FACING FINANCIAL FRUSTRATION
by Dr. Glen Clifton
(Port St. Lucie, FL, USA)
Good Morning! It’s great to see so many smiling faces today. Turn with me to Malachi, Chapter three, verse 8. I pray that you are ready to study the Word of God.
Let me share with you a thought: Several years ago before going into the pulpit, one of my Deacons said, “Why do you have that ‘band-aid’ on your face? I said, well, I was shaving…and I was concentrating on my sermon, and cut my face. After the service, the Deacon said, “Next Sunday, concentrate on your face, and cut your sermon."
That was his polite way of saying….I preach too long.
Money is a subject that interests everybody. Someone has rightly said, “The trouble is, that too many people are spending money they don’t have, for things they don’t need, to impress people they don’t like.
ILLUSTRATION: Mark Twain once said, “I’m going to get out of debt this year even if I have to borrow money to do it!” (Sounds sorta like the Federal Government doesn’t it). Believe it or not, many people today seem to have that attitude. Spend, spend, spend, Charge it, charge it, charge it). Today, I’d like for us to see what the Bible has to say about how to make, spend, and save money.
ILLUSTRATION: Several years ago in Ft. Worth, Texas, several churches were robbed. The Chief of Police said, “the church was once the most sacred place in town. It was a place of safety and security. But now it has become a target of thieves. When criminals have the audacity to rob God’s people, we are in terrible times.”
I want to tell you: The House of God is no stranger to thieves. Before the church of Jesus Christ, long ago, the prophet Malachi accused Israel (the children of God), of robbing God by abandoning the practice of tithing (MalachI 3:8).
They were going through financial recession. Their financial dealings with each other and the Lord were not pleasing to the Lord. These verses (8-12), state bluntly that Israel’s recession was directly related to the people’s failure to live Godly lives, pay their tithes, give their offerings, and offer sacrifices the correct way.
I. NOTICE: THE “FACTS WE MUST RECOGNIZE!”
1st FACT: The world and all its wealth belong to God. Psalm 24:1 states, “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it….” Haggai 2:8 reads, “The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the LORD Almighty. We are but mere stewards of it.
2nd FACT: Because all we have comes from God, we are accountable to Him for it…and, He will continue to give to us only as long as He can trust us with what we have already have. The Lord reminded his people of all the good things He had given unto them, so they would not become proud and disobedient.
The Bible teaches, “The Lord your God gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms His covenant…” (Deut. 8:17-18).
Jesus gives us a principle: “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” (v.10).
3rd FACT: We seem to forget that money itself cannot be trusted. Job said, “If I have put my trust in gold or said to pure gold, “You are my security,” If I have rejoiced over my great wealth, the fortune my hands had gained…then these also would be sins to be judged, for I would have been unfaithful to God on high…” (Job 31:24, 25, 28).
Finally, the 4th FACT: We must learn that we cannot find joy in money. The Bible teaches that “The love of money is the root of all evil.” This love is placing it first in our lives…like an idol…it becomes first in our lives.
II. NOTICE: THE “PRINCIPLES WE MUST MAXIMIZE!”
America,is now weathering a Financial Storm unlike the one we‘ve ever had since the Great Depression of the 1920’s and 1930’s. Most of us are still operating under the delusion that the current “recession” will soon pass and that things will soon go back to “normal.”
Psalm 37:21 says, “The wicked borrow money and do not repay…” There is always a temptation to gain money an easy or illegal way.
In the New Testament, Paul admonished, “For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat” (II Thessalonians 3:10)
The old doctrine of plain, hard work is seldom emphasized or taught anymore. Many Americans continue to indulge themselves through overspending…. hoping that God would come through and pay the bill.
Do you see why this country is financially burdened? Proverbs 21:20 counsels, “In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has.” The wise person exercises ‘self-control’ in personal finances.
give you ‘FOUR QUESTIONS’ you must honestly ask and answer yourself…
1st ASK YOURSELF: “Am I Selfish?” God gave a word about selfishness in Proverbs 11: 24-25.…He tells us that….One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.
2nd ASK YOURSELF: “Am I Impatient?” Proverbs 21:5 warns about impulsive spending: “The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.” To often we get in a hurry and buy impulsively, only to discover the item would have cost less somewhere else or that we could have done without it altogether.
3rd ASK YOURSELF: “Am I Lazy?” LISTEN: God always honors diligence. He urges us to get up, get out, and go to work: He states, “Do not love sleep or you will grow poor; stay awake and you will have food to spare.” (Proverbs 20:13)
4th ASK YOURSELF: “Am I Realistic?” Some people are always looking for that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. They are always looking for that “get rich quick scheme.” The Bible says, “…the one who chases fantasies will have his fill of poverty.” (Proverbs 28:19).
Some are always waiting for “their ship to come in,” but, they’ve never sent one out yet.III. NOTICE: THE “TRUTHS WE MUST INTERNALIZE!”
We know that America has a greater abundance of material wealth today than ever before. But today we are experiencing not only a financial recession, (and bits of depression), but also a spiritual depression brought on by Christians failure (you and I), to live by New Testament principles.
1st The FIRST TRUTH is found in Luke 16:13 which says, “No servant can serve two masters. 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 both God and money.”
2nd The SECOND TRUTH is found in Matthew 6:33 where Jesus taught us to, “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” The “things” to which Jesus referred to are the necessities of life…food, shelter, and clothing.
Someone might say, “It’s none of your business.” Oh, but it is….as a God-called minister of the Gospel of Jesus, He has challenged me to teach the whole counsel of God.
If you are going through financial turmoil and financial troubles…you must start to be faithful with what God has given you….sowing abundantly in order to reap God’s blessings in your life.
REMEMBER: The key to having is giving! It always has been, and it always will be! We show our love for God by trusting Him, seeking Him, and serving Him.
This Morning let me encourage you to put II Corinthians 9:6-9 into practice, beginning today. God says, “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. (v. 7) Each man should give, not reluctantly (grudgingly), or under compulsion (necessity), for God loves a cheerful giver.
(v. 8) And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. (v. 9) As it is written: “He has scattered abroad His gifts to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.”
CLOSING ILLUSTRATION: A year ago (2009), Jerry Jones, Dallas Cowboy owner and General Manager, forked over $1 billion dollars to build a state-of-the-art stadium with the largest Jumbo-Tron in the world (over seven stories high). This is NOT just a stadium…it has artwork all over the stadium, retractable roof, platform docks, it has party suites, 120 foot high glass doors, and an average ticket price of $160 to get in.
Despite the opulence, the expense, and the attention to detail, this stadium could not produce a Super Bowl team. That job is up to the players and coaches.
LISTEN: In the same manner…modern church building facilities, amazing programs, award winning worship teams, and eloquent preachers… don’t make a church spiritually alive; that job is up to the members.
The church must be united in faith, in prayer, and in commitment to the Lord! The church must be a healthy church before its ministry can thrive, hurting people can heal, and lost souls can find the love of God.
CLOSING PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I praise YOU! You are our Jehovah-Jireh, the provider of all our needs. Thank you Father, that in Your abundance, You have blessed our land. I pray today for any of Your children who are here today….struggling with financial difficulties. Help them to understand Your Economic Principles of Sowing and Reaping, and Giving and Receiving. Give us a readiness to Trust Your Word. Excite our faith with a willingness to give, as You have taught us. In Jesus precious, powerful name I pray. Amen!