Wednesday, April 17, 2013

P5 G.I.V.E to express worship

Deuteronomy 26:18-19 The Lord has today declared you to be His people, a treasured possession, as He promised you, and that you should keep all His commandments; 19 and that He will set you high above all nations which He has made, for praise, fame, and honor; and that you shall be a consecrated people to the Lord your God, as He has spoken.”

The above passage is said in the context of God's instructions for the people to give of their tithes and offerings unto Him.  For the past several days we have been focusing our attention on the reasons for giving to the Lord. As we have explored such reasons by the acrostic G.I.V.E, we have noted the following reasons thus far:
God is a Giving God
Invites the Presence of God
Validated in scripture

As we finish out this blog series today, we aim to look at the final reason for giving of tithes and offerings in Biblical stewardship, namely because it Expresses one's worship to God.

What is worship
Worship's purpose is to behold and express awe over the goodness and glory of God.  When we praise God, we are expressing excitement over what God has done.  When we worship God, we are expressing awe over Who God is.  In tithing and stewardship, I am peering at God's Goodness through lenses of provision.  Certainly in giving and tithing, I am recognizing what God has done - thus praising Him.  However praise leads to an even higher form of expression - worship.  Whenever we see God's goodness for the sheer enjoyment of His goodness - we are entering into the realm of worship. 

Whenever the Israelites were giving unto God, they were recognizing their purpose for existence as stated in Deuteronomy 26:19 - "created for fame, praise and honor".  The question is: "for whose praise, fame and honor"?  Is it for the exaltation of the Jewish people? No.  Rather the people were made for the praise, fame and honor of the Lord Himself.  Through Israel God would offer to the world His Son, the Ultimate tithe and firstfruit. (1 Corinthians 15:20,23) As the Israelites would tithe and bring their offerings, they were acting in shadowy form what God would do in the giving of His Son.

As New Testament Christians, our giving is not only for the purpose to please God, but for a greater purpose - to express to God how pleased we are to know Him, and to be known by Him.  All giving aims at seeing God's goodness, and letting others know how good God is.  So where does the logic for giving being an expression of worship derive?  Consider 2 Corinthians 9:12-15:
"For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God. 13 Because of the proof given by this ministry, they will glorify God for your obedience to your confession of the gospel of Christ and for the liberality of your contribution to them and to all, 14 while they also, by prayer on your behalf, yearn for you because of the surpassing grace of God in you. 15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!"

The completion of the giving and stewardship by the Corinthian church will lead to many people thanking God for His provision.  That's praise.  Now look at verse 13: "Because of the proof given by this ministry, they will glorify God for your obedience...".  That's worship!  To glorify God is to be in awe of His Goodness as God - which is the biblical definition of worship.  Can tithing and stewardship, carried out consistently and joyfully, lead to worship of God? Absolutely!

In fact, in Article XIII of the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, we see these words about stewardship:
"They are therefore under obligation to serve Him with their time, talents, and material possessions; and should recognize all these as entrusted to them to use for the glory of God and for helping others. According to the Scriptures, Christians should contribute of their means cheerfully, regularly, systematically, proportionately, and liberally for the advancement of the Redeemer's cause on earth."

The link between giving, praise and worship is unmistakable.  Giving is the means to attaining the goal of praise and worship of God.  We are able to see His goodness and express worship to Him by way of tithing and stewardship. Consider for a moment, in reverse order, what the BFM 2000 is saying on this point: The term "proportionately" in the BFM 2000 statement speaks of the only proper and Divinely ordained "proportion" - namely 10%.  The term systematically speaks of not only tithing but beyond the tithe - namely offerings.  The term "regularly" speaks of the frequency of the giving, with the term "cheerfully" pointing to the God honoring attitude behind our worshipful giving.  

As we have explored reasons for giving as to the Lord, we have noted the four reasons for doing so:
God is a giving God
Invites God's Presence
Verified throughout scripture
Expresses worship to God

May you and I dear believer take God at His word and cheerfully, regularly, systematically and proportionately give to the Lord and His work.       

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