Finances Part 1
“Road to Financial Freedom: Your Personal Journey”
Who’s in Control?
God’s Responsibilities and Our Responsibilities
Money effects every part of our lives today. Many people are experiencing financial challenges. They are facing growing debt, little or no savings, inadequate income, no income because of being laid off, and no plans for their financial future. Does that sound like anyone you know? Others are financially sound, but suffocating materialism has robbed them of their spiritual joy and they are not spending their resources where God wants them. And yes, God wants to direct the resources He gives you where He wants them.
Surveys reveal that more than half of all divorces are a result of financial tension in the home.
I can attest to the fact that my wife and I rarely argue but 99% of the time when we do it’s primarily about money and more specifically my reimbursements for my business travel on our personal credit cards.
I don’t know of anything else that can cause so much tension, anxiety, depression, anger, frustration, helplessness, isolation, disappointment, pride, greed, envy, strife, jealousy, dis-contentment, etc in our lives.
It could be that’s why the bible has more than 2350 verses on money and possessions. In fact, Jesus said more about money than almost any other subject. It’s also very interesting that the bible only has approx 500 verses about prayer and 500 verses about faith. Maybe Jesus knew that it was going to be difficult for us to handle money. It really doesn’t matter whether you have money or not it’s what you do with what you have. Most of all, remember that’s not just about money – it’s about a change of heart. Because, if God can get control of your wallet then he will have control of your heart.
Now we are going to have to get ready cause we are going to condense 12 – 2 hour lessons into 4 – 45/60 min lessons over the next 4 weeks. This curriculum is part of a comprehensive program from Crown Financial Ministries that helps train us how to handle money God’s way. Listen fast. But talk much. Because this isn’t a lecture this is a discussion. J.T. and I are going to lead you on this financial tour but we are facilitators not necessarily teachers.
We are going to learn together about What God has to say about money. This series will address many financial issues from God’s perspective, such as earning, spending, saving, giving, investing, getting out of debt, and teaching children to handle money. We are also going to give practical application to these principles.
Why the Lord says so much about Money?
· How we handle money has a significant impact on theintimacy of our relationship with Jesus Christ.
Luke 16:11 “If therefore you are not faithful in the use of Worldly wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you?”
Q1 : What does this verse communicate to you about the importance of managing possessions faithfully?
CR Answer: How we handle money affects our relationship with Christ. We are required to be faithful stewards of what the Lord has entrusted us with.
Dr. Rogers: “You’ll see how rich you are when you add up everything that money can’t buy and death can’t take away.”
· Money is a primary competitor with Christ for the lordship of our life.
Matt 6:24 “No one can serve 2 masters: for either he will hate the one and love the other
.you cannot serve God and money.”
Q1 : How does handling money impact our fellowship with the Lord?
No CR Answer – My thoughts – We serve a mighty and awesome Lord that desires to be priority one in our life. The bible tells us that he is a jealous God and he has no plans to share the limelight with anything or anybody.
· The Lord wanted to give us a blueprint for handling money. As I mentioned previously, Scripture gives us clear principles for earning, spending, saving, investing, giving, getting out of debt, and teaching our children how to handle money.
· The financial principles of most people are in sharp contrast to the principles of scripture.
Isaiah 55:8-9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways ; declares the Lord. For as the Heavens are higher then the Earth, so are my ways higher then your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Q1 : Do you think that God’s Financial Principles differ from how most people handle their money?
CR Answer: God’s Economy operates on entirely different principles. Most people do not believe the Lord plays a role in finances, but scripture reveals he has a dominant role in all things.
My comments : God’s use of money is to bless others and increase his Kingdom on earth (unselfish). Our use of money is to accumulate wealth and possessions and maybe we help others along the way (when we can).
God’s Part in Our Finances
· Scripture teaches there are two distinct responsibilities in the handling of money: the part God plays and the part we play.
· God is the owner of everything.
Ps 24:1 ”The Earth is the Lord’s and all it contains.”
Q1 : What does this passage tell you about the ownership of your possessions?
CR Answer : The Lord owns everything in the World.
My comments : We are only stewards. The Lord owns it all and simply entrusts us with possessions/property. WE DON’T RUN THE SHOW
Lev 25:23 “The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine and you are but aliens and my tenants.” (God owns the land)
Ps 50:10-12 “for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains, and the creatures of the field are mine. If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine and all that is in it.”
(God owns the animals)
Hag 2:8 “The silver is mine and the gold is mine, declares the Lord Almighty.”
(God owns all the gold and silver – everything in the earth and under the earth)
· If we are going to be genuine followers of Christ, we must transfer the ownership of our possessions to the Lord.
Luke 14:33 “In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.”
· The first step in learning contentment is recognizing God is the owner of all “your” possessions.
· Our heavenly Father is in ultimate control of every event.
1 Chronicles 29: 11-12 “Everything in the Heavens and Earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as being in control of everything. Riches and honor come from you alone, and you are the ruler of all mankind; your hand controls power and might and it is at your discretion that men are made great and given strength.
Q1 : What does this verse say about the Lord’s control of circumstances?
CR Answer : The Lord is in control of all circumstances.
My Comments : This is where I would like to share about the current economy, the current atmosphere at my office, and how the Lord blessed our pants off. Never doubt the Lord and do not live in fear during these tough times
· It is comforting for the child of God to realize that his heavenly Father orchestrates even seemingly devastating circumstances for ultimate good.
Romans 8:28 “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who Love God, for those called according to his purpose.”
Q1 : Why is it important to realize that God controls and uses even difficult circumstances for good in the life of a Godly person?
CR Answer : We need to realize that God works every circumstance to benefit those who love him and are yielded to him. Look at the life of Joseph and see how God orchestrated many difficulties for ultimate good.
· The Lord promises to provide for our needs. Jesus said,
Matt 6:33”But seek first the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things (food and clothing) shall be added unto you.”
Q1: What has God promised about meeting your needs?
Q2: Can someone provide an example of the Lord meeting their needs supernaturally?
Dr. Rogers: “Give God the chance to provide before you buy.”
“There is no promise God cannot keep, no prayer God will not answer, and no problem too hard for Him to solve.”
· God is both predictable and unpredictable. He is absolutely predictable in His faithfulness to provide. What we cannot predict is how the Lord will provide.
God loves to use ordinary people through extraordinary circumstances for His will to be done so that it can’t be casually brushed aside or explained away apart from the Awesome Power of God so that He gets ALL the Glory.
· The basic reason most fail to recognize God’s part is that we do not know who God really is. We tend to shrink Him down to our own human abilities and limitations.
Ps 139:3-4 “You are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord.”
· Our responsibility is that of a steward or manager of the Lord’s possessions.
· Our responsibility is to be faithful stewards.
1 Corinthians 4:2 “It is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.”
Q1: How would you define a steward?
CR Answer : A steward is a manager of another’s property.
My comments: We are given responsibility but we are not entitled with ownership. To much is given much is required.
Q2 : What does being found faithful mean to you?
My comments : Tithing, helping those less fortunate, and most importantly using whatever the Lord entrust us with the further his Kingdom on earth.
· Although most of us have heard that we should give 10 percent of our income, few have learned the biblical basis for handling the other 90 percent.
· Faithful in little things.
Luke 16:10 “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much: and he who is unrighteous is a very little thing is unrighteous in much.”
Q1: Describe the principle that is found from this verse.
CR Answer : If he or she is unfaithful in little things they will be unfaithful in much.
Dr. Rogers: quoted Epicurus “To whom little is not enough, nothing is enough.”
· Small things are small things, but faithfulness with a small thing is a big thing.
Additonal Verse : Matt 25:14-19 –
This speaks of talents being given and the master returning to settle accounts. We could have someone read the verse and then throw out the below question.
Q1: Do you believe we will be held accountable for our actions?
CR Answer : This doesn’t speak to someone losing their salvation but you can be sure that the Lord will hold us accountable to how we manage his possessions.
1. Describe the most important principle you learned in this lesson.
2. How will applying this principle impact you?