Sunday Sermon: ‘Decicated to His Glory’

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Today we dedicate these shoe boxes to be used God to take His love around the world. We don’t know where our box is going or what boy or girl will receive it; but God does. I believe that God will strategically place each shoe box in the hands of a special boy or girl.

Thank you for taking the time and investing the money to pack a shoe box this year. The Bible says –

Colossians 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

Everything you and I do as a follower of Jesus Christ should be done in devotion to our Lord.

I. The Dedication of a Gift

Perhaps there are some who will ask, “Can a shoe box full of toys and toothpaste be dedicated to God?” I believe they can.

Long before Samaritan’s Purse began collecting shoe boxes to send around the world, a woman in a church was preparing a box to be sent to some missionaries in India. During her collection a small child came up to her and gave her a penny. What can you do with a penny? The woman used that penny to help purchase a gospel tract that she put in her box.

Eventually the box reached India and the gospel tract was given to a tribal chief. After reading the tract, the chief accepted Christ as his Savior and soon many others villagers did as well. Eventually a church was built and through the ministry of that small church, it is estimated that over 1,500 people have come to know Christ. There’s a song in our hymn book that says – “Little is much, when God is in it.”

This truth is illustrated in the gospel of Mark.

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. (Two small coins worth only a few cents) 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.

What kind of math was Jesus using when He said that a little is not only much, but even more than a large amount? He was using heaven’s math. This woman’s little bit was more for at least a couple of reasons:

1. What she gave, she gave sacrificially

2. What she gave, she gave sincerely

There are some words found in the Bible that speak of the act of giving something to God. Those words are: ‘dedication’, ‘consecration’, and ‘sanctification.’ It might surprise you to know that all three of those words come from the same Hebrew word. They’re just translated in different ways. It might also surprise you to know that all three of those words are closely associate with the word –‘holy.’ What does dedication, consecration, or sanctification mean? They all refer to setting something apart from all the rest so that it might be devoted exclusively unto God.

Here’s an illustration that might help you to better understand this concept. Many of you ladies have a special set of dishes that you don’t use on a daily basis. You save them for something special. In a sense, you have separated these dishes from all the rest in order for them to be dedicated for some special purpose. Spiritually speaking, that’s what it means to be sanctified or consecrated unto God. It means that something has been set apart from all the rest so that it might be dedicated to God for His special purposes.

The tube of toothpaste you bought and put in your box is not any different from all the other tubes of toothpaste still on the store shelf. Yet in a way, it is now different. It has been selected by you to be dedicated to God for His glory and special purposes.

In the Old Testament, only certain things were dedicated or consecrated unto God. A building known as the Temple. A special group of men known as the priest. Certain days of the week or times of the year. Because of that teaching from the Old Testament, we have developed the concept of dividing everything in life up into two groups: the secular and the sacred. The word ‘sacred’ is often used to refer to something that has been devoted or dedicated to God. The word ‘secular’ is often used to everything that hasn’t been specifically dedicated or devoted to God. But in the New Testament, that concept has been done away with and now everything in the life of a Christian is to be considered as being dedicated to God.

Colossians 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

II. The Dedication of the Giver

Because everything in our lives is not now sacred, God desires not only a dedication of a gift, but even more so, the dedication of the giver. Paul writes in the book of Romans-

Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Notice that Paul is saying that we should present our bodies as something holy unto God. During my studies I read a cute little story that helps to illustrate this important truth. The author of this story says that it actually happened.

A local church had a bus ministry and one Saturday morning a bus worker knocked on the door of a house trailer. A little boy, about nine years old, answered the door and the man asked him if he could speak to the boy’s mom or dad. “They ain’t here” the boy said. “Where are they son?” the man asked. “I don’t know. They leave every weekend to go somewhere and leave me here to take care of my little brother.” The man couldn’t believe what he was hearing. He asked if he could come in and talk with the boy and the boy invited him in. The man asked the boy where he went to church. “Ain’t never been to church”, the boy said. “Has anyone ever told you about Jesus?” the man asked. “Who’s he?” the body replied. And so the man told the boy about Jesus and that day that nine year old boy gave his heart to Jesus.

“Would you like to go to church tomorrow?” the man asked him. “Sure, if I had a way.” “Well I’ll come by in the morning with a big bus and I’ll pick you and take you to church and then bring you back home afterwards.” “Great!” the boy said.

The next morning the man pulled up and not a light was on in the house. There was still no car in the driveway and so that man assumed that the parents were still gone. The door was unlocked so the man opened it and called out the boy’s name. The boy faintly answered from back in his bedroom. When the man stepped into the bedroom he saw that both he and his little brother were still in bed. The man got them up and helped them get dressed and then he bought them something to eat.

The man helped the boy find a set in church and the boy sat there quietly, watching everything that happened. He had never been in church before. Then some men came down the aisles with some round plates and the people began to put in their money. The boy leaned over and whispered to the lady sitting beside him, “What are they doing?” he asked. “They’re giving to the Lord” the lady told him. The boy knew that he didn’t have anything to give to Jesus. After the ushers had reached the back of the sanctuary, the boy got up and ran back to one of the ushers and asked to see one of the plates. The usher showed the boy the plate and the boy took it and put in on the floor. Then the boy stood in the middle of the plate and said, “Jesus, I don’t have any money to give you today, but if it’s OK, I’ll just give you me!”

I don’t know whether or not that story is actually true, but it sure conveys a powerful message. God wants each of us to get into the plate and say, “If it’s OK, I’ll just give you me.”

In many ways, we’re all like a shoe box. We all have common, ordinary lives packed full with practical things. But if we’re a believer, we also have something else in our box. We have a witness to the saving truth of God’s salvation.

Every day you and I pack a shoe box. We pack our lives. Just like the shoe boxes that we are dedicating this morning, there are things that we should put in our boxes, and other things that we shouldn’t. Let’s take a moment and review God’s packing list.

Colossians 3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence,and covetousness, which is idolatry:            

8 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. 9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;

What should we leave out of our lives? Paul refers to things such as: sexual immorality, greediness and selfishness; anger and ill will towards others; as well as anything that is dishonest. Think of how terrible it would be if someone put some pornography in a shoe box, or something that represented hatred and violence. It would be totally inappropriate. These same things are totally inappropriate in our lives as well. Everyday someone is going to open our shoe box and see who we are inside. When they do, what will they see?

Paul also tells us that there are things that we should pack in our box. Let’s quickly review the list.

Colossians 3:12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; 13Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. 14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hears and be ye thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

What should be in the Christians shoe box? Paul refers to Christlike characteristics such as: compassion and kindness, forgiveness and patience, a peaceful spirit that is full of good will and gratitude and the grace of God. And wrapped around box should be a ribbon of God’s saving love.

CONCLUSION

If you were somehow involved in this year’s collection of shoe boxes, let me say an sincere thank you to you. Perhaps one day in heaven we will experience what the song says. Someday in heaven people may run up and hug us and say – ‘Thank you for giving to the Lord.’

I hope also that each of us will do an inventory of what we’re packing in the shoe boxes of our lives. I pray that we will leave out those things that might hinder people from coming to know Christ, and that we will intentionally put in those things that will help draw them to Him. I pray that we each will dedicate ourselves to His glory. Amen

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