"God's Money In My Purse!"
When Christ began His ministry in Jerusalem, one of the first things He did was to drive the money changers out of the Temple. Three and a half years later, as He neared the end of His ministry, the money changers had returned to the Temple. Notice what the Bible says Christ did again: "And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves." (Matthew 21:12, 13).
Not long ago a newspaper reported that a large church found itself short of operating funds. The church devised a most ingenious scheme to raise the needed funds. It had raffle tickets printed and sold chances on a case of liquor. One member, after being taught to gamble by the church, became the proud possessor of one case of liquor, by which he could become intoxicated.
Some people defend such practices, rationalizing that it is necessary in order to finance the preaching of the gospel. However, it would not be necessary to stoop to such practices if we would study the Bible and follow God's plan for financing the gospel.
Are we responsible stewards?
1. To whom do we, our possessions, and the earth belong? Psalm 24:1
2. What else does God claim as His?
The Bible Says:
b. Haggai 2:8
c. Psalm 100:3
4. Who gives man the ability to get wealth? Deuteronomy 8:18
5. What is man's relationship to these possessions of God? Luke 12:42
A steward is one who is entrusted with the supervision or administration of the estate or affairs of another. He manages what belongs to another. God's possessions are entrusted to us and we are His stewards.
6. What does God require of stewards? 1 Corinthians 4:2
Peter led the disciples in replacing Judas, so that there would still be 12 disciples to witness for Jesus, and to lead out in this new organization;
the Christian Church.
7. What question did David ask? Psalm 116:12
8. How much of our time does God claim is holy unto Him? Exodus 20:8-11
9. How many of our possessions does God claim are holy to Him? Leviticus 27:30
God claims as His one seventh of our time and one tenth of our possessions. God has no need of our gifts, because everything belongs to Him. But He
asks some of our time and a portion of our income to remind us of our stewardship and to test our love for Him. Just as tribute money paid to Caesar
was recognition of his authority, so the holy tithe and holy Sabbath are an acknowledgment of God's Lordship. Christ said, "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's" (Matthew 22:21).
10. What did Abraham do that reveals that the tithing system has been observed by God's people from the earliest times? Genesis 14:18-20
11. What portion of his income did Jacob promise God for blessings received? Genesis 28:20-22
"Jacob was not here seeking to make terms with God. The Lord had already promised him prosperity, and this vow was the outflow of a heart filled with gratitude for the assurance of God's love and mercy. Jacob felt that God had claims upon him which he must acknowledge, and that the special tokens of divine favor granted him demanded a return. So does every blessing bestowed upon us call for a response to the Author of all our mercies" (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 187).
12. How did Jesus give His approval of the Biblical tithing plan? Matthew 23:23
The Pharisees were exact about tithing even their small garden herbs. Jesus said it was good that they should do this, but their sin was in neglecting the weightier matters of judgment, mercy, and faith.
13. For what purpose was the tithe to be used during the days of ancient Israel? Numbers 18:21, 24
When Joshua led the Israelites into the Promised Land, each tribe was given a portion of land as its inheritance. The only exception to this was the tribe of Levi. As the priests, they were to spend their full time in serving the Lord. They were given no land to farm, only cities to live in. The other eleven tribes gave one tenth of their income, or increase, to support the Levites.
14. How are the ministry and the ministers to be supported today? 1 Corinthians 9:13
15. By what two ways do God's stewards keep God's storehouse full?
a. Tithes: Malachi 3:10; "Bring ye _______________________________
b. Offerings: Psalm 96:8 "Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name: bring __________________________,
The tenth belongs to God. It is His holy tithe. When we return what is rightfully His, we are really not giving Him anything.
What a man gives above the tithe is his offering, or gift to God.
16. How can we honor the Lord? Proverbs 3:9
17. What priority are we to give to God and our worship of Him? Matthew 6:33
18. What blessings does God promise to those who are faithful in recognizing His ownership? Malachi 3:10, 11 & Proverbs 3:10
19. How will God reward the liberal giver? Luke 6:38
Paul said, "He which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver" (2 Corinthians 9:6, 7).
20. Where does Jesus advise us to deposit our treasures? Matthew 6:19-21
21. What statement of Jesus indicates that our money and our heart are closely associated? Verse 21
22. What does a man do when he withholds tithes and offerings from God? Malachi 3:8, 9
23. What warning did Christ give against covetousness? Luke 12:15
"The spirit of liberality is the spirit of heaven. This spirit finds its highest manifestation in Christ's sacrifice on the cross. In our behalf the Father gave His only - begotten Son; and Christ, having given up all that He had, then gave Himself, that man might be saved. The cross of Calvary should appeal to the benevolence of every follower of the Saviour. The principle there illustrated is to give, give. . . . On the other hand, the spirit of selfishness is the spirit of Satan. The principle illustrated in the lives of worldlings is to get, get. Thus they hope to secure happiness and ease, but the fruit of their sowing is mercy and death" ( The Acts of the Apostles, p. 339).
24. What charge was Timothy instructed to give the rich? 1 Timothy 6:17-19
25. According to what rule should we give? Deuteronomy 16:17
26. Do you think that God's plan to finance His work is a good plan?
27. Will you plan now to obey God's Word by returning a faithful tithe and offering to God's work?
I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.