As a believer, we do not wander around or even try really hard to determine God’s plan for giving. The Bible is FULL of passages on generosity and giving to GOD first and the best.
Genesis 4:4 and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering,
Hebrews 11:4 By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, …
When God didn’t accept Cain’s offering, he said, “everything will be ok, if you simply follow directions. If not, sin is crouching at your door.”
Genesis 14:9 And he blessed him and said: “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; 20 And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” And he (Abraham) gave him a tithe of all.
This is first record of someone giving a tenth AND giving to another entity representing God.
Genesis 22:2 Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”
Exodus 34:19 All that open the womb are Mine, and every male firstborn among your livestock, whether ox or sheep.
Exodus 34:26 The first of the first fruits of your land you shall bring to the house of the Lord your God.
Joshua 6:19 But all the silver and gold, and vessels of bronze and iron, are consecrated to the Lord; they shall come into the treasury of the Lord.”
1 Kings 19:13 And Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son.
Malachi 3:8 “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. 10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try 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,”
(that’s all the Old Testament)
You don’t have to give financially to be saved, therefore, should you just give what is in your heart?
Loving God without giving to God is like being married without sacrificing for your spouse. If you were told by your spouse I will never divorce you. I love you and give myself to you 100%. I will never leave you or go after another. Do we answer that with: “AWESOME- that means I don’t have to be faithful! Sweet, I can do whatever I want!” NO.
What would happen if you were saved by the Mercy and Grace of God? What would happen to your possessions/finances? The Bible tells us:
Acts 2:41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. 42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. 44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.
Believers in Jesus understood that HE was in control and that all their possessions were His. They selflessly gave to the body (storehouse) so that there would be ”food in His house” as Malachi 3 said. Tithing was now not a legal obligation. They did not consider 10% to be too much. In fact, they not only gave of their “increase”, but sold possessions and gave all.
When looking at the modern day church in America, we people struggling to give anything to the storehouse. They are so wrapped up in their possessions and earnings that they either feel the possessions are not God’s or they are scared that He won’t provide. They don’t trust him. Instead of following scripture’s very clear message: Trust God and have an open hand to the storehouse and those in need, they try to rewrite scripture to fit their lack of trust in God’s all sufficiency.
How the storehouse (local church) stewards over God’s money is a completely different message and could be addressed later. Obviously, there needs to be accountability and Biblical standards in this area as well.
Blessed Life | Week 2
Turn to: Matthew 6:24 and Luke 16:13
Last Sunday, we saw Zacchaeus go from a broken life to a blessed life when he encountered Jesus. He immediately begin to reflect Jesus. He obeyed out of the tenderness of his heart!
We keep on Talking about the BLESSED LIFE this week with:
“Breaking the Spirit of Mammon”
Matthew 6:24 NO ONE… (not 1 person) can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
Luke 16:13 No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
Mammon is the only thing that God says you can not serve alongside of Him.
What is mammon?
(not English or Greek) – Mammon is an Aramaic word meaning riches.
It might be “money” in your translation of the Bible. Which is not a far off word.
But, Jesus frames the word to mean something much deeper than simply money. He makes it sound like something more of a god or a spirit of riches.
Many believe mammon came from the Syrian God of Riches which can be traced to Babylon and the tower of Babel. Mammon represents a prideful, self-made, arrogant spirit of man that says we don’t need God. We can do it on our own.
The spirit of Mammon came from here. Mammon is a spirit. Jesus was referencing this Syrian False God of riches.
Mammon is a spirit that rests on money. All money has a spirit on it. It either has the spirit of Mammon on it. Or the Spirit of God. Jesus said that you can not serve God and mammon.
Let me say it another way:
All your possessions are identifying with the God of all sufficiency or the god of self sufficiency.
The BROKEN LIFE is one where you are constantly in charge and stressed about whether you are going to make it or not
The BLESSED LIFE is one where you are confident that God is in control.
Trying to serve God and Mammon is like putting one foot a boat and keeping one foot on the dock and trying to go somewhere on the boat. The dock (self sufficiency) won’t take you any where, and the only way the boat can is for your to get all the way in!
The BLESSED LIFE requires you to get in the boat all the way and completely rely on God, meaning that you will not rely on your own self-sufficiency!
So…How Do you Break the Spirit of Mammon?
How do make sure that you are not self sufficient but instead relying on the sovereignty of God?
BLESSED LIFE | Week 1
Luke 19:1 He entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich.
Zacchaeus was the chief tax collector. Extortionist. Mob leader. Corrupt.
3 And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. 4 So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. (he kept pressing in and wouldn’t let anything get in his way) 5 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.”
6 So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. 7 And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” 8 And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” 9 And Jesus said to him,“Today salvation has come to this house (why? Because JESUS came to His house. Start seeing Salvation as Jesus [person] instead of a process) since he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
Jesus looked up at Zacchaeus and said, “I want to hang out with you. Let’s go eat at your house.” Jesus connects with him and when he connects with Jesus, he was…changed, transformed, converted, saved. When he connects with Jesus(Salvation), he becomes like Jesus. He becomes a giver.
Zacchaeus instantly went from being a man who acquired resources from others to be blessed to being a man who gave to be blessed. He begin to LIVE out what Jesus said:
Acts 20:35… remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
Give: “Freely transfer the possession of”
Blessed: Makarios (MakaDeous): “fortunate circumstances or happy”
Receive: “Receive or Take”
The Blessed Life occurs when you encounter Jesus and become like Him. (a hint: it’s a lot different than the world around you.)
When your heart freely transfers the possession of instead of being preoccupied with the acquisition or hoarding of… We are most like God when we give.
Zacchaeus’ repentance is revealed in 2 ways: ACTION AND ATTITUDE When you encounter SALVATION (Jesus) Your life bears fruit!
Luke 19: 9 And Jesus said to him,“Today salvation has come to this house since he also is a son of Abraham.
Zacchaeus was not referenced as a ‘son of Abraham’ because of his physical bloodline. He was referenced as a son of Abraham because his repentence bore fruit. Jesus said in Luke 3:8, “Don’t call yourself a son of Abraham just because you are in the Jewish bloodline. Instead, bear fruit of repentence.”
10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Obviously, Zacchaeus’ bloodline did not save him, because Jesus said he came to SAVE him (lost).
ACTION – half of my goods to the poor. Half of everything I own!
ATTITUDE - If I have done anyone wrong, I will restore 4 fold.
The ACTION of Giving-
You have to have a subject and a verb to form a complete sentence. You can have an exclamatory sentence with one word, but with a complete one it must contain a subject and a verb (examples)
If you boil the bible down to a subject and a verb.
Subject: God (beings and ends with God)
Action: Give (giving, give, gave) Love is a part of this verb: give
“For God so love the world that he Gave…”
We are here today because God gave his Son. WE are here today because Jesus gave his life on the cross. WE are here today because we Gave our lives to god. We are here today because we Gave our day to God.
Marriage is all about giving. If you don’t believe that….just get married and you find out.
Not just money, but energy, life
Matthew 6:19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Treasure doesn’t follow heart. Heart follows treasure.
If you would like for your heart to be in the kingdom, then put your treasure there. I want my heart in missions, then put your treasure there.
If you put your money in a certain stock, then you start going online and looking at that stock. You want to know how it is doing.
When you have a desire for the things of God and you want your heart to reside there, then you put your treasure there FIRST!
Our heart follows our treasure.
Jesus deals with our greed and our anxiety over basic necessities. Greed and anxiety over basic necessities display a lack of trust in the Father and a lack of eternal perspective. #BlessedLifeSM
Illustration- you are going to move to another part of the country and you will live there for the rest of your life and when the moving company comes to get your nice furniture, you say, “no, I might need that here. Don’t take it.” They reply, “but aren’t you leaving next week to go to your new home.” You respond, “yeah, but I might need this until I leave.”
Wouldn’t it be better to forego a bit of pleasure in the meantime and invest in eternity?
That is called maturity. When we forego/wait on something now and hopes of future reward.
We mature in the gospel when we invest in eternity.
Zacchaeus gets a heaven perspective and immediately starts giving!
The ATTITUDE of Giving
Luke 19:6 he received Jesus joyfully!
Matthew 10:8 Freely you have received, freely you give.
Look Lord! Look, I want to do this!! He is joyful. He gives freely and joyful because he received freely and joyful.
If you struggle in the area of giving (AND WE ALL DO AT ONE TIME OR THE OTHER), I want to help you.
- If you struggle in the area of giving, then you really have a struggle in receiving.
- If you have a struggle in giving joyfully, then you have a struggle in receiving joyfully.
- If you have a difficulty in giving freely, then you have a difficulty in receiving freely.
When we are raised in a legalistic church background, we believe we have stayed out of hell by not doing bad things and so we feel like we have to hold onto it really tight.
If you are raised with the American Dream, then you feel like you have worked hard to earn it all and you feel the need to control and hold on to it.
We aren’t against working hard. That is good stewardship. Even if we work hard, it is still God’s growth. It is the blessings of God that makes it work regardless of your hard work.
How do you give freely? How do you give joyfully?
Because we have received so freely. GRACE. We have been so set free! We haven’t really understood the grace of God.
If you have a difficulty of receiving freely the
We want everyone at PromiseLand San Marcos to live the HAPPY life. They Joy Filled life. It starts with God making a move and filling us with His love, changing our life then we get the opportunity to RESPOND with our ACTION and ATTITUDE.
Before you start thinking we were real creative, we completely ripped this idea from Elevation Church in NC. However, we did STEP it up a HUGE notch.
The idea is to show your congregation what it would be like if no volunteers served at your church. When people arrive at ‘No Show Sunday’ they have no idea what is going on. It was extremely important for us to keep this a big secret. The first clue they get is that there are no folks in the parking lot to help them park. There are no greeters at the door, no greeters anyway. The children’s building was locked with a sign that said, “All kids will be joining us in the service today.” (This is where we differed from Elevation. They offered children’s ministry on their No Show Sunday)
When people arrived into the sanctuary, there were a few lights on the stage (very basic), all the screens were off. I think we had a stack of worship guides on a side table. People could find them if they looked around.
Once church started, our worship leader went to the keyboard and a drummer started playing. They led us in 3 or 4 songs. She even taught a new song (without words on the screens or printed guide with words). After worship, I went to the stage and spoke. I clued everyone in to what was happening. We told everyone, “If you guys can sit nice and tight during the sermon, everyone gets FREE ice cream after church.”
At the end of the service, people filled out a card where they could commit to 4 months of serving in one of our ministries. They gave their offering in baskets at the door as they left.
Here are our conclusions:
- It was a huge success. People loved it.
- Our volunteers were HONORED and felt appreciated.
- Having kids in the service was not as distracting as we thought. We supplied crayons and coloring paper in the pockets of several seats on each row.
- We had a TON of volunteers sign up
- The worship music part of the service was actually awesome. God didn’t need all the hype. People learned words the old fashioned way. People stepped up and engaged in worship. This is not what we were aiming for, but it was a great lesson for us all.
- The chaos was awesome. The confusion on people’s faces was worth it! It was a great palate cleansing for our church. I do recommend making sure volunteers that have to plan during the week (teachers) know early. No need in surprising them at last minute. We did surprise all other volunteers and simply said, “You don’t have to volunteer today.” It was funny to see naturally friendly people being forced to not be friendly and greet people. So awkward.
- I recommend it in Mid-August when crowds haven’t fully returned from summer and it is great prep for the fall.
Here is a sermon I preached at New Life Fellowship in San Antonio
Who Sits at Your Table
Thesis: Inviting ALL people to your table is the sign of your trust and belief in Jesus Christ.
2 Samuel 9:1 One day David asked, “Is anyone in Saul’s family still alive—anyone to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” 2 He summoned a man named Ziba, who had been one of Saul’s servants. “Are you Ziba?” the king asked. “Yes sir, I am,” Ziba replied. 3 The king then asked him, “Is anyone still alive from Saul’s family? If so, I want to show God’s kindness to them.” Ziba replied, “Yes, one of Jonathan’s sons is still alive. He is crippled in both feet.”
He is found in Lo Debar and comes to Jerusalem.
2 Samuel 9:7 “Don’t be afraid!” David said. “I intend to show kindness to you because of my promise to your father, Jonathan. I will give you all the property that once belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will eat here with me at the king’s table!” 8 Mephibosheth bowed respectfully and exclaimed, “Who is your servant, that you should show such kindness to a dead dog like me?”
9 Then the king called Ziba, Saul’s servant, and said to him, “All that belonged to Saul and to all his house I have given to your master’s grandson. 10 And you and your sons and your servants shall till the land for him and shall bring in the produce, that your master’s grandson may have bread to eat. But Mephibosheth your master’s grandson shall always eat at my table.” Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants.
3 Men of the Story:
- David: a Man of great POWER and AUHTORITY “Who can I honor?”
- Mephibosheth had nothing to offer David. He was lame in both feet. Living in Lo debar
- Ziba has no authority but is in a critical position to serve and facilitate. For David and Mephibosheth.
There are quite possibly folks here today that aren’t used to this church thing and you might feel like you are out of place because church is for good people.
“What do you have to offer God?”
“What have you done that would make you right with God?”
I have good news for you today.
Humans left God; rebelled, sinned. While we were in the midst of doing our own thing and living a life that built our own kingdom, He died for us.
God so loved the world that he put a chair at His table for us.
We (like Mephibosheth) have no power, resources or value to give God that he doesn’t already have in his existence already. YET, he gives us a spot. He gives us a place to simply be…us.
He is looking today for people to sit at his table that have nothing to offer him. He is looking for Mephibosheths that are broken, hurting, lonely, desperate.
If you are looking for a place to belong, then you have come to the right place! There is room at the kings table for you.