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Is Your Checkbook Converted? - Part A

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The Truth Network Radio
September 22, 2021 2:00 am

Is Your Checkbook Converted? - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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September 22, 2021 2:00 am

Many of us try to separate what we believe in our hearts from how we handle our finances. In the message "Is Your Checkbook Converted?" Skip explains how money can become a tool for God's glory and a gauge of spiritual maturity.

This teaching is from the series Technicolor Joy: A Study through Philippians .

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Website: https://connectwithskip.com

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Money is not evil. Money is neutral. Money is amoral. That is, it has no moral value attached to it, either good or bad.

It all depends on how it is used. Somebody will say, but the Bible says money is the root of all evil. The Bible does not say money is the root of all evil. The Bible says, 1 Timothy chapter 6, the love of money is a root, not the root. The root of all kinds of evil.

That puts a whole different spin on that. Just like any tool, money can be used to do harm or to do good. Today on Connect with Skip Heitig, Skip shares how you can use the resources God's given you to bring him glory and impact lives for his kingdom. But first, we want to invite you to be a part of an unforgettable journey to Israel.

You're invited to join Skip on a tour of Israel in 2022. Where the events of the Bible unfolded is a unique and significant experience. You'll be encouraged in your faith as God's word comes to life for you in a way it never has before.

Get all the info at inspirationcruises.com slash cabq. Now we're in Philippians chapter four, as we dive into our study with Skip Heitig. It was Martin Luther, the great reformer who said, there are three conversions that are necessary. The conversion of the heart, the conversion of the mind, and the conversion of what he called the purse, or the wallet, the pocketbook.

And probably of all three, the third one is the hardest to convert. Charles Haddon Spurgeon said we are with some Christians, the last part of their nature that ever gets sanctified is their pocketbooks. Either because they don't have it and they want it, or because they have too much of it and it gets them into trouble. I heard about an elderly gentleman who had married a beautiful young girl, but he was worried that perhaps she married him because he had so much money. And so one day he said, tell me the truth, sweetheart, if I lost all my money, would you still love me? And she said, reassuringly, Oh, honey, don't be silly. Of course I would love you.

And I would miss you terribly. Well, the Bible has a lot to say about finances. In fact, it surprises many Christians just how much the New Testament and the Old Testament speak about this topic.

Here's an example. In Matthew, Mark, and Luke, it's estimated that one out of every six verses deals somehow with money. Of the 29 parables that Jesus told, 16 deal with the person and their money.

Look at it another way. The Bible has 500 verses, thereabouts, on the topic of prayer, fewer than 500 verses on the topic of faith, yet more than 2000 verses on money. Jesus taught more on the topic of money and possessions, than all of his teachings on heaven and hell combined. So the Bible has a lot to say about it.

Now, any people who know me know that if there's one thing I'm not good at is talking about the subject of money. If there's one thing I shy away from, maybe I've been guilty of, people have told me that at least, is that I don't ever mention or hardly ever mention it, unless the Bible mentions that I do. So the Bible talks a lot about it. But there are some preachers who talk about it even more than the Bible talks about it. So when we first came to Albuquerque, we had heard reports about how different evangelists had come through town and were coming through town.

And you know, because Albuquerque is like the crossroads, it's always on the way to somewhere. And so they'll stop here and have an event and they would take up offerings. And when we had first come here, somebody came to town and they had their little evangelistic event. They decided to take the offering with trash cans. Demanding that they be full by the end of the night.

We had a guy from our Bible study. We were just starting a church and he went to this event to watch this and the offering went by and then it didn't fill up. And so he sent the trash cans around a second time.

They didn't fill up. He sent them around a third time. He just sort of kept doing this. And it so aggravated this gentleman who's now in heaven that he got up and he walked out. Well, as he was walking out, the evangelist called him out and said, hey, you wouldn't leave a restaurant without paying for the meal, would you? So he just had enough and he stormed out. There's even a story of Mark Twain who had gone to a service and was so disgusted by the way the offering was being announced and being taken that he said he wrote not only when the offering plate came by, did he not give what he had planned to give, but he actually took some money out of the offering.

As it went by. I would not recommend that practice, by the way. But Jesus said this, for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. That's quite a statement. You can tell a lot about a person's spirituality by what that person does with money.

Just take a tour of the checkbook and find out what is recorded in there, what is spent, what is important, what are the values. Well, the church at Philippi was a model of sacrificial generous giving. Just to give you the background, they had supported Paul 10 years before.

They had supported him on a couple of occasions. They lost touch with him. Now they hear he's in Rome in jail. And they send a man by the name of Epaphroditus 800 miles from Philippi to Rome with a very lavish gift, a sacrificial gift from that church once again, some kind of a care package and financial offering. And it gets to Paul.

So when it comes to how we are to look at money or deal with money or our financial responsibility, this text is a good one to look at. And it's interesting that Paul closes out his book with that. We're going to look at verse 14 to verse 23, which completes the book.

But you know me, I do love context. And the context of this begins back what we looked at last week in verse 10. So I'd like to just read it all together. Verse 10. But I rejoice in the Lord greatly.

You can follow along verse 10. I rejoice in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again, though you surely did care but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am to be content.

I know how to be a based. I know how to abound everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Nevertheless, you have done well that you shared in my distress. Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving, but you only for even in Thessalonica, you did send aid once and again for my necessities. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account.

Indeed, I have all and abound. I am full having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you a sweet smelling aroma and acceptable sacrifice well pleasing to God. Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever.

Amen. In looking at the verses we just read, I want to share with you four insights when it comes to our finances, our money. First of all, generosity is commended.

Paul commends them for their generosity in verse 14. He says, nevertheless, you have done well in that you shared in my distress. Now he had just gotten through saying, I am content no matter what I have learned in whatever state I am to be content.

If he would have ended there, maybe they would have thought, well, if he's content with anything, a lot or a little, why did we just sacrificially give so much money and then send a guy 800 miles to give him this gift? So he closes off by saying, nevertheless, I'm content no matter what, nevertheless, you have done well. He's commending them. He's saying what you did is good.

Now I want to clear up an issue. And unfortunately, it's been a thought that has been around Christian circles for a long time. Money is not evil. Money is neutral. Money is a moral that is it has no moral value attached to it either good or bad.

It all depends on how it is used. Somebody will say, but the Bible says money is the root of all evil. The Bible does not say money is the root of all evil. The Bible says, First Timothy chapter six, the love of money is a root, not the root, a root of all kinds of evil.

Well, that puts a whole different spin on that. You can love money if you have a lot of it, or if you have none of it, you can just love, love, love it. I got to get it.

Got to get it. So it's the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. If you know your Bibles very well, you understand that there were many people in the Bible that were very wealthy and yet very godly.

Let me name a few. Abraham, the Bible tells us Abraham had 318 servants in his own household, trained servants. They became a militia for him at one point. They were paid staff, 318 of them. Abraham had the kind of wealth that was on a par with the kings of Canaan and often interacted with those kings.

That's one. Then you have another example in the Old Testament, Job. God blessed him with land and with flocks and with buildings, et cetera, et cetera.

And you might say, yeah, but he lost it all. Yet it says at the end of the book of Job, the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than at the beginning. So whatever wealth he had and lost, God actually gave him more. And then another example is Joseph. Joseph, who is really a true rags to riches story, right? He ends up as the second richest man on earth, as the prime minister of the largest, wealthiest nation at the time, Egypt.

He becomes second in command to Pharaoh. So here you have a guy who's godly and wealthy. Then Proverbs 24 says, through wisdom, a house is built.

By understanding, it is established. By knowledge, its rooms are filled with precious and pleasant riches. So money isn't evil. Riches aren't evil. Wealth isn't evil. It's amoral. It has no moral value attached to it.

It all depends on how a person uses it. I love what J. Paul Getty said. He said, money is like manure.

You stack it up, it stinks. You spread it around, it makes things grow. So giving for God's work is good. They had given to Paul, they were giving to God's work, and it's good.

There are many examples of that. David amassed wealth and property to build a temple. He didn't get to do it, his son did. But in 1 Kings 8, the Lord said, because it was in your heart to build a temple for My name, you did well because you have this in your heart. Then in the New Testament, there's a book called 3 John.

It's the smallest book in the Bible. 3 John, John writes to a guy named Gaius saying, you are doing a good work for God when you take care of traveling teachers who are passing through even though they are strangers to you. And then finally, Paul the apostle quoted Jesus in Acts chapter 20 by saying, it is more blessed to give than it is to receive. So all of those verses speak to the, it's good, it's commended. Generosity is a good thing. Be a generous person.

It's a good value to have. And the honest truth is that very few things will ever get done in ministry without the generous support of people. Now I love to look at statistics from time to time and the Gallup organization is sort of a go-to source, the Gallup polls. So according to the Gallup organization in the average church, 17% of people say they tithe. 17% people tithe. You go, boy, that's slow.

Well, he's not finished. He said, 17% say they tithe. Only 3% actually do. 40% according to Gallup will give nothing in a year.

91% will say they make more money now than they ever have in their life. And in the same set of Gallup poll statistics, 71% of the pastors believe that church members have changed from stewards into consumers. Enter the church at Philippi, a refreshing different animal, giving generously on one and then two and then now at least, this is the third occasion, generous to Paul and Paul says it's good. The church at Philippi believed what Jim Elliott, that great missionary to Ecuador who was martyred would later say when he said he is no fool who gives away that which he cannot keep in order to gain that which he cannot lose. They were generous and generosity is commended. Let me give you a second insight, but before I do, I want to show you reasons why it is so good. First of all, one of the reasons generosity is good is that it turns people into partners.

Now hear me, it turns people into partners. Back in chapter one, Paul begins his book. Philippians and he says, I thank my God upon every remembrance of you always and every prayer of mine, making my request for you all with joy for your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.

That's how Paul viewed them. We are partners in this together. You are there. I am here. You are doing what only you can do and I'm doing what only I can do.

We're partners. Now with that, look at verse 14. Nevertheless, you have done well that you look at the word shared in my distress and then again in verse 15. Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving, but you only. Twice he uses the word shared.

The word is sug kunaneo and it means to be a partner together in something. So what Paul loves more than the present that they gave to him was the partnership. We're partners together.

And that's the way it is in church work, in mission work, in God's work. Some are goers, others are senders, but all are partners. It's a partnership. So remember I just mentioned 3 John and a guy named Gaius who is supporting itinerant ministers. John says this, so we should support them that we may become partners with them for the truth.

Now I'm drilling that in because I want you to hold on to that thought for a moment that we are partners because I'm going to show you in a minute how that partnership works. One of the reasons though generosity is good, it's commended, is because it turns people into partners. There's a second reason that it's good. It's the highest reason because God likes it. It pleases God. Look at verse 18.

Indeed I have all and abound. I am full because I have received having received from Epaphroditus the things that are sent from you a sweet smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice. Now look at this last phrase, well pleasing to God.

That's the highest motivation to do anything, to give anything because it is well pleasing to God. Now did you notice in this verse the language that the apostle uses is the language of the temple, sweet smelling aroma. If you were to walk in Jerusalem 2000 years ago, it smelled very different than it does today. First of all, if you walked in Jerusalem 2000 years ago during the time that they would have morning or evening sacrifices, it would smell like barbecue to you, like a massive barbecue because they were taking that animal and putting it on an altar and the smoke was ascending up to God and you'd walk through and go, oh man, I got to get some of that.

Where's that? That was going on in the temple. Add to that the incense that was going up that represented their prayers. So the incense and the animals on the altar made this wonderful aroma and what Paul is saying here is that's what giving is like to God. It's like the purest best sacrifice where he goes, ah, I like that. It is well pleasing to him.

And again, this ought always to be our highest motivation. It's not well, I'm giving because the church needs it. It should be I'm giving because God is worth it. It is well pleasing to him. Now notice that he says in this verse he calls it a sacrifice, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God. Just the fact that he uses the word sacrifice means that the person who offers it has got to feel it, right?

I mean, I'm missing something here. I'm giving it away. It's sacrificial. It's like David said, I will never offer to the Lord anything that doesn't cost me something. But I always get asked the question about amount.

Well, how much should I give? Are Christians supposed to tithe? And if we tithe, should we tithe on the gross or on the net?

And we get really complicated about it. Well, first of all, tithing is not even a New Testament concept. It's an Old Testament concept. That's where the tithe came from, 10%. But if you were to actually study the tithes, you find out that Israel didn't have one tithe, but they had two annual tithes plus a third one every third year. Add to that the giving of a temple tax, add to that letting their fields be uncut on the edges, ungleaned so that others could glean it, the poor could glean it. And you have the children of Israel giving out of their annual income between 25 and 30%.

Now about now you're going, boy, I'm glad I don't know the Bible that well. Because that's already a lot, just 10%. Well, what you need to realize when it comes to percentages is you don't own anything. It's not yours. It all is his 100%. In the prophet Hosea, God said, all the silver and all the gold is mine, sayeth the Lord.

It's all his. And then in Deuteronomy 8, the Lord said, For it is God who gives you the power to get wealth. So if God happens to give you anything or let you keep anything that's already his to begin with, that's where you thank him for. Instead of saying, Oh my goodness, I have to give 10%.

How about this? God lets you keep 90. That's the way you look at it. It all belongs to him. So when it comes to a mount, the New Testament says nothing about a mount. It would seem that these Old Testament believers who get saved in the New Testament began as the baseline with a tenth. But then Paul said this in 2 Corinthians, Let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly, nor out of necessity, for God loves a, tell me, cheerful, literally hilarious giver. The Lord loves a hilarious giver.

That's Skip Heitzing with a message from the series Technicolor Joy. Right now, we want to share about a resource that gives you incredible insight into what's going on in the Middle East and why it matters for you. New York Times bestselling author Joel Rosenberg is now based in Jerusalem, and he's releasing the new nonfiction book Enemies and Allies.

I've traveled with Joel to Middle East cities to meet with kings and crown princes. We sat together on the east lawn of the White House for the signing of the historic Abraham Accords, and I previewed his new book Enemies and Allies. I can tell you it contains never before published quotes from behind closed door meetings with some of the most powerful and mysterious leaders in the Middle East. You will want to read this book. Enemies and Allies by Joel Rosenberg includes insights and analysis from the author's conversations with some of the most controversial leaders in the world.

This is the first book of its kind. Almost nobody's ever had that chance to not just meet one of these major leaders, but to meet almost all of them. And then they get to tell the story, the first person language, come with me into the palace, into the motorcade, and come meet the most interesting, consequential, and controversial leaders in the entire Middle East. Enemies and Allies by Joel Rosenberg includes insights and analysis from the author's conversations with some of the most controversial leaders in the world.

We'll send you a hardcover copy of Enemies and Allies as thanks for your gift of $35 or more. To give, visit connectwithskip.com or call 800-922-1888. We live in a materialistic society, but our contentment doesn't come from what we have, but who we have.

Jesus. And we want to help others experience the satisfaction of being in a relationship with him. Today, you can be a part of that by giving a gift to help others experience the love and joy of Jesus. Visit connectwithskip.com slash donate to give a gift now. That's connectwithskip.com slash donate. Or call 800-922-1888.

800-922-1888. Thank you. Tune in tomorrow as Skip Heitzig shares about the ways God rewards your generosity and how he uses it to grow his family. God generously treats those who treat others generously. And I hope you know that that is a scriptural principle over and over and over again. The greatest authority we have, the Lord Jesus Christ himself, said this, Luke chapter 6 verse 38, Give and it will be given to you. Cast all burdens on his word, make a connection, a connection. Connect with Skip Heitzig is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never changing truth in ever changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-20 11:27:47 / 2023-08-20 11:37:06 / 9

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