Summary: The principles of God's word point to God's person. So if we trust His principles it is because we trust Him. If we do not live by His principles we miss out on all there is found in His person.
Intro: Romans 15:4 “For whatever was written before was written for our instruction, so that through our endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we may have hope.”
What truths are found in the Old Testament that will instruct and encourage us to a deeper trust with God? What can we learn about the relationship to our finances and faith? God is the same yesterday today and forever. He is generous even in the Old Testament so the world will see His hand of blessing on His people.
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. Trust God with your first fruits (Malachi 3.7-12)
7 "Since the days of your fathers, you have turned from My statutes; you have not kept [them]. Return to Me, and I will return to you," says the LORD of Hosts.
A) The real issue relationship
What is God after? When it comes to what God wants it’s you!! God desires that none would perish that all would come to repentance. That means that He really wants everyone to turn or return to Him and see that He is gracious. This is the basis for our relationship with God. We can turn or return to Him.
B) The related issue obedience to God’s principles
If we have not turned toward God we will not observe His principles. What is one of the saddest and sickest things about the church in America? Can I do this and still be saved? Can I smoke and be ok with God. Can I cheat on my wife and be ok. Is it ok that I shack up with this girl? Is it okay if I talk about my pastor behind his back? Is it ok if I talk about so and so? If you are seeing just how much you can push your freedom then I don’t believe you have been set free yet!
1 Cor 16.2 “As the Lord has prospered you.” God gives us principles in His word to guide and direct us. This isn’t any different with our giving. God has given us principles to lead us to freedom from our possessions.
What are we resisting when we resist God’s precepts and principles? We resist trusting Him.
What principles have we learned? God owns it all. God makes us generous so that we can be generous. Learning to Give as God directs leads to freedom. God treasures our hearts. Worldly treasures can be a roadblock to allowing God to have His treasure. God calls us to be stewards
Widow of Zarepheth
Widow with two mites
The cost of not obeying God – A curse
II. Trust God to keep His promises
If you return to me and do as I say regarding giving I will bless you. Why? Remember 2 Cor 9.11. God gives to us so that we can be generous always.
A) It will grow your faith
You will see God again and again be faithful as you learn to trust Him and hear his voice to make you more generous.
As God meets your needs you validate what is not seen.
B) It will grow your giving
" ... But just as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us—see that you also excel in this grace of giving ... "
2 Corinthians 8:7, 13-14 (New International Version)
George Mueller is always described as a man of great faith. One of his great desires was to prove God’s faithfulness to a skeptical world. He never made his needs known except to His heavenly father. He published a journal of how God met his and the orphans needs in the previous year. There were difficult times of testing the children never missed a meal.
Mueller received millions of pounds in answer to prayer. Mueller also gave away millions from funds that were for his personal support. Mueller could have lived like a king. Instead he chose to support the Kingdom work. He had learned to trust the truth of laying up treasure in heaven. AT Pierson calculated that between1831-1833 Mueller gave 86% of his personal income to the Kingdom. It wasn’t a dry principle or simple percentage it was an opportunity to be like Jesus.
C) It will grow His Kingdom
Mal 3.9 says that Israel was suffering a curse because they had not returned to God. Is it possible the church in America could be placed here?
Mal 3.12 “The nations will call you fortunate.”
Proverbs 22:9 “A generous man will himself be blessed…”
Proverbs 3:9-10 sheds some additional insight into how God rewards those who honor Him: “Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.”
So what should you do?
1) Take God seriously
2) Test God try Him trust Him that if you do what He says He keeps his promises
3) Train yourself to trust God rather than money