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Life of Paul Part 37-The Principle of Faith-Handling Money God's Way

So What? / Lon Solomon
The Truth Network Radio
July 9, 2020 12:00 am

Life of Paul Part 37-The Principle of Faith-Handling Money God's Way

So What? / Lon Solomon

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July 9, 2020 12:00 am

Handling Money God's Way

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Hey, welcome today.

It's great to have you here. We want you to take a Bible and we want you to open it together, if you brought one, to Philippians chapter 4. The letter that Paul wrote the church of Philippi chapter 4 will be coming there in just a moment.

But remember today we are finishing up a series, a short series entitled Handling Money, God's Way. This series grows out of our longer series where we've been looking at the life and the ministry of the Apostle Paul. And if you remember the Apostle Paul has been now in Philippi, Acts 16, for several months and he'd begun, he established there the first church ever established on the continent of Europe. Well this church also went on to become the most liberal, the most generous, and the most open-hearted church when it came to giving to the work of God of any church in the entire New Testament. And we said, hey, this might be a good moment for us to stop and for us to just learn the lessons that the Philippian example teaches us about giving to God. Now if you remember the Bible also said that the Philippians had sent money to the Apostle Paul a number of different times, but that most recently they sent him money when he was in Rome in jail.

And as a result of that he sent them back a thank you note. We call it today the book of Philippians, the letter to the Philippians. And in chapter four of this letter, every principle we need to set up a biblical system of money management appears. And we've been going over these principles. Principle number one was the principle of contentment in verses 10 to 13. Principle number two was the principle of investment, verses 14 to 17. Then last week in verse 18 we went over the third principle, the principle of worship. And finally today we're going to conclude with the principle of faith that we find in verse 19. And let me just remind you before we dig in of one more fact, and that is that the purpose of this series is not to get you to give more money to McLean Bible Church. The purpose of this series is to get every one of us here to learn the principles of a biblical system of money management so that as we put these principles into life in our lives, we can be a blessing to the work of God, we can be a blessing to other people, and we can be a blessing to our family because we position ourselves for God to do some rich and exciting things for us. So that's what we're doing.

Let's dig in. Principle number four, the principle of faith. Now, verse 19 says, And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. Now in this verse, Almighty God makes us a wonderful promise as followers of Christ. He tells us he will do something for us not he might do something, or he may or he could or he should or he'll think about it or maybe God says I will do something. And one of the great things about God is that when God makes you and me a promise, we can hold him to it, we can take it to the bank.

The reason for this is found in the nature and the character of who God is. God is a is a is not capable of lying. The Bible says, Titus chapter one, verse two, that God is a God who cannot lie.

Hebrews six, verse 18. For it is impossible for God to lie. Numbers 23 in the Old Testament, God is not a human being that he should lie, nor does he change his mind.

Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and then not fulfilled? Friends, this is just the way God is. It's not that God is so honest that he won't lie. It's that God is so holy that he can't lie. And so what is the promise then that this God who cannot lie makes you and me here in Philippians four, he says he will meet all of our needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. The word that's translated here meet, meet our needs literally means to fill completely to fill to overflowing. And so God's promise here is not that he will meet our needs in a miserly way, but rather that he will meet our needs completely, overflowing Lee with abundant generosity and liberality.

And this is exactly what David said in the 23rd song. Remember, David said, You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies, you anoint my head with oil, my cup, what runs over my cup overflows. Every time I read this verse, I think of a can of Coke, where when you pop it open and you pour it in the glass too quick, it just explodes over the top of the glass and runs all over the countertop. And this is exactly how God says that he's going to meet our needs.

He's going to do it in a way that explodes right over the top of your cup and runs all over the countertop. Now, the rest of this verse confirms that this is indeed what God is promising us. Look, let me show you the verse says that God will meet our needs and not out of his glorious riches that in what it says, it says God will meet our needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. She said, Well, what's the difference? Sounds like same thing to me.

No, it's not. See, if you're a millionaire and you drive up to valet parking, and you tip the valet parking guy $5 for parking your car, you have tipped him out of your riches. But if you drive up to the valet parking guy and tip him 500 bucks for parking your car, now you have tipped him according to your riches in a way that demonstrates how rich you really are in a way that befits the abundance of wealth that you have. And see, this is God's promise. God doesn't promise us he will meet our needs out of his riches. Well, that's not much of a promise. He promises us he will meet our needs according to his glorious riches in Christ in a way that befits and reflects to an all looking world how wealthy and how much abundance Almighty God really has. That's how he'll meet our needs. And so whenever you and I become the beneficiaries of Philippians 4 19, we always, always end up getting more than we need more than we deserve more than we asked for friends more than we ever even dreamed of. You say, Wow, a lot. What a great promise from God for us as followers of Christ. But wait a minute.

Whoa, but you say, Well, what kind of bus? Yeah, I knew there was a bud here somewhere. No, no, no, wait a minute. There's a bud here. And the bud is that this promise is not for everybody. You said, Well, I know that I just said it's for all of us who are followers of Jesus Christ. No, it's not for every follower of Jesus Christ either. You say, What are you talking about? Of course it is.

Uh huh. Let me show you. You see, when God makes a promise, there are one of two kinds of promises that God can make that he makes in the Bible. Some of his promises in the Bible are unconditional promises. An unconditional promise from God means that God has promised that he will do something regardless of any human conditions being met.

You say, What's an example of that? Well, how about the promise God made to Abraham that Abraham's descendants would continue forever? And that's why the Jewish people still exist today, even though as a nation they rejected their Messiah, even though for the last 2000 years they've been in national unbelief in spite of all the people through the ages who have tried to wipe them out of existence. The reason the Jewish people still exist today is because God made Abraham an unconditional promise. And you know, every time I go to Jerusalem and I stand at the wailing wall or every time I wake up in the morning and look in the mirror at my Jewish face, I remind myself God made Abraham an unconditional promise.

And that's what I'm doing here today. That's what Israel's doing here today. Now there's another kind of promise that God makes in the Bible, and these are conditional promises, meaning that God commits himself to do something once you and I have met the condition that he attaches or that he lays out. And you say, What's an example of a conditional promise? Well, how about John 3 16? For God so loved the world that he sent his one and only son, that whoever believes in his son, there's your condition, whoever believes in his son, here comes the promise shall not perish, but shall have eternal life. God says, I've got a promise I'm willing to give that I'll give you eternal life and I'll keep my end of the bargain.

Once you meet the condition, you meet the condition, you'll get the promise. Now, if you're here today and you've never trusted Christ in a real impersonal way, let me just point out to you that this is a really important piece of information for you to have knowing what the condition is. You see, the condition that God lays out here forgetting eternal life is not good works church membership singing in the choir saying the rosary.

It's not putting money in the offering plate being a good citizen contributing to your 401k or recycling. None of those are the condition. The condition is trusting Jesus Christ and what he did on the cross. And so if you're here today and you'd like to have eternal life and never church, guess what?

God would love to do that for you. He would, but you got to meet the condition and the condition is that you place your personal faith in what Jesus did for you on the cross. Good to know the condition so you know how to activate the promise. But you see friends, this is the whole point that the way conditional promises work is that whenever anyone meets the condition God put to it, he activates, she activates the promise of God. From that point on, the promise is good. Now, Philippians 4 19 is a conditional promise.

You say, No, we didn't. I don't see any condition here. All it says is God will meet all my needs. No, that isn't what it says.

Look carefully. It says, and God show me all of our needs. You say, Well, well, yeah, so what? I mean, big deal.

No, no, no, it is a big deal. You see, the word and is a connective. The meaning that it connects Philippians 4 19 with what went before it for Philippians 4 19. The word and tells us is not a standalone promise from God. It's not a freestanding promise from God. It is a promise from God that flows out of the verses that went before it. Verses 10 through 18. It is a promise that God made to the Philippians in light of their actions in verses 10 through 18. And what were their actions in verses 10 to 18? Well, the Bible tells us in those verses that these Philippian Christians gave to God consistently that these Philippian Christians gave to God generously that these Philippian Christians gave to God sacrificially.

And verse 19. In light of that, God says, Here's the promise that I'm giving you guys in light of the way you've acted. I am going to meet your needs bountifully, according to my riches in Christ Jesus, in light of the way you've acted. This is a promise with a condition and the condition is that we have to be Philippian Christians in order to activate this promise.

We have to be people who are giving to the work of God consistently, generously and sacrificially like the Philippians were. The promise was given to people who were living like that. You say, Lon, come on now. You sure you're not pulling too much out of this word and sounds to me like you're trying to make and walk on four legs here, son.

Well, no, I don't think I am. Listen, let me go through some other places in the Bible where God promises rich financial provision and see if we don't find the same condition attached. All right, here we go. Second Corinthians, Chapter nine, verse eight. Paul's talking about giving, and he says he or she who sows bountifully in giving.

There's your condition. Here comes the promise shall reap bountifully. How about Proverbs three nine? Honor the Lord with your wealth.

There's the condition. Here comes the promise. And then your barns will be filled to overflowing and your vats will brim over with new wine. How about Malachi, Chapter three, verse 10? Bring the whole offering into the storehouse.

There's your condition. And here comes the promise. I will throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing on you.

You won't even have room to store it. How about one more? Luke six 38. Jesus said, Give.

There's your condition. And here comes the promise. It will be given back to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over. Folks, the point is that everywhere we go and find these wonderful promises of God, I'll fill you up so you don't have room to store it. I'll give to you till it's pressed down and running over. I will open the floodgates of heaven.

Your barns will be filled. Every time we find one of these, we find the same condition that in order to activate these promises, we have to be Philippian Christians first. Let's summarize. What have we learned so far? We've learned Philippians 4 19 is a fabulous promise from God. It's a promise where God says he will meet our needs, not in a stingy way, not in a parsimonious way, but that he will meet our needs bountifully, magnanimously, sumptuously, philanthropically, overflowingly. However, in order to qualify for this promise, you and I have got to meet the condition that God attaches.

And that condition is that we be Philippian Christians, people who just like the Philippians gave to the work of God consistently, generously and sacrificially. You say, OK, OK, OK, that's enough. Stop, stop, stop right there.

Enough. What are you really saying, Lon? Are you really saying that unless I give money to God, God's not going to meet my needs? Is that what I'm hearing you say here? No, not saying that at all. As a matter of fact, I'm saying the opposite. I'm saying that if you're a child of God by faith in Christ and therefore God is your Heavenly Father, he has committed himself in the Bible to meeting your every need, whether you ever give a penny to God or not.

You say, well, then what are you saying? What I'm saying is, if all you want is for God to meet your basic needs in a basic way, then you don't need to give God anything or do anything with your money. But if you and I want to become the beneficiaries of Philippians 4 19, if you and I want to activate God's promise here of meeting our needs liberally, overflowingly, bountifully, then you and I have to be Philippian Christians because that's to whom the promise was made. We have to be giving to God the way they were giving to God consistently, sacrificially and generously. See, I believe there's a lot of Christians around the world claiming this promise and it doesn't belong to them because they have met the conditions, it's not their promise. God didn't make it to every follower of Christ or every American.

He made it to Philippian Christians. They say, Okay, I got it. You made your point. But how do I get to be one of these people? How do I learn how to give like this like they gave?

How do I make myself into one of these people? Well, great question. Let's answer it as we close. You know, in Second Corinthians chapter eight, Paul is talking about a collection that he's taking up among all the New Testament churches to carry to Jerusalem and give to the poor believers there. And he points to the Philippians in this chapter as the model, the example of giving that every church should follow. Listen to what he says about the Philippians. Verse two, he says, Out of their extreme poverty, they, the Philippians, rose up with rich generosity, for they gave as much as they were able and even beyond their financial ability on the human level. Now it's obvious from what Paul says here that the Philippian believers were not a wealthy bunch. In fact, he refers here to their extreme poverty. And yet, in spite of that, the Philippians gave so generously that they became the model that the apostle Paul held up for every other church to copy.

In fact, verse four of this chapter says that the Philippians begged us for the privilege of sharing in this offering for the poor believers in Jerusalem. Now, friends, how do you explain people who live like this? How do you explain people who beg for the privilege of giving, people who give so generously that they become the model for every other New Testament church, and yet that giving comes out of extreme poverty? How do you explain people who live like that?

Well, I'll tell you the answer. The answer is that when it comes to making our decisions about what we're going to give to God, there's only two bases on which you can make it. You're gonna make it on one or the other, either by faith or by sight. Those are the ways we make our giving decisions. Now, the Philippians did not make their giving decisions by sight. If they had made their giving decision by sight, they would never have given the way the apostle Paul described it here in the Bible. They would have looked around and said, Well, you know, we're pretty poor bunch here. And well, you know, we really don't have that much money.

And well, you know, it's good to keep a little bit for a rainy day. And well, when we look hard at our portfolio, there's just not a whole lot we can squeeze out of there to give. This is giving by sight.

Giving by sight means we're always asking this question. What can I afford to part with in light of the resources that I can see right in front of me? What can I afford to part with? Friends, the Philippians, if they had given if they had asked that question and given by sight, they would never have been the model that Paul held them up to be because they didn't have any money. How much could they afford to part with humanly?

Virtually nothing. They didn't give by sight. You say what was that other way you said to give? We can give by faith. And what does it mean to give by faith? Let me tell you, these Philippian Christians giving by faith, their focus was not on their limited portfolio. Their focus was on God's endless portfolio.

That's where they had their eyes. Their focus was on God's promise to give back to them out of his endless portfolio. See, when you're given by faith, the question you're always asking is not how much do I have that I can give away? The question you're always asking is what is God asking me to give?

That's your question. Lord, what are you asking me to give? And I'm not afraid of the answer, Lord, because you know what? If you really have the supply you say you have in the Bible, and if I really have the promise of Philippians 4 19 that you're going to give back to me, what am I afraid of? That's my question, Lord.

What do you want me to give? And friends, this is exactly what the Bible says faith is faith Hebrews 11 one is being certain of what we cannot see with our naked eyes. Meaning faith means that we're willing to depend on rely on the invisible resources of God resources we can't touch or see or dissect under a microscope or put in a test tube, but we're totally sure they're there because God tells us we're there. And listen, giving by faith means that we make our giving decisions not based on the visible resources we have in front of us.

Giving by faith means we make our giving decisions based on God's invisible resources and his promise to give back to us out of those invisible resources. Everybody understand where we are here? Yeah, good.

You kind of look like deer in a headlight. Y'all okay? All right, good. Now I got a wonderful example of this principle in operation right from our church family here. Some of you remember back in 1999 we had a matching gift offer from a benefactor here in McLean Bible Church and the deal was they would match dollar for dollar every dollar we gave to our building fund through the end through December 31st, 1999. Well, by the grace of God, that turned into a gift of $13.1 million. Yeah, well, as we were approaching the end of 1999, we were all praying about what God wanted us to throw in before the end of the year and there was this missionary couple in our church and they were praying about this too.

And you know, when you're a missionary, you live on the support of churches and people and you know what you're getting. I mean, what it is is what it is is what it is. You know what I'm saying? It's what it is.

And so you have a very limited supply of resources. The wife told me, we sat down at the kitchen table, we talked about it, we decide what we're going to give. I came into church and I sat down the last Sunday of December to write my check, put it in the offering that we were given. And she said, as I sat there, I prayed about it. And I said, Lord, I sure hope this is what you really want me to give. And he said, No, it isn't.

I want you to give two times that. And she said, Excuse me. And she said, just as clear as a bell, I knew God was asking me sitting right there in that seat to double what we had agreed to give. And she said, I thought, Well, Lord, I mean, how you know, we don't I mean, it's not like we got unlimited, you know. And he said, Don't worry about it. You've got my promises.

Just do what I tell you. Well, she did it. She didn't tell her husband. She just doubled the check, put it in the bag.

Well, when she got home, she told him, and he had apoplexy just about because he said to her, Don't you know what you've done? You gave away our mortgage payment for January. You gave away our food budget for January. I mean, we know what we have coming in every month. Where are we going to get the money to pay the mortgage?

And where are we going to get the food bill from? And she said, Well, God told me when I asked those very same questions that he had unlimited supply. Just trust him.

He'll give it back to us. And the husband was like, Well, yeah, yeah, whatever. And she said, Oh, and Oh, by the way, we're missionaries, you know. Okay, well, let me tell you what happened.

Five days later, true story. They get a phone call from California. Now, let me give you the background of this phone call back in 1981.

When they got ready to go overseas as missionaries, they had approached a man in California about giving to them. And he said, No, he said, But I'll put you in my will. Well, he died two years later, 1983.

They never heard a thing. They had, you know, so they figured out, well, he forgot about it. Well, his widow passed away in the beginning of December 1999. And the phone call was from the lawyer in California handling the estate. And he had called to tell them that they had been named in her will as beneficiaries. And they would be receiving over several installments, the amount of money that they had put in the will for them.

And just the first installment was on its way to them by check. And the first installment was 10 times the amount of the check that she wrote on Sunday and put in the offering. You say, Holy smokes, man, I need to be a missionary. No, no, this is not about you being a missionary you got you missed the whole point.

This is about a 21st century woman being a Philippian Christian, a woman whose question was not God, what can I part with? But God, what do you want me to do? Because I know you've got unlimited resources. What do you want me to do?

Just tell me. And she did it. And it's about God fulfilling his promise. Once she qualified for the condition, God fulfilled his promise. Now friends, this is how God wants you and me to give, asking the question, Lord, what do you want me to give?

Not how much can I part with? And I can't promise you that God will do for you exactly what he did for her. I can't promise you if you double your check today, you'll get 10 times back by Friday. But what I can promise you is Philippians 4 19. God will see to it. It comes true in your life, both with things money can buy and with things money can't buy. God will keep his end of the deal.

If you and I keep our end of the deal, you say, Well, okay, I hear that. But how do you get to be this kind of person? I mean, how do you develop the kind of faith that when God says to you double your check that you go, Okay, how do you get to be that kind of person?

Got two quick suggestions, and we're done. Suggestion number one is to saturate yourself with the Word of God. Romans 10 17 faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Friends, the more you and I read about the great men and women of God, who did exactly this, who didn't have their eyes on the resources they could see in front of them, but who had their eyes on the unseen resources of God, and who are willing to live their whole lives depending on the unseen resources of God. The more we read about these people, Abraham, Joseph, Ruth, David, Esther, Daniel, Deborah, the Apostle Paul, the more we are encouraged to step out in faith and live the same way. The more we see how God came along and rewarded them and took care of them, the more we're encouraged to step out and do the same thing. Listen, you will never have your faith and courage from the Washington Post.

You will never have your faith built up and challenged from Time, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated or the Ladies Home Journal. If we want to get our faith challenged by seeing men and women of faith living and God rewarding them, hey, we got to go to the place where that story is being told. And that's here in the Bible. Second of all, my second suggestion is give God the chance to prove himself to you.

I love what he says in Malachi chapter three. He says, Bring the whole offering into the storehouse and test me in this, says God. See if I won't open up the windows of heaven and pour out on you a blessing bigger than you can even store. God says, test me.

I don't mind. Put me to the test and see if I'm not trustworthy. Put me to the test and see if I won't keep my end of the bargain. And you know, sometimes we just need to step out by faith a little bit when God asks us to, and we need to give him the opportunity to show us that he's really capable of doing what he said. We need to take little baby steps, and if we take enough little baby steps, guess what? We get to the place where maybe if God did say to you, double your check today, you'd say fine. I've seen you do enough doing all those little baby steps.

I can do that. No problem. Listen, friends, we've got to take a risk sometime when God asks us to do it so he can show himself, improve himself to us. That's what faith is all about. Every one of these people we named Abraham, Joseph, Ruth, David, Deborah, Paul, they took risk when God asked them to, and that's how they learned to trust God for the enormous things they eventually were able to trust him for. You don't think David went right from being Little Shepherd boy to going out and facing Goliath, do you, in one giant big step?

There's no way. There were all kinds of baby steps in between. You say, yeah, like fighting lions and bears. That's some baby step.

Well, maybe before that it was gophers and possums. I don't know, but the point is God led him along little by little until he got him ready for Goliath. He didn't ask him to make that in one step, and so give God the opportunity.

If he asks you to do something, step out by faith and give him a chance to show you that you can depend on him. That's how the great giants of faith got there. They got there one step at a time. Well, that's what we're doing. We're done our series on handling money God's way.

Let's summarize. What are the principles for a biblical system of managing money? Principle number one is contentment. Remembering that our security comes from Jesus Christ, it doesn't come from money.

That's the foundation to build this thing on. Number two, principle number two, the principle of investment, taking advantage of God's offer to pay excessive interest on every dollar we give to him. Principle number three, the principle of worship, letting God know that he is number one in our life by the way that we give to him. And principle number four, the principle of faith, being a Philippian Christian, a person who makes their giving decisions by faith, relying on God's promise here in Philippians 4 19 to meet our needs back more richly than we ever gave to him out of his unseen resources. Now, I don't know where you are in your giving.

I mean, that's not my business. That's between you and God. But what I can tell you is these are the principles that will position you to receive back God's incredible blessing that he gives to people who give correctly. These are the principles that will position you to help advance the kingdom of God here on earth and be a blessing to other people.

And so my challenge to you is hey, not asking for your money. I'm just asking for you to have a biblical worldview and everything you do and especially in your giving. And friends, these are the things that turn the promises of God on for your life. So if you're not given this way, my challenge to you is get on your knees and say, Lord, it's hard to change the way I spend my money, but you helped me. I want to bring my spending, my giving in line with these principles. May God help us do that.

Let's pray. Lord, as we've said, every single message in this series, you know, talking about money in church is a very well, it's just a tough thing. And I pray you would reconfirm in people's hearts that my motive is genuine.

I'm not trying to get them to give more money. I'm trying to help every one of us here live and act according to a biblical worldview. And nowhere is that more needed than when it comes to money. So Father, take these principles, challenge our life with them. And grant that we might look back on this series and say that was one of the most significant series I ever heard, because it radically transformed my giving to God. And look at all God has done in response, because I was willing to do it the way he told me. Lord, we commit ourselves to you give us the courage we need to make changes if that's the case. And help us with that we pray in Jesus name. Amen. Thank you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-10 07:43:17 / 2023-06-10 07:55:56 / 13

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