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Giving to God Part 1 - Genesis Part 24

So What? / Lon Solomon
The Truth Network Radio
March 8, 2022 7:00 am

Giving to God Part 1 - Genesis Part 24

So What? / Lon Solomon

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March 8, 2022 7:00 am

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Well, you know, today as we continue in our series in the book of Genesis, I'm going to be talking to you about money.

Now, I know what a sensitive topic this is and you say, well, if you know how sensitive it is, why are you talking about it? Well, that's a good question. And one of the answers is that God says more about money in the Bible than he does about any other single subject. He says more in the Bible about money than he does about salvation or about prayer or about heaven or about hell or about evangelism, anything. You say, well, Lon, that may be true, but why in the world would you pick this very moment to talk about money?

Well, that's also a good question. And the answer to that is because as we're moving through the book of Genesis, we've come to Genesis 14. And here in Genesis 14, we see money being used for the very first time in the Bible as a tool for worshiping God. So it only seemed logical to me that this would be a good moment for us to stop and talk about that.

But it's more than that. It's also because one of our goals here at McLean Bible Church is to turn you into a deep and seasoned and mature follower of Christ. And there's no way you and I can reach that goal without having a biblical worldview on money. And so today I want to start a two-part series entitled Giving to God, and I want to make it absolutely clear that my purpose in doing this is biblical education. It is not fundraising. Or to put it another way, for the next two weeks we're going to talk about money, but I'm not going to ask you for a dime.

Is that fair? Well, it better be because this is the only message I brought today, so this is what we're talking about. Now, just before we dig in, two preliminary things I want to say. Number one, I think it's obvious that with all the Bible says about money, there's no way in two messages that we can possibly cover that whole subject. And so if you want more coverage, get my CD series, Handling Money God's Way, that I did several years ago. Or you can go online to our website and download it or podcast it, and you can get a lot more information.

We're just going to kind of hit some of the high spots here. The other thing I want to say as a preliminary comment is that if you've been coming to McLean Bible Church for a long time, you may have already heard some of the biblical information I'm going to cover in the past here. You may have heard it.

Well, that's okay. The apostle Paul wrote to the Philippian church and said to them, it is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you to hear biblical truth again and again. I love how John MacArthur put it. He said, and I quote, spiritual growth does not always involve learning something new. Our most important growth often is in regard to truth we have already heard but have not fully applied, end of quote. So let's go back and review Genesis 14 just a little bit. Last week we saw that there was a coalition of four kings from the east who put together an army and invaded the southern Jordan Valley around Sodom and Gomorrah. They defeated the armies of Sodom and Gomorrah, and they carried away all of the people and all of the material wealth of Sodom and Gomorrah, including Abraham's nephew Lot. And when Abraham heard about this, he took his army, he pursued the invaders, he defeated them, and verse 16 of the chapter tells us Abraham recovered all the goods that had been taken as well as his relative Lot and all Lot's possessions along with all the people. So Abraham now returns towards Sodom and Gomorrah, and he's got with him all the people. He's got with him all this booty and all of this spoil, all this material wealth that he's captured, and that's where we pick up the story in verse 18.

Here we go. Then Melchizedek, the king of Salem, brought out bread and wine. Now he was a priest, Melchizedek was, of the Most High God. The word that's used here for the Most High God in Hebrew is the word El Elyon. And it's interesting that this very name for God, El Elyon, the Most High God, is used by Abraham, speaking of his, Abraham's God, just a few verses later in verse 22. Which means that obviously Melchizedek, whoever he was, knew the same God as Abraham, worshipped the same God as Abraham, and was a priest of Abraham's God. Verse 19, Then Melchizedek blessed Abraham, saying, Blessed be Abraham by God Most High, El Elyon, creator of heaven and earth, and blessed be God Most High, who delivered your enemies, Abraham, into your hand. Verse 20, Then Abraham gave him, Melchizedek, one tenth, or tithe, of everything, meaning of all the material wealth and spoil and booty that he had captured. Now in a couple of weeks, we're going to spend a whole message talking about who is this guy, Melchizedek, and where did he come from. And he's going to figure big time later in the New Testament.

We're going to talk about all of that. But for today, suffice to say that he was a priest of the Most High God, that he blessed Abraham, and that he reminded Abraham that the glory for the victory that Abraham just had needed to go to God, not to Abraham. And so then look in response to this what Abraham does. Remember, verse 20, we just read it, Then Abraham gave Melchizedek a tenth, a tithe, of everything he'd captured. To put it another way, Abraham used money as a worship offering to God, as a thanksgiving offering to God, in thanks for this great victory that God had just given him and about which Melchizedek had just reminded him. Okay, as I said a moment ago, this is the first time in the Bible that we see money being used as a tool for worshiping God, as a means of worshiping God, as a worship offering to God.

But it certainly is not the last time. As a matter of fact, the Bible repeatedly teaches us that using money to express worship to God is one of the cardinal principles of giving to God. And I want to take you into the New Testament now, and I want you to watch the Apostle Paul teach us this very same lesson. We're going to the book of Philippians, chapter 4, and here's what Paul said. He said, verse 18, But I have received everything you sent in full, and I am amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gift you sent. Now the Philippian believers had sent an offering, a monetary offering to the Apostle Paul to support his missionary work. They had sent it by the hands of this fellow, Epaphroditus, and look how Paul describes this offering. He goes on to say, Your gift is a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God.

Paul's using imagery here. A fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God, imagery that comes from the Old Testament sacrificial system. And in order to really understand this imagery so we get the full power and meaning of it, we need to go back just for a moment and remind ourselves a little bit about the Old Testament system of sacrifices.

So let's do that. In the Old Testament, there were two categories of animal sacrifices. Number one, category number one, were sacrifices that dealt with the issue of sin. When a person sinned against God and they realized it, they would bring an animal, a goat, a lamb, a pigeon, whatever, to the temple and the priest would kill this animal and take its blood and put it on the altar and in response God promised to forgive the offerors sin and to repair the breach in their relationship.

But there was a problem. And the problem is that these sacrifices were just a temporary fix. In other words, every time a person sinned they had to do this all over again and all over again and all over again. Now, today under the New Covenant, under the New Testament, there's no longer any need for these kind of animal sacrifices for sin.

That need has been eliminated forever because of what Jesus did on the cross for you and me. Listen, Hebrews chapter 10 verse 12 says, He, Jesus, offered one sacrifice for sin for all time on the cross and by this one sacrifice He, Jesus, has made perfect for all time those of us who believe in Him. Verse 18 Hebrews 10, Now, where there is forgiveness like this, I want you to say the rest of the verse with me out loud.

Here we go. No further sacrifices for sin are needed. No further sacrifices for sin are needed. My friend, when you and I sin as followers of Christ under the New Covenant, the reason that you and I don't have to go get a bull or a lamb or a goat or a pigeon and get on a plane and fly to Jerusalem and go up on the Temple Mount and kill this animal and spread its blood all over the Temple Mount is because our sin has been paid in full once and for all forever and ever indelibly and irreversibly, unconditionally and unequivocally by the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross one time. Hey, praise God for that. What do you say?

Now listen, if you're here, let me just say and you've never trusted Christ as your personal Savior and you've never relied on what He did on the cross for you as your one and only payment for sin. Folks, this is important information for you to have because what it means is that God's not accepting any other offerings to pay for sin anymore except what Jesus did on the cross. That's it. He's not accepting animal sacrifices anymore. That's passé.

It's gone. He's not accepting good works. He's not accepting you're trying to keep the Ten Commandments. He's not accepting your religious activity. He's not accepting you're trying to be a good person. He's not accepting bar mitzvahs or confirmations or first communion. He's not accepting anything but the blood of Christ shed on the cross.

That's it. And so if you want your sin forgiven, my friend, that's what you got to bring to Him and that's what you got to rely on. It's the only thing that works anymore. So be careful that you're not trying to get into heaven based on something that's got no chance of working.

Only the blood of Christ works. Be careful. Think about it. Now, that was category number one of sacrifices. They're gone. We don't do them anymore.

They're over. Praise the Lord. But remember we said there were two categories of animal sacrifices in the Old Testament. And the second category were sacrifices that were brought for worship.

They were brought for me as a worshiper to be able to express my loyalty to God, my love for God, my thanksgiving to God. And here too, the offerer would bring an animal to the temple. And here too, the priest would kill the animal. But instead of putting its blood on the altar, he would put its meat on the altar and cook it. He would burn it. You know, and the smell of this cooking flesh would rise into heaven as a fragrant aroma. Isn't that what Paul said in Philippians 4, 18? Your offering was a fragrant aroma. This is what he's talking about.

Paul is saying that God regards your financial gift to me in the same way he regarded the fragrant aroma of a worship sacrifice in the Old Testament. And we all get this. I mean, there is no better smell in the universe than hamburgers on the grill. You know what I'm saying?

Man, you cook them outside, you're going to have neighbors coming over. I mean, they don't get no better than that. Well, this is what the Bible is talking about. And now, as followers of Christ, we need to understand that the second category of sacrifices, worship sacrifices, are still around today.

It's just that their format has changed. Peter explained that to us. He said, 1 Peter 2, 5, he says, We are to offer spiritual worship sacrifices, not animal worship sacrifices, spiritual worship sacrifices, which are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

That sound familiar? Well, that's exactly what Paul said. Philippians 4, 18, fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God. And so under the New Covenant, under the New Testament, we still bring God worship sacrifices.

You with me? It's just that they're not animals anymore. There are other things, and one of those things, Philippians 4, 18 tells us, is giving to God. And you say, well, why is that?

Well, here's why. Worship simply means that we're telling God, communicating to God, that he's number one in our life, that he's preeminent in our life. That's what worship is. And folks, there's not a better tool to do that with than money. You say, I'm not sure I understand why you say that. Well, listen, think now. The money that we give to God, if we didn't give it to God, we could use it to go out and buy something for us.

True? Yeah. But instead of going out and buying something for us, we give it to God. And when we do that, what we're telling God is, God, I might love money, and God, I might love what money can buy for me, but you know what, Lord?

I love you more. And that's why I'm taking this money, and instead of using it on me, Lord, I'm giving it to you and to the work of God. And they say, all right, Lon, and that's worship, right? Exactly.

You say, all right, I got that. But are you sure that you're not getting way too much out of Philippians 4.18? I mean, you're making that verse walk on all fours. I mean, you sure you're not, you sure that's what it's really saying?

Oh, I'm positive. And I'll show you the same principle elsewhere in the New Testament. How about Matthew chapter 2, the story of the three wise men coming to see baby Jesus? You remember the story, right?

I mean, it's not Christmas, I know, but you remember the story, right? Okay, all right, good, all right. So here's what the verse says. It says, verse 11, Matthew 2, when they saw the child with his mother Mary, they bowed down and they what?

What's the next word? They worshiped him. Now, how did they worship him? You say, they all stood around the manger and sang how great thou art. No, no, that would have been worship, but that's not what they did. Look, it goes on to say the verse, they opened their treasures and presented Jesus with monetary gifts, gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Some of the most valuable things in the world in those days, they gave them to Christ. They worshiped him using monetary wealth, just like we've been talking about.

One more example, Mark chapter 14. It says there, while Jesus was in Bethany, a woman came with a vial of expensive perfume, and she broke the vial and poured it over Jesus' head. But some of those present were saying, why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for a year's wages and given to the poor. Just stop.

You really think they cared about the poor? No, okay. But they were just looking to criticize, and they rebuked her sharply. But Jesus said, leave her alone. Why are you bothering her? He said, for she has done a beautiful thing for me, for the poor you will always have with you, and you can help them whenever you want, if that's your real motive, Jesus said.

But you will not always have me here. Now, friends, certainly this vial of perfume was the most costly and valuable earthly possession this woman had. I mean, the Bible says it was worth a year's wages.

This vial of perfume was maybe worth, I don't know, $40,000, $50,000, $60,000, maybe more. And yet she brought it, and she gave it to Jesus freely, and she gave it to Jesus excitedly. And the people criticized her and grumbled and said, why is she wasting this perfume? And you know, I love what Jesus says. Jesus says to them, fellas, you got it all wrong. She's not wasting, she's worshiping, because she's showing me that I mean more to her than even her most costly earthly possession. That's worship. Folks, you got me now. You're with me, yes?

You understand. Now, look, for many of us as followers of Christ, this is a whole new slant on giving. Many of us have been taught to see church offerings as the way we pay the mortgage, the way we pay the bills, the way we pay the staff, the way we, you know, run the programs, the way we clean the parking lot to get the snow off, and all this other stuff. And when that is the focus of our giving, when the focus of our giving is on the church and the bills and the building and the staff and the programs and the missionaries, you know, then we give out of duty, then we give out of obligation.

Sometimes we even give out of pressure and out of guilt. Friends, there is no joy in that kind of giving. There may be resentment in that kind of giving, but there's no joy in it. God wants us to give and get joy out of giving. The Bible says God loves a cheerful giver, and the reason there's no joy in this kind of giving is because we're given all wrong.

We're given for the wrong reason. I love Exodus 35. Moses is collecting money to build the tabernacle at Mount Sinai. And if you check very carefully in that chapter, six times Moses talks to the people about this offering he's collecting at God's command to build the tabernacle. But you know what's interesting, friends?

Check it out. Not one single time does Moses call it an offering for the tabernacle. Not once.

You know what he calls it all six times? An offering for the Lord. Because Moses did not want people given to some building. He didn't want them giving to the tabernacle or any other building. He wanted them giving this to the Lord from their heart as an act of worship. What they did with it was inconsequential, whether they built the tabernacle or a baptismal pool.

It didn't matter what they built with it. The offering wasn't for the building. The offering was for the Lord. And in the same way as followers of Christ today, when we give, we need to be able to say, Lord, I'm not giving this to a building. I'm not giving this to a church. I'm not giving it to missionaries. I'm not giving it to programs.

I'm not giving it to parking lots. Lord, whether it's a check in the offering plate or a check you're sending to a missionary or whether you're giving to the benevolence fund or the house or to daybreak or Jill's house or paying off your final rock pledge, it doesn't matter. Lord, that's just intermediate. I'm not even focused on that, Lord. I'm giving this to you as an act of worship from my heart to your heart, Lord. As a way of letting you know that you mean more to me than money itself or anything money can buy, you are number one in my life. Now, friends, when you give like that, let me just tell you something.

When you give us an act of worship to our great God who died on the cross and saved us and has provided us with all the amazing blessings that he's provided us and we're just trying to tell him we love him. Friends, when you give like that, there's joy in giving like that. There's excitement in giving like that. There's a thrill in giving like that. You're not giving out of duty and you're not giving out of obligation and you're not giving out of guilt. You're giving because you want to do it to tell Jesus you love him. Now, that's exciting.

And that's what God wants giving to be all about. He said, all right, Lon, I got what you're saying, but I still got a very important question to ask today. You know what it is. Yeah.

And all you people on the Internet, you know what it is, too. So are you ready? Okay.

Now, this is so what unto the Lord. All right. Well, here we go. Are you ready?

Are you ready? All right. All right. Here we go now. Come on.

123. Oh, you got it. Good for you. You got it.

You say, Lon. Okay. You know, I understand the principle. Appreciate it. But I'm not really sure how this affects me. Okay.

Well, let me help with that. One of my very favorite television programs is The Price is Right. Do you like The Price is Right? Now, I mean, you know what?

I actually think that Drew Carey is doing a pretty good job, but I'm a Bob Barker man. I mean, I don't know what else to say. I just am. So you say, Lon, do you lay at home and watch The Price is Right a lot during the week? Well, no. I'm busy during the week like you are, but every once in a while I get sick or something and I'm lying in bed and I turn on The Price is Right. So a few years ago, I was in bed sick.

I was watching The Price is Right. And you know the big wheel. You know how the big wheel works, right? If you spin it and you get a dollar on your first spin or a total of a dollar on your two spins, you win $1,000 and you win a bonus spin.

And then if you hit the dollar on the bonus spin, you get $10,000 more for $11,000. You know this, yes? How can you be an American and not know this? You must know this. Yes, yes. Okay. Good. So Bob Barker had these three contestants standing there and before they spun, he said to them, now, if you win $11,000, what would you do with it? And the first was a young lady, the first contestant, and she said, I would take a trip around the world.

And I thought, you know, that's a reasonable use of it. The second person was a young man and he said, I'd buy a Corvette. Well, I hate to tell him this. I don't think you can buy a Corvette for $11,000.

But that's okay. He didn't win $11,000 anyway. So, and the third was a more middle-aged woman and she said, I would put the money away for my children's education.

And I lay there in bed and I thought, isn't this interesting? By telling us how they would spend their money, these people have just revealed to us where their heart is and where their value system is. Because the first two contestants, it's clear, their heart and their value system was completely centered on them. I'd take a trip around the world.

I'd buy myself a Corvette while the third contestant, her heart and focus was on somebody else, on her children. How these people spent their money told us where their heart is. And I lay there in bed and I thought, hot dog, the price is right confirms the Bible.

How cool is this? It does. Because the Bible has been telling us that for centuries. That what we do with our money reveals where our heart is. That our money is like a barometer of our heart.

So let me say this. If you want to see where a Christian's love affair with Jesus really is, let me tell you, don't look at how many hymns they sing. Don't look at how many prayers they pray. Don't look at how many Bible verses they got memorized.

Don't look at how many services they attend the church every week. And don't look at how many times a day they say, praise the Lord. Oh, praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord for you too. And don't pay any attention to that. You look and see how they spend their money. And I'll tell you why. Because all these other areas, saying praise the Lord and how many times you show up at church.

Friends, these are easy things to paste on the plastic and just go through the motions. But I'll tell you something. Listen, the level of our financial giving to God is the one area where people tend to fake it the least. And that's why I say, show me a Christian.

Show me their financial statement. And within about five minutes I can tell you where that person really stands in their love and their devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ. Elon, that is without a doubt one of the most judgmental statements I've ever heard anybody make. Well, maybe so. But you know what? It's still true.

It's still true. And so I want to close with a question today. It's a very challenging question. It's a very penetrating question. Here's my question for me and you.

Here we go. If the IRS was arresting people and putting them in jail for being deep and dedicated followers of Christ, would there be enough evidence on schedule A of your 1040 to convict you? What do you think?

How about that schedule A? I'll tell you that question, Ra, hits me deep. And it hits you deep.

You know why? Because people see when you come to church. People see when you say praise the Lord. People see when you sing hymns. People see when you do all this stuff. Nobody sees your 1040 but you and the Lord. And that's why I say people don't fake it there because they don't worry about anybody seeing it. That's where you know. That's where you know. And so our goal is to give to the Lord in such a way that an IRS agent would pick up schedule A, look at it and say, man, I'll tell you one thing, this person right here is in love with Jesus Christ. I can tell you that.

Penetrating. Well, I hope today I've given us all a completely different outlook, a whole different perspective on giving to the Lord. A biblical perspective, a perspective that will transform our giving from an act of duty and an act of obligation and an act of guilt into an act of worship and an act of excitement and an act of joy.

And you say, well, Lon, I've got everything you're saying, but you know, it leaves me still with some questions. I mean, like, for example, how much does the Lord want me to give? I mean, Abraham gave Melchizedek 10 percent. I mean, is that does God want me to give 10 percent? Does God want me to give more than 10 percent?

Does God want me to give less than 10 percent? And, you know, when do I give and do I give out of my gross or do I give out of my net? And I got all these questions. Well, they're great questions, friends. And guess what?

We're going to answer them next week. That's right. That's right.

That's we are. And I hope after today that you'll come next week. Yeah. Okay.

I hope you'll be back next week. And you know what? I want you to know my heart, friends. I'm not out to get you to give more money to McLean Bible Church or anything else. I'm just out to teach the Word of God in such a way that if you're going to give, that you do it right and you get the joy that God built into it for you.

If you're not going to do that, don't do it at all. Let's do it right or let's not do it. And so I hope you'll understand where I'm coming from.

And thanks for your kind attention. Let's pray. Lord Jesus, we realize that what we've talked about today is a touchy subject. And yet here at McLean Bible Church, we can't avoid one of the most common and important subjects in the Bible just because it's touchy. We have to teach on it. We have to teach on it properly. We have to teach on it righteously.

We have to teach on it with integrity. But, Lord, we have to teach the Bible. And so I pray people today would understand my motive that it truly is to teach us how to give in a way that we get everything out of it you've put in it for us, that we get the joy, the excitement out of it that you've built in and the blessing. So, Lord, use what we've talked about today.

Use that question about the IRS to really challenge our thinking and to bring us around to the point where we become biblical givers because we understand what the Bible teaches about it. And we've conformed our behavior to the Word of God. So, Lord, we commit the teaching of the Word of God that we did today to you. Use it to change our hearts. And we pray these things in Jesus' name.

What do God's people say? Amen. Amen. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-25 19:35:15 / 2023-05-25 19:47:46 / 13

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