"Giving of Our FirstFruits"

by Joel Ferren

James 1:16-18 - Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.

In the Old Testament the Israelites were commanded to make an offering of their firstfruits. They would choose not only the first, but the best of the first. They would then offer this to God as a sacrifice. A “first fruit” was anything that was produced for the purpose of living. It was crops or livestock, or fruit that was used for food. It was the thing that they live on and made a name by. God wanted their first priority. He not only wanted their first but the best of the first.

Exodus 23:19 - "Bring the best of the firstfruits of your soil to the house of the Lord your God.

The Old Testament law was a forerunner of the New Testament truths. The FirstFruits represent us, God’s people. According to the text, God considers us His first fruits.

He has presented us as His best and He wants us to present Him our best. Our first best.

1. We are the First Fruits of God.

A. We are born of His word--the word of salvation.

B. We are set apart as His best. He values us over anything else in creation. No other creature has been presented with a plan of salvation and hope for eternal life.

C. We have been presented to the world as God’s best. Fruit makes fruit. To grow the best trees, you must use the best seed.


2. We must present God our First Fruits.

Fruit is time, money, resources, love,

   (Mother & Apples)
I once lived at a house with an apple tree in the back yard. My wife and I had no interest in picking the apples when they were ripe. We would just let them fall off of the tree and rot on the ground. Occasionally I would mow them over with the mower and make a big mess. On one occasion my mom came to visit us. She was appalled that we had done nothing with the apples. She then proceeded to show us all the wonderful things she could make with our apples.

Too often we do nothing with our FirstFruits. We let them ruin and keep them hidden. We must present them to the master chef, and let him make wonderful use of them.

1st — Our FirstFruits are identified by our priorities.

F — We give our first fruit out of faithfulness. We are not guaranteed a second fruit.

R — It is rooted in God’s word. All of our hopes and promises are rooted in God’s word.

U — Unblemished, God wants our first best. It doesn’t matter if it is one of the first if it is wormy. We wouldn’t have kept it anyway.

I — Individual, it is given according to our individual ability. We must give according to what we can give not based on what others do.

T — True, it must be given with sincerity. Not begrudgingly.

   (Dad & Ice Cream)
When I was a teenager I would often come home with a chocolate milkshake from my favorite restaurant. On many occasions, my Dad would ask for a drink of my shake. Of course I would refuse giving him a drink of such a treasured treat. By his reply he usually caused me to regret my decision to refuse him. To that I would offer him a drink. He would then reply, "You have begrudged me a drink and now I do not want it."

In the same way, God does not want us to present our firstfruits begrudgingly.


3. Our first fruit will produce fruit.

A. It must be given
B. It must be nurtured.


Conclusion

Every good and perfect gift is from God. He wants us to be His gift to a dying world. We must give our gifts to be a gift.