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ABCs of Giving

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ABC’S OF GIVING - Consecration

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Mark 12:41-12:44 (NIV, NIRV, TNIV, KJV)

Sermon Series: ABC’S OF GIVING

Keywords: (Suggest Keywords)
sacrifice, Offering, Giving, Tithe, Consecrate, Tithing, Pleasing To God, Aroma

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The following sermon was used in conjunction with the book "Take God at His Word, Book 2: Expect a Harvest" written by Dr. Kregg Hood, Sweet Publishing (5750 Stratum Drive, Fort Worth, Texas 76137)
Dr. Hood has an excellent packet to go with this sermon series that would be well worth your investigation.

OPENING COMMENTS: In our Sermon Series on the ABC’s of Stewardship, we’ve gotten to the C of Stewardship: CONSECRATION

To Consecrate something (American Heritage Dictionary): “to dedicate something to some service or goal.”

OPEN: (Paul Harvey, Nov. 1995): The Butterball Turkey company set up a hotline to answer consumer questions about preparing holiday turkeys. One woman called to inquire about cooking a turkey that had been in her freezer for 23 years.
The operator told her it might be safe if the freezer had been kept below 0 degrees the entire time. But the operator warned the woman that, even if it were safe, the flavor had probably deteriorated, and she wouldn’t recommend eating it.
The caller replied, “That’s what we thought. We’ll just give it to the church.”

APPLY: Why does that strike us as funny? She was consecrating that Turkey to God, wasn’t she? What she was offering was still good – wasn’t it??? BUT tho’ it may have been “consecrated”… though it still was “good,” it wasn’t going to taste good or smell good.

I. Offerings to God - that which is consecrated to God - should taste good. They should smell good.

Lev. 1:9 talked about the Burnt Offering that was to be offered to God. When properly prepared this burnt offering would offer up an “aroma pleasing to the LORD."
Lev. 2:2 describes the Grain Offering. When properly prepared this grain offering would offer up an “aroma pleasing to the LORD."
Lev. 3:5 tells us about the Fellowship Offering. When properly prepared this fellowship offering would offer up an “aroma pleasing to the LORD."

Lev. 4:31 introduces the Sin Offering. When properly prepared this sin offering would offer up an “aroma pleasing to the LORD."

Ex. 29:18 tells of the sacrifices that were to consecrate the priests for service. You got it: When properly prepared this sacrifices would offer up an “aroma pleasing to the LORD."

When Noah offered up his sacrifice after the flood, it says that “the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart [is] evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done."

THAT WHICH IS CONSECRATED UNTO GOD. That which is sacrificed to Him should taste good. It should smell good.

II. So what can make an offering to God “smell good?” – Appeal to God
THE KEY is found in Mark 12:41ff (read) What’s Jesus doing here? There was something in what is happening in the Temple that was appealing to Him. He has been watching people put their offering into the temple treasury and… WHOA!

What does that say? It says he was watching people put their money in the offering? I don’t know if I like that! What I put in the plate – no one’s business but my own… isn’t it? Well, obviously not! What we give is important to God. And He does watch.

ILLUS: Did you know that in the Bible prayer is mentioned 371 times, love 714 times, and giving 2162 times? Where does the Bible put greater emphasis?

But why should it matter to God what we give? It’s the thought that counts isn’t it? He doesn’t even need my money. AND He shouldn’t need my money to know how much I love Him… should He?

ILLUS: Mrs. Baughman was a Sunday School class teacher in my 6th grade class. One morning she brought a pan of brownies to our class. As the goodies sat tantalizingly over by her chair she gave each child a slip of paper marked with a household expense: house payment, phone bill, credit card bill, entertainment, and so forth. My slip had "car payment on it."
Before long, Mrs. Baughman picked up the tray of fresh brownies and began naming the expenses named on the papers. As we gave her our expense slips, she redeemed each one for a brownie from the pan. Finally, the last brownie had disappeared. But one boy named Donald still held his unredeemed slip. "God!" called Mrs. Baughman. Donald came forward, hoping the teacher had one more brownie hidden somewhere.
With a knife, Mrs. Baughman scraped the crumbs from the bottom of the pan into Donald’s napkin. He got a pretty raw deal, I thought - just the crumbs.
"The brownies represent your money," the teacher explained to us. "If you don’t give God his share right away, he probably won’t get anything at all except maybe crumbs."
We never forgot that illustration from our 6th grade Sunday School class. It was the day my friend Donald got only brownie scrapings, and I learned that God should have 1st rights to everything I have. In the years since, I have struggled with giving and priorities, but whenever I recall that "crummy Sunday morning lesson", I know who must come first in my life.

That story illustrates how God must feel with some offerings that He receives. Instead of God getting our 1st thought – He gets our last. He gets what’s leftover… He gets the crumbs. NOW IF YOU CAN IMAGINE HOW DONALD FELT…You’ve a fair idea of how God must feel. It’s true – it is the thought that counts. That’s all because God knows: “Where our treasure is, there our heart is also.”

Something else here that Jesus does. He tells us what pleases God. Notice that Jesus is more impressed with the widow than with the wealthy. This tells me God is more impressed with the quality of our gift than with quantity.

This is poor woman. Her offering is probably a day’s wages. IT WAS A sacrifice FOR HER. It was ALL she had.

In Genesis and Exodus and Leviticus and Numbers - that which gave the offerings to God “an aroma pleasing to the LORD” was that it was a sacrifice. THE RICH – putting in their offering, were not sacrificing anything. That was what Jesus was pointing out here.

What is it about sacrifice that pleases God??? God knows that I will sacrifice for that which is important to me. If something IS NOT important to me – I won’t sacrifice.
But when we get to the point where God’s kingdom & His righteousness are valuable enough for you and I to sacrifice something for… God will give us the power to change our world.

CLOSE: A sobbing little girl stood near a small church from which she had been turned away because it ’was too crowded.’ "I can’t go to Sunday School," she sobbed to the preacher as he walked by. The preacher looked on her shabby, unkempt appearance, and guessed the reason - taking her by the hand, took her inside and found a place for her in the Sunday School class.
The child was

so touched that she went to bed that night thinking of the children who have no place to worship Jesus.
About two years later, this child lay dead in one of the poor tenement buildings and the parents called for that preacher, to handle her final arrangements. They told him that just as her poor little body was being moved, a worn and crumpled purse was found which seemed to have been rummaged from some trash dump. Inside was found 57 cents and a note scribbled in childish handwriting which read, "This is to help build the little church bigger so more children can go to Sunday school." For two years she had saved for this offering special offering. When the preacher read that note he was in tears… and he knew instantly what he wanted to do.
Carrying this note and the cracked, red pocketbook to the pulpit, he told the story of her unselfish love and devotion. He challenged his church leaders to get busy and raise enough money for the larger building. And they did!
But the story didn’t end there! A newspaper learned of the story and published it. It was read by a Realtor who offered them a parcel of land worth many thousands. And when he was told that the church could not pay so much, he offered it for a 57 cents.
Church members made large subscriptions. Checks came from far and wide. Within five years the little girl’s gift had increased to $250,000.00 – a huge sum for that time (near the turn of the century). Her unselfish love had paid large dividends.
When you are in the city of Philadelphia, look up Temple Baptist Church, with a seating capacity of 3,300, and Temple University, where hundreds of students are trained.
Visit Good Samaritan Hospital and view their Sunday School building which houses hundreds of Sunday scholars, so that no child in the area will ever need to be left outside during Sunday school time.
In one of the rooms of this building may be seen the picture of the little girl whose 57 cents, so sacrificially saved, made such remarkable history. Alongside of it is a portrait of her kind preacher, Dr. Russell H. Conwell, author of the book, "Acres of Diamonds"

SERMONS IN THIS SERIES
Attitude: Why I Give - Luke 10:25-10:37
The Power of Belief - 1 Chronicles 29:1-29:22
Consecration - Mark 12:41-12:44
Desired But Not Required - Malachi 3:8-3:12

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