Summary: PROPOSITION: To motivate the hearer to honor God first with his/her income and to be diligent to be a good steward of what remains.
And keep the charge of the Lord your God: to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His judgments, and His testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn;
I. THE PRINCIPLE OF FIRST FRUITS
Exodus 34:26a “The first of the firstfruits of your land you shall bring to the house of the Lord your God.
Proverbs 3:9-10 Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase; So your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.
Application: When you honor God with the firstfruits, you are not giving Him what is yours … you are giving Him what is already His.
Leviticus 27:30 And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s. It is holy to the Lord.
Application: Why does God demand the first fruits of all of our increase? Giving to God first demonstrates your commitment to Him and your trust in His ability to provide for you.
Illustration: There was an interesting event that took place in Jesus’ life:
Matthew 17:24-27 When they had come to Capernaum, those who received the temple tax came to Peter and said, “Does your Teacher not pay the temple tax?” 25. He said, “Yes.” And when he had come into the house, Jesus anticipated him, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth take customs or taxes, from their sons or from strangers?” 26. Peter said to Him, “From strangers.” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are free. 27. Nevertheless, lest we offend them, go to the sea, cast in a hook, and take the fish that comes up first. And when you have opened its mouth, you will find a piece of money; take that and give it to them for Me and you.”
Application: Jesus is the creator of all that is – yet He demonstrated the principle of firstfruits by instructing Peter to honor God first with the proceeds that came out of the fish’s mouth. Please note that, at that point, the apostles had no other money.
II. THE PRINCIPLE OF STEWARDSHIP
1 Corinthians 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.
1 Peter 4:10 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
Application: God expects you to wisely manage what He has entrusted to you.
Matthew 25:14,15,19-29 (NLT)
“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a trip. He called together his servants and gave them money to invest for him while he was gone. 15. He gave five bags of gold to one, two bags of gold to another, and one bag of gold to the last—dividing it in proportion to their abilities—and then left on his trip. … v.19 “After a long time their master returned from his trip and called them to give an account of how they had used his money. 20. The servant to whom he had entrusted the five bags of gold said, ‘sir, you gave me five bags of gold to invest, and I have doubled the amount.’ 21. The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’ 22. “Next came the servant who had received the two bags of gold, with the report, ‘sir, you gave me two bags of gold to invest, and I have doubled the amount.’ 23.The master said, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’ 24.“Then the servant with the one bag of gold came and said, ‘sir, I know you are a hard man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. 25. I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth and here it is.’ 26. “But the master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy servant! You think I’m a hard man, do you, harvesting crops I didn’t plant and gathering crops I didn’t cultivate? 27. Well, you should at least have put my money into the bank so I could have some interest. 28. Take the money from this servant and give it to the one with the ten bags of gold. 29. To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who are unfaithful, even what little they have will be taken away.