but] a youth, and he a man of war from his youth. 34 And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father's sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: 35 And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered [it] out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught [him] by his beard, and smote him, and slew him. 36 Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God.
Our sinful society wants to minimize our youth. They tell our youth, “This is your time to be young, live it up. Sow your wild oats.” They make our teens think it is the time to be as crazy as they want to be. Now yes, youth is a wonderful time. But we minimize our youth. We make them think there there is nothing that they can do that is going to make a difference. They might as well live however they want.
On the contrary, youth is an important time to lay the foundation for the great things ahead. David, in his youth, (I Samuel 17) did the one single thing that he is most famous for. Of course, there are many other great things that he did for the rest of his life, but this one spiritual event colored the rest of it all.
This is true for our teens today as well. We can minimize our teens’ time and tell them that it does not matter what they do until they are out of college, or married, or when they have kids. The problem is that by that time they have already destroyed much of their potential by wasted time, wounded spirits, wanton sin.
David was minimized by his brother, his king, and by his enemy. Yet because he was using his youth to develop character, he was ready to do something that no one else in Israel was either willing or able to do. How was that possible? One important thing was that he was under authority.
A. He Was Under his Father’s Authority
Our society encourages and even praises teens that resist their parental authority. If you take our society’s word for it, every father is overbearing, outdated, uncaring, or just an oaf. David did not believe this. He was doing his duty. He put in the long boring hours in the field taking care of the sheep. It was the lowest job in the home. While his brothers got to go out and fight with the King, David was faithful with the sheep. In spite of what his older brother accused him of, David did not leave his responsibility until his father directed him to.
Because, David was doing the boring job of watching the sheep, he was prepared to be the greatest warrior Israel has ever known. He used the time to meditate on God’s word and to worship. Chances are that many of the Psalms were written out there in the field with the stinking, stupid sheep. But he also used the time to become a deadly expert with the sling. Without those seemingly “wasted” ours in the field, David could not have taken down the Giant. Also, his first kills were in the field. God showed David that if he would take care of his job (at the time, those sheep) that God would give David the victory of enemies (lion and bear). This lesson prepared him to be the shepherd of all of Israel.
No, the teen David was not too small, because he allowed his earthly father and heavenly Father to direct him.
B. He Was Under his King’s Authority
David was also under King Saul’s authority. Our society teaches our kids to mock and resist our police and government. And if that was David’s heart, there was plenty to mock in Saul. Saul was a coward. He should have been the one to face the giant as the king and as the tallest man in Israel. Plus, Saul minimized David.
David, however, was respectful of King Saul. David could have run out on the field to fight Goliath without getting permission from anyone. But thousands of lives were at stake. If David had lost, the entire war would have been forfeit to the Philistines. David did not jump the gun. He went to the King and asked to do the job. And King Saul, amazingly, gave permission. When David went out to battle, he had the blessing of the king. David had the king’s authority behind him.
We need to teach our teens that if they are going to be successful, they need to respect the civil authorities that God has put over us, even when they are foolish. They are still God appointed.
C. He Was Under his God’s Authority
Finally, David could have gone out to Goliath and lifted himself up. That was not what David did. Instead, he lifted God up. He told Goliath that God was going to defeat the giant. This is not the prideful and blustering attitude that our society encourages in youth. We tell them to be “self” confident. “Stand up for yourself.” But that is actually minimizing our youth. The greatest that our teens can be is not when they are self confident. The greatest they can be is when they are confident in God like David was. They should not be standing up for themselves, but should be standing up for what is right!
To teach our teens to do anything less is to minimize them. In God’s power and with His leading, our teens will never be “too small” for anything that God wants them to do.
Point 2 of 3
II. Too Small a Tithe Mark 12:41 And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. 42 And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. 43 And he called [unto him] his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: 44 For all [they] did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, [even] all her living.
We tend to look at giving to God, our tithes and offerings, as not that important. “After all, my tithe is not going to make any difference.” But this is another lie of Satan. If he can give us an excuse to not give what belongs to God, Satan wins on two fronts. Not only does he diminish what should go to the support of the house of God. But Satan also wins because he gets the Christian to compromise their own spirituality and sacrifice the blessings of God on the altar of greed.
We all know someone that will try to say that the tithe is from the Old Testament and that it is not for us in the New Testament church. This is based on the flawed reasoning that the tithe was from the law. Jesus fulfilled the law. We are not under the tithe any more. I agree that we are not bound by the law. But the tithe came before the law. It is therefore not under the law. It is of faith because the same person that taught us salvation by faith, Abraham, is the same person that thought us the tithe. Furthermore, Jesus does say that we should tithe, even if it the small things like mint and cumin.
The widow that cast in her two mites did not give just a tithe. She gave it all. When was the last time any of us did that for God? She did not just give 10%. She gave her whole paycheck, 100%!
Still, the two mites was just a pittance. How was that going to help the temple? What difference was that going to make. It made an incredible difference. . . to God. Why would God need two mites? He did not need it.
God did not need those two mites. Neither does He NEED your little 10%, even if it is a million dollars. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. God does not need our money, but He wants our faith. He wants us to believe that we can do more with 90% than with 100%. He wants us to believe that He will take care of all of our needs.
A. Proportional Principle
The rich people in Jesus day thought that they were giving God a great deal because they put large amounts of money into the Temple collection. Jesus does not keep record like we do. Jesus said that the widow put in more than the rich men. That would be like some poor old lady putting $20 in the offering plate next to a millionaire who puts in $1000. But God shows us in this story that He is not interested in how much we put in. He is more concerned with how much we put in compared to how much we could put in. If the rich man made $100,000 that week, he only put in 1%. But the widow only made $20 that week. She put in 100%. She gave far more than the rich man.
This is true for all our lives, not just the tithe. God does not want to know how much you did for Him compared to someone else. He wants to know how much you did for Him compared how much you could have done.
B. Pride Principle Matthew 6:4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
Part of the problem that Jesus was trying to fix was the problem with pride. The rich men make a great show of how much they give to the church or temple. But that is not the spirit of giving that God calls us to. God wants us to give quietly and humbly. This was part of what Jesus saw in the widow’s two mites. The widow was not there making a show. She was not bragging. She just gave. She gave humbly.
Pride will keep people from giving just as it can cause people to make a show of it. We want what we want. Then we make the excuse, “It’s only . . .” this much. But if it is God’s, it belongs to God. You say, “But it is too small to matter.” Well, if you think it does not matter, then why do you so much want to keep it. That is the real problem. It is not the amount, it is the heart that holds back from God.
The widow’s might was not too small. Neither is your tithe. Give it to God and see what He does with it. We are still talking about the widow’s two little mites.
C. Poverty Principle Matthew 5:3 Blessed [are] the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
There is a principle that God says that we need to be impoverished before God. This runs against some of the most popular “Christian” teachers in our society today. These prosperity teachers say that if you are right with God, then you will never want for anything. The problem was that Paul said he learned to be content when he was poor. He was not always, but he was for certain times in his life. Jesus did not have anywhere place to lay His head at times.
God is not saying that being poor is a virtue, but neither is being rich a virtue. What God is saying is that we need to be poor in spirit. The widow was. She did not lift up herself as someone important. She just wanted to give all that she had to God. The rich men . . . not so much. If you are poor in spirit, you recognize your own internal poverty. We need God’s filling. And it is not about poverty that sin brings because Jesus was poor in spirit. Though He did not need to rely on anyone else as divine Himself, He did rely on the Father. He perfectly exemplified that we need to rely on God’s power and presence. Without the person, power, and presence of God, that is true poverty. When we recognize our own personal poverty, we give God the room to work.
Some of Pastor Andrew's other Messages.
- What Kind of Dirt are You? The Parable of the Sower.
God says that the Seed here is the Word of God. God says that the seed falls on different kinds of soil. Now, every preacher teaches this parable in relation to salvation. Indeed, it does relate to salvation. The seed is the Gospel that God sends for
- Is Jesus Just a . . .?
The people of Galilee were willing to listen to Jesus the Commentator. They had no problem listening to Jesus the Teacher. They did not stop him from teaching. But when he preached to them, they could not handle that. That is why Jesus said that He h
- Soldier for Christ
Paul in his many epistles shows that he was a very physical person. It is likely that before his eyes started giving him trouble, Paul was an athlete and martial artist. I Corinthians 9:26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as o
Part 3 of 3
III. Too Small a Text II Timothy 3:13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. 14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned [them]; 15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
As Paul prophesied in II Timothy 3, evil men have come. They are at work in our society as they were in Paul’s. What do they want? They want to seduce us with their lies. To do that, they must turn us away from the truth of God’s Word. Either they will distract from it, dilute it, or defame it.
One of Satan’s favorite questions must be, “Since everyone disagrees about the Bible, how can we know who’s right?” Then of you have “scholars” who are discovering new books of the Bible all of the time. Or they are “discovering” that the Bible does not really mean what it says.
Here is the answer to a whole mess of foolish thinking.
God loves us.
God was powerful enough to send us a message (Bible) telling us that He loves us.
God is powerful enough to protect that Book so that we can know the truth like those before.
Today, Satan would love for people to think that the Bible is “too small.” “You need me to explain it to you.” It is good but you must have this additional teaching, writing, revelation to really understand it.
This was what the Church of Rome did. The common people could not understand the Bible themselves. Oh no, they needed the priests to explain what it means. The Mormons say that you cannot understand the Bible by itself. You need the other books by Joseph Smith. The Jehovah false Witnesses say you need the Watchtower Society to really understand the Bible. The Jews today say that you cannot really understand the Torah without the Rabbis.
All these unregenerate organizations are really saying, “The Bible is Too Small.” You have to add this or that to really get what you need. They are con-men and are trying to keep a spiritual monopoly on your faith.
The Bible is not too small. The only help you really need to understand it properly is the Holy Spirit. Just ask God to help you understand. He will help.
The Bible is not too small because it is the seed of salvation. Think about it. The Bible is the tool that fixed your eternal destiny. It is the love poem of God that wooed your wandering heart. It is the Sword of the Spirit that cuts between what your soul wants and what God says.
This Bible that brought you to salvation is now not enough for you after? No. God’s Word is complete and full. It is not just here to give you a fire escape from hell. It is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. It is perfect so that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. It saved you. Now, trust it to take you the rest of the way.
Now, what does this mean? It means that it is the way that you can tell if a person is lying and trying to seduce you. Is the teacher/preacher telling you the Word of God in context, in a balanced way? Or does he take just one phrase out and use it to his own ends? Does the preacher make a careful study of all the Word of God, or are there sections that he is afraid to deal with? Does your preacher even teach the Word of God? Or is he too busy telling jokes and expounding on psychology?
There is plenty of psychology in the Bible. God’s Word is not too small. You do not need to add pop psychology to it.
C. Success Psalms 1:2 But his delight [is] in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. 3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
Finally, if you will recognize that God’s Word is not too small, and start to meditate on it, you will see real success in your life. Look at what Psalm 1:3 says. Everything that this person does will prosper. What is it that that person is doing that causes everything they do to prosper? Verse 2 says that he meditates in the law of the Lord. He delights in the Word of God. This man will have all manner of fruit and blessings.
Too many preachers are not preaching God’s Word. I saw one preacher on TV that was “preaching.” He is still a very popular preacher and has literally thousands of people come to hear him every week. His message was only twenty minutes long, approximately. I listened, just waiting to hear him quote a single verse. I thought for sure he was not going to give even one. I finally heard one verse after at least fifteen minutes of his feel good message. He was a great speaker, easy to hear, easy to watch, charismatic, but he did not preach anything. At least he did not preach anything from God’s Word. This preacher was saying by this that God’s Word is too small. God needed him to put his psychology and feel good motivation into the mix.
No, my friend. That man needs to start teaching people to meditate on God’s Word. I would rather the man read one verse and sit down than to muddle it all up with his whole feel good message. His feel good message has the spiritual “nutritional value” of whip cream. That was what it was. It was spiritual whip cream. When people walk away, they do not remember what God’s Word says. No, they remember how tremendous this man’s 15 minute motivation was.
Real success has the Word of God as its basis and its fruit. God’s Word is not too small.
February 21, 2010 sn