Sun, Jul 13, 2014

The Blessings of Giving

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  1. God sees and rewards giving.  
    1. Jesus declares giving a blessing.  
    2. Jesus commands us to store up treasure in heaven.(Matthew 6:19-21)
    3. Example of rewards: Cornelius(Acts 10:1-4)
    4. Paul teaches that we profit spiritually from giving.(Philippians 4:15-18)
    5. When we partner with ministers of the Gospel by providing hospitality for them, we receivethe same reward.(Matthew 10:40-42)
  1. Giving is blessed because of the sowing/reaping principle.  
    1. Generosity releases blessing. (Luke 6:38, II Corinthians 9:6)
    2. God created the cosmos to be orderly.
    3. What giving isn’t -
      1. Giving is not a bribe to God.
      2. Giving is not a bargain with God. Giving is not a quid pro quo.
      3. Giving is neither doing for God what he cannot do for himself nor helping God out.
    4. What giving is -
      1. Giving is worship.
      2. Giving is trust and faith in God.
      3. Giving is honoring God.
      4. Giving is partnership with God, joining Him in His business.
      5. Giving is a blessed way to live life.
  1. Application
    1. Never try to manipulate God through general principles of sowing and reaping.
    2. Let the Kingdom of God be your top financial priority. Seek after God and His work first of all.
    3. Sow broadly. Store up treasure in heaven by making a wise investment of your time, money and talk. Broaden how far you sow, trusting that God will take care of you.
    4. Make a sustained change.

 

Discussions Questions:

  1. When you hear the word blessing or blessed, what do you think of? What does that mean to you? Is it arrogant to insist upon the idea that there are better ways and worse ways to live life? Is it judgmental to say this is a poor or a foolish way to live life?
    Is it possible to fully avoid making judgments about how to live life?
  2. What do you think of when you consider “storing up treasures in heaven” (Matthew 6:19-21)? Are rewards in heaven real?
    Have you experienced stepping out in faith and giving and then seeing God move? Please share. What did reward look like in your story?
  3. Is the world orderly and predictable, or chaotic and constantly changing? Are the laws of physics and motion up for grabs every day?
    Can we live in harmony with the cause-and-effect realities that God has woven into creation? When it comes to giving and sowing and reaping, what are the cause-and-effect realities that God has tied to the act of giving?
    Why does a person reap broadly when they sow broadly? Is that the natural consequence of sowing broadly, or is it a miracle that God does to bless the generous?
  4. What makes a bribe a bribe? What is the difference between a bribe and a gift?
    Have you ever bargained with God? How? Tell the story.
    What is the difference between bargaining with God and making a promise or a commitment?
    The story is told of Martin Luther, that when he was caught in a thunderstorm he told God that if God got him out of it alive, Luther would go into the ministry. Was that bargaining with God or was that a promise born out of a crisis moment?
  5. When you consider what giving is - 1) worship, 2) honoring God, 3) partnership with God, 4) an act of faith and trust, and 5) actively working against greed and idolarty- which, if any, of these ideas are new to you?  Which of these are familiar?  Do you need to grow into any of these understandings?  What would need to change in your life in order to really do that?
  6. What is the difference between deep change and more cosmetic or surface level changes?
    When it comes to our attitude toward money, how do we make deep change?
    Pastors observe that after they teach on giving there can be a little response, but after a few weeks it often goes back to the way it was before.
    How do we/you avoid this being a little “sugar rush” or a flash in the pan?
    What can we do to promote deep change?

 

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