Preachers should never talk about money. That is what we are told. People hate it when preachers talk about money. There is good reason for that in many cases. I will certainly agree that there are those who abuse the good hearted and faithful members of their congregations to pad their wallets and buy 30,000 toilets. However, the abuse of these false prophets doesn’t change my responsibility to you, which is to preach the whole council of God that you might be mature in Christ in every respect. If I shy away from talking about this, it would be the same thing as shying away from talking about grace because some people have turned the grace of God into a license to do whatever they want. The book of Jude addresses this when he says that some have turned the grace of God into lawlessness, therefore he encourages the believers to contend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints, the true picture of God’s grace, not to shy away from talking about grace at all just because some people are speaking about it incorrectly. You don’t shy away from truth just because some speak falsehood. So this week we are going to talk about money from a Biblical perspective and address the reality of giving for the Christian.
- Is money bad? No. Money is not bad. It is the love of money that is bad. A good desire becomes bad when it consumes you. 1 Timothy 6:10 says it very plainly, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs (sorrows).” How is money the root of all kinds of evil and what does it mean to be pierced through with many sorrows because of money? Love of money is the root of all kinds of evil because if you love or idolize money:
- Never Satisfied: Eccles. 5:10 (ESV) “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity.”
- Angry with others when not satisfied: James 4:2-3 (ESV) “You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask.  You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.”
- Forget God: Deut. 8:11-14 (ESV) “Take care lest you forget the Lord your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and his statutes, which I command you today,  lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them,  and when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all that you have is multiplied,  then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.”
- Slavery to debt: Proverbs 22:7 (ESV) “The rich rules over the poor,and the borrower is the slave of the lender.”
- Hypocrisy: Acts 5:1-10 (ESV) “But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property,  and with his wife’s knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles’ feet.  But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land?  While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”  When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last. And great fear came upon all who heard of it.  The young men rose and wrapped him up and carried him out and buried him.  After an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened.  And Peter said to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much.” And she said, “Yes, for so much.”  But Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.”  Immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. When the young men came in they found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband.”
- So money isn’t bad, but the love of money is bad. Well, how do I use my money the way God wants me to use my money? I’m so glad you asked that! You must learn this word: Stewardship. That simply means that God owns everything and I manage my portion of what God has given me of his riches in a way that would honor God and help people. The best way to think about stewardship is like this: Monopoly. I read a story of a young man who got very excited that he was beating his grandmother at Monopoly one afternoon to which his Grandmother replied, “Just remember, John-it all goes back in the box. All the money, all the hotels and game tokens; at the end of the game, it all goes back in the box!” That is stewardship in a Parker Brothers nutshell. Psalm 24:1 (ESV) “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein”. God owns everything and we are mere managers of his wealth. He has given us instructions on how we are to manage his wealth in a way that honors God and helps people. This week we will explore those instructions.