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May 28, 2023

My First & Best | Principles Of Biblical Generosity

My First & Best | Principles Of Biblical Generosity

Passage: 2 Corinthians 8:9

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, bible study, trust god, transformed life, give away, bible teaching, 2023, burnt hickory worship, burnt hickory baptist church live stream, bibly study, first and best, finances, money, heaven, preaching, treasure, teaching, rewards, treasure in heaven, bible verses

We study scripture again this week to pull out principles of generosity as we give to God our first and best. Jesus’ life is the model for generosity that we should follow in our own lives and God has richly provided us with everything we need for our enjoyment. As we save, we should remember that treasure in heaven is worth more and better than any treasure on earth, and our primary source of security and significance is God, not money. Is God getting your first and best? Which kingdom does your money point to? Have you surrendered all your resources to Jesus and are you listening to the Holy Spirit? As always, we’d love to connect with you and answer any questions you’ve got, so reach out. You can take the next step in your faith journey by visiting

Just say happy summertime to everybody. This is kind of the official mark of summertime. There's three main reasons for that. Number one, school is out today, officially out. To which there's a lot of excitement and a lot of ahhhh in the room for that. Number two, it's the official mark of summer because you can travel in this community between the hours of 7 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. and actually get somewhere. Amen. That's how summer time works for us. And number three, it is Memorial Day weekend. Now, I know Memorial Day weekend is kind of one of those holidays in a lot of ways. It gets kind of pushed aside. But I just want to say this morning that that should never be the case. Today, we want to pause and we just want to say thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. To those of you who have had family members and close relatives that have given their lives, for us to be able to enjoy the freedoms that we have as a country, as well as the freedom to worship, how we're worshiping right now. Because, man, there have been so many that have given their lives for this country. And this weekend particularly is the weekend that we just want to say thank you for. I would dare say there's none of us that haven't been some way by that personally or through a couple of different levels on that. But just if you are one of those that just have a close family member today, our hearts are with you in that.

All right. Well, let's jump into the message. Last week we started a kind of a little bit of a mini series, but I didn't tell you that. On what it looks like to give our first and our best. It's one of those topics that's uncomfortable. We know that it's kind of weird. We know that we gave a lot of reasons for that last week. You can go back and listen to that, but it's also one of those topics that's incredibly important because Jesus tells us over and over and over in the Bible that where our treasure is there our heart will be. And then he also tells us over and over that one of the ways that we can see where our lives really are pointing is which kingdom are we investing in? Now, last week we spent a lot of time talking about the why, the why do we give it? Maybe nobody ever answered that for you before, but we did. First of all, out of this idea that God has called us to give, to show God that we love Him more than our staff, but secondly, we give to show God and to uplift the name of God to the world. In other words, we give to reach others, we give to invite the presence of God into other people's lives. We give to support missions, support the movement of God. And it's our way of saying, this is my investment into the kingdom. But we closed last week by asking ourselves. So then what is it that I'm supposed to give as a believer in Jesus, as somebody that claims that Christ has given me life, what is it that God has asked me to put before him? What is it? And we said two things last week, just to remind you. The first, we gave the biblical case that God has indeed asked us to give our first and our best, our first and our best. And according to Scripture, all the way through Scripture, from the Old Testament to Jesus to the New Testament church, that our first in our battle starts with the tithe. It starts with 10% of what God has given us. We made the biblical argument last week that God has not canceled the tithe. He hasn't thrown out the tithe, in fact, that Jesus, in fact increased it to begin to talk about not only tithing, but to be giving generously. We said that the first response of a Christian's life should be to give our 10% of what God already says belongs to him.

But then secondly, we closed up last week by this challenge of also we should be people who give generously when God blesses. Now, we spent a lot of time on the first one last week on what does it mean the tithe. But we didn't spend a lot of time last week on what it look like to give generously. Remember I told you, hey, we're going to look at that later. Well, guess what? Today is later. I didn't tell you it was going to be today because I knew it was a holiday weekend and you wouldn't come anyway. All right. But today we're going to look at what does it look like for me and for you to live a life of generosity and to give according to our means? All right. According to our means. If you've got a copy of Scripture today, I want you to turn with me to Second Corinthians, Chapter eight, Second Corinthians, Chapter eight today, and we're going to jump around a little bit. I get that. But we're going to come back to this a few times today in Second Corinthians. But what I'm going to do today is a little bit different. All right. I'm going to tell you this on the front end so that, you know, if you're visiting today, this is not kind of the normal flow. But what I'm going to do today is I'm going to walk us through what I'm just kind of calling a grid. All right. I'm going to walk us through a grid that was developed by a friend of mine that was a pastor. I found it years ago. It's kind of morphed into where I love to live out of, and this grid, I've kind of modified it for my life and I want to give it to you. And here's why. Because it has really helped me in the last years of my life to figure out and to walk me through my personal struggle with money, my personal struggle with money and catch this, what it is that I'm exactly being called to give generously, to give generously.

Now, many of you know me pretty well, and you will agree with this statement. I am a box checker. Do I have any people that relate to this? I am a list person. I am a secret type. A person who loves systems. I love processes. I love to know standards. Is that you in the room? Anybody kind of relating with me? Because I know some of you like lists, I hate lists. Standards? Don't give me that. But look, I'm one of those guys. I want to know what is expected of me. I want to know tangibly what it is that you're asking me to do. And I want it to be clear. And here's a thing that has been an incredibly big problem in my life when it comes to giving generously. And here's why. Because I've wanted God for years in my life to tell me what he wants. Does this make sense? I've wanted him to tell me what it looks like to give generously? Now I know he's called me to give my first and my best. Man, that started when I got a dollar for allowance. Hey, my parents gave it to me and ten dimes so that I can put one of them back to give to the Lord. I know that He's called me to do that, but what does it look like now in my life to give generously when I'm blessed? Now, as I've studied this, I'm telling you, this has been a struggle as I've studied this in my life and in people's lives that I've tried to live this. Here's what I figured out. There's two extremes to giving generously. Okay? The first extreme is the group of people that looks at this like, Hey, God, just wants my 10% right? And after I get my 10%, I've fulfilled my duty. I paid my God tax, right? I paid the God tax off and now I can just go and do whatever I want to with the rest, I can blow it. I've given my 10% and now I'm done. God has given me this tent, this 100%. I've given him what belongs to him. And now I can do whatever I want to with it. And God is going to bless my life. Well, that's not exactly where the New Testament lays things out. But the second category of people that I've found and run across, or the second extreme, is the people that always feel guilty. They always feel guilty. It's the people that constantly are worried about what they're not giving and what they're using on themselves. Now you're going to fall into kind of one of these categories, probably not to the extreme, but these people that are on the extreme over here that are constantly feeling guilty, they assume, because there's so many lost people in the world and there's so many people that we need to reach, that God's only purpose for money is to get the gospel to those people. And they think that if I'm doing anything for myself or for my family, it's just not right. I should be giving that money to the poor. I should be supporting missions, I should be blessing other people. I should never do anything for my family. This reminds me of John Wesley. Some of you know who he is. He in fact, took this so extreme in his life. I'm not dogging on him, but he actually took the pictures down the hallway of his house down, because he figured out that for every one picture he had in his house, he could deliver one more orphan from starvation. Do you see what I mean by this? Well, that's an incredibly inspiring kind of way to live. There's a lot of truth behind that.

It's a little bit out of balance because it's incredibly extreme, because that kind of thinking could go forever, right? I mean, literally, I could make my family starve. And as long as I'm giving that money to the kingdom, then I'm being okay. So my question through the years has been, man, how do I balance this? What does God doing in me in this? Now, this is going to be like an honors sermon today because today is not going to be like three things to finding love. All right, Here's what I want to do. I want to give you some principles today to hold in tension, because I want us as believers in Jesus, to be able to answer the question how generous, how generous? Or to answer this question, how much sacrifice? Right? Now, I'm not talking about the 10% because you don't need a voice for that. You've got a verse, right. That's already there. But I'm talking about when it comes to generosity, how generous? How much? How do I know that I'm being obedient in living in the world of to whom much is given, much is expected? I want to give you a grid today that has made me think. It's made me kind of help maybe keep this in a little bit of a biblical balance. I want to give you seven principles today of biblical generosity. That's what I want to do today. I want to give you these seven principles. Now, I don't want you to hold these as rules because like me, I want a rule, right? I want God to give me in Second Opinions Chapter two, what I need to do, right? I want him to do that. I need a rule in my life. I'm a rule guy. I want to know, is it 15%? Is it 10%? Is it 12%? Is it 23? I want a rule, but today that's not my goal. I want to give you these seven principles today so that you can hold them in tension. All right. In tension. And you're going to know what I'm talking about in a minute because they're going to be on opposite sides on both. And they're going to force you to think, Now, here's what I don't want you to do today. I don't want you to pick your favorite three. All right? That's not how this works today.

I don't want you to pick one today because if you just pick one and we're supposed to hold all these in tension, then you're always going to be lopsided. You're either always going to feel guilty or you're always just going to be a glutton. One of the other, right is all. That's how it's going to work. You're going to see what I'm talking about in just a minute, or you're always going to be selfish. I want you to hold them in tension. If one is only focused on, you're going to be out of balance. If you leave one out, there's going to be a gap. Now, I know we love rules. It's not about rules today. It's about principles I'm going to ask you to hold in tension. So I want you to see these as a package today. All right. That makes sense. No, it doesn't. But it will, in a minute. Okay. It will in a minute, I promise you. I've done this a couple of times. I think it's going to work. All right. And then, by the way, we're going to get to some more touchy feely stuff next week. We're not going to do this all summer. I feel like I needed to say that all right.

Here it is, seven principles of biblical generosity. All right. I'm going to give them to you. You are going to master them. Number one is that Jesus' life of generosity is the model for my generosity. Jesus' life of generosity is the model for my generosity. Now I get it. You can say, well, Matt, Jesus is the model for all that he did is what I need to do. And listen, when you say that you are incredibly correct, it is. You'd be correct, because that's what it means to live a gospel centric life. That's what it means to be a follower of Jesus, a disciple of Jesus, is that we look at what Jesus did and our lives should mimic what Jesus did. That's why this principle is first. That's why I would even say that this principle is the most important because our lives are supposed to be lived in a way for no matter what we're talking about, in a way that I am a mirror to what Christ lived. And Christ lived the incredibly generous, sacrificial life on my behalf, on my behalf. In fact Paul, in Second Corinthians Chapter eight, where Paul speaks the most about generosity, he tells the Corinthians and he tells us that we should ultimately think, listen to this, about how much Jesus has given up for us, and we should respond accordingly. We should respond accordingly. Listen to the Second Corinthians chapter eight, verse nine. It says, For you know that by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, though he was rich, yet for your sake, he became poor, so that you, through his poverty, you may become rich. And then Paul keeps on going and says, No, you need to go be this for someone else.

What does that mean? That means this. Let me ask you a question. Did Jesus just tithe his life? Did Jesus just give 10% of his life? No. Jesus gave all of his life. Jesus gave us everything in our life. He gave it all. So that means that my responsibility is not just to give my 10% back to God of my time, my talents and my energies. My response is not just to get my 10% and go on my self-serving way. My response as a believer in Jesus is to offer, okay, that's the keyword, to offer everything to God. 100% of my life back to God and to say God, here I am. I'm pouring my life out as a sacrifice to you recklessly, for you, Jesus, and for others, Jesus. You did this for me. You did this for me. So think about it. Where would your life be today if Jesus didn't do this for you? Where would you like to be today if Jesus did not give 100% of his life? You know where your life would be. It would be on a track to be separated eternally from God. That's where the Bible lays it out. The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God through Christ Jesus, our Lord, is eternal life. So let me ask the question: Where are people's lives today who don't hear the gospel, who don't receive the gospel, who don't have a chance to respond to the gospel in their life? It is on that same track. You see, did Jesus die for them? Yeah, He died for them, but they don't know it because they're not hearing about it. And what God has called us to do now as response to what He has done in our lives is to be that for other people. Not to be the sacrificial lamb of God for other people, but to give to support thought and to go on their behalf.

Listen, it doesn't matter if people have. It doesn't matter if Christ has paid the price of salvation for people, if they never hear. So our giving in response to what Christ has done for us is showing that I'm living according to where God has blessed me. So when God blesses me financially, it's not just so that I could go on my way. No, God prospers us financially, not to always increase our standard of living, but to increase our standard of giving our standard of righteousness. In fact, listen to the second Corinthians nine verse ten says this, now the one who provides seed for the sower, that's God, and bread for food will provide and He will multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your what? Your righteousness. What does that mean? That means that everything that you give to God He is going to increase for His righteousness. That's what Christ lived and that's what He wants to do in us. Jesus is the model for our generosity. But I can feel the tension in that moment. That means that you're asking me to lay down my life for God. No, here's what I'm asking you. I'm asking you to be available to lay down your life for God. You see, that's why this is so hard. Because Jesus' life of generosity. It's the model for my generosity. It's an important principle. But catch this. It's not the only principle. And here's why. Because if this is the only principle, do you know what kind of life you'll live? You will always feel guilty that you haven't given enough. Now, I know that's a little bit deep. That's like AP Christianity right there. But here just go with me in this. If all you ever look to is Jesus as the example, you always feel like, that you're not doing enough, you're not giving enough, you're not sacrificing enough. Because think about it, you will never give as much as Jesus did. If you were still breathing, you have not given as much as Jesus has given. Does that make sense? In fact, if you give your life for the call for Jesus, listen, you will still not give as much as Jesus, because Jesus not only gave his life, He gave the perfect life. You see, this is the trap. This is what leads us to extremes, because the only principle cannot be that Jesus' generosity is the model for our generosity; we will always feel guilty, we'll always feel down. We'll always feel like we can't do it. We'll always feel like we're not living in obedience. And that's not where God wants us to live. It's a principle, but it's not the only principle. So, number one, Jesus' model of generosity should be my generosity. But number two, here it is. I told you there’s going to be tension. God richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.

Now, you like this some better, amen? But it's true. It's true. So now, wait a minute. You just told me I have to lay down my life for God. Yeah, I did tell you that. But I'll tell you. Number two, God richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. In fact, this is an Apostle Paul first Timothy Chapter 6:17 says Command those who are rich in his present world not to be arrogant nor not to put the hope and wealth which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God who richly provides us. Watch this, with everything for our enjoyment. Listen to me closely. God delights in taking care of you. I don't know if you've ever heard that before, but he delights when you Joy. God created a world of abundance as a gift to his children. He did, but we didn't. We don't. We kind of skipped by this sometimes. But I don't want you today because I want you to feel the tension. And Jesus is the model. But God delights when you delight. Think, Go back to the Garden of Eden with me just for a minute. God created the Garden of Eden. Did God create the sterile place that was just kind of all like, hum hum, like the same deal all over? No, he didn't. In fact, if you look in the Book of Genesis, you will see that God, when he created the Garden of Eden, it was incredibly it was rich, There was no need that was involved. And if you look at the perimeters of it and the dimensions of it, it was about the size of Yellowstone for two little naked people. Right. That is all it was for, right? Why? Because God wanted to bless his people. He delighted when they delighted. But this what's walk through scripture. Matthew, Chapter six What does Jesus do? He points to this extravagant beauty and what God did for the birds of the air and the flowers of the field. And then he turns around and says, How much more does he want to do for you? God delights. He wants to do it in you. David all over the Book of Psalms celebrates how much good God wants to bring, that He wants to bring food and he wants to bring drinks to make your heart glad. John Chapter two at the wedding feast, we just looked at it a couple of weeks ago. Did Jesus just create the so-called okay wine or did he create the good wine? It says he created the best stuff because he knew that God would be honored with their enjoyment. God all over Scripture. He commands all of these feasts and all of these parties. One of them that came to mind this week was in Nehemiah Chapter eight. They just finished the wall. They just finished doing what God had called him to do. And the people who came back to Nehemiah were like, Nehemiah, this is incredible. We need to worship God over this. We need to have a time of fasting and praying for the next week over this. And Nehemiah was like, Oh no, that's not what we need to do. We need to have a big old party to praise God because that's what he's told us to do. You see what I'm saying? God delights when you delight Jesus, live this way, right? Jesus in Luke chapter seven was accused of being a glutton and a drunkard. Why? Because Jesus knew what it was like to be a joyful person, to enjoy life, to be a part of society. Man, I love when you read the book of Luke, when you see Jesus through this lens, you will see Jesus in his life. He was either at a party, he was leaving a party or he was going to a party. Jesus ate his way all the way through the Book of Luke. Now that's the Savior I can follow. Amen.

God delights when you delight. We see in Scripture that God blessed multiple people with incredible wealth. Yes, to help take care of others, but because they also just had it and enjoyed it. Abraham and David and Solomon, some of the disciples, some of the followers of Jesus in the Book of Acts that had incredible means and gave their hearts to the church. Paul: Listen to this. In Philippians chapter four, verse 12 You probably never read it like this before, But watch Paul says this. He says, I know what it is like to be in need and I know what it is like to have plenty. I've learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well-fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Listen church, God didn't create this world to live in a life of scarcity. He wants you to enjoy what he gave you. But we got to learn to be good at both. We got to learn to be good in the balance of these two things. It's like Larry Osborne, a pastor. I was with him a couple of weeks ago. Here's what he said. He said, When God Abraham's me, that means He blesses me or prospers me, I will give him thanks and enjoy it. And when he Job's me, right. Remember Jobe? Right. Makes me lose everything, then I will thank him and trust him and enjoy it when he is mine.

What Paul is saying is we got to be faithful in both. We're going to be faithful on this side. I'm looking at the generosity of Jesus and I'm saying, Man, I do need to lay my life down. I need to lay all that I have. I need to offer all that I am to him. Yeah, I'm giving my first and my best. But after that, here is all of me. God, use what I need. But I also need to live in this abundance and delight of who God has made me because it delights him. But listen, here's the deal. If you only see the world through this lens of God wants you to enjoy it. Here's the here's the hurt in that you will become 100% self-centered. 100%. It's all about me. And so, listen, don't you walk away from here. Just quoting principle number two. Don't quote me. Media department, don't you be putting this up on the reel this week as only number two, making me the big prosperity guy. Because that's not what I'm saying. Jesus is the model of generosity, number one. But number two, God richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.

Here's number three: Love this one. God gives plenty to some, to share with others. He gives plenty to some. In fact, after preaching this the last two times, I really wish I had changed that to God gives plenty to us to share with others, because here's the deal. You're not living in this place. You're not living in this community. You're not living in this area. If God hasn't given you plenty, you're just not. Let's stay with Paul for a minute and Second Corinthians eight, because Paul reminds us that oftentimes God gives us excess so that we should take care of those in need. Paul uses in Second Corinthians Chapter eight the story of the manna in the wilderness in this. And listen to what he said in Corinthians 8:14. He says, At this present time, your plenty will supply what they need. Verse 15 says this as it is written, the one who gathered much will not have too much, and the one who gathered little will not have too little. Now, remember, during the wilderness journey, what was God doing? God was raining down every night during the night, this mass of sweet bread from heaven. God told all of his people, Now go out, eat all that you want. Eat until you are filled up and then enjoy the day. But you can't store it up. This stuff won't keep. If you try to keep it, it'll rot. It'll have worms in it and it'll stink up your whole house. So then he looks at it and said, Listen, if you have extra, what should you do with it? Here's the point. You should share it. You should share it. You see, you can't keep it for tomorrow because God is going to be faithful for tomorrow. That's the point he's teaching us. The point was that God is always going to show up. God is always the provider. And according to Paul, he's saying this is how we should see ourselves. Listen, God has given us, all of us, excess in the present. Not so you can store up for a day that he's not going to be faithful, but so you can begin to put it into other people's lives to have need.

You see, God's not going to run out. He's always going to meet your spirituality. But now here's what he's asked of us. How are we investing it into other people's lives? Listen to what the Bible says about this. Proverbs 28:27. It says, Those who give to the poor will lack nothing, but those who close their eyes to them will receive many curses. Proverbs 3:27 says, Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due when it's in your power to act. James The second chapter verses 14 to 26, you can read it this week, basically looks at us and says, Look, if you see a person in need. If you see a person that is suffering, if you see a person that needs something and you have the capacity to do it, how could you be a person of faith if you don't do this? You see, God has given us excess in the present to meet the needs in front of us with our time, with our treasures, with our talents, with all of it God has richly given to us. But I can feel the tension. Matt, are you telling me that I shouldn't save any of that? I should give it all away. That's not what I'm saying. I'm saying there's a tension in this. We're going to get to that in a minute. But let me ask you this. Think about this. What if God has brought you here to this place at this very moment to be a person that looks at your life and looks at what God has done for you, and you begin to radically get generously to invest it into the kingdom of God? That's what I'm talking about. God has clearly given us this church a mission to reach this community, to reach this nation, and to reach this world. Could it be that God has brought you here? Because we have some incredibly big missional goals, some incredibly big needs, not just for us, but for the world. And now it's time for you to look at God in a way you have so richly blessed us. It's time for me not just to give my 10, but time for me to be generous. God has given plenty to some to share with others. Here's number four. I told you there's balance in this. And before God honors the building of wealth. So that. How can you say those two things? That's the point. That's the point in all of this. I need a rule. God, Come on, give me a rule. There's not one. God honors the building of wealth. I get it. You've never heard a pastor in a giving sermon ever say that before. I know it. I know you haven't. But he does. God honors it.

In fact, clear instruction. Proverbs 14:24. The wealth of the wise is in their crown. Proverbs 21:5. The plans of the diligent lead to abundance. Proverbs 3:9. Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops. Then your barn will be filled to overflowing and your vats will brim over with new wine. Don't turn that into metaphorical talk because that's what he wants to do in your life. Proverbs 13:11, dishonest money dwindles away. But whoever gathers money little by little will make it grow. Probably 13:22 A good person leaves an inheritance. There it is for their children's children. Now, how can you do that if you're giving it all away? Matt, what are you saying? I need to be generous, but I need to leave an inheritance for my children's children. That's the point. God is saying, Hey, leave it in my hands and watch what happens. God clearly thinks it's wise for us to invest in the future, and he even blesses it. But once again, if this is not held in tension, it just leads to me being an incredibly greedy, hoarding person that scripture condemns. That's what it leads to. God says, Be wise with your money for the future. And it's worth noting also that that listen, investing in the future now can help you be incredibly generous later. In fact, there's some of you right now that are living lifestyles of generosity, because you have done this incredibly well. Now, I'm not saying you pressed the pause on the generosity button for all those years, but you have been generous. You have given your first and best. But God has just continued to bless your life. And now you are at a point in your life right now where you're looking at what God has done in your life. And you can be more generous now than you have ever been because of what God has done in your life. But again, you got to balance it.

You got to balance it. Because this being generous in the future is not liberty for us to go, Well, I'll just do that in the future. Matt, Let me grow it all right. Now, that's not what God says. In fact, I got this question this week. It reminds me to answer it a few times. Matt, what should I do about my giving if I'm in debt? I got that question. So let me answer that, because obviously scripture says it is not wise to be in debt. You can find that all over the place. I got to go. Matt, should I pay off all my debt and then start giving later? Now, let me answer this in two ways. The short answer to that is yes and no. All right. Yes and no. You like that? That is a great political answer. But here's what I mean. That yes, get out of debt as soon as possible. That 27% on those credit cards is going to kill you. It is going to absolutely murder where you are in your finances. I'm just telling you, get out of debt. But also know, I suggest, never cutting the tithe. Here's why. Because no matter how in debt you are, when you remove the tithe from your life, you remove God's supernatural power in your finances. That's what you've done. That's what you've done in your life. The Bible never teaches to withhold our giving till you are debt free. The bottom line is we should always honor God with our first and our best. That is 10%. And then we see we should trust him for the rest. Chip Vincent, our business administrator and I were having a conversation around this this week. He said, Oh, Matt, I forgot to mention this to you last week, but did you know that in the 20 years of him being the tip of the spear for benevolence, that's when people that need help, families, need to come behind him. Did you know he said this? Did you know that 20 years of me running the benevolence for this church, there's never been one single family that has sat in front of me that needed us to come behind them, that were faithful tithers? Not one. Why? Because God's supernatural power comes into our lives and he begins to mold us and shape us.

Now, beyond the tithe, here's what I say about that question. We get back to the question. Beyond the tithe, living in generosity if you're in debt, then I get it. You need to listen to the Holy Spirit. Now, you might need to get out of that debt so you can give later, which is probably wise to do. You need to, no matter what season you're in. Here's the point. Generosity needs to be an incredibly, incredibly essential part of your life. You Students that have a part time job right now. This ain't just for your parents. This is for you to learn. Now, you new college students who are just getting into earning some money right now. You need to learn these principles now. You guys are getting married right now. If you're sitting in marriage counseling in my life and we're talking about budget, what does that top line going to be when I'm there? It needs to be your first and your best. And then we're looking for ways to be generous because now is the time to set this mode in our life and watch God bless you. I promise you we will when you begin to live a life of generosity.

Once again, like I said last week, if you're in trouble, if you're financially, there's some weird stuff going on, you need some help. May reach out to us. I promise you. We got some men and some women in our church that are geniuses in that, that would love to walk with you in this. Some of you took advantage of that last week and hallelujah you did.

Number five. Here it is. Number four was God honors the building of wealth. Number five, treasures in heaven are better than treasures on earth. You like that? You like that right there, right? Matt, you just told me to build wealth. Now tell me to put it into heaven. I know, that's the point. That's what makes it so hard. Like we said last week. Listen, you. You can't take your treasures with you. You can't. But the Bible says you can send them, you can invest them, you can send them to eternity. All this earth stuff is going to be useless. In fact, Matthew 6:19 real fast. Do not store for yourself treasures on earth where moths and rust destroy, where thieves break in and steal. Store up for yourselves Treasures in heaven. You see, our hundred years at best here, right, it's nothing compared to what we're investing in eternity. Investing in eternity. That's generosity. And when we do this, we quit asking, man, what do I have to give? And we start going, God, what do I get to send forward and invest in your kingdom? We talked about that last week. We're going to move on. Number six. Number six. Here it is. Here's the tension. And it's that our primary source of security and insignificance is God and not money. It's God, and not money. Now, look, I know I'm stepping in it right here. I get it, all right? I'm not winning friends and influencing people at this point. I get that. I saw the emails this week, right? I get it. Okay. But here's what I want to say. This is a massive one for us. And here's why. Many people, many people I've fallen into this. I'm not going to lie. Many people place their place of primary significance on money for two reasons. Number one, they're looking for significance.

And number two, they're looking for security. That's what money does to us. And both of these really and truly can only come from God. You see, for some of us, money is what brings our happiness, our significance and our present status. And here's what we do because of that. What do we do? We spend. We spend, right? Why? Because we will spend anything to keep up with a felt need in our lives. And if we find our significance in stuff and in money, we'll keep spending because we keep chasing a goal that never ends. But for others on this side, money is primarily the way we feel secure. So what do we do? We save. You see the yin and the yang behind this, right? We save. And usually God puts both those people together. There's always tension, right? We save. Why don't we save? We save because we have trouble trusting God will provide in the future. So what do we do? We build bigger barns, we build bigger stuff. We save ungodly amounts of money knowing that we're never going to spend all this. We're never going to be able to use all this. And we choose to not bless others because we put our security in money. You see the spenders like, give it to me, I'll spend it. The savers are like give it to me, I'll put it away. But God has called us to be what? To be stewards. To be stewards. He's called us to be people who use everything for his kingdom and God says, both of those people are at fault. Now, this obviously will never mean that we should never spend and we should never save. No. That is not where God wants us to be. Just like I said earlier, God delights when you delight. Go on a vacation, eat that steak, go out to that restaurant, buy that dress, do all that. Man, God delights when you're delighting. Only if all this is in balance. He delights in it. But then what do we do? We set a limit on our spending and our saving, and we steward it to live under his kingdom. I've heard it said at many churches. They put it like this. We live sufficiently so that we can give extravagantly. And I like that. We live sufficiently to give extravagantly.

But the problem with that is most of us live extravagantly and we struggle with giving sufficiently right.

But listen, God doesn't want to be tipped. God doesn't want you to begrudgingly just give your 10% and move on. No, he wants you to say, Here, here's all to me, God, where do you want me to go? And he wants us to look at him as he is King. Here's the last one, Number seven. Number seven, here's the tension. I'm telling you, all these are in tension. Can't take one without the other. Number seven, listen to and follow the Holy Spirit. Listen and follow. Now you just take number seven. You're like, Man, the Holy Spirit never told me to give anything. You can't do that, right? You can't. You know why? Because God doesn't need a voice where there's a verse and we've already defined what giving our first and best is, and as are 10%. But now we're talking about living in generosity. So what does that mean? It means you start with the tithe, that's the clear minimum in scripture. But when it comes to living generously over and beyond giving, listen, everything doesn't have your name on it. Everything. But I'll say this something does. Can I, just self-confession time right here. This has been a struggle of mine. For a while, I used to think that every time I heard about a worthy cause for God and his kingdom, I thought it was my responsibility to sacrifice for that cause. I'm being real. I'm just going to be honest with you. I thought that I had to fund every mission I had to give to every orphanage. I had to give to every charity. And those sad commercials I saw on TV. I had to answer every mission trip letter. Look, when you've been a student minister for 22 years, you get thousands of them jokers, right? I thought that I needed to do that. I needed to jump into all the opportunities and they were all great opportunities. But then I realized, Listen, I can't be faithful to my family. I can't be faithful in giving my first and best tithe on this end and do all those. I'm a pastor, for goodness sake. It's not like there's quarterly bonuses in our world for doing something cool right? You can't do that. But some of you can, and you should, because God has blessed you in that. But listen, there is something with my name on it. And when that something comes up and God pricks my heart about it, it is at that point that I go, Hey, God, I'm already giving you my first and best. But God, you have now said this is the one. And that's the point. I need to jump in and give sacrificially. God, how much until I feel it. How much until I feel it. Now, feeling it is different in some of your lives. Feeling it for some of your lives, whoa, that is awesome. Now, feeling it in some of your other lives. Hey, still the sacrifice. That's what Jesus is saying here.

That's what it means right here. So those are the seven, right? You made it. You made it through the seven. All right, man. I made it to the seven. So how much? That's not how much. That's the point. I wish there was a how much, but there's not. God. You start with your first ten best non-negotiable. But trust God with the rest. And you got here all his. What are you asking? Here's why I want to close on close to three quick questions now. Those are really quick. Those aren't like preacher quick. They're really quick. All right. And here's what I want you to do this week. I just want you to commit to sit down and pray through these. Maybe you need to grab your spouse this week. Maybe you aren't on the same page on this. Maybe. Maybe you need to sit down this weekend and walk through this with them. Or maybe you need to do on your own. I don't know. Let me give you three fast questions that can help you this week. Number one, here's what I want you to ask God. God, are you getting my first and best? It's really easy question. I mean, it's not hard to know. Am I given 10% of what I make? God? Am I faithful in giving my 10% to you? And if I'm not, what's keeping me from, you know, like I said last week, if if what's keeping you from it is it's not knowing how you're going to make it. Let me make this deal with you. I made it last week. I make it again this week. Circle a date. Six months from now, you start tithing to this church. From this point on, if at the end of that six months, there has been something lacking in your life, here's what we'll do. We'll come behind you and we'll make it whole. We'll make it whole. We'll give you every dime back, Every single dollar back. Here's why. Because, my God is faithful. And my God says, trust me in this. And my God says, I will take care of my people. Number one, it's God getting my first and best? Number two, which kingdom does my money point to? Man, that's a piercing question, because for some of us that first and best that 10% is like, that's a no brainer. That's easy, man. I got, I got over here, man. Look at this barn I got. Which kingdom is my money pointing to? Number three. Here's the last one. Have I surrendered all my resources to Jesus and just listened to the Holy Spirit? Do I wake up every day going, God, here's all my time, here's all my talents, here's all my treasure. God, I don't know. I don't know where you're going to take this today. The guy with you says, Go. I'll go and I'll trust you for the results.

Lord Jesus, God, I know, I know. I know. There's a lot of tension in all of these things. Jesus, I'm just going to ask you to help us live in the tension today, but I'm going to ask you to help us see what it looks like to give you our first and best, and then this to offer ourselves to you and generosity to say, God, where are you pointing me? How do I look to you as the model God? How do I look to my life to be lived in joy? How do I see myself investing in the future? How do I store treasures in heaven versus earth? God, how do I trust your Holy Spirit to lead me? God, here's my prayer in this. My prayer is that all of us would begin to get a peace about how you're asking us to give over and beyond. And we live that out faithfully Jesus, so that we can reach this world with your gospel. It's in your name. We pray.

Amen. Amen.

Let's stand together. And today, during decision time, and I'm just going to encourage you, maybe even start these questions now. Maybe you're already asking God, God show me in my heart what this looks like for me. Let's sing together.

Follow Along with the Message

Principles of Biblical Generosity

May 28, 2023

7 Principles of Biblical Generosity

1. Jesus’ life of generosity is the for my generosity.

2 Corinthians 8:9
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.
2 Corinthians 9:10 (HCSB)
Now the One who provides seed for the sower and bread for food will provide and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness.

2. God richly provides us with everything for our .

1 Timothy 6:17
Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.
Philippians 4:12–13
12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

3. God gives plenty to some to with others.

2 Corinthians 8:14
At the present time your plenty will supply what they need…
2 Corinthians 8:15
As it is written: “The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.”
Proverbs 28:27
Those who give to the poor will lack nothing, but those who close their eyes to them receive many curses.
Proverbs 3:27
Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.

4. God honors the building of .

Proverbs 14:24
The wealth of the wise is their crown…
Proverbs 21:5
The plans of the diligent lead to abundance…
Proverbs 3:9–10
9 Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; 10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.
Proverbs 13:11
Dishonest money dwindles away, but whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow.
Proverbs 13:22
A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children.

5. Treasures in heaven are than treasures on earth.

Matthew 19:19–21
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.

6. Our source of security and significance is God not money.

7. Listen to and the Holy Spirit.

3 “First and Best” Self-Assessment Questions

1. Is God getting first and best?

2. Which kingdom does money point to?

3. Have I surrendered all Resources to Jesus and Listened to the Holy Spirit?

Additional Notes


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