Charles F. Stanley www.intouch.org
Scripture: Malachi 3:8-12; Proverbs 3:7-10; Luke 6:38
I. Introduction: Sometimes we know what the Bible says about an issue but choose instead to follow worldly wisdom. For instance, many Christians ignore the biblical principle of tithing. They rely on secular advice that cautions against generous giving. However, no financial scheme can compare to Godís master financial plan. If you and I tithe faithfully, the Father will abundantly provide all we need.
II. Godís plan differs from the worldís.
|Secular wisdom says to accumulate as much
wealth as possible for selfish uses.
||Like a pond that has no outletóand thus
grows stagnant and slimyósuch an approach to money is unhealthy. It
diminishes a personís quality of life and often causes friction within
III. The Lord wants us to be givers.
|We shouldnít view ourselves as reservoirs,
stockpiling money for our selfish desires, but as channels, willing to share
with others. In Godís plan, believers receive in order to share.
||You and I can use some of our money for
personal needs, but we should also give to our church, missions work around
the world, and those who are hurting financially.
||Generous people are not only happier but also
more peaceful and secure.|
IV. The principle of giving and receiving:
|In Luke 6:38, Jesus said, ďGive, and it will
be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measureĖĖpressed
down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it
will be measured to you in return.Ē
||Choose to view your bank account as a channel
rather than a reservoir, and then watch the Father abundantly supply all you
V. What are the elements of Godís financial plan?
|The amount: Giving ten
percent of our income to the Lord is a good starting point for biblical
stewardship (Mal. 3:10).
||The portion: Donít wait
until you have paid all your bills before tithing. Godís people are to
give the first and best of what we have (Prov. 3:9-10). Those who tithe see
Godís miraculous provision for their needs.
||The place: The storehouse
mentioned in Malachi 3 is the temple. As believers, we should give to the
||The time: Both the Old and
New Testaments mention generosity (1 Cor. 16:1-2). Ten percent is a good
place to start and was not intended as the final goal. The early church not
only tithed; they sold their possessions and donated the proceeds (Acts
||The attitude: Believers
should give willingly, not resentfully (2 Cor. 9:7). Donít fall into the
trap of hoarding money. Having more of it does not guarantee happiness or
||The penalty: You cannot
violate the Lordís commands without experiencing the consequences. When
the Jews failed to give ten percent back to Him, God put them under a curse
(Mal. 3:8-9). If you and I decide not to tithe, we can miss out on the
four-fold blessing associated with giving: prosperity, plenty, protection,
and a strong personal witness.|
VI. Whatís really going on when we hold back on our giving?
|Rebellion: The Fatherís
will is for us to return to Him a portion of what He gives us.
||Unbelief: The Lord promises
to provide for our needs if we give scripturally. A refusal to do so
indicates a lack of trust in Godís promise to provide.
||Covetousness: When someone
fails to be obedient with finances, greed is often a motivator.
||Stealing: God grants
His people the strength, intelligence, and ability to earn and invest money.
When the ancient Israelites failed to give biblically, the
Lord considered that equivalent to robbing from Him (Mal. 3:8). |
VII. Conclusion: No financial plan is better than the one outlined in Scripture. When we give cheerfully, generously, and consistently, the Father blesses us. So put Malachi 3:10 to the test, and God will pour out a blessing beyond measure.