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March 11, 2022 7:00 am
Now we get our ongoing series in the book of Genesis we look at the very first time in the Bible where somebody namely Abraham uses money as a tool for worshiping God.
But we also saw last week that this was certainly not the only time the three wise men did this in Matthew chapter 2 of the church at Philippi did this we learn about in Philippians chapter 4 the young woman who poured the vial of costly perfume all over. Jesus did it in Mark chapter 14, just to name a few. And so, last week growing out of the example of Abraham here in Genesis 14 we began a two-part series entitled giving to God last week. In part one, we learned that as followers of Christ. The focus of our giving should be God himself. Not a church not a building, not a parking lot, not some program and we also learned that the purpose of our giving should be to tell God that he is number one in our life. We love them more than even money is now if you missed last week want to encourage you to get the CD out in our bookstore before you leave or to go on our website and download a podcast the message and catch up. But today, in part two we want to answer three very important practical questions about giving to God that flow out of what we learned last week and here are our three questions ready number one when should we give number two. Where should we give and number three how much should we give, let me say what I said last week that I understand talking about money in church is a very sensitive subject that is a touchy subject and so we made a deal last week. If you remember what it is. Our deal was there for two weeks we were going to talk about money that I wasn't going to ask you for a dime a because the purpose of this series is biblical education not fundraising.
Remember our deal on now I deal still in place. Yes.
Alright, so with the deal in place were going to do part two, and I'm not going to ask you for a dog.
Fair enough. Arthur you really ready question number one. When should we do well. First Corinthians 16 two says on the first day of every week. Sunday each one of you should set aside a sum of money in proportion to how the Lord has prospered you what the Bible is teaching us here is the principle of regular comes this doesn't plan the giving.
When should I give well the precise calendar. All of that doesn't matter so much as much as it matters that it is deliberate and systematic and regular you say will on how regular is regular. I mean, are we talking weekly talking monthly. Well folks. A good rule of thumb, I believe, is that our giving should be as regular as our income. Some people give monthly because they get paid monthly.
Some people give weekly or biweekly because that's when they get paid some real estate agents give whenever they get a commission check. Some young people give whenever they get their allowance.
The point is biblical giving is giving that has a plan, a plan that is systematic and that is consistent and is deliberate. Number two.
Where should we give well, the Bible gives us three options as to where we can give and have it be considered by God through biblical giving option number one is giving to our local church. First Timothy chapter 5 verse 17 says the elders who direct the affairs of the church well or worthy of double honor was that mean means there worthy of honor, and there worthy of compensation for the Scripture says the worker is worthy of his wages so obviously what the apostle Paul is saying here we see that the early church had money at its disposal. Each local church did to pay the salaries of their staff and their elders, and the only place for those churches to have gotten that money is from the giving of God's people to those churches and we know that the early Christians did this acts chapter 4 verse 34 says that the early followers of Christ in Jerusalem brought money and laid it at the apostles feet and then the apostles use that money to meet the needs of the church family there in Jerusalem. So that's option number one to our local church.
Option number two where we can give biblically is to missionaries and submissions organization we saw last week that in Philippians chapter 4 Paul acknowledges how the believers in Philippi had sent money to him to support his missionary work. Philippians chapter 4 verse 15, Paul says, for after I left Philippi. You sent me financial aid again and again when I was in the and finally option number three is giving to people who are in need. In Matthew chapter 6 Jesus called this all the giving and the early believers did this to ask 11 verse 28 there was a great famine in the reign of Emperor Claudius and the believers in Antioch, each according to their financial ability provided help for the poor believers living in Judea pending this relief by the hand of Barnabas and Paul. In fact, Jesus refers to this in Matthew chapter 6 where he says when you give to the needy. Your father in heaven will reward you. So this kind of all giving giving to people in need, also qualifies as biblical giving to the Lord, but there's a very important qualifier that we need to stop here and put on this almost giving and that is in order for our almost giving in order for our helping people in need to qualify as true biblical giving to God. Listen carefully that almost giving must be done in a way that is comes for curiously and overtly and unapologetically Christ centered in other words giving to the United Way or to your nest go or to the World Health Organization or to the Red Cross doesn't count. It's not biblical giving because even though these organizations do help people. They don't help people in the name of Jesus Christ. They don't help people for the fame of Jesus Christ and they don't help people with the purpose of writing the message of Jesus Christ's and you know sadly there's a lot of Christian relief organizations who are fallen into this very situation for years now all they have downplayed the gospel message so much and what they do that they turn helping people into an end in its L of making it an overt means of exalting Jesus Christ and spreading his gospel, UW Turkey outreach. As you know, every year here at Thanksgiving and what we do is get a box we put this box together and in the box we put a turkey we put green beans we put potatoes. We put roles that we put everything for complete meal, cranberry sauce, all of it goes in there and this past year, 2011 we were actually able to feed 75,000 people at Thanksgiving here in Metropolitan Washington.
But there's one other thing that goes in that box and that is the gospel of John, and over the years we had many organizations come to us and say wow we'd like to get in on this. We'd like to help you distribute these boxes.
Are we like to get some of them to give to our constituents and and they said but you know the only thing is we really, don't want to give out the Bible you know we want the gospel of John out take the turkey in the cranberry sauce but the gospel of John we want out and we tell him no way no way because friends listened all right no way because, listen, helping others is only true biblical almost giving when it honors and exalt and promote Jesus Christ the gospel of John stays in the box or you don't get the box so let's summarize where should we give what we have three options number one to our local church.
Number two, to missionaries and missionary organizations, and number three, almost giving that promotes and exalts Jesus Christ. Now before we move on to question three. I just like to offer my opinion on this, I believe, and Brenda and I have structured our giving this way for the last 38 years we've been married. I believe that the vast majority of our giving should always go to the local church and you say, well of course you believe that you are the pastor of the church. Of course you believe that no that is not why I believe that friends for years before I was ever the pastor of any church I work for a parachurch Christian organization and even during those years Brenda and I gave virtually all of our giving not to that organization, but rather to the church that we were attending, and there are three reasons why I believe this reason AA is that I believe that the local church is the primary instrument of God in the New Testament and therefore I have the obligation and the duty to support it above everything else. Reason B is that a good local church will use the money that we give it to cover all three areas of biblical giving.
In other words, they'll use some of it for the ministry of that church still use of it. Permissions and missionaries and they'll use some of it for almost giving in the name of Christ. So by giving your gift to that church.
You can't cover all three at once and reason.
See is because giving to a solid local church ensures maximum accountability for how those funds are used. You know here at McLean Bible church. We have some incredibly tight financial accountability in place and it's accountability that those of you who are you up close and personal here that you can deal and you can touch and you can see, for example, our elders get a weekly financial report they get a monthly financial report are elders are on top of how the money is, and at this church like a hawk like a chicken on a June bug. If you don't know what that means, you were raised in the South.
My condolences to you because of your raise in the South you get that, but they are, we give a financial report to the congregation quarterly at every congregational meeting every year in December we bring in the back congregational meeting our budget for the next year that the congregation discusses asked questions has to approve or we can spend one time without the approval of our congregation. We have a complete independent bigger not let all being audience every single year you want a copy of that audit you call us will be happy to send you one. As the pastor of McLean Bible church.
You may not know this but I have absolutely no access to the money here whatsoever. I have no check signing authority at McLean Bible church.
I have no access to petty cash.
If you buy a $5.10 a copy and bring it in here and say lawn. Could you reimburse me from petty cash answers no, I don't have any access to that folks here I never get anywhere near the weekend offerings here McLean Bible Church. I don't even know the combination to the base now if you came up to me and said long I will give you $1 million to tell me the combination to the same. I couldn't tell you standing right there. If you're serious and you give me five minutes. I'll go get the combination of faith. I will, I promise you, but I don't know what it is never been in there in 30 years. I've never seen the inside of the safe at McLean Bible church in the 30 years I've been here is the pastor I have never seen the giving records of us single person that attends this church only giving records. I know at this church are mine and let me tell you why I don't want to know the big givers are at this church. First of all, it's none of my business, and second of all I want to shake everybody's hand the same standing in the lobby and not give preferential treatment to somebody because there were big giver. I don't want to know the big givers are now you saline who plots all of these onerous burdensome restrictions on you was the pastor here. I did 30 years ago when I came here and let me tell you why I did it I did have friends because I wanted to make sure that McLean Bible church would never ever end up on the front page of the Washington Post because of the financial irregularity at this church and praise the Lord in 30 years we have praise God for that. No less than most Bible believing God will preaching churches are just like McLean Bible church. They have solid financial accountability in place to that there congregation members can actually talk and feel and be and can be certain that the money that they're giving is being used righteously and godly and in a Christlike way and the bottom line is friends. The father removed our giving is from us last were able to ensure that it's being used properly for the glory of God. And that's why Brendan I always have done virtually all of our giving to our local church is to belong. What if I don't like my church enough to give mama money. What if I don't trust my church enough to give most of my giving their well then you know what you need to find another church where you do like and what you do trust does not excuse not to give you church just means you're going to the wrong one. Go find what you like and you trust and then supported for the glory of God. Now question number three. How much should we do well as soon as we ask this question were immediately confronted with a very significant biblical word of the word is high and we've all heard it.
We may not all know exactly what it means that a tithe is merely an old English word that means a 1010% and in the Old Testament. Every Israelite was commanded was obligated to tie that is they were obligated to give 10% of their annual income to support the Temple in Jerusalem, and the priest the Jewish priest at the temple. They lived off of this tie that came in from the rest of the nation and they use the tithe money to support the workings of the temple. Tithing was not worship giving to hear me. It was like income tax everybody was obligated to do it if you wanted to give a worship gift to God, my friends, you had to give it over and above the tithe. The tide was not worship giving it was taxes that we all see that we all see that. Okay that's very important because that is critical to understanding the time. Now we come into the New Testament. What we find we find that nowhere in the New Testament are we as followers of Christ ever commanded the time there were not what we told to do well.
Second Corinthians 812 says were to give according to what we have asked 1129 we start earlier says that were to give. According to our ability first Corinthians 16 to we saw this earlier were to give in proportion in proportion to how the Lord has prospered us the principle of the New Testament for followers of Christ is proportional giving and watch watch as Lord Jesus right here explains this to us. I'm in Mark chapter 12 here we go. This is one day Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watch the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury, and many rich people were putting in large amounts but a poor widow came and put into very small copper coins might. They were called worth only a fraction of a penny and calling his disciples. Jesus said to them, I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. She said long, she didn't all these other people were going in huge sums of money she put into little pennies. Wait a minute, Jesus said for they the rich people all put in out of their surplus, but she out of her poverty put in all she owned all she had to live on today know what Jesus is telling us here, my friends, is that God's method of accounting is radically different than ours. We focus on how much people do. God doesn't focus on that. God focuses on how much it costs us to give what we give God focuses on how much we give in proportion to how much we have, to give and what was it that this English this widows offering from the offering of all those wealthy people will the answer is her offering reached a proportion that those rich people's offering never reached and what was that proportion. Very simply, her gift cost or something.
Those rich people. It didn't cost them anything to give what they gave Jesus said they gave out of their surplus would they give didn't cause them to change their lifestyle one bit. They drew a line since this is my lifestyle and I'll give him the surplus it's over but I'm gonna let it affect my lifestyle, Jesus and all but the window. Here's what impressed him. She out of her poverty put in all she owned all she had to live on for that day. This woman didn't even know where dinner was going to come from now. She gave it to the Lord anyway because she wanted the Lord to know she loved him more than she loved dinner and fax worship. That's what impressed Christ friends the point that I want you to get is that it wasn't the amount.
This widow gave the turned her giving in the worship. It was the proportion she gave the didn't now as followers of Christ is New Testament principle of proportionate giving places a much greater accountability on you and me than tithing.she said her real lot.
Mr. understand. Okay, think about with tithing. We give God 10% obligations done but proportional giving is not that easy proportional giving demands that we take a hard look at our lifestyles and that we just got with God where the threshold is of costing us something in our giving proportional giving demands that we have a conversation with God where we talk about how much is okay for us to spend on us versus how much we should be giving to God you still long. All I can tell you is, Abraham, tithing, as far as I'm concerned. Tithing was good enough. Abraham is good enough for me. Folks Abraham did not tie. First of all, tithing hadn't even been invented yet by God. It would be 700 years before God invented the five and he wasn't giving any temple in Jerusalem to support there was no temple. Abraham gave 10% yes he didn't try to gave 10%, which means that 10% is a good place for us to be given our discussions with God about what we ought to be giving but this doesn't mean that 10% is automatically the right place for us to finish those discussions. The truth is, for some followers of Christ 10% giving is way too high, way too much if you're a single parent mom raising three children one of whom has severe disabilities and you're working two jobs just to scratch out enough to put food on the table. 10% giving is way too high for you. You can reach the point where your giving cost you something, probably 5%.
Maybe if 3% is a lot in my whole life I've never heard of a preacher telling the people in his church not to give at least 10% when you know what, then, you've heard some really bad preacher because this is biblical and this is what God says now before you clap too quickly. Let me say that for others of us by the same token, 10% giving cost us nothing to give that much to God and for us 10% giving is way too little Fred Smith who used to be president of Fred Smith Associates in Dallas said this and I quote he said all at a seminar once in which the majority of those present were millionaires in the seminar I described tithing as using an Old Testament teaching to help the rich get out of giving. It was quite a shock to them and they didn't want to discuss it in any great length.
Fred Smith goes on to say, I firmly believe the tithing for wealthy people is in the cave from biblical giving frankly he says I'd be very happy if the Lord would tell me that I have fulfilled my responsibility if I gave 10%. When I worked for six dollars a week. Fred Smith says I put $0.60 in the offering plate and I felt I was giving something that was pleasing to the Lord.
But today I don't think that the Lord's excited about my giving 110 of a seven figure income" folks cross living in Washington DC and for many of us here in America we need to let the words of Fred Smith sink deep into our heart.
His words demand consideration and they demand prayer. That's all must say about but they demand consideration and prayer. Now let's conclude we covered a lot of ground today so let's recap Reading number one, we asked the question when should we give and the answer is, according to a consistent deliberate plan that fits our income stream number two. We asked the question. Where should we give we said there are three options for biblical giving number one your local church. Number two missionaries in mission organizations and number three all misgiving that promotes and exalts Jesus Christ. And finally, we asked the question, how much should we give and we said the answer is that the New Testament doesn't give us an exact amount and it doesn't give us an exact percentage. It gives us a principal and the principal is proportional giving first Corinthians 16 to we are to give in proportion to how the Lord has prospered us now I can answer the question how much you should give for you and you can answer the question how much I should give for me that's a question each one of us is got a answer on our knees in a conversation with the Lord Jesus Christ bulimic close with one final observation and that is I did little cipher in this weakling figuring and I figured that if the average attendee at McLean Bible church merely five merely gave 10% based on the average income here in the Washington area, and based on the average adult attendance, not children at McLean Bible church. I figured that our income per year would be over $80 million you how much our income was last year. $25 million now what is this tell you so Milan what it tells me is that a lot of us are making a lot less and you figure click tells me no no Fred that's not what this other no wrong wrong. What this tells us is that a lot of Christians have never been taught how to give biblically or if they have their not doing it. You say, well, wait a minute way that I understand what you're saying but lawn listen is still $25 million friends. I want to tell you something you don't know how grateful I am.
Please hear me you don't know how grateful I am for the incredibly generous giving that this church does $25 million is a lot of money. Yes, folks. Just think for a moment of the impact we could make on this city.
If, under the leadership in the power of the Holy Spirit. We had more than three times the resources that we've got right now. Just think, is they well on if I made more I give more folks, please don't delude yourself into believing that please listen Jesus said Luke 1610 he was faithful and a little will be faithful and much and he was unfaithful and a little will be unfaithful also in much folks just getting more money won't change your walk with God. If Jesus Christ is the Lord of your finances when you got a little he's not going to be Lord of your finances just because all of a sudden you get a lot you know when my wife and I got married I was working at Giant Food as a cashier in my take-home pay.
I was going to seminary the same time I take on pace. I worked a part-time was $50 a week literally 50 bucks week. That's what I brought home and I decided because I was a brand-new believer in those days that I was going to put God to the test. He says in the Bible. Test me and see. So I said I'm a put God to the test and every week I gave $10, 20% to the Lord now no church is going to rise or fall based on my $10 a week. You understand, but that wasn't the point.
The point was not what I was giving. The point is God is teaching me the principles of biblical giving and I watched as God kept his promises. I watch as God did unbelievable things and return. You know, I learned you can never out give God. I heard people say it but I.
Stiff and God blessed and rewarded my life, not just in monetary ways, but in all kinds of ways including given me the absolute best wife you could ever imagine in your life you say will launch you have to be to marry you if you're only making 50 bucks a week. Well, okay, but she did and you know because I learned as a young Christian only have a little but I learned solid biblical giving habits. Those habits have blessed me for 40 years of walking with Jesus. The listen if you only have a little okay okay what matters is whether you have a little you have a lot that you handle it biblically and in a Christlike way and if you've only got a little that's a great time to learn the principles of biblical giving and practice them and see God be true to what he says because men were faithful and a little many many times God decides to give us a lot because he knows he can trust us with it. We proved it with a little hey don't matter whether we end up with a lot over the end up with a little.
What matters is how much we transfer to have proportionately to what we've got so let me just say with the end next week when I could talk about money. The more money you have to coming here like this, not to talk about money anymore. Okay were done and I hope I've handled the subject with integrity and I hope I've handled it righteously and my true motive folks is really not been to raise money for McLean Bible church my true motive is we need all know how to give biblically, biblically, because that's where the best blessing of God lives. We give biblically to him and I hope you'll take what we talked about and really give a consideration in your life. Let's pray for Jesus, thank you for allowing us to talk about money. It is of theory touchy subject I understand. Father, we can avoid talking about something in the Bible just because it's touching so I hope that we've done it here in these last two weeks in a way that honors Christ in a way that is focused on teaching the word of God with no ulterior motives and father I pray my prayer for every person in this church is that we will end our lives. Maybe not with three houses. Maybe not with two swimming pools.
Maybe not with the old or or a vacation home, but that we will end our life here on earth with much treasure in heaven will be able to look back and anticipating that treasure in heaven will be able to say thank you God for McLean Bible church. Thank you God for that guy's almond who kept encouraging me to use my funds biblically because now I got treasure in heaven to look forward to more. Do this in all of our lives usual word today to change the way we live the way we do.
We pray this in Jesus name what God's people say