Radical Generosity – Part 3 (Obedience)
Pastor Stephen Hayes
September 17, 2017
Main Idea – Christian generosity develops through three steps: radical revelation, radical obedience, and radical discipline. Once we have received revelation from God, we respond by being obedient to what we have learned.
Christians are given opportunities to give
- Statistics show wealthy, devoted Christians give – by far – more money to their churches and to charity than any other group of people in the United States. (see the book God and Money – How We Discovered True Riches at Harvard Business School – by John Cortines and Gregory Baumer)
- If devoted Christians have it, they will give it.
- The recent hurricanes in South Texas and Florida have demonstrated how devoted Christians generously respond to the needs of others.
Seek God first
- If we seek God, both our earthly needs and Godly insight will follow. Matthew 6:33 – But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
- When we seek God first, He blesses us with all we need for ourselves, and then more.
- He also blesses us with wisdom and revelation.
- The revelation gives us instructions on what we are to do next. After we receive revelation, we are obedient so God can use us to bless and love others; just as we have been blessed and loved.
- The Bible is God’s revealed Word.
- “What you give attention to, you give authority to.”
The revelation of giving the first tenth
- Malachi 3: 10-11 says, – “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try 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 such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, so that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,” says the Lord of hosts.
- Tithing is not only giving 10%, but giving back to God the first 10% of our increase.
- Not only does this first 10% support the church’s ministry but,
- It also protects the other 90% of our resources from being wasted or stolen by Satan.
Giving of yourself after the tithe
- Mark 6: 32-44 is the story of Jesus feeding 5000 men, and their families, with just five loaves of bread and two fish. Here are a few things we can learn about giving from this story:
- Jesus blessed those who came to Him; He did not force on people what He had to offer (verses 33-34.) In the same way, some people may not be aware of what you have to offer. Don’t force what you have on them. Rather, give of yourself to those who are open to you.
- Give of yourself of what you have. The young boy (as identified in John 6:9) who offered five loaves and two fish knew the crowd could not be fed with that small amount of food. Nevertheless, he obediently gave what he had for Jesus to use. Don’t let what you don’t have keep you from giving what you do have to Jesus.
- Verse 41 says, “And when He had taken the five loaves and the two fish, He looked up to heaven, blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to His disciples to set before them; and the two fish He divided among them all.” “Anablepo” is the Greek word used here for the word “looked up” and means “to look up, to recover lost sight.” God is our source of everything we have to give. The perception that our limited resources will limit God is, of course, wrong. God always creates more than enough through our giving.
- We do not have to lean on our own understanding to know that when we are obedient with what we have, God accomplishes great things through our generosity.
Reflective Questions for Radical Generosity – Part 3: Obedience
- After viewing this message, can you explain why proper tithing is not just any 10%, but the first 10%? Why is this “firstness” important?
- God will bless you with many other opportunities to give to others. Identify two things about giving of ourselves that Pastor Stephen taught from the Feeding of the 5000 in Mark 6: 32-44.
- How is God operating even when some people are open to what you have to give and others are not? How should you respond in both situations? (Use Jesus as your role model when you answer this question.)