Trust: The Trust Test - Part 2
The Trust Test - Part 2
May 29, 2005
"The man of pseudo faith will fight for his verbal creed but refuse flatly to allow himself to get into a predicament where his future must depend upon that creed being true. He always provides himself with secondary ways of escape so he will have a way out if the roof caves in. What we need very badly these days is a company of Christians who are prepared to trust God as completely now as they know they must do at that last day." A.W. Tozer
Take An Inventory
Recognize God As Your Source
Understand God’s Principles
We’ll review those in a moment.
T - Take an inventory.
We need to be asking ourselves the bottom line question: Do I really trust God?
R - Recognize God as your source.
We need to realize as we take inventory of our life, that everything that you and I have right now is a gift from God.
U - Understand God’s principles.
Until we understand them, we’re always going to hold back in our trust toward God.
Let’s look at the principles that God has for us. These are all, by the way, kingdom principles. These are principles that the Christian understands and hopefully obeys, but that the world does not understand. Are you ready?
Understand God’s Principles
1. The "Who’s in Charge" Principle
God is the owner; I’m the manager. Every resource, every blessing I have today is a gift of God’s.
2. The "Give and Grow" Principle
Practicing stewardship will produce growth in all areas of our life.
3. The "Do it Now" Principle
Stewardship deals with our present resources. Not what I had, not what I will have, but God is asking me today, "John, what are you doing with your gifts and your abilities that you have right now?"
4. The "I’m in Debt" Principle
From the moment we are born, we are debtors. The Apostle Paul said, "I am a debtor." Basically saying that I’ve come into this world already given many blessings, and I am now responsible to return as many as those blessings as I possibly can."
5. The "Fountain of Youth" Principle
We live forever through our giving. As we give of our talent, our tithe, our time, it’s the only thing that lasts forever.
Here’s where the writing begins.
6. The Who’s Number One? Principle.
God Deserves The First of Everything.
36 "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?"
37 Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.
There’s a tendency, instead of giving Him our best, our first, for us to give Him our leftovers.
Take your pen out and write down
Proverbs 3:9. "Honor the Lord with your possessions and the first fruit of all your increase."
I Corinthians 16:2, "On the first day of the week, let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he or she may prosper."
God tells us that we are to give Him the first, not the last of everything.
Now, our tendency is to give God what’s left over. Now, that’s just human. Our human tendency is to take our possessions and kind of take care of ourselves. And if there’s anything left over, "Well, sure, God. I’ll take care of you.
" A 14 year old son of a Pastor, had his first jod ever one summer. And So he got his first "official" paycheck. And, boy, was he thrilled. I mean he went home, he showed his mother that paycheck, and then he marched into his father’s room and showed him. He then back to his mother looked at Her and said, "You know, I’m not sure I can afford to tithe."
How typical of us. Isn’t it? He’s got more money in his hand than he’s ever had in his entire life, and what happens? Greed sets in. Come on now. And all of a sudden, "You know what, I could use this, and I could take it over here."
Out of the mouth of a 14 year old boy comes the big question of, Where do I put God? Is He first? Is He second? Is He fifth? Is He 25th? Is He 23rd in my life?
Let me ask you a question. Where is God in your life right now?
Now, Jesus said, "Where your treasure is, that’s where your heart is." He basically said, "I can tell you what you love, if you just let me see your checkbook and your calendar." He says, "I can basically tell what your priorities are in your life."
7. The Cheerful Attitude Principle.
Stewardship begins with loving, not giving.
Paul said what? "God loves a cheerful giver."
I have found that...
We can give without loving, but we cannot love without giving.
Love has to be the foundation. If love is not the foundation of my relationship with God, I’m always going to have a problem. You see,
Love asks: "How much can I give? "
Legalism asks: "How little can I give?"
And there’s a major difference between the two.
The basis of my stewardship and management of all the resources that God has given me has got to be based on the fact that I love Him with all my heart, my soul, and my strength.
Carl Meninger, a great psychiatrist, said that generous people are rarely mentally ill.
You know what he was saying. When we begin to live beyond ourselves and give of our time and talent and everything -- when we begin live beyond our world of self -- it changes our mindset.
We become healthy people. Emotionally, psychologically, physically, and spiritually.
8. The Big Shovel Principle. Luke 6:38
You cannot outgive God.
God has a bigger shovel than you or I do. Listen to what Jesus said,
Luke 6:38. Here’s what Jesus said,
“38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."
That’s a powerful principle. Jesus said that I measure the standard of what I receive." And what I give in delight is what I’m going to receive back. It’s called the "Big Shovel" principle because God is saying, "If you’ll do your part, I’ll do more." And He says, "I have a bigger shovel than you do."
A very generous giver was asked,
"How is it that you have given so much, and yet God has blessed you financially in every area?" And he replied, "It’s very simple. I shovel in and God shovels back. And God has a bigger shovel than me."
9. The River Principle.
Our life is to be like a river, not a reservoir.
In other words, I’m to be a conduit. I’m to take my life and not hold what God has given me, but I am to pass it on to others.
S.D. Gordon, in his book, Quiet Talks on Prayer, says that there is one inlet of power in life. The Holy Spirit.
Five Outlets of Power.
Now, there are five outlets of power, through which this Holy Spirit within us reveals His power. S.D. And let me give them to you today. Because this is the way we’re a river, not a reservoir. We’re to let God’s power flow through us in these five areas.
1. Through our life -- what we are.
2. Through our lips -- what we say.
3. Through our ministry -- what we do.
4. Through our money -- what we give.
5. Through our prayer -- what we claim in Jesus’ name.
We make a living by what we get.
We make a life by what we give. How true it is.
10. The Who Has Whom Principle.
Until God is in control of my life, I am out of control.
James Lawless said, "Stewardship is more than the management of thing; it’s the refusal to let things manage us."
Surrender Everything to God
Luke 16:10 NIV
10 "Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.
"If I only had more, I would give more." How often we’ve all said that. Luke has something to say about such statements.
What did Luke mean? If you are not giving sacrificially with what you have now, you won’t give sacrificially when you have more.
Why? Because there’s a spiritual principle at work in our lives, and that principle has shown time and again:
It’s not how much we have of the world that dictates our generosity towards God, but how much God has of us.
The question for the Christian is very simple.
Am I going to live like the world, basically trust in myself, become independent and do my own thing?
Or am I going to live under Christian principles so that God has more of me?
Am I going to be a truly trusting, obedient, dependent person upon God?
Is God going to be my source, or am I going to do the old American deal of pull myself up by the bootstraps and kind of pave my own way? That’s the issue.
The issue this morning, folks, is not your talent, your time, your abilities, or your money.
The issue is very simple. Who do I trust in?
That’s it. Jeremiah describes both an independent person and a person of trust or dependence. Here’s what he says about the independent person,
Jeremiah 17:5-8 NIV
5 This is what the LORD says:
"Cursed is the one who trusts in man,
who depends on flesh for his strength
and whose heart turns away from the LORD.
---- notice how He says what we’ll be like if we’re independent and do our own thing –
6 He will be like a bush in the wastelands;
he will not see prosperity when it comes.
He will dwell in the parched places of the desert,
in a salt land where no one lives.
God says, "If you’re going rely on yourself, you’re going to be like a bush, pushed in the wind." Having no roots, no fruit, nothing.
But then He goes on, and says, person that trusts and is dependent upon God:
7 "But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose confidence is in him.
8 He will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit."
Now circumstances are the same for the person who trusts God and the person who doesn’t. For the one who doesn’t trust God, there’s famine. But the one who is prospering has leaves because his roots are grounded in the source, which is God. The other one like a tumbling bush being pushed by the wind. Circumstances the same. Result totally opposite.
Test God’s Promises
Let’s talk about testing God’s promises.
I love what Mother Teresa said: "I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish He didn’t trust me so much."
Did you know why God trusts Mother Teresa so much? It’s very simple. Because Mother Teresa has proven to be trustworthy. It’s that simple, Folks. If you are doing without something in the area of your need, the Bible says, "My God will supply all your needs." If you’re doing without, I can almost promise you, you can go back to the point of trust.
Bible characters who passed the trust test:
1. Noah Genesis 7:6 (building of the ark)
2. Abraham Genesis 22:1-2 (sacrifice of Isaac)
3. Joshua Joshua 5:1 (crossing the Jordan)
4. David I Samuel 17:37-39 (fighting Goliath)
You and I have to take the Trust Test. And here it is.
Promises that God gives His children when we tithe. Malachi 3
Malachi 3:10-12 NIV
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 you will not have room enough for it. 11 I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit," says the LORD Almighty. 12 "Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land," says the LORD Almighty.
1. He will provide for us. (v. 10)
Folks, this is God talking. Look what He said in verse 10. "’Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse so that there will be food in my house...." And notice this, "’Test me now on this,’ says the Lord of Hosts. ’If I will not open for you, the floodgates of heaven and pour out a blessing until it overflows."
You’re saying, "Pastor, are you telling me that God will take care of me in every area of my life including finances if I put God first?
" No, I’m not. God’s telling you. It isn’t Ed’s Trust Test. This isn’t New Song’s Trust Test. This is God’s. He says,
"If you put me first, not second, not third, not 27th, first..." -- Here’s what I found.
In the area I obey -- God blesses.
In the area I disobey -- God disciplines.
What a powerful biblical principle.
2. He will protect us. (v. 11)
In verse 11, He says, "Then I will rebuke the devourer for you so that it may not destroy the fruits of the ground; nor will your vine in the field cast its grapes," says the Lord of Hosts.
3. Our lives will be attractive to others. (v. 12)
Now, I want you to close your notes for a moment, and I want three minutes of your time and then we’re done.
This is the only area in the Bible where God tells you to test him.
Anywhere else you try to test him, he says no.
But in this area, because he knows it’s so difficult for us, he says, "Test me in this." Now every year I take my pen out and do this. There are two boxes. One says, "I will begin tithing," and one says "I already tithe." Now I’ve been tithing since I was a kid, so in a moment I will check "I already tithe." And every year I do this because it’s my recommitment to God.
It’s one more time telling God, "I truly trust you in every area."
Now, don’t check boxes yet, because I know some of you are sweating. You’re saying, "Hey Pastor, I haven’t done this before. And I can’t meet my budget now." Would you look at me for a moment?
That’s your problem. You haven’t turned your finances over to God. The moment you give Him control, He begins to do things that you and I could never do on our own.
And I want to challenge you this morning, to take God’s Word in what He said. I want to tell to you something. If God won’t take care of you in every area of your life, if this promise isn’t true, I’m going home. In fact, if this promise isn’t true, I’m not only going home, I’m leaving the ministry. Because I’m not about to get up here every Sunday and preach God’s Word, and gum myself to death on promises that God can’t fulfill. It’s God’s promise to you.
The Trust Test
Tithing is not an issue of money; it’s an issue of trust. God knows that the most difficult area for us to turn over to Him is our finances. Therefore He says to us...
"Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test me now in this," says the Lord of hosts, "If I will not pour open for you the windows of heaven, and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows." Malachi 3:10
God said it. Can I trust Him to fulfill this promise? More importantly, can God trust me to obey Him?