We are wrapping up the series today. And if you’ve been here for parts 1-3, you’ll recognize this scripture I am about to share. If you missed any of them, you can listen to them here:
Let’s take one final look at the core scripture for this series:
1 Timothy 6:17-19 NIV – Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain,
So, this wasn’t just a passive request. He wasn’t saying, “Hey, if it’s convenient, go ahead and tell the rich people about this.” No, this was a command. Like, “Go and tell the rich people, right now, these two things:
Don’t be arrogant about your wealth. And don’t trust your wealth.
In other words, when you become rich, there’s going to be this gravitational pull to think you are better than everyone else. And you are also going to start thinking you’re untouchable.
And if you don’t think that you are rich and this doesn’t apply to you, think again. Being rich doesn’t mean you have this huge bank account. It simply means that you have more than you need.
We’re talking about resources and we’re even talking about the fact that you know Jesus and there’s lots of people who don’t. In that case, you are the rich one and there’s an assignment for the extra.
We’ll get into that, but first let’s read about the antidote to getting a big head about being rich:
1 Timothy 6:17-19 NIV – but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.
So, the way to keep right thinking around money is to put your hope in God. Don’t look to money to keep you safe. Look to God to provide everything you need.
And notice that God is okay with you enjoying what He’s given you. There’s this idea out there that if someone lives in a nice house or goes on a nice vacation that they are spending money that should have been used for a greater purpose.
This should never be a part of your thinking. God is never going to ask you about how someone else spent their money. But He does care about what you do with yours and that you even enjoy it along the way.
And there’s something else He wants you to do with it:
1 Timothy 6:17-19 NIV – Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.
That’s what we talked about last week, being rich in good deeds. Our small groups director, Chris Wills, did an amazing job bringing us that message last week, and if you missed it, definitely go listen to it.
Now, look at what happens when we actually choose to follow the Bible in all these things:
1 Timothy 6:17-19 NIV – In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.
In other words, generosity is not a burden. It is not something that we have to do. You’re not obligated. You don’t have to feel guilty. But just like this scripture says, those who have made the choice to be generous are having the time of their lives!
A generous life is way more enjoyable than a life without generosity.
I love that I get to be a part of this church by giving the first 10% of my income. It’s a joy to be a part of making an eternal difference in the lives of others through my giving. And it’s an honor to be obedient to the Word of God.
Seriously, I’m giving more than I’ve ever given and I’m having the time of my life. So, this scripture makes total sense. To take hold of life that is truly life, be generous.
If you’re here today just kind of kicking the tires of NoLimits, trying to figure out if this should be your home church, you couldn’t of come on a better Sunday. Because today you’re going to find out what we’re all about.
We’re not just a church for church people. We are a church who is on mission to make a difference. That’s why we run our facility as an event center. It’s not easy, but it enables us to do more outreach and missions.
It’s why we send at least 10% of what comes into our church outside these doors to support other outreaches in our community, in Mexico and in the Philippines. Actually, we sent out more than 20% last year.
If you’re interested in finding out what these outreach dollars actually accomplish, make plans to join us next week for Legacy Sunday. We’re going to give you all the details and show you how your giving is leaving a legacy.
So, this entire series can be summed up into one statement. This is what we believe here at NoLimits:
God has blessed me with more than I need so I can make an eternal difference in the lives of others.
Why have we been talking about this for four weeks now? Because we all need a reminder from time to time. It’s really easy to get in the wrong mindset.
I’ll tell on myself as an example. I get to work on a really fast computer that cost me about $3,000. On top of this, I have the fastest internet available so when I click on something, everything responds immediately.
But sometimes, when I am editing video, it has a hard time rendering the footage and things start to playback all jittery. And within just a couple of seconds I’m complaining about how I need a new computer.
It works flawlessly about 95% of the time. But that other 5%, I can lose my joy and thankfulness in a quick second.
I mean, we do this at restaurants. We sit in this comfortable seat in an amazing restaurant environment where someone else is cooking our food and cleaning up after us. And then we start complaining that they didn’t cook it fast enough, or they didn’t cook it right, or they didn’t have my favorite sauce.
And that’s why we need to be reminded. That’s why we’ve spent four weeks in this series, because we need to hold on to our joy and thankfulness.
Don’t misunderstand. This series was not to make you feel guilty. No, this series was designed to bring joy back into you life. Because here’s the truth:
God doesn’t want us guilty. He wants us responsible.
Because when we’re responsible with what He’s given us, it’s going to bring a load of joy into our lives.
Each week, we’ve been digging into that scripture I shared earlier and there’s one more thing that you need to catch. It’s funny, when you read over something, you can easily miss some of the details.
So let’s take a look at this one more time:
1 Timothy 6:17 NIV – Command those who are rich in this present world…
Did you catch it? Let me highlight it for you.
1 Timothy 6:17 NIV – Command those who are rich in this present world…
Huh. Well, this raises a question, “What other world might there be than the one we currently live in?” I’ve been living like this is the only life I get. And actually, you hear it all the time, “You only live once, so do what you want.”
But this scripture is telling us that there’s something other than this present world. And when you understand this, it actually becomes your biggest motivation for being generous. It’s when you find out that:
There’s more to life than this life.
You don’t live once. You live twice. You have this life and then you have eternal life. And if you take hold of this principle, you’re going to be really thankful one day that you lived your life with eternity in mind.
Because here’s what happens when you invest what you have in this life into things that have an eternal impact:
1 Timothy 6:19 NIV – In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves…
Wait a minute. How in the world could I be giving stuff away and at the same time be storing up treasure for myself? When I give stuff away, I don’t have more in my bank account, I have less. So, what’s he talking about?
1 Timothy 6:19 NIV – In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age…
The scripture started off talking about this present world, but now we are talking about what’s to come. And one of the greatest gifts I can give you is to prepare you for the day that you are going to stand before Jesus.
There’s going to be two judgments when you get to Heaven. The first one is going to be simple. Did you believe in Jesus and make Him the Lord of your life? If the answer is yes, you receive the gift of eternity in Heaven.
You can’t earn that. There’s no amount of good you can to do earn your way into Heaven. It’s a free gift by believing that Jesus sacrificed His life to make you right with God. And you just receive it by believing in Jesus.
Now that you’ve received the gift of Heaven, there’s also going to be a second judgement. And this one is going to be about what you did here in this life on earth.
Jesus is going to lay out everything. And the things that you did without eternity in mind is going to burn up. It sounds violent, but it’s actually a good thing because there’s a lot in my past that I’d like to burn up myself.
But I don’t want to go through that experience with nothing left over. I don’t want to be sitting there with Jesus after everything has burned up and be sitting there looking at nothing.
I want to see a heap of treasure that survived the fire. And this treasure is going to represent everything I did in this life to make an eternal difference in the life of someone else.
You’re going to see every person that escaped hell because you chose to live your life with eternity in mind. That’s going to be powerful. And that’s what this scripture is talking about.
So, if you struggle to be generous, here’s your motivation:
There’s more to life than this life.
Remind yourself of this. Meditate on it. When you get caught up in the hustle of this life and find yourself in a place where all you can think about is you, remind yourself of this truth.
This Bible says that this life is a mist in the light of eternity. It’s just a puff of smoke. So don’t invest all you have into this present age. Invest in eternity by living your life in a way that makes an eternal difference.
Once you have that motivation, you have to do something with it. It’s tempted to just sit around and wait for opportunities to be generous to slap you in the face, but it would be much better for you to be intentional.
There’s not a better way for me to wrap up this series than by helping you answer this question:
What is my giving strategy?
Listen to me, this is very important. Your strategy doesn’t have to be my strategy. I’m just going to give you some simple ideas you can take and then develop your own strategy around them.
You don’t need me to be your Holy Spirit. I want you to take what I teach today and then listen to the Holy Spirit on how it specifically applies to your life.
Let me put it to you this way. God is not going to ask me how you spent your money. That’s up to you. You get to decide how to be generous. The important thing is that you decide how to be generous and do it intentionally.
So, let me give you three areas where you need to develop a giving strategy.
#1 I will intentionally share my resources.
Your resources aren’t just your money, although that is a huge part of it. But your resources also include your car, your house and the food in your fridge.
You have things. And the question is, can you leverage those things for an eternal purpose?
Like, have the neighbors over for dinner. And tell them that this is just something extra to show God loves you and we do too. Is there anything I can pray with you about?
I want to show you an interesting scripture. And the reason it’s interesting is because a lot of churches don’t seem to understand it.
Maybe you’ve been to a service where they try to pull you into emotional giving or they try to guilt you into giving by saying, “We need to keep the lights on.” Or they set up these well-thought-out capital campaigns.
But, take a look at this:
1 Corinthians 16:2 NLT – On the first day of each week, you should each put aside a portion of the money you have earned.
You mean, I should decide how much to give before they try to woo me into giving? Well, that doesn’t sound very spiritual.
Listen, if you are waiting for me to woo you into giving, it’s not going to happen. I want you to decide before you even get to church how much to give.
Or, since we live in the age of technology, you can sit down in your own living room, make a decision how much to give, and then give it online.
Actually, that’s how most of you do it. You don’t give while you are here on Sunday, you give online throughout the week. And I want you to know that not one way is more spiritual than the other.
We’re talking about intentionally sharing our resources. Let me give the most practical way to make sure you are intentional.
Become a percentage giver.
This is the best way to make sure your giving increases as your income increases. Because in general, the more Americans make, the less they give. And that doesn’t make any since.
The best way to guard yourself from that is to be a percentage giver. And if you’re looking for a starting place, the Bible gives us a guideline called the tithe, which simply means the first 10% of your income.
This is not a law. It’s not something that you have to do. God’s not going to send His version of the IRS to come collect the tithe you didn’t pay. No, 10% is simply a practical guideline the Bible gives us for percentage giving.
There’s lots of other ways to be intentional about sharing resources. Beth and I support two kids through Compassion International and we’ve set up monthly recurring giving to three different ministries that we believe God has called us to support.
This is all on top of our tithe, which we give here at church. And we also intentionally look for opportunities to give to individuals to help meet practical needs in Jesus name.
Again, this is just how we are intentional about sharing our resources. You don’t have to have the same strategy, but you should have a strategy.
Here’s the next thing to have as part of your giving strategy:
#2 I will intentionally share my time.
Remember how the scripture said to be generous? That was talking about our resources. But it also said to be rich in good deeds. That’s talking about our time.
Here’s how we’re intentional about sharing our time at NoLimits:
If you’re wondering, “What’s a Dream Team?” Well, it’s all of our teams here at church that give people an opportunity to make a difference.
We’re talking about our teachers in the kids classes, the person who made you coffee today, the people who were greeting you at the door, our small group leaders, the worship band, and most importantly, those who will clean the restrooms when we’re done today.
This is the Dream Team. And everything we do is making an eternal difference in the lives of others. Because, everything we do is so that people can know God, find freedom, discover purpose and make a difference.
If you are not yet on the Dream Team and you’re ready to be on the Dream Team, they way you do it is to go through Growth Track. The reason is, we want you on the right team, and we figure it out through the Growth Track.
Growth Track happens every Sunday after service from 12:30-1:30pm. We feed you lunch, we watch your kids, and you get to discover your purpose. It’s awesome.
Today is step 1 of the Growth Track where you get to learn all about our church and find out if this is the place you want to call home. Anyone is welcome to join us. It happens right here in the auditorium at 12:30pm.
So, to have a giving strategy, there are three things to pay attention to. Number one, I will intentionally share my resources. Number two, I will intentionally share my time. And here’s the third one:
#3 I will intentionally share Jesus.
Here’s the deal. These three things we just talked about are a package deal. If you share your resources and time, but you don’t share Jesus, you didn’t really help anybody.
Let me put it this way, social justice without spiritual justice is not justice.
If you only care about their immediate needs but you didn’t help them find Jesus, you didn’t really care about them. Because eternity is a heck of a lot longer than this physical life.
On the other hand, if you share Jesus but you didn’t share your time and resources, they probably didn’t even listen to you. They don’t care what you have to say until they know that you care about them.
So, these three things go together. This isn’t pick and choose or a la carte. No, this is a full on 3-course meal. We should all be intentional about sharing our resources, sharing our time, and sharing Jesus.
And I know, sharing Jesus can be awkward. Maybe you don’t know what to say or how to approach it. So, let me give you four steps to help you out.
Step 1: Accept the personal responsibility.
Accept the fact that your family, your coworkers, your neighbors are your responsibility. God put you in their lives to lead them to Jesus.
You’re not waiting for someone else to come along and reach them, you are going to reach them. And it’s important to you because you realize that this is about eternity.
Step 2: Build a personal relationship.
People aren’t looking for a debate. They’re not looking for you to tell them what is wrong with their lives. No, they are looking for real relationships. They want people in their lives who truly care about them.
So be that person. Sharing Jesus is not a rush job. It’s much more effective to build a relationship first and let them experience Jesus along the way.
Step 3: Share your personal story.
Telling other people what is wrong in their life, or arguing about the Bible is not what leads people to Jesus. But, sharing what Jesus has done in your life, now that is something that works.
Who can argue with what Jesus has done in your life? No one. So be bold about sharing your story. There’s no need to hold back.
Step 4: Give a personal invitation.
Building a relationship and sharing your story are both part of this process, but at some point you need to ask them to do something. You can either lead them to Jesus on your own or you can invite them to church.
Sure, they might say no. But always remember, they are not really saying no. They are just saying “not right now” and you’re going to get another opportunity to ask them and they might just say yes next time.
I hope you now realize that sharing Jesus not as scary as you thought it was. But even when your scared, just remind yourself that this is about eternity. This one motivation alone will help push you out of your comfort zone.
So, the whole reason we’re talking about these things today is because Jesus did. And He felt it was so important that He used some “in your face” language to get His point across. Take a look at this:
Matthew 6:19-20 NLT – Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal.
Notice Jesus didn’t say, “Hey, try not to store so much stuff here on earth. You know, just try not to.” No, He said, “Don’t do it. Don’t store up treasure here on earth because it’s inevitable that something is going to destroy it.
And then He gives the solution:
Matthew 6:19-20 NLT – Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.
Before today, this scripture might have been a little ambiguous to you. But now, you probably get it. Here’s what Jesus is saying:
Invest your earthly treasure into things that make an eternal difference.
Let me show you one more story from Jesus:
Luke 12:16-21 NIV – The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest.
So here’s a guy who had more than he needed. And he was even able to take what he had and create even more wealth from it. You could say that this guy wasn’t just rich, but he was also a good investor.
A great start to the story, but it’s about to turn South:
Luke 12:16-21 NIV – He thought to himself, “What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.”
Man, what a dilemma. He had no place to store the stuff he didn’t need. I know, he just needs to go rent a couple of storage units. Oh wait, he thought of something even better:
Luke 12:16-21 NIV – Then he said, “This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain.
Wow. This is sounding a lot like America right now. “I don’t have enough room for my stuff, so I’ll just sell this house and move into a bigger one.”
Luke 12:16-21 NIV – And I’ll say to myself, ‘You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.’”
Isn’t it interesting how he thought his stuff could buy him extra time? We struggle with these same thoughts. We think if we can save up a certain amount of money, then we can live on the beach for a few years.
Luke 12:16-21 NIV – But God said to him, “You fool!
Now God, that’s kind of strong. Are we supposed to call people fools?
We must note that God wasn’t calling him a fool for being rich. No, He was calling him a fool for what he chose to do with the surplus.
Luke 12:16-21 NIV – This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?”
Talk about a reality check. Your earthly life could end tomorrow. And then what will all that striving and saving and storing do for you? Nothing.
Jesus sums up this story with a powerful statement:
Luke 12:16-21 NIV – This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.
There’s the whole reason we’re rich. When we have more than we need, we must intentionally send it toward God so it can make an eternal difference in the lives of others.
And because everything we do in this life is preparation for eternity, there are three things that we value as a church:
I will value stewardship over ownership.
We live in a culture that values ownership. But, we really don’t own anything. God owns everything and we’re here to manage what belongs to Him.
And when really understand this simple truth, it’s going to change how you see your savings account, your house, and everything else you think you own.
I will value people over possessions.
You know why? Because possessions burn and people last. You can’t take possessions with you to Heaven, but you can take people.
So, I’ve got to figure out how to invest in people. I must keep my eyes on people. Because the only way I can use my resources to make an eternal difference is when I invest in people.
And if I don’t focus on using what I have to impact more people, I’ll end up using people to get more money. This one is black or white. You’re either doing one or the other.
Here’s the last one:
I will value the eternal over the temporary.
Every day, we need to wake up and remind ourselves that this life is really short. And we need to live our lives with eternity in mind because it will help us align our priorities and focus our time and resources on the things that matter.
Let’s end with one more verse. And I encourage you to really ponder what this is saying to us:
Philippians 3:18-20 NLT – There are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. They are headed for destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth. But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.
One day Jesus is coming back and it is going to be the most glorious day. We’re going to be so excited to join Him in heaven and spend eternity with Him.
So, when things in life are tough, remember this. When you get so focused on your job that you forget about everything else, remember this. When you find yourself holding on to all your money and building a bigger barn so you can store it all, remember this.
God has blessed me with more than I need so I can make an eternal difference in the lives of others.
In other words, let’s use what we have to lead people to Jesus.
Now, take a moment to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom to take what you heard in this message and apply it to your life.
We’ve talked a lot about eternity today and maybe you realized that you aren’t sure if you’ll spend eternity in heaven with Jesus. I have good news. You can get that taken care of today.
Salvation is as simple as believing that Jesus sacrificed His life to save yours. There’s nothing you can do to earn it. It’s all Jesus. And all you have to do is recognize that and receive the gift of new life in Jesus.
When you give your life to Jesus, you immediately transition your eternity from hell to heaven. Jesus takes you in as His own and begins to walk with you as you take the journey into the amazing life He created for you.
If this is you, I encourage you to say the following prayer out loud:
“Jesus, I’ve been living without you and I don’t want to do that anymore. I’ve done a lot of things wrong and I need your forgiveness. I accept Your love and grace for me and ask that You would be my Lord. Thank you for making me new. Thank you for washing away my past. I hand my life over to you and ask that you’d help me walk out your plan for my life.”