Home Media Sermons by Pastor Nicki Coertze Series 14 Logos since 31 July 2017 . Giving from the heart (Part 3)

. Giving from the heart (Part 3)

GIVING FROM THE HEART (PART 3)

2 Corinthians 12:14 (ESV) 14 Here for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be a burden, for I seek not what is yours but you.”

Introduction.

We come to the third and final sermon on the topic of giving. This is always a contentious topic to preach on, as some are easily offended by this topic. Often the reason is that we are actually robbing God, but we do not want to hear that. It is easier to sing: “take my silver and my gold, not a mite will I withhold”, than to do it in practice.

The Bible is not silent on money. It provides principles about how I earn money, how I spend money, how I feel about money and how I need to give money.

Obedience to these principles has attached to them great blessing. There are many things in the Word of God that are emphasized in terms of great blessing and giving is one of them. The subject of giving is like all other subjects in the Bible. It's the revelation of God and it needs to be understood. As the Apostle Paul could say to the Ephesian elders, so must I be able to say to you “I have fulfilled my ministry, I have not failed to declare unto you the whole council of God." Not to declare unto you these principles would be to rob you of blessing in the area that God has allowed for such wonderful blessing. In a sense, ‘robbing God as Malachi declares’ is robbing ourselves of blessing.

I know we have all experienced churches where money is overemphasised. I do not feel that Logos is guilty of that. Maybe we say too little about this privilege of sharing in this grace of giving.

I am going to share a few closing thoughts in no particular order.

1. Check your heart.

The Bible says a lot about how we feel about money. Firstly, it says we are not to love it.  In 1 Timothy 6:10 (ESV) it says: 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.” We are not to love money. Now that is not an easy thing since it's around us all the time.

Another thing the Bible says regarding how we feel about money is that we are not to trust money. That is, we are not to put our confidence in our money. In 1 Timothy 6:17 (ESV)17 As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.” Some translations say: “to not trust money”. Trust in money is idolatry. Even when you derive your sense of security from the money that you say God provides for you, that's still idolatry. We need to remind ourselves of the rich young ruler. When money has your trust then it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven.

Matthew 6:24 (ESV) says: 24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” That kind of divided allegiance doesn't honour God. That's why, when the Bible lays down the qualifications for an elder, it says, "He cannot be a man who is greedy of money."

1 Timothy 6:9 (ESV) says: 9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.”

That is one of the problems with gambling, and buying things I do not need or cannot afford or squandering on unnecessary luxuries to compete with my neighbour. It more than often leads to destruction and loss.

2. Compare the old and the new.

This we have dealt with over the last two weeks. Read the notes. We have concluded that the Old and New are very similar. Both are a heart issue in response to God’s grace, and a sign of gratitude and celebration for God’s provision and an acknowledgement that all I have is the Lord’s. In all the passages where the church gives, there is no mention at all in any place of tithing. If you choose to tithe as a controlled percentage, that is your call. It just isn't biblical and it's giving for the wrong reason. It's giving to fulfill an obligation rather than a response of a loving, willing heart, to a loving, giving God. Are the Old Testament principles still applicable? Sure, let’s allow our next point to serve as one example of many.

3. Can we still rob God?

We all know about the verse in Malachi that talks about robbing God. We will simply read the section for time sake and highlight key words. Allow those key words to speak to your heart. Because, whether Old or New Testament, they are still applicable.

Malachi 1:6-14 (ESV) 6 “A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is my honor? And if I am a master, where is my fear? says the Lord of hosts to you, O priests, who despise my name. But you say, ‘How have we despised your name?’ 7 By offering polluted food upon my altar. But you say, ‘How have we polluted you?’ By saying that the Lord’s table may be despised. 8 When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not evil? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not evil? Present that to your governor; will he accept you or show you favor? says the Lord of hosts. 9 And now entreat the favor of God, that he may be gracious to us. With such a gift from your hand, will he show favor to any of you? says the Lord of hosts. 10 Oh that there were one among you who would shut the doors, that you might not kindle fire on my altar in vain! I have no pleasure in you, says the Lord of hosts, and I will not accept an offering from your hand. 11 For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts. 12 But you profane it when you say that the Lord’s table is polluted, and its fruit, that is, its food may be despised. 13 But you say, ‘What a weariness this is,’ and you snort at it, says the Lord of hosts. You bring what has been taken by violence or is lame or sick, and this you bring as your offering! Shall I accept that from your hand? says the Lord. 14 Cursed be the cheat who has a male in his flock, and vows it, and yet sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished. For I am a great King, says the Lord of hosts, and my name will be feared among the nations.

This is Wow!! God is serious about our attitude, and our heart of giving. As serious as we see in the story of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts. Do you see it here? God is seeking them and not theirs. But, do you realise that there is a direct correlation between our view of God and our giving. V6 Despise my Name – by despising my table. V11 My Name will be great – twice. V14 My name will be feared.

Malachi 3:8-10 (ESV) 8 Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. 9 You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. 10 Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.”

Whether we teach the OT tithing principle or NT grace giving, the principles of Malachi remain.

4. Calculate God’s grace.

I said much about this last week. So, I am not going to repeat it. Just a reminder. You might have like the Israelites in Malachi, worked out a clever way of giving less and less. We must remember, God knows our means, and God is not mocked. What if God sent His angels to do that ‘lifestyle audit?’  What if God took your giving and then worked out His grace accordingly? ‘Okay my friend, you live like a millionaire but you give like a pauper, I will now take your pauper gift, and turn it into a fair figure for you to live on, which correlates with your giving.’

5. Commit yourself to grace giving.

We need to cultivate the heart to give like the churches in Macedonia in 2 Corinthians 8, who gave out of rich generosity more than they were able, and pleaded for the privilege of giving. You will not receive an account from God and the end of the month, but we will give account before the throne.  This church serves as a glorious example. That is the very reason why Paul tells the church in Corinth about them. Follow their lead. Can I ask you my friend? Can people follow your lead? If everybody gave as faithfully as you gave, would there be sufficient money for the work of the Lord? Surely, if I have the right to withhold my giving, if I have the right to not give at my place of worship as we saw last week, surely then all Christians have that same right. It requires commitment. And remember we saw that the churches in Macedonia, gave themselves to the Lord first, and then to the ministry, and they pleaded to participate in the grace of giving. They did not try and duck out, but they gave more than they were able. It is for the sake of the Name of the Lord, not because some law dictates.

6. Consider it a joy.

Simply to mention once again that God loves a cheerful giver. It’s not law, it is grace, and a response to grace produces a glad heart. Do we understand God’s grace upon our lives? If you do, you will be a joyful giver.

7. Cultivate a generous heart.

We saw earlier that the churches of Macedonia were generous. Do you realise that this was the Old Testament principle as well? Let me show you.

Exodus 35:4-5 (ESV) 4 Moses said to all the congregation of the people of Israel, “This is the thing that the Lord has commanded. 5 Take from among you a contribution to the Lord. Whoever is of a generous heart, let him bring the Lord’s contribution: gold, silver, and bronze;” etc. And the list goes on.

Have you got a generous heart towards the Lord? It is easy to be generous towards your friends and family, the club you belong to. We can spend so much money in eating out, on fun, take-aways, etc. It is amazing how little a R 1000 becomes with the things of the world, but when it comes to the household of God it is so much.

Now, did these Old Testament people obey? Look at Exodus 35:21 (ESV) 21 And they came, everyone whose heart stirred him, and everyone whose spirit moved him, and brought the Lord’s contribution to be used for the tent of meeting, and for all its service, and for the holy garments.”

Tell me my friend. Today, is your heart stirring you, is your spirit moving you? Or when it comes to the work of the Lord for the sake of the glory of God, do you have a hard heart, and a stubborn spirit. Are you living for yourself only, or are you living for God’s glory? Are you like the Israelites calculating ways to bluff God, as far as what your giving should be? Or are we bluffing ourselves?

I believe that if we can get our hearts right and our spirits right, and everybody does their part, there will always be more than enough available for the work of the Lord. The work of the Lord costs. This church is God’s church, but it is also our church. We need to own it.

8. Controlled by the Spirit.

At Logos, we have many poor people with little means, but we have people with much means. The right thing to do in the area of giving, is to teach the truths of the Word of God, to admonish where needed, and then leave it to the Spirit of God to generate the response along with all the rest of the fruits of spirituality. And so, we teach the Word of God. We don't use gimmicks, we don't use programs, we just teach the Word of God assuming the Spirit of God will produce in the lives the kind of giving proportionate with the kind of life.

The question you need to ask yourself is this. Are you obedient to the Spirit? Disobeying the Spirit is to rob yourself of a blessing.

9. Capitalising with God.

I had to end with 9 C’s. This is another way of saying “investing with God”.  I want to end with a verse that fits with so many others. Friends you can never out-give God. God does bless. He knows our hearts. He can blow away everything we have when we are unfaithful, as we see in Haggai. But He does bless, and how does He do that. Luke 6:38 (ESV) 38 give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

Do you see the principle there? You don't have to be banker to figure out that that is the principle of investment. You give to God and it shall be given to you. How? "Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over." Do you know what that means? Let me share a story. My grandparents lived in Swartdruggens. In their house, they had these metal containers standing on the floor. The one container had sugar, the other flour and the other dried peaches. The one with the biltong, well that’s another story. My gran would give me a can fruit jar and tell me that I can fill it with dried peaches to take home. I would take that jar, fill it to the top, then I would shake it to make more space, then I would use my hand and press it in to make more space, and then I would fill it so high that it overflowed, and I would have to press and press till the lid just caught the outer edge of the screw on the glass.

That is what God does. When I look at my life, I know He does. We have far more than we deserve. In Matthew 6 we are challenged to invest in heaven where moths don’t eat, where rust does not destroy and where thieves don’t steal. And any investment in God’s Kingdom, sees great returns.

I seek not what is yours, but I seek you. Christian, where is your heart when it comes to giving? Are you faithful? Make it your goal, your purpose in life to not rob God, but to bless Him, in response to His grace upon your life.

Amen!

Soli Deo Gloria.

Logos Community Church: 5 March 2017