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Summary: This is the fourth message in a series on understanding and doing the will of God. The fourth essential element of the Christian life is good stewardship.

Intro: When the builders of a proposed bridge across the Niagara Falls began construction many years ago, the first matter at hand was how to span the river w/ the suspension cables. Launching a simple kite, the builders were able to get a thin string across. Using the string, they drew a rope across, which was followed by a larger rope, then a small cable, and finally a cable heavy enough to use as support in building the bridge. When it was completed, the huge structure, that could support a train, showed no signs of having once been launched by a simple kite!

Trans: This story reminds us that to do a great work you must begin small and keep it simple. This is one of life¡¦s foundational truths. We don¡¦t have to make life complex. The same is true w/ stewardship. We don¡¦t have to make it burdensome ¡V God intends it to be rewarding, fulfilling and exhilarating.

Trans: Last year, I shared a sermon on stewardship where I shared 2 base concepts.

1 Stewardship is not about your money, it is about your life.

Note: Stewardship is about how we manage our time, talents, etc. It is about giving to God the best of who we are and what we have received.

Verse: Where your heart is there your treasure will be. Mt. 6:21

2 Stewardship is about who is in charge of your life.

Verse: You shall have no other gods before Me. Ex. 20:2

Note: To address the issue of who is in charge, God requires His people to give the tithe. The Tithe simply reveals who is on the throne.

Quote: We show God that He is first in our lives when we give Him the best of who we are and what we have possessed.

Story: I heard a story of a missionary in Africa who received a knock on the door of his hut one afternoon. Answering, the missionary found a native boy holding a large fish in his hands. The boy said, ¡§Reverend, you taught us what tithing is, so here ¡V I¡¦ve brought you my tithe.¡¨ As the missionary gratefully took the fish, he questioned the boy. ¡§If this is your tithe, where are the other nine fish?¡¨ At this, the boy beamed and said, ¡§Oh, they¡¦re still back in the river. I¡¦m going back to catch them now.¡¨

Define: Compound word - meaning law and house ¡V Stewardship is managing one¡¦s house or managing the affairs of another.

Trans: Concerning stewardship, let¡¦s start small and let¡¦s keep it simple. Our aim is to grasp the essential principles which undergird a strong Christian life. Yet while these truths are simple, they are also ¡§non-negotiable.¡¨

I God¡¦s Owns Everything

Idea: We often speak of our possessions, but according to the Bible, God owns it all and we own nothing ¡V we are stewards of everything God entrusts to us.

Verse: The earth is the Lord¡¦s and everything in it. Ps. 24:1

Truth: We are stewards and not owners ¡V thus giving is nothing more than managing His assets and resources.

1 It all belongs to God.

2 God gives His property to us for our enjoyment & investment.

3 To keep perspective, God asks that we give Him the first 10%.

4 Those who live by the ownership principle, God blesses.

5 Those who steal from God, God disciplines.

Precept: Just b/c something is in your possession doesn¡¦t mean it is your possession.

II God¡¦s Work Must Be Supported By God¡¦s People

The Reason People Give

„« Passion ¡V b/c they believe in the cause

„« Affiliation ¡V b/c they belong to the organization

„« Tradition ¡V b/c they have a history or practice of giving

„« Recognition ¡V b/c they want to be known

„« Inspiration ¡V b/c they¡¦re captured by the project or presenter

„« Obligation ¡V b/c it is the dutiful or expected thing to do

„« Transformation ¡V b/c they want to make a difference

„« Invitation ¡V b/c they¡¦re invited or asked to give

„« Completion ¡V b/c they¡¦re fulfilling a commitment

Truth: There is only one reason why a Christian gives ¡V Love

Quote: Bumper sticker ¡V Tithe is you love Jesus, any idiot can honk!

Story: Cirrhosis of the giver was discovered in A.D. 34 by Ananias and Sapphire (Acts 5:1-11). It is an acute condition that renders a patient¡¦s hands immobile when called on to move in the direction of his wallet toward the offering plate. This strange malady is clinically unobservable in such surroundings as the golf club, supermarket, clothing store, and restaurant. This affliction is actually a symptom of a more basic need of the soul.

Quote: God has always planned that His people support the work of His kingdom.

A Regular Giving (Consistently)

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