Speaker: Pastor Matt Fry
Faith is mentioned 246 times in the Bible. Hope 186. Love 733. Giving 2,285. So as we talk about going all in for God, we have to talk about generosity.
37 Jesus replied, 'You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.'
Matthew 22:37 (NLT)
God wants all of our heart, soul, and mind.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matthew 6:21 (NIV)
It all starts with our heart. Jesus tells a story about a wealthy man.
17 As Jesus was starting out on his way to Jerusalem, a man came running up to him, knelt down, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked. “Only God is truly good. 19 But to answer your question, you know the commandments: ‘You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. You must not cheat anyone. Honor your father and mother.’”
20 “Teacher,” the man replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.”
21 Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22 At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!” 24 This amazed them. But Jesus said again, “Dear children, it is very hard to enter the Kingdom of God. 25 In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!”
26 The disciples were astounded. “Then who in the world can be saved?” they asked.
27 Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God.”
Mark 10:17-27 (NLT)
Everything is possible with God. Aren't you thankful that things may look one way in the natural and then another way in the supernatural?
This rich young business man had it all. He was even religious, but he didn't have a relationship. He thought he could earn or buy his way to Heaven. Salvation is a free gift. It is by grace that we have been saved.
As Matt was reading that, he thought that Jesus was asking a lot of the man. Why would Jesus ask him to do that? The Lord took Matt to Abraham, Sarah, and Isaac. Remember, when Abraham and Sarah couldn't have kids? Then God blessed them with a child, Isaac. Later God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son. At the last minute, God provided a lamb to take his son's place. God was just testing his heart.
Even in this situation, Jesus was testing the business man's heart. If the guy immediately went off to sell his riches, Matt believes that Jesus would have stopped him. In this story, the rich man wasn't willing to give up his security.
There is nothing wrong with having nice things, but God just wants your heart. If things are getting in the way, that's the problem. God knows that if he has your heart, then he has your possessions.
Remember, everything is possible with God. Some of you are thinking that God doesn't understand my situation. There are three potential responses to God and giving:
- I've Got To Give - This is giving that is giving out of religious duty. This, for some, is a painful type of giving. For some, this is guilt like given. Maybe if I give God some money, God will overlook the sins in my life.
- I Give To Get - God, I'll give to you IF you give me something back. For some, this is giving to receive. Yes, God wants to bless you, but you cannot treat God like Santa Claus. It all comes from the heart. Let's not reduce God to something miniature.
- I Get To Give - This is the feeling of being privileged to give. Instead of looking at it like, "I have to give 10%." This is a feeling of, "Oh, I get to keep 90%? Sweet!" Another way to look at it is this, "I get blessings in order to give more."
Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 37:4 (TNIV)
God wants our heart and wants to see the desires of our heart fulfilled.
The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.
Psalm 14:1 (NIV)
All goes back to the heart. Jesus wants our hearts.
6 “I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. 7 Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty.
“But you ask, ‘How are we to return?’
8 “Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me.
“But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’
“In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse—your whole nation—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 there will not be room enough to store it.
Malachi 3:6-10 (NIV)
Tithe vs. offering? Tithe actually means a 10th.
You cannot rob God, but we actually rob ourselves of a blessing. We rob ourselves of living out the heart's desire.
The first 10% goes to God based on obedience. You give an offering based on a revelation. An offering is something above and beyond the tithe. We don't have to pray on a tithe, we just have to obey God.
God is so creative. He will tell you who and when to bless others.
Matt tells a story about a time where he blessed someone who was more wealthy than him. The wealthy business man got teary eyed and said, "Nobody has ever given me anything, people are always asking me for stuff." This man's heart was changed.
Ninety percent with God is better than 100% without him. That's just like the Sabbath. Did you know that we're supposed to rest for 24 hours each week? We are more productive by working 6 days versus working all 7. The same goes for tithe. We cannot out give God.
Pastor Matt shares a testimony about a family that were new to the Church. In talking about tithing, the wife recalls their effort to give the whole tithe. As a result, they were able to have child when they were not able before. In addition, they have been blessed in so many ways. They cannot put a price tag on the love and blessings that God has given in return of their generosity.
Last week, Matt talked about serving others. This week, Matt has 10 benefits of generosity, they are:
- It brings order to your life and finances.
- It demonstrates that God takes first place in your life.
- It stretches my faith.
- It reminds me that I am not in control, God is.
- I get to celebrate when lives are changed.
- I get to model for my kids what Biblical stewardship looks like.
- I play a part in getting the Gospel out to the world.
- It breaks the grip of greed and selfishness in my life.
- I get to invest in something much bigger than me and last much longer than me.
- You cannot out give God.
- It allows me to see that we are a steward over his resources.
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.