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TEXT: Proverbs 3:9-10
SUBJECT: Proverbs #26: How to spend your money.
GOD MUST BE HONORED WITH YOUR MONEY.
This fact appears too obvious to require proof. Yet in this day of practical athiesm and unbounded materialism, proven it must be. To tell a worldling that he ought to honor God with his money is to invite laughter and scorn. For whereas he "loves pleasure more than God", and because his money can never buy enough pleasures to satisfy his lusts, then it follows that God can have no claim to his money. But I wonder if the People of God differ much from their ungodly counterparts? When it comes to your money, dear friend, does the Tenth Psalm describe you, "God is not in all of your thoughts"? It is therefore, crucial to establish the fact, "God must be honored with your money".
This can be proven by a three-fold appeal to Scripture.
You are commanded to honor God with your money.
Our text could not be plainer, "Honor the LORD with your possessions..." The word translated "honor" literally means "to bow down". But what is a man doing when he "bows" before another? He is putting himself in the service of another. Therefore, when Solomon wrote, "Honor the LORD with your possessions", he meant, "Dedicate your money to God's service".
This is anything but a novel interpretation, for the Scripture everywhere confirms it, as for example:
From the beginning, such a duty is assumed, for Cain and Abel brought "offerings" to the LORD.
As did all of the Holy men of old, such as Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
The duty is everywhere commanded in the Mosaic Law, in which we read of various offerings.
The prophets insisted upon it, as did our Lord and the Apostles. For they everywhere condemn covetousness and extol the virtues of benevolence.
Whenever, therefore, you do not "Honor God with your possessions", then you violate His Law, all of your excuses, alibies, and explanations notwithstanding.
Creation and Providence require you to honor God with your money.
"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth". As the Creator, He must also be the orignal owner of all things.
Nowhere does God relinquish these "rights of ownership". "For the earth is the LORD's and the fulness thereof". And that, naturally includes its wealth, "For the silver is mine and the gold is mine, says the LORD of Hosts".
Yet He distributes His goods to men. He gave Adam "dominion over the earth". Likewise, 10:22 reads "The blessing of the LORD makes one rich".
This, in turn, establishes a certain relationship between men and God. We call it "Stewardship". God has entrusted you with possessions. He has obviously done so for His benefit. Therefore, instead of spending your money on yourself or living to fulfil your desires, you must "Honor the LORD with your possessions", which after all really belong to Him. Therefore, whenever you misspend His money, then you become either a bungling manager or a thief.
If, therefore, "All things are of Him and through Him, then it necessarily follows that all things must be to Him" as well.
Redemption demands that you honor God with your money.
Redemption has but one great goal: the glory of God. Therefore, the sinner is redeemed so that, among other ways, he would "honor God with his possessions".
So it is recorded throughout history:
The Psalmist, rather than looking for ways to avoid this duty, longed to perform it, "What shall I render unto the LORD for all His bnefits toward me? I will take up the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD. I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all His People" (116:12-14).
As did the grateful tax-collector, Zacchaeus, "Half my goods I give to the poor, and if I have defrauded any man, I repay him four-fold".
So, alas, is its opposite, "The Rich Young Ruler".
This man was willing to do anything to inherit eternal life, except "Honor God with his possessions".
But our Lord says to him and all of his spiritual offspring, "No deal".
If your money, friend, has not been redeemed, then neither have you.
If, therefore, the commandments, creation, providence, and redemption of God mean anything at all, then they mean for us to "Honor the LORD with our possessions".
HOW MUCH OF YOUR MONEY MUST HONOR GOD?
I could only think of four possible answers to this question. The first three of which will be dismissed, and the fourth accepted. Therefore, by way negation, consider:
The openly ungodly will suggest that "None of your money should be spent for God's honor". But if we presuppose that God creates, sustains, and bears with all men, then this argument loses all of its force, and displays itself as the height of ingratitude and beneath the piety of the worst pagan, who after all, pays respects to idols.
The selfish church member says "Some of your money should be dedicated to God." He adopts what I call "The Leftover Theory". He reasons thusly, "God wants me to pay my debts, take care of my family, etc. And, after doing so, I will give what's left over to God".
But this theory is equally absurd. It contradicts the express teaching our text, which reads, "Honor the LORD with your possessions, and with the first fruits of all your increase." Such an attitude was especially condemned by the prophets, see, e.g., Haggai 1:2-4 and Malachi 1:7-10. It greatly dishonors God, for it puts Him last among your priorities.
A third person will present "the tithing theory", i.e., "The first ten percent belongs to God and the remaining ninety belongs to me".
These folks do better than most. For tithing is certainly a Scriptural principle and the starting point of New Covenant giving. But in the end, it too proves defective, for:
If it proves anything, it proves too much. If it is true that my first ten percent belongs to God and the rest belongs to me, then it follows that I can do whatever I please with it. I may, therefore spend nine-tenth's of my income in a saloon, a casino, or some other den of iniquity.
Does the Scripture permit a believer to be "90% covetous, selfish, or irresponsible? Obviously not. Therefore, this view must be rejected.
The Scripture teaches, very simply, that all of your money belongs to God, and must be therefore, dedicated to His honor. This is proven by the fundamental law of Divine Revelation.
What is strength but the "ability to do work"? But your money can work. Therefore, your love for God is direct every expenditure.
This leads to two inevitable conclusions:
None of your money may be spent on sin.
Vicious sins are, of course, excluded, such as pornography or illicit drugs.
But "respectable sins" are equally censured, such as those items produced by envy or pride.
Your neighbor buys a 1988 car, which makes your `68 model look shabby. Thus, you trade-in your driveable car in order to "Keep up with the Jones".
"Designer Clothes". In the long-run, high quality clothes may be cheaper than the thrift-store variety. If you buy them for such a reason, you do well. But more than a few Christians purchase their clothes for the label only. They purchase such things, not to last longer or fit better, or to be more modest or servicable, but simply to "impress others". That is vainglory. That is sin.
All of your money must be spent to best promote the glory of God.
Thus, you must do more than ask, "Is it innocent?" (which, is another way of saying, `Can I get away with it')
Rather, you must ask, it it the best use of God's money? If not, then it falls short of "entire love". Although no one can ever fulfil this commandment, we are, at the least, to aim for it.
Thus to summarize: You are "Honor God with all of your possessions.
HOW TO HONOR GOD WITH YOUR MONEY.
You honor God by caring for your own needs, I Corinthians 6:20.
This means that you should spend a portion of God's money developing yourself to peak efficiency, be it physical, intellecutal, or moral. The exact bounds, of course, differ with each person.
It forbids you to spend God's money on luxuries, and extravagances. 23:1-3, Isaiah 5:12.
Before you spend money on yourself, therefore, ask: Will it promote my physical, intellectual or moral health? If not, then save your money, for whatever you desire is a lust.
You honor God by caring for the needs of your family, I Timothy 5:8.
The previous examples are equally applicable here. Do the things I buy my wife or children promote their welfare or hinder it?
Dear husband, when you spend money to fulfil the lusts of your wife you do her much harm. You teach her discontent and covetousness, and deprive her of her head.
Dear parents, when you throw away money of your children's lusts, you make them unfit for the world.
Before you spend your money on your family, ask yourself, "Am I promoting their best intersts or just fulifilling their lusts, or 1getting them off my back'"?
You honor God by moderately preparing for the future, 27:1, (??24:27??).
You honor God by caring for the needs of the church, I Timothy 5:17-18, 5:3, Acts 2:44-45, II Thessalonians 3:10.
You honor God by paying your taxes, Romans 13:1,6,7.
You honor God by giving to the worthy poor, 28:27.
There may be other just ways to spend your money. But I wonder if we can justify the vast majority of our expenditures?
How then, can you "Honor God with your possessions"? By simply following His word rather than popular opinion or personal lusts.
AN ENCOURAGEMENT TO HONOR THE LORD WITH YOUR MONEY.
Think of what "Honoring God with your money" saves you from. It rescues you from covetousness, which causes unspeakable misery now and in the future, I Timothy 6:10.
Think of what "Honoring God with your money" saves you to. It permits extraordinary freedom now, Philippians 4:10-13. It will usher you into everlasting bliss. "Those who honor ME, says Jehovah, I will honor".
Think of what "Honoring God with your money" can do for your others, especially:
Your church: If every member of this assembly would "Honor the LORD with his money", then we could--by ourselves--send out and support missionaries. (Grand Rapids).
Your world: It would at least rebuke the world and vindicate the sufficincy of God's grace. It might lead to a New Reformation and Revival.
Think of God's worthiness.
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