#047 Personal Finance

There is so much more in the Bible than most people realize.  God is not unaware of the role that money plays in life on earth, and He has much to say about it in His word.As in all things, His thoughts and His ways are higher than ours (Is. 55:9) and we would do well to learn and apply what the Lord has to say regarding our personal finances.
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Personal Finance

Introduction

As in all things, His thoughts and His ways are higher than ours (Is. 55:9) and we would do well to learn and apply what the Lord has to say regarding our personal finances. His way is the best way, and the Scriptures show you how to have God’s blessing on your finances.This is not to say that everyone that follows God’s way will become financially rich in this life; but you can be financially secure, knowing that God will take care of you.

1. The Promise

Every Christian should become well acquainted with the promise of Phil 4:19.  It says, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”You will likely come to a place in life where you will need to claim this promise.  The needs will be high and the funds will be low.It is under such conditions that many a Christian before you has fled to Phil. 4:19 to take refuge and cleave to this promise of God.  Let’s notice some important things about the promise.

A.) The Promise is to Supply Your Need

The verse does not say that God will supply all your greed, but all your need.  Don’t overstretch yourself on things that aren’t needs and then expect God to bail you out.  He may not.

B.) The Promise was Given to Givers

A look at the context of Phil. 4:19 will show you that this promise was given to people who had previously given to help others.  See Phil. 4:14-19.  Thus, if you would confidently claim this promise, you should cultivate a practice of being a faithful giver.

C.) The Promise was Preceded by Instructions to Live Righteously – See Phil. 4:1-2, 4-9 & 11.

2. A Second Promise

Another place you should learn to run for financial shelter is Matt. 6:33.  It says, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” The “all these things” in this promise is a reference to our physical, material needs.  See Matt. 6:24-34. The promise is that if we put the Lord first, He will take care of our needs. So if you take care of God’s business, He will take care of yours.

3. The Four Categories of Spending

All of the money that we spend can be divided up into four categories.  These categories are Needs, Wants, Bills & God. In I Cor. 14:40, we are told to “Let all things be done decently and in order.” God has a proper order in which we are to disburse our finances.

Your financial well being depends on

a.) God’s blessing;

b.) your heart being right with God; and

c.) your following of God’s order in spending your money.

So we will now address each category in its proper order.

(1) God – Our first priority in all things is God and our finances are no exception.  We have already seen in Matt. 6:33, that we are to seek the Lord first. In the 1st Commandment the Lord tells us “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:3) Many people have made a god out of money. Matt 6:24 informed us, “Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” In I Tim. 6:10 the Lord enlightens us with the truth that “the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” Now look in Prov. 3:9-10  Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: {10} So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine. Here God promises to bless us materially when we obey His admonition to honor Him with the firstfruits of all of our increase. There are two ways we are to honor God in regard to giving.  They are called “tithes and offerings”. In Malachi 3:8 the Lord told Israel that they had robbed Him in these areas. Malachi 3:8-11  Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. {9} Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. {10} 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. {11} 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. A tithe is a tenth.  You can see it defined that way in Lev. 27:32.  Jacob told the Lord that he would give Him a tenth of all that the Lord gave to him (Gen. 28:22).

Some claim tithing was given under the law so a Christian is not obligated to tithe in New Testament times.  However we should note the following truths.

A.) Tithing was first mentioned in Gen. 14:20 when Abraham tithed.  This was before the law, which wasn’t given until Exodus 20.

B.) You don’t read where anyone told Abraham or Jacob to tithe.  Apparently, having been taught of God, they just seemed to instinctively know that they should tithe, just like Christians instinctively know that they should, in spite of their protests to the contrary.

C.) In Matt. 23:23 in the New Testament Jesus tells the people they should be tithing.

Matthew 23:23  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. While tithing won’t get you to heaven, it is the first thing that you should do with the money that the Lord allows to come your way. Hebrews 7:9  And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham. Tithing is the starting place for giving. You can choose to tithe or you can choose not to tithe.  But remember this. Proverbs 11:24-25  There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty. {25} The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself. Anything you give above the tithe is an offering.  After you’ve taken care of your tithe and other financial obligations, you may want to give an offering.  Offerings may be given to missions, the needy, or other proper causes or people you desire to help. You can choose to give offerings above the tithe or you can choose not to do so.  The choice is yours.  Whatever you choose, it has been well said by many a preacher, “You can’t out give God.” Luke 6:38  Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. II Corinthians 9:6  But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. The context of that verse, (as we’ll see in a moment), is giving.

Let’s consider some other lessons regarding giving.

Mark 12:41-44  And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. {42} And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. {43} And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: {44} For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.

A. “how”

Matthew 6:1-4  Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. {2} Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. {3} But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: {4} That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

Cf. Pictures or video clips of people giving these gigantic oversized checks as donations to organizations.

Romans 12:6-8  Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; {7} Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; {8} Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity

II Corinthians 9:7  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. “more”God does not figure the value of your gift on the basis of how much you put in, but on how much you have left after you give.

(2) Bills – After tithing, the next area to direct your finances is to your bills.  Bills represent money that you owe for things or services that you’ve purchased.

Now you may see some apparent overlap in our categories.  For example, you may have a bill for a need or you may have a bill for a want.  Whatever the case, the priority status of either is elevated to #2 when it becomes a bill that is dueJeremiah 22:13 says, “Woe unto him that buildeth his house by unrighteousness, and his chambers by wrong; that useth his neighbour’s service without wages, and giveth him not for his work”.

See also Psalm 37:21 The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth.

I Thess. 4:11-12And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; {12} That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.

It is dishonest to agree to pay for goods or services and then not pay for them.  It is also a bad testimony to the unsaved world as well as to other Christians.

Bills can also include taxes, automobile tickets, fines, etc.  These should all be taken care of as a matter of conscience and Scriptural obedience.

(3) Needs – After tithing and paying your bills your next financial priority is your needs.  Remember, this is something that God will take care of for us, if we put Him first.  Our needs have to do with food, clothing and anything else we need to get along in life.

I Tim. 6:8 says, “And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.”

Sometimes we confuse our needs with our wants.  You must honestly assess what is a real need and what is a want when it comes to your spending.  Some people seem almost incapable of doing this.

You may need to seek counsel from a godly Christian to help you discern between the two.  If you are continually overspending and digging yourself into a financial hole, you should get this counsel as soon as possible.

If we need to, we can usually get along with a lot less than we’d like to think.

(4) Wants – After tithing, paying your bills and purchasing your needs, now you can consider buying your wants.  It’s OK for you to buy some wants. God not only supplies our need, but He often supplies above and beyond our needs.

I Timothy 6:17  Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;

Your wants may include non-sinful items that you enjoy, going out to eat, recreational activities and equipment, vacations, savings and any one of a number of other things.  These are luxuries beyond needs.

This is the Biblical order of disbursing your finances.  It works!  When something is broken, they say it’s “out of order”.  Perhaps your finances are broken and out of order.  To begin to fix them, get them back in order!  God, Bills, Needs & Wants

4. The Basic Rule of Sound Finances

With our previous points being understood, the basic rule of sound financial living is this, “Make sure your income is more than your outgo.” This is true for individuals, families, businesses, governments, churches, etc.

When your outgo is more than your income, you dig yourself into a financial hole.  If you are already in a financial hole there are 3 basic things you can do to get out.

A.) Pray. Heb. 4:16; Ps. 69:14-17 (Perhaps also with fasting.)

B.) Decrease your outgo. (Cut spending.)  Look for ways to cut spending.  Cutting out superfluous spending is effectively like getting a raise.

C.) Increase your income.

*See what you have that you can sell.  Sometimes you can turn unneeded possessions into cash to see you through a tough financial time.

*Look for a second part time job, or a side job or jobs you can work to help get out of the hole.

Beware of borrowing.  Prov. 22:7 says, The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.

Pray for wisdom about your financial decisions (Prov. 3:6). Be thankful for what the Lord has given you; and as a soldier of Jesus Christ, “be content with your wages.” (Luke 3:14)

And remember, in spite of all you can do, sometimes the Lord may allow you to go through financial trials to help you grow in your faith and trust in Him.

The story of Job shows us this.  And yet, even Job’s story had a happy ending.

Job 42:10  And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.

James 5:11  Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

Study Material

1. List the 4 categories of spending in order.

God, Bills, Needs, Wants

2. Define tithing and give two reasons why a New Testament Christian should not dismiss it as an OT practice alone.

A tenth.  Because Abraham & Jacob tithed before the law.  Jesus told the people they should tithe in Matt. 23:23

3. What is the basic rule of sound finances?

Make sure your income is more than your outgo.

4. What are 3 things you can do to dig out of a financial hole?

Pray (perhaps with fasting).

Decrease your out go (cut spending).

Increase your income (sell things or get a side job).

5. Memorize Phil. 4:19

“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”


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