Emmanuel CRC
2021-02-14
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  • Jesus Shall Reign
  • We Give Thee But Thine Own
  • Today we begin a new sermon series that will support our annual missions emphasis and take us into the first two weeks of Lent.

    Investing in the Kingdom: A Biblical View of Stewardship, Money, and Giving

    Sometimes when pastors preach on these topics, the effect, if not the intent, is to shame the congregation into giving more money. This series of sermons is not a shaming series. As your pastor, I could not be more thankful and amazed at how our church family gives to support the ministries of our church, the corporate endeavors of our denomination, and then giving beyond that to support our local outreach and missionary endeavors around the world.

    Emmanuel is a generous church family

    Last year we gave almost $160,000 toward our budget. The Lord blessed us with nearly $22,000 through the government’s Payroll Protection Plan. By these means, we covered all our expenses last year. Within our budget, we gave over $15,700 to CRC initiatives. Above our operating budget, last year we gave $11,542 to support our international missionaries and local outreach. Beyond this, we gave $11,725 to a variety of Kingdom opportunities through our Thanksgiving Day offering.
    This accounts for the giving that happens through our giving to the church. This does not account for all the personal giving to kingdom causes and the financial help to others outside of our giving to our church. This does not account for the investment of our time, energy, and other resources for the Kingdom that occurs within and outside of our church family year, after year, after year. Our church family is a powerhouse of giving.
    Because Emmanuel is a generous church family, I hope these four sermons will encourage us in three ways:
    1) I hope we celebrate how God enables us to give generously.
    2) I hope we expect that our joy will grow in stewarding the resources our Lord entrusts to us.
    3) I hope we believe our ability will grow to increase the kingdom impact of the resources God entrusts to us.

    Here’s an overview of how God will encourage us in the next four weeks

    Using the Parable of the Ten Minas as our starting point each week, the Lord will encourage us by helping us grasp:
    1) A Biblical View of Stewardship: Everything belongs to the King and we are his servants.
    2) A Biblical View of Money and Wealth: The King gives us money and other resources as tools to produce wealth for the King.
    3) Biblical View of Giving: We give back to the King what he has given us with its increase. The increase of our giving is its impact for the Kingdom.
    I want to pause here and give an example of giving that produces a kingdom impact whose increase we give back to the Lord. Many of us have made an enormous investment of our money and other resources and often at the sacrifice of other good things to educate our children in Christian schools (and sometimes our grandchildren, and even to help the children of friends or other family). I want you to know that the investment you made in your children’s education is a stewardship investment of your God-given resources for the Kingdom.
    We give the Lord that investment and its increase when we put that money to work trusting God that our investment is going to bear fruit for the Kingdom by making our children better disciples of Jesus, our grandchildren better disciples of Jesus, our great-grandchildren our great-great-great-great grandchildren better disciples of Jesus. We have invested in building a generational legacy for our families that gives our families a Kingdom impact that will far exceed the monetary value of our first investment.
    Our series concludes with:
    4) Investing in the Kingdom: Engaging the Spiritual Battle.
    Here we see that all our stewardship hinges on how we answer this question: Who is our King?

    Investing in the Kingdom supports our annual missions emphasis by . . .

    advancing the biblical truth that our involvement in and support of missions is at its heart a matter of stewardship. How will we use the resources God has given to us? How will we use:
    · our life span.
    · our time.
    · our money.
    · our possessions.
    · our relationships.
    How will we use all the resources God entrusts to us to help others put their faith in Jesus and then grow to be like Jesus? As Christians, this is our purpose in life. The Apostle Paul tells us,
    Romans 8:28 NIV
    And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
    What is that purpose to which God calls us?
    Romans 8:29 NIV
    For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.
    · It is good that all people be safe, well fed, and well clothed—but it is not good enough!
    · It is good that all people receive an education, have gainful employment, and contribute to the wellbeing of society—but it is not good enough!
    · It is good that all people experience a sense of happiness and wellbeing—but it is not good enough!
    If we have in this life all these good things, but we do not have a living relationship with Jesus, at the end of our life, we will be empty-handed. Only life in Jesus is a life good enough to transform our common human existence into an eternal life of wellbeing, purpose, and joy!
    God calls us to missions for one reason - for God so loves the world that he doesn’t want anyone to miss this eternal life of wellbeing, purpose, and joy in Jesus.
    Ephesians 2:10 NIV
    For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
    show Ephesians 2:10
    God gives us talent, abilities and calls us to different professions and different informal ways of serving others. These are what Paul calls in Ephesians 2:10 the “good works God has prepared for us in advance to do.” We may do the “good work” of being a teacher, an electrician, a mechanic, an artist, a nurse, a homemaker, or a volunteer in our community. God will often ask us to develop new talents, abilities, and step into new callings as we leave some old talents, abilities, and callings behind. We can receive these changes with thanksgiving and joy individually and as a church family because talents, abilities, and callings, activities, or specific ministries are not our purpose in life. Over our lifetime, Jesus brings to us a variety of “good works” and asks us to follow Him in new directions. These are good works God prepared in advance for us to do so that in doing them we fulfill our purpose in life to become more like Jesus and to help others become more like Jesus. If we will believe and live into this truth, we realize that in every moment of every day, through the good works God prepares and entrusts to us this day, we become more like Jesus and we help others become more like Jesus.
    That’s why Jesus tells us to make disciples. It is only Jesus’ servants cooperating with the work of the Holy Spirit by using their resources through the good works He prepared for us to do that all people can hear and respond to the Good News of eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.
    You may think, “clearly this series supports our mission emphasis, but . . .

    How does this series relate to Lent?”

    Luke 18:31-34 answers that question for us.
    Luke 18:31–34 NIV
    Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be delivered over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him and spit on him; they will flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.” The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about.
    In Luke’s Gospel, the story of Jesus healing the blind beggar, the story of Zacheus, and the Parable of the Ten Minas at the three things that Luke considers most important about Jesus’ last journey to Jerusalem. Immediately following the Parable of the Ten Minas, Jesus enters Jerusalem. In Luke’s Gospel, this parable holds Jesus’ last words, before he enters Jerusalem as the King born to die and, in his dying, to conquer sin and death.
    Understanding how Investing in the Kingdom supports our missions emphasis and ushers us into Lent, this morning, let’s allow God’s encouragement to flow to our hearts through a biblical view of stewardship.

    Where is our heart?

    Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21, NIV)
    Our stewardship of the resources God entrusts to us and our participation with God in his mission to make disciples of all nations is a matter of our heart. Jesus tells us that where our heart is, there is where our resources will flow.
    Are we among the Christians who experience our responsibility for stewarding the resources God entrusts as mere duty? These Christians understand stewardship as something we must do and to which the Lord holds us accountable. I propose to you today, that at its best, our Christian stewardship is our willing, loving, and joyful response to God’s sovereign power, goodness, and love.
    This morning I hope to uncover for us a biblical foundation for joyfully using the resources God entrusts to us to help others put their faith in Jesus and then grow to be like Jesus.
    I want us to see in God’s Word that our joy and effectiveness as God’s servants who are stewarding his resources rests in us . . .

    Receiving our life as an expression of God’s sovereign power, goodness, and love.

    God’s sovereign power, goodness, and love ground our stewardship as servants of God. God’s sovereignty flows from God’s all-powerfulness—his omnipotence. God’s sovereign power “means that God is able to do all his holy will.”[1] Whatever God purposes as good, He can and will bring to pass.
    King David teaches us that,
    The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;” (Psalm 24:1, NIV)
    Psalm 24:1 NIV
    The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;
    Because God creates all that exists and because God gives life to every living plant, animal, and person, God rightfully owns, holds power over, and requires allegiance from all creation and especially from his most glorious creation—humankind.
    God reigns as Sovereign-All-Powerful King over all creation. Our Sovereign-All-Powerful King is good. The goodness of God means that God is the final standard of good, and that all that God is and does is worthy of approval.[2] Our Sovereign-All-Powerful King is the final determiner of what is good and what is not good. Our world and our nation live in deep confusion on this point. The fallen world and even some Christians believe that God’s standards of moral goodness are open for debate. They are wrong.
    King David calls us to,
    Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” (Psalm 34:8, NIV)
    Psalm 34:8 NIV
    Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
    Our All-Powerful King is sovereign, and He is good. Our All-Powerful God’s sovereignty and goodness are inseparable from His love. The only definition of God in the New Testament occurs in these three words, God is love. (1 John 4:8)
    1 John 4:8 NIV
    Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
    God’s love means that God eternally gives of himself to others.[3] God’s unchanging nature and behavior is to give of himself to bring about blessing or good for others.
    Psalm 106 commands us to,
    Psalm 106:1 NIV
    Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.
    In this one verse, we see that the LORD—the eternal God who is sovereign in power and authority is good and His love is constant—it endures forever!
    With this picture our Sovereign-All-Powerful-All-Good-All Loving King in our hearts and minds here the word of the Lord,
    Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” (Genesis 1:26–28, NIV)
    Genesis 1:26–28 NIV
    Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
    God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31, NIV)
    Genesis 1:31 NIV
    God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.
    Do our hearts vibrate with love and joy toward our creator, when we hear God created you and me in his image—to be good as He is good, to love as He is love, and rule over creation as He rules over creation in goodness and love. This is what it means for us to be servants of God who steward his creation and the resources he puts at our disposal.
    Jesus said: “A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. ‘Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.’” (Luke 19:12–13, NIV)
    Luke 19:12–13 NIV
    He said: “A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. ‘Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.’
    The man of noble birth, the prince destined to be King is Jesus. The servants are Jesus’ followers.
    The prince is going away on a long trip to receive the kingship. He calls 10 of his servants and entrusts each of them with a mina. A mina would be about three months’ wages. So, it was a significant sum. The prince commands them, “Put this money to work until I come back.”
    Jesus wants us to look beyond the details of this story to experience his Sovereign grace, goodness, and love. You see of all his servants; the prince, by his right as sovereign, chose only ten. The prince could have chosen a different number of servants or a different 10 servants, but these ten receive the grace of their master’s favor. In his goodness, the prince entrusts to each one and to the group significant resources — about 2 ½ years’ worth of wages. In his love, the prince gives these and only these ten servants the opportunity to show themselves faithful stewards of the prince’s resources. The prince gives these ten servants, the opportunity to show how they can give delight and bring glory to their master by increasing the value of the resources that he has put at their disposal.
    In his sovereign goodness and love, God has uniquely gifted us individually and as a church family to use His resources to make disciples. The increase that God wants of us as individuals and as a church family from the investment of the death of His Son to wipe away our sins and make us children of God, citizens of His Kingdom and joint heirs with Jesus our Lord is that we are disciples who use His resources to make and grow disciples.

    What is the “mina” entrusted to our care?

    What is the mina that God has entrusted into your care? To begin with, it is the gift of the rest of your life. How will you use the time, the talents, the relationships, the material resources, and the financial resources God entrust to you to be a disciple of Jesus who helps others become disciples of Jesus?
    What is the mina that God has entrusted to the care of our church family? How will we use all the resources God has entrusted to us to become disciples whose burning desire and priority is making and growing disciples?
    Our greatest blessing as individuals and as a church family is that God in his sovereign choice, goodness, and love gave us life. When we receive our life with thankfulness for God’s sovereign good and loving will, then we know that in every moment of every day God blesses us. Then we can take joy in using God’s blessings to us, to bless God by doing what is most important to him. It is important to Jesus that we are faithful disciples who use the resources entrusted to us to make and grow other disciples.

    We are one-of-a-kind!

    God created you as a one-of-a-kind person with one-of-a-kind abilities to take joy in and use the resources He entrusted to you.
    God created us as a one-of-a-kind church family with one-of-a-kind abilities to take joy in and use the resources He has entrusted to our church family.
    During this missions emphasis month, let’s open our hearts and take joy in how God has uniquely resourced us individually and as a church family to be disciples of Jesus, who make and grow disciples.
    [1] Grudem, W. A. (2004). Systematic theology: an introduction to biblical doctrine (p. 216). Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House.
    [2] Grudem, W. A. (2004). Systematic theology: an introduction to biblical doctrine (p. 197). Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House.
    [3] Grudem, W. A. (2004). Systematic theology: an introduction to biblical doctrine (p. 198). Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House.
      • Luke 19:11–27NIV2011

      • Ecclesiastes 2:17–18NIV2011

      • Ecclesiastes 2:26NIV2011

      • Matthew 6:21NIV2011

      • 1 Peter 2:16NIV2011

      • John 15:7–8NIV2011

  • God Whose Giving Knows No Ending

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