Summary: Part of the sermon series on the building block necessary for a church to grow.
Wayne Smith tells about a farmer who called the office of Southland Christian Church in Lexington, KY where he was senior minister for 40 years. The farmer asked to speak to the Head Hog at the Trough. The receptionist said, “If you’re referring to our senior minister, you may call him Brother, Pastor, even Reverend if you feel so inclined. But it would not be proper to refer to him as the Head Hog.” The farmer said, “I’m sorry. I’m just an old pig farmer and I just sold a few pigs out of my herd. I was going to donate ten thousand dollars to the building fund at your church, so I was hoping to catch him in the office.” The receptionist said, “Oh….just a minute…I think I hear the Big Pig coming down the hall.” Since some preachers, especially televangelists, are perceived to be always focusing on money, many preachers go to the opposite extreme of not wanting to talk about money at all. So we have treated the subject of giving as being a hands off subject, because we do not want to offend anyone. There are 2,350 passages in the bible dealing with money and material possessions – more than on any other subject – but it’s the least talked-about subject in the church. The church has been silent for so long that people don’t understand the responsibilities that under gird a generous lifestyle. Wise stewardship of God’s resources is an important part of a healthy church. We live in a culture that is extremely materialistic and people battle against the god of money on a daily basis. Biblical stewardship and generous giving can transform lives and significantly advance the Kingdom of God. Today I want us to take some time to gain an understanding of how outrageous generosity pleases God.
I. There are three very compelling reasons to teach on the subject of stewardship.
A. Stewardship is a subject addressed quite often in God’s Word.
1. Jesus addressed the subject of stewardship more than any other, in fact half of the parables He told dealt with handling your possessions.
2. 16 of the 38 parables of Jesus deal with money, 288 verses in the Gospels deal with money.
3. There are 2,350 verses on money in the Bible & only 500 on prayer & 500 on faith
4. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:21—NIV)
5. For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God. (Acts 20:27—NIV)
6. If are truly going to follow Paul’s example and preach the whole Bible we need to be willing to address this subject.
7. The subject of money was not very popular in Jesus’ day either. When Jesus addressed the subject with the rich young ruler, that young man left very disheartened and sad because he was not willing to give up his possessions.
B. Generous giving always succeeds in transforming lives.
1. There’s an old illustration about a technique they use in Africa to capture monkeys. They put a banana in a small-mouthed jar chained to a tree. The monkey will reach in to get the banana, and get his hand stuck in the jar. Because he refuses to let go of the banana, he is captured. He could have easily set himself free if he had just been willing to let go of his prized possession.
2. Paul shows Timothy that the rich face two dilemmas: the temptation “to be arrogant” and the temptation “to put their hope in wealth.
3. When people release their grip on the things of this world, they become liberated from all kinds of bondage and snares.
4. Talk show host Dave Ramsey once spoke about how different America would be if all the Christians tithed.
a. He said, “There would be no more welfare in North America.
b. In ninety days, there would be no existing church or hospital debts. In the next ninety days, the entire world could be evangelized.
c. There would be prayer in schools, because Christian would buy all the schools!”
5. Generosity will result in an overflow of spiritual, emotional, and relational blessings in your life and God promises to take care of your physical needs too.
C. Generous giving is a positive testimony.
1. Many people are afraid that preaching on money is going to turn off the world—sometimes it does just that.
2. Sincere efforts to help people overcome their addiction to the stuff of this world will result in attracting people to Jesus Christ, and a congregation of sacrificial givers is a powerful testimony to the community.
3. Generous giving speaks volumes about the depth of your faith in Jesus Christ.
II. The most difficult concept for many of us to come to terms with is that of “giving generously”.