Rock Solid Foundations #5

 

 

 

 

 

Rock Solid Foundations - Financial Stewardship 105 - The Law of Sowing and Reaping

By:  GNGF Pastoral Board

Welcome to Grace and Glory Fellowship!

It doesn’t matter if you have been raised in church or you have absolutely no religious background.  Our purpose is to help you understand the “Rock Solid Foundations” of the Christian faith.  Today’s instruction is on “Financial Stewardship” established in the New Covenant by the Finished Work of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Unfortunately, many people cringe when we begin to talk about money in the church.  I empathize with their resentment.  There are financial abuses within some churches and from some preachers who are trying to fleece and manipulate the body to give more.  The most popularly preached and MISTAKEN message about finances is often expounded from Malachi 3:8-12 (NASB):

You Have Robbed God

“Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you! Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows. Then I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of the ground; nor will your vine in the field cast its grapes,” says the Lord of hosts.  “All the nations will call you blessed, for you shall be a delightful land,” says the Lord of hosts.

The message that you are cursed if you do not tithe is passionately taught by many preachers all over the globe.  When I see new believers who just received Jesus Christ, I see their excitement, joy and revelation of knowing that Jesus is Lord.  I see life changing transformation and enthusiasm of spirit! The smile on a new believer’s face is so precious.  Unfortunately, the next Sunday they come to church they hear that the Bible says that they are cursed with a curse if they do not give the church 10% of their money! The grief this new believer is experiencing is immense.  They feel like they just got hit with a baseball bat.  After all, they can barely pay their bills, or even put food on their table and now they have to find a way to squeeze out an additional 10% every month for their church so that God is not mad at them for robbing Him?! 

This erroneous doctrine that you are cursed with a curse is as bad as when the early church was still preaching, “You must be circumcised to be saved!”  Can you imagine the obstacle that physical circumcision became when Gentiles (who were not circumcised) accepted Jesus Christ as Lord?  These false teachers were telling new male believers that they really were not saved unless were circumcised which was practice that was established in the Abrahamic Covenant.   

Apostle Paul adamantly stood against the mixture of any of the Old Covenant teachings with the New Covenant principles.  

Regretfully, we still have the same problem in the church today.  Church teachers are mixing the Old Covenant with the New Covenant.  The message of Malachi 3:8-12 is completely Old Covenant and categorically does NOT apply to the New Covenant believer of Jesus Christ who believes in the finished work of Jesus Christ.

First, Jesus absorbed all our curses at the cross.  Galatians 3:13 (KJV) states:  “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, cursed is every one that hangs on a tree.”  Hallelujah!  Jesus is our curse absorber! 

The second problem with standing on Malachi 3 for our financial deliverance is that Christians all over the globe are praying for God to rebuke the devourer for their sake because they tithed!  They don’t understand that Jesus did more than rebuke the devourer when He went to the cross and died for our sakes.  The Bible says that Jesus completely stripped the devil of all authority and power.  The ultimate rebuke, stripping and defeat of Satan, took place at the cross!  (See pamphlet 104 - The Believer’s Authority.)

I would like to propose a New Covenant approach to finances based on the New Testament principles of sowing and reaping and stewardship. 

First off, I believe you must understand that as a born again believer you are emphatically blessed and highly favored of the Lord.  Ephesians 1:3 (KJV) states:  “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.”

 

God’s OVERARCHING WILL is that His children are blessed in every area of their lives including finances. The Apostle John said in 3 John 1:2 (NASBBeloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.”  In all respects, is a Greek word, pas, which means in all things and every area of your life. This means that the Apostle was stating it is God’s will that every area of your life, your marriage, your family, your business, your job, your education, your health and your finances prosper, succeed, and do well.  This is the OVERARCHING WILL OF GOD concerning you!

The Apostle Paul picks up this same theme of an abundant life and says in 2 Corinthians 8:9 (NASB),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 through His poverty might become rich.”  The word rich is the Greek word plouteō, which means, to be rich, abounding in riches, become wealthy, to flow, abound and wealth. 

Jesus Himself said in John 10:10 (NASB), The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, andhave it abundantly.  It is the Overarching DESIRE and WILL of God, through the finished work of the cross, that all of us prosper, succeed in all respects, flow and abound in finances and enjoy a healthy life. 

You may be wondering, “If it is God’s WILL that I am prosperous and healthy, how come so many Christians are poor and sick?” 

That is a great question!  We understand through the scriptures that 1 Timothy 2:3-4 (NASB) states:  “This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”  It is the desire and will of God that all men be saved.  However, for different reasons, there are people all over the globe today that have not been able to appropriate by faith the grace that has been extended to them through Jesus Christ.  We are not saved by grace alone, but by grace through faith. 

Even as the grace of salvation has already been extended to all people, we must appropriate that grace by placing our faith in Jesus Christ.  It is the same way with our finances and our health.  Even though it is God’s will for us to enjoy health and healthy finances, we must appropriate that grace of health and wealth, by faith.  Some people never receive what God has for them because they have simply never had their minds transformed to the truth of God’s word and all His benefits!

Psalm 103:2-5 (NASB) states:  Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits;   Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases;  Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with loving kindness and compassion;  Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.”

Unfortunately, many believers are not able to appropriate the blessings of God because they don’t know it is His DESIRE and WILL to bless them.  Hosea 4:6 (NASB) states:  My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge...” 

 

When it comes to financial provision in the kingdom of God, people are not receiving what God has provided by grace because they are not activating any faith for their finances.   God has set up a spiritual laws to appropriate His financial abundance.  They include “The Principle of Sowing and Reaping and Stewardship.”

 

Some people think that God can do anything He wants.  They don’t understand that the Lord has placed certain restrictions upon Himself that even He does not defy.  For example, the Lord set up the law of gravity.  What goes up, must come down.  If someone decides to jump off of a 10 story building, does God want to see them die?  No, of course not, but He does not suspend the law of gravity in order to save their life either. 

 

Neither does the Lord violate His creation law of seed time and harvest, also called sowing and reaping.   For example, you may own a large piece of land with incredible soil, an ideal place for a garden to grow.  However, you still have to plant the seeds in the garden and properly care for it to receive a harvest.  Imagine the foolishness of any farmer who prays to God for rain to water his land, but he never plants any seed.  Harvest time will come and there will be nothing to harvest!  God does not suspend His law for the sincere misinformed farmer. Neither does He suspend the law of sowing and reaping for the sincere believer. If you want a financial harvest, you must sow your seed!

 

What am I giving my finances for?

The preaching of the gospel! 

The apostle Paul said in Romans 10:14 (NASB), “And how will they hear without a preacher?”

You are reading this article because you are a believer in Jesus Christ.  You would not believe in Jesus had someone not told you. 

God desires and wills that all men are saved and He uses the preaching of the Word of God and preachers to do that.  When you find a great church that teaches the Word of God you will be excited to support that ministry with your finances.

The Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 9:7 (NLT), “What soldier has to pay his own expenses? What farmer plants a vineyard and doesn’t have the right to eat some of its fruit? What shepherd cares for a flock of sheep and isn’t allowed to drink some of the milk?  ( 1 Cor 9:11 NASB)  If we sowed spiritual things in you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? (1 Cor 9:12-14 NLT)   If you support others who preach to you, shouldn’t we have an even greater right to be supported? But we have never used this right. We would rather put up with anything than be an obstacle to the Good News about Christ.  Don’t you realize that those who work in the temple get their meals from the offerings brought to the temple? And those who serve at the altar get a share of the sacrificial offerings.  In the same way, the Lord ordered that those who preach the Good News should be supported by those who benefit from it.”

Just like any organization that serves people, it costs money to run a fellowship which provides a building for its members, staff, and outreach programs.  God is pleased when we sow our money knowing that the ministry we are giving into is preaching the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ and providing an atmosphere for people to be changed and transformed by His love and loving body of believers. 

OK, I want to give, so how much?

I do not have an answer to that question.  But, the Apostle Paul picked this theme back up again in 2 Corinthians 9:6-11 (NASB): Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.  Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

Therefore, we believe and teach that you must decide and purpose in your own heart what you can give cheerfully to the preaching of the gospel.  The scriptures are very clear that you reap what you sow.  If you sow bountifully, you will reap bountifully.  Also, let’s not forget the widow’s mite.  She purposed in her heart her gift to give and gave cheerfully. (Mark 12:41-44)

If you are saying that I want to sow bountifully, but I don’t have it to give, then I encourage our members to take the Financial Stewardship Class that we offer at our church.  We encourage every person to decide in their budget what they will give every month and save every month. Then you live on the rest.  It’s called STEWARDSHIP

What is STEWARDSHIP?

According to the dictionary, STEWARDSHIP is the responsible overseeing and protection of something considered worth caring for and preserving.  Stewardship is a New Testament principle in the scriptures.  We steward everything the Lord has blessed us with.  Our physical bodies, our marriages, our families, our friendships, our time, and our money!  None of it is ours.  It is all a gift from God.

Stewarding finances means that we decide in our heart how much we are going to give every month, how much we are going to save every month, and how we are going to spend every month.  Stewardship requires that we discipline ourselves and take control of our money so it goes where we want it to go as we have decided in our hearts.  Rather than flying by the seat of our pants and not budgeting our money, we are showing God that no matter how large we increase financially, we will always give Him our best portion.  Giving to the kingdom of God can include giving to the preaching of the gospel through your church, giving into missions, giving to the poor and giving to other charitable organizations.

We personally give at least 10% and save at least 10% every month.  We would like to do more, and God knows that.  As He increases us, it will move up to 15%, then 20% and more.  We give 10%, NOT because of Malachi 3, but because throughout the scriptures, we saw that there was an example that was established by Abraham and his descendants before the Law of Moses.  This is an amount that I can give cheerfully from my heart.  However, I am a FIRM believer that God is looking for stewardship.   If you can steward your finances and give 2% and save 2% with a cheerful heart, giving it in joy and faith, then that is what you need to do.  God loves that when you give, you give cheerfully! 

The main point in giving is that you learn to release your faith with the knowledge that God is ABLE and desires to multiply the seed that you are sowing!  Look at these next scriptures.

2 Corinthians 9:8-9 (NASB)  And God is ABLE to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed…”  The word ABLE is a Greek word, dunateō, which means, to be able, be powerful.  It comes from an incredible family of Greek words, dunatos, dunamai and dunamis which mean, strong, mighty, powerful, able, miracles, miraculous powers, strength, wealth. 

When we give CHEERFULLY, not grudgingly, stewarding our finances, God’s “ABLE,” His supernatural miraculous power, IS RELEASED by your faith to receive the grace of the wealth provided by Christ to MANIFEST in your finances.

Look at this next scripture in 2 Corinthians 9:10-11 (NASB)  Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness;  you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God.”

Basically the Apostle is saying, “Look church, if you want to see the financial provision promised by the Father, then you are going to have to activate your faith knowing that the seed you sow will be multiplied back to you!  When you sow your seed for the preaching of the gospel, His ABLE, miraculous, power is going to move on your behalf.  You will see financial breakthroughs!”  God is promising that if you are stewarding, if you are giving cheerfully from your heart, He will provide you with the seed.  HE is your provider.  Give back to Him what He has given to you.

We would be remiss not to make clear that what we ARE talking about is Stewardship and NOT the false preaching of the “prosperity gospel” (“prosperity” from a greedy context where you only give so you will get) in which deceitful teachers use cunning words and emotional ploys to pickpocket God’s children of their finances!  1 Timothy 6:10 (NLT) states For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.”  Neither are we saying that prosperity is solely monetary.  As we stated before, God wants us to prosper in all respects.  3 John 1:2 (NASB) states Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.”  This means that the Apostle was stating it is God’s will that every area of your life, your marriage, your family, your business, your job, your education, your health and your finances prosper, succeed, and do well.  This is the OVERARCHING WILL OF GOD concerning you!  True prosperity encompasses all facets of life- spiritual, emotional, physical, and financial.

As I said earlier, the key is stewardship.  God sees our stewardship just as He sees our heart. It is a New Testament principle to give more to those who can handle the more as in the story of the talents and the faithful servants.  If you are faithful every month to give that which you have determined, cheerfully in your heart, you will in time see an increase.   If your stewardship is faithful to give $100 off your $1000 every month, then I guarantee you that you will have NO problem to regularly write that $1,000 check per month when you are making $10,000 a month.  And when you come into a supernatural inheritance of $500,000, you will have NO problem writing that check for $50,000 or more depending on what the Lord is asking of you. 

There is great joy in stewarding large sums of money for His kingdom!   However, it starts small.  Begin with a cheerful seed by faith and watch the ABLE, mighty, miracle working power of God move on your behalf and increase and multiply your seed!

My husband and I began stewarding our finances many years ago.  I have to admit, before I stepped into the revelation of sowing seed, I had a hard time releasing my money.  I had a “lack” mindset and was afraid that I would have less money if I started giving.  I didn’t know how or think I could give because our checkbook was ALWAYS in the negative.  However, the Lord really dealt with my heart and revealed to me that He wanted to prosper us with His supernatural “ABLE” working power, so I needed to exercise my faith and cheerfully begin giving regularly.  As we stepped out in faith stewarding the amount revealed to us consistently every month, we began to NOT be negative in our checkbook anymore. Then, only one year later, our church supernaturally inherited a church building DEBT FREE!  All glory to God!  I never stopped stewarding and I have always seen the miraculous breakthroughs and continual blessings of supply in both my personal life and ministry!

I encourage you to make up your own mind and decide what you can give to the work of the kingdom and the message of the good news gospel of Jesus Christ.  Put your faith out there with me and believe that God is ABLE and will put His SUPER on your natural in regards to your finances!

Let’s pray over your seed.  Father, I thank You that You have given me a job to provide for my family and to support the preaching of the gospel.  Today, I give my financial seed in faith knowing that You will supply and multiply my seed for sowing and increase me on every side.  I thank You that it is Your will for me to prosper in every area of my life.  I thank You for grace to steward all that You place in my hands and I declare this day the promise that You will bless me so that I can be a blessing!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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