Jesus the World’s Greatest PhilanthropistAugust 6, 2018
Greetings in Jesus’ name!
Denise and I and our team are so thankful for the amazing things God is accomplishing through our ministry right now. We stand in amazement as we watch God’s hand do so many things that we naturally could never do. It is His grace at work right before our eyes! We’ve been able to do so much of it because of the offerings our partners and friends have sent. From the bottom of our hearts, we say thank you for every financial gift and every prayer that you have sown.
As I pray for you this month, I am asking for a mighty dose of God’s grace to come upon you — empowering and enabling you to do what you could never achieve on your own. That’s what happens when grace touches us. It changes everything and releases us into the realm of the miraculous!
The MIRACULOUS MINISTRY OF JESUS is exactly what I have been focusing on this month, and today I want to draw your attention to something amazing in a verse that is often connected with Jesus’ ministry when He walked on the earth. However, today I believe you’re going to learn something you may have never known before!
ACTS 10:38 — A KEY TO JESUS’ MINISTRY
AND A CLOSEUP VIEW RIGHT INTO HIS HEART!
For the next few minutes, I want to minister to you in this letter from Acts 10:38, which says, “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.”
Most people focus on the part of this verse that describes the healing and deliverance ministry of Jesus — both of which are, of course, so very important. But there’s something else in this verse that’s also very significant, and I overlooked it for many years. Then one day as I was studying my Greek New Testament, my eyes fell on a particular Greek word in this verse and I began to study it. What I learned completely opened up a part of Jesus’ ministry I had never considered. I’m talking about the phrase that says Jesus “went about doing good.”
I was truly taken aback when I saw the words “doing good” in the Greek language because I’d always thought the phrase in this context was just a descriptive summary of Jesus’ healing the sick and delivering those who were oppressed by the devil. But those words actually refer to a completely different aspect of Christ’s ministry — and one of the largest and most profound parts of His ministry on the earth. I wondered how it was possible that I’d never heard anyone teach about something that provided such an eye-opening view right into the heart of Jesus!
DID YOU KNOW JESUS HAD
A PHILANTHROPIC OUTREACH?
The words “doing good” in Acts 10:38 are a translation of the Greek word euergeteo, an old word that describes a benefactor; a philanthropist; one who financially supports charitable works; or a person who uses his financial resources to meet the needs of disadvantaged people. This word was used only to portray the providing of food, clothes, or some other commodity to meet a physical or material need. Thus, the use of this word in Acts 10:38 emphatically means that a part of Jesus’ ministry was comprised of meeting the physical and tangible needs of people who were disadvantaged in some way.
Of course, we know that Jesus performed supernatural miracles of provision — such as the time He multiplied five barley loaves and two fish to feed a large crowd of thousands of people (see John 6:1-13). However, the word euergeteo in Acts 10:38 tells us that His ministry also provided natural, material help and benefit to people who were in need.
JESUS HAD MINISTRY PARTNERS,
JUST LIKE YOU ARE TO US!
By reading the four gospels, it becomes evident that Jesus’ ministry possessed enormous financial resources that came from various places. Besides offerings that were received, Luke 8:2 and 3 says there was a group of very wealthy women who supported Jesus’ work. They were partners with His ministry just as you and others are partners with our ministry. Another indication of Jesus’ significant resources is the fact that He had a treasurer who was responsible for handling the ministry finances.
Then Acts 10:38 makes it even more clear that a significant outreach of Jesus’ ministry was to provide physical and material assistance to people in need. The use of the word euergeteo explicitly tells us that Jesus used His resources to do good works, such as caring for the poor and helping feed the needy. Thus, He set an example for us today to be involved in meeting people’s basic human needs as He enables us to do so.
In Acts 10:38, Luke mentioned this philanthropic aspect of Jesus’ ministry in connection with His healing ministry — in the very same sentence. The Holy Spirit was conveying the message that God is just as interested in helping the poor and needy with physical and material assistance as He is in supernaturally healing their bodies.
Jesus longs to do it all — to physically heal sick bodies, to deliver those who are spiritually oppressed, and to help meet the needs of the poor. Jesus is still a Philanthropist!
God has placed in all our hearts a supernatural urge to reach beyond ourselves to meet the natural needs of others. The truth is, when we are walking in the Spirit, the Holy Spirit opens our eyes to see the needs of humanity, and our hearts are moved to meet those needs. That’s why there are no greater benefactors or philanthropists in the world than those who are filled with the Spirit of God.
There are so many human needs in this world, and no one person, ministry, or organization can meet them all. But we are each responsible to respond to the nudge of the Holy Spirit to help those He brings to our attention or across our path. If we’ll each respond to the distinct nudges we feel from Him — one by one, many needs will be met. And through those acts of goodness, Jesus will touch hearts in a very tangible way.
Since the time Acts 10:38 became such a revelation to me years ago, Denise and I have been obeying the promptings of the Holy Spirit when He quickens us to meet the needs of those in trouble. We call this aspect of our ministry our rescuing outreaches, which include:
- Golden Age ministry, providing hope each week to thousands of senior citizens in Moscow through personal ministry, plus gifts of vitamins and other items to supplement their meager pensions.
- Ministry in orphanages, drug-and-alcohol hospitals, mental institutions, and prisons, where we share the Gospel and provide gifts of Bibles and other basic necessities.
- House of Mercy outreach that feeds, clothes, and ministers to thousands of homeless and needy people in Moscow and has also been a home for hundreds of orphans over the years.
Through this part of our work, we reach out to literally rescue the hurting and perishing with both the physical and spiritual help they need. We know we can’t physically help everyone. But when it’s apparent that God has brought certain people across the path of our ministry for us to help them, we do our best to obey His Spirit’s promptings.
Ever since we first saw this profound truth in Acts 10:38 about ministering to the needs of others, Denise and I have accepted our responsibility to preach, teach, lay hands on the sick, and pray for spiritual needs to be met. But we have also embraced our role to help meet the physical needs of humanity and to be like Jesus, who was and still is the world’s greatest Philanthropist!
We are so thankful for every opportunity we have to share God’s Word, but we also count it an honor that He would use us to extend a hand of mercy to people who are in need. Today I want to encourage you to be a prompt doer when the Holy Spirit nudges your heart to do something extra in this area of meeting the material needs of those less blessed than you. It’s another way you can be as Jesus is in this world — as you go about doing good, led each step of the way by the Spirit of God!
As I close, I want to remind you that we are here for you when you need prayer. We pray for our partners EVERY DAY. Knowing how to pray specifically for you only helps us do a better job at praying. So please, always know that you can be specific with us, and we will be specific when we pray!
With your obedience to the Lord, you are impacting the world with the good news of Jesus Christ. We truly do love you and thank God for you!
We are your brother and sister, friends, and partners in Jesus Christ,
Rick and Denise Renner
along with Paul, Philip, and Joel and their families