TEXT: Malachi 3:6-12
TOPIC: A Promise for Financial Blessings
Pastor Bobby Earls, First Baptist Church, Center Point, Alabama
Sunday morning, August 30, 2009
(Portions of outline and message creditied to John Maxwell)
As I told you a few weeks ago, I brought a two-year journey to an end this past week. I’ve spent the last two years reading through and studying through God’s word. On Thursday I finished the last chapter of Malachi and the final chapter of the Bible, Revelation 22. It was a sweet accomplishment!
In fact, would you please open your Bible to the Prophet Malachi? Malachi is the last book of the O.T. Between Malachi 4 and Matthew 1 there are some 400 years of Divine silence. It is as if God were saying, “I given you every opportunity to repent and turn to me in faith and obedience. Since you have refused three thousand years you won’t hear from me for a while!” And God didn’t speak again until he spoke through an angel to a young virgin named Mary.
This morning we are looking one more time at one of God’s precious promises in the word of God. I want you to see this morning God’s Promise for Financial Blessings. Please look with me at Malachi 3, beginning with verse 6. (READ THE SCRIPTURES)
The Prophet Malachi had a sytle all his own. In his prophecies he continually raised a question followed by an answer. For example, in chapter 1, God says, the priests, have despised His name. But you say, ‘How have we despised your name?’ 7 By offering polluted food upon my altar.
In chapter 2 God says, 13 And this second thing you do. You cover the Lord’s altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. 14 But you say, “Why does he not?” Because the Lord was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant.
And in our text this morning, the Lord God asks, 8 “Will a man rob God?
Yet you have robbed Me! But you say,‘In what way have we robbed You? ’In tithes and offerings.
The issue of money continues to be one of the most talked about topics at every level of life. That’s true in the government with unreal figures when it comes to national debt. It’s true with the economy, with a national unemployment rate of near 10%. It’s true on Wall Street, the White House to the church house.
As I share with you today this message about God’s promise of financial blessings we need to begin by understanding that money is a standard of value today. Almost every society and culture since time began have placed a high commodity on money.
But not only does the world place a value on money but so does the Bible. But the values the Bible place upon money are entirely different from the world.
The world asks the question “How much does a man owe?” God’s word asks the question, “What does a man do with what he receives?”
The world asks the question, “How much have you made?” God’s word asks the question, “How much have we given?”
The world is wrapped up in what or how much we can have for ourselves. God’s word is wrapped up in how we use what we have for the glory of God and the building of His Kingdom.
Bible Facts about Money:
16 out of the 38 parables Jesus gave us deals with the issue of money.
1 out of every 10 verses Jesus gave us in the Gospels speaks specifically about money.
2000 Bible verses about money and our possessions whereas only about 500 verses speak of prayer or faith.
I. THEIR PROBLEM, Malachi 3:6-9
1. God’s Personality, Malachi 3:6 “For I am the Lord, I do not change; Therefore you are not consumed,
a. God’s Nature does not allow Him to change.
b. God’s Name will not let Him change. “I am that I am”
c. God’s Word will not let Him change. My covenant I will not violate.
2. Man’s Personality, Malachi 3:6b “the sons of Jacob” just like Jacob
c. Cunning and Deceitful
3. Their Perplexity, Malachi 3:7
Yet from the days of your fathers You have gone away from My ordinances
And have not kept them.
Their inconsistency had caused them to be unfaithful in their relationship with God. God calls them back to a right relationship in verse 7b. Return to Me, and I will return to you.’
Their inconsistency had also caused them to be incapable of understanding their problem. Look at verse 7b. Return to Me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord of hosts. “But you said, ‘In what way shall we return?’
One or more of the following five things begin to show up when a person begins to fall away spiritually:
1. You begin to neglect giving to God what is rightfully His; tithes and offerings.
2. You begin to neglect the reading and study of God’s word.
3. You begin to neglect time spent in meaningful prayer.
4. You begin to neglect time spent in meaningful worship and fellowship with God’s people.
5. You begin to neglect sharing your faith in Jesus Christ with others.
The problem is not in the area of tithing, prayer or study of God’s word. The problem is within one’s relationship with God. Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments,” John 14:15. Not tithing, not praying, not reading God’s word, not attending church are not the problem they are just the evidence of the problem. The problem is in you're love relationship with Jesus. You just don’t love Jesus as you should. If you did, you would keep his commandments. You would obey Him.
Those who have a problem with giving their tithes and offerings have a problem because they have not given God their whole heart, mind, soul and body!
The greatest robbery we can ever pull on God is not when we do not give Him His tithes and offerings as we should. The greatest robbery of God is when we do not give Him His rightful place in my life. We also are robbing ourselves of the blessings God promises to those who obey him by giving tithes and offerings.
Over the years I’ve learned that the only people who ever get upset when ever the preacher preaches on giving or tithing are not the people who are tithers. No, the people who get upset when the preacher preaches on giving are the ones whose hearts are not right with God and often it’s because they are not giving to God what is rightfully His.
By the way, in all my years preaching God’s word, I am yet to hear of anyone who is a tither who was upset about it.
There are always those who like to say, “The tithe is an Old Testament practice and went out with the passing of the Law.” The only problem with that is that tithing didn’t begin with the Law, it began with Abraham and Melchizadec 400 years before Moses came down from the mountain with the Law in his hands.
Some will still argue, but that’s still O.T. practice and we are living during the New Testament time period. We’re under grace and not the Law.
One verse in the N.T. clears that up for me. Matthew 23:23, Jesus said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the other. ESV
Then we have those who simply and honestly say, I cannot afford to tithe. To you who believe you cannot afford to tithe, let me simply and honestly respond, we all ought to tithe but those who ought to tithe the most are those who cannot afford it.
Has it ever occurred to you that the reason you cannot afford to tithe is because you are tithing? By the time I complete the exegesis of this text, I hope you who are not faithfully and obediently tithing will be ready to begin.
I Kings 17:9-16, the story of the Prophet Elijah and the poor widow of Zarephath.
II. THEIR POVERTY, Malachi 3:9, You are cursed with a curse,
III. THEIR PERCENTAGE, Malachi 3:10, “the whole tithe” 10 percent
IV. THE PLACE, Malachi 3:10, “into the storehouse”
V. THE PURPOSE, Malachi 3:10, “that my house may be filled”
VI. THE PROMISE, Malachi 3:10, “I will open the windows of heaven”
VII. THE POURING, Malachi 3:10, “I will pour out for you such a blessing”
You don’t tithe to see what you can get from God. You tithe when you are truly sold out to God and want to express your love, your trust in Him and your obedience to Him.
Dr. R.C. Sproul --Recently, I read an article that gave an astonishing statistic that I find difficult to believe is accurate. It declared that of all of the people in America who identify themselves as evangelical Christians, only four percent of them return a tithe to God. If that statistic is accurate, it means that ninety-six percent of professing evangelical Christians regularly, systematically, habitually, and impenitently rob God of what belongs to Him. It also means that ninety-six percent of us are for this reason exposing ourselves to a divine curse upon our lives. Whether this percentage is accurate, one thing is certain - it is clear that the overwhelming majority of professing evangelical Christians do not tithe.
Now many of us would like to believe that the members and attenders of our church are different. We are not to be counted or compared to the 96% of Christians who do not tithe and thus rob God and themselves of His blessings.
I don’t know who in this church does or does not tithe. But you do. You know if you are a faithful tither of the income the Lord has given you.
I do know and can say with confidence that if you want to be blessed by God rather than cursed by God, you need to learn to trust God and obey God in this matter of the tithe.
In two weeks we are going to give you that opportunity. September 13 will be our Prove the Tithe Sunday. I am praying that every member and every attender on that day will put God to the test by tithing at least a tenth of all their income for the previous week or previous pay period.