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Just Between You And Me-h

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Scriptures: Matthew 6:1-4; Acts 5:1-14

(Begin by reading the story of Ananias & Saphira)

Acts 4:32 ¶ All the believers were one in heart and mind. No-one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. 33  With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. 34  There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales

 35  and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.

 36  Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement), 37  sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles' feet. 1 ¶ Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. 2  With his wife's full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles' feet. 3  Then Peter said, "Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land?

 4  Didn't it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn't the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God." 5  When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened.

 6  Then the young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him. 7  About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8  Peter asked her, "Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?" "Yes," she said, "that is the price."

 9  Peter said to her, "How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also."

 10  At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11  Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events. 12 ¶ The apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon's Colonnade. 13  No-one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. 14  Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number.


What do we learn from these scriptures?

q      Misrepresentation of ourselves before men.  They lied to men.

q      God knows what you give and whether or not you can do better or whether or not you are willing to work toward doing better.

q      They wanted to be a part of the movement and have all the respect that went with it but they weren’t willing to pay the price.  What about membership? 

1.   How personal a matter is giving?

q      The idea of privacy or anonymity in giving was never intended to protect us. somehow - it was a restriction to those whose basic desire was to say "Look at me or my prosperity.  See my success - see my importance."  Those who would stand between an individual and his/her view of God.  There are those who consciously would have us see them.  Others unconsciously so.  When we look at men we see what they have done rather than what God has done.  Or sometimes what they have not done.  The Pharisees were glory-stealers.  They loved to be “seen by men” the scripture says.

q      There is absolutely nothing special about giving a penny out of every dime. That is all that tithing is.  It hardly seems noticeable until it begins to accumulate.  Once we notice - we can begin to covet it - there is that tendency to hold back part of what belongs totally to God.

q      Giving Profile

q      Many find this to be a great "hiding place". These are not those who want to strut their spiritual stuff.  They are those who would maintain the facade of spirituality superimposed over the heart of materialism - those who would serve both God & mammon.  How would you know if you were one of these?  If you were to stand before God to explain your current level of giving.

            1.  God hasn't convicted me of that yet.

2.      I'm not hurting anyone else.

3.      Show me where that is written in scripture

4.      That’s O.T.

q      The body is blessed or hindered by each one’s actions. There are those who maintain that what we do financially is a matter that is between ourselves and God.  It is certainly true that we maintain confidentiality in our church relative to who gives what and that only the treasurer and God knows but does that mean that it is a matter that is just between you and God?  Is there really such a thing in the church today?  Do the things that you do affect your life alone or do they somehow affect the overall state of affairs in the church?  I think that the latter is the case.  The impact of the church within a given community is heightened or diminished by what we all do.  There are those who work diligently and faithfully and the church and community is blessed by that and there are those

5.   Are there scriptural guidelines for giving?

Giving with glad and generous hearts has a way of routing out the tough old miser within us.  Even the poor need to know that they can give.  Just the very act of letting go of money, or some other treasure, does something within us.  It destroys the demon greed.

   -- Richard J. Foster, Money, Sex & Power

q      Give Firstfruits – Proverbs 3:9 Honour the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops;   - Give God the first portions of your income.  By doing that you constantly remember God's ownership. (Prov.3:9)

q      Give Proportionately – 1 Corinthians 16:2 On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.  -  Give in proportion to the income you receive, not a specific dollar amount. If you earn $100, a tithe (10%) would be $10. If you earn $100,000, your proportionate gift would be $10,000. God sees the $10 gift just as important and meaningful as the $10,000 gift. Proportionate giving challenges both the rich and the poor.

q      Give Sacrificially – 2 Corinthians 8:2,3 Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.  For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own,  - At times God asks you to give until you can truly feel the giving. Giving sacrificially usually includes one of the following: a rearrangement of priorities, a change in lifestyle, or a forfeiture of something valued.  When you give sacrificially, you give your best.

q      Give Regularly – 1 Corinthians 16:1,2; 9:8 - The Bible tells us to give "on the first day of every week." While money may be tight during some periods of time, for the most part, the failure to give is a spiritual problem. It is hard to imaging God accepting the excuses conjured up about not honoring Him with your treasures.

q      Give Cheerfully – 2 Corinthians 9:7  Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.  - Receiving is great, but the exhilaration is greater when you are able to give to another person. The Holy Spirit uses your giving to deepen your faith in Christ.

q      Give Quietly – Matthew 6:1 ¶ "Be careful not to do your `acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.   - Your purpose should be to please God, not to be seen by others.

q      Tithe – Genesis 28:10-22 - Tithing is the practice of honoring God with one tenth (10%) of your income. God is not concerned about the size of the gift, but the motive for it. (Gen. 28:10-22) Tithing is giving God a portion of your best, not your leftovers.

1. It blesses the heart by making it receptive to God's will.

2. It blesses the life by lifting it to a higher plane of grace.

3. It blesses the hands by making them willing to do God's work.

4. It blesses the mind by giving it the satisfaction of doing the right thing.

5. It blesses the nine-tenths that remains because God has been honored.

6. It blesses the individual by giving him a part in God's worldwide program of work.

7. It blesses the church by enabling it to carry out a greater ministry.

6.    When we give to God it is a personal confession.

q      Who I choose to please and serve -

q      Will I trust him for provision?

q      Will I acknowledge Him to be the Lord

q      Will I show Him where my treasure is?

1.      I have never known a generous person to complain about how much money it takes to run a church.  Poor givers gripe about how much it takes; generous givers express concern that they don't do more.

2.      I have never known a family who tithed for any length of time who quit.

3.      I have never known a generous family that was not generally happy.

4.      I have never known a stingy, miserly family that was not generally unhappy about many things.

5.      I have never known a person who was critical of most things, mad about many things, who was generous.

6.      I have come to believe that most people who feel we talk too much about money, never really want to talk about money at all. Generous people enjoy talking about it.

7.      I have come to believe that there is a direct connection that exists between a person's faith and a person's generosity.  Those who give generously tend to become more faithful; and the reverse is true in both instances.  (copied)

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