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Freely You Received, Freely Give

Matthew 10:7-8 “And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give.”

John 3:27 “John answered and said, ‘A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven.’”

What is the most that you can do in any given situation in life? Give or apply what you have been given. You can’t give something you haven’t received. You can’t do something you don’t know how to do. Furthermore, you don’t know what you don’t know until you get in a situation that calls for knowledge or skills you don’t have. One of the most important lessons to learn is that we are not the big deal. Life isn’t all about us. It’s about God and His kingdom. In last month’s blog, I focused on the incredible truth that everything that occurs in life is for the glory of God because all things are from, through, and to Him. In this blog, I turn the spotlight on another life-changing gospel truth: we are recipients of God’s grace. He gives us what we need to glorify Him.

The kingdom of heaven is at hand

How do we know the kingdom of heaven is at hand? When Jesus told His disciples to go and preach that God’s kingdom was at hand, He authorized them to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, and cast out demons. The very occurrence of these things indicates that God’s power and will is present and operating. They could not occur unless the power and authority to do them has been given. That’s what John understood when he replied to his disciples informing him of Jesus’ ministry. “John answered and said, ‘A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven.’” John understood that if any man does anything good in this fallen world, it came from God, from heaven.

Not only can this be said of healing, resurrection, and deliverance, but it can be said of the love of God. There’s an earthly love about which we all are familiar. When we have good feelings about someone because they have done something for us, we might feel that we love them. If we really like something—an object, activity, or experience—we might say we love that thing. For instance, you might love cinnamon rolls, warm sunny days, and watching your favorite player or team win a game. But that’s not God’s kind of love. God’s love received and given may be understood as the sustained direction of the will toward the highest good of another, no matter what the cost to you, in the power of the Holy Spirit, for the glory God. Such love does not exist in this world unless it is given to someone from heaven. When His love is moving through us to others, the kingdom of heaven is at hand. From what Jesus said in the verse above, perhaps we should say the kingdom of God is at hand as we love our spouses, children, friends, and brothers and sisters in Christ. Let’s give glory where the glory is due.

Freely you received

When the disciples returned rejoicing in what God had done, Jesus wanted them to get the basis for their experience. “Do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven” (Luke 10:20). When God pours out blessings, they are always given freely. We don’t pay or do anything to get them. They come to us 100% because God has chosen to give them to us. They come to us based on the mercies and grace of God through Jesus Christ. The author of Hebrews declared this reality in his benediction.

Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen (Hebrews 13:20-21).

We glorify God when we receive His grace through Jesus Christ and give it to one another. In any kingdom here on earth, people receive because they pay, perform or please someone. Only in the kingdom of heaven do people receive without paying or doing anything. God’s grace and love is given freely from heaven based entirely on the payment, performance, and acceptable sacrifice of Jesus Christ on our behalf. So as we live to love with Jesus, we know the love we have experienced in Christ was freely given to us. Additionally, we know the love we have for others flows out of the love we have received from Christ. It’s His love.

Jesus sent His disciples out to preach that the kingdom of heaven was here. The signs and wonders that accompanied their gospel verified the truth of the presence of the living God. Again the author of Hebrews testified of this reality.

How will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will (Hebrews 2:3-4).

When we love others with Jesus, God testifies of the salvation that has been given from heaven in Jesus Christ. We freely received His love. Jesus didn’t mean that the disciples accepted these things from God, but that they were given to them by God. We live to love with Jesus, not because we accepted his love. We live to love with Jesus because God loves us. When we were His enemies—dead in our transgressions and sins—God gave His Son to us to be our life, our righteousness, our salvation, our sanctification, and our glory. Freely we have received.

Freely give

The image of the vine and the branches portrays the idea of freely receiving and freely giving. In the same way we have received, we give—freely. People don’t have to pay, perform, or please us before we give God’s love and ministry. If God puts them in our paths, then they are loved. As branches, we simply wait on the Vine to pour His life into ours. In that moment or circumstance, we are to freely give whatever we receive from God. God has given people authority to pray for healing, and He does it. There are testimonies of resurrection from the dead that have occurred in my lifetime. God still delivers people from demonic oppression. But these are not the only signs of the presence of the kingdom of heaven. Anytime you abide in Jesus, He gives you what He pleases in order to love with Him. He may give you compassion, wisdom, knowledge, ability to serve a specific task, patience, forgiveness, or whatever is needed for His glory.

Knowing and trusting that God will give us whatever is needed to love with Jesus, gives us confidence and joy as we live to love with Jesus. We don’t ever need to be afraid, nervous, or anxious about what we are going to say or do. This is why I call it the live to love adventure. I can’t wait to see what Jesus is going to do. Jesus told His disciples when they were handed over to governors and kings, “Do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say” (Matt. 10:19). This is also true for us in any situation. God will freely give us what we are to say and do, and we simply are to freely give what we receive. What an adventure! He is responsible for what occurs after we give because it is for His glory. How cool is that?!

Ps. 70:4 voices the prayer of all believers as they freely give what they have received. “Let all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; and let those who love Your salvation say continually, ‘Let God be magnified.’” This is why I pray each morning to be anointed and filled with the Holy Spirit, the presence and power of Christ, so that I can love and trust God and love those He puts in my path, FOR HIS GLORY.

If this prayer is new to you, I hope you’ll accept this Live to Love Prayer invitation. You’ll be amazed by God’s answer to your prayer. You can find the Live to Love prayer at livetolovewithjesus.com.

The summary of your life

When you stop and think about it, can you see that Jesus’ life could be summed up in this statement, “He freely received and freely gave”? This will also be the summary of your life. I hope this brief study has encouraged you to rise to the call of God to live to love with Jesus. Is that your purpose in life, or are you still trying to accomplish your own purposes? If you live to love with Jesus, Matthew 10:8b will be the summary of your life when you come to the end of your days on this earth. Anything that was done for the glory of God, you freely received and freely gave. Notice how stressless and peaceful this kind of living is. You only can give what you receive each moment of every day. If God gives it, and you receive it and give it, then God gets the glory. You don’t have to work or perform anything for God to do this in you. It’s given freely because of what Jesus has done. The burden is light, and the yoke is easy. It will bring rest to your soul, as Jesus said it would. I’m experiencing this reality, and I want you to experience it also. May you live in the freedom of the kingdom of heaven for the glory of God.

I invite you to follow my daily Live to Love Scripture Encouragements podcast on Spotify or iTunes.

If you want to become more grounded and anchored in Jesus, check out Anchored in Christ in both written and audio formats and/or the Unshakable Faith Series in mp3 format on our website www.spiritofelijah.com.

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