The Path Less Traveled- Exploring what it means to live a life of worship for God. The Inter-Relatinal practices of worship. Cultivating Christian Community.
The Stewardship Practices of Worship: Growing responsible generosity within our hearts & hands.
1. Principle of the Firsts
2. How we can offer God our TIME as worship
3. How we can offer God our TALENTS & ABILITIES as worship
4. How we can offer God our TREASURE as worship
1. Principle of the Firsts-
This principle is that when the first part of something is given to God the rest of something is redeemed (made right by someone else’s sacrifice), made holy, pure and blessed by God.
– First fruits- First fruits of crops (Exodus 23:19 “The first of the firstfruits of your land you shall bring into the house of the LORD your God),
– First born- first born animals, firstborn sons (to Me all the firstborn, whatever opens the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and beast; it is Mine (Exod. 13:2)
30“ ‘A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord. (Lev. 27:30).
– First Income- In addition we read that the first 10% or tithe of income was to be given to God’s house in the OT in Malachi 3:8-9. It was through offering God the first that expressed our faith in Him to provide the rest.
Since money is such a sensitive subject to people, and the teaching about a tithe especially I want to read this sometimes controversial verse in context from Malachi 3:6-12 from NLV-
6“I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. 7Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty. “But you ask, ‘How are we to return?’ 8“Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’ “In tithes and offerings. 9You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. 10Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. 11I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the Lord Almighty. 12“Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the Lord Almighty.
2. Offering God our TIME as worship.
Practicing the Principle of the 1st with our TIME:
In the OT they gathered for worship on the Sabbath or 7th day of the week for rest and worship. In the NT the early church began meeting on what is coined “The Lord’s Day” or the first day of the week, for teaching, giving and the Lord’s Table on Sundays.
Acts 20:7- ”On the first day of the week we met to break bread together. Paul spoke to the people until midnight because he was leaving the next morning.”
Why? Some say as a celebration of the resurrection of Christ as Matthew records in ch28 as “dawn on the FIRST day of the week.”
Another possible explanation of a Sunday gathering time for the church is that they wanted to offer God the first of their time, before going off to work, families and the busyness of the week.
They wanted to seek FIRST the kingdom of God in a very practical way. Believing that as they placed God first in there week that they would find his blessing upon the rest.
Being a good steward of our time means making the most of the time you have left.
3. Offering God our TALENT & ABILITIES as worship.
Practicing the principle of the 1st with our talent and abilities:
How do you offer your talent and abilities to God as worship. One way I believe we can do this is by beginning to serve in the context of the local church.
Offering your talent, gifts and abilities to serve the local church. The church is intended to be much more than a place where professional Christians dispense ministry to you and your family.
It is meant to be a place of equipping for the purpose of service:
1 Corinthians 12:1-7- 4 “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good (So we can help each other).”
Church was never meant to be a place you just come to be served, but rather a place you come to learn about and experience serving others.
Ephesians 4:11-12- And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds[c] and teachers,[d] 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,
4. Offering God our treasure as Worship.
Practicing the principle of the firsts with our treasure.
Offering God the first portion of our income is also a way we can worship God. We see this modeled by the early church as an important part of their practice of faith.
Disclaimer and Purpose: Robert Morris, The Blessed Life:
“There are more than 500 verses in the Bible concerning prayer and nearly 500 verses concerning faith, but more than 2,000 verses on the subject of money and possessions. Jesus talked about money in 16 of His 38 parables. Clearly, from the Bible’s standpoint, we need to understand money and how to handle it. Why? Because money is actually a test from God. How you handle money reveals volumes about your priorities, loyalties and affections.” In Morris, Robert (2004-09-08). The Blessed Life: Unlocking the Rewards of Generous Living (pp. 29-30). Gospel Light. Kindle Edition. Morris, Robert (2004-09-08).
The issue is not about your money, it is about your heart. I have seen it be one of the biggest stumbling blocks to people.
1Timothy 6:10- For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.
This is not about what I or the church wants FROM you but rather what I and the church wants FOR you.