Daring Faith Pt 8 – Rich Adamkewicz
God gave me an image while we were listening to worship, while we were praising God. Is there anybody here who’s drowned, almost drowned? Anybody? A few people. I know Randi’s brother had that experience as well. The lungs start to fill up with water, there’s a little bit of panic, struggle, I’m sure of what’s going to happen. They fill up some more, you feel like there’s nothing you can do. I could see this person who’s drowning and struggling. I’ve never experienced drowning by water, but I’ve experienced drowning in my life. We’re born in this world, in this society, and I’ve had things in my life where I’ve felt like my lungs have been filling up with water. I’ve felt in my life that there have been times that I was not going to get through it, that I was going to be pulled under the water and helpless. That’s life. We probably all have a story like that, and we’re not alone, and our children are the same. They go through things in life that are struggles. We may see them as trivial, but they feel like they’re drowning.
Today we’re going to be looking at daring to be generous, a daring faith to be generous. What’s the first thing you think of when you think of generous? Somebody says generous, giving. I have to be honest, the first thing that comes to mind, that’s right, it’s money, it’s one of the first things I think of. If somebody comes up to me and says, “I need you to be generous to me.” I’m going to be like, “I forgot my wallet at home.” That’s going to come to mind. This sermon is an adaptation from Pastor Rick Warren’s sermon of the Saddleback Church, it’s a part of this book series that we’ve been looking at. So I need to ask you today if you’re living; are you? Are you living a daring faith in your life? Living in faith is stepping out. Are you stepping out in your life? Are you being generous? Are you drowning? You want the blessings of God on your life, if you want the power of God in your life, if you want to see the anointing of God through your life, well there’s three things to have the blessing of God.
One is integrity, one is humility, and the other is generosity. These are three great antidotes to the great temptations in life. And it doesn’t matter where your walk is with Christ right now, whether you’re a brand new Christian or whether you’ve never been into a church and today is your first time, or you’ve been coming to church for 30 years, you know about the temptations in life. If you build your life on integrity, humility, generosity you’ll step up for yourself, you’ll create barriers to the greatest traps in life. These traps will cause us to fail. So today we’re going to look at generosity. Pastor Rick Warren, he would say, “With every promise there is a premise.” He says it in all his videos. God says if you do this I’ll do that. God says there’s a condition for every one of the promises of God in your life, promises of success – who doesn’t want success in their life? Promises for satisfaction – how many here could raise their hands and say they are satisfied with their life? Fulfillment and promises of blessings. There’s over 7,000 promises of God to you in the Bible, and every one of those promises has a premise. That’s good. I hope you pulled your socks up because we’re about to get into it.
In the Bible, the number one thing that God has promises about is connected to generosity. There are more promises related to generosity in the Bible than any other subject. And we need to remember when we’re discussing generosity, I’m not talking about money, I haven’t got a whole lot so I’m glad generosity is not connected to money; or is it? We’re talking about being generous with your time, being generous with your energy, generous in your praise this morning, that was generous, thank you worship team, being generous with your talents in every area of your life. It’s about becoming unselfish. There are more promises about that than anything else; anything else. And I know about being selfish, because I know that deep down I fight against it and I ask God and myself to help me with that. So what is it about generosity? Why is God so interested in generosity? Well, he’s interested in us learning how to be generous. And you know what, generosity is love in action; love in action. You can give without loving, you can; but you cannot love without giving. You cannot be loving without being generous. Wave to us Randi. That’s my wife, Randi. God was generous with me. If I tell Randi that I love her but I’m not generous with my wife, I don’t really love her. If I’m not generous with my kids, I don’t really love my kids. So hang in there with me here, because God loves to give. God so loved the world that he gave, didn’t he? It’s simple, generosity is love in action. If I’m not a generous person, I’m not a loving person. I might think I am because I buy some presents at Christmas time, and it’s coming up soon so I’m feeling pretty good. I want to limit the amount of presents I buy, but I’m still pretty generous, but I’m not.
Love is all about giving; it’s not about getting. I was listening to the radio, often I just listen to Shine, but because of my roots I’m drawn to country music. And so sometimes you’re listening to those songs and they’re love songs, they’re good love songs. But are they love songs, or are they lust songs? And lust is about getting. Love is about giving; lust is about getting. “You make me feel good. I like that hat you got on.” That’s lust, it’s not love. Love is giving, lust is about getting. In the Bible, the word believe, 272 times; pray, 371; love, 700 – love must be important. Giving, 2,152 times – there’s got to be something about that because God is a giver. Everything you have in life is a gift from God. If God was not generous you would have nothing, your heart would stop beating right now; he gave you life. God is generous, he gives you air, sunshine, sunshine today, a mind to think, and everything else in your life is just a sheer gift from God. Even the ability to earn is a gift from God. The ability to work is a gift from God. God wants us to learn to be like him, he wants us to be a giver. We’re going to look at about a dozen promises about generosity from Scripture today. I’m just getting started so if you got sleeves on your shirt, roll them up. I didn’t even wear sleeves today because I didn’t want them to get in my way, so roll them up if you got them.
What comes with a promise? A benefit. That is what happens every time you’re generous. The number one thing, are you ready? If you have paper, write it down; if you don’t, put it up there. If you have an envelope in front of you, write on it, it don’t matter, just write this down. Number one, generosity honors God. Giving is an act of worship. We worshiped this morning, the worship team was up here praising God. If you want to see honoring God, you come in the morning and go to the prayer room. It was on fire this morning. There are warriors down there praying, you want to see the spirit move, you come on in there. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 9:13, “You will be glorifying God through your generous gifts. Your generosity will prove that you are obedient to the good news of Christ.” Proverbs 14:31, “Whoever is generous to the needy honors God.” So let’s break that down. That means you give money to help the poor, that’s what we’re doing, we’re helping the poor, whoever is generous to the needy. I’ve walked by people who’ve asked me for money. I’ve walked by people who’ve come right up to me and put their hand out. But I’ve also changed my ways, and if I have it in my pocket, a praise to God, “What do you want me to do Lord?” – if I have a gift; it’s not my money.
Number two, generosity draws me closer to God. Generosity draws me closer to God. Why? Because whatever I invest in, that’s what I become interested in. If I invest my time in something, I will be interested in that. If I invest my money, I will become interested in that. If I invest my energy in something, whether it’s a sport or you’re putting together a business plan, whatever I invest my time and my money shows what’s important to me. We are so linked to our wallets in this world. And this isn’t about tithing, yet. It wasn’t until I started giving that I felt released from whatever it was that was holding me back. When I invest in God and his work, it not only honors God, but it draws me closer to him because wherever my money and time go is what attracts me. The Bible says this in Deuteronomy 14:23, “The purpose of tithing is to teach you to always put God first in your lives.” We give the first part of our income, the first 10% on the first day of the week. We say, “God, you’re number one, it all came from you.” Matthew 6:21, Jesus said, “Your heart will be wherever your treasure is.” Wherever you put your money, that’s where your heart is going. You want to be close to God, put some money there, it’ll draw you closer to God. Some of you are thinking, “This guy, he wants my money.” I don’t need your money; I don’t. Did you know that the church doesn’t need your money? It doesn’t. The church is the people, the church needs your heart.
Number three, generosity makes me more like Jesus, because the most generous person who ever lived was Jesus Christ. He sacrificed his own life. The Bible says we have been saved because of the generosity of Jesus. Every time you give time, money, energy, anything, you become more like Jesus. Every time you give your heart grows bigger, it gets easier to give every time you give. Proverbs 20:21, 26, “The greedy always want more, but the godly love to give.” You see that today, the greedy always want more, but the godly loves to give. And the more godly you become, the more generous you are. But it also works in reverse – the more generous you are, the more godly you are going to become. The more godly you are, the more generous you’ll be. Luke 11:41, “Purity is best demonstrated by generosity.” To live a holy life is to be a giver.
I learned some lessons as a child, learned a lot of lessons as a child, mostly because I had two brothers. So when you have two brothers and there’s three of you, there’s a lot of lessons to be learned; mostly, we brought them all on ourselves. But there is this time that my father, my dad, taught me some lessons, sometimes those lessons hurt. I don’t know if some of you remember the candy stores, the old candy stores, the confectioneries, we had one and you could buy the little nickel candies or dime candies, I can’t remember what they were. Some of you might remember penny candies, but we won’t get into that. You could buy a small bag of those black little jawbreakers, remember that? Those were awesome. Some people hate black licorice, but I love it, and my brothers hated it so that was even better because then I got them all for me. I remember going to one of these candy stores, got a bag of these black jawbreakers. They’re not very big, they’re small little guys, small enough that you could crack them with your teeth without having to go to the dentist, after you’ve sucked on it for a few minutes anyways. My dad bought me those jawbreakers, candy, very sweet.
He was the reason I had those jawbreakers. You know what he asked? “Hey, give me one of those jawbreakers.” My dad was a big guy too, shorter than me, but a big guy. He was sitting in his truck, “Give me one of those jawbreakers.” I’m like, “They’re my jawbreakers.” Did he not remember that he just bought me the jawbreakers? Those are mine, he could have bought his own, fathers. Now I understand a little bit better. I didn’t realize that he could have taken them all away. He’s my father, he bought them, he might take them all away; I didn’t know that. Well ultimately he should have bought his own darn jawbreakers, that’s really the bottom line there in my mind back then. Do you know what my dad was thinking? He’s thinking, “I’d take those away from you, not going to share?” He’s teaching me a lesson. The lesson I didn’t know back then was that he could have taken them away, or I could have shared that with him, he could have given me a big bag of jawbreakers, he could do that. He could take them all away or he could have gave me the biggest bag of jawbreakers. I didn’t know if he could buy them anymore, I really missed out I guess.
Those are the same three reasons God wants you to learn generosity. God does not need your money; it all belongs to him anyways. And it wasn’t yours before you were born, and it’s not going to be yours after you’re dead. He loaned it to you, he’s loaning this to you right now while you’re alive; it’s all his. He is the source of all things sweet. Everything you have in your life, if God didn’t love you, if he wasn’t being generous with you, zip, you’d have nothing. He could take it all the way from you instantly, but he’s generous. He can give you 10 times that amount. He is good. He just wants us to learn, he just wants to teach us to be unselfish because he is generous, and he wants me and he wants you to be Christ-like.
Number four, this is a good one, I like this one. It’s 12, you got some ways to go here so I hope you’re ready. Number four, generosity is the cure for materialism. Materialism is all about getting – get, get, get, get. Get all you can, get all you want, bring it on. It’s talking about hoarding, acquiring, having more than you need. And the only antidote to materialism is giving. You might say right now, “I’m not materialistic. We don’t even own a house, we don’t have very much.” But if you’re not generous, if you’re not giving, you are, because the only antidote is generous. The only way to break it is to give; give, you break it, you stop being materialistic. Matthew 6:24, “You cannot serve both God and money.” Cannot. This isn’t “you should not serve God and money”; this is “you cannot”. You need to make a choice, no one else, not your parents from your past, not your people who are going to come after you, you need to make your own choice. You can’t have two gods in your life. Some countries serve more than one God, and one of them is not money. You need to make a choice who you serve. Being rich or serving God, what’s more important to me? We live in a consumer driven world and it’s hard to fight materialism.
Your life, you may think that your life is your net worth, or that it determines your self-worth, and it’s not. Your values are not your valuables. Your net worth and your self-worth are not connected. But we are bombarded and Satan has a tool to catch us, and it’s materialistic – social media, online shopping, every little thing that bombards you from your looking at your phone to your computer to the advertising when you’re walking through the mall, old school catalogs. You look through these and you go, “I didn’t even know they made this. I got to have it now, where was I without that?” You know who did that? Regal catalog, who remembers Regal? You got to have it. “It can be an apple peeler and a potato peeler, and I have room in my drawers, man this is good.” 1 Timothy 6:17,19 says this, “Command those who are rich in this present world, not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to be generous and willing to share, in this way they will take hold of the life that is true life.” You need to give in order to break the grip of materialism in your life. Command of those who are rich – if I ask you right now who here is rich, I’m the only one who’s going to put their hand up, because I’m Richard, rich.
Even the poorest people in North America are rich when you compare them to the rest of the world. In North America you don’t have to have a whole lot, but when you compare those people with nothing here to the people in some other countries… I haven’t seen too many people here living with a tin roof over top of a couple of shack walls. We are rich in North America. Do you know what else it says in there? It says enjoyment, ‘everything for our enjoyment’. God is so generous that he has provided everything for us for our enjoyment. Do you feel joy with what you have? Is all the stuff that you have bringing you joy?
Number five, generosity demonstrates my faith. Every time you give it demonstrates faith because it shows that you’re trusting in the promises of God. It shows what you believe, it shows that you believe that God will take care of you if you obey him. 2 Corinthians 9:13, “Your giving proves the reality of your faith.” Philemon 1:6, “You are generous because of your faith.” You’re generous because of your faith. Stinginess is caused by unbelief – “I don’t believe God can really take care of me. I know everybody tells me he will, but I’m really struggling. I don’t know if I give this way like that guy, that big guy up there is saying, am I going to have enough for myself at home for my family?” That’s worry, that’s an anxiety, fear. Unbelief is stinginess; you’re generous because of your faith.
Malachi 3:10, God dares you to trust his promises. “Bring your whole tithe to my storehouse. Test me in this and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much.” My tithe to my storehouse, so what’s this storehouse? Temple, it’s where you worship. Test me; God is daring you to do something. I know there’s a few guys around here that if I dare you to do something we may just have a challenge. God says, “I dare you.” So what are you going to say? “Challenge accepted.” I dare you. This by the way is the only place in the Bible where you can prove God. Prove that God exists by tithing, see if he doesn’t bless you more. This will demonstrate your faith.
Generosity reveals character; number six. Generosity reveals my character. It shows what kind of heart you really have. It shows do I have a selfish heart or do I have an unselfish heart? Do I have a generous heart, or do I have a little tiny stingy heart? What’s that show, the big old green guy? The Grinch. Do you have one of those little tiny Grinch hearts because it’s stingy? I know I have to work on that one, I got to grow my heart bigger. Giving, generosity shows what my heart is really like. In fact, the Bible says that God uses money to test what’s really inside of you, and he uses it. He uses money to test and see if he can trust you with more. I’m going to view on more of God. If you’re faithful with the little things, he’ll give you more things. If you’re faithful with that which is not your own, “What I loan you here while you’re on earth, I will give you greater blessings in eternity.” Faithful with the little things, that’s money, “I’ll give you more things” – God. You may not realize this, but the rewards and responsibilities that you have in heaven are going to be based on how you manage your money here.
Luke 16:11, “If you are untrustworthy with worldly wealth” – in other words, if you are not managing your money well, you’re not generous with it. So if you are untrustworthy with worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? Your responsibilities and rewards in heaven are going to be built on how you handled it with God, with what he gave you now, and he has given you wealth. What did you do with what you were given?
Number seven, generosity brings God’s blessing. Generosity brings the blessings of God. You must learn not to be a miser, you must learn not to be stingy. You must learn to be open-handed with what God has given you, helping other people with everything you’ve got. The more you give away your time, your talent, your treasure, the more God will give you. Think of it as this with a child – you give your time to the child, they’re so happy. They bring you a book and you sit down and read it and there’s joy on her face; it doesn’t take any time to do that really. In most cases little kids get distracted in two minutes and go do something else, so it would have only taken you two minutes to sit down and give your time, your talent, your treasure. The more you give away God will give you, giving brings God’s blessings.
Proverbs 22:9, “Generous people will be blessed.” You either believe that or you don’t. Generous people will be blessed. Deuteronomy 15:10, “Give generously, then because of this God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to.” Do you want God to bless everything you put your hand to at home, at work, here in the church, give generously? That’s all only one of the 7,000 promises of God. Here’s another one, are you ready for it? 2 Corinthians 9:7, 8, “God loves the one who gives gladly, and God will make it up to you by giving you everything you need and more so that there will not only be enough for your own needs, but plenty left over to give joyfully to others.” ‘Loves the one who gives gladly.’ Not a whole lot of smiling going on when we’re tithing, is there? That’s what we all might need to work on, maybe not all of us, but a few that is. I know myself, I heard that message years ago. And when the pastor mentioned about giving gladly, I was like, “Oh yeah, right, I’m giving my money to God. I am gifting, not even really gifting because it’s God’s anyways. I should be joyful that I even have it to give.”
Eight – generosity increases my happiness; everybody knows this. The only people who don’t know this are the ones who aren’t being generous. Generosity increases my happiness. In Acts 20:35 Jesus said, “There is more happiness in giving than in receiving.” So your mom was right, it’s in the Bible, maybe that’s where she got it from, I don’t know. But it is better to give than receive. I always found that difficult, to receive, because if I received what I didn’t want, I found that very hard. And as a child you don’t understand everything. You watch a child receive something and see how that brings you happiness.
This one is going to blow your mind, are you ready? You might have to loosen your socks up for this one, you don’t want it to cut off circulation. Number nine, generosity expands my influence; expands my influence. The more generous you become, the more influential you will become. Influence comes, not from what you get in life, it comes from what you give away in life. And the more you give away, the more influential you will be. If you are at work and you’re not giving, you’re not being generous, you probably will not become influential in your workplace. There’s a difference between being famous and being influential. There are a lot of people out there who want to be famous, and they have no influence. And famous can be taken different ways, you know the people that you work with who always have to be up here. There’s a lot of selfish people who are famous, but they don’t have real influence. When you want to help other people, the influence is going to come from being generous, from generosity. Proverbs 11:24, “The word of the generous gets larger and larger, the world of the stingy will get smaller and smaller.” Psalm 112:9 says this, “Those who give generously to those in need will never be forgotten. They will have influence and honor.” You’re helping the poor, the unfortunate. What’s your legacy going to look like?
Number 10 says generosity multiplies my money. That’s a big one, isn’t it? Generosity multiplies my money. Give 10% of my income to God, we call that tithing, 10%. Do you know what God does in my life? He takes a 90% that’s leftover and he makes it go way further than if I had 00%, and I can’t explain it. For about 14 years now he has taken my 90% and… Proverbs 11:25, “A generous man will prosper. He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” 2 Corinthians 9:11, “You will be enriched so that you can give even more generously.” That means you’re going to have more than you do now. God multiplies your money. You play this game with God, God says, “You give to me and I’ll give to you, and you give to others, you watch, I’ll give to you and we’ll see who wins.” You’re never going to win the generosity game with God. Try that, that could be a thing for you this week, see if you can beat God at generosity.
Number 11, generosity brings God’s protection. A lot of people don’t know this, but it will actually bring God’s protection being generous. I’m not saying that you take that money and pay Fred and his gang to watch over your family, that’s not what I’m saying. But he’ll bring protection on your family, on your business, and on your life. Psalm 112:5,6, it says “All goes well for the generous man who conducts his business fairly. Such a man will not be overthrown by evil circumstances. God’s constant care of him will make a deep impression on all who see it.” Look at that first part – “All goes well for the generous man who conducts his business fairly.” What are we talking there? Integrity and generosity, and then it says about overthrown by evil circumstances, will not be overthrown by evil circumstances. It does not say that you will not have evil circumstances in your life, it does not say that you will not have tough times. He’s saying that you are not going to be blown away, you will not be over thrown. People are going to look and they’re going to say, “Look at that guy, wow, they’ve been through a lot and God has blessed them.” And we have those miracles in our church this year, this year we have seen those miracles. We’ve had people stand up here and tell us tough times that they’ve been through, and that God did not allow the evil circumstances to blow them away. Generosity will bring God’s protection.
Last one, number 12, generosity will be rewarded in heaven. 1 Timothy 6:18, 19, “Use your money to do good.” Let’s stop there – use your money to do good. Use; it’s not to be loved, it is to be used. If you use money, you love people; you start loving money, you’re going to use people. Money is a tool, it’s not good, it’s not bad; it’s neutral. You can use it for good, you can use it for bad; there’s nothing evil about money, it’s neutral. It can be used in really good ways, and I’ve seen it used in great ways. It can be used in really bad ways, and I’ve used it for really bad ways in the past. The Bible doesn’t say that money is the root of all evil; the love of money is the root of all evil. You’re to love people and use money, your money to do good. Let’s go on from that verse. “Use your money to do good, always being ready to share with others whatever God has given you. By doing this you will be storing up real treasure (you) for in heaven, it is the only safe investment for eternity. And they (you) will be living a fruitful Christian life down here as well.” You can’t take it with you, nobody takes a u-haul to the cemetery with all their money. But you can send it on ahead of you.
So how do you do that? The Scriptures say four times, store up treasure in heaven. We have preached about this this last year, I know we have – store up treasure in heaven, how do you do that? How do you bank in heaven? You invest in people, you invest in people that are going there; that’s how. Daring faith, we’re investing in people through this. Getting people into heaven, getting them strong, getting them to grow, they said that’s investing in heaven. You send on ahead and you’re going to be able to enjoy the treasures in heaven for yourself. One of the most important things that Jesus said is in this next verse, Luke 16:9, “I tell you, use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. In this way your generosity stores up a reward for you in heaven.” It’s not saying to go out and buy a bunch of friends, it’s not what he’s saying. You take some of your money and you start building bridges, friendship. Help people that are struggling.
You can have friends in heaven because you bought somebody a Bible, you handed your only Bible to somebody, you sponsored a project somewhere, you helped build a church, you helped a program, you were downstairs in the children ministry and you were helping them because they don’t have enough people for the children, you were helping in the clothing zone because they had a huge shipment of clothing come in, you donated to the food zone, you did other things. And through that I came to the Lord. Thank you for coming to those programs, thank you for giving me that Bible, thank you. Generosity will be rewarded in heaven. These are all just tools, all 12 of those points. You need to decide what you’re going to do, you need to decide whether you’re going to take them and live them, take one of them and live them, or you’re just going to let them go; that’s up to you. You need to go where God’s leading you.
I want you to leave with this, I’m going to leave with this. I want you to think about what happens when life falls apart, what happens when life falls apart for you and you haven’t been generous in your life. All over the world there’s islands being wiped out, there’s disasters happening. Did those people know that stuff was going to happen? No. Were those people generous before these things happened? Maybe. It maybe somewhere probably just like our church. You don’t know when things are coming to an end with how you know it now. You don’t know when your job is going to be gone, you don’t know when somebody is going to get sick in your family, you don’t know when you’re going to become injured; and now everything changes. Don’t wait to be generous in your life, don’t wait to show time and generosity; do it now. When you’re a baby Christian, God gives you a lot of confirming emotions, and often answers the most immature self-centered prayers so you’ll know he exists. But as you grow in faith, he will wean you off these dependencies. It’s time to be mature, it’s time for us all to grow up and follow the word of God.
Let’s bow our heads and pray. Thank you Jesus, Lord thank you for your message today. Lord God the times that we know that we’re supposed to be generous Lord God and we’re not, we just ask Lord that you’d do something deep inside us Lord God and have us step out in a daring faith. I just thank you Lord for those that have just stepped into this church today for the first time Lord God. Lord I just call that the people of the church will be generous with their time and step out. Let’s say hi to those people, Lord God that’s all it takes is a hi. And Lord we just lift it all up to you, and you just do it as your will directs us, in Jesus name, amen.