What does it really mean when the Bible says, My God will supply all your needs according to His riches and glory in Christ Jesus? Who is that promise for?
And how can you know whether He'll really do that for you? That's today. Stay with me. Well, in this program, Chip will finish our study of Philippians chapter four, as he wraps up his series, I Choose Peace. Today, he'll highlight a unique promise God has made to you and me that can forever change our spiritual walks. But before he dives in, if you've been encouraged by this series, would you take a minute after this message and share it with a friend?
Now, you can do that through the Chip Ingram app or by sending them the free MP3s that you'll find at Living on the Edge. Okay, if you have a Bible handy, go to Philippians chapter four for the remainder of Chip's talk, In Tests of Faith. Let's look at the process. The principle restated, when you have a need, plant a seed. When you have a need, plant a seed.
That's this picture. Notice what he says in verse seven of 2 Corinthians chapter nine. Remember this, whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. In other words, to a farmer, if you plant like 15 seeds of wheat, you're going to get a little bit of wheat. If you plant 15,000 seeds of wheat, you're going to get what? A lot of wheat. If you want a lot, plant a lot.
It's not rocket science. But he's going to make this a spiritual principle. If you have a need, plant a seed.
And by the way, can I encourage you that please move this beyond financial implications. Anybody ever have a need for a friend? You know what we normally do? Wine, grumble, complain, have a little pity party, tell the one person 3,000 miles what, I don't have any friends.
I go to church and they seem so friendly. They have these little name tags. No one said, hi, my name yet. What would happen if instead of the law of the world, get a friend, get a friend, get a friend, you walked in here for five weeks in a row and said, who could I be a friend to? What's your name? How are you doing?
Are you new? What would happen if I need more time, if I gave time? You know, this sounds crazy, but when I get totally, totally overwhelmed, I've decided this is true, I'm going to live this way. Often when I have a to-do list this long, I just set my alarm or I ask the Lord in my case to wake me up an extra half hour, hour early and I give God an extra half hour or an hour. And you know what he does? He multiplies the fruit of the other 23.
I cannot tell you how many times. You need time, give some time away. You need a friend, give some friendship away. Whatever you need, plant a seed. You need love, give some love away.
You need more affection, be more affectionate with those in your family and more affectionate with those you care about. I came across a little parable that sort of points this out. Let me read it to you. It says, once there was a man lost in the desert near death from thirst. He wandered almost aimlessly through the burning sand for many days, growing weaker by the moment. At long last, he saw an oasis in the distance, palm trees indicating that there was water. He stumbled forward feverishly, fell beneath the shade of the trees that he finally might quench his tortured thirst.
But then he noticed something strange about this oasis. Instead of a pool of water or a spring bubbling up from the ground, he found a pump. And besides the pump was two objects, a small jar of water and a parchment note. The note explained that the leather gasket within the pump must be saturated with water for the pump to work. Within the jar was just enough water for this purpose. The note also warned that the reader should not drink from the jar. Every single drop must be poured into the opening at the base of the pump to soak the heat-dried gasket. Then as the leather softens and expands, an unlimited supply of sweet water would be available.
The parchment's final instructions were to refill the jar and the container for the next traveler. The man faced a dilemma. He was dying of thirst and he found water. Not much of course, and likely not enough even to save his life. But it seemed the height of folly to pour it away down the base of the pump. On the other hand, if the note was accurate by pouring out the small quantity of water, he would then have all the water he wanted. What should he do?
Let's personalize it. Put your mind's eye you there. What would you do? It all boils down to one simple thing, doesn't it? If the note is true, you're an idiot not to do it. If the note is false, you're probably going to die anyway. If the note is true, the smartest, wisest, shrewdest thing you could ever do is take that which you could consume immediately and pour it down in order that by giving you would receive good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over unlimited supply. That's really what Philippians 4 19 is teaching. And by the time we get to the end of this message, you are going to find yourself in a dilemma. I always like to warn people. And when you bring people to a crossroads and say you're going to go right, you're going to go left, you're going to come to a point where you're going to have to decide, is this true or not?
Do I believe it or not? What I can tell you is many, many, many of you will make a decision to go down a path you've never gone. Many of you will take a step that you've never taken before.
And when you take that step, you will start experiencing the kind of stories that I talked about. And you will have your own quarterback of $1000 or an unexpected tax return or God opening a door or a promotion or he will do things that you thought only happened to other people because guess what? You will set yourself up so that Philippians 4 19 is a promise that applies to you. It does not apply to the average Christian in America. The average Christian in America, their priorities are completely out of whack.
About 97.5% of them are not sacrificially at all giving or given the first portion of their income. Now, as you think about that, notice that the procedure is outlined and I want you to hear very carefully, this is not a health and wealth gospel. There's not a millimeter of room for trying to cut a deal with God. The giving to get that you kind of hear sometimes on the radio or TV in a book. You know, I'll give God 100 so he'll give me 1000, I'll give him 10,000, he'll give me 100,000.
I know what I'll do, I'm going to play a game. What I really want is this so I'm just going to, I'll tell you what, the moment you do that, you're disqualified. In fact, the apostle Paul goes on to say, give with the right motive. It's not giving if you're giving to get.
The fact of the matter is that this is such a principle in the law of harvest that a lot of great things happen even as people pervert this. But notice what he says in verse 7. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. If you have your pen, I want you to underline four phrases. Phrase number one, what he has decided. Phrase number two, not reluctantly. Phrase number three, under compulsion. And phrase number four, loves a cheerful giver. And what you see there is that motive is outlined.
He says first it needs to be what he has decided. In other words, you might write the word thoughtful. Pure motives have to do with thoughtful giving. I remember when I was coming up and, you know, I didn't grow up in a Christian home or anything and I would go to church and I would have my wallet or something. And so if I was in like a pretty good mood, I gave five bucks. If I was in like a not very good mood, I gave a dollar. And if I felt like, you know, God type happy, I gave 20 and thought I was the most generous guy in the whole world.
I didn't know anything about the Bible. But it was like, it was kind of like going to a movie. It was a good movie, you know, five.
Great movie, I gave you 20. You know, I felt really good about myself. I had no concept of percentages or off the top or how God has blessed me.
And it was usually emotionally rooted in the moment. God says don't give that way. Did you notice that we already took the offering by design? I don't want anyone to hear this and say, oh, oh, okay, I hear you God and write some big check.
You can't write a big check. It needs to be thoughtful. This isn't about, our church is doing well financially. This isn't about any need that we have.
This is all about peace or not. And so your motives, it needs to be thoughtful. Paul says on the first day of the week, 1 Corinthians 16, 1 and 2, on the first day of the week, evaluate how has God blessed me?
What do I have? And set aside a portion in keeping with his blessing. Second thing, you'll notice that it says that it needs to be not reluctantly. So it should be, the opposite is enthusiastically. You want to give enthusiastically.
This isn't like, gotta, otta, shoulda, duty. You know, I want to, I don't want to give because I feel like there's peer pressure and I'm trying to please people. I want to give enthusiastically. Third, it's voluntarily. It's not under compulsion.
You know, this isn't that some guy got up and ranted and raved and showed you pictures of hurting people all around the world and said, you know, this will never get done unless you do it. You know, any time I feel manipulation when people talk about money, I just, I get that as a sign from God. Don't give here.
It says right here. I don't want to give under compulsion. And the final one is a cheerful giver. Literally, from the Greek word, we get our word hilarious. See, the word miser is the root word for miserable. Miserly, non-generous people are miserable.
They're the scrooges of our world and we all have a little scrooge inside of our heart. And God says, I want you to experience contentment. So what you have to do is you've lived in a world that says, get, get, get, get, get, get, get, get, get, get, get, get.
More, more, more, more, more, bigger, bigger, bigger, better, better, better, now, now, now. And so we got our charge cards matched up and we got stuff we can't afford and our garage is filled with stuff that, you know, we don't use anymore. And our closets are filled with more stuff that we don't use anymore. And we become this consumer and we, and then, and guess what?
And we're still not satisfied. And God says the law of the harvest is give, give, give. Give your heart first. Direct your heart through your finances. Give your talent.
Give your time. Give, care, love, be generous. Be tender toward God, tender toward people. And as you give for the right reason, with the right motive, loving God and loving others, it will be what?
Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, back into your lap. In fact, He expands the promise well beyond any financial consideration. He says God will give you everything you need in every area of your life.
Is that wild? 2 Corinthians 9 verses 8 through 11, literally, you wanted to summarize what He says? God will give you, key word, everything you need in every area of your life. Are you ready for a fun exercise? If you have a pen, I have one in here, you should bring a pen to church. I'm serious because I'm going to do something right now and if you don't have a pen, you're going to miss all the fun.
This is going to be fun, really fun. I'm going to read the next three verses. And as I read the next three verses, if you have a pen, then every time I say the word all, you can circle it. And every time I say the word every, you can circle it. And when you get done on your notes, not the people that don't have a pen, but on your notes, you're going to see all, all, all, every, every, every, every, and you're going to have a little spiritual experience where you're going to go, whoa, could God really mean this? You bet He does.
Pens up and running, are we ready? And God is able to make all grace abound to you so that in all things at all times, having all you need, you will abound in every good work. He's just told him, I want you to give, give, give, give, and we're all scared, no, no, no, no, no.
He says, wait a second, God is able to do what? Give you all grace so that you get all things at all times for all you need. Does this sound like finances?
What's all things? You got a need in school? You got a need on the team? You got a need with the boyfriend? You got a need relationally, spiritually, emotionally? He will give you what? All things at all times, all that you want, does it say?
Better underline need so we remember. As it is written, he's scattered abroad his gifts to the poor, his righteousness endures forever. Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and increase the store of your seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. This next line is critical, and I'm going to ask you to underline about three or four phrases, but here's what I want you to listen for as I do. He's really giving a agricultural metaphor. My farmer would hear this and go, duh, but he's going to go point one, point two, point three, agriculture, agriculture, agriculture. Then point four, he's going to twist it and say, what I was really talking about was spiritual issues, righteousness.
Follow along, underline the phrase. Now he who supplies the phrase seed to the sower, that's the original provision to invest. God gives all of us seed, okay? Think of it as 100, 1,000, 10,000 for different people, but he gives you seed.
And bread for food, that's today's provision. So you may get a big bushel of seed, you take a portion of that seed, you grind it up, you make bread, that's for today. Third, will also supply and increase your store of seed. What's the store of seed? The farmer plants the seed, he harvests all the seed, part of the seed he takes over here and he uses for daily food, the other he stores to do what?
Next year he's going to put it back in the ground, he's going to invest it, correct? Now notice what he goes, and we'll enlarge, underline the phrase, the harvest of your righteousness. The original provision by God. Some is for today's needs, some is so that you can reinvest or give, let it die, so that it can be multiplied. And when it's multiplied, when you live with the law of the harvest as a giver with your time and your talent and your treasure, what comes back?
He enlarges the harvest of your righteousness. And then notice verse 11, you will be made rich in every, that's a word you get to circle. You will be made rich in every way, so why does God make people rich emotionally? Why does God make people rich relationally? Why does God make people rich financially?
So they can get bigger, bigger, bigger, more, more, more, have, have, have, acquire, acquire, acquire, impress, impress, impress? Is that what it says? He will make you rich in every way, so that you will be generous on every occasion, and through us, your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. Do you see what he's saying? He doesn't, I like, Randy Alcorn has a great phrase. He says, God doesn't increase your income to raise your standard of living, it's to raise your standard of giving. See, one of the things I've done is I've just sat down and at some point you say, here's the line. As long as I live, however much money God ever, here's where I live, here's how much money, everything over that I'm going to give away, and I think every single person needs to draw a line.
Otherwise, the creep will come, and you just, you just start getting more and more and more and more stuff. But did you notice, he says, God makes us rich so we can be generous on every occasion, and then Paul is writing to a church that he's encouraging to give, to plant seeds to give, and it was tough for them, like it's tough for us. And then he says, through us, you're going to give it to us, and then we're going to go back to Jerusalem, and we're going to feed these people that don't have any food, your Jewish brethren, and they're going to eat that food, and they're going to say, God, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, you're an awesome God, because God does provide, but he often provides what?
Through his people. I love this song by, I think it's a casting crown group that we heard earlier, and it talks about, you know, if we are his body, why aren't his hands reaching? Why aren't his arms loving?
Why aren't our mouth teaching? See, you know, the way God loves us, Jesus, when he did it, walked in the earth, he had a body. Guess what you are?
Guess what? We're his body. And when there's a need over there, he puts it on my heart and my attitude and it always the best, but if that lady needs money for her rent, I was his hands. And then God provided for me. And as we give, see, we have a limited pie mentality. Down deep in our hearts, we think there's just one pie, and if I got to get my sliver, and if I give my sliver away, or if someone messes with my sliver, there won't be enough for me.
And God says, you don't understand. I'm a God of abundance. I'm the pie maker. When you give away your slice, I might give you a whole pie.
And if I can find a handful of people that will give away pies, man, I'll give you a truckload of pies. Because God longs. He's a rewarder of those who diligently seek him. But he makes us rich in every way so we can be generous. And so as you turn the page, I said you have a decision to make.
This is the only time in all of scripture I can find where God so wants you to experience his power, so wants you to experience the reality of supernatural grace. He's going to say, here's a tangible, specific way where you can make a decision. The issue is not money. The issue is, do you believe me? Do you have faith? Are you willing to believe?
Are you willing to take the water and pour it down the pump, or not? And so he says, I dare you. Literally. Remember when you were kids? At least we did it when I was a kid. And you were on this roof, and you weren't supposed to be on the roof. And there was a house pretty close, and you wanted to run real fast on the roof and try and jump.
Our houses were real close. From that roof to that roof. And you're thinking, if you don't make it, you're going to die. And of course, some kid turns to you and goes, I dare you. Your whole manhood's on the line. Okay, I'm going to die, Mom.
And you're thinking, no, this is nuts. And then he goes, I double dare you. And then you had to tighten your tennies. Actually, I kind of hit on my stomach right on the edge, and I slid down the roof.
Didn't get hurt too badly, but it wasn't very smart. But you know what God says to you this morning? I dare you. Test me.
Malachi 3, look in the box. God says, this isn't out there, this is to you. Bring the whole tithe. Circle the word whole tithe. The word tithe just means 10%. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse. 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. Test me. Bring in the first portion.
Be a giver. Find out, is the parchment true or not? And underneath that, I have a challenge.
It says I, your name, on my notes it says Chip Ingram, do not write Chip Ingram on your notes. Choose to take God up on his challenge, his promise to trust him to meet all my needs. I take this step by committing the first 10% of my income to the Lord for the next 90 days. And you know what, there's no magical thing here, and this is not the time to talk about, yes, you know, Abraham before the law gave 10%, and if you study the Old Testament you realize that it was a theocracy and it was a different time. They actually gave about 23%, and you know, Jesus and Matthew said to the people, you know, hey, you should keep tithing your herbs and spices, but don't miss the point of the law and justice and compassion. You know what, the point is not 10%.
I mean, it's pretty clear here. But what I would say is I'd pray real hard about signing my name and take God up on his challenge for 90 days. Like I said, I've got a file folder about this thick, I've done this for a number of years, and I just got stories of a little Chinese girl came and it was her second time in church, she became a Christian, you know, I felt kind of bad. She became a Christian the week before and it was her second time, but she didn't have any baggage so she didn't know anything.
She gave her first portion. She came back the next week and said, I had twice as many customers, is this how it works? And I said, well, sometimes, you know, God's really gracious, especially to new Christians. And I remember a guy who, you know, was pretty well off and realized he'd been at 10%, but his income kept growing and he decided, I'm going to give 20 next year.
And he became the number one salesman in a major company. Am I saying all that's going to happen to you? No. I'm saying if you give, God will give back in the area and the way that your heart needs the most. I remember one family in all those emails wrote and said, dear Chip, I want you to know that nothing good at all happened in our finances as we took the 90-day challenge. Our money is just about the same. But because we took it, we sat down as a couple for the first time in five years and looked at where our money was going. We actually sat down and had a budget and resolved some issues.
And I want to tell you now that what happened was so amazing is our marriage and our family, we've never had such peace in our home in all the years that we've been married. See, treasure chain hooked to heart. By the way, for those that are new and maybe visiting or you've not been here that long, if for any reason there's any sense that you sense in your spirit that maybe this is some sneaky ploy for this church to get money, give it somewhere else, okay?
This is not about our needs. This is about you. And then there's a three-by-five card that we put in your notes. I would encourage you to decide whether you're going to do this or not before God. Write your name on that card and say, dear God, I'm taking the Malachi 3 Challenge for 90 days and stick it somewhere where you could read it over and pray and see what he does. As you've listened and said in your heart of hearts, I want to take the Malachi 3 Challenge.
Go to our website. We've provided a free download that says I will commit to the Malachi 3 Challenge. Now, what I want you to know is that you'll be saying to God, okay, you dared me. You dared me to trust you for 90 days with my finances.
And Lord, here I am. I'm going to trust you. And then write the date down, make sure you talk with your mate if you're married.
Don't do this off on your own and not be on the same page. But then I would encourage you, okay, Lord, I'm going to do this. You said you would meet all my needs according to your riches and glory. For many of you, this is tithing. You know, you kind of give sporadically. And for some of you, you don't give at all. This is a moment of truth and you realize if I give the first 10% of my income, I'm going to have to radically prioritize my finances.
I'm going to probably have to make a little budget. But here's what I want you to know. If you will take this step, you're going to see God work. I have a stack of letters and emails over the years of people that have done this and God has shown up in radical ways. And by the way, He doesn't always show up financially.
He often shows up in ways that are more important to your heart, your life, and your relationships. But here's what I want you to do. Don't think, oh, that's nice. Someday, someway, I ought to do that. This is the living God calling you to give your heart to Him evidenced by your money. God bless you.
Now go for it. Inspiring words, Chip. Well, if you're ready to step up and take the Malachi 3 Challenge, go to SpecialOffersAtLivingOnTheEdge.org or the Chip Ingram app and download this free resource.
Make today the day you commit to trusting God with your finances for the next 90 days. Again, to download this free resource, go to Special Offers On The Chip Ingram app or at LivingOnTheEdge.org. Well, Chip's still with me here in studio. And Chip, before we go, God's truly blessed Living on the Edge with unbelievable ministry opportunities. And I know there's one particular opportunity that's personally brought you a lot of joy.
It's something we developed through the pandemic that's really taken off. Would you take a minute and talk about it? Dave, I would be delighted. We started something called Daily Discipleship. And it was just how to study the Bible for yourself, but it wasn't a teaching. It was me speaking directly to a person into a camera.
And I really didn't know if it would work. Right. Well, over 200,000 people have been through one of the five Daily Discipleships. And the feedback, why it brings me such joy, is it's not like, oh, I like the teaching, or oh, that was really great, or that inspired me. Over and over and over, I hear people say, I'm reading the Bible every day.
God's speaking to me. I have these skills. I kind of learn to journal. When I went through that with you, I developed the habit. It's changed my life. It's changed my marriage. I mean, it has been the most singular, delightful thing that I, in the last 40 years, have gotten to experience in a way that I never dreamed could happen by way of video. I mean, just little 10-minute videos and a little something to help people. Well, what I have to tell you is, we're going to keep making them.
And the demand is really strong. And here's my appeal. If you've done any of the Daily Discipleships, and if it helped you, would you consider becoming a monthly partner? Would you pay it forward? Would you just say, wow, yes, I went through that one in Ephesians, or the one in Philippians, or the one in Romans, or the one in James, and wow, it so helped me. If it helped you, would you please help us help others? Would you pray and ask God if he wants you to be a monthly partner to Living on the Edge? Thanks, Chip. Well, as you prayerfully consider your role with this ministry, I want to remind you that every gift is significant.
When you partner with Living on the Edge, you multiply our efforts and resources in ways only God can do. To set up a recurring donation, go to LivingOnTheEdge.org or the Chip Ingram app. You can also text donate to 74141. That's the word donate to 74141. We appreciate your support. Before we go, I want to remind you that the Chip Ingram app is an easy way to share messages or complete series with others. So whenever you're encouraged by what you hear, I hope you'll pass it along to a friend or loved one who will benefit from it. And be sure to tell them how it made a difference in your life. Until next time, this is Dave Druey saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
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