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GIVING LIKE CHRIST

     True Biblical giving is giving from the heart to the Lord.  The Lord Himself illustrates this kind of giving.  "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16)."  God displayed His love toward us by giving Jesus to die on the cross for our sins.  "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins (I John 4:10)."  Nowhere do we ever find in Scripture that we must give anything in order to be saved.  Salvation is given by God and received by us through faith (Ephesians 2:8,9).  Jesus gave everything for us.  He gave His life!  What more could He do?  What should we do in response?

     Every believer owes 100% of what he is and what he has to God.  It is wrong to think that when we give a portion of what we have to the Lord the rest belongs to us.  It is all His; we merely use part of it for ourselves.  Everything is His.  Paul says in Acts 17:25, "He giveth to all life, and breath, and all things."  God gives our very life and breath to us.

     We must recognize that all wealth and power to get wealth are in the hand of the Lord.  God says in Deuteronomy 8:17, 18, to beware when you "say in thine heart, My power and might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth.  But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is He that giveth the power to get wealth."  Our health, talents, and abilities all come from God, and He alone enables us to be able to earn a living.  "Both riches and honor come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all (I Chronicles 29:12)."  Even our bodies do not belong to us as a Christian.  "What?  Know you not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which you have of God, and you are not your own (I Corinthians 6:19)."  Both our bodies and our spirits belong to God.  "For you are bought with a price:  therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's (I Corinthians 6:20)."

     Every believer owes 100% of what he is and what he has to God.

     Every believer is responsible to give a portion of what he has to the Lord.  Every believer is going to be held accountable at the Judgement Seat of Christ where all believers' works will be judged for how he gave.  Romans 14:12 says, "So then everyone of us shall give account of himself to God."

     God calls the man who does not give to the Lord a fool.  In the parable of the rich fool, Jesus tells about a man who saved up all his earthly goods for himself.  God calls that man into account.  God says unto him, "Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?  So is he that layeth up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God (Luke 12:20)."

     Everyone who does not give to the Lord is a fool according to Jesus (Luke 14:16-21).

     Giving is a command.  "Give, and is shall be given unto you (Luke 6:38)."

     No gift, however small or seemingly insignificant, will go unnoticed or unrewarded.  "And he looked up and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury.  And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites.  And he said, of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God:  but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had (Luke 21:1-4)."

     If you are a member of the local church, you should do your giving through the church where you have joined (I Corinthians 16:1,2).  Here is where you have made a vow by virtue of the fact that you have united with other believers in a local assembly for the work of the Lord.  "When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed.  Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay (Ecclesiastes 5:4,5)."  When you unite in membership with other believers you are committing yourself to an equal share of the financial burden and work load.  To not give is to rob God and to rob those fellow believers of your portion of the responsibility.

     "Will a man rob God?  Yet you have robbed me.  But you say, Wherein have we robbed thee?  In tithes and offerings.  You are cursed with a curse: for you have robbed me, even this whole nation (Malachi 3:8,9)."

     "Give and it shall be given unto you (Luke 6:38)."

     "Now consider this, you that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver."  This stern warning is given in a chapter on giving (Psalms 50:22).  God says, "Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.  Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High (Psalms 50:5,14)."  In verses 9-12 of chapter 50, God reminds us that everything is His so that when we give we are really giving back to Him what is rightfully His to begin with.

     Giving to the Lord is to come first.  First means before you pay all your other bills.  This principle is taught in the Old and New Testaments alike.  "Honor the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase; So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine (Proverbs 3:9,10)."

     Again the principle, "Give, and it shall be given unto you (Luke 6:38)."  Set aside first a portion for God before you meet any other obligations.

     To be saved we simply receive.  "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16)."

     If you are a believer and on your way to heaven, are you laying up for yourself treasure in heaven through giving?  Are you rich toward God (Luke 12:21)?

     II Corinthians 9:7 says, "Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver."

     God will bless you as you give to Him!

     God wants us to be mindful of heavenly things!  He wants us to make investments in heavenly things.  The Lord knows "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Matthew 6:21)."  The Bible refers to treasures on earth and treasures in heaven.  Treasures on the earth are temporary in nature, hard to come by, and easily lost.  Treasures in heaven are permanent in nature, and cannot be lost or stolen.  Jesus said, "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal (Matthew 6:19,20)."  When we die, we can't take our earthly treasures with us.  It is impossible!

     "For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out (I Timothy 6:7)."  But we can send treasures on ahead to heaven.  "Sell that ye have, and give alms, provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not (Luke 12:33)."  We are admonished in Colossians 3:2 to "Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth."  And again in I Corinthians 15:58, "Therefore my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord."

     Moses recognized the importance of heavenly treasure vs. earthly treasure and chose to serve the Lord as a result.  Hebrews 11:26 tells us, "Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward."  Moses had the opportunity for more earthly treasure than perhaps any man who has lived on earth, yet he saw greater riches in serving the Lord Jesus Christ.  Salvation is the free gift of God to us through Jesus Christ (Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8,9).  Service to the Lord involves labour and brings about eternal treasures.  Where is your treasure today?

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