Joash ruled over God’s people in the late 9th century BC and our focus today will be on this King as he led the effort to repair the crumbling Temple of God at Jerusalem. The temple was badly in need of repair because it had been robbed of its vessels for the service of Baal and neglected during the reign of Athaliah. With the help of the high priest, Joash undertook the repair of the temple. Jehoiada and the priests were using free-will offerings to finance the work, but this did not satisfy the godly zeal of this young king. 

It was King Joash who devised a plan of his own and constructed the first “money box” in the form of a chest with a hole in the top. This box was placed at the gate of the temple for offerings. Each day its contents were counted by the king’s officers and handed over to the builders. The work on the house of God was soon completed, and there was enough money left over to provide vessels for the service of the sanctuary.

As in the days of King Joash, today this chest is a reminder of both and opportunity and an obligation. 

What does it mean to give sacrificially?

To answer this question you would have to return to the story of the widow’s mite as Christ watched the people give their offering.

“Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts.  But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything--all she had to live on.”  Mark 12:41-44 NIV

What does it mean to sacrificially give?

1. Jesus observes what we give.
2. Sacrificial giving is measured by how much a person has left—not by how much a person gives.
3. Sacrificial giving seeks to have a need met.
4. Sacrificial giving is giving out of our survival, not our surplus.

The second question that must be answered in the walk of sacrifice is…

Why should we sacrificially give?  (Not in the sermon notes: Please write it in) 

Joash did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight throughout the lifetime of Jehoiada the priest. 3 Jehoiada chose two wives for Joash, and he had sons and daughters. At one point Joash decided to repair and restore the Temple of the Lord.  2 Chronicles 24:2-4

1. Because of our relationship

“Joash did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight…” This young king has a personal relationship with the living God. Even though at this period in his life he was just a young man he was being mentored by an older man who was instructing him on the blessings of learning obedience in our walk with the Lord. When you have a relationship with Christ then the relationship will be reflected in the way you live.
The King did what was right in the eyes of the Lord which meant he was aware that God was watching his life, listening to his words, recording his actions, and examining his heart. 

My overriding motivation for sacrificially giving to strengthen the work of God through this ministry is because I have a personal relationship with my Father in heaven and I desire to honor that relationship.

2. Because of our responsibility

Joash did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight throughout the lifetime of Jehoiada the priest.”

The second reason we should sacrificially give is because of our personal responsibility to those around us and those who will follow us. Our spiritual witness will be declared by the commitments we make and we should never forget that many eyes are watching. 

Joash was the only surviving son of Ahaziah and began to reign as King at the age of seven and held the responsibility for 40 years (835-796). For at least 23 years the young King was mentored by Jehoiada the priest and Joash remained righteous before the Lord all that time.

Listen carefully, I am not responsible for what someone did or did not do in the past, nor can I be responsible for what others will do in the future after I have gone to be with the Lord but make no mistake about this…we are responsible for this moment, this present day in the life of our church and our actions and our witness will be used to either encourage or discourage a generation that will follow. We are responsible to take care of what we have been given so that we can pass something on to those that come behind us.

3. Because of our resources

He summoned the priests and Levites and gave them these instructions: “Go to all the towns of Judah and collect the required annual offerings, so that we can repair the Temple of your God. Do not delay!” But the Levites did not act immediately.

6 So the king called for Jehoiada the high priest and asked him, “Why haven’t you demanded that the Levites go out and collect the Temple taxes from the towns of Judah and from Jerusalem? Moses, the servant of the Lord, levied this tax on the community of Israel in order to maintain the Tabernacle of the Covenant.”

7 Over the years the followers of wicked Athaliah had broken into the Temple of God, and they had used all the dedicated things from the Temple of the Lord to worship the images of Baal. 

                                                                                                                     2 Chronicles 24:5-7

You can mark this down – Whenever you make a plan for your resources, other than God’s plan, the question of Lordship in your life has not been settled.

“But the Levites did not act immediately.” What could possibly be the reasons the Levites were negligent in responding to the King’s decree restoring the Temple?

Three reasons they didn’t act when there was a need and a request: 

a. Because they were comfortable 

Perhaps in their years of inactivity they had grown comfortable in their position. There had been no call for sacrifice, no call for commitment, no accountability and so they simply became comfortable in doing ‘business as usual’ and this is the sure sign of religion not a relationship.

As you pray about God’s leadership in the Taking the Next Step Campaign begin by asking the Lord to show you areas in your life or family where you have become comfortable in your relationship with the Lord. By comfortable I mean your relationship with Christ cost you nothing and you have no accountability. 

b. Because they were complacent

Complacency is easily identified among God’s people when there is a call to commitment. You immediately see those who, like the Levites, are basically indifferent to what God is doing among His people.

What are some ways you can sacrifice to give? This can be a family event that will teach your children lessons that far exceed most of what they are learning from the culture we live in. 

c. Because they were compromising

Compromising your faith is the most dangerous of all signs of rebellion in regards to your resources. Examine 24:7: Over the years the followers of wicked Athaliah had broken into the Temple of God, and they had used all the dedicated things from the Temple of the Lord to worship the images of Baal.

Often people speak of being one generation away from a godless society and yet here is evidence of a compromised life that led to a compromised generation. The Temple, which had apparently fallen into disrepair under the preceding three monarchs, and especially under Athaliah, who had allowed her sons to break in and steal from the temple which was not even functioning as God had intended. The same with homes, lives, businesses, churches or nations that compromise God’s word and will for their lives.

How can we avoid compromising our faith?

1. As a family ask the Lord to show you areas of your life where you are compromising your faith walk with Christ.

2. Encourage your children in their personal spiritual maturity and development. This is an excellent time to ask yourself, “Could you respond to the Spirit’s leadership even if you wanted to join us in walking Taking the Next Step?” 

Tragically, some of us are not controlled by the Lord in our resources but instead are in bondage to this world, in bondage to debt, in bondage to the past and now it is time for God’s people to respond to His call and some of you know the conviction of the Spirit but you cannot answer the call.

Ronald Meredith describes a personal experience in early spring while visiting the farm of his childhood:
“Suddenly out of the night came the sound of wild geese flying. I ran to the house and breathlessly announced the excitement I felt. What is to compare with wild geese across the moon? It might have ended there except for the sight of our tame mallards on the pond. They heard the wild call they had once known. The honking out of the night sent little arrows of prompting deep into their wild yesterdays. Their wings fluttered a feeble response. The urge to fly--to take their place in the sky for which God made them-- was sounding in their feathered breasts, but they never rose from the water. The matter had been settled long ago. The corn of the barnyard was much too tempting! Now their desire to fly only made them uncomfortable. Soon they relented and returned to their state or normalcy, a state in which they were never designed. Temptation is always enjoyed at the price of losing the capacity for flight.” 

How many of us have lost our capacity to mount up with wings as eagles because we have forgotten the fresh air of sacrificial giving without strings, denying our personal appetites investing in eternity instead of our own temporal pleasures?

What do you do if you are controlled by something other than Christ and that which has you under control also has you in bondage?

1. Confess it to the Lord
2. Ask the Lord to show you how gain victory
3. Seek spiritual help from a mature believer
4. If it is debt then cut up your credit cards.
5. Make an appointment with a financial counselor

The last area of understanding “why we sacrificially give is…

4. Because of our recognition 

6 So the king called for Jehoiada the high priest and asked him, “Why haven’t you demanded that the Levites go out and collect the Temple taxes from the towns of Judah and from Jerusalem? Moses, the servant of the Lord, levied this tax on the community of Israel in order to maintain the Tabernacle of the Covenant.”

This Bible passage reminds us that God wanted the temple repaired. It was obviously recognizable to anyone who visited that there were great needs. It was only a matter of responding to the recognition that was before them every time they made their way to the temple. Recognition of spiritual needs and needs related to the building of spiritual lives is difficult to acknowledge and admit. The reason is obvious; it takes financial support and personal commitment to meet the needs that are obviously recognizable in our midst. 

When the priests were too reluctant to get it done, Joash set up the collection chest and presented the need to the people and the people recognized the need to respond and sacrificially give. The people gave, and the temple work was completed.

Metaphor: Offering plates and baskets

King Joash knew this…It costs money to do ministry God’s way. They invested in the eternal, they gave and it was good. This was very good – that the temple of God was restored! The witness of the temple was once again a priority in the lives of God’s people.

What do we recognize about this place of worship? 

In one month and one Sunday, I will finish my tenth year as the lead pastor of this church. We have experienced a steady increase of people that come to this place on a weekly basis for spiritual guidance and to worship God publically. It is startling to think about but on the second Sunday in June 2001 we had about 275 people in attendance. With growth have come decisions that had to be made. I remember when we sold the pews to make this room more usable during the week. We made a major decision several years ago that many of you may not be aware of. We sold the land that was outside of town to make sure we didn’t leave a neighborhood that we felt needed a church. We also didn’t feel that taking on the debt of a multi-million dollar building was such a great idea. I have never regretted that decision. We added a service and then added two other sights or venues. 

To make the decision not to move from this building leaves us with the responsibility to maintain and upgrade it along the way. WE are at one of those times when we need to repair the building and bring it along to this century. 

For most of you it is an incredibly warm and inviting place to visit on a Sunday morning. You come in, the lights are low, the music is great, the message of the day is meaningful and you walk out feeling great about it all. For those of us tasked with making all of this happen, we live in this building day after day. Some of us spend more waking hours here than at home. We are very aware that there are areas of real need. 

In 2002 we began working to take care of many of the needs of this building. We took out the pews and replaced them with chairs. Many of those chairs even now are in need of replacement. We replaced the carpeting and extended the platform. In time we replaced every major entrance door and every window in the church building. We put in new storm drains in the parking lot and paved what used to be a gravel lot across Grant Street. We put up new lighting in the parking lots, put in a kitchen for hospitality, renovated the Next Step room and repaired the sidewalks outside of the Grant Street entrance. (Some of you may remember Lake Nazarene.) 

Now the time has come to move forward on some other areas of this building both inside and out. 

Alley entrance

Redesigned foyer functionality

Extended entrance facing Williams Street

New steps and railings

Consistent doors, fixture and trim in the upper lobby. 

Sacrificial giving is giving that originates from a heart of conviction. In sacrificial giving our hearts follow our money. Some people understand Jesus’ statement backwards. They think that wherever you have a fondness (a heart-affiliation), that’s where you’re going to put your money. That may be true –but listen carefully to what Jesus said about sacrificial giving:

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”   Matthew 6:21 (NIV)
Jesus makes it clear that in spiritual giving our heart follows our treasure.

It’s not equal giving but equal sacrifice. If we all will give sacrificially to make this happen we can get it done and move on into the future.