string(7) "m-66998" Burnt Hickory Baptist Church


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May 21, 2023

Giving My First & Best

Giving My First & Best

Passage: Exodus 35:4-9

Speaker: Matt Petty

Series: Stand Alone Message

Category: Sunday Sermons

Keywords: church, worship, faith, jesus, god, sermon, christian, bible, christ, gospel, scripture, hope, generosity, sermons, holy spirit, giving, believe, charity, jesus christ, lord, christianity, blessings, offering, bible study, trust god, how to love, transformed life, christian sermons, personal development, mama, give away, bible teaching, be kind, 2023, burnt hickory worship, burnt hickory baptist church live stream, bibly study, tithes and offering, should we still tithe today

Why is it so uncomfortable to talk about money in the church? Well, over the years, it’s been a topic that has been abused by some pastors and most people are not living in obedience to our calling that God has put on us as Christians to give. Today, we dive into scripture to see why Jesus spoke so often about money, and what God actually asks of his followers in generosity. Everything belongs to the Lord in the first place, and the things we give to show what we truly love. This sermon covers several principles that will help us understand why and how to be generous to glorify God. As always, we’d love to answer any questions you might have, so feel free to reach out. You can also take the nest step by visiting

We introduce to you the completion of the Kenya Swahiba Resource Center. I was there, sent back a video, but this morning I just want to circle back to that just for a second and just spend a moment in celebration. I got a message from Peter this week just explaining how already, lives are being changed. People are being trained, people are meeting Jesus and hundreds and hundreds of people are in and out of this resource center. And Church, I just want to tell you once again, thank you for your faithfulness over the last year and a half in giving to this project. As of today, it is complete. They are working on some little odds and ends punch list stuff, but every single day something is happening in this building to reach that community. So thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I cannot wait to see what the future is going to bring in that.

Also, kind of second thing I just want to touch on before we jump into the message is give you a little bit of an update of where we are in our building process here in our renovation that we're looking at here. If you are new here, last August, August of 22, we came to the church and asked you to pray about and think about us beginning a process of expanding into what we think the next step of this church's vision to reach this community is. That would be a new lobby space, a new multipurpose space to help us with hosting events, a new counseling center, to help with the mental health and the physical, as well as just pastoral counseling needs a new hallway that would kind of connect the whole front side of our building, as well as a new drive through on this upper side of our building to help seniors out get out of the rain when it's raining. I came to you and just asked you to pray about it, ask you to come back in a couple of weeks, and you did that. You came back overwhelmingly in August and we voted to move forward in the process. Well, it's got to give you a little update. We went to design, went to build kind of interviewed companies, interviewed contractors. And at the end of the day, as I said, seven or eight weeks ago, the bill came back a little bit higher than we thought it was going to. If you've ever built anything, you're like, Yeah, that's how it works. But we had committed and we are committed in this process to do this as a cash project. This is a no debt project. We're not borrowing for this. And so we just decided to hit the pause button for a few minutes to ask the Lord, where are we and what's next and how can we move forward? So over the last seven weeks we've been doing that. We’ve just been seeking the Lord. Where can we go? How can we move forward in this?

We've been interviewing new contractors. We went back to bid with some new people that have been involved, and I am pleased to announce to you today that with the nod and with the thumbs up from our finance team on Monday night, that we are indeed ready to move forward in this project. So today we're celebrating what you're seeing on the screens as what is about to start being built in July of this year, this year. So we're jumping into this project and like I said, I can't wait to see what happens in the life of this church when we actually get a full blown counseling center up, when we actually have space to begin to even better host groups. Did you know that we hosted almost nine thousand people in this building last year outside of our Sunday mornings, our Wednesday nights, and our internal Bible studies? I can't wait to see what happens when we can open up the front and have more entrances and more exits, more places for community space, more Bible study spaces, more places that even during the week you can come and meet, more ways for us to help people get in and out of the rain and just for us to prepare what the future is going to look like. So we're beginning the process. Let me give you a little update and kind of how things are going to look, because that's the next question. Starting in June, ground will be broken. Things will begin to happen. And according to the timetable and one of the reasons that we did go with the builders that we're with, we will complete this project prior to Easter of next year. We'll complete it by March of next year, we’ll be in the space. We'll have everything we need and we can not wait for this to happen. Now, let me say this on the other side. In August, when we mentioned this project, I asked you to come behind it. I asked you to begin to think and pray of what it would look like for your family over and beyond, your normal tithing, normal giving to come behind and support this project.

The good news is, that you did, a lot of you did, you committed to it. And for a lot of you, you have been going ahead and you started giving to that project. But I also realized that there's a lot of you that are a lot like other people that say, you know what, I'm in, we're there. But I'll give when I kind of know this thing's going to happen. Right. And I get that today is that day. All right. I just want to bring you into the loop to say it is happening. It is on. But also along with that, I also know that over the last year of this church's life, 247 people have joined this church, and are new to this church.

So here's what that means. You don't know anything about this. All right. You were asked to commit, you weren't asked to jump in. And today is that day all right? I asked for a commitment of 2 million on the front side to make sure that we're moving in the right direction. And hey, you met that. Today, what I'm asking for is because of the new people involved and because of just where construction is, I'm just going to put the dominoes on the cards on the table. Right. And just say this today I'm asking for $1,000,000. That's all we need. We're able to do this. Finance already said that we have the funds. But here's what I'm asking. I don't want to leave us strapped. I don't want to leave us strapped so that when the next time something comes up like Kenya, we can't just act on it immediately and fulfill God's plan. I don't want to leave us in a position where we have to think about how we can bless this community, how we can move into Guatemala and do everything we're doing, how we can bless Storehouse ministries like it happened two weeks ago when they ran out of food and we just came behind him and said, What do you need? We're in. I just want us to be able to do that. So here's my prayer today. Number one, if you did commit, I'm just asking you to go ahead and start beginning to make that commitment happen. Number two, if you didn't commit, maybe you're at a place where financially it wasn't just right at the moment for you. I'm just going to ask you today to pray, God, how can we be involved now?

Number three, if you're new, I just want to say this, man, jump in, jump in and see what it would look like. And number four, if you made a commitment, it was kind of like one of those I'm just going to make this little $50 deal just so it gets off my conscience deal right? You know, you've been there. I've been there. Right. I'm just going to ask you to prayerfully consider what it would really look like for you to sacrificially give to the next vision of what this can look like. You know, we're sitting in seats right now that people did this for when we moved into this facility and prepared the way for us. Years ago, we did the same thing for our building over here for kids. Some of you grew up coming to that ministry and now it's time for you to shoulder the load and say, Hey, I'm in to help fulfill God's vision for this. I'm just going to ask you to pray over these next weeks. If you'll log on to the website, and in the worship guide today, there's a place for you as well as if you just want to call up or log on to burn hickory dot com. There is a place for you to not only make a commitment or maybe you're just ready to give. Man, we want to ask you to jump in and be a part of this project. All right. Then we pray we're going to move on.

Lord, we love you today. We thank you today for your grace and mercy. We thank you for laying this ahead in the future. And God, we thank you in advance next March, that we'll get to celebrate the good things that you are doing here at Burnt Hickory. God, speak to our hearts. Lead us. Jesus, to give, and to be a part of this vision. It's in your name. Amen. Amen.

All right. So speaking of giving. All right, you see how I did that today with respect to giving and with respect to just preaching the full counsel of God, we're going to look at today what it looks like for me as a disciple of Jesus to give my first and my best. All right. To give my first and best. Now, listen, I fully realize that as soon as I just said that all of that excitement with all the keys and all that, all I just went away, all right, I get it. I feel that it is there because you're like, Oh, all right, here we go. Soon, as I mentioned giving, the air leaves the room, the eyes are rolled and all of that happens. I get it. But that's okay, because here's why. Because there's a lot of those Lordship issues in the Bible that when we mention them, it kind of feels a little bit sticky. And that's because we live in a fallen world. We live in a world of already and not yet. And we're we have been fully kind of redeemed by God, but we're not moving into his eternal home. And a lot of those things are sticky conversations. But it doesn't mean that we need to avoid them, right? It doesn't mean that we need to just kind of kick them out and don't talk about them. We do. We need to talk about them with sensitivity and with respect to what it looks like for me to live the full life of Jesus, to be a true disciple of Jesus.

So just know today that's where my heart is in this. And if you got to leave early today, it just looks like you're not a giver. All right. That's all I'm saying when it comes to any of that. No offense to whoever just left, she'll never come back. But here's the deal. All right? Here's the deal. That's all we're going to look at. We're going to look at what that looks like today from a holistic picture. If you've got a copy of Scripture. I want you to turn me to Exodus chapter 35. That's what we're going to launch from today. And we're praying just for a fresh perspective today. And we're going to spend time in the Old Testament. We're going to spend time with Jesus' sayings today, and we're going to spend time in the New Testament because I want to do everything I can to give you a holistic picture of where God wants me as a disciple of Jesus to live in my giving.

And I want to give you that today just to kind of disband some of the crazy teaching that is out there. We're starting an exodus now. Moses has been on the mountain with God, all right? He's been meeting with God. He's been hearing from God. And he was the mouthpiece of God to the people. That was his role, right? Moses has just met with God. He's come down off the mountain in Exodus 35. His face is glowing. Why? Because anytime you're truly in the presence of God, people notice and it gets all over you. That's a whole other day. But He comes down off the mountain. He's met with God and he says, Hey, Israelites, people of God, this is what God wants us to do.

All right, now let me read it and then we're just going to process through it this morning. It's all we're going to do. Exodus 35, verse four, it says, Moses said to the whole Israelite community, he said, This is what the Lord has commanded from what you have take an offering for the Lord, everyone who is willing is to bring to the Lord and offering, watch this, of gold and silver and bronze and blue and purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen and goat hair. Goat hair's weird, but that's what he needed. All right. Verse seven, ram skins dyed red and other types of durable leather acacia wood, olive oil for the light, spices for the anointing oil, and for the fragrant incense and onyx stones and other gems to be mounted on the ephod of the breast piece. Now, don't get lost in the stuff, all right? Nobody's calling you to bring in your Hobby Lobby yarn. All right? That's not what we're talking about today. But what we are talking about today is what is God saying to the people and what is he saying to us? God is saying to them. And he sent us, Hey, listen, we are going to build a temple. We're going to build a temple. And the temple was the resting place of God. It was the presence of God. It was the representation of God being with the people. And what God is saying is, hey, we're going to do this. And what I'm asking of you and what he's asking of us is that with a generous heart that we give out of what has been given to us so that we can make it possible for God's house to be built. That's what he's telling the people of Exodus. So again, I want to bring you that context. So in essence, what God is doing here is he's calling his people to give back to him, to give back to him to achieve here. It is a task that he has called them to achieve. Now, here's the question. All right. Here's the question.

Why does God do this? All right. That's the question. I had been a why person since I was two years old. All right. I have been a why kid. Now in my day, kids, you don't know how this works, but in my day, you didn't ask why in your family, if your parents told you something you had no right. The only thing why got you, was the end of something, right? Amen. Those of you from the eighties, you know what I'm talking about, right here, right? You didn't ask why, but I've been a why person my whole life. And when I read this and when I read the Bible, I always ask the question why? It's a great question. God is big enough. And he can take that question. And he always backs it up. So why does God ask them to guess? Okay, what does God ask us to give? That's what we're going to answer today because if you think about this, those of you that are Bible people that know what's going on in this story, you will kind of in your mind, you're already thinking, well, okay, God, you are the giver, right?

When you think about this in this story, there is something different about Exodus 35 than the rest of the plight of the Israelites as God brought them out of bondage. You say Matt, what are you talking about? Listen, when the Israelites needed freedom, who was it that gave them freedom? It was God, right? When the Israelites needed water, who was it that gave them water? It was God. Great. We're going to get this in a minute. When is when the Israelites needed food, who was it that gave them food? When they needed quail? Who gave them Quail? When they needed their shoes to last longer? Who gave it to them? When they needed their clothes to make it longer? Who did it? Who? Who brought them across the Jordan later on? God. See, in Israel's life up until this point, any time they needed anything, it was God that gave them. All right, now hold on to that, because God hasn't quit doing that. It is God that gives us. It's God that supplies us. The whole wilderness experience, God has been supplying everything. Now Exodus 35, God turns to the people and God says, But now I need you to give. Now did God asked them to give because God needed some goat hair? I mean, really. Come on really, did he? Did God ask them to give because he needed a little bit of bronze and a little bit of gold and a little bit of wool and a little bit of jewels? No, no. He's the maker of the universe, for goodness sake. Right? God could have snapped his fingers when they slept at night, and they could have woken up to a tabernacle. This is the God that swallowed people up in their story. Remember that? This is the guy that has already split the sea. This is the guy that's going to split the Jordan. This is the God that rained down little chicken fingers out of the sky for these people to eat. Did God need their stuff? No, he didn't need it. So at this point in the story, why does God set this precedent of God giving us everything and asking for us to give back just a small portion for His kingdom and his purposes to host his presence? Are you saying this? Why does he do that? Why does God do this?

And why is it important for us to walk in obedience to this? Because this is a precedent that was set for the rest of the Bible, including us. Why does he do this? Now, let me stop there and just say this. Let me point out the obvious here. I know, I know. Anytime someone like me a.k.a Pastor Guy, right? I know anytime someone like me gets up and talks about money, it gets awkward real quick. It does. It gets awkward really, really fast. I mean, let me just put it like this. Some of you, you haven't been here in a long time. I mean, it is travel ball season. I mean I mean, you have been here for a long time. You decided to come today and you're like, really? There's some money Sunday. You're coming on money Sunday, I knew that's all they talked about. No, no, no, no. That's not what it is. Actually, some of you, you finally came today because one of your friends finally bugged you enough to come. And you came today. And I'm talking about money today and your friend has already leaned over to you and said, and I quote, I promise he doesn't do this every week.

I get it. That's already happened. I've been watching it happen in the room all morning. I get it. Look, I get it. It gets weird when guys like me get up and start to talk about money. But here's my question. Why? Why does it get weird? I mean, because here's the thing. If I was to get up here right now and say, listen, I promise you, I got ten things, that if you'll do these ten things, you will get rich, retire by 50, and your kids will never have to work. You would be taking some notes this morning, right? We know that. Why? Because the Amazon top sellers are always money books. They're always, How do I get rich? How do I stay rich and how do I retire early? Talking about money is not awkward, but when anybody like me gets up and starts talking about money, when it comes to giving, it gets awkward really, really quick. But why is it so uncomfortable in church for somebody like me? Let me give you two quick reasons. Number one, I put this in your notes. I think the subject of money gets so uncomfortable because the subject of money has been historically abused by some pastors. It really has. You could say Amen. I get It, it has been. It totally has been. It hasn't been in this church. You can go back. You can listen to every sermon you can ever find. It's not in this church. But historically, there are some pastors who have talked about money while enriching themselves by buying the new jet, by buying the new whatever. And it's all about the prosperity gospel, right? It's all about, hey, send me a grand, and I'll send you the magic hankie or the Flying Eagle or whatever it is that you're listening to. Right. I get that. It's historically been abused by some, but I just want to tell you that the leadership of this church, we are keenly aware that there will be a day before we stand before the throne of God, and we have to give an account for every single penny that is given for the kingdom of God here. We are keenly aware of that. And on top of that, the checks and balances in the finance department with a financial oversight team, with all open books and public audits, all of that is incredibly, incredibly public. And we just want to say we get it. It has been abused by some and that's what makes it awkward to talk about.

But there's also a second reason. It makes it awkward to talk about and this one's a little bit tougher. The second reason is this statistically speaking, number two, the vast majority of people that are hearing this message or that are Christians are not living in obedience to the calling that God has put on our lives as Christ followers when it comes to giving. And I need you guys know I'm just as upfront and honest as possible. But can I tell you that's why it becomes so awkward. That's why it becomes like “is it hot in here to you?” It's a little bit hot to me, right? That's why it become so uncomfortable. You see, when it comes to giving, many of us just aren't living it. We're certainly not. Nobody's hating on anybody. It is just we're not. That's just not where we are. In fact, I asked Chip this week, Chip in said our business administrators like Chip, what do you think? How many people in our church tithe? I don't know. I don't get like a report every week, like, ooh, look out for that person. No, I don't want to know that stuff right? He's like, Well, it's kind of hard to tell. We're not like the we're not like some other church that requires then come statements or whatever. I was like, okay, well, that's ok, draw a line for me there somewhere, right? Think of a two in a two income middle upper management families. Like I'll draw a line maybe ten grand a year, like, ooh, ten grand a year. I'll never make that. All right, come on. You live in a nine hundred thousand dollar house, you make $100,000 a year, right? All right, I get it right. Did you know 20% of our church? 20% of our church? That's the threshold of where we're at. 20%. Okay, I get that. That that's why it's so uncomfortable in the room. You say Matt, I make 30 grand a year. Okay, I get that. I just had to draw a line somewhere. Okay, But here's the deal. That's why it's so uncomfortable to talk about money. But I also think that's why Jesus talked about money so much, because it's hard. It really is hard. Did you know Jesus talked so much about money that 16 out of 38 of his parables are about money? Did you know that one out of ten verses in the gospels are about money? Did you know that Jesus talked about money more than he talked about heaven, hell or marriage? Did you know that Jesus, if I were to follow Jesus's preaching schedule, which would probably be a good thing for me to do as a pastor? Amen. That I would need to preach on money one out of every four weeks. Did you know that? Which means that when I do talk about money, it just puts me in good company with Jesus. Now get it? It's awkward. It's awkward as mess. Nobody's walking out of today going, Man, Pastor, you blessed my heart today, man. That took me up to the next level, right?

I get it. But here's the deal. Giving appears 2152 times in the Bible where the word love only appears 700 times. We got to talk about it. But why did Jesus talk about it so much? That's the question. Remember, I'm a why person. Why did he talk about it so much? Because Jesus knew that this part of being a disciple of his was hard. I'm going to be honest. It's hard. But he also knew that this part of being a disciple of Jesus, when you get it, is incredibly, incredibly joyful. It's hard. I get it. I'm giving you that. It is hard. But when we get it, Oh, my goodness, there's so much blessing in it. Do you know why I talked about money so much? Let me give you a couple specific reasons. Number one, Jesus talked about money so much because he knew that money has the sneaky power to be the doorway to idolatry in our lives. What's idolatry? It's putting something above God. It has this sneaky power. So here's the deal about money. Many of us, it is way down the road before we realize how much of a grip that money and possessions have on us. You see, it's not hard to know if you committed adultery, is it? It's really not hard to know if you wake up beside someone else's spouse. You committed adultery, right? It is not hard to know that. I'm not bringing light to that. I'm just saying this. You know, you did it. It's not hard to know if you steal. It's not hard to know if you lie. But I don't. But money, it's one of those things in our lives that just sneaks in and it begins to take control of us in the form of my stuff and my comfort prior to me knowing that that is really what is on the throne of my life. So what Jesus is saying is, I mean, it has the sneaky power to lead our hearts in a way that we don't even realize is happening.

But number two, he talks about it. So much because he also knew that how one uses money, look at this, is a primary indicator of a true disciple of Jesus. You say Matt, that's pretty harsh. No, it really is. In fact, I'll show you in a minute. But let's just think about this from a business sense. If somebody is going to buy your business, what are they going to look at in your business? I mean, yeah, it's going to be like the morale of the staff. It's going to be like, yeah, your future opportunities. But at the end of the day, what matters most is the bottom line. And Jesus says in a lot of different places in Scripture, if you want to know, bottom line, if I am the Lord of your life, look at your resources. Look at what you're giving to. When Jesus is really trying to get to the bottom line of a person's heart of who really belongs to him, he never said it's how many Bible verses you know, he never says, is your eschatological view of end times. He never says it's the order of salvation. He never said your leanings on church this, or church administration. Jesus says, Look, if you want to know who and what is at the forefront of your life, what is sitting on your throne, he says, Look at your money. Look at how you give. So no, he doesn't. Ok, Matthew chapter six. Let's look at it. I'm glad you said that. Matthew. Chapter six, verse 19. What's this? Jesus, Don't store for yourself. Treasures and heaven on earth were moths and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal, But store for yourself Treasures in heaven where moths and rust do not destroy. Where thieves do not break in and steal. I mean, I'm just praying. Please see this next verse with fresh eyes. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Where your treasure is, is where your heart will be. Man, I've seen this. My life follows this. Your life follows this. It is a rule. My heart always follows my treasure. So what I do with my money shows what I love the most. It shows what I trust the most. It shows what kingdom I'm living for. And money, listen to this, what I give my money to and what my money is used for, it reveals my true identity and my true purpose. Here's the point: If you're a person that is placing your treasure into the kingdom of God, that's what we just read, right? To invest it into the Kingdom of God. If you are a person that does that, it's probably because that's where your heart belongs. That's where your life is pointed. That's where you're investing your stuff and your life. You're sending it forward. Why? Because you understand what God has done for you. You understand His grace. You understand the gifts of God. You understand the promises of God. You understand the provisions of God, and it is all God's anyway. But here's the deal. Let me show you the converse of that. If your finances are primarily going to what the world says that it should go to, that's where your heart will go, and that is including your family. That's where your heart will be drawn.

Are you telling me that God is more important than my family? I'm not telling you that, but God is. You see, here's the deal. If it's the big house, the newest car, the kids, private school, the coffee bill, the travel ball, and I think those are bad things. If it's those things in your life that are positioned you to be in a place that you do not think it is obedient, able to be obedient for you to give your first and your best. Let me tell you this. That's where your heart is. That's where your heart is, and your heart will always follow into that kingdom. That's where your kingdom is. But Jesus clearly just told us, listen, on this earth, that stuff's going to disappear. But here's the thing. I never really thought about this. Any time I'm giving, I'm investing into the next kingdom. I'm investing into the next kingdom, and God will take that investment and he will multiply that investment. You can invest in the kingdom. And here's the truth. It only makes sense if I say that Christ is king for me to invest in the next kingdom, primarily in this kingdom secondarily. Now, here's what makes this whole thing so scary. Here's a third reason why Jesus talked about this so much. Number three, Jesus would say that it is entirely possible to have all of the external visible signs of a follower of Christ, but have our heart far from God. Now, this one rattled me up this week when this just kind of hit the notepad as I was scratching it out. Here's why. Because this tells me who my true Lord is. How? Because if money is sitting on the throne, then God can't be. If possessions and comfort are sitting on the throne, then God is not there. Look at this. One of the saddest scriptures in the whole Bible, Matthew 19 verse 16 says this. It says, Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, teacher, What good thing must I do to get eternal life for 17? Why do you ask me? What is God? Jesus replied, There's only one who is good. If you want to have eternal life, if you want to enter life, keep the commandments. Which one's? He inquired. Jesus replied, You shall not murder. You should not commit adultery. So not steal. You should not give false testimony. Honor your father and your mother and love your neighbor as yourself.

Now, at this point the guy's feeling pretty good about himself, he's like, Oh yeah, I got this. Then he asked another piercing question, verse 20 All these I've kept. The young man said, What do I still lack? Pause right there. Now listen to this. A guy that from all outside appearances, looked like he belongs to Jesus. If you ask anybody, Hey, is that guy a Christ follower? Oh, yeah, that's a Christ follower. He goes to church. He's a moral guy. He is. He's incredible to his family. He loves his wife. He probably doesn't cuss a whole lot. That's a good guy right there. Right. But watch verse 21. After he asked this question, Jesus answered, If you want to be perfect now, don't see that as the word perfect. That's a terrible translation because all of us, we got a little cop out on that. Well, Matt, I'll never be perfect. Christians are perfect. We're just forgiven. I get all the words for that. All right? No, we're not perfect. That word means mature. That word's complete. And that means in the will of God, you might want to jot that down somewhere. It doesn't mean like. Oh, perfect. No, no, it is mature, complete and in the will of God. Watch this. If you want to be mature, complete in the will of God, watch this. Go sell your possessions and give to the poor. Then you will have treasure in heaven. And then come follow me. The guy's like anything else, Jesus? He's like yeah. Yeah. Verse 21 Jesus has heart surgery on the guy. You see, Jesus knew that this guy loved his money more than he loved the Lord. Here's what Jesus knew about him. He knew that money was on the throne and Jesus said, Hey, I get it. You're doing all this stuff, but if you want to come follow me, You gotta take that thing.

That means the most to you off the throne of your life. And you have to put me on the throne of your life. And you got to come and follow me with it. And watch verse 22. The saddest verse, probably in the whole Bible. It says, When the young man heard this, he went away sad because he had great wealth. So why did this guy walk away? Because at the end of the day, he walked away because he had another God. His other God was comfort, his other guy was and stuff. And this guy was providing his other god was his money. Hey, listen, what Jesus tells us over and over and over again is there's not room for two gods on the forefront of our life. Jesus says, my followers, you can't have two gods. You can't do it. One is always going to lose. And what it looks like for me and you and this guy to take money off the throne of our life is to give is to give. It's for me to give my first and my best. All right. So I asked a question earlier at Exodus 35. I said, why does God ask me to give from my wealth? Why does he ask me to give from my assets? Let me give you two quick things right here. Number one, God asked us to give for his people to say this to God, God, I love you more than my stuff. Do you know that's why God asks us to give primarily?

That's it. That's it. God doesn't need our stuff. God could snap his fingers right now, but in God's system, in God's economy, God has designed us to be people who give, to tell God who He is. What God wants us to do is say God, I love you more than my stuff. And that's what we do every single time we give. I love your deliverance. I love your gospel. I love the worship of your name. And secondly, he asked us to give, maybe you've never heard this to say, God, this is my contribution to the spreading of your glory. This is my contribution. I don't know if anybody's ever told you why you give before. I told you I'm a why person. I want to know why behind the what. You give, keep that on the screen. You give to say, God, I love you more than I love anything else. That's all we give primarily. Secondarily, we give to say, God, this, this is my contribution God, to say, Let your kingdom come, let your will be done. Let your glory be shown. And God, this is what I'm given to spread your name, to spread your glory. Please hear my heart in this. I am not preaching this message today because we've got to turn the lights off next week in this church. If you don't give. I'm not doing that. We just came off the two best financial years in this church's whole existence. I'm not preaching this today to shame you into giving. I am preaching this today to show you that you can't have two gods. And the way that we show God that money is not our God is that we become faithful givers. We become faithful givers who are concerned with the spreading of God's glory over this earth. I'm just saying you can't have two gods. And giving frees you from money being one of them. It frees you. That's what he just told us. What my fear is, if there's so many of us every time we receive a paycheck, is that we make the rich young-ruler decisions. That's my fear. Yeah we serve. Yeah, we come. Yeah, we have community. Yeah, we're part of the God movement. But when it comes to our heart and when it comes to money, we say no, God, that's for my glory, for my glory. And the only way to avoid that is not how we talk about it. Not what we memorize is to be a giver. That's what God is asking. You say Matt Okay, I get that. But what is God asking me to give? What number? What is he asking me to do? How is it? Is God telling today that I need to go out and sell everything that I have?

No, that's not what I'm saying. Although if he is, come talk to me. Right. We need to talk about this because I want to make sure that's from the Holy Spirit so your family doesn't go hungry. Right. But here's what I want to say. What is he asking you to give? Let me give you two things and we're going to be done. Number one, God is asking you to give a tithe as the base. He's asking you to give a tithe as the base. Well, wait a minute, Matt, that's Old Testament talk. We're a New Testament church. I saw this thing on Tik Tok that says, Jesus, canceled the tithe. Okay, I get that. But let me show you what Jesus says, right? Because Jesus affirms the tithe. Matthew 23 verse 23, watch what Jesus says. Jesus is talking to the religious leaders, some of the most religious people this whole day. And he says this Woe to you teachers of the law, you Pharisees, you hypocrites. That's how you win friends and influence people, right? Watch this. He says, You, you give a 10th of your spices, your mint, your dill, and your cumin.

I mean, these people are so faithful, they're tithing off of the spice rack. For goodness sake. Right? He says. But you have neglected more important matters of the law, justice, mercy and faithfulness. You say I told you, Matt, He just wants us to be just, he wants us to be merciful. He wants us to be faithful. And if we're serving, that is our tithe. If we're serving, that's what we're giving. He's canceling the tithe. You didn't read the rest of the sentence. Keep going. Jesus said you should have practiced the latter. Okay, What does the latter mean? That means justice, mercy and faithfulness. He's saying those are things we need to do. Those are things that need to be part of all of our lives without neglecting the former. Jesus told us that our job as believers in Jesus to take money and all this off the throne is to give a tithe. What's a tithe? That's a Hebrew word maaser, meaning 1/10. 10% of our income. You say Matt, where does that come from? Leviticus 27, verse 30. Listen to this. A tithe of everything from the land. All right. You need to write the word income above that somewhere, because most of you ain't farmers. But listen, the rest of the verse, all right? A tithe from everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees. Watch this, it’s important, it belongs to the Lord and it's holy to the Lord. Now, let's process this for a minute, because this is incredibly life changing. Let me give you a couple of principles that are showing us right here.

Watch this first principle, number one, what does it say? That the tithe belongs to the Lord. It belongs to the Lord. Do you know, when you bring your first 10% of your income to give to the Lord that you are not offering anything to the Lord, you are merely bringing God what is His? What is his? That may blow your mind a little bit, because I think a lot of us say that, man, when I'm bringing my ten, I am blessing the Lord. No, you're merely just bringing him back to him what he has told you to bring back to him. You know that God has asked you to steward everything that you have. You are a steward of every resource. He is giving it all to us. But he has told us before we steward anything, we are to give the first 10% back to him and then steward everything else. Man, I get it. Everything is God. He's giving it to us. But he's allowed us to steward the other 90% of it. The first 10% income from the beginning should never be considered part of our budget. Why? Because it's God's. It's God's. And what we do when we spend that money is that we are telling God, God. I can do more as a human being of 100% that I can do off of 90% of something you've blessed. That's what we're telling God. Ultimately, we're telling God that I am the God of my money and stay out of my business and I'll give you something when I feel like it.

You see, it belongs to the Lord. It's not ours. But secondly, what did that verse tell us? The second principle is this: The tithe is holy unto the Lord. It's holy unto the Lord. What did he say? A tithe of everything from the land, grain from the soil, fruit from the trees belongs to the Lord. What did he say secondly, in verse 30? It is holy to the Lord. Holy has two meanings. The first meaning of holy means that is set apart for one purpose. That's kingdom use. The second part is it is not for common use. You see this, right? It belongs to the Lord and it is holy. But Matt, what happens when something comes up and I need it? Look, I get it. It's heavy, but it's not mine to use. It's God. It is set apart monies. Therefore, third principle. Write it down. Not tithing is robbing from God. It's robbing from God. It's like going over your neighbor's house. And there's $100 in the front seat of his truck, but yet you need something. And so you go over and just take it because you feel like you want to. It's robbing from God. Why? Because what are we doing when we don't tithe? We are using God's set apart income for a purpose. This is when it gets heavy for a purpose of something I've deemed more holy than what God has deemed holy. You see this? Now, we would never say that to God. We would never say, Hey, God, my holy stuff is more holy than your holy stuff. We would never say that. But that's what it looks like when the first 10% of our income doesn't go to God, doesn't go to His kingdom. And this is God begins to show us that our hearts are idolatrous. So we don't trust that the universe creator can provide. In fact, listen to what Malachi says to us. He says, Return for me and I will return to you, says the Lord Almighty.

But you ask, How are we to return? We'll a mere mortal rob God, yet you rob me. But you ask, How are we robbing you God? Watch what God said. You're robbing me in the tithes and the offerings. So stay with me. I know this is heavy. Belongs to God, it's holy to God. Not tithing is robbing God, but to stay with me. I want to end on not a heavy note. Watch this. When we tithe, God always blesses. He always blesses. Now once again, we don't tithe to be blessed. That's the prosperity gospel. That's not why we do it. We do it out of what he has done for us. But the byproduct of tithing is always a blessing. It is always a blessing. Do you know, I've never met one person my entire ministry life, they looked back at their life and went, Man, I just wish I wouldn't have given. Not one. I've never met one person at the end of their life that went, I just wish I would have kept more for my family and not blessed the kingdom of God. But I can tell you that I've met hundreds of people who finally started living by the biblical principles of money that watched God bless every part of their lives.

In fact, Malachi 3:10 says, Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Watch what God says, 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 be not room enough to store. Church, let me just say this. As your pastor today, I am begging you to test God in this. I'm just begging you to test him. I'm begging you for the next six months of your life. All right. Let me get real practical. For the next six months a year, Draw a circle on a day six months from now, and say, God, I am going to test you in this. I am going to give the first 10%. God, the numbers don't match up. It's not going to work out. It's not going to, I don't know how this is going to happen. That's faith. I'm going to ask you for the next six months to try it and then I'm going to do this. Listen, because I believe the scriptures, if after six months you look back at your life and your life is caving financially and you are crumbling financially, let me say this. This church will come behind you and your family. This church will. I said it this morning at the 8:15 service. Chip Vincent was there. He fell out of his chair. He got right back in. All right. He got right back in it. All right. Because here's the deal. I believe the scriptures. I believe them with everything. If I can trust God with my eternity, I can trust him with my resources. And I know that after six months, we ain't got no phone calls. We're not going to phone calls. I'm making you the promise today. If you do this after six months, come back to me and we will help you where your family needs it. Matt, you don't understand. That might mean that we have to do something out of our assets. That might mean that we have to make some kind of sacrifice. That might mean that the numbers, they're not going to add up. I'm just telling you, God says to test him. He doesn't say this in anything else. He doesn't say, Hey, test my glory, go jump off the building. Now, he doesn't say any of that, but he says it in this one because he knows when you take the throne of your life and give it to him, he's in control. Number one. The tithe is the base. Number two. Real quick, I'm going to mention it and move on to talk about it later. Number two, God says to give generous gifts when he blesses, give generously when he blesses. You know, you never cross over into generosity until you've satisfied the tithe. All right? Until you've satisfied the tithe. The tithe is not generous.

The tithe belongs to God. Ephesians one three says, Praise be to the God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. Listen, Church, we're a blessed people. And what God is asking us to do is to give out of that blessing, to give out that blessing to whom much is given, much is expected. Proverbs 11:25 says that a generous person will prosper and whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. What happens Church, is quite possibly we begin to see money as something that God is using to test us, and we begin to give back to God to show who God is, and we begin to give back to God and invite His presence onto this earth. What happens instead of asking God, how much do I have to give? Do we start asking How much do we dare keep? What happens when we start seeing that my job as a blessed person is to give to the kingdom of God? What happens when I begin to fund the resources to reach the nations? What happens when I realize that I can send it forward to eternity? I can tell you what happens. God breaks loose. Let me say it like this: Money is not evil. It's not evil. The love of money is evil. Money is not evil. Listen, you know what I pray for this church? I pray that every single one of you guys get promoted, you get bonuses, you absolutely rise up through the ranks and you get blessed.

You know why? Because when that happens, Exodus 35, you begin to bring it to the storehouse. We begin to send it to the nations. We begin to reach this world with the gospel. So I say you be you. Use who God has created you to be. But remember the tithe. Remember God has given it to you. Listen to this. You know that over just the last year of this church's life, we have not only built and resourced a 30,000 square foot resource center in Kenya, but we have given just under $2 million to missions and all our mission partners from this church alone. Do you realize that we have hosted 167 events with 9000 people? Do you realize that we've seen over 100 people baptized, 247 people join this church? We're about to send over 300 students and kids to summer camp. We saw 320 at Disciple Now. We saw over 1600 involved with VBS last year. And God only knows what's about to blow up this year in that world. We've got three kids clubs. Listen, 13 little sweethearts give their lives to Jesus. In the last couple of months, we've met the physical needs of literally thousands of people in this community. We bailed out Storehouse Ministry two weeks ago by sending a gift to bring food for the needy in our community, all while providing the Bible studies, the life groups, the worships, the events that are in this building. Why? Because of your investment.

That's why God says you show me who I am and you spread my glory to the nations. Listen, most of your money, it hits this place and it's gone. I'm not preaching this because we're going to turn the lights off, I’m preaching it because God's system, whom much is given, much is expected.

Pray with me. Lord Jesus, Today, God, just what would happen, God if we grasped that you are Lord, even over our finances? What would happen if we tested you in this? Lord, walk with us today. Pierce our hearts today. I'm going to ask God for every one of us during this next minute or two, that pray and ask you What do I need to do Lord? Where do I need to cut to be generous? Where do I need to cut to step into living an obedient true disciple of Jesus, Where are you pointing me? How are you pointing our family? How do you want me to commit to this building program to give generously? God, use this time. I pray the heart of your heart comes out in this. And God, you would just set us free from our stuff today Lord Jesus. It's in your name.


Would you stand with me and sing this morning? And listen, man, I get it's a tough subject, but we're going to be over here to the side. Maybe you just want somebody to pray over you today. To give you the confidence to take the challenge. Maybe you want somebody just to pray, to ask God, to show you where your next faith commitment is. Maybe today you just need to day, here I am. Lord, here I am. Let's sing together.

Follow Along with the Message

Giving My First and Best

May 21, 2023

Exodus 35:4–9
4 Moses said to the whole Israelite community, “This is what the Lord has commanded: 5 From what you have, take an offering for the Lord. Everyone who is willing is to bring to the Lord an offering of gold, silver and bronze; 6 blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen; goat hair; 7 ram skins dyed red and another type of durable leather; acacia wood; 8 olive oil for the light; spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense; 9 and onyx stones and other gems to be mounted on the ephod and breast piece.

Why is it so Uncomfortable to Talk about Money & Giving in the Church?

1. The subject of money has been historically by some pastors.

2. Statistically speaking, the vast majority of the people hearing this message are NOT living in obedience to the calling that God has put on Christ-followers when it comes to .

Why Did Jesus Speak So Often on Money?

1. Money has the sneaky power to be the doorway to .

2. How one uses money is a primary of a true disciple of Jesus.

Matthew 6:19–21
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths 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.

3. It is entirely possible to have all the visible signs of a follower of Christ but have our heart far from God.

Matthew 19:16–19
16 Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” 17 “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.” 18 “Which ones?” he inquired. Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, 19 honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’”
Matthew 19:20
“All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”
Matthew 19:21
Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
Matthew 19:22
When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.

God Asks His People to Give to Say, “God…

1. I love you more than I love my .”

2. This is my contribution to the spreading of Your .”

What Is It That God Asks Me to Give?

1. Give a tithe as the .

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.
Leviticus 27:30
A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord.

PRINCIPLE: The tithe to the Lord.

PRINCIPLE: The tithe is unto the Lord.

Leviticus 27:30
A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord.

PRINCIPLE: Not tithing is from God.

Malachi 3:7–8
7 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.”

PRINCIPLE: When we tithe, God always it.

Malachi 3:10
“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.”

2. Give generous gifts when God .

Ephesians 1:3
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
2 Corinthians 9:11
You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
Proverbs 11:25
A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.

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