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November 13, 2020 7:00 am
Given to a church or Christian ministry. What was the attitude of your heart as you wrote that. Check for God loves a cheerful giver which by the way, reverses that everything you might think about giving because what matters to God, then, is the attitude with which we give something not the amount of what we did that, I've said it before and I want to say again, don't give if you hate to give Dave in an attempt to make God like you more didn't really want to write that check working again. A proper perspective on our giving today. This is wisdom for the heart with Steven David in this teaching Stephen explains the importance of demonstrating biblical faithfulness through the financial support your local church. After all, God owns it all and were merely stewards. Let's use his resources wisely and bring him glory here Stephen with today's lesson called what we give away giving that is God honoring his giving that is ultimately proceeding from the overflowing of a life that is entirely devoted to God and in the worst thing that any church or or pastoral team could ever do is encourage people to give and it doesn't really matter how you get along with God. The horrible fact is a church ministry.
We've been very reticent to ask the community to give us any money. That's all we we we don't do the community.
Bake sales on the car's is because we really, as we discussed, this is not, and we don't want to ask the world to give money to us that we will give to the Lord will bring to do that because what matters above and beyond any gift is the hearts we want people to come to know him as they come to know him and drawn him developing their discipleship and begin to give you rights. Further, he says not now. Speaking of his command.
This is an commandment to make here, but this is to prove the earnestness of your love. That's where he comes to bear. This really does reveal who we are looking verse 11 but now finished doing this you started yes. Not now finish it.
There's readiness in you. I'm grateful for that but but don't just be ready to do it. Don't just talk about doing it. Don't just desire to do it but complete it. He writes by your ability. In other words, be ready and and that's a good thing. Be faithful, but then act act giving that honors God carries this this element of eagerness and and and submission that translates into faithfulness, not because to but I just really want only follow that up quickly with the second principle is the principle of cheerfulness.
For those of the older the faith. You know exactly what I'm talking but what we when we write this here to financially support the church and faithful cheerful giving of your new in the faith you get a think cheerful once I got to do with anything. Well, I remember being in a church in East Africa by the way, in a Third World context in the block building a tin roof and 100+ people packed into it. I was on a little platform and and and my sermon will be translated.
They were speaking a language I didn't know and some people begin to cheer literally stood up and clapped me they were so excited about the what in the world and here came the ushers during these long poles little sacks attached to the they would come feed down the road they were cheering because they now had the opportunity to give something to God deeply convicted Paul wrote this text to the Corinthians in chapter 9 second Corinthians in verse seven. Let each one due just as he purposed in his heart, not grudgingly, that as I hate to or under compulsion. I guess I have to miss has the sense of not necessarily that you have the responsibility that you really want to maintain. This is the attitude of I have to be at. I really don't want for God loves a cheerful giver which by the way, reverses that everything you might think about giving because what matters to God, then, is the attitude with which we give something not the amount of what we gave that I've said it before and I want to say again, don't give if you hate to don't give if you have to.
You don't want give because you can't wait to that's that's opinion spirit that I saw a W toes are clarify the perspective when he reminded me that I read him that as earthy, you know, earthy as money is as earthy as it can be converted for whatever is given to Christ is touch with immortality. I mean, the results can be forever church has to be careful, it can, it can create givers out of obligation and I want you to know, and against his personal this is awesome. Okay, this is one of the reasons I do not come out here during the offering or before the offer I made up my mind years ago and I'm not I'm not I'm not saying negative things disparaging about other pastors who, but I just decided I would never come at or before the offering whole of the envelope or or or give you a story. I just want to err on the side of this is you giving because you can't wait to give to Christ. This is what Paul would say this is the direction we want to go in. It amazes me. I share this with both hours and I've had people every hour come up and say we heard the same thing. I had two different couples in greenhouse class II different classes in the last couple of years independently of each other.
They didn't know each other and they came up with the same rumor and it came up and told me effect after our session on New Testament giving, which I spent a couple of sessions on the subject, explaining the tithing, the word time disappears when you get into the New Testament. That is the establishment of the church and it is all grace giving it is what God moves your heart to give and then you happen to pay taxes to. Just as in the Old Testament usually paid taxes. That's the word for time really in about 25% of their annual income that went to times more than one time.
I've never heard a pastor tell me that it is one is actually more than one you want Adam. At any rate, you have the same in the night and then they gave overflowing gifts of grace defined the same thing in the New Testament repair taxes and we give overflowing gifts of grace out of out of love for the Lord, but any rate they came up to me and they said after the sessions. They said you know we really came here skeptical to colonial and we came to this class and we were expecting you to teach something differently until she were to do it differently because of what we heard several what did you hear I know there a lot of rumors out there some hurts of a painful summer heretical summer tragic and I couldn't believe this will was really interesting thing another way to put they said well we had close friends tell us that it's okay to attend just on joint Salina basin. We were told by our friends that if you join the pastor is going to require that you give him a copy of your most recent 1040 tax return so that he can evaluate so that you can prove that you are giving to the church to couples hadn't had a man in and come up to me after one of the RCI was told the same thing that your pastor requires a 1040 so he can know for sure you're giving to the church. I thought that was a brilliant idea, but I think know if I got joking and is going to go out there yeah it's true it is. It is not true rumor. I can assure you. Couple of things.
Someone I don't even know what you give. I do not know what you just established the system going back to the days now 2027 years ago when we hired her first pastor and I drove immediately to the bank as it is going to be your signature on this bank account and you're going to deposit the money. I am out of it church was three years old. I do not know what you wanted. Secondly, the only tax returns that I have ever looked at to evaluate charitable giving are ours and the reason that's important because those principles are leasing the way I try to practice them as your pastor teacher is that I don't want you to ever give thinking you're giving to me or or even this church because ultimately, though, you do get to the church you are giving to Christ. It would be pitiful to be led to give to man. How shortsighted would that be some time ago I read the biography of George Whitfield is a wonderful man of God use the fan the flames of the great awakening the 1700s and and and I found numerous examples of his sacrificial spirit. He he preached to thousands of people merrily out in the open fields because he wasn't allowed behind the pulpits of the English churches and that most of the pastors before this awakening were unbelievers.
Anyway they didn't want to see preached in the open and they get a little portable pulpit, which I'd seen. He just kind of unfold and climb up on it.
There you go. He would preach to thousands at a time and he started in an orphanage and was always needing funds for that. Always taking offerings for his children and died with very little money to his name and that but it is a repeat. He learned that a widow with a number of children had her furniture taken away because she could make the Renton's we found out that that she needed five guineas I I don't know how much that is. But the revival okay and so we had that and he decided he would go pay her rent to her furniture back and she was quite a distance away and so he friended ministry go with them so they both saddled up and they begin to ride to meet her need and Whitfield's friends biography included in the notes that his friend was a little disturbed with George because George that he had other needs other bills to pay so is shining Whitfield as they went along that he really couldn't afford the help and Whitfield made this interesting statement. He said this when God brings a case of need. It is that we might relieve there are a million. These see told you about is informed you of think there's a reason behind that is so recent because I can relieve it. I believe God wants me to do it sooner, traveling along and and suddenly a highwaymen, a robber gallops toward them and and demands the money this minister friend didn't have any, and Whitfield had five guineas so he emptied his pocket and gave the man five guineas in the robber roadway. Now his friend is chiding Whitfield with you know now you don't even have that. So you really shouldn't of done this with field and respond. Still, heading toward the widows home and and suddenly here comes this robber galloping toward them. In the robber rides up to them, brandishing his stolen he demands Whitfield's coat cold winter and Whitfield had nice warm coat. He demanded so Whitfield took off his coat and before the robber drove right away. Whitfield said Sir can I at least have your tattered. It is called and the robber gave Whitfield is cut so there riding along and suddenly here comes this highwayman galloping toward them again and Whitfield and his friend were concerned about their own safety and so they spurred on their horses and they made it to little village ahead of of the robber and and into the safety of the cottage and where they were wanting themselves by the fire, thankful that they had been rescued from what who knows what I did and as Whitfield took off his this tattered toad he discovered in one pocket. His five guineas and in the other pocket 100 guineas more. How is it that the best story for sacrificial giving LSD you think oh here's a rumor. Stevens and the prosperity theology.
I'm actually I'm actually going to use that as an illustration of that just doesn't happen.
And if you think that when you give sacrificially that God can do that because prosperity theology will teach you that if you get to God. He's got a back 500 back and turn on the television. Watsons hucksters delivering that message and I want to use that as an illustration only encourages you to sacrificially giving God will meet your needs.your grades but your needs, but he has already given to do. Do we realize that when we give to him. It isn't bargaining it is and will I give you this gift for now you back the truck up know, in reality, beloved God has already backed his truck up to us. We have been given immortality. We have been given forgiveness. We have been given grace, we been given the promise of the coming kingdom where we will be dressed in royalty as royalties serving along with him. We we have no idea. The apostle wrote of the glory that he is reserved to be revealed in us. He's back to truck already.
So the false promise of prosperity theology you just give it judges can give you back all the more know God will meet your need sacrificial giving does not make a demand on God isn't bribery simply responding to his grace for what he's already given the keyword in this promise is the last word and it sort of governs the entire promise doesn't. We we promise to financially support the church. The faithful, cheerful and sacrificial stewardship that word stewardship clears up so much for us and just simply understanding what that word means that we we are the owners were stewards were finals were managers of someone else's property and we can say rather glibly in a guy does everything but but he really does and is given us what he has given us to manage.
You might follow a certain percentage and and I think that strategic whatever the percentage might be, but just don't make the mistake that if you give 4% or 6% or 10% that that you own the other 96% or 98% or 90%. God is somehow bought off with the dime on a dollar God owns all of the question is how much are we going to use to meet the needs that we have affect the older I get, the more convinced I am that the issue of giving revolves around understanding the difference between ownership and stewardship. Just enter in a rather rough way illustrate that this morning on all the men all the men to take out your wallet ushers. If you prepare to enjoy any money here any guy out here have bills to get some bills in your wallet. I can only carry water get a debit card.
That's it, but some you guys have anybody here have bills in your wallet. You get no man glad you're here on the you're mistaken though and I know your you're here. Thank you so much. I don't outstanding say hi mom or anything that the camera all right can I can I have just the whole thing is you know I even before I met you I knew this was this is my desire and I feel good about this.
I think I actually feel cheerful about this so here's what I wanted give you something I need say that you're welcome. Thank you.
See. Right now think that other bill. Here's the difference for me to say to you after you gave me your money you normally give you something and expect you to say thank you he is and isn't that the issue in the description of someone who has a perspective of ownership. It's mine's knee saw that it really is to get out of his pocket. Give me that stewardship means that I'm gonna say you're going to say to me. Stephen only give this money and what I want you to do is manage it for me. Now, if I understand it is his and him to manage it. One of the things I'm going to want to know is what would you like to do, what would you how would you like is there anything that maybe he wrote down that gives me some principles of perspective that we call that the New Testament in this analogy right someone I want to please him because this is his in a sentence we are managing God's portfolio. Some of us have more than others, and it isn't because what we just deserved it. We were just better just shows that, and now we manage his account so I might give this back to you and let you what you said and I I I know that you can afford to give it to because I seen your text know I have given this guy right of me.
Let me make three very quick personal challenge make a realistic assessment of your spirit make a realistic assessment of your spirit. Nobody can answer this but you do. You give because you have to you don't want.
Do you give even though you hate or do you give because you can't wait, you want secondly make a realistic assessment of your record of giving don't just allowed to float out there. It was really easy for us to think that all were doing something and and and. Well, really, are we even got the data.
Do the math and let me tell you this.
Nearly every study in American church culture today establishes the fact that the average Christian, not another Christians or not, but that's all they said church.
The average believer in this country is giving less than 2% of their income charitable causes is right about 1.5% on average across the board so don't worry. When I did 10% 108% were not at 12, the average is 1.3 to 1.5%.
Let's just as quickly. Doolittle Matthew put up a slide we put together a little graph for you… When you started 4% because colonial is way above and beyond the average okay so you can look up there trying to find where you are. Monthly income. If you bring home 3000 just talk about take my people asked grocer.
Now what is it whatever you bring home 3000 some of you don't get anywhere near but 4% would be the last month. Think about last month today but last month he gave under $20.07 percent meant to get 210. 10% would be 300 if you brought home 6000 maybe that your household income.
The average income in Cary is about $67,000. So that's it then if you gave a check for $250 you gave credit for percent VA $420 agape 7% 600 would be 10.
Some of you might bring him 10,000 so if you write out a check for $400 or whatever, or 700 or 1000 Find Your Pl. There and I'm doing this because I know or want to know what I want to leave you and me into a realistic assessment so that we can see where we really are.
If you went to your job tomorrow. They said you know we got problems and issues we don't like anybody but really cut everybody's salary to percent would you quit probably not. You would probably make a way to live off 2% less. I can tell you that in my own personal life. If I live off 98% of what I bring home. I can tell you where I am. That would indicate to me that I haven't caught what I would call the Macedonian spirit if we together as a congregation spend 9899% on our family, our house, our automobiles are education our retirement, our stuff. We got to accept the teaching in a realistic assessment of what it means for God's spirit to work in us. The Macedonian is 1/3 challenge make a realistic assessment of changes. You might want to make have conversations pray about Doolittle ransacking the Scripture because here's the key. 11 were not talking about money. That's just a reflection of our heart talking about attitude and submission and joy and anticipation building of the church and the disseminating of the gospel of the reaching of a document that I know.
It's earthy. It's a $20 bill touches mortal things. The reason that $20 bill can touch mortal things is because when we make that money available to God. He uses it in powerful ways.
But as we've seen today, the way we give makes all the difference regarding how God views our gift you're listening to wisdom for the heart with Stephen Devi with this lesson. Stephen concludes his series on the church called upon this rock we've taken the series and packaged it as a set.
If you'd like to get a copy. It's available as a set of CDs or you can download the audio lessons and the written manuscripts. Call us today for information were at 86 648 Bible or 866-482-4253.
You also find this resource on our website. Wisdom online.org and I'll remind any pastors, elders and deacons one last time that Stephen preached this series just prior to the church, revising its constitution and doctrinal statement. If you'd like to see a copy of that document. Call us. Have a great weekend and join us back here on Monday for more wisdom for the