Monday, October 22, 2007

This week's sermon: Stepping out in Faith- Giving

Matthew 6:3-4, 19-21, 31-33.
Jesus teaches us to trust God with our finances. What we have comes from God, and we need to use it for his glory. Our giving should not be done in order to build our reputation, or to check off an obligation, but to provide for the needs of others. In doing this, we build treasure in Heaven and are released from the trap of materialism. We can give in obedience to God's direction, because we are confident that he will continue to provide for our needs.

Acts 4:32-35.
This is one of the only passages of scripture dealing with local church giving. There are no percentages or set amounts for giving, only the example of the early believers who gave what they had to fill the needs of the body. The financial obligations of the local church belong to the members of that church. Early in the history of our own church, the members literally divided the budget between themselves so that all obligations were met.

2Corinthians chapters 8 & 9.
Paul writes to the Corinthians about their commitment to give an offering towards meeting the needs of the believers in Jerusalem, who were in severe financial hardship. Here we find scriptures often used to govern local church giving, when in fact they are referring to missionary giving and giving to relieve poverty. Paul says this giving ought to be a priority in our weekly giving, from what we have to meet the needs of others.

They aim of these principles on giving is to offer freedom, not burdens, for believers. We are set free to step out in faith in the area of our giving, both to the local church and beyond. We have this freedom because instead of following rules set forth by man, we give according to what God has laid on our hearts. Maybe that is a 10% tithe, maybe 20%, maybe 50% or more. But only as God guides each individual. Perhaps your giving is where it needs to be, maybe God is challenging you to give either to our church, or to missions through faith promise. Whatever your conviction, know you can step out in obedience and trust the results to God.

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