Summary: God doesn’t need our money. He owns everything. But we give first because it takes faith to give first and God wants us to trust Him. We give first and the blessings of God follow. Test and see how God will bless you and your family because of your giving

Opening illustration: A few years back, a Galveston church had a Tithing Demonstration Sunday for its members. On a designated Sunday everyone was asked to give a tithe of one week’s salary. They urged everyone … whether or not they usually tithed … to give a tithe that one time. As you could imagine, the offering that Sunday was the largest ever given. In fact, it was 6 times the usual offering. The aftermath was even more exciting. Many who had never tithed before changed their attitude and decided if they could do it once, they could do again. By the end of that year giving was up almost 3 times what it had been before the demonstration. The enthusiasm was up more than that. Over and over, people gave testimonies of the many changes in their lives as God fulfilled his promise in Malachi 3: 10. All of this came from a simple obedience to Jehovah Jireh, the God who provides.

Let turn to 2 Corinthians and Malachi in our Bibles and check out the right combination for divine blessings in our lives …

Introduction: What comes to mind when you consider your personal finances? Perhaps you think about investments or debts. You might reflect on your progress toward monetary goals. But few people think about how much more they could give away.

Why is giving so important? What we do with our wealth demonstrates in a tangible way how well we trust, love, and honor God. Christians fully committed to Him will give generously to the work of the Lord.

There is also a practical benefit to our generosity: it unleashes the Father’s provision (Luke 6: 38). This scriptural principle is as changeless as the law of gravity. Those who give generously can expect God’s blessings in their lives and eternal rewards in heaven.

What is the Right Combination for Heaven’s Blessings?

1. Cheerful Giving (2 Corinthians 9: 7-8)

(i) God loves ‘A CHEERFUL GIVER’ (2 Corinthians 9: 7)

A. Since this is true ...

1. A "cheerful giver" can rest assured that God will watch over him and provide for his own needs!

2. Note how God cares for the one who gives to others...

• As David taught in Psalm 41: 1-3

• As the LORD spoke through Isaiah in Isaiah 58: 6-11

B. Since this is true ...

1. One who gives in service to God need not worry - Matthew 6: 30-33

2. For "God loves a cheerful giver", and watches over those He loves! - cf. Luke 12: 6-7

[Understanding this principle should certainly encourage us to give more cheerfully! Here is another principle to keep in mind...]

(ii) God provides ‘SEED FOR THE SOWER’ (2 Corinthians 9: 6,8-11a)

A. Verse 6 is often misused...

1. By those who teach "the gospel of health and wealth"

2. Who seek to motivate people to give (sow) more by saying this passage teaches they will receive (reap) more

3. Implying that if you give more so you can have more for your own consumption!

B. The context teaches otherwise...

1. What’s the purpose of reaping "bountifully"?

a. Look carefully at verse 8...

• To have all sufficiency (what you need), yes...

• But then to "have an abundance for EVERY GOOD WORK"! -- I.e., not to spend the abundance on one’s self, but to help others!

b. Now consider verse 9...

• This quotation is from Psalm 112: 9; yet note the context - Psalm 112: 5-9

• Paul uses this verse to further confirm that the abundance would be for every good work (not self-consumption)!

Here is the point...

(i) We ought to be willing to give cheerfully...

• Because the more we give...

• ...the more God will enable us to give!

(ii) Now bear in mind that giving is not limited to money

• It may be that God may empower us to give, not financially, but in other ways

• Such as with our talents, time, etc.

(iii) But the point remains the same...

• The more we give ourselves to others in the service of God

• The more He will bless us to be even more useful!

[Indeed, the ability to give (because we have been materially blessed) is a gift from God, one that should be used liberally (Romans 12: 6-8). Knowing that those who give liberally will be blessed to give even more should help us become "cheerful givers"!]

2. Faithful Tithing (Malachi 3: 10-11)

No one likes to think about tithing when it comes to God and His church. If most of us were honest, we would admit that it is far easier to pray, sing God’s praises and help others than it is to turn over 10% of everything we earn to the Lord. Yet God blesses those who tithe, and it is one of the most basic Biblical tests of our faithfulness and stewardship. In fact, the word “tithe” actually means “tenth.”

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