Intro. This next section is under the heading, "Take heed to yourselves that you do not your righteous acts before men to be seen of men." Don't let your motive be the acknowledgement or the praise of man. The first of the righteous acts involves our giving and how we give.
I. WHEN YOU GIVE YOUR ALMS.
A. We should give for the work of the kingdom of God.
1. A little further down in sermon, Jesus will talk about laying up treasures in heaven.
2. In the Old Testament, they gave a tithe of their increase to the Lord.
a. There are those who object to giving a tenth to the Lord and you usually hear them say that that is under the law, and we are not under law, but under grace.
b. The giving of a tenth to the Lord preceded the law.
1. When Abraham came back from the victory over the five kings, he was met by Melchisedec the priest of the most high God and Abraham gave him a tithe of all that he had.
2. In Genesis 28
Jacob made a covenant with God and promised to give to Him a tenth of all that the Lord would give to him.
3. It was incorporated into the law in Leviticus:
And all the tithe of the land, [whether] of the seed of the land, [or] of the fruit of the tree, [is] the LORD'S: [it is] holy unto the LORD.
4. The prophet Malachi said that to fail to give a tenth to God constituted robbing God.
Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.
Ye [are] cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, [even] this whole nation.
Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that [there shall] not [be room] enough [to receive it].
And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts.
c. In the New Testament, Jesus confirmed the principle of tithing.
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier [matters] of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
3. David said of his giving that it actually belonged to God in the first place:
But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things [come] of thee, and of thine own have we given thee.
4. Paul gave some interesting advise to the Corinthians about their giving.
But this [I say], He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, [so let him give]; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
B. What can we say about giving to God?
1. We don't give to God because He needs it. God said to the people of Israel:
If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world [is] mine, and the fulness thereof.
Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens [is] the LORD'S thy God, the earth [also], with all that therein [is].
2. We give to God that we might invest in things that will return eternal dividends.
a. It is laying up treasures in heaven.
b. Jesus said to the rich young ruler:
Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go [and] sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come [and] follow me.
3. When you stop to think about it, it is one of the best and wisest investments that you could ever make.
II. THE WRONG WAY TO GIVE.
A. Making a big public display of your giving.
1. Drawing attention to yourself and your gift.
2. Jesus said not to sound the trumpets before you as do the hypocrites in the synagog.
3. If you watch the telethon's you see all kinds of attention given to the gift and the giver.
4. If you call and make a large pledge, watch intently the dancing and the carrying on, because that is all the reward you are ever going to get for that gift.
B. I can remember when I was a boy how they would often raise funds for the church.
1. The evangelist would often say, "The Lord has shown me that there are 5 people here tonight who are going to give 1,000 dollars." They would urge the people and tell scary stories until they would get the five people to pledge, then they would say that the Lord had told them that 10 people were going to give 500 dollars, and they would urge them to stand up, or wave their check.
2. I have often thought how sad it was for those poor people who often gave at great sacrifice, to have received all of the reward for their giving by the attention and praise that was given to them as they gave.
C. Giving for the glory of man.
III. THE RIGHT WAY TO GIVE.
A. Don't let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.
1. Jesus is saying let your giving be a personal matter between you and the Lord.
2. So private that no one knows just how much you have given.
3. I realize that with the government allowing deductions on your income taxes for your charitable contributions, that it is only wise and prudent to keep an account of your annual giving.
a. I do not believe in trying to dodge your tax responsibilities but on the other hand I do not believe in giving any more to the government than is demanded by law.
b. I take every deduction that is legally available.
c. According to the law, we keep records of the giving here for those who desire the tax deduction, but the records are kept completely confidential, I do not know who gives and who doesn't. How much or how little they give. I do not care to know.
d. I feel that it would be very wrong for me to rob a person of their eternal blessings by making a big to do over how much they gave.
B. That your giving might be in secret.
IV. THE RESULT, "YOUR FATHER THAT SEES IN SECRET WILL REWARD YOU OPENLY."
A. I guess it all boils down to, do you want temporal rewards, or eternal rewards?
1. There are many people who prefer the rewards now.
2. They desire the praise of man.
3. Everything they do is with a lot of show and flair. Everyone knows of their works, and they are held in high praise and esteem by man.