Summary: First of three messages on giving out flowing our of a broader teaching on sacrifice.
Every Christian serious about a deeper walk with God and greater impact in our world must incorporate spiritual exercises as a way of life.
I.What is sacrifice?
Sacrifice is a willingness and sometimes even eagerness to give up something valuable for something or someone we deem more valuable.
When it comes to sacrifice -- if it doesn’t cost, it doesn’t count.
II.Why is such a sacrificial lifestyle necessary?
A. Sacrifice validates the true reality of our commitment
B. Sacrifice demonstrates the true reality of our faith.
C. Sacrifice demonstrates the depth of our love and gratitude.
D. Sacrifice exposes selfishness and complacency
E. Sacrifice brings true freedom and blessing
III. How do we practice regular sacrifice?
A. Dedicate your life to kingdom purposes
B. Invite God to search motives
C. Evaluate or establish your values
D. Transfer control / ownership to God
There are practical ways to transfer and ownership of the things we deem valuable to God. We transfer ownership, not responsibility. Stewardship not ownership. That way, God has free reign over not only our life but the things in our life.
•Family and people
We must continually trust God with the welfare of our family. Only He knows what is best and only He can bring it about.
We are only responsibility to listen and fulfill our God-given responsibility.
The only way to get a handle on effective use of time is to dedicate a portion of our time solely to God. Scripture calls that a Sabbath Rest and redeeming the time.
We value many things besides ourselves, our family and our time. Each one can be kept in its proper perspective by a corresponding Biblical exercise or discipline.
Power and prestige
God’s principles often run contrary to what the world values.
God emphasizes the value of…
…giving over getting
…owning nothing over owning everything
…suffering for eternal purpose over pursuing temporal pleasures
…humility over pride
Certain God-directed practices enable us to avoid the devastating pitfalls often associated with money, possessions, pleasure and power.
Scripture boldly addresses the issues related to money – perhaps more than many other subjects. Its mention would at least rank in the top ten most addressed topics of the Bible. Paul clearly warned of its destructive power.
We have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 1 Timothy 6:7-10
Money is not the root of all evil but the LOVE OF MONEY. Only when money captures a primary position in our heart and life does it become a curse rather than a blessing. Jesus drew clear lines when it comes to money.
"No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. Matthew 6:24
The only way to keep money from capturing our heart is to become steward rather than owners. We need to become conduits rather than consumers. We need to be motivated by grace not greed. The only way to do that is have a healthy habit of giving. To embrace giving as a lifestyle it is good to grasp the significance of such a lifestyle. Before we adopt any habit we need to first understand the benefits.
1.Sacrificial giving develops and demonstrates devotion to God.
You shall surely tithe all the produce from what you sow, which comes out of the field every year. And you shall eat in the presence of the LORD your God, at the place where He chooses to establish His name, the tithe of your grain, your new wine, your oil, and the first-born of your herd and your flock, in order that you may learn to fear the LORD your God always. Deut. 14:22-23
Honor the LORD from your wealth, and from the first of all your produce; Proverbs 3:9
Failure to give to God dishonors him. Giving to God is a first indication of repentance. A willingness to surrender my resources indicates a truly changed heart.
From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from My statutes, and have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts. But you say, ’How shall we return?’ Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ’How have we robbed Thee?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you! Mal 3:8-12