Sunday, March 19, 2017

Sunday School: Proverbs - God gives us everything

Proverbs 11:24-25
jOne gives kfreely, yet grows all the richer;
another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.
25  lWhoever brings blessing mwill be enriched,
and none who waters will himself be watered.

Game: Start with word search race.  Whoever gets done fastest wins.  Then, the Proverbs game.

Think about all the things that you have.  What is the most special item that you “own”?
Suppose you were asked to give it away.  What would you say?  Most of us would ask, “why should I give my most treasured possession away”?  Our answer to our own question can be answered in our lesson today.

 I would answer my guitar.  If someone gave me a million dollars for it, I would not give it away.  It was my mom’s as a young lady and now it is mine and it is a rare make, an original Guild.  I could not give it away unless I absolutely had to.

Today, our question is “why do we give?”  We give because God has given everything to us.

We are still learning from the Book of Proverbs.  A few weeks ago, we learned that wisdom is taking our knowledge of God’s Truth and putting it into practice.  Today we will learn how we can use wisdom with what God has given us.

Proverbs 11:24-25.  This verse talks about two kinds of attitudes about giving.  What attitudes to you see? (people who give and people who don’t give)

Can you think of a word that describes a person who gives freely?  What word comes to mind when you think of a person who doesn’t give or holds back from giving? (Ebenezer Scrooge)

1. We give because God has given everything to us.

I will read two passages today: one in the Old Testament and one in the New Testament.  The first is in the last book of the OT, Malachi.  This book was written in a time when God’s people, Israel, sinned so much that God threw them out of their land.  After 70 years, he brought them back.  Sadly, they began sinning again.  God wanted them to rebuild the temple which had been destroyed, but they had stopped when people began to oppose them.  God sent them Malachi to begin worshiping only God, build his temple, and make sure that the temple workers can make a living by giving them ten percent of everything they earn, also known as a tithe.

Malachi 3:8-12 - Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. xBut you say,‘How have we robbed you?’ yIn your tithes and contributions. zYou are cursed with acurse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. 10 aBring the full tithe into thestorehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby bput me to the test, says theLORD of hosts, if I will not open cthe windows of heaven for you and pour down for you ablessing until there is no more need. 11 I will rebuke dthe devourer2 for you, so that it willnot destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says theLORD of hosts. 12 Then eall nations will call you blessed, for you will be fa land of delight,says the LORD of hosts.

Do you know why we collect money for offering in church and Sunday School?  Because that money goes to pay the preachers, buy materials for Sunday School and church, and help reach out to the community.  Some churches will be greedy and misuse that money, but many churches rely on that money to continue operating and so that the pastor can feed his family.  When we make money, God wants us to take ten percent of that money and give it back to the church.  If you do not do that, then you are robbing God and his workers.  I experienced this personally as a children’s minister for three years at a small church.  If there are less tithes, then ministers can’t be paid adequately.

2. 100% of your money and everything you own belongs to God

Who created you and me?  Who gives us everything we have?  Did you know that 100% of your money actually belongs to God?  He wants you to give one tenth of it to church and then use the other nine tenths for his glory and to further his kingdom. 

This moves me to my New Testament passage in Matthew 25:14-30.
14 “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants[c]and entrusted to them his property. 15 To one he gave five talents,[d] to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master's money.19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.[e] You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

I’m going to act out this passage.  I will give 5 coins to one kid, 2 to another, and 1 to another.

3. God loves a cheerful giver

2 Corinthians 9:7 - Each one must give as he has decided in hisheart, wnot reluctantly or under compulsion, for xGod loves a cheerful giver.

God loves a cheerful giver.  Do you have any stories of a time you gave something and ended up really being glad you did so?

Do you know why Jesus gave everything for us?  We know that he created us.  We know that man rebelled against him and that all people have been born with a natural bent to hate God and love ourselves more.  But Jesus saw us in our pitiful state, came to earth as a baby, and took the punishment on the cross for all believers and rose again.  Why would he suffer to much indignity for people who hated him?  Hebrews 12:2 says it was for the “Joy set before him.”  What joy?  The joy of knowing that the people he made will enjoy a perfect life with him for eternity.  That is why you should give more and care for others’ needs above your own.

Does giving save you?  No, but saved people give.  Just like in the parable of the talents, we will receive rewards in heaven according to what we have done.  Jesus does everything to save us from sin and declare us righteous before the Father in heaven, but we work to become more like Jesus and less like the world in a process called sanctification.  I have a song that will illustrate this:

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