1. When I give it is a lifeline to others.
As Paul wrote Philippians he sat in jail. Did the Romans provide cable TV, a workout room and all that Paul needed? No. He was in great need in prison and the Philippians gave to meet his needs.
14 Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. 15 …not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; 16 for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid again and again when I was in need.
Paul was in need and their gift was a lifeline to him.
Have you ever received a gift that was just what you needed? Sure. Have you ever given a gift that was so needed for the one you gave it to? Sure. Giving means so much when it meets needs that are indescribable. In our Growth Groups when members give to another member in hard times those gifts are a life line to the person in need.
Paul needed money to take the gospel to the Roman Empire. The offerings of the Philippians were a lifeline to him.
Consider this, the offerings given supplied Paul with pen and paper. Then he was able to write this letter that we still read today! Offerings have a lasting effect. We have a New Testament because church members in Philippi gave so that Paul could have his needs met and do the ministry God called him too. He needed the money.
Even Jesus used money to do his ministry, did you know it says “Judas carried the money purse.” (John 13:29).
Did you know that people gave to support Jesus ministry?
3 Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s business manager; Susanna; and many others who were contributing their own resources to support Jesus and his disciples. Luke 8:3 (NLT) Money is necessary for God’s work.
I don’t know why God doesn’t spell out in the stars, “Jesus died for your sins, accept him and live.” He could but he partners with us and with churches to spread his word. From the beginning in the Old Testament people had to give to provide for the sacrifices, for the temple, the articles in the temple, the priests, all this was provided by the people’s giving. They were to give. No ifs ands or butt’s. When you say, “well God will provide for his church,” he does through you. You become a lifeline to others spiritually.
When I pray and say, “God we have needs as a church, Help us, provide for us!” God always tells me, encourage the people to give!” This is the way. I expect a miracle; God expects obedience from his people. You become the miracle.
I have always taken for granted all that has been given to allow me to be where I am spiritually. You probably have too. As a child I sat in chairs, pews, and Sunday school rooms, fellowship halls that others gave for. I listened to songs and messages that others gave to provide. I am a believer because people gave that I might hear the gospel and trust Christ. What a lifeline those gifts were to my life! Have you ever thought about what had to be given for you have the faith and the spiritual insights and blessings you have been given? Yes Jesus gave but how many other believers have given from generation to generation to pass on the gospel.
It wasn’t until we began building this church that I realized all it takes to build a church and how I took for granted every church I had ever been in. Everything that is in our church we have because of giving: the chairs you sit in, the floor beneath your feet, the screen, the projector, the instruments, the coffee, the programs, the crafts, lessons and snacks for your kids, the sound, the music, the lawn and flower beds, the list could go on and on and on of all the other things that go into preparing the weekly service – It all took giving and will continue to each week.
Now what is your soul worth?
What are the souls of the people in our community worth? They are worth your giving and offerings. You are to be a lifeline.
- When I give it is an investment to my account.
17 Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account.
“ Credited,” this is a banking term. In the Greek it means, “accumulated interest”.
Did you know God pays interest? Jesus said 100 times would be returned to him who gives up for the gospel. (Mark 10:30) One hundred times is 10,000% interest. Wouldn’t you like to have that kind of interest on your CD’s money market accounts, mutual funds or stocks? Paul says I want you to be aware that you will receive the reward for your giving.
Think of your bank account right now your earthly account. Is there enough in there? Probably not, no one ever thinks they have enough. What about your heavenly bank account? What have you deposited? I wish every Christian worried about their heavenly bank account as much as their earthly bank account.
God is recording anything and everything that you give. Every time you give something is recorded in heaven. Jesus said, even “a cup of cold water given in his name is written down.” (Matt. 10:42) Every time, every time you’re generous with your money to his work to the church it is recorded and rewarded. It is an investment and the bank of Heaven pays interest.
Suppose I go to a bank and say, “How much interest have I accumulated?” The banker would say, “How much have you deposited?” I say, “Nothing.” He’d say, “Let me tell you how this works Mr. Koop: You don’t get any interest if you don’t make any investment.” That’s true in the Christian life.
Jesus said, “store up treasure in heaven,” How? By giving, by investing in God’s work. Invest in people who are going there. Paul says, You have been sacrificial in your giving. You gave and it was an encouragement to me. But more than that it was an investment for yourself.
George Carroll was a wealthy Texan who gave a lot of money to his church and to Baylor University. They named a building after him, the Carroll Science building because of his gifts to the university. During the depression he lost most of his wealth. One day he was given a tour of Baylor by the president Dr. Brooks. Dr Brooks said, “Are you sorry for the money you gave away?” George Carroll said without hesitation, “No because the money kept for myself is all gone but that I gave away still remains.” It is true for us and in eternity.
- When I give it is pleasing to God
18 …They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God.
God loves you period. You can’t earn God’s love, he loves unconditionally. It is God’s nature to love you no matter what, but the Bible says we can please God.
For instance I love Kaleb, Noel and Danielle. I wish my love were more unconditional like God’s, but I still love them even when they don’t mind, when they are disrespectful and disobedient. But am I pleased when they mind? When they share? Absolutely, I am thrilled! “That’s it! Good boy, good girl, Daddy is proud of you!” God is the same way; he is pleased when we share, give, support others and His ministry work.
Do you want to please God? Have you ever wondered what it is that pleases God? The most pleasing thing you can do for God is sacrificial giving. It is done in faith and “without faith it is impossible to please God.” (Heb. 11:6) Jesus Christ was a total sacrificial giver. He came to earth. He gave up everything in heaven and came to earth, died on the cross, gave up all. Sacrificial. That describes His life — a sacrifice. When you are most like Christ, you are sacrificial. When you’re giving to God’s work generous, sharing for the sake of growing God’s kingdom, you are the most like Christ. And it pleases God.
It says it’s a “fragrant offering“. This refers back to Leviticus, which talks about presenting a young bull for an offering. In the Old Testament they would lay the offering (the carcass of the bull) on the altar and “burn it all”, creating “an aroma pleasing to the Lord”(Lev. 1:9) To me burnt flesh doesn’t sound like a pleasing aroma.
But like my dad says who has a herd of cattle, “Smell that cow poop? That’s the smell of money son!” Whatever is the most pleasing smell to you, that is sensation God feels when you give generously
The point is a sacrificial giver is a beautiful person; you love to be around them. Giving is an act of worship. That’s why giving a part of our worship service. It’s just as important as singing, praying or teaching. Giving is an act of worship.
Coach Bear Bryant a legendary coach in an interview with Sports Illustrated said that there are different types of football players, “There are those who have ability and know it” and there are those who don’t have ability but don’t know it” The one that makes you the proudest is the one who isn’t good enough to play but puts so much into it that he does anyway. We have a lot of those” The ones that have ability and don’t use it are the ones that eat your guts out!”
In the same way God is pleased and proud when you give when you can’t and when you can and don’t it’s like it eats his guts out.
Did you know God has feelings attached to our offerings? He does, it moves him deeply! Jesus said it like this, “In as much as you have done unto the least of these, my brethren, you have done it unto Me.”
When Kaleb was about a year old I was at HEB with Kaleb, and he had a cough and was sneezing. At HEB he sneezed and I should have been more prepared- I was an unprepared dad (I still am) Kaleb had a huge amount of snot on his lip, like a big old mustache (I know you want a good description before lunch) but it was annoying I felt like I had snot on me and I didn’t have a Kleenex, I was ready to use my sleeve, but immediately a lady came up with a Kleenex and wiped his nose. I tell you it was like she wiped my nose. My feelings have made roots into Kaleb’s life and feelings. As a parent you know this. If someone gives to your child it is like giving to you.
God is the same way he has his feelings like roots in others. He loves the people that are not in this building yet because they don’t know him. When you give so that the gospel goes out to people, in a church, in the community, it is an investment in eternity and it is a sacrifice pleasing to God.
I hope you can join me and be generous this Christmas season.