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August 21, 2020 1:00 am
Many of us are burdened with debt at the same time as our jobs are in jeopardy. So, what do we do? In this message we begin a series that will show us how to honor God no matter how empty our wallets get. We need to realize that our use of money is one way in which we worship God.Click here to listen (Duration 25:02)
Let us run with endurance race with a set before us looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecta of our faith.
Many of us are burdened with debt at the same time as our jobs are in jeopardy. So what do we do? Today, we begin a series that will show us how to honor God no matter how empty our wallets get. The key realizing that our use of money is one way in which we worship God.
From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is running to win with Dr. Irwin Leuser, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line.
Pastor, sir, today you begin a series on investing for eternity. Give us the roadmap ahead.
Well, you know, Dave, in summary form, I have to say that that which we invest in eternity will meet us again.
Simply not true that you can't take it with you. You can, but it has to be transmuted into the heavenly kingdom. What a privilege we have. I know that this is a time of economic uncertainty, but faithfulness in money is very important to God. And, you know, speaking of that importance, we hear at running to win exist the gospel of Jesus Christ, going to thousands upon thousands of people because of the commitment that people have made to help us. We believe deeply that this is a good eternal investment. Would you consider becoming an endurance partner as someone who stands with us regularly with their prayers and their gifts? Here's what you do. Go to endurance partners, dot orig. That's endurance partners dot org or call us said one eight eight eight two one eight ninety three. Thirty seven one eight eight eight two one eight nine DS3 thirty seven. And now we go to the pulpit of Moody Church where we talk about investments that really last investments for all of eternity.
This is the first in a series of four messages titled Investing for the Turner T, Investing for Eternity.
The minute you mentioned the word money, we immediately, immediately we begin a rundown in our own minds of where we stand on the economic ladder. And given the fact that we are in an economic slowdown and the projection is that things might get worse before they get better.
People today are filled with fear. As a matter of fact, I read that 10000 heart attacks probably happened in the last 12 months. That can be traceable to the economic situation. Even the rich are scared.
And so as a result of that, money is on our minds a great deal, a great deal more than it usually is.
And it usually occupies a great deal of our time and our energy and our thought, because money has tremendous power, power for good and power for evil.
This series of messages is intended for us to kind of back off and see what God has to say about money. But of course, what I say here in the pulpit is only a small little window into the picture.
And that's why, as you notice, we have opportunities for you to learn more.
But we want you to begin to grapple with this whole business of finances and to think about money very seriously.
And I want to begin this series by giving you some encouragement. Don't turn to the passage, but just remember it in your mind. That 26 chapter of Genesis.
The Bible says that there was a famine in the land and Isaac was living in the land at that time.
And the word of the Lord came to Isaac saying, do not go down into Egypt.
That's usually what happened when there was a famine in the land.
His father, Abraham, went down into Egypt and it is there that he was able to get Hagar, who later on became his mistress.
And furthermore, it is there that he lost lots heart because later on Lotte had a love for money because he had seen the wealth of Egypt. So God says, Isaac, don't go down into Egypt. There is a famine in the land. But stay in this land and I will take care of you.
And right from the get go, I want to tell you that there may be a famine in the land, but stay in the land and God will take care of you.
God has not forgotten his people in the midst of some economic loss, when all of us have seen our retirement funds shrivel and we've seen the future being quite bleak. Can some of you may be this past week, maybe your job was terminated. God is going to be with us through all this.
Now, the moment you mentioned the word money to people in a church, immediately you'll have a reaction. Some people react because they say, oh, there he goes again. He's talking about money. Usually these are people who had a bad experience in a church where all that the church talked about was money.
I can say truthfully, I believe that that's not at all true of Moody Church. What a terrible thing it is if you give simply because we need to keep the lights on and simply because we have salaries that need to be paid. That's not why you give giving is the kingdom of God. Giving is extending the kingdom around the world. Giving is teams that go to Mexico and that missionaries who go to Romania and orphanages in other lands that we support and all kinds of things that your money has done that we don't even have time to tell you about. That's what it is. It's advancing the gospel here amid the families of Chicago, the children of Chicago. And to be a light. That's what it's all about. It's never about giving. And all that we want is your money.
I want you to relax, because if you are here today thinking that all that we want is your money, you're going to find out how wrong you really are. That's not what this is about. Secondly, there are those who are stingy. I know that the word is frugal.
But I'm using the word stingy. I want to just call it what it is. Now, if you are stingy, you know, you're going to really react because you're going to say the very mention of it sends something through my soul. Remember that old story that comes from East Texas where there was this little church and the woman there was a woman sitting there in her finery really decked out. She had bling.
And the the deacon passed the offering plate to past her and she didn't give anything. So he just passed it by her again. And she still didn't give anything. Then he passed it by a third time. You can imagine how she was looking and staring at him when that happened.
So he leaned over and whispered to her, he said, either put something in or take something out because it's for the heathen. Anyway.
Oh, friend. God wants to change you so that at the very sound and talk of the word money, you think in terms of what you can do rather than all the things that you're determined not to do.
So it isn't about that. And then there are those, because the minute you mentioned the word money, they think of debt. I think the credit card has done a lot of harm. There are all kinds of things we'd never buy.
We could you imagine going out in a restaurant and spending eighty dollars for you and your friends to have a meal and you're actually taking the money out? 80 bucks. Twenty four. You would never do that, but you put it on a credit card like the bumper sticker says, live within your means, even if you need to borrow in order to do it. The average American couple lives at least 10 percent beyond their means. And this is a very difficult time to learn that debt is a curse.
Debt is a curse.
In fact, Dirt Devil in-depth, they're all related, and that's why here at the Moody Church following this series, what we'd like to do is and we're working on it. We're in touch with some people who are going to teach it. We want to give instruction, specific instruction to individuals regarding finances to help you get out of debt, to help you think in terms of budget, to help you, to think in terms of how you can have a plan so that things will not be where they are a year from now. We want to help you as individuals do that because we understand the overwhelming bondage of debt.
But what we're going to talk about is such things as what is the best investment and the best investment is the highest rate of return and the greatest amount of security. When you have those, you've got a good investment. And that's why we've titled the series Investing for Eternity.
Now, in order to see how God does things and to give us at least a little introduction to the way in which God sees wealth, I want you to take your Bibles and turn to the Book of Exodus Exodus.
And we're going to begin a Chapter 35 where God gives some instructions to Moses because God wants to build a tabernacle. The Tabernacle was a tent and this tent, Woodhouse is the holy of holies. And this is where God was going to appear and be localized for the people to worship and the principles that God laid out for how it was to be built, how he foresees the use of wealth. They're all here and they're all applicable to us today. So I want us to read the text and to understand that, first of all, God says, when you're doing something, let it be a community project. A community project. Exodus chapter thirty five, page seventy five.
I believe it is on your Bible there that you have before you and you can pick the one up that's in the seat.
Seventy five. Page seventy five, verse four. Moses said to all the congregation of the people of Israel, this is the thing that the Lord is commanded take from among you. A contribution to the Lord, whoever is of a generous heart. Let him bring the Lord's contribution. Gold, silver, bronze, blue and purple and scarlet yarns. Fine twine, linen, goats, hair, tanned rams, skins, goat skins, acacia wood. Oil for the light, spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense and onyx stones and stones for the setting, for the Evett and for the breast peace.
Notice that God says this to all of Israel. Burse for all the congregation of Israel.
The invitation went to them all. Why does God do it that way? Why didn't he just have angels build this tent? Why didn't he just create the tent?
Well, God's us. First of all, what unifies people is either a common enemy or a common project. And so God says, I want you to be together so that you can share one another's gifts and one another's abilities. And also, the Lord says, to spread the blessing when the tent has been built. Everybody involved. That's why it's so important for us to teach children the good use of money, to teach them to give to the Lord, to teach them to think strategically about money and have a plan. It is so that in the end, all can rejoice together. Our Sunday school, our young people, when we have a project, as we did with ACLC, the Christian Life Center, all were able to rejoice together because all participated.
I know that we're going through an economic hard time. I'm well aware of that. Christian ministries are suffering financially because of it. But, you know, God is going to bring us through it and he's going to bring us through it together.
And in the end, all of us will rejoice together and we'll look back and see the faithfulness of God, because his challenge to us is that this is a community, a community challenge. It includes all those of you who are in the balcony. Those of you who are in the lower floor. Also those of you who are watching by way of Internet or listening by way of radio. We need to help one another. And God says to all the Israelites. I have a message for you. It is a community project. Secondly, it is a volunteer project. It is a volunteer project. You'll notice that the Lord says in verse five, we have to read it again. Take from among you a contribution to the Lord.
Whoever is of a generous heart. Let him bring to the Lord. You don't have to do this. You don't have to do this. Whoever is of the generous heart. Now notice it says in verse 21.
And they came. Every one whose heart stirred him. And every one whose spirit moved him and brought the Lord's contribution.
What about verse 22?
All those who were a willing heart brought brooches and earrings and signet rings and arm lifts, all sorts of gold objects. Every man dedicating an offering of gold to the Lord.
They were willingly doing this. So that's why I've asked you to relax. If you say to yourself, well, I'm not going to give because I don't want to. Guess what? You don't have to give. You know, I've met people who are very angry.
They are angry at God. They're angry at their employer. They are angry at their church. They have a lot of deep seated anger. And they will say to themselves, you'll never get a dime from me.
So you can say that you heard it here. I say it with a smile. Keep your dime. And also, let me tell you that you have the privilege of being miserable. Did you know that, you know, among all of our rights as Americans, the right to free assembly, the right to freedom of speech, the right to freedom of religion? There should also be the freedom to be miserable. It should be a constitutional right. If you're not willing. Your heart doesn't move you.
You don't have a burden for the children of Chicago. You don't see the need of having strong families and the work that we have in effect all over the world through our missionaries.
If that doesn't stir you, guess what? You don't have to be involved. So it was a volunteer project. Let me say also, it was a focused project focused. What do I mean by that? Now, here is the thing. This will transform your attitude toward giving. I promise you that if you catch this principal, you'll never give the same again. Who did they give their gifts to? Well, of course they gave them to Moses, you say, because the Bible says they brought them to Moses. Yes, of course they brought them to Moses. But because Moses was kind of the leader of the whole project, that was going to happen. But really, that's not the person for whom the gifts were intended. Obviously, they were focused in bringing their gifts to the Lord. Now your Bibles are open. Watch this, because we have to see it in the text. Over and over again, it says the verse five, whoever is of a generous heart.
Let him bring the Lord's contribution. Verse 21. Whoever Spirit moved him brought the Lord's contribution to be used in the tent of meeting verse 22. All who are willing brought brooches and so forth. You'll notice it says at the end of the verse, dedicating an offering of gold to the Lord.
When you give, you do not give to a project. You do not give to a person.
You give to the Lord the Lord. It will change the way in which you view your giving. It really will.
Andrew Fuller was a man in England who began the Baptist organization there in another century, and someone came to him and said, you know, since it is you, Andrew Fuller, and you are trying to raise money for this project, I shall give you five pounds.
And he took five pounds and gave it to the preacher. And Fuller says, Since you think it is connected with me, I shall return the five pounds. You keep it, Fuller said.
This offering is exclusively for the Lord. The man said. Why? He says if it is in it for the Lord, then I shall give 10.
Let me tell you why this is so critical. If you give to a church, it is so easy to find fault with what the church does with money.
I've never been in a church where I have always agreed necessarily with the way in which money is spent, at least in some small matters. You may say, well, I'm not sure that we needed this or I'm not sure that we needed that. We here at the Moody Church have the highest standard of integrity with a finance committee that meticulously follows the instructions on your giving envelope. And we do. Before God did the very best that we can because we know that we are not dealing with your money. We're dealing really with God's money.
But at the same time, it's easy to it's easy to criticize. It's easy to find fault. And the first thing that people do when they live this way is to say, well, I don't like the way the church did this or that. And so I'm not going to give the answer, my friend, is you give to God.
This is for the Lord. The leadership of churches and organizations will answer to God for the way in which the money is spent. But this is your gift to God.
It'll change the way in which you bring your offering.
That offering is for the Lord.
It frees you. It frees you. So it was a focused project. It was a generous project. Now, this is a passage that preachers like to refer to. And it's one that we all love to read. I mean, and you already know it, if you have been a Christian for more than two years, you know this passage in Chapter 36 of Exodus. Now, we've turned the page to chapter 36 and it says verse three. And they received from Moses. It's speaking about the workman because God wasn't just interested in their contributions. He was interested in their work. And there were a number of people who built the tabernacle. And God gave them the wisdom to know how to do that. But you'll notice, it says in verse three. And they received from Moses all the contribution that the people of Israel had brought for doing the work of the sanctuary. They still kept bringing him freewill offerings every morning so that all the craftsmen who were doing every sort of task on the sanctuary came each from the task that he was doing.
And this said to Moses that people bring much more than enough for doing the work of the Lord. So Moses gave a command and the word was proclaimed throughout the camp. Let no man or woman do anything more for the contribution of the sanctuary. So the people were restrained from bringing for the material they had was sufficient to do all the work and more.
Now, I've been a pastor for 35 years.
First of all, in a small Baptist church north of here and then moody church going on toward 30 years, just once. Just once. Lord, before I die.
May I have to say to the congregation. Enough already. We got more money than we can use. I think I'd probably have to live as long as my dad did before I could say that.
It's a marvelous passage. You know what was happening? They had a revival.
Because there's nothing that I remember in Canada in 1970 when God in Western Canada was able to work mightily in the lives of churches and people said, we are walking knee deep in love. And 20 churches were all participating in what God was doing. They had enough money for anything that they undertook.
Well, my friend, this is Pastor Luther. And if you're wondering how long my father lived, he lived until the age of one hundred and six.
I'm so glad that we have the privilege of partnering together when people are committed to the Ministry of running to win. It isn't just simply that you are a giver. You are a partner. You are joining hands with us. I like to say that you're becoming a part of the running to win family. Would you consider becoming an endurance partner? Here's how you can check it out. Go to endurance partners. Door to orig. That's endurance partners dot org. Or you can call us at one eight eight eight two one eight ninety 93 thirty seven. We are totally committed to integrity of ministry and investing all that you might contribute so that thousands upon thousands of people can hear the gospel in more than 20 different countries. Thanks in advance for helping us endurance partners dot org. Or call us at one eight eight eight two one eight nine DS3 thirty seven.
You can write to us at running to win 16 thirty five North Lascelle Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois. Six oh six one four. In the Book of Exodus, we read of the building of God's Tabernacle. There's great detail on everyone's contribution to make the project a success. When we see giving as an act of worship, we cease focusing on the money and begin focusing on God next time on running to win more on when giving becomes a team effort with everyone taking their part all to advance the church's ministry and help spread the gospel. Thanks for listening. This is Dave McCalister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.