Speaker: Rev. Shine Thomas
Illustration: I remember as a small boy in our village grandpa hanging flypapers almost every evening. Well, flypaper is an ordinary newspaper with honey-like sweet, sticky substance on both sides. You can see flies coming from all over so enthusiastically saying, “I want the honey, I want the honey.” The fly lands and begins to eat, saying, “I got the honey, I got the honey.” When the fly tires to leave the paper finally says, “I got the fly, I got the fly.”
People just have one slogan nowadays, “I want the money, I want the money” and before they know it, the money has got them! People get enslaved in debts, loans, and stress of money.
Finances are a good thing that God has given us, but if not handled properly, it can be disastrous. The only way we can handle money is by God’s wisdom.
HF: We are doing a series on financial management and let’s reiterate what we have studied last week.
- We saw from Nehemiah 5 that the Israelites were in severe financial bondage. There are chances we too can be in financial bondage even though we are saved.
- Symptoms of financial bondage. (Please look at your outlines).
- Fixing financial problems: Increase your inflow/income & decrease your outflow/expense.
- Principles of financial freedom.
- 1. Put God first.
- 2.. Work Hard. Let’s continue…
Brief History: When we read Nehemiah 5:1-5 we find that the people were in utter poverty, fighting for money, fighting for food, mortgaging fields and homes, borrowing money, and eventually enslaving their children because of financial poverty. When everyone was stingy and fighting about money, Nehemiah was very generous with his money.
Proverbs 14:21 It is a sin to despise one’s neighbor, but blessed is the one who is kind to the needy.
Proverbs 19:17 Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward them for what they have done.
Let’s see the generosity of Nehemiah. Nehemiah 5:17-18 17 Furthermore, a hundred and fifty Jews and officials ate at my table, as well as those who came to us from the surrounding nations. 18 Each day one ox, six choice sheep and some poultry were prepared for me, and every ten days an abundant supply of wine of all kinds. In spite of all this, I never demanded the food allotted to the governor, because the demands were heavy on these people.
In the midst of utter poverty, with people fighting over money and grains, Nehemiah fed more than 150 people every day not with government funds, but out of his own pocket. He was giving generously. This is one of the biggest principles of financial blessing … that if you give, more will be given back to you. Luke 6:38 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.”
Giving and receiving is the simple principle of sowing and reaping. When you give you are sowing a seed.
Proverbs 11:24 KJV There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty. (One who scattered is the farmer, but he increases in harvest).
NIV One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.
2 Corinthians 9:6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.
Giving and receiving is like a farmer sowing a seed. When you give generously you are sowing a seed and you will reap the harvest.
2 Corinthians 9:7 God loves a cheerful giver. Do you have an open hand or a clenched fist? I am not talking about tithe, we have to learn to give from the remaining 90%. Give and you will receive.
We all like to quote the promise of: Philippians 4:19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
Do you know to whom this promise is addressed to? God’s promise that he will meet all our needs is for the people who are generous in giving. Let us see the background: Philippians 4:14-19 14 Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. 15 Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; 16 for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid more than once when I was in need. 17 Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account. 18 I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. 19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.Give generously.
Whom to give? Give to the poor, widows, orphans, Missions, God’s servants. All such giving has to come from the 90%, not cutting from our tithe.
We do not give out of plenty; our giving must cost us something.
2 Corinthians 8:1-4 1 And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the that God has given the Macedonian churches. 2 In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. 3 For I testify that they gave , and even beyond their ability., 4 they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people.
Giving is a grace. We can give even in poverty. Give as much as you can. Giving is purely voluntary.
4. Give to God tithes and offerings.
Note: It does not mean that tithing and offering is the only criteria for blessings in a Christian life. Tithing and offering is one of the criteria for a good Christian life but nothing can nullify the importance of – holy living, fellowship, devotion etc. Giving without true Christian values and principles is a waste.
Tithe: The word “tithe” literally means tenth, 10%, it’s God’s perfect plan.
Since the beginning of time, tithing has been God’s method. God’s people through out all history have maintained the practice of returning to God the first 10%.
Abram commenced tithing. Abram’s nephew Lot and his possessions were taken away in battle by King Kedorlaomer. When Abram heard the news he went to battle against Kedorlaomer and defeated and plundered him.
Genesis 14:17-20 17 After Abram returned from defeating Kedorlaomer and the kings allied with him, the king of Sodom came out to meet him in the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley). 18 Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, 19 and he blessed Abram, saying, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. 20 And praise be to God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.” Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.
In the Bible Abram commenced tithing by giving 10%.
Jacob continued tithing. Genesis 28:22 And this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God’s house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth.
In the time of Moses, God made tithing a law. Leviticus 27:30-31 30 “‘A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the LORD; it is holy to the LORD. 31 Whoever would redeem any of their tithe must of the value to it.
Malachi confirmed tithing. Malachi 3:10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house.
Jesus commended tithing: Matthew 23:23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter (Justice, mercy, & faithfulness), without neglecting the former (tithing).
Tithing is one of the basic foundations, but there’s much more to Christian life than tithing. Jesus said you should practice tithing without neglecting quality Christian life.
The NT Church practiced tithe and offerings. 1 Corinthians 16:1-2 1 Now about the collection for the Lord’s people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. 2 On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.
The NT Church practiced offering and tithing in their services.
So tithing is biblical: Abraham commenced it, Jacob continued it, Moses commanded it, Malachi confirmed it, Jesus commended it, NT church practiced it.
Illustration: When it comes to money I have basically come across 3 types of people
- Some people say, “It’s all my money. I worked, I earned it, I deserve it, and I can do what I want to do with it.” When offering bag goes by, they say, “I can give what I want to, it’s all mine, I can do what I want with it.”
- The second group of people say, “My Tithe belongs to God, and the rest 90% is mine.” I obey God by give him 10% but I will do what I want with the rest.
- The third group of people say, “All my money belongs to God – My tithe and the rest.” “I return to Him as tithe what He has commanded, and He entrusts me with the rest of His money. I still have to pray about my every expenditure, my lifestyle, and be a good steward of all of His money. I will be judged someday for what I do with God’s money.
PRINCIPLES OF TITHING.
a. When you tithe you return God’s money.
Tithing is not giving to God; it is returning God’s money back to Him.
Now let’s turn to Malachi 3:7 Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the LORD Almighty.
b. Non-tithing is robbing God.
Malachi 3:8 “Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me.” But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’ “In tithes and offerings.”
c. Non-tithing brings a curse.
Malachi 3:9 You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me.
d. Tithe the church you attend.
Malachi 3:10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house.
Storehouse is the place where you receive your daily food. Storehouse is the place where you receive your spiritual nourishment Sunday after Sunday. Do not cut your tithes to pay here and there. Bring the whole tithe to the church you attend on a Sunday.
e. Tithing increases you income and decreases your expenses.
Now I told you one of the solutions of financial freedom is to increase your inflow/income & decrease your outflow/expense. Now we cannot increase our income unless we do overtime or have a promotion. We can only cut a bit on our expenses. But when you tithe God supernaturally increases our income and cuts our expenses.
Malachi 3:10-11 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 there will not be room enough to store it. (God’s principle of increasing your income). 11 I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the LORD Almighty. (God’s principle of decreasing you expenses).
Illustration: Sister tithing for Rs. 5000 and God giving a Rs. 10,000 job.
f. Tithing invokes God’s Blessings.
Malachi 10:12 “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the LORD Almighty.
When you tithe God blesses you.
If we believe God’s word of Malachi 3, no one will tell, “I can’t afford to tithe.” If you truly believe this passage you will tithe first before you touch your money. Tithing has never been a matter of money, but a matter of trust. It’s a trust fund. If you trust God and His promises you will surely tithe.
Many times in our marriage we have written our tithe check out when we weren’t sure how we were going buy groceries until the end of the month. But God was faithful, God always made it come out right until the end.
Offering: Offering is what you bring week after week to the church when you gather. God expects us to bring an offering according to our ability unto Him. God does not put a limit on offerings. It is out of our free will but according to our ability. The value of our offering is our real love to God.
Exodus 23:15b “No one is to appear before me empty-handed.
Psalms 96:8 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering and come into his courts.
Exodus 22:29 “Do not hold back offerings from your granaries or your vats.”
Isaiah 1:13 Stop bringing meaningless offerings.
God keeps records of our offerings and tithes. Jesus watches what your give, so meaningless offerings may not be accepted: Mark 12:41 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury.
Ways you can give your freewill offerings to God:
Sunday Services, birthday, wedding anniversary, thanksgiving etc.
When you obey God with your finances, God will supply you sufficiently. Let’s get back to Nehemiah: When many were suffering around him, God took care of Nehemiah. Nehemiah 5:17-18 17 Furthermore, a hundred and fifty Jews and officials ate at my table, as well as those who came to us from the surrounding nations. 18 Each day one ox, six choice sheep and some poultry were prepared for me, and every ten days an abundant supply of wine of all kinds. In spite of all this, I never demanded the food allotted to the governor, because the demands were heavy on these people.
God promises to take care of His children when we obey God first and then with our finances.
God is willing to take care of you, God is willing to lift your financial burdeon but you must first believe God and obey his commands, and then be good stewards of the finances God has given you.
Conclusion: Let me reiterate the principles of financial freedom:
- Put God first.
- Work Hard.
- Give tithes & offerings.
My aim in presenting to you this message is that you be blessed in the area of your finance. It is not my desire but God wants you to be prosperous and well.
Psalm 35:27 NIV The LORD be exalted, who delights in the well-being of his servant.
KJV Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant.
I’m not saying He wants us all to be rich, but it’s also a myth that He wants His people to be poor. There’s nothing noble about poverty.
3 John 1:2 Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.
Biblical prosperity is defined here in Nehemiah’s experience. It is having what you need in order to do what God wants you to do.
WHAT DOES GOD WANT YOU TO DO WITH YOU FINANCES?
Enough to meet your needs.
God wants you to have enough to meet your needs. God wants your bills paid. Perhaps you’ve created bills that weren’t in God’s will…ask for forgiveness and for His help in getting out of debt.
Save for the future.
The Bible teaches that this is a wise practice.
If you don’t have enough to do the above, then something is wrong which needs to be corrected. You need a financial breakthrough.
- Important: Our giving without having Christian lifestyle is a waste.
Purpose: Philippians 4:16-17 Passage: Nehemiah 5
PRINCIPLES OF FINANCIAL FREEDOM
- Put God First.
- Work Hard.
3. BE GENEROUS.
Be generous with your 90%.
If you more will be given to you. Luke 6:38
When you give you are a seed. Proverbs 11:24
Give 2 Corinthians 9:7
Our giving must us something. Giving is a 2 Cor. 8:1-4
WAYS TO GIVE GENEROUSLY.
- God’s Servants. etc.
4. GIVE GOD YOUR TITHES & OFFERINGS.
Tithe is of your gross income.
Abraham tithing. Genesis 14:17-20
Jacob tithing. Genesis 28:22
In the time of Moses tithing was a Leviticus 27:30-31
Malachi tithing. Malachi 3:10
Jesus tithing. Matthew 23:23
The NT church tithing. 1 Corinthians: 16:1-2.
PRINCIPLES OF TITHING.
- When you tithe you return God’s money. Malachi 3:7
- Non-tithing is robbing God. Malachi 3:8
- Non-tithing brings a curse. Malachi 3:9.
- I am supposed to tithe the church I attend on Sundays. Malachi 3:10. God has never allowed me to divide/split my tithes.
- When I tithe God increases my income and decreases my expenses. Malachi 3:10-11
- Tithing invokes God’s blessings upon me. Malachi 10:12
Offerings- Offerings are freewill apart from my tithe. God has not set a limit to it. My offering determines how much I love God.
We are to bring our offerings week after week when we gather.
God keeps of our offerings and tithes. Numbers 7:10-17, Mark 12:41.
When you obey God with your finances, God will supply you
GOD’S PLAN FOR YOUR FINANCES.
Enough to meet your needs. Give generously. Save for the future.