Growing Up in the Lord - My Finances

1. Introduction: To begin this lesson, read Matthew 6:19-34; Luke 12:13-21. The story is told of a person who left his wallet in his pocket when he was baptized, because he wanted his money as well as himself to belong to the Lord. If we accept Jesus as Lord of our lives, he has the right not only to receive our financial support for his work, but to tell us how to use what we keep for ourselves. Jesus teaches much about our attitude toward money and our management of it. In no other area is our Christianity more tested than here.

2. Why Study Finances?

A. Who is the real owner of everything? (Psalm 24:1; 1 Chronicles 29:11)
B. Besides giving our bodies and our abilities as a sacrifice to God, in what else should we serve him? (Proverbs 3:9)
C. At the judgment, we will answer to God about what? (Luke 19:11-27)
D. How will our faithfulness or unfaithfulness in handling money affect us in the life to come? (Luke 16:10-12; 19:15-17)

3. The Christian Attitude About Money:

A. The devil likes to blind people to reality (2 Corinthians 4:4). He wants us to think we are not really living until we can buy all the things we want. In contrast, what does Jesus say? (Luke 12:15)
B. How many kinds of evil are people willing to do because they love money? (1 Tim 6:10)
C. Love of money (greed) is a form of what sin? (Colossians 3:5)
D. What basic decision must a person make about money if he is to follow the Lord? (Matthew 6:24, 31-33. Compare Matthew 19:16-26)
E. Why is this decision so important? (Matthew 6:21)
F. What will over-concern about money and possessions do to our service to God?
(Luke 8:5-15)
G. If we have and , we are to be content. (1 Timothy 6:8)
H. Can a person decide to be content? (Hebrews 13:5)
I. Are happiness and contentment dependent on how much we have, or are they a result of inward attitudes about life? (Philippians 4:11-13)

4. Getting And Using Money:

A. How does God feel about laziness? (Colossians 3:23; Proverbs 20:13; 6:9-11)
B. On the other hand, what does the Lord say about worry over finances? (Matthew 6:31-33)
C. If, after we have done all we can, we worry over finances and other problems, are we trusting God?
D. How does God feel about people getting money dishonestly? (Micah 6:10,11; Proverbs 20:23; 21:6)
E. Now that we follow Christ, how should we feel about such dishonesties as cheating on the reporting of income and deductions, putting personal items on company expense accounts, misinformation on insurance claims, using company supplies and phones for personal purposes, changing the odometer reading on a car before sale, "calling in sick" when wanting off for another reason, ignoring parking tickets, knowingly writing hot checks, skipping scheduled payments, or moving away from an address without paying back rent and other bills owed? (Psalm 119:104)
F. What shows that Zacchaeus, who had been dishonest, really repented when he started following the Lord? (Luke 19:8)
G. Name five reasons for earning money:
H. 2 Thessalonians 3:10 -
I. 1 Timothy 5:8 -
J. Ephesians 4:28; Galatians 6:10 -
K. Galatians 6:6; 1 Corinthians 9:14 -
L. Romans 13:7 -

5. Honoring God Through Our Offerings:

A. Though the New Testament leaves a Christian free to decide what portion of his income he will contribute to the work of the church (2 Corinthians 9:7), what Old Testament commandment reveals God's mind about the portion of a person's income that would honor God as a gift? (Leviticus 27:30,32; compare Genesis 28:20-22)
B. Considering that we have received so much more grace and help from the Lord than the Old Testament people did, do you think a Christian should be satis¬fied to give less to God's work than the O. T. people were commanded to give?
C. In deciding what portion of my income to give to God, should I take my standard from some weak, uncommitted Christian around me, or from the expressions of God's mind in the scriptures?
D. When God's people failed to support God's work financially, God said they
were him. (Malachi 3:7-12)
E. Upon receiving income, when were God's people to start giving to God, and of what quality were their gifts to be? (Exodus 23:19a; compare Exodus 13:12)
F. What do these examples say to us today about the honor due to God in giv¬ing?
G. In giving to God's work and to those in need, we are becoming more like God who loved us and gave his Son (John 3:16). Jesus said, "It is more to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35)
H. How does God feel about a person who gives freely and gladly? (2 Corinthians 9:7)
I. What has God promised to do for those who put God's kingdom first in their finances? (Matthew 6:31-33; Luke 6:38; Malachi 3:10,11)

6. Managing Our Finances So As To Honor And Serve The Lord:

A. Satan can use finances, just as he can drugs, drink or immorality, to bring people into conflict and bondage. If a Christian gets into a lot of unnecessary debt because he wants too many things, how will this affect his ability to serve God and others with his money and his life?
B. If he has a lot of debts, what should a Christian plan to do in order to free himself to serve God better?
C. In the story of Luke 9:11-17, what action of Jesus and his disciples at the end of the story shows that we are not to waste what we have, but use it carefully?

7. Conclusion: The Bible says a lot about how we use our money. This is one of the greatest tests of our loyalty to Christ as Lord. The Christian whose finances are under Christ's control will really stand out in a materialistic, immoral and undisciplined world. (Matthew 5:16)