Summary: What we do with our money is decison of the heart and not the head. We are challenged by God's word to live by God's principles not our preferences. God's ways lead to blessing our ways lead to burderns. Which do you follow.
Intro: Last week we learned that God is lavishly generous. We know that the goal of God is to place in us the character of Christ. God’s generosity is not without purpose. Remember God is generous toward us and gives us gifts so that the body of Christ can be built up and others can experience God’s generosity and grace.
We are told by Paul again and again that Jesus came to set us free. He came first to set us free from sin and separation from God. But he also came to set us free from greed and other attitudes that will cause us to live in a prison of our own making. So what do we need to understand to live in the freedom of generosity?
2 Corinthians 9:11 “God will make you rich enough so that you can always be generous. Your generosity will produce thanksgiving to God because of us.”
I. Revelation that God owns it all (Scientists challenge God to creation contest – Get your own dirt)
2 Corinthians 9:11 “God will make you rich enough.”
A) God’s control
Why is there the struggle with finances and resources with those in the body of Christ today? Why is debt so rampant even in the church? What we do with our money is a decision of the heart not the head. (Example of President and Politicians gambling with tax payer money) What are common signs and symptoms of not allowing God to give us direction over our fiancés?
1) Living beyond our means
2) Living according to the world’s principles
Instant gratification constant consumption lack of giving
What we do with our resources reveals what we really believe about God’s ownership and ability to direct what He gives.
I can’t give. Translation: I don’t trust God that He is good enough to tell me where, how, and how much to give. The widow that God directed Elijah to had only enough oil and flower for her and her son to eat. Yet God spoke to her through Elijah she obeyed and had more than enough to sell to support her and her child.
Why trust God when he tells you to give? Because it brings freedom! And it builds your faith.
B) God’s compassion (so that you can always be generous)
Our father is always at work reminding us of the Great Commandment. Love God and Love People. He will make us rich enough so that we can always be generous. My translation of that is so that we can always under the leadership and power of the Holy Spirit act like Jesus.
I will remind you of what Mahatma Gandhi said, “If all Christians acted like Christ, the whole world would be Christian.”
C) Our commission
Recognizing our father’s ownership should lead to a great freedom of giving for those that are born again. So what is our commission as a church or as followers of Christ? First to Glorify God with the 5 functions of the church, Love one another, witness unto Christ in the world. We give ourselves and resources to God for His glory and the movement of His Kingdom. We give ourselves to each other for the building up of His body. We give ourselves to the world so that His spirit can reveal the truth of Jesus generosity.
II. Reception of our roles as stewards of what God gives
There are two sets of principles available to us regarding our finances, God’s principles and the worlds or Satan’s. Gods leads to generosity and Satan’s leads to greed. When we recognize that God is owner of everything then a light should go on. If God owns it all then he has graciously blessed me with what I have for His glory and purpose. So we have a stewardship to receive. This is why I believe Jesus highlighted money and possessions so much in His teaching. Many people’s hearts are opened by the money key.
What did Jesus point out in the parable of the sower as thorns that choked the good growth and made the seed unfruitful? Matthew 13.22 Jesus clearly explains the thorns. The worries of this age and the seduction of wealth choke it.
What do you think the worries of this world and age are? We need to identify those things that can choke the effectiveness of God’s Spirit and word in our lives. Worries can press us from the physical, financial, spiritual, emotional, relational. What is worry? It is trying to grab hold of something that we were never meant to control!! The second item that Jesus said was the seduction of wealth.
Our possessions are meaningless to the God who created and owns them anyway. Our hearts are His treasure. However what we believe and know of God is revealed in how we uses our possessions especially our money. (Personal Testimony) Tina and I shouldn’t be making it right now. The month should be longer than the money.