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Summary: How we deal with and give money is often a litmus test of our discipleship- as it is one of those things we do that no one knows about but God. We do it to please and be rewarded by Him alone.

WBC- Hilarious givers 2 Cor 9:6-15. WBC 1.04.07am

I have a vision for us being a church of hilarious givers

= really an important area of our discipleship

- many are held back because of it

Because it’s all done in secret (or should be)

- so really tests where we are at with the one who sees what is done in secret

o does He see?

o Does He reward?

- Who am I living for? The audience of one

Hence it is often

THE TEST

The litmus test of the state of our soul. Our discipleship… obedience… faith…depth of devotion

- does He see… reward… require this of me? Nobody else will know

the litmus test of our conversion:

- " a man needs two conversions: one for his soul and one for his wallet"

So- test yourself this morning. See if you are "in shape", "in the faith"

- because it is simply assumed that IF you are a follower of Jesus- it will involve your money

o managing it. Giving it away. The Lord being Lord of it

THE REQUIREMENT

Here’s how the Bible puts it

- God gives us everything for our enjoyment

- He expects us to give back

o To Him

o To His work…. others

o To test… show … that we really - put Him #1

o Rely on Him

In the OT= 10% plus freewill offerings on top of that (lev 27:30)

- 10% was for the place of worship and God’s work there

o rituals…. Its beauty… its workers… for it to be a centre of rejoicing

NT? Is it the same?

- some would say it is. Principles certainly apply

- in OT God had to spell it out… give laws… as folks generally weren’t ’taught from within’ by the HS. Their hearts were different. Often hard. So - if you’re

o arguing over "10% net or gross"- you’ve probably missed the point! And your heart needs looking at

o irritated by the issue being brought up at all ("ruining my church service""- you’ve missed the point

" I bet if you are honest and look at your accounts you’ll find you haven’t even given 2%

" Because of where your heart is at with God. Be honest. Where is the love of God in your heart?

o Buy yourself a new camera… gadget… weekend away… but have no strategy for giving to God…..

…. You’re living in the OT and God needs to give you laws for you to do anything at all. But that’s not God’s desire for us… nor mine for us as a church

He… the NT… wants it to come out of

- generosity. Hilarity! Overflow! "I love the Lord and I love giving to Him!"

- gratitude. "praise be to God for His indescribable gift!". "I’m so grateful!"

o give as much as you can from a grateful heart

o If you can’t do it gratefully- don’t! Instead- look at your heart and relationship with God. First.

- Grace. 10% is a good yardstick

o But you give what He tells you! May ask you for more

o There are occasional times when you can’t- as He doesn’t want you in debt. But then you manage your money and PLAN to give

" God will bless you in whatever you prioritise:

" Being part of our debt-led culture

" Being wise and giving to Him first

- Discipleship

o This is not law- it’s devotion and discipleship. Intentionality. Making sure it happens

o (we try and forget- hoping, then, that God won’t blame us)

o 1 COr 16:2 "on the first day of the week"

o "in keeping with income"

What to give to?

- home, first. That’s the "temple" bit of the OT

o make sure their needs are met and more. It would be SO nice to have more than needed so can dream dreams rather than being budget-driven

- then-others. Keep asking ’who, Lord?"

o remember: you don’t give to what YOU want but what the Lord leads you to. It’s His money

THE REWARD

So- why give?

Because the Lord gave. So generously. It’s a sign of gratitude

- v12 "an expression of thanks to God"

- if you have ’nothing but praise’ for God- then it’s probably not praise at all. You just like singing!

So as not to be owned, mastered by anything

- Jesus must be Lord and number one

- The love of money must be kept in abeyance. Master the beast!

Because of the work of the Kingdom

- the Lord DOES own the ’cattle on a thousand hills’ (Ps 50)- but it’s through us and he can’t release the assets for the kingdom unless we do!

- The gates of hell may not stop His church- but I’m telling you- His people often do through lack of finances!

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