Summary: Most of us when we think about joy in connection with money, think about the joy that it will bring when we get it, but the greatest joy of money is when we give it away for a greater purpose.
Restoring the Joy
A Study of the Book of Philippians
Sermon # 13
“The Secret of Joyful Giving”
Philippians 4:10, 14-19
Today we are going to finish a series that we have been calling “Restoring the Joy.” This study has taken us through the book of Philippians and I hope that it has helped you to better understand how to live a live of real joy. We are going to finish this series by looking at “The Secret of Joyful Giving.” I know that some you wish that we would never talk about money in the church, but unless you live a life of generosity you will not have the joy that God wants you to have in life. Most of us when we think about joy in connection with money, think about the joy that it will bring when we get it, but the greatest joy of money is when we give it away for a greater purpose.
And although I may not like to talk about money and some of you may not like to hear about money in church, an examination of the New Testament will reveal that in Matthew, Mark, and Luke - 1 out of every 6 verses deals with money. Of the 29 parables Christ told, 16 deal with a person and his money. Someone has counted over 2,300 references to money and possessions in the Word of God.
What I want to share with you this morning is not rocket science, anyone can understand these truths. You may not like it, but you can understand it. Buildings cannot be built and paid for without money. Facilities cannot be maintained without money. The utilities can not be paid without money. Staff can not be hired and supported without money.
It takes money to sustain a ministry and when his people are faithful and obedient, it is sufficient to meet the financial needs of the church. And if every church member gave according to God’s plan there would be nothing we could not accomplish for the lack of money. But alas, that is where the difficulty lies.
George Barna in his research on giving in churches today (2000) found some interesting things, some may surprise and some may not.
•More people claim to tithe than actually do!
•Of all the people who claim to be born-again Christians one-fourth of them give no money to the church in 2000.
•Of all people who give donations only 3-5% gave a tithe of their income.
•The average donation by adults per week to a local church is $12.50 or $648.00 a year.
[George Barna. Stewardship. Barna Online Research. - www.barnaorg]
Yet God has a perfect plan for the funding of His ministry here on earth – it is called the tithe.
We are called upon to demonstrate our trust regularly by giving God 10% of our income each time we receive our paycheck. We need to recognize that God does not need our income. When we prepare our tithe, whether weekly or monthly (depending on how often you get paid), we prepare for worshipping God. Our tithe is an expression of our trust in God’s provision and our total surrender to God.
The last book of the Old Testament God gives
a command and a promise (Malachi 3:10): “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there will be food in My house And try me now in this, Says the Lord of hosts, If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out such a blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it.” You can test God in this area whether you have been a Christian for many years or only a few days.
John Haggai in his book, "Winning Over Worry" says, "There are those who would try to brainwash people into believing that the responsibility of the tithe was only in force during the days of the (O.T.) law …. They will tell you that Malachi 3:10 has no relevance for today because it is in the Old Testament…..The same people who say that tithing was for those under the law turn to (O.T.) Psalm 23 for comfort, to Psalm 32 for guidance, to Job for wisdom and comfort in trials and tribulation, to Elijah for a pattern of prayer, and to other Old Testament passages for leadership…To be consistent, these people who would throw out Malachi 3:10 ought to also throw out John 3:16 because it, too, was spoken prior to the time that redemption was completed by our Lord on the Cross of Calvary. Tithing predated the law. Abraham tithed. The law of the tithe is not an Israelite law. It is a fundamental and unalterable law of God. It is still in force. That is why tithing is commended by Jesus in Matthew 23:23 ... God never repealed the fundamental law of tithing; grace has not annulled it, time has not altered it.”