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Does Our Giving Matter to God?

Notes & Transcripts

Does Our Giving Matter to God?

Malachi 3:6-12, Luke 7:36-50, Philippians 4:13-19

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - Sept. 28, 2014

*Years ago, a friend of ours started coming to church with us, and one of the first times she ever came, I preached about money. This lady had been a friend for years, so she didn't mind telling me what she really thought. And right after the service, she whined, "Oh, I came to church, and you preached about money."

*Some people get uncomfortable when the preacher talks about money. But we have to talk about money in church, because God's Word talks about money. God talks about money. So does our giving matter to God? -- Without a doubt, the answer is yes, and this morning we will see 4 reasons why.

1. First of all: Our giving is an obligation to God.

*God makes this truth clear to us in vs. 6-9, and there He said:

6. "For I am the Lord, I do not change; therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.

7. Yet from the days of your fathers you have gone away from My ordinances and have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you,'' says the Lord of hosts. "But you said, 'In what way shall we return?'

8. Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, 'In what way have we robbed You?' In tithes and offerings.

9. You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation."

*We could say, "Well, that's Old Testament." And of course it is, but listen to what Jesus said as he was scolding the religious rulers in Matt 23:23: "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone."

*Yes justice, mercy and faith are the most important things. But Jesus said that we also ought to be giving. Give your tithe: That's ten percent of your gross income or profit. And give your offerings: These are special donations on top of our tithes.

*God never took away the requirement for tithing, because He always planned for His Kingdom work to be carried on through the tithes of His people. And God never took away the requirement for offerings, because He knew that there would always be needy people in our world: People needing physical help, and most of all, people needing spiritual help.

*Our giving is an obligation to God. The Lord even says in Malachi 3:8 that if we don't give, we are robbing God. And this is true because every thing we think we own really belongs to God!

*In Acts 7:49-50, God said this about the Jerusalem Temple:

49. 'Heaven is My throne, and earth is My footstool. What house will you build for Me? says the Lord, or what is the place of My rest?

50. Has My hand not made all these things?'

*It all belongs to God. Ben Franklin proved this truth by asking a good question: "If your riches are yours, why don't you take them with you to the other world?" It all belongs to God anyway, so don't rob the Lord of your tithes and offerings. (1)

*Years ago, I punched the answering machine in my office, and got my most unusual voice mail ever. It was a testimony about tithing. I saved it on my machine for several months. And every once in a while I would listen to it, because it was a blessing. I also asked the man to email it to me. Here's part of what he said:

*"I've always believed in tithing. For years I've studied why we tithe; how much to tithe; and who actually owns our possessions. I finally came to the conclusion that 'ten percent of the gross' was the only thing that made sense to me.

*But about three years ago, I was faced with a personal crisis. Family problems overwhelmed me and although 'business was booming,' my family situation was in shambles. In concentrating on sheer survival, I lost focus in several areas of my spiritual life. Tithing was one of them.

*I didn't withhold my tithe. I just never gave it much thought. For two years, my entire focus was on my family relationships, my work, and everything else except what God wanted from me.

*When I reviewed my church contributions for last year, I was shocked, embarrassed, and humiliated. How could I give so little to the God who had given me so much? I prayed for forgiveness and promised that I would pay more attention to my financial duties.

*Now that I am giving to God what he expects of me in my finances (and trying to catch up from my abysmal failure of the past two years), God is out-giving me by a long shot.

*It is not my money to begin with. . . Everything we have belongs to God. He just wants a small portion of what He has given to us." Our giving matters to God, because it's an obligation to Him.

2. Church: Our giving also matters, because it will bring a demonstration of God's blessing.

*We see this truth in vs. 10-12, where the Lord said:

10. "Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and prove Me now in this,'' says the Lord of hosts, "If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it.

11. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, so that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,'' says the Lord of hosts;

12. And all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a delightful land,'' says the Lord of hosts.

*God doesn't want to hurt us. He wants to help us! He wants to bless us! He wants to bless us beyond measure, and these blessings even include financial blessings, according to the will of God.

*Listen to the end of my friend's tithing testimony, "This year has been unbelievable. God continues to bless myself, my family, and my finances. I can't wait to write my check now, because I get a blessing just from that. A tithe is just a small token of appreciation to Someone who gave everything to us. God doesn't receive the blessing when I tithe -- I DO."

*God wants to bless us, and He promises to bless in a special way when we give. That's the message of vs. 10-12, and Jesus put it this way in Luke 6:38:

-"Give and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you."

*God wants to bless you! He wants to use your giving to prove His giving. He wants to prove His generosity. God wants to prove that He keeps His promises, and He will keep His promise about giving back to you.

*Now this doesn't mean that God will necessarily give us a boatload of money when we give to Him. Some of the richest people I have ever known probably didn't have $500 in the bank, but they were rich in other ways. And they were richer because they gave. That's why in Acts 20:35, Jesus said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive."

*James McCullen told the story of a widow named Margaret Johnson. After Margaret's husband died, she had very little money support her family. About that time the office where Margaret worked was taking up a collection for a needy family. Margaret insisted on giving even though her co-workers urged her not to. She just felt good about giving. Margaret later found out that the collection was for her. (2)

*And she may have been one of the poorest people in her office, but Margaret was rich in generosity because she gave. And God blessed her for it in more ways than one. Our giving matters, because it brings a demonstration of God's blessing.

3. But our giving also matters, because it reflects our adoration for the Lord.

*Our giving reflects our love for the Lord. There's a tremendous example of this truth in Luke 7:36-50:

36. Then one of the Pharisees asked Him (Jesus) to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee's house, and sat down to eat.

37. And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil,

38. and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil.

39. Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, "This man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.''

40. And Jesus answered and said to him, "Simon, I have something to say to you.'' And he said, "Teacher, say it.''

41. "There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.

42. And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?''

43. Simon answered and said, "I suppose the one whom he forgave more.'' And He said to him, "You have rightly judged.''

44. Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head.

45. You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in.

46. You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil.

47. Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.''

48. And He said to her, "Your sins are forgiven.''

49. And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, "Who is this who even forgives sins?''

50. Then He said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.

*This woman was a sinner, a notorious sinner, someone who had a terrible reputation. She was someone who needed to be saved, and someone who was forgiven by Jesus in a big way. Thank God we have a merciful Savior who is willing to forgive us so much!

*It's easy for us to set ourselves up as better than this woman, because most of us have not lived notorious lives, but the truth is that all of us needed a big forgiveness, because even one sin was enough to send us to hell for all eternity. And we all have sinned more times than we know in our attitudes and our actions. We are the debtors Jesus talks about in vs. 41-42. Some may owe more than others, but no one is able to pay what he owes to God!

*Jesus was the only One who could pay that sin debt, and that's what He did when He died on the cross for us. Now the risen Christ will save anyone who will receive Him as Lord and Savior.

*So think about this woman's gift to the Lord. It was an extravagant gift. In that last week before the cross, Lazarus' sister Mary anointed Jesus with a similar box of oil, and the Bible tells us that it was worth almost a whole year's wages.

*Why did this sinful woman give this great gift to the Lord? It is because even though this was before the cross, somehow she realized that Jesus was the Savior. She realized that Jesus loved her. She realized that He had forgiven her sins. And she loved Him.

*Think about how much the Lord loves us, and all that He went through for us. These words are taken from Psalm 22 in the New Living Translation:

1. My God, my God! Why have you forsaken me?

6. . . I am scorned and despised by all!

7. Everyone who sees me mocks me. They sneer and shake their heads, saying,

8. "Is this the one who relies on the Lord? Then let the Lord save him! If the Lord loves him so much, let the Lord rescue him!"

14. My life is poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart is like wax, melting within me.

15. My strength has dried up like sun-baked clay. My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth. You have laid me in the dust and left me for dead.

16. My enemies surround me like a pack of dogs; an evil gang closes in on me. They have pierced my hands and feet.

17. I can count every bone in my body. My enemies stare at me and gloat.

18. They divide my clothes among themselves and throw dice for my garments.

*Talking about Christian giving in 2 Corinthians 8:9, Paul said, "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich."

*Jesus Christ gave Himself for us in a way that no one else could. He gave His all for us, and now we should give out of our love for Him.

*Emil Mettler owned a little restaurant in London during the ravages of World War II. Emil was so generous that people left his restaurant embarrassed that they might have taken advantage of him.

*Once Emil opened his cash register and a pastor paying his bill happened to look into the drawer. There along with the money was a six-inch nail. The pastor asked Emil what it was for and he answered, "I keep this nail with my money to remind me of the price Christ paid for my salvation and what I owe him in return." (3)

*Our giving matters to God, because it reflects our adoration for the Lord.

4. But our giving also matters, because it can help a desperate situation.

*God's Word reminds us of this sure truth in Philippians 4:13-19. There Paul said:

13. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

14. Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress.

15. Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only.

16. For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities.

17. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account.

18. Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God.

19. And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

*Again, in vs. 15&16, Paul said:

15. Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only.

16. For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities.

*At one point the Philippians were the ONLY ONES who helped Paul. And now we may be the only ones who can and will help someone else in a desperate situation. We can be the ones who make a difference. We can be the answer to someone's prayer. Our giving can even be a miracle in someone's life.

*Right now we are focused on the Georgia Barnette Offering for State Missions. People are going to be saved, because other people gave. And if you are one of the givers, then someday up in Heaven, someone is going to come up to you and say, "I got saved because of you!"

*Today we also begin our fall focus on Operation Christmas Child. Our children got us off to a big start during VBS. They have already packed 45 boxes! And now we can do our part. Since 1993, OCC has collected and delivered way over 100 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 100 countries. And along with the boxes we give, they will get a little book that presents the Good News about Jesus Christ. What a blessing to give!

*One of the places our gifts could go is the town of Beslan in Russia. It's a town of 34,000 near the Caucasus Mountains. You may have heard of Beslan, because that is where a horrible terrorist attack took place in September of 2004. On that dreadful day, Muslim terrorists seized School Number One, and took more than 1,300 children, parents and teachers hostage. The siege could only be ended by a bloody battle. Please listen to part of an Operation Christmas Child report from a few months later:

*Reminders of the tragedy are everywhere. They are in the new graveyard on the outskirts of town where the 344 victims, including 170 children, are buried. They are in the battle-scarred remains of the school. They are in the bombed-out gym that now holds a memorial to the victims, full of flowers and notes from all over Russia and the world. Alongside the painful memories are the questions. How did it happen? Why did the terrorists choose this town and this school? Why did they target children?

*'The most common question is why God allowed children to die,' said a Russian Christian helping the survivors. 'The message we give them is God has not forgotten you.' And that was the message an Operation Christmas Child team brought to Beslan as they delivered shoe box gifts, given to each survivor of the siege at the school.

*Crystal Woodman-Miller was part of the team in December, 2004, and she knows something about what those children went through, because Crystal is a survivor of the Columbine High School shooting in 1999. Here's part of what Crystal told the people of Beslan, 'I want you to know that as you are going through this pain you are not alone. And that we are here to bring an expression of love to each of you. My hope is that through the items in these boxes you will feel the love of Jesus Christ, and that you will feel the love and the support and the prayers from America.'

*Crystal also said, 'I believe that God will use these gifts in amazing ways. These shoe boxes represent light in a dark place: A dark place that knows hatred and violence and war and terrorism. Through these boxes, I hope that we are bringing back a little of their childhood, a little of that innocence that was lost in September.'" (4)

CONCLUSION:

*Does our giving matter to God? Without a doubt, the answer is yes.

-Our giving is an obligation to God.

-It brings a demonstration of His great blessing.

-It reflects our adoration for the Lord.

-And it can help a desperate situation.

*So give! And if you have never placed your trust in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, the first thing you need to give is your heart. Open your heart to receive Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. He gave His life for you on the cross. And He will give eternal life to you today.

*Give yourself to the Lord, as we go to God in prayer.

(1) Saturday Evening Post, September/October 2006, p.17 - Source: In Other Words - October 2006 #2 - Produced by Dr. Raymond McHenry - www.iows.net

2. Cross & Crown sermon "Good Samaritan Story" by James McCullen - Luke 10:30-36

3. Sermons.com sermon "Proving Your Love" by Edward Inabinet - 2 Corinthians 8:1-15

4. Adapted from the 2005 Operation Christmas Child Report

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