Lessons

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Stewardship

NR7-08    REV-44

960825AM

This is our second stop in a four-week trek. We will be hiking the great passages describing MONEY, POSSESSIONS AND ETERNITY. Our four messages will be covering:

  • Ownership: Giving to God All in this Life
  • Stewardship: Giving to God His in this Life
  • materialism: Giving to God First in this Life
  • Contentment: Giving to God Place in this Life

Please listen to these Scriptures this morning to set the tone for our study of Stewardship. Let me share a word of personal testimony about personal stewardship.

  • Malachi 3:8-10 “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, `How do we rob you?’ “In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse — the whole nation of you — because you are robbing me. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. (NIV)
  • Matthew 6:19-21 “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. (NIV)
  • Luke 12:33-34 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (NIV)
  • 1 Timothy 6:9-10 People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (NIV)
  • Hebrews 13:15-16 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise — the fruit of lips that confess his name. 16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. (NIV)

THE PREVIOUS MESSAGE  WE CONSIDERED OWNERSHIP:

  • We can give ourselves to God 2 Corinthians 8:5 And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will. (NIV)
  • We can neglect to give our selves to God live for our own pleasure .Luke 12:20-21 “But God said to him, `You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ 21 “This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.” (NIV)

Why talk about money? Because Jesus did! That is why one in seven words Christ spoke are about money and possessions. He accorded to money an astounding prominence in His teaching. An analysis reveals that it figured in sixteen of His thirty-eight parables. Why did He give it such prominence?

Because money is one of the central realities of life, and affects us all from cradle to grave. Because money is an acid test of character. Whether a person is rich or poor, discover his attitude to money, and you gain a deep insight into his character. One cannot be neutral where money is concerned.

Ownership: Giving to God All in this Life

  • God owns the UNIVERSE First Chronicles 29:11-12 Yours, O LORD, is the greatness, The power and the glory, The victory and the majesty; For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, And You are exalted as head over all. 12 Both riches and honor come from You, And You reign over all. In Your hand is power and might; In Your hand it is to make great And to give strength to all. (NKJV)
  • God stands at the FUTURE FINISH LINE! 2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. (NKJV);
  • God owns YOU! 2 Corinthians 5:15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. (NKJV) The point is, God is not just the owner of the universe in general, but the owner of me in particular. In fact, I am twice his-first by creation, and second by redemption. Ownership is living in the light of this overriding truth. It is living life with the acute awareness that we are managers, not owners, that we are caretakers of God’s assets, which he has entrusted to us, while we are on earth. How we handle our money and possessions will be determined by whom we really believe to be their true owner-and ours.
  • Transferring the Title Deed to God.
  • God owns all things, whether we recognize it or not. But life becomes much clearer-and in some respects much easier-when we consciously and continuously choose to recognize it. Have we invited him to be what Scripture says He is-the Creator, Owner, and Controller of our family our possessions, our money, and us? And have we extended the invitation again after we have taken things back into our hands? This self-surrender to God is the beginning of true stewardship.
  • To yield to this vital concept in your mind, I suggest you sit down and actually draw up a title deed, or use this one if you wish:
  • I hereby grant to the Lord my God myself and all of my money and possessions and all else I’ve ever thought of as mine, even my family. From this point forward I will think of them as his to do with as he wishes. I will do my utmost to prayerfully consider how he wishes me to invest his assets to further his kingdom. In doing so I realize I will surrender certain temporary earthly treasures and gain in exchange eternal treasures, as well as increased perspective and decreased anxiety.

So that is OWNERSHIP. From a proper view of God’s OWNERSHIP come true Biblical STEWARDSHIP.

Stewardship: Giving to God His in this Life

STEWARDSHIP IS GIVING OUR SELF WITHOUT RESERVATION TO THE LORD! Jesus describes the Conditions of Discipleship. Open to Luke 14. Early on in my ministry I met a pastor of 90 + years of age who said we as His disciples, learners or followers must have:

  • UNRIVALED LOVE Luke 14:25-26 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters — yes, even his own life — he cannot be my disciple. (NIV)Matthew 10:37 “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. (NKJV)
  • THIS DEALS WITH THE AFFECTIONS OF OUR HEART!
  • UNCEASING CROSS BEARING Luke 14:27 “And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. (NKJV)Matthew 10:38 “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. (NKJV)
  • THIS DEALS WITH OUR CONDUCT IN LIFE!
  • A lovely story is told of the saintly Frances Ridley Havergal who wrote the lines we so often sing without due seriousness commitment: Take my silver and my gold, Not a mite would I withhold.

It is a matter of record that this hymn was autobiographical. Frances Ridley Havergal did what she sang. In her writings is this personal testimony: “‘Take my silver and my gold’ now means shipping off all my ornaments-including a jewel cabinet which is really fit for a countess-to the Church Missionary Society… I don’t think I need to tell you I never packed a box with such pleasure.” This was giving with hilarity!

  • UNRESERVED SURRENDER Luke 14:33 “So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple. (NKJV) THIS DEALS WITH PERSONAL POSSESSIONS!
  • Jesus has the right of disposal. He is the owner, we are only employees. Christ asks that He be above all our treasures on earth be they money or possessions. Matthew 19:21 Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” (NKJV)
  • Jesus teaches us that some hold on to things with grasping clenched fists and lose them. He advises the way to keep things longer than you can hold your breath. His plan is for us to open our hands, hold those treasures palms upward and say, ” You are the Giver of all that I have. You alone are the Owner of all things. I am Your servant forever. I will be a steward for you of all these possessions. When You want anything back just tell me, they are Yours!”
  • Such an attitude changes us from how much of MY money should I give to how much of HIS money should I keep!
  • So if STEWARDSHIP IS GIVING OUR SELF WITHOUT RESERVATION TO THE LORD, AS #453 I GAVE MY LIFE FOR THEE then –

STEWARDSHIP IS GIVING OUR MONEY WITHOUT RESERVATION TO THE LORD!

To tithe or not to tithe. Our (1) Lord’s life on earth as a man set the standard for His disciples, and this principle applies equally to living for God and giving to God. Paul holds Him up as the supreme Example. “You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9).

  • Judaism was an expensive religion, and as a devout Jew, who fulfilled the whole Law, our Lord was meticulous in fulfilling its financial obligations. What would He pay into the Temple treasury from what He earned as a carpenter?
  • A Jew was first required to give one tenth to God. Then at harvest time, the farmer must give the first fruits to God, and that consisted of one sixth of his increase. Then every three years a second tenth was given for the poor-social security tax. In addition were the special offerings of cleansing and consecration. That means that his total contributions to religion would be nearer a fifth of his income than a tenth-and that does not include voluntary support to the local synagogues It is not difficult to imagine the temptation in times of stringency to withhold the tithe. So here we have our answer as to how much of His income Jesus gave to God.
  • If we object that the Jews were under law and we Christians are under grace, and that for us the law of the tithe has been abrogated, another question arises. Will a Christian who is experiencing intimacy with his Lord wish to take advantage of grace so that he can give less to God’s work than the less privileged Jew who knew nothing of Calvary’s sacrifice and the inestimable blessings it has brought? Was our Lord’s matchless generosity in becoming poor for us intended to beget stinginess in His children? Paul cited it rather as an incentive to sacrificial giving.
  • In speaking about tithing in Matthew 23:23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices — mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law — justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. (NIV), Jesus said tithing was proper, and thus relevant to us. Admittedly, tithing is nowhere specifically commanded in the New Testament, since that is not the genius of God’s method under grace. Instead of legislating regulations, Jesus enunciated principles by which His disciples were to regulate their conduct. “I am not commanding you” were Paul’s words. He knew that a lavish hand without a loving heart was valueless.
  • Tithing was practiced by the patriarchs four hundred years before the Law was given (Gen. 14:20; 28:22). The usage of consecrated tithes prevailed among Romans, Greeks, and Arabians as well as with the Jews; so tithing seems to rest on the common law of God’s Kingdom rather than on special Hebrew legislation.

Jesus gave tithes and offerings. Is the servant greater than his Lord?

  • It is a misconception of the meaning of “grace” to think that it leaves it open for a believer to do less than a devout Jew would have done. If the true spirit of grace has gripped my heart, I will not be calculating the minimum I can get away with, but the maximum I can give to my Lord (2) . The New Testament standard is not lower than the Old.
  • In speaking about tithing in Matthew 23:23, Jesus said, “You tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.” Did that obligation cease a few days later when He died? Is the Christian not “under law to Christ,” with His higher law of love? “I am not free from God’s law,” said Paul, “but am under Christ’s law” (1 Cor. 9:21, NIV).
  • It would seem from an impartial weighing of the relevant Scriptures, that though there is no legal obligation resting on a believer to give a tithe, or more, of his income, his experience of Christ’s matchless grace should provide a powerful incentive to emulate the example of his Master. As has been said, sacrifice is the ecstasy of giving the best we have to the One which we love the most.

What do great Christians say about tithing?

  • I am in hearty agreement with the principle Dr. Kendall expounds, that tithing our income is a minimum Christian obligation, and that the church and its mission are bound to suffer when we disobey. God still loves a cheerful giver. -John Stott
  • The rediscovery about God’s principles about money and tithing could revolutionize the church. This little book … could be the spark that ignites a new commitment to support God’s work, in God’s way, by God’s people. -Billy Graham
  • A. Criswell (3) tells us the story about the pastor who was asked, “How many church members do you have?” The answer was, One hundred fifty.” The pastor was further asked, “How many of them are tithers?” The pastor replied, “One hundred fifty.” In astonishment the inquirer exclaimed, “What! All one hundred fifty, the entire church, are tithers?” “Yes indeed,” said the pastor. “About fifty of them bring the tithe to the storehouse, and God collects it from the rest.” In the end “we do not cheat God,” concludes Dr. Criswell. “I can either give it to him in a deeply spiritual act of worship, or He can collect it. In either case, God gets His own.”

Stewardship is resisting SATAN’S STRATEGY

Since money is one of the essentials of the work of the Kingdom, it is not surprising that the great adversary does all in his power to prevent it from finding its way into God’s treasury, and for that he has many tricks in his bag.

  • BY SPENDING: He encourages over-commitment in buying: purchasing more than one can afford on time payments, so that there is little left over to give to God.
  • BY UPGRADING: He plays on our competitive instincts and incites us to constantly upgrade our standard of living, so that increases in income are already committed. When John Wesley was earning -$ 30 a year, he lived on.$ 26 and gave the rest to God. When his salary was raised to $ 60, he lived on $ 26 and gave the rest to God. [$ equals British Pound]
  • BY WAITING: He dries up the fountains of generosity in the heart by suggesting postponement of giving to some future time. The stifling of a generous impulse today makes it easier for us to do the same tomorrow.
  • BY LEVERAGING: He so arranges things that the assets of the generous man become frozen or over-committed, that he cannot give what he genuinely wishes to give. Expanding business too rapidly often demands reinvestment on a scale that leaves little for giving.
  • BY KEEPING IT TO THE END: We live in such an age of uncertainty. Many elderly fear that their savings will be exhausted before they expire. Many others want to pass the wealth on to their children.

Thus Satan encourages people to short-circuit present liberality through what Dr. A. J. Gordon styled extra corpus benevolence the postponement of generosity until after death.

Why is it that so many Christians make death their executor, leaving thousands and millions to be dispensed by his bony fingers? … It is doubtless wise to make modest provision for our dependents as we are able, but surely it cannot be termed Christian generosity when a man waits until death shakes it out of his pockets. Let us give all we can in our lifetime, and have the joy of seeing our money work for God. God promises a reward for “deeds done in the body,” not out of it. To be generous with God from right motives brings its reward here as well as hereafter.

Let us aim to qualify for the blessedness promised in our Lord’s ninth beatitude.

1. J. Oswald Sanders, Enjoying Intimacy with God, p. 151-58.

2. Samuel Chadwick, “Concerning Christian Giving,” The Christian, 3 February 1967, p. 14.

3. Kendall, Tithing, p. 103.

TAGS: 960825AM

This is our second stop in a four-week trek. We will be hiking the great passages describing MONEY, POSSESSIONS AND ETERNITY. Our four messages will be covering:

  • Ownership: Giving to God All in this Life
  • Stewardship: Giving to God His in this Life
  • materialism: Giving to God First in this Life
  • Contentment: Giving to God Place in this Life

Please listen to these Scriptures this morning to set the tone for our study of Stewardship. Let me share a word of personal testimony about personal stewardship.

  • Malachi 3:8-10 “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, `How do we rob you?’ “In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse — the whole nation of you — because you are robbing me. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. (NIV)
  • Matthew 6:19-21 “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. (NIV)
  • Luke 12:33-34 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (NIV)
  • 1 Timothy 6:9-10 People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (NIV)
  • Hebrews 13:15-16 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise — the fruit of lips that confess his name. 16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. (NIV)

THE PREVIOUS MESSAGE  WE CONSIDERED OWNERSHIP:

  • We can give ourselves to God 2 Corinthians 8:5 And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will. (NIV)
  • We can neglect to give our selves to God live for our own pleasure .Luke 12:20-21 “But God said to him, `You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ 21 “This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.” (NIV)

Why talk about money? Because Jesus did! That is why one in seven words Christ spoke are about money and possessions. He accorded to money an astounding prominence in His teaching. An analysis reveals that it figured in sixteen of His thirty-eight parables. Why did He give it such prominence?

Because money is one of the central realities of life, and affects us all from cradle to grave. Because money is an acid test of character. Whether a person is rich or poor, discover his attitude to money, and you gain a deep insight into his character. One cannot be neutral where money is concerned.

Ownership: Giving to God All in this Life

  • God owns the UNIVERSE First Chronicles 29:11-12 Yours, O LORD, is the greatness, The power and the glory, The victory and the majesty; For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, And You are exalted as head over all. 12 Both riches and honor come from You, And You reign over all. In Your hand is power and might; In Your hand it is to make great And to give strength to all. (NKJV)
  • God stands at the FUTURE FINISH LINE! 2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. (NKJV);
  • God owns YOU! 2 Corinthians 5:15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. (NKJV) The point is, God is not just the owner of the universe in general, but the owner of me in particular. In fact, I am twice his-first by creation, and second by redemption. Ownership is living in the light of this overriding truth. It is living life with the acute awareness that we are managers, not owners, that we are caretakers of God’s assets, which he has entrusted to us, while we are on earth. How we handle our money and possessions will be determined by whom we really believe to be their true owner-and ours.
  • Transferring the Title Deed to God.
  • God owns all things, whether we recognize it or not. But life becomes much clearer-and in some respects much easier-when we consciously and continuously choose to recognize it. Have we invited him to be what Scripture says He is-the Creator, Owner, and Controller of our family our possessions, our money, and us? And have we extended the invitation again after we have taken things back into our hands? This self-surrender to God is the beginning of true stewardship.
  • To yield to this vital concept in your mind, I suggest you sit down and actually draw up a title deed, or use this one if you wish:
  • I hereby grant to the Lord my God myself and all of my money and possessions and all else I’ve ever thought of as mine, even my family. From this point forward I will think of them as his to do with as he wishes. I will do my utmost to prayerfully consider how he wishes me to invest his assets to further his kingdom. In doing so I realize I will surrender certain temporary earthly treasures and gain in exchange eternal treasures, as well as increased perspective and decreased anxiety.

So that is OWNERSHIP. From a proper view of God’s OWNERSHIP come true Biblical STEWARDSHIP.

Stewardship: Giving to God His in this Life

STEWARDSHIP IS GIVING OUR SELF WITHOUT RESERVATION TO THE LORD! Jesus describes the Conditions of Discipleship. Open to Luke 14. Early on in my ministry I met a pastor of 90 + years of age who said we as His disciples, learners or followers must have:

  • UNRIVALED LOVE Luke 14:25-26 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters — yes, even his own life — he cannot be my disciple. (NIV)Matthew 10:37 “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. (NKJV)
  • THIS DEALS WITH THE AFFECTIONS OF OUR HEART!
  • UNCEASING CROSS BEARING Luke 14:27 “And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. (NKJV)Matthew 10:38 “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. (NKJV)
  • THIS DEALS WITH OUR CONDUCT IN LIFE!
  • A lovely story is told of the saintly Frances Ridley Havergal who wrote the lines we so often sing without due seriousness commitment: Take my silver and my gold, Not a mite would I withhold.

It is a matter of record that this hymn was autobiographical. Frances Ridley Havergal did what she sang. In her writings is this personal testimony: “‘Take my silver and my gold’ now means shipping off all my ornaments-including a jewel cabinet which is really fit for a countess-to the Church Missionary Society… I don’t think I need to tell you I never packed a box with such pleasure.” This was giving with hilarity!

  • UNRESERVED SURRENDER Luke 14:33 “So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple. (NKJV) THIS DEALS WITH PERSONAL POSSESSIONS!
  • Jesus has the right of disposal. He is the owner, we are only employees. Christ asks that He be above all our treasures on earth be they money or possessions. Matthew 19:21 Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” (NKJV)
  • Jesus teaches us that some hold on to things with grasping clenched fists and lose them. He advises the way to keep things longer than you can hold your breath. His plan is for us to open our hands, hold those treasures palms upward and say, ” You are the Giver of all that I have. You alone are the Owner of all things. I am Your servant forever. I will be a steward for you of all these possessions. When You want anything back just tell me, they are Yours!”
  • Such an attitude changes us from how much of MY money should I give to how much of HIS money should I keep!
  • So if STEWARDSHIP IS GIVING OUR SELF WITHOUT RESERVATION TO THE LORD, AS #453 I GAVE MY LIFE FOR THEE then –

STEWARDSHIP IS GIVING OUR MONEY WITHOUT RESERVATION TO THE LORD!

To tithe or not to tithe. Our (1) Lord’s life on earth as a man set the standard for His disciples, and this principle applies equally to living for God and giving to God. Paul holds Him up as the supreme Example. “You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9).

  • Judaism was an expensive religion, and as a devout Jew, who fulfilled the whole Law, our Lord was meticulous in fulfilling its financial obligations. What would He pay into the Temple treasury from what He earned as a carpenter?
  • A Jew was first required to give one tenth to God. Then at harvest time, the farmer must give the first fruits to God, and that consisted of one sixth of his increase. Then every three years a second tenth was given for the poor-social security tax. In addition were the special offerings of cleansing and consecration. That means that his total contributions to religion would be nearer a fifth of his income than a tenth-and that does not include voluntary support to the local synagogues It is not difficult to imagine the temptation in times of stringency to withhold the tithe. So here we have our answer as to how much of His income Jesus gave to God.
  • If we object that the Jews were under law and we Christians are under grace, and that for us the law of the tithe has been abrogated, another question arises. Will a Christian who is experiencing intimacy with his Lord wish to take advantage of grace so that he can give less to God’s work than the less privileged Jew who knew nothing of Calvary’s sacrifice and the inestimable blessings it has brought? Was our Lord’s matchless generosity in becoming poor for us intended to beget stinginess in His children? Paul cited it rather as an incentive to sacrificial giving.
  • In speaking about tithing in Matthew 23:23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices — mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law — justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. (NIV), Jesus said tithing was proper, and thus relevant to us. Admittedly, tithing is nowhere specifically commanded in the New Testament, since that is not the genius of God’s method under grace. Instead of legislating regulations, Jesus enunciated principles by which His disciples were to regulate their conduct. “I am not commanding you” were Paul’s words. He knew that a lavish hand without a loving heart was valueless.
  • Tithing was practiced by the patriarchs four hundred years before the Law was given (Gen. 14:20; 28:22). The usage of consecrated tithes prevailed among Romans, Greeks, and Arabians as well as with the Jews; so tithing seems to rest on the common law of God’s Kingdom rather than on special Hebrew legislation.

Jesus gave tithes and offerings. Is the servant greater than his Lord?

  • It is a misconception of the meaning of “grace” to think that it leaves it open for a believer to do less than a devout Jew would have done. If the true spirit of grace has gripped my heart, I will not be calculating the minimum I can get away with, but the maximum I can give to my Lord (2) . The New Testament standard is not lower than the Old.
  • In speaking about tithing in Matthew 23:23, Jesus said, “You tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.” Did that obligation cease a few days later when He died? Is the Christian not “under law to Christ,” with His higher law of love? “I am not free from God’s law,” said Paul, “but am under Christ’s law” (1 Cor. 9:21, NIV).
  • It would seem from an impartial weighing of the relevant Scriptures, that though there is no legal obligation resting on a believer to give a tithe, or more, of his income, his experience of Christ’s matchless grace should provide a powerful incentive to emulate the example of his Master. As has been said, sacrifice is the ecstasy of giving the best we have to the One which we love the most.

What do great Christians say about tithing?

  • I am in hearty agreement with the principle Dr. Kendall expounds, that tithing our income is a minimum Christian obligation, and that the church and its mission are bound to suffer when we disobey. God still loves a cheerful giver. -John Stott
  • The rediscovery about God’s principles about money and tithing could revolutionize the church. This little book … could be the spark that ignites a new commitment to support God’s work, in God’s way, by God’s people. -Billy Graham
  • A. Criswell (3) tells us the story about the pastor who was asked, “How many church members do you have?” The answer was, One hundred fifty.” The pastor was further asked, “How many of them are tithers?” The pastor replied, “One hundred fifty.” In astonishment the inquirer exclaimed, “What! All one hundred fifty, the entire church, are tithers?” “Yes indeed,” said the pastor. “About fifty of them bring the tithe to the storehouse, and God collects it from the rest.” In the end “we do not cheat God,” concludes Dr. Criswell. “I can either give it to him in a deeply spiritual act of worship, or He can collect it. In either case, God gets His own.”

Stewardship is resisting SATAN’S STRATEGY

Since money is one of the essentials of the work of the Kingdom, it is not surprising that the great adversary does all in his power to prevent it from finding its way into God’s treasury, and for that he has many tricks in his bag.

  • BY SPENDING: He encourages over-commitment in buying: purchasing more than one can afford on time payments, so that there is little left over to give to God.
  • BY UPGRADING: He plays on our competitive instincts and incites us to constantly upgrade our standard of living, so that increases in income are already committed. When John Wesley was earning -$ 30 a year, he lived on.$ 26 and gave the rest to God. When his salary was raised to $ 60, he lived on $ 26 and gave the rest to God. [$ equals British Pound]
  • BY WAITING: He dries up the fountains of generosity in the heart by suggesting postponement of giving to some future time. The stifling of a generous impulse today makes it easier for us to do the same tomorrow.
  • BY LEVERAGING: He so arranges things that the assets of the generous man become frozen or over-committed, that he cannot give what he genuinely wishes to give. Expanding business too rapidly often demands reinvestment on a scale that leaves little for giving.
  • BY KEEPING IT TO THE END: We live in such an age of uncertainty. Many elderly fear that their savings will be exhausted before they expire. Many others want to pass the wealth on to their children.

Thus Satan encourages people to short-circuit present liberality through what Dr. A. J. Gordon styled extra corpus benevolence the postponement of generosity until after death.

Why is it that so many Christians make death their executor, leaving thousands and millions to be dispensed by his bony fingers? … It is doubtless wise to make modest provision for our dependents as we are able, but surely it cannot be termed Christian generosity when a man waits until death shakes it out of his pockets. Let us give all we can in our lifetime, and have the joy of seeing our money work for God. God promises a reward for “deeds done in the body,” not out of it. To be generous with God from right motives brings its reward here as well as hereafter.

Let us aim to qualify for the blessedness promised in our Lord’s ninth beatitude.

1. J. Oswald Sanders, Enjoying Intimacy with God, p. 151-58.

2. Samuel Chadwick, “Concerning Christian Giving,” The Christian, 3 February 1967, p. 14.

3. Kendall, Tithing, p. 103.

 
 
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