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Believe19 - Giving My Resources

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Believe: Living the Bible to Become Like Jesus  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  48:43
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Using God’s Gifts for God’s Work

Prayer
This past Monday, I sent my boss (Sandy) this email...
“Sandy, I’m going to be making today a shorter day.  I’m going to hit the JV basketball practice today.  I will be in tomorrow morning, but need to be on call to run to Akron at any point.  I will be back after that. I will then be here Wednesday for a full day, and Thursday as well, and then Friday morning if needed.  Of course, all of this is under the phrase…”Lord Willing”…”
So as I was typing this out, I started thinking back to last Sunday’s sermon…the sermon I had apparently forgotten about - THE VERY NEXT DAY...
I was writing this out on Monday, and then it hit me - OH YEAH - i JUST preached on this - YESTERDAY!
And I had ALREADY forgotten that truth from the day before...
WHAT TRUTH?
You remember last week?
We discussed how the Bible teaches us that the time that we have during our day, is NOT OUR time...
but that it’s God’s TIME...
And the question we wanted to ask is this - How have I been spending God’s time?
Have I been using the time that He’s given me to PURSUE Him?
to reflect Christ to the world?
to love my enemies, as Christ loved His enemies?
OR - have i spent the time He’s given me on OTHER THINGS...
on…pursuing WHAT’s BEEN CREATED....over and above the CREATOR?
See - let’s not forget the context of how we got here.
We started this Sermon Series answering this question: What Do I Believe?
And we looked at 11 Core Christian Beliefs...
And so we wanted to answer the question - What Do I Believe?
NOW - for the past several weeks, we’ve been answering another question: What Do I Do?
If i BELIEVE these things - then how do those beliefs play themselves out in my life.
THAT’s what we want to answer now - If my beliefs walked this earth…what would that LOOK LIKE?
But we have to remember - Our beliefs, DO walk this earth. They DO play themselves out in our lives.
*Chair Question
And so last week - we came to the topic of “Offering God My Time”…and if you remember, I hated that title...
I had to CHANGE the title…to what? - Giving God HIS Time...
Do you remember the verse we read pertaining to this?
James 4:13–17 ESV
13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.
Is this text not speaking to every one of us?
We’re all guilty of saying - Hey, I’m gonna run to the store quick..and be right back.
Now as innocent as that seems, the Bible tells us (we just read it), if i say that, and I don’t believe that God controls me getting to the store and back...
Then it’s in my arrogance that I say it…because I believe that God is NOT in control.
And so remember - we’re trying now to answer the question - WHAT DO I DO?
AND LAST WEEK - we saw a call to Christians:
Christians must WORK the works of God...while we can...
While there's still time to save people...PRIORITIZE saving people...
While there's still time to draw people to the cross of Christ....pick your cross daily!
While there is still time for people to turn to Jesus in faith, BE Jesus to them....display Jesus to them!
THIS was the call - to view the time that we have as GOD’S Time…because it’s His time.
NOW - today, we come to this next topic…SLIDE
ONE that is often a taboo topic in the church....MONEY

Using God’s Gifts for God’s Work

Now - Before you start heading for the doors…KNOW THIS…!
This sermon today is NOT going to be about us putting you in a head-lock, trying to get you to give money to this church.
I think we’ve preached on money ONE time since we’ve been together as a group...
AS YOU KNOW - we DO NOT pass a plate here at church. (let me repeat that)
NOR will we ever do so! - and we’ll get into WHY we don’t a little later...
But just know - that’s not what today is about!
Today’s sermon is going to be about the heart attitude that we should have in regards to THE MONEY that we have (our resources)
And so to see this, we’ll be bouncing around the Bible a bit, but still keeping things in Context as we go.
These are hard words today, but I hope you find them to be freeing, and light.

To Love Money is to Hate God

And so you might be thinking - WHAT?
How does my affection for God relate to my affection for money?
Let’s look at Luke 16 to see this connection...
Luke 16:13 ESV
13 No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”
I think the first thing to point out here is this -
Christ could have used anything else in the world…to HOLD UP against God here!
He could have said - You cannot serve God and man...
You cannot serve God and satan...
You cannot serve God and this world...
He could have said any of these....but He didn’t....He chose to hold up GOD - and MONEY
AND SAY - You CANNOT serve God and Money...
And yet if we look at this verse, we can see what Christ means when He says “SERVE God”...
When we think about the idea of SERVING God, we think - DOING THINGS for God…right?
But how does Jesus define it here?
Notice what He doesn’t say - He doesn’t say — You cannot serve two master, for you will do things for the one and not do anything for the other…SLIDE
NO - He says - “you cannot serve two masters, for either you will HATE the one and LOVE the other, or be DEVOTED to one and DESPISE the other”...
Do you hear the AFFECTIONAL aspect of SERVING…??
Do you see - that to PLEASE God is to not merely DO things for Him...
BUT to JOYFULLY do things for Him...
to DO things for HIM YES, but that those things happen as they spring forth from LOVE FOR HIM...
Luke here equates SERVING God - with LOVING God…!
AND when we really start to think about THIS TRUTH...
WHAT COMES to mind is this - IDOLATRY
THIS truth POINTS to what Idolatry is all about -
To LOVE something MORE than God! To DESIRE something MORE than God!
THAT’S IDOLATRY!
THEREFORE...
when we LOVE money, and REST in our MONEY...
when MONEY is our:
support in life
comfort in this world
pursuit of life
when it becomes our AIM in life, our end all be all...
we’ve gotten to a point where MONEY has become our god...
we worship it
WHICH leads to our next point...

To Love Money is to Be a Slave to It

So taking this back to the verses we just read, When MONEY is our god...
Money is the Master and We are the servant...
Meaning what? - Who controls who?
Does the servant/slave control the Master? NO
The Master CONTROLS the servant...
And we become a SLAVE to MONEY....
Now listen - this doesn’t just apply to PEOPLE WHO HAVE LOTS of money…!
Even so - listen to this - These numbers are from between 2011 - 2013.
If you make $10K a year, that puts you in the top 15% of the richest people in the world.
If you make $10K a year, your monthly income could pay the monthly salaries of 43 Doctors in Kyrgyzstan.
If you make $50K a year, that puts you in the top (.3)% of the richest people in the world.
If you make $50K a year, it would take the average labourer in Indonesia 67 years to make the same $50K.
KINDA CRAZY huh? But here’s the thing....
Can you LOVE money - even if you don’t have any?
Yes - of course! That’s why the LOTTERY exists!
We CRAVE money!
We DESIRE to be rich! And even BEING rich, we desire MORE!
But what does the Bible say about that?
What does God say about that?
1 Timothy 6:9 ESV
But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.
Why is this true?
1 Timothy 6:10 ESV
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
And so here we see the connection between LOVE OF MONEY and the WANDERING AWAY FROM THE FAITH...
AND - we see here that IT’S NOT ABOUT BEING rich....it’s about the DESIRE to be RICH!
AND really - the DESIRE for ANYTHING…more than God!
That’s the SIN...
Money isn’t EVIL - we are!
Money is not the problem....WE ARE.
See we can turn ANYTHING into an idol…We can take anything and elevate it ABOVE God.
And of course MONEY is the prime suspect for us...
WHY? - because it has a FORM of POWER!
It allows us to buy things!
Necessities of course, but also what? LUXURIES...
Things we don’t NEED....but WANT
AND because it can be so easy to fall into making MONEY our Master...
The call for Christians is to constantly EXAMINE themselves to see if they are TRUSTING in PROSPERITY!
And so here are 3 Questions that the Bible asks us (God asks us)
Do I live in fear of losing my comforts?
If we desire worldly comforts, and fear earthly loss more than we fear God, then we will likely make decisions and plans according to what we think will keep our lives most comfortable.
See part of having FAITH in Christ is to find our REST in Christ....REGARDLESS of our circumstances!
The apostle Paul said this in Romans 8
Romans 8:18 ESV
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
You ever go to the Grand Canyon, or some other AMAZING place like it, and come back and try to explain it to someone that’s never been there?
And you know that your words just fall short of it - Like...”it’s AMAZING”...
Well - a Romanburger is AMAZING too - but they don’t really compare...
Here the apostle Paul is saying - the GLORY that is coming for those who have FAITH in Christ...
…is SO OVERWHELMINGLY AMAZING that i can’t even compare the sufferings that we experience in this life - with it...
And so HEARING Paul say this in Romans, it makes his life choices MAKE SENSE.
He didn’t live in FEAR of losing his comforts… WHY?
Because Christ didn’t live in FEAR of losing His comforts....heavenly or earthly!
Christ came - and willingly laid down His life…and died…for you.
That’s the OPPOSITE of living in FEAR of losing comforts!
Like CHRIST....the apostle PAUL looked suffering in the eyes…and walked toward it!
And his life choices REVEALED what he believed...
His life choices revealed that he had RENOUNCED any love for money...
Money was not his master…Christ was his Master
And the focus of his life was not in the accumulation of wealth, but in the glorification of Christ in the lives of those around Him.
So a Question to ask ourselves is this:
Do I live in Fear of Losing My Comforts?
But there’s another question to ask ourselves, and one that the Bible asks us:
Whether in Prosperity or Need, is Jesus Enough?
We can have a desire to USE the Resources we have - for God’s work...
But EVEN THEN - if God chooses to take it all away....is having Christ enough?
See I could spend my life genuinely pursuing to honor God with the money He’s given me…but He could still take it all away!
The question is - IF that happens, how will I respond to God?
Of course no one is perfect, and of course there are going to be times that we QUESTION God...
NOT knowing what He’s doing...
BUT if we lose everything, and then POSTURE UP to God, and we shake our fists at Him, and continue to do that…and continue to do that....and continue to do that...
IT MIGHT JUST BE that what’s being revealed is that we had actually been a SLAVE to MONEY…with MONEY being our MASTER...
And so it’s a great question for us to ask ourselves, to gauge where we’re at with God!
Whether in Prosperity or Need, is Jesus enough?
And you might be thinking - why is PROSPERITY in the equation here?
Here’s why - Because if I’m constantly seeking Jesus when things are BAD…
BUT then when things turn to the GOOD, I no longer seek Jesus...
Again, it would point to the very real possibility that Christ isn’t my MASTER…but instead the THINGS He gives me...
and as we read before…that’s IDOLATRY!
That’s elevating GIFTS above GIVER!
And so - the QUESTION is important....the answer more important!
Another question we should ask ourselves:
What Legacy Am I Leaving?
And this question really points to our priorities...
Am I pouring all of my energy, and time, and effort into things that will last…or into temporary things?
Am i pouring my life into raising my family’s standard of living 20 years from now…so much so that I have no time whatsoever to build them up spiritually?
Men - are we so entrenched in our work, that we’ve lost sight of building up our wives in the Lord?
Have we lost sight of the things that matter....
the things that are ETERNAL?
What example are we giving our kids....because they.are.watching!
MORE OFTEN that not, Our pursuits in life....become THEIR pursuits in life...
What Legacy Am I Leaving?
important question...
And so all of these questions are important for us - to examine ourselves to truly see if - We are a slave to MONEY.
AND SO - What have we seen so far?
We’ve seen that:
1. To Love Money is to Hate God
2. To Love Money is to Be a Slave to Money
Now, if this is true…which we’ve seen, ACCORDING to God in Scripture - it is...
Then that would point to this - Our last point today:

To Love Money is to Worship Our Own Destruction

Again, don’t forget....money itself is not evil...
EVEN having money is not evil...
It’s in our DESIRE to have money where the danger lies...
But listen - If I desire to have money, SO THAT I can use it for God’s purposes...
then GREAT!
But if my HOPE is in my bank account...
If my JOY rests in my bank account…OR if my JOY rests in the PURSUIT of MORE MONEY (maybe i’m poor*)
Then I’m revealing that I’m a SLAVE TO MONEY…like a puppet on a string
And it’s REALLY a foolish pursuit! - WHY?
James 5:1–6 ESV
1 Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. 2 Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days. 4 Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. 5 You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and murdered the righteous person. He does not resist you.
We all know this to be true right?
That old saying - “You’ll never see a hearse towing a U-Haul”
We can’t take anything with us...
v3 here says - Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you
Who is this talk to?
Who’s the YOU in this verse?
It’s the person who would live out...
Luke 12:13–21 ESV
13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” 14 But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” 15 And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” 16 And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, 17 and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ 18 And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.” ’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
See - we have our own understanding about what makes sense...
We have our own understanding of what COMMON SENSE would tell you...
But Christ is constantly looking at us and saying - Think Again!!
“get a wider....DEEPER view of life”
And so that’s our call!!
To look at the MONEY that we have - and know that it’s not OUR MONEY…it’s GOD’s MONEY...
The question is - How am I handling God’s money....?
It’s a good test to see where our HEART is....
Today we’ve seen some hard truths about the LOVE of MONEY!
We’ve seen that...
To Love Money is to Hate God
To Love Money is to Be a Slave to Money
To Love Money is to Worship Our Own Destruction
As Christians we should be striving to MAKE MONEY OUR SERVANT...
We should make MONEY SERVE us...
…Instead of us being ENSLAVED to Money...
The Money we Have should be ENSLAVED to us...
When we use the Money that God has given us to accomplish His purposes...
…we SHOW THE WORLD that our money is NOT our treasure…Christ is
When we use the Money that God has given us to accomplish His purposes...
…we SHOW THE WORLD that our money is NOT where we rest and find security…Christ is
And so CONSIDERING now these truths we’ve talked about today, let’s look at this church…AFBC
Our mindset / our heart in starting this, was this:
We want this church to be about INVESTING in people…and NOT buildings!
We’re well aware of the trend out there…that if you just build a BIG ENOUGH…COOL ENOUGH building, then people will come.
But guess what really happens in that?
People come to church, not for the message, but for the aesthetics
And what else comes with that? - DEBT!
The more DEBT you have, the less you can:
Help people in need
Minister to the poor
Reach the Community around you...
And so coming into this, we wanted to avoid DEBT as best as we could.
That was our prayer...
Did God respond?
The room that we’re in right now is owned by Harold Maddock, and he let’s us use this room, really whenever we need it....for free.
The outer rooms that wrap around this room....about 3000 SF of space...
We OWN those rooms, and it would cost you more to buy a Whopper at Burger King, then what we paid for those 3000 SF right outside this room.
We paid $1 for that space.
God has surely provided…and we trust He will continue to do so...
As I mentioned before, we don’t pass a plate here and nor will we ever....WHY?
Because the Bible teaches that God will build His church, not through OPPRESSING His people…but by working in and through His people...
…giving them NEW DESIRES for God…and His purposes...
And when that happens, God’s people WILL invest in God’s purposes…JOYFULLY!
2 Corinthians 9:7 ESV
Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
And so since that’s in the Bible, we believe it’s true...
AND IF we believe it’s true…then passing a plate has no place HERE!
We even say this - If you can’t JOYFULLY give, don’t give…we don’t want it.
God will not accomplish His purposes through BEGRUDGING giving...
and so the offering boxes sit in the back....and they will either be viewed as a BURDEN or an OPPORTUNITY...
And so - as we leave here today, having heard all that we’ve heard today - Consider this:
We’ve seen a clear call today to RENOUNCE the love of money…BUT…make no mistake
We don’t RENOUNCE the love of money SO THAT God will then ACCEPT us.
Here’s the GOOD NEWS of Christianity: You CAN’T be GOOD enough to get to heaven
For some people, they view Christianity as this - IMPOSSIBLE Obstacle Course...
and so they THINK that the BIBLE says - BE GOOD enough so that you can get to heaven...
....CHANGE YOUR BEHAVIOR so that you can get to heaven!
That’s NOT what the Bible teaches!
Here’s what the Bible actually teaches:
The Bible teaches that we need to be PERFECT to get to heaven!
And you might be thinking - WELL WAIT A MINUTE - you just said that Christianity is NOT this IMPOSSIBLE Obstacle Course!?
Well here’s the thing - While the Bible DOES teach that we need to be PERFECT to get to heaven...
the STORY doesn’t end there!
If it DID end there - we’d all be screwed!
Most people think that Christianity is about Christians looking out at the world and saying - You all SUCK, If you lived more HOLY then God would love you!
Again, that’s not Christianity...
Christianity says this - (I) suck, I’m a sinner…AND we’re ALL SINNERS...
We’ve ALL fallen short of God’s STANDARD! (Rom 3:23)
We all know that NO ONE IS PERFECT...
BUT THAT’s where the GOOD NEWS of Christ comes in!!
That’s WHY Jesus came to earth…and lived a perfect life…and died…and rose again...
BECAUSE THERE WAS NO OTHER WAY to get to God (John 14:6)
That’s the GOSPEL…the Good News of Christ!
And so thinking back to everything we’ve heard today, if you leave here, trying to get to heaven BY RENOUNCING your love of money...
or by selling all your possessions…know this - you cannot earn heaven!
Christians strive to renounce their love of money - BECAUSE they’ve already been accepted by God, based on Faith Alone in Christ Alone!
God is pleased, only by that which rests solely on the finished work of Christ on the cross...
Let’s pray
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