Why Give (Exodus 35-39)

MOTIVATE

Illus: One Sunday afternoon a family sat down at the table for lunch following the church service. The young son started the conversation, “Dad, I couldn’t stop yawning, that was a boring sermon today.” The daughter chimed in, “Brother, you sure are right. And he just kept going on and on and on.” The mother jumped in and said, “Lord have mercy, did you hear that choir? They couldn’t stay in tune if their life depended on it.” Finally the Dad had heard enough. He said, “Family we must stop this. We cannot keep talking about the church service like this. Each of you needs to just keep quiet. Besides, what did you expect for $5?”

 

In today’s message we are going to talk about giving. I know that when Christians or the church talks about money it is usually thought about from the perspective of a man with slick hair, an even slicker suit with shiny shoes, gold watch and charms to match with a wife in full dress, high hair and caked make-up all promising our blessing will be in proportion to our giving!?! This should not be. Indeed, there are too many examples of such whose greed, hypocrisy, and deceit will be self-condemning in eternity.

However, it is biblically appropriate to address this subject. The subject of money is not meddling but mindful. God’s character and commands are relevant to all of life and therefore crucial to understand His principles and perspective on the subject. Our goal at SPBC is not to increase donors but disciples. Our vision is growing godly generations, or in other words: equipping disciples to have a godly view for every aspect of life, inclusive of $$.

Essential to remember is that money is not evil until it becomes an obsession and substitute god.

Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

Luke 12:15 “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

1Timothy 6:10 “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.”

We can either worship our wealth or worship with our wealth; it is simply one of many tools or means God gives us to accomplish His work. “Simply put, if we love money, we use God and people. However, if we love God, we are free to use money to love God and people. Our money is inextricably linked to our worship, both corporately and individually…Every day with every dollar we are committing either worship or idolatry.”[1]

Israel had previously committed idolatry, creating a golden calf. Some were condemned to God’s judgment while others were spared. The people are assembled together to hear Moses speak the Lord’s instructions concerning creating the Tabernacle.

Exodus_logo

EXAMINE               Why Give? (Exodus 35-39)

We give because God has commanded (35:4; 25:1-9)

Moses had spent 40 days upon Mt.Sinai (24:18). He received God’s instructions about the décor and design and intention of the Tabernacle (chapter 25 – 30). It was God’s command (25:9; 35:4, 10, 29) for every Israelite willing to give to contribute various materials and resources for the building of a sanctuary for God to dwell among the people.

 

The Bible is filled with teaching on money and our giving. There are principles of sacrifices and offerings in the OT as well as NT principles for giving. In sum, the Bible presents a clear view that all of our resources belong to God and that we are not owners but stewards.

Psalm 24:1 “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein”

Psalm 50:10-11 “For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills, and all that moves in the field is mine.”

Psalm 89:11 “The heavens are yours; the earth also is yours; the world and all that is in it, you have founded them.”

Abraham Kupyer “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘Mine!’”

µ     The tithing question.

–          Levitical Tithe

  • A tithe means “tenth”, where God’s people gave 10% of their firstfruits to God and to support the role of the Levites (priestly tribe; Numbers 18:21-29; 27:30).
  • A tithe and offering of crops, herds and flocks was given (Leviticus 27:30-32; Deut 12:4-18; 14:22-23).

–          Festival & Poor Tithe

  • In addition, there were other tithes required of God’s people to support religious festivals for worship and community life (Deuteronomy 12:10-11, 17-18; 14:22-27); offerings of 3.3% to help the poor (Deuteronomy 14:28-29) along with allowing for the poor and aliens to crop glean (Leviticus 19:9-10); and even other occasional offerings (Nehemiah 10:32-33). In sum, the total “mandatory” OT tithe/offerings resulted in likely around 25% range.

–          In the NT, Jesus affirms the tithe (Matt 23:23); but even more the emphasis is on grace-giving. In other words 10% is the more likely a starting point for believers in grace; giving is to be compelled by God, and compassionate for others not compulsory (Acts 2:45; 2Cor 8:7-9, 9:6-9; Philippians 4:14-20).

–          The NT further shows giving should be systematic (1Cor 16:1-1); sacrificial (Widow’s Offering in Luke 21:1-4; 2Cor 8:1-6,10-12); willing & generous (2Cor 9:6-9; Galatians 6:9-10; Philippians 4:14-20); and visionary for advancing God’s kingdom (Matt 13:44-46, 25:29; Luke 16:10-13; 2Cor 8:7, 9:6-15)

–          The average regular church-goer gives 6% of their gross income; about 20% of all Christians account for 86% of all giving.[2]

¨      Should I tithe on net or gross? The real question is, Which does God own, or Which amount do you want God to bless in your finances? The point is we give to God our firstfruits/our best, not leftovers.

¨      Should a tithe go to the church or other ministries? OT Israelites brought their tithes and offerings to the tabernacle where God’s presence existed (Deut 12:5-7, 12, 17-18; Ex 33:7-11) and later to the temple storehouse (Nehemiah 10:38; 13:12; Malachi 3:10). The early Christians in NT brought their tithes and offerings to the church (Acts 4:34-35; 1Cor 16:1-3).

¨      When it comes to tithing there is an initial pause, thought and question – Can I really afford to do this? Honestly, Scripture teaches the contrasting question, Can I afford not to do this? God challenges us to trust that He is a great Provider. Our faith is strengthened when we act on His promises; tithing is ultimately an issue of faith.

Malachi 3:8-12 “Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the Lord of hosts. Then all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land of delight, says the Lord of hosts.”

Philippians 4:19 “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”


We give because God has provided (35:5-10, 20-29)

The Israelites were commanded to make a contribution for the Tabernacle building with a wide variety of materials and skills. Everyone had a part – “all the congregation of the people of Israel” (35:4, 20).

In some cases, the people had unique materials or talents to give. Not everyone had the same things to offer, but they gave what they had. If they had few resources they could offer their time and talents and vice versa. In all, these are resources which God has provided.

ð     God is not looking for equal giving of time, talents and treasure but equal commitment.  In other words, when it comes to Time, Talents & Treasure: every person has varying amounts depending on their gifts and circumstances. Some work full time outside the home while others quadruple time inside the home. Some are retired and some are under or unemployed. Yet, every believer is called to be equally committed toward giving for the glory of God.

ð     Randy Alcorn says, “When God provides more money, we often think, This is a blessing. Well, yes, but it would be just as scriptural to think, This is a test… God prospers me not to raise my standard of living, but to raise my standard of giving.”[3]

  • The point of luxury is understanding how to leverage money, power and position for influence and advancement of God’s kingdom, not our own where moth and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal (Matt 6:19-21).

 

We give in response to grace (35:20-29; 36:1-7)

As the Israelites heard about the Tabernacle construction plans they all wanted to participate. Scattered through the passage are phrases showing the giving was not forced or obligatory but fulfilling and enjoyable.

–          v.5 “whoever has a generous heart”

–          v.21 “everyone whose heart stirred him”

–          v.22 “All who were a willing heart”

–          v.26 “All the women whose hearts stirred them to use their skill”

–          v.29 “All the men and women whose heart moved them to bring anything for the Lord’s work”

 

Further, the people gave with such generosity that the craftsman told Moses that the materials were provided in over-abundance; they had to instruct the people to stop giving! Their generosity was restrained.

Those that understand the fullness of God’s worth, God’s provision and God’s grace will always respond in gratitude and generosity. Jesus’ radical generosity to give of Himself is the model and motivation for our giving in return. And Jesus did not merely tithe his life or blood but gave it all. Oh that God’s people might grasp the same heart.

2 Corinthians 8:9 “for you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.”

As we consider God’s giving methods, we not only have an example but a desire to show our appreciation. Giving becomes fun and fulfilling, agreeing with Jesus that It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).

 

APPLY/THINK

Jesus wants you more than your possessions. He wants you to realize His love and generosity for you that in return your heart will freely give in response to Him.

Mark 8:36 “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?”

 

Take My Life and Let It Be: Here am I, All of Me, Take my life, It’s all for Thee


[1] Doctrine. pp.375-376.

[2] Statistics compiled in Driscoll, Doctrine, pp.396-397. Even more interesting are proposed ministry and social actions that could be achieved if committed Christians gave only 10% of income accounting for an extra $46 billion per year of resources on p.398.

[3] Alcorn, p.75.

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