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Just Between You And Me

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Scripture:

Are there scriptural guidelines for giving?

q      Give Firstfruits

q      Give Proportionately

q      Give Sacrificially

q      Give Regularly – 1 Corinthians 16:1,2

q      Give Cheerfully – 2 Corinthians 9:7

q      Give Quietly

q      Tithe

Lessons Learned from A & S:

q      Misrepresentation of ourselves before men.  They lied to men.

q      God knows what you give and whether or not you can do better or whether or not you are willing to work toward doing better.

q      They wanted to be a part of the movement and have all the respect that went with it but they weren’t willing to pay the price.  What about membership? 

The idea that we are accountable to God and not men should not release us from a feeling of accountability or scrutiny.  It should cause us to be absolutely resolute that we will be as we represent ourselves to be.

We are to hide or perform privately our “acts of righteousness” that we would not draw attention to ourselves.

We are to display openly our good works that God might be glorified.

The idea of privacy or anonymity in giving was never intended to protect us somehow - it was a restriction to those whose basic desire was to say "Look at me or my prosperity.  See my success - see my importance."  Those who would stand between an individual and his/her view of God.  There are those who consciously would have us see them.  Others unconsciously so.  When we look at men we see what they have done rather than what God has done.  Or sometimes what they have not done. 

There is absolutely nothing special about giving a penny out of every dime.  That is all that tithing is.  It hardly seems noticeable until it begins to accumulate.  Once we notice - we can begin to covet it - there is that tendency to hold back part of what belongs totally to God.

Many find this to be a great "hiding place".  These are not those who want to strut their spiritual stuff.  They are those who would maintain the facade of spirituality superimposed over the heart of materialism - those who would serve both God & mammon.  How would you know if you were one of these?  If you were to stand before God to explain your current level of giving.

1.  God hasn't convicted me of that yet.

2.  I'm not hurting anyone else.

Matthew 5:13 ¶ "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. 14  "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16  In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Matthew 6:1 ¶ "Be careful not to do your `acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.  2  "So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honoured by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.  3  But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4  so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.  5 ¶ "And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 6  But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.7  And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.  8  Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 9 ¶ "This, then, is how you should pray: "`Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10  your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 11  Give us today our daily bread. 12  Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.' {Or from evil; some late manuscripts one, for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory for ever. Amen.}14  For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15  But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. 16 ¶ "When you fast, do not look sombre as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 17  But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face,  18  so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is seen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 19 ¶ "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

John 3:19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20  Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God." {Some interpreters end the quotation after verse 15.}

 

Acts5:1 ¶ Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. 2  With his wife's full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles' feet. 3  Then Peter said, "Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? 4  Didn't it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn't the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God." 5  When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. 6  Then the young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him. 7  About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8  Peter asked her, "Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?" "Yes," she said, "that is the price." 9  Peter said to her, "How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also." 10  At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11  Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.

 

 

Romans 14:7  For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone.

HOW SHOULD YOU GIVE?

Giving is a by-product of faith. It is an outward expression of priorities and heart. If you put God first in your life, your wallet will be open to Him.

The miracle of stewardship is that the more you give, the more you receive. You won't always receive in kind, but what you receive is more precious than what you give, because God's gift to you is greater than your gifts to Him.

  1 Give Firstfruits. Give God the first portions of your income.  By doing that you constantly remember God's ownership. (Prov.3:9)

  2 Give Proportionately. Give in proportion to the income you receive, not a specific dollar amount. If you earn $100, a tithe (10%) would be $10. If you earn $100,000, your proportionate gift would be $10,000. God sees the $10 gift just as important and meaningful as the $10,000 gift. Proportionate giving challenges both the rich and the poor. (1 Cor. 16:2)

  3 Give Sacrificially. At times God asks you to give until you can truly feel the giving. Giving sacrificially usually includes one of the following: a rearrangement of priorities, a change in lifestyle, or a forfeiture of something valued.  When you give sacrificially, you give your best. (2 Cor. 8: 2-3)

  4 Give Regularly. The Bible tells us to give "on the first day of every week." While money may be tight during some periods of time, for the most part, the failure to give is a spiritual problem. It is hard to imaging God accepting the excuses conjured up about not honoring Him with your treasures. (1 Cor. 16:2 and 2 Cor. 9:8)

  5 Give Cheerfully. Receiving is great, but the exhilaration is greater when you are able to give to another person. The Holy Spirit uses your giving to deepen your faith in Christ. (2 Cor. 9:7)

  6 Give Quietly. Your purpose should be to please God, not to be seen by others. (Matt. 6:1)

  7 Tithe. Tithing is the practice of honoring God with one tenth (10%) of your income. God is not concerned about the size of the gift, but the motive for it. (Gen. 28:10-22) Tithing is giving God a portion of your best, not your leftovers.

   From Becoming Money Wise by Ronald J. Chewning.  Copyright (c) 1998 by Concordia Publishing House. Used by permission of Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, Mo., 1-800-325-0191.

Let us hide away our charity--yes, hide it even from ourselves. Give so often, and so much as a matter of course, that you no more take note that you have helped the poor than that you have eaten your regular meals.  Do your alms without even whispering to yourself, "How generous I am!"  Do not thus attempt to reward yourself.  Leave the matter with God, who never fails to see, to record, and to reward. ... This is the bread, which eaten by stealth, is sweeter than the banquets of kings.  How can I indulge myself today with this delightful luxury?

n      C. H. Spurgeon in Faith's Checkbook. Christianity Today, Vol. 32,  no. 5.

Take heed, therefore, to yourselves first, that you be that which you persuade your hearers to be, and believe that which you persuade them to believe. ... It is a palpable error of some ministers, who make such a disproportion between their teaching and their living; who study hard to preach exactly, and study little or not at all to live exactly. ... We must study as hard how to live well, as how to preach well. 

   -- The Reformed Pastor (1656); abridged edition (1829). Christianity Today, Vol. 36, no. 15.

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