Sunday, February 26, 2012

Yeshua - A Study of Matthew's Gospel: Tithing

This week, Pastor Matt Fry continues his series on Yeshua: The Study of Matthew's Gospel at C3 Church in Clayton, NC.

Foundational Scripture: [Matthew 6:19-24]
Treasures in Heaven
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 
22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy,[a] your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are unhealthy,[b] your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! 
24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
Where is your treasure? In Matthew 6:21, Jesus says that where your treasure is, that's where your heart is also. Pastor Matt asks, "Where are you investing?"

When you invest in something, you make sure it is taken care of.

What does it mean to hoard? Pastor Matt talks about the television show Hoarders. We may not be hoarding to that extreme, but a hoarder is one who stockpiles and collects things. God says, don't worry about keeping treasures here on Earth. Instead, focus on building that treasure in Heaven.

Have you ever had anything stolen? Matt talks about a time in Lima, Peru.

While in the airport, getting ready to go to a conference, someone walked by and took his bag. In the bag there was money, driver's license, iPad, Passport, and all of his sermons. He explains that it doesn't really matter because you cannot take it with you to Heaven. It's temporary. That's why God says we shouldn't place too much value on Earthly treasures.

Instead, we need to care about the things that God cares about. He cares about people. In line with God, we too need to care about people and the church.

How can we put treasures in Heaven?
We can't talk about putting treasures in Heaven without first talking about tithes and offering. What is tithing all about?

Tithing is a Test
Before we can talk about tithes, we have to understand that our God does not change. He's the same today as he was yesterday. He is the beginning and the end. He is a big God and he never changes.

A tithe is another way of saying 10. How many plagues were there in Egypt? 10. How many tests in Revelation? 10. Throughout the Bible, God used tests and the number 10 is related.

Tithing is an Ordinance
An ordinance is a principle that we follow for ordinary practices. Therefore, when we give a tenth of our income, we're doing what we're supposed to do. Christians are supposed to tithe anyway. We shouldn't be happy with ordinary, we should seek to be EXTRAORDINARY.

We Bring Our Tithe To God's House
We don't give a tithe to the Boy Scouts, television ministry, or anything else. We can give an offering (which is going above and beyond...aka...being extraordinary), but our tithes go to God. Even in times of mourning or hunger, we are not supposed to spend that money.

Pastor Matt talks about how he would often buy snacks while taking road trips. After buying some M&M's for the kids, he'd ask them for a few. The kids would  quickly reply, "But, Dad....they're mine!"

Similar to that story, God says the same to us. I've given you all of these things (i.e., job, car, house, etc.), but you won't return 10 percent?

Pastor Matt tells a story about this one time when he was young and how he made a few dollars. As he grew older, his salary got larger. The only thing that God is asking for is 10%. Using bags of M&M's to demonstrate, he shows what 10% of a growing salary looks like.

Tithing is Biblical
Matt shares a number of examples where godly men gave a tithe. Tithing is a good thing, but we have to remember that everything is God's anyway. Let's be humble and obedient.

[Deuteronomy. 26:1-4]
Firstfruits and Tithes  
1 When you have entered the land the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance and have taken possession of it and settled in it, 2 take some of the firstfruits of all that you produce from the soil of the land the LORD your God is giving you and put them in a basket. Then go to the place the LORD your God will choose as a dwelling for his Name 3 and say to the priest in office at the time, “I declare today to the LORD your God that I have come to the land the LORD swore to our ancestors to give us.” 4 The priest shall take the basket from your hands and set it down in front of the altar of the LORD your God.
[Deuteronomy. 26:13-15]
13 Then say to the LORD your God: “I have removed from my house the sacred portion and have given it to the Levite, the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, according to all you commanded. I have not turned aside from your commands nor have I forgotten any of them.14 I have not eaten any of the sacred portion while I was in mourning, nor have I removed any of it while I was unclean, nor have I offered any of it to the dead. I have obeyed the LORD my God; I have done everything you commanded me. 15 Look down from heaven, your holy dwelling place, and bless your people Israel and the land you have given us as you promised on oath to our ancestors, a land flowing with milk and honey.”
Did you know that many couples in marriage argue over money? The love of money is the root of all evil. The Devil does not what you to give back to God. So, are we going to give in to the Devil or do what God asks us to do?

Tithing is a Demonstration of Trust
Can God trust you with what what has been given? Faithful in little, faithful in much.

Pastor Matt brings up three volunteers. He tells each one that he is going to pay them a monthly salary of $10,000. In return, he asks each of them to help support his wife, Martha Fry, by giving her $1,000 each month.

[Note: This is just a demonstration]

The first guy gives $1,000 per month as instructed. The second guy gives $2,000, and the third guy gives sporadically ($700, $400, and nothing else since).

Now, if this scenario were true. How many would trust these guys? Hands go up for both persons 1 and 2, but few for the last person (those few must have been friends [laughter in the audience]).

Similar to this story, Jesus says that he's going away. All he asks is that we will take care of his bride (church). Can we do that? Can we tithe our 10%? Are you willing to go the extra mile and be extraordinary?

Do You Need A Fresh Start?
If you would like to make a fresh start in your life and receive God's love, pray this prayer:
Dear God, I realize I've sinned and I need you. Thank you for dying on the cross and rising from the grave. Come in to my heart and save me. Thank you for giving me eternal and abundant life. Help me to live for you, for the rest of my life. In Jesus' name. Amen.
To share your story, want more information about next steps, or just in need of prayer, please contact Pastor Matt Fry.


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Damond L. Nollan, M.B.A.

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