Summary: Where is your heart?
August 17th, 2008
A Heart of Wallet
Next week we are going to begin a series on the book of Hebrews. But before we get to that we need to finish our discussion on money. We talked about it a few weeks ago but there is more that needs to be said. Money is a big part of our lives and something most of us struggle with. As a result it merits more than just a single glance. I want to show you just how important money is, even if it is not a subject you are comfortable with. I will promise you this: this message will not be an offering appeal on steroids nor will it be a guilt trip trying to get you to give the church more money. I hate guilt trips. I am not talking to you about money so that you will give more. I am talking to you about money so that you can see just how powerful and important we have made money and so that if you give you give right. It is not the purpose of the church to try to get as much money from you as possible. The church should not look like an infomercial. The church should not look like some charity organization or public broadcasting company always asking for your money and support. Finances are a part of church but that is not what a church should look like.
Let me show you what the ideal church looks like. Turn to Acts 2:42. This is a description of what the church of God is. This is what the church was always suppose to be. Acts 2 is a beautiful picture of Christ’s spotless bride…before she was corrupted and tainted. Before the divisions and separation and fights and church splits. Acts 2 is the church as God intended. Look at it in verse 42:
Ac 2:42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Ac 2:43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. Ac 2:44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. Ac 2:45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Ac 2:46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, Ac 2:47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Here is the church in all of her beauty. The members are devoted to God’s word and to each other. They are focused on fellowship with one another and prayer. They performed many wondrous signs and shared everything. This is what the church was supposed to be. The met together every day, they shared meals together, they were growing, and most of all they were unified. Acts 2 is a description of perfect unity. They had everything in common. This church took care of all the people in it. The Acts 2 church is like-minded, they are one, rejoicing, fellowshipping, unified. There are no power plays in this church. There are no church politics. There are no divisions of class within this church. There are no spiritually superior people. This is what the church should look like.
Notice that in this text there is nothing said about tithing. Making it all the more apparent that a perfect church is a church that doesn’t tithe. It is a church that is generous with their possessions. A perfect church is not a church where 100% of the members’ drop 10% of their income into plates every week, the perfect church is a church that takes care of the needs of its members and of the church and community as a whole. It is a church where the individuals care more for the community than they do themselves. Look at what this church is doing: they are selling their own possessions in order to provide for those in need. This is what the church should be about. One person sacrificing person comforts to provide for the physical needs of another.
Many times in the church our offerings are something we feel obligated to do because if we don’t we are not a good Christian. No one enjoys obligation. Giving is: voluntary, willful, cheerful, and is something you are accountable to God for and that is what our offers should be. We give out of a desire to support the church and our fellow brothers who are in need. For Christians a giving is not about the amount of money that is given it is about that heart behind the giving. Acts 2 got it right. If you will turn now just a few pages to Acts 5:1 Here we see another story. This is the story of Ananias and Sapphira. I want to give you a little context from Chapter 4.