PULPIT TODAY SERMONS
Robert D. Pace
For several weeks, I planned a different message this morning. The name of the message would have been, The Season for Giving. But something happened last Friday morning during prayer and the Holy Spirit directed me to preach a different message. I encourage you to be sensitive to the Spirit so you can discern what He might specifically say to you.
This is the Season of giving and receiving. We cover gifts and we uncover gifts. Parents give to children; friends give to friends; and many people give to the less fortunate. The process of giving and receiving is often exciting! Gifts are wrapped with vibrant colors, ribbons, bows, and glitter. Their alluring beauty fascinates the eyes and mystifies the heart. Perhaps your Christmas tree is already lighted and adorned with this mystery.
While this is the Season for Giving it is also the Season for Uncovering the Gift! It’s the Season for “receiving.” And it’s appropriate that we understand how to accept the generosity of others; especially as it concerns accepting the Lord’s gifts.
(Illustration) When my maternal Grandfather was alive he had a special way to open his Christmas gifts. He would take the present, shake it, and “assume” what was in the box. If he thought it was a tie, and he didn’t need a new tie, he would leave the gift wrapped and open it several months later. It’s strange that some people have so little curiosity! But this is not how God wants us to treat the divine gifts He offers. The Lord wants us to accept them with joyous wonder! And as the Giver of life’s greatest blessings, God wants us in a “receiving” position for what He offers.
(Participation) I want you to engage in a cognitive exercise now. Say these words: “I am getting myself into a “receiving” position for God’s blessing”! Let that thought sink deeply into your heart and repeat it once more: “I am getting myself into a “receiving” position for God’s blessing”!
(Transition) I want to explain what I mean by getting into a “receiving” position for God’s blessings.
The Meaning of a “Receiving” Position
Jesus Christ is God’s greatest gift to mankind. He was born 2000 years ago, and it’s interesting to see those that readily accepted His appearance. Who were those that rushed into His presence with worship, wonderment, and willful endowments to honor Him as the Messiah? It wasn’t the Scribes that had preserved the Old Testament Scriptures or the Priests from Jerusalem’s Temple or the scholars of the Sanhedrin Court that discovered Him wrapped in swaddling clothes.
Do you realize when Mary brought Jesus to the Temple for His Dedication she carried Him past a host of Pharisees, Sadducees, and Priests without any of them recognizing Him as the Messiah? They totally missed it! That’s because they weren’t in a “receiving” position. Only an elderly man and woman (Simeon and the prophetess Anna), champions of prayer, recognized Jesus as the King of Israel (Luke 2:25-38).
The people, 2000 years ago, that perceived their Messiah did so because they “walked with God” and allowed the Holy Spirit to “fine-tune” their senses. God chose Shepherds, humble enough to submit to His angelic announcement, to worship Christ at the stable. God chose Magi, humble enough to pack their bags and follow a star.
And today, the revelation of God emerges accordingly. God reveals Himself to those that open their hearts to His Word and Spirit. Christians that humbly hide in a closet of prayer will hear God speak amid the clamor of the world! That’s why the Bible tells us to “walk in the Spirit” and to “pray without ceasing.” When you practice these spiritual disciplines you place yourself in a “receiving” position! Let me illustrate this from Scripture. Turn to John 12 and let’s read:
“Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” 30 Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine. 31 Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die.”
John’s words describe the occasion when Jesus publicly revealed His mission to die on the Cross. During this lesson, Jesus paused, turned His face upward, and prayed. Moments later God’s answer reverberated from Heaven. But the crowd was divided! Some people said it “thundered” during Christ’s prayer. In other words, they heard nothing but atmospheric clamor! But there were others that heard God’s voice with the clarity of an angel. And because they lived in a “receiving” position, God enabled them to ascertain this angelic annunciation.
Here’s my question: Do you live in a “receiving” position that empowers you to hear God’s voice? If so, it means you have submitted your heart, ambitions, desires, and destiny to God. You are in a “receiving” position as you constantly pray: “Not my will; but Thy will be done.” These are the Christians that can “Uncover the Gift” that comes from God.
(Illustration) The story is told of a man that prayed earnestly for God to bless his ministry. Finally, God answered his prayer! Churches were packed, sinners were saved, the sick were healed, and God moved with “signs and wonders.” God’s presence was so intense that worshipers reacted in strange ways. It didn’t take long before the minister was “uncomfortable” with these unorthodox manifestations. Finally, he lamented, “Lord, you’ve ruined my meetings! Look what’s happening with these “signs and wonders.” Moment later, the minister said the Lord whispered back: “So, tell me about your ministry success before I messed it up”?
God’s ways can be strange! As revivalists of past generations discovered, God’s ways can be exceedingly peculiar! And that’s why we must prevent ourselves from assuming a prideful spirit that rejects God’s blessing.
(Transition) Now let’s move to the next aspect of “Uncovering the Gift.” While it’s imperative to be prepared to “receive” from God, it’s also important to actually “know” what God is giving you. Let me explain.
Christ’s Divine Consciousness
God’s gifts today aren’t literally wrapped for Christians to rip open and observe with their naked eye. It takes discernment, wisdom, and keen insight to understand what God wants us to uncover and receive. That means we must exercise ourselves into God’s presence and seek for understanding. This involves the principle of James 2:17 that says “faith without works is dead.” The “Christian Principles” always cooperate with “Christian disciplines.” God rarely, if ever, moves without collaborating with men. This is what I’ve emphasized during the first portion of this message.
However, I want to investigate the principle of “Uncovering the Gift” from a less-used approach. When God has a gift to make known, God is preeminently more responsible for disclosing His gifts than man is accountable for discovering God’s gifts. Let me explain:
(Question) Years ago I contemplated the “Divine Consciousness of Christ.” In other words, how did the Mortal-Man Jesus discover He was also the “totally divine” Son of God? At some precise point, Jesus realized Jehovah was His Father; not Joseph. This can be a perplexing issue and I’ve heard numerous answers: Some people say, “Mary told Jesus He was virgin born and God was His Father.” However, many adoring Moms have told their child, “You are special”! Others may speculate that Jesus experienced “Divine Consciousness” when he studied His ancestry. Jewish genealogy confirmed He was the “Son of David.” But, there were also scores of male-born descendants of David! Finally, others postulate that Jesus knew God was His Father because His miracles confirmed He was more-than-mortal. But hadn’t other great Prophets of the Old Testament worked miracles?
(Answer) Here is the conclusion I have drawn: Jesus knew Jehovah was His Father because God was no ordinary Father! He is without imperfection—perfect in wisdom, power, and goodness. And as the Perfect Heavenly Father, it was more important for Jehovah to reveal Himself to Jesus than it was for Jesus—the Man—to discover it! Thus, in some mysterious manner, Yahweh—God the Father—supernaturally unveiled Himself and birthed “Divine Consciousness” within Jesus. And the moment Jehovah revealed His fatherhood to Christ, it became Christ’s responsibility to accept that revelation. No doubt, this is why Jesus proclaimed: “No one has seen the Father except the Son.” The revelation was complete!
Saints of God, the same applies to your relationship with the Heavenly Father. It is more important for God to make known His gifts to you than it is for you to discover them. God is your perfect Heavenly Father. He’s a better Father than you are child. He’s a better Leader than you are follower. He’s a better Shepherd than you are sheep. But . . . when this perfect, loving Father reveals Himself or His gifts to you, you must “Uncover the Gift” and accept His offer!
Ask yourself something: What once operated in your life when you were young that hasn’t operated in years? Ask God to uncover and renew it now! Is it visions and dreams? Is it boldness to witness? Perhaps it’s the liberality to support God’s kingdom financially. Perhaps you operated in a gift that 1 Corinthians 12 mentions, but you’ve ignore it. Maybe your spiritual discernment, wisdom, or knowledge has dulled. Whatever the case, I sense that God wants you to “Uncover the Gift” and utilize it for His glory.
(Prophecy) I want to share a word of prophecy the Lord has given me: “What have you seen disappear, My servant? I shall uncover gifts that once operated, yet today are inoperative. Though your gifts have been buried and dormant I will sovereignly uncover and renew them. Yes, I have indeed called you, established you, and given you an inheritance that includes these gifts. As they are uncovered I will also clarify their operation. Now is the time to accept this inheritance and employ what I am uncovering and reactivating. There will be no need to lean upon the “arm of the flesh” to accomplish My will. The power of My Spirit upon you will let you operate with ease.”
After receiving that Word of Prophecy I asked the Lord for confirmation from Scripture. Here are three examples that involve Moses, Samson, and Joseph:
1. When Moses was young he was extremely bold. The Bible says “he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.” Then, for 40 years Moses’ gifts lay dormant. He ran from Pharaoh and lived with his father-in-law until God re-commissioned Moses to, “Let My people go.”
2. Secondly, the Bible says the “Spirit of the Lord moved upon Samson” to perform great miracles as a young man. Unfortunately, Samson miserably failed God and disclosed the secret of his strength. But even with his eyes gouged out, Samson called upon God and defeated more people at his death than in his entire life.
3. Thirdly, there’s Joseph. As a young man, Joseph dreamed of God’s abundant blessing abiding upon him. But he soon discovered that sharing his dreams brought betrayal from his brothers. They sold him into slavery and he eventually found himself slandered and imprisoned. It appeared Joseph’s dreamed would never live. But you know the “rest of the story.” God raised Joseph from the prison and seated him by Pharaoh and Joseph lived again.
Because I strongly sense the Lord is speaking to someone today, I want to repeat that prophetic word and reemphasize what the Lord is saying: “What have you seen disappear, My servant? I shall uncover gifts, talents, and anointing that once operated, yet today are inoperative. I have not removed these gifts; they are permanent (Romans 12:29). Though your gifts have been buried and dormant I will sovereignly uncover and renew them. Yes, I have called you, established you, and given you an inheritance that includes a gift. As this gift is uncovered I will also clarify its operation. Now is the time to accept this inheritance and employ what I am uncovering and reactivating. There will be no need to lean upon the “arm of the flesh” to accomplish My will. The power of My Spirit upon you will let you operate with ease.”
Do you hear God’s offer? He offers you another opportunity to “Uncover the Gift” and work with His plan.