For the past two weeks we have identified with Christ in salvation and in service. This week we identity with Christ in sharing. Probably the most famous Bible verse is John 3:16, which says, “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” Clearly this verse teaches us that God loves us and that salvation comes by faith in Christ. There is another equally important truth revealed in this text that most people forget about. God shows that He is a giver. By God giving His Son, God sets a pattern for us to follow as givers. As followers of Christ, we are to identity with the giving nature of God.
Why Give: Old Testament
Giving is an act of worship in response to the giving of God. We don’t give because we are required to give, we give because we have received so much from the Lord.
1. Read Genesis 14:17-20: How much does Abram give and why does he give it?
2. Read Exodus 25:1-8 and Exodus 36:4-7. Describe what happens in this story?
A follower of God in the Old Testament worshipped God by giving their possessions, money, and food for feasts throughout the year. A follower of God in the Old Testament didn’t give God 10% of their wealth, but closer to 50%. It was God’s responsibility to bless the other 50% enough to care for their personal needs. Through giving people learned to trust and worship the Lord.
Why Give: New Testament
As a follower of Christ, our whole life belongs to Christ. You must realize that giving isn’t based on how much you have, but on how much you trust. There are no rules for giving, it’s a reflection of your relationship with God.
1. Read Mark 12:41-44. What was the widow’s concept of giving?
2. Read Acts 2:42-47. Describe what was taking place?
3. Read 2 Corinthians 9:6-7. How should you give?
It is clear that giving isn’t about how much you give, but about giving with a joyful heart. Giving is about realizing that it all belongs to Christ anyway. Giving is about realizing that Christ will take care of you so you can take care of others.
Road blocks to Giving:
Read Matthew 6:24-34. There are three road blocks listed. The first road block is being a slave to money or possessions. Think about this: can you name one possession that you have that won’t eventually end up in a trash heap or someone else’s garage sale?
The second road block is living on want and not need. God has promised to take care of all of your needs and he will bless you with some of your wants. The problem is that instead of living on our needs we live on our wants. Our wants are to be enjoyed and shared with others. The problem with living on our wants is that God never promised to supply all of them. If we live on our needs, we will stay out of debt and financial trouble. If we live on our wants, we won’t have anything to give. Which are you living on, wants or needs?
The final road block is trust. If you are trusting in what you have to provide you security for tomorrow you won’t give and share. Do you realize that real security only comes from God?
The way to overcome these road blocks is found in verse 33. What are you told to do and what is God’s promise?
Where does the Money Go?
When you give money to your local Southern Baptist Church, you are giving God’s money. Since you are giving God’s money, it is important that you understand what is being done with it once you put it into the plate. You will probably be surprised at how much God’s money does.
I. God’s money provides for the needs of the church:
A. Designated – Money that is given to an assigned purpose and can only be spent for that purpose. Ex. Building Fund
B. Undesignated – Money that is given and can be spent where it is needed. Ex. Sunday School Materials
II. The church tithes.
A. The local association – Each Baptist Church can be a member of a local association of Baptist Churches working together to reach their city. Normally a church will send the local association between 3-10% of the undesignated money they receive monthly. Ex. New church starts, Homeless Shelter
B. The state convention – Each Baptist Church can be a member of the State Baptist Convention. All member churches work together to try and reach their state. Normally a church will send 5-15% of the undersigned money they receive monthly. Ex. Boy’s Home, State Evangelism Conference, and planting churches.
III. The State Convention Tithes.
The Southern Baptist Convention – The Southern Baptist Convention is supported by the Cooperative Program. This is a program whereby each state convention sends between 30 – 50% of the money they receive. The Southern Baptist Convention takes the money given to the Cooperative Program and gives 50% to support foreign missions. It gives 25% to support missions in North America. Then it divides the remaining 25% in providing help in areas of destruction, in supporting six Baptist seminaries, and a host of other ministries.
In closing, when you give God’s money for God’s work it makes a huge difference.