Summary: Last in the stewardship series. Emphasis on joyful giving.
LETTING GO AND LOVING IT
Giving With a Purpose-Part 3
Sunday, January 28, 2007
Pastor Brian Matherlee
Flip Wilson was a popular comedian several years ago, and one of his characters was a Preacher at the “What’s Happening Now Church.” Flip did a Skit where he told about this preacher. He’d shout out:
"IF THIS CHURCH IS GOING TO SERVE GOD IT’S GOT TO GET DOWN ON ITS KNEES AND CRAWL!!!"
And the audience yelled back "Make it crawl preacher, make it crawl!
"AND ONCE THIS CHURCH HAS LEARNED TO CRAWL, IT’S GOT TO GET UP
ON ITS FEET AND WALK!!!"
"Make it walk preacher, make it walk" the audience moaned.
AND ONCE THIS CHURCH HAS LEARNED TO WALK ITS GOT BEGIN TO LEARN TO RUN!!!"
"Make it run, preacher, make it run!"
"AND IN ORDER TO RUN, ITS GOT REACH DEEP DOWN INTO POCKETS AND LEARN TO GIVE!!!"
(pause) "Make it crawl preacher, make it crawl."
I want you to know the truth of Scripture as it relates to giving of your financial resources. Bible truth is freeing truth! If we will follow these principles we will go from being controlled by money to being able to control money.
The message today is divided into 3 different parts:
1. The command of Scripture concerning giving
2. An example of a Godly attitude toward giving
3. The steps toward giving with a purpose in our finances
Part 1-The Command of Scripture
• Abel brought the first and best of his flocks to be sacrificed to God.
• Tithe means a tenth and was practiced before the Mosaic Law by Abraham and Jacob.
• Tithing was instituted among the Jews for the upkeep of the temple and the priesthood.
o Leviticus 27:30-“A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord.” (In v. 32 it includes animals)
o Numbers 18:21-“I give to the Levites all the tithes in Israel as their inheritance in return for the work they do while serving at the Tent of Meeting.”
o 2 Timothy 5:17, 18-The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages.”
• Tithing was not burdensome but a blessing.
o Leviticus 27:32-The entire tithe of the herd and flock—every tenth animal that passes under the shepherd’s rod—will be holy to the Lord.
o Malachi 3:7-10—Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the LORD Almighty. “But you ask, ‘How are we to return?’ Mal 3:8 “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’ “In tithes and offerings. Mal 3:9 You are under a curse—the whole nation of you—because you are robbing me. Mal 3:10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.
• Jesus believed in tithing:
o Matthew 23:23-“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill, and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.”
• The proportion of households that tithe their income to their church that is, give at least ten percent of their income to that ministry, has dropped by 62% in the past year, from 8% in 2001 to just 3% of adults during 2002. Born again adults, who represent 38% of the nation’s population, also sustained a decline in generosity during the past couple of years. In 2000, 12% of all born again adults tithed. The percentage rose to 14% in 2001, but dropped to only 6% in 2002." (Barna.org).
• Someone once said, “Give according to your income, lest God make your income according to your giving.”
Part 2-A Giving Example
Notice 4 things about the Macedonian churches:
1. God’s grace was evident in their giving
a. And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches.
b. Paul uses the word “grace” 18 times in 2 Corinthians. He uses it 10 times in chapters 8 & 9 where he is writing about giving and generosity.
c. N.A. Dahl calls the gift of money to others “a visible sign of an invisible grace.” (The New American Commentary, Vol. 29, pg. 365)