This week I received a phone call from Kaylee while I was preparing this message. We had just received 3 huge boxes from my ant that were full of kitchen supplies, and toys, and clothes for the kids. It looked like she went on a shopping spree just for us. Who here likes to receive gifts? Who doesn’t like it? When you receive a gift how do you feel? IT feels pretty good…I was thinking this week that maybe it feels good because a gift reminds us that somebody cares about us or maybe the gift meets a need or maybe it because we simply like getting stuff and so when we get something new we’re excited because it adds to our pile.
Who here likes to give gifts? Anyone not like to give gifts?
I submit that we all love to give…we all love to give.
Do you know why we all love to give?
Because it is the very nature of God to be a giver and we are in his image
The problem is that athough we all love to give,
Only some of us love to give to others
While many of us love to give to me, myself, and I.
We love having money because we can give ourselves stuff and we can take care of our self.
Instead of asking this morning…Are you a giver?
Let’s ask the question: Do I give as God intends? Do I give in a godly way with others as the priority?
Maybe your thinking that the timing of this message is suspect considering the state of our finances as a church.
Maybe you’re thinking that the purpose of this messages is to somehow use the sermon this morning as a platform to guilt you into giving to Grace Valley Fellowship.
Maybe you’re new here and you’re saying to yourself: “Oh Great, A message on money and giving- Why is the church is always after my money?”
If you were at our annual meeting you know that our church is short the financial resources to meet budget.
But I gotta tell you that this section of the text was chosen many months ago and it is clearly by God’s providence that this morning we’re looking at the topic of giving.
I have to give this caveat because…Contemporary American Christianity church has a horrible and embarrassing reputation when it comes to money and whenever money comes up (especially in relationship to God) it is usually a sore subject that leaves a bad taste in people’s mouths.
You have got to know up front that…
I did not go into pastoral ministry to get rich.
Kaylee is not in the bathroom putting on as much possible makeup as her face will allow or getting her hair as big as she possibly can.
I’m not going to bring out any golden thrones so that we can sitt on them for you to take pleasure in just looking at us.
I’m not gonna tell you that unless you give 2million dollars today that God will strike me down with lightning.
I’m not goig to promise that if you give this morning that iphone is going to fall out of heaven into your lap if you just have enough faith.
I’m not going to try to sell you the shirt I’ve perspired in for only $29.95 so that you can have something to show your friends and God when you die to prove that you gave to the church.
Of course I say some of this with a bit of sarcasm and I don’t intend to be judgemental sounding…but I do it because I’m saddened by what seems like such a poor witness propogated by Televangelists.
And I want you to know that I am opposed to prosperity preaching
Even though the mix of money and God talk has been abused…this morning I encourage you to start fresh with your understanding of money and its relationship to your spiritual life and the growth of your soul.
Please don’t look at me like some of those guys you might see on tv as though I’m about to to ask you to give me your money because fuel costs are rising and I’ve got a private jet out back that needs gas.
In case you’re wondering, I drive a go cart to work- sort of.
Snowball says I think I can
Before we get into the Scripture this morning, Let me briefly catch us up with a little overview of money and giving in the Bible.
In the entire bible- 500 verses on prayer, 500 on faith, 2000 on money and possessions
16 out of 38 parables are about money
In the gospels- 1 out of 10 verses deal with money
Jesus talks about money 25% of the time
Me or pastor dave preaching 1/month on money.
The standard for giving in th OT-
10% tithe given to the levites
Money given for feasts, festivals, poor, etc. total = 25% or more
First fruits- giving off the gross not the net.
NT- grace giving (principles from 2 Corinthians 8 & 9)
Luke 3: 10-14 John the Baptist is asked a few question about what the fruit of repentanceis. He responds to three questions and His answers are all related to money.
What we do with our money and possessions is a big deal to God? Why?
Because what you do with your money ultimately reveals your spiritual condition/where your heart is- and God love us and ultimately wants the best for us.
Jesus said in Matthew 6:21 21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Jesus said you can’t serve two masters. You can’t serve God and Money.
Are you a stingy, tight fisted, taker? You should be concerned about your soul.
Jesus said Mark 8:36 “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?
Because our God Himself is a giver and we are supposed to represent Him as His ambassadors by being givers
Yahweh is a giver- the ultimate giver. Our efforts, even our good efforts, don’t earn His Love. God just gives his love. He gives and gives and gives.
He gives us
life and breath.
Reason and logic- to discern falsehood from truth
He gives us His money and resources to steward and promises to give us everything we need according to His infinite riches
Himself in Christ as a payment for our sins on the cross
John 6:48-51 “I am the bread of life… “I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.”
His indwelling Spirit to give us new, abundant and eternal life to transform us into the image of His Son with increasing knowledge, wisdom and character
Ultimate hope, and purpose, and meaning based in absolute reality and truth.
He gives us himself, life, grace, peace, ultimate purpose and meaning to life, and he provides for our material, mental, and spiritual needs.
Transition: And so as we finish our Philippians sermon series today and open up this last part of Paul’s letter to the Philippian church. What we discover… is a glimpse of what our giving God intends for us to know about giving.
Philippians 4:14-23 Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my affliction. 15 You yourselves also know, Philippians, that at the first preaching of the gospel, after I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone; 16 for even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs. 17 Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account. 18 But I have received everything in full and have an abundance; I am amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God. 19 And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
there are a few principles that we learn from this passage about Giving Money
Giving is Love in Action (VS 14-16)
Paul writes “you have done well to share with me in my affliction”
Giving is practical love which demonstrates the sacrificial love of God to actively love others by bringing relief to them in their affliction.
The Philippians shared Paul’s affliction
According to one commentary- (MacArthur, J: Romans 1-8. Moody)This word “affliction” conveys the idea of being squeezed or placed under pressure or crushed beneath a weight. It is most often used of outward difficulties, but it is also used of emotional stress.”
How many of us when we are weighed down don’t absolutely appreciate when someone comes alongside us to help bring relief?
Brothers and sisters…Our claims to love are nothing unless there are actions behind the words.
If you come across a person in need and do nothing to help…Can you really say you love them?
There’s a biblical parable about a man beaten near death by robbers. He’s stripped naked and lying roadside. Most people pass him by, but one man stops. He picks him up and bandages his wounds. He puts him on his horse and walks alongside until they reach an inn. He checks him in and throws down his Visa Card telling the innkeeper. “Whatever he needs until he gets better.”
That’s love in action
How did the Philippians practically love Paul.
Paul says…in verse 16- they “sent a gift more than once for my needs”
I read that the Roman prisons probably didn’t provide meals for the prisoners, and so they had to rely on outside provisions even to simply eat.
And of course God provides our meals and material needs, but even more than that, He sent a gift to us to meet our greatest spiritual need.
John 3:16 16 “For God loved the world in this way- He GAVE His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
He sent a gift:
Do we (like the Philippians) give our resources to help others in their affliction? Or do we give to ourself?
Do we give our resources to the advancement of God’s good Kingdom to promote the preaching of the gospel, -the ultimate gift to meet people’s ultimate need?
Giving is investing (for what?… eternity) (VS 17) Paul writes “Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account.
The Philippians in their giving to the gospel were investing in eternity. Every gift we give for God’s glory is a deposit in an eternal account.
Jesus said in Matthew 6:19-20 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal
Why does Jesus say we shouldn’t store up earthly treasures?
Not because they are bad, but because they don’t last
Insider trading tip- earthly currency will become worthless
Two countries warring
Using our resources for God’s work ultimately stores up treasures in heaven.
AW Tozer- “As base a thing as money is, it yet can be transmuted into everlasting treasure. It can be converted into food for the hungry and clothing for the poor; it can keep a missionary actively winning lost men to the light of the gospel and thus transmute itself into heavenly values. Any temporal possession can be turned into everlasting wealth. Whatever is given to Christ is immediately touched with immortality.”
Jim Elliot Quote- “ He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.
Are you investing for eternity by giving to the gospel? How much are you giving to help advance the kingdom of God to help spread God’s radical, sacrificial love for His people? Rather, How much are you keeping for yourself? What is your attitude?
CT Studd- “Only one life, twill soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last
Giving is worship (VS 18)
Paul adds…I have received… what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God.
What does this sound like?
Do you realize that our giving to the church- to the ministry of the gospel is an offering of worship to the Living God? A small thank you for his many blessings?
Do you you give to the church? And if so do find your giving to be an exciting and joyful experience of worship? or is it more of a burden- a duty.
What if you were to give flowers to your spouse and she he/she said thank you…and what if you responded:
“it was my duty” or “I didn’t really want to, but I hadn’t gotten you anything for quite a while, and I was feeling kind of guilty. I know that our neighbor got his wife something and I know it’s my duty as your husband to give you something.”
you respond- Honey, you deserve so much more than I can give, but I love you so much and I’m so grateful for you in my life and I was thinking of how much you mean to me when I got you this.
I submit that it is that second response that is “a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God”
What would you do with the offering plate if Jesus walked into this church and was the usher handing you the plate; and you saw his nail pierced hands?
Would you say, “Oh shucks… Here’s a buck.”
Giving is Receiving (VS19)
Vs 19– “And my God will supply all your needs”
Principle- As you and I wisely steward and give the resources God has given to us to help others and to promote the gospel, He will reciprocate to provide our needs.
Not prosperity theology which is a false teaching prominent in the church today and basically teaches that when you give-
God is obligated to give you financial wealth as though He were a piñata and you a wacking stick.
Your giving isn’t going to obligate God to drop a brand new shiny Mercedes Benz with rims out of heaven.
When you give, God promises that He WILL supply all your needs-
Not your greed but all your need
not unnecessary desires
Not what you think you want or need, but what God knows you need.
There is not a single need that he will not supply
JH Pickford- With what confidence can we pray for the Lord to honor us with substance if we have not honored Him with the substance he has already given? This is an ageless principle in the economy of God: what we withhold, withers, but what we release, returns. If we fill full another’s needs, God will fill full our needs.
Why is it so hard for many of us release our money and give?
There are several reason but at the root of them all is that we don’t really believe God.
We don’t really trust that He will take care of us. And so we hoard things for ourselves.
When it comes to our money we tend have closed fists and we lack that radical obedient faith that our God is calling us to.
Giving can be tough because it means you have to trust that when you give away your money, God is going to make up for it by providing for your immediate needs.
You might ask:
What if I give and I can’t afford it?
What if I give and and emergency comes up?
What if I give and I lose my job?
Don’t I need to save for retirement?
Maybe your thinking to yourself right now…
There is no way I can give any money to the church, let alone 10% of my income. Your struggling with the concept because you just can’t see how you could do it and keep up with your bills.
I heard of pastor who had someone come to him with these same concerns.
The pastor said, “If I promise to make up the difference in your bills if you should fall short, do you think you could try tithing for just one month?” After thinking about it for a moment, the person replied, “Sure, if you promise to make up any shortage, I guess I could try tithing for one month.” The pastor responded, “Now, what do you think of that? You say you’d be willing to put your trust in a mere man like myself, who possesses so little materially, but you couldn’t trust your Heavenly Father who owns the whole universe!”
God says in Malachi 3:8-10 10 “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the LORD of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.
God says test me!
Paul writes that God will supply all your needs “according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
Do we really believe that? Do we really believe God?
The American pastor Wilbur Chapman had a family tragedy occur that made it necessary for him to travel to the West Coast. A banker who attended his church visited with him just before he left. As they talked, the banker took a piece of paper out of his pocket and slipped it into his pastor’s hand. Chapman looked at it and saw that it was a blank check made out to him, signed by the banker. Momentarily stunned, he asked, “Do you mean you are giving me a signed check to be filled out as I please?” “Yes, exactly,” said the banker. “I don’t know how much you might need, and I want you to draw any amount that will meet your need.” Chapman gratefully took the check, but he didn’t need to use it on his trip. Later he commented, “It gave me a comfortable, happy feeling to know that I had a vast sum at my disposal.”
God will supply your need according to His riches in glory! Will you and I trust that God in his vast unlimited wealth, will meet our needs when we give?
Captain Levy, was once asked how he could give so much to the Lord’s work and still possess great wealth. The Captain replied, “Oh, as I shovel it out, He shovels it in, and the Lord has a bigger shovel.”
Before we get up go…let’s consider what God would have for us to actually do.
At this point
We know that giving is love in action and demonstrates God’s sacrificial love for His people.
We know that giving is investing for eternity
We know that giving is worship of the One True God
We know that giving is receiving and God promises to supply our needs.
So why don’t we all commit to be givers…Like God is a giver!
So will you covenant this very day to give sacrificially, regularly, cheerfully, and proportionately to the work of the gospel here at this local ecclesia, this storehouse of the Lord.
Not as a legalistic requirement but as a love offering of your first fruits to God-
Will you commit to give the babystep minimum of the tithe, 10% of your gross income in worship to Christ who shed His blood for you on the cross.
I know for many of us that this is a difficult call and will require us to sacrifice some of the pleasures of this world. But the Living God is calling his people at GVF to give
not from what we have but from what you don’t have- like the Philippians gave according to 2 Corinthians8:3 “as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability”
My challenge is for all of us to take up God’s challenge to test Him in this.
I wanted to see what God will do.
I want to see His power in our midst.
I want hear the stories of His faithfulness.
I want to see and experience the overflow.
Not just in the church but in each of our lives.
In the latter part of the 17th century, German preacher August H. Francke founded an orphanage to care for the homeless children of Halle. One day when Francke desperately needed funds to carry on his work, a destitute Christian widow came to his door begging for a ducat–a gold coin. Because of his financial situation, he politely but regretfully told her he couldn’t help her. Disheartened, the woman began to weep. Moved by her tears, Francke asked her to wait while he went to his room to pray. After seeking God’s guidance, he felt that the Holy Spirit wanted him to change his mind. So, trusting the Lord to meet his own needs, he gave her the money. Two mornings later, he received a letter of thanks from the widow. She explained that because of his generosity she had asked the Lord to shower the orphanage with gifts. That same day Francke received 12 ducats from a wealthy lady and 2 more from a friend in Sweden. He thought he had been amply rewarded for helping the widow, but he was soon informed that the orphanage was to receive 500 gold pieces from the estate of Prince Lodewyk Van Wurtenburg. When he heard this, Francke wept in gratitude. In sacrificially providing for that needy widow, he had been enriched, not impoverished.
God is challenging us this morning to a radical obedient faith in Christ Jesus- a faith that is love in action and which responds with the fruit of giving.
I read of an attorney who gave half of his income to the Lord. He said, “my pursuit of money drove me away from God but since I’ve been giving to Him…giving has brought me closer to God than anything else.
As a church and as individuals, what more could we want than to be closer to our audience of One.
Search you heart. Evaluate your situation.
Paul concludes his letter: Philippians 4:20-23 Now to our God and Father be the glory forever and ever. Amen. 21 Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren who are with me greet you. 22 All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household. 23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
He is no fool who gives what He cannot keep to gain what He cannot lose. -Jim Elliot