GIVING: OUR MONEY CAN GLORIFY GOD
by Cooper P Abrams III
INTRODUCTION:   Many Christian struggle with giving. They fail to see that giving to the Lord is a matter of faith and that God always honors one's faith. If a believer overcomes the problems, he has with giving, he makes a great leap forward in spirituality and His relationship to the Lord. God says, "For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith." (Romans 1:17) Living by faith refers to every area of a believer's life, and that includes giving. How often have I heard believers say they could not give to the Lord. They had too many bills and expenses.
Yet, on the other hand, I have had many more tell me that the day they understood giving and surrendered the matter to the Lord was one of the greatest days of their lives. Many experience the blessing of giving and believe me....giving is a blessing. God wants to honor our faith. Hebrews 11:6 sets God's instructions for us, "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." (Hebrews 11:6) Giving is certainly a matter of faith. It is obeying God and putting one's trust in Him. Money is one of the most important things in our lives, and God wants us to live by faith with our money.
It is also disappointing that many pastors and Bible teachers do not understand what the Word of God says about giving giving. Most have simply taken what they were taught or read in someone's commentary and accepted it without researching the matter from God's word. As I stated in the first message that addressed this subject, I said, "It is not about tithing, but rather about giving to the Lord." I have been pastoring churches for over thirty years and have not taught tithing as God's plan for a New Testament Christian or church. God has always blessed, and my churches have never had any financial problems. Further, because the people gave biblically, they were greatly blessed.
In Part 1, we saw that the Old Testament clearly teaches two kinds of giving. There were required offerings and also freewill offerings which were not required.
2. Tithing in the Old Testament was about 25-35% annually.
3. There was also a freewill offering in the Old Testament was not the same as the tithe. It was not required and nor was the amount specified.
4. Exodus 25:1-2, gives the principle God established as to giving. Offerings to the Lord were to be given willingly and from the one's heart. God told Moses:
"Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering."
5. The Old Testament teaches these free will offerings given to the Lord were not a specified amount, but freely given from one's heart. A person was to give to the Lord from the heart in gratitude as God had blessed them. Note the following passages:
6. Deuteronomy 16:10, "And thou shalt keep the feast of weeks unto the LORD thy God with a tribute of a freewill offering of thine hand, which thou shalt give unto the LORD thy God, according as the LORD thy God hath blessed thee:"
7. Proverbs. 3:9-10, "Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine."
8. The principle of giving, not tithing, in Old Testament involves the following:
b. Offerings are given willingly from heart - from a true heart! (No specified amount!)
c. Offerings are to be an act of faith. It was at matter of offering thanksgiving and investing with God.
ILLUS: This is hard for many to understand. When I was in Beaver, in my first church plant in Utah , I visited a family at their home. The wife attended our church, but the husband did not. When I was leaving he gave me a $100 and told me it was for the church. I do not normally allow people to give me money in this way, but I made sure he got a receipt and knew where it went. He then started to talk about giving. Now, understand he was not a Christian. He told me he did not believe what the Bible said about giving...sowing and reaping. He said "Listen, if I give the church a $100 I no longer have a $100." In his case he was right!
9. Now what does New Testament say? By understanding the principles of giving in the Old Testament we can better understand giving in the New Testament. The principle will be the same in all the Bible, however, the application of the principle may change.
2. Jesus sets the example for us to pay our taxes.
3. However, in a true sense He did not have too! Why ? Because He was the KING! Kings don't pay tax.
2. Jesus called them hypocrites! Verse 18.
3. Verse 21. Jesus said to pay your taxes and give to government what they are due! He also said to give to God what is due to Him. Taxes are not given freely they are required....to carry on our government. Free will offerings are not required by God, but He gives us the instruction that we should and then tests us in this by seeing if we are living by faith. Our giving is a way for us to see if we are truly trusting the Lord or not. Giving does not make a person spiritual....but spiritual people do not have a problem with giving.
4. This is the same teaching found in the Old Testament.
They were blameless in that they paid their tithes to the Temple, but is was not done in thanksgiving to the Lord or in faith. They gave because they had too or were under pressure to do so. The Lord was not pleased with their giving.
2. "For this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.."
2. We are not under a theocracy as was Israel- so they paid the tithes (plural) to the priests who were in charge of the Tabernacle and later the Temple. This was their government.
3. We ought to be under theocracy and that Christ rule our every action in our lives!
ILLUS: C.T. STUD was a champion cricket player of England in 1880s inherited 29,000 pounds from his father. At at least $5.00 a pound the amount he received was $150,000.00. He was afraid it would clutter up his life. So he started sending letters with 5000 lbs to Hudson Taylor, Gen. Booth of the Salvation Army. D. L. Moody, and others. D. L Moody used the money he received to start Moody Bible Institute. He gave it all away by 3,400 lbs. which he gave to his wife to run the house. His wife said "the rich young ruler gave all! (What a wife!) I too have such a wife!! So he wrote another anonymous letter to Gen. Booth and gave it all! Every penny! Then he and his wife packed what they had and went to Africa as missionaries. He still is reaping the benefit!
There is certainly a different attitude between a person who seeks material blessing and therefore, gives to the church, so he will be rewarded. That is pure materialism. I recently talked with a man who heard one of the "health and wealth" preaches who told him God did not want him to be poor, but wanted him to be rich and prosperous. That is not what God has promised. God promised to take care of us and never forsake us. That is a lot different than making us rich and healthy.
God does bless some materially, but that is His choice and not His promise. Most of the people to whom God blesses materially are those who have little regard for money and see it only as a means to do the work of the Lord.
He began again building another company, and he struggled for a number of years. However, he remained faithful to the Lord. Once again, the owners of the company were not saved, but my friend who was the CEO opened all meetings with prayer and opened stated that the company would be run honestly and in a way that honored the Lord. The business is now flourishing and God has honored my friend's faithfulness and testimony. That is what God blesses....a life dedicated to Him. Those who truly love the Lord....NEVER.....NO NEVER have a problem with giving to the Lord.
"Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again."
God loves us and gives us a much higher principle to live by. We are to give as God leads us in each situation.
b. What you lay up on earth will be corrupted and rust! You lose all earthly treasures!
c. God says that, "Where your treasure is, is where your heart is."
3. It is also important to understand that first gave themselves to the Lord. Folks who are not committed to the Lord have a real problem with giving and on the other side of the matter those who live by faith and truly trust God do not have any trouble generously being used of the Lord to give to meet the needs of others. If you have a trouble with giving. . . maybe you need to give yourself wholly to the Lord.
2. Let me again make it clear this is not the formula to get rich. The "health and wealth" preachers on TV and in many churches should be warned. They are not teaching the Word of God when they promise that God will make Christians rich...! Christians should be warned. These preachers and churches are in error and in their perverted minds distorted the word of God for their own financial gain. How do I know....every one of them says to sow bountifully to THEM! Send me your money and God will prosper you. That is a lie! If you detect that I am strongly denouncing these false teachers you are correct. They are wolves who prey on God's people.
3. Note verse 8. Can you give too much? God says NO!
4. Verses 9-10 says just as the sower scatters his seed the faithful man distributes to all in necessity, and makes them all partakers of his bounty; he gives not only to one, but to many.
2. Mark 12:41-44 "And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living."
To often I have had people tell me they could not afford to tithe or give regular offerings to the Lord. The fairest thing in the world is giving to the Lord. God does not TAX us ....and leaves the amount to us.
Tell, me dear friend....is it a true statement that a person cannot give to the Lord?
2. Giving is not a matter of what you have. Anyone, even Mrs. Carmichael, the widow lady, who I mentioned earlier, could give. One of our church members, who by the way did not give regularly, said we should not take her money...she needs it more than we do? What a sinful thought this man had and how immature was his thinking.
3. You make $650.00 month as a widow and give a tenth of $65.00 a month and another person makes $1000 gives $100 both gave the same in God's eyes. However, if either one gave grudgingly was of no value.
4. I like the song, "Little is much if God is in it" The size or amount of an offering to God is of no importance in itself. The principle is that we given from what God gives us. You cannot give more that your have. Some would think the widow's mite was nothing. But Jesus said she gave more than them all who have given great sums of money. It was not the amont but the condition of her heart that made what she gave of great value.
5. If you have a lot, then you give according to how God blesses you! The principle is that we give in proportion to how God has blessed us. Think for a moment! How would can you give sacrificially to the Lord if you did not give to generously not matter what God gave you.
2. True riches involve spiritual things. Many Christians never grow in the Lord or are useful to Him, because they have never truly trusted Him. For many, the issue of giving is more than a stumbling block...it is a wall they refuse to climb over or knock down.
b. If you cannot overcome a lack of trust in God in regard to finances....you surely will never in this live or the life to come be blessed of God and live filled with the Holy Spirit and used of God.
c. God says, 1 Corinthians 4:2 "Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful."
2. Jesus in verse 9 said, "this day salvation has come to this house." Zacchaeus' showed his repentant heart and his thanksgiving for his salvation by his giving. (I'm suspect of a man's salvation if he is not a giver. I know this cannot be a rule, but how can a man truly trust the Lord to save him and not be able to trust the Lord to provide his needs?)
3. Our example is Jesus 2 Cor. 8:9, "For ye know the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that you through his property might be made rich."
2. They had all things in common. This is not communism! They gave money from sell of lands and houses to the apostles; they gave to those who had a need. The people did not give everything they had into a pool and then let the Apostle give back to them. What they did was to give what they had to meet individual needs of people in their congregation.
2. 2 Corinthians 8:8-9 "I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love. For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich." (2 Corinthians 8:8-9)
How much a Christian is to give is between him and the Lord. It is a private matter. Jesus said "But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth." (Matthew 6:3) What a believer gives should be confidential. The Christian should pray and seek the Lord's guidance as to how much he gives. The amount should reflect that the believer is living and giving by in sacrificially by faith and shows his thankfulness to the Lord.
3. 2 Corinthians 9:7, the believer gives as an "act of Love" not of necessity and gives cheerfully.
2. Give every week, once a week.
3. Note Paul says everyone of you.
2. We are not to give not covetously-but bountifully.
3. Phil. 4:13-19, Paul thanked them for their generous offering.
In verse 14, Paul says what they did was good in that they shared his troubles.
L. Giving is a secret matter between you and God.
2. He said in Verse 4 "Do it in secret."
3. If you want to glorify Christ, do your alms in secret. If you want the praise of men, do it openly and you will cheat yourself of the blessing and God of the Glory.
4. Do it for the glory of men....that is the reward you will get.
2. A Christian can't do that under God's free will system. Every time you open your pocket book or write that check your love of your Savior is tested.
3. By the way, this is not the Abrams or Baptist system of giving! It's God's.
2. God's plan is free will offering in love from a willing and grateful heart.
3. Giving to the Lord is an investment with our Father. God blesses the righteous heart, the one who gives out of love and concern for the work.
Generosity and sacrificial giving to God is an indication of person's spirituality.....the lack of generosity in giving is almost a positive indication of one's lack of spirituality and love of God. It certainly is a test of our faith. God honors our faith and the adage the we cannot out give God is certainly true.