Biblically Based Giving

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Pastor Mark Mikels – June 28, 2009
“BIBLE-BASED GIVING”

Intro …
“Money, money, money” … who doesn’t like to talk about money?

It would seem that everything in life (in one way or another) boils down to money. We make decisions based upon whether or not we have the money to afford it … We take a job based upon how much money it pays … We evaluate our worth in terms of how much money we are able to earn. We show our love and our concern by “putting our money where our mouth is”.

It was no different in Jesus’ day, even though their economy was not
as cash-based as ours is. Jesus talked about money a lot because he knew just how much our hearts (our lives) and our money are linked together.

He once said,
“Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
(Mathew 6:21)

Watch a person’s use of money and you will get a pretty good idea of where that person’s heart (and mind) is.

So having said that … it makes sense that a Follower of Jesus Christ should be almost recognizable by his/her use of money if for no other reason. A person’s use of money can in fact become a very powerful testimony.

So what does the Book that Followers of Jesus follow, say about money … especially today about the “Giving of Money” or as the title of this message
puts it … What is “Bible-Based Giving”?

It’s an important topic because every Christian wants to please God and yet there can be great confusion on this subject and much of the confusion comes when we fail to understand a most basic truth – the truth expressed in
today’s Key Concept …

Today’s Key Concept …
Bible-Based Giving is built upon
Three Critical COMPONENTS.

You see there are at least three distinctive kinds of giving identified in the Bible – each has it’s own distinct motivation and each expresses a distinct spiritual reality and each one produces its own distinct God-Approved result.

Now all three of those things can be mixed up … the reality that calls for the giving, the motivation to do the giving and the result that is to be expected by the giving.

And when they get mixed up … God’s work suffers and God’s people can get frustrated and God’s leaders can get agitated.

So let’s try to sort them out a bit this morning … and let’s allow the Scripture to do most of the talking …

Component #1 … (cornerstone of the program) “God-Directed TITHING”
(Genesis 14:18-20; Malachi 3:10; Hebrews 6:19-20)

Three Relevant Scriptures:

Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, and he blessed Abram, saying, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And blessed be God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.” Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.
(Genesis 14:18-20)

“Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, `How do we rob you?’ “In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse–the whole nation of you-because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty,” and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.”
(Malachi 3:8-10)

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.
(Hebrews 6:19-20)

This Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him, and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. First, his name means “king of righteousness”; then also, “king of Salem” means “king of peace.” Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, like the Son of God he remains a priest forever. Just think how great he was: Even the patriarch Abraham gave him a tenth of the plunder! Now the law requires the descendants of Levi who become priests to collect a tenth from the people–that is, their brothers–even though their brothers are descended from Abraham.

This man, however, did not trace his descent from Levi, yet he collected a tenth from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. And without doubt the lesser person is blessed by the greater. In the one case, the tenth is collected by men who die; but in the other case, by him who is declared to be living. (Hebrews 7:1-8)

Three remarkable scriptures tying together over 2,000 years of Sacred History- Scriptures that clearly indicate that TITHING is God-Directed & God-Expected.

Now several Bible-Based Observations concerning “Tithing”.

The essential Motivation for tithing is OBEDIENCE – at the deepest level our motivation for tithing takes the form … “God demands it so I will do it.”

The spiritual Reality expressed here is that of OBLIGATION.
It’s really not an option. It has nothing to do with the Old Testament Law
that has been fulfilled in Christ.

Tithing “pre-dates the Law” …
Abram “tithed” to God’s representative Melchizedek
500 years before the Mosaic Law was given.

Tithing “post-dates the law” …
“Jesus is our high priest after the order of Melchizedek – why would
we show him any less respect that Abram showed the original?”

And what is the God-Approved Result? …

Well, properly understood I would suggest that

“Tithing brings a tremendous Sense of SATISFACTION” –
An inner recognition that we have acted obediently before the Lord.
Tithing – it’s first, it’s fundamental … it’s God’s command and it’s our obligation – it’s the primary way God would have his work funded.

Until you are tithing, don’t worry about any other kind of giving.

Our Sonlife Tithing Challenge … Commit to tithe for three months – your money will be held in reserve. If at the end of the three months, you are not able to meet your basic obligations, you can ask for your money back and it will be refunded, no questions asked.

Now here’s the second component of Bible-Based Giving …

Component #2 … “Free-Will OFFERING”
(Exodus 35:29; 1 Chronicles 29:1-9; Luke 21:1-4)

Three More Relevant Scriptures:

All the Israelite men and women who were willing brought to the LORD freewill offerings for all the work the LORD through Moses had commanded them to do. (Exodus 35:29)

Then King David said to the whole assembly: “My son Solomon, the one whom God has chosen, is young and inexperienced. The task is great, because this palatial structure is not for man but for the LORD God. With all my resources I have provided for the temple of my God–gold for the gold work, silver for the silver, bronze for the bronze, iron for the iron and wood for the wood, as well as onyx for the settings, turquoise, stones of various colors, and all kinds of fine stone and marble–all of these in large quantities. Besides, in my devotion to the temple of my God I now give my personal treasures of gold and silver for the temple of my God, over and above everything I have provided for this holy temple: three thousand talents of gold (gold of Ophir) and seven thousand talents of refined silver, for the overlaying of the walls of the buildings, for the gold work and the silver work, and for all the work to be done by the craftsmen. Now, who is willing to consecrate himself today to the LORD?”

Then the leaders of families, the officers of the tribes of Israel, the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds, and the officials in charge of the king’s work gave willingly. They gave toward the work on the temple of God five thousand talents and ten thousand darics of gold, ten thousand talents of silver, eighteen thousand talents of bronze and a hundred thousand talents of iron. Any who had precious stones gave them to the
treasury of the temple of the LORD in the custody of Jehiel the Gershonite.

The people rejoiced at the willing response of their leaders, for they had given freely and wholeheartedly to the LORD. David the king also rejoiced greatly. (1 Chronicles 29:1-9)

As he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. “I tell you the truth,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” (Luke 21:1)

These are all examples of free-will offerings being given to assist in the accomplishing of a great work of God.

Notice that no one was required to give – the project was shared/the opportunity was provided and the people one by one responded.

The essential motivation for a Free-Will Offering toward some special work of God is DELIGHT – deep in the heart of the contributor is an abounding joy and pleasure in seeing the accomplishment of this wonderful thing – whatever it might be.

The spiritual reality expressed here is that of PRIVILEGE – as in, what a privileged person I am to be able to share in the bringing forth of this great work.

The God-Approved result is that each contributor receives an awesome Sense of PARTICIPATION in the work of God in the world – a participation that they have voluntarily entered into.

Another way of putting it is that such a free-will offering provides a person with the THRILL OF INVESTING … finding a worthy cause, investing money in it and seeing the investment bear dividends in the lives of people. This is what “laying up for yourselves treasure in heaven” is all about.

TITHING … FREE-WILL OFFERINGS

One more to go in this program of “Bible-Based Giving” …

Component #3 … “Need-Generated RESPONDING”
(James 2:15-16; Acts 11:28; 2 Corinthians 9:7, 12-15)

A Final Set Of Three Relevant Scriptures:

Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? (James 2:15)
During this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. One of them, named Agabus, stood up and through the Spirit predicted that a severe famine would spread over the entire Roman world. (This happened during the reign of Claudius.) The disciples, each according to his ability, decided to provide help for the brothers living in Judea. This they did, sending their gift to the elders by Barnabas and Saul.
(Acts 11:27-29)

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:6-7)

This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
(2 Corinthians 9:12-15)

Each of these scriptures relate to a time of serious physical need in the community of believers …

James addresses the topic generally while the other two passages address the topic very specifically.

The Believers in the Jerusalem Church were experiencing great difficulties –
the need was made known to the other churches scattered through the Mediterranean world. It was hoped that a great offering would be raised to assist the Jerusalem Saints.

So today this kind of “Need-Generated Response” can be stimulated by an individual-sized situation or by a situation of need that is far larger than that.

The truth is our fellow-believers can and do fall into dire straits from time to time.

The essential motivation for this kind of “Need-Generated Responding” is COMPASSION – our hearts are touched by the circumstance that they are in.
We give willingly and cheerfully – we are happy we can help.

The spiritual reality expressed here is that it’s a FAMILY MATTER – which
takes the form:
“We are family- your problems are my problems.”

Now the God-Approved result that comes both to the giver and to the recipient is a tremendous Sense of CONNECTION.

Such need-generated responding eliminates feelings of isolation or desperation.

(Tithing – Free-Will Offerings – Need-Generated Responding –
It’s God’s Plan.)

Final Thot …

Biblically-Based GIVING requires Biblically-Based PLANNING!

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