Summary: We need to have hearts that are ablaze with giving to the Lord financially
Hearts Ablaze for serving through financial giving.
Thesis: We need to have hearts that are ablaze with giving to the Lord financially.
Illustration: Giving on the edge
While Eric Hulstrand of Binford, North Dakota, was preaching one Sunday, and elderly woman, Mary, fainted and struck her head on the end of the pew. Immediately, an EMT in the congregation called an ambulance.
As they strapped her to the stretcher and got ready to head out the door, Mary regained consciousness. She motioned for her daughter to come near. Everyone thought she was summoning her strength to convey what could be her final words. The daughter leaned over until her ear was at her mother’s mouth. "My offering is in my purse," she whispered. From leadership
Mary from our true to life account exemplifies a heart that ablaze through giving financially.
Text: Acts 2:42-47 - Gives us another example of hearts that where ablaze for giving
42. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
43. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles.
44. All the believers were together and had everything in common.
45. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.
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,
47. praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Introduction: Last week we talked about having hearts that are ablaze with serving. The two areas we discussed last week where serving by the giving of our time and the giving of ourselves in relationships. These character traits of serving where shown us in Acts but there is another dimension to serving and that is also here talked about in Acts 2:45. The New Testament Church had hearts that where ablaze with giving financially to those in need and also to the work of the Lord. Spoken of also in Acts 4:32-37:
32. All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had.
33. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all.
34. There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales
35. and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.
36. Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement),
37. sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.
The New testament church had an understanding about financial giving that was what some people would call insane. But was it really? I shared some studies from last week that said if you want happiness it is first found in serving God and then in serving others. Acts 20:35 reminds us of Jesus words, "It is more blessed to give than to receive." This definitely is contrary to our mindset today in America. We reverse this phrase all the time. Yet people are not happy, they are not content, they are not satisfied. So who really is insane?
ANN the giver. Let me tell you about a special person I know. She is one of the most giving people I have ever meet in my life. She was always giving, and giving, and giving. She did it with joy and she was always happy and growing deeper in the Lord. Was she insane? No, she knew where true happiness came from-by giving and serving 1st the Lord and then others with in the Body of Christ and even outside the Body of Christ.
I believe many people have apprehensions about giving financially because of all the misuse and abuse of money management in Christian organizations. Also people have not truly understood what true Biblical stewardship looks like.
T.S.- Lets the explore the different views out there and truly discover what the Word-The Bible says about this area of serving.
I. The proper perspective on giving to the Lord (SEE OVERHEAD)taken from Christian Stewardship.org.
a. 4 Theologies Poverty Theology, Prosperity Theology, Commonly practiced Theology, Stewardship Theology are compared. Taken from www.stewardship.org. Go to web site for chart.
II. 10 Biblical and Practical reasons to give from Christain Stewardship.org.
a. It is a tried and proven pattern of giving done by godly people throughout the ages (regardless of cultures and income levels). Gen. 14:17-20, 28:16-22; Lev. 27:30; Prov. 3:9,10; Mal. 3:7-15; Mt. 23:23