Jesus Christ: Lord of Your Possessions and Money
Jan. 14 and 21, 2018
Pastor Louis Prontnicki Maple Glen Bible Fellowship Church
The Lord establishes the groundwork for our view of the world – and everything in it
A. The Lord is the Owner. He owns everything in the universe, as He created it and sustains it, for His glory. (Gen. 1; 1 Chronicles 29:10-16; Psalm 24:1; Col. 1:15-17)
B. We Must Develop a Manager Mindset. The Lord calls us to be His managers of all that is His. He calls us to have dominion over the earth as His managers. (The Cultural Mandate in Gen. 1:28-30; the Parable of the Ten Minas; Luke 19:11-27; the Parable of the Talents; Matt. 25:14-30) “God owns everything; I manage His stuff for Him.”
Question: Do you have an ownership or a manager mentality?
C. We Must Wisely Put Such Managing into Practice.
- We should provide for ourselves and our own family (1 Tim. 5:8) with the basic needs of life. (1 Tim. 6:8 “If we have food and coverings – that is, shelter and clothes – we shall be content.”)
- We should neither be covetous nor ascetic, but seek to be content with what God has given us, full of gratitude and generosity. Those who have less should be content, not covetous, while those who are rich should be generous, not arrogant. While we should normally aim at simplicity in our lifestyle, we should welcome opportunities for enjoying the good things God may allow us to have (1 Tim. 6:6-10 and 17-19)
Questions: How do you know how much you should give away, spend, save, or invest?
How should Jesus’ teaching in Matt. 6:19-34 about not worrying and about storing up treasures in heaven impact our thinking here?
Where is the balance between asceticism and extravagance?
Why are we so secretive about our money in America?
Do you struggle with envy or arrogance?
The Lord stretches and matures His redeemed people with respect to possessions and income.
A. The Lord’s Tithe or the Levitical Tithe -10% each year. (Num. 18:21-24; Lev. 27:30f.) This provided for the Levites and their ministries; similar to supporting pastors, church staff, and teachers at a Christian school.
B. The Festival Tithe – 10% each year. (Deut. 12:6-7, 17-19; 14:22-27; 16:1-17) This allowed a family to share their food with Levites, the fatherless and widows, immigrants, etc., in a setting of celebration and rejoicing. This is the only tithe that you have some control over how you use it. It’s like inviting people to your house for meals and holidays, people who either don’t have anywhere to go or are in need. It would include giving them the leftovers!
C. The Poor Tithe – 10% every three years. (Deut. 14:28-29; 26:12ff.) This would be shared among needy. Similar to our benevolence offerings.
D. Leaving the Gleanings and Corners of the field, approx. 1-2%. (Lev. 19:9-10; 23:22; Deut. 24:19ff. Ruth 2). This would help the poor and hungry.
E. First Fruits – perhaps 2-3%. (Ex. 22:29-30; 23:19; 34:26; Num. 18:12-23; Deut. 26:1-11)
Therefore the total giving percentage commanded by the Lord = 27% or more, plus freewill offerings, thank offerings, and more.
Question: Has the Lord’s basic training informed your giving and your view of your possessions and income?
The Lord brings together the elements of His ownership, His grace and blessing, our personal sacrifice, and incredible joy in liberality!
A. Giving for the Building of the Temple (1 Chronicles 29) David sets an example of generous giving (v. 3); He asks for people to first give themselves (5); the people give freely and wholeheartedly to the Lord (9); “But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from You, and we have given You only what comes from Your hands.” (14)
B. The Examples of Over the Top Givers
- Zacchaeus the tax collector; Lk. 19:1-10 (“I give half of my possessions to the poor.”)
- The Widow in Luke 21:1-4 (“This poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”)
- The Christians in Macedonia; 2 Cor. 8-9 (who gave out of their poverty; pleaded to be able to give more; who gave beyond their ability, so that it seemed hilarious!)
What motivates such over the top giving?
A. Christ giving Himself for us:
2 Cor. 8:9 “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, so that though His poverty you might become rich.”
B. Seeing and responding to the needs of others:
Matt. 25:31-46 “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”
1 John 3:17 “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?”
C. Treasure Principle (Randy Alcorn’s excellent book by that title)
The parables of the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl of Great Price (Matt. 13:44-46)
The analogy of treasuring up Confederate money at the end of the civil war.
Jesus calls us to store up treasures in heaven by giving away treasure on earth now!
“You can’t take it with you, but you can send it on ahead.”
“Giving breaks us out of the orbit around our possessions; we enter into orbit around treasures in heaven.”
“God prospers me not to raise my standard of living but to raise my standard of giving.”
Question: Where is your real home? Do you use your money accordingly?
D. God’s incredible, all-inclusive promises:
2 Cor. 9:8 and 11 “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”
“You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.”
Greater giving —-► greater enrichment —► greater resources to give more!
Question: How great is your God? Have you ever really put promises such as these into action? What are your fears? What has God been doing lately to encourage you?