Sermon -01-13-2008 - Another Reason to Tithe
NORTHEAST HOUSTON COMMUNITY CHURCH
Sermon – Another Reason to Tithe
Scripture: Mal 3:6-10
6 "For I am the Lord, I do not change; Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob. 7 Yet from the days of your fathers You have gone away from My ordinances And have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you," Says the Lord of hosts. "But you said, 'In what way shall we return?' 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. 9 You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation. 10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this," Says the Lord of hosts, "If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it. NKJV_
Mal 3:8 8 "Should people cheat God? Yet you have cheated me! NLT, AB, TEV
As Kids we boys in the projects played cowboys and Indians and cops and robbers. The game was about running and hiding. The good guys were the cowboys and the cops. The bad guys were the Indians and the robbers. I did not mind when it became my turn to be an Indian but I never wanted to be a robber.
Definition - To Rob = 1 a (1): to take something away from by force : steal from (2): to take personal property from by violence or threat b (1): to remove valuables without right from (a place) (2): to take the contents of (a receptacle) c: to take away as loot : steal <rob jewelry>2 a: to deprive of something due, expected, or desired
Original Greek Word - OT:6906 ub^q* qaba` (kaw-bah'); a primitive root; to cover, i.e. (figuratively) defraud: synm = cheat
BOOK OF MALACHI (My Messenger). Written about 455 BC.
It is the last of the OT books and last of the minor prophets. That is why it is said that there is no record for four hundred years between the old and the NT It is a short prophetic book of the Old Testament written to rebuke the people of Israel for their shallow worship practices. The name comes from the Hebrew word malachi (1:1), meaning "my messenger" or "messenger of Jehovah."
This book has been called one of the most argumentative books in the Bible because of the direct questions asked by Malachi and the portions where God states a truth about the people and they seek to deny it.
I have not heard of many studies of this book but have heard verse 8 often used to increase congregational giving. Today, to some degree I am guilty of that but I don’t think for the same reasons that I have seen this passage used for.
As most of you know I give only one or two message on giving in a year and that is done in the beginning of the year. Some of you also know that money is a sermon topic I am willing to avoid but nevertheless I am charged to teach and preach God’s word whether I am comfortable or not. My hope is that while you are in the resolution thinking mode you will include your giving to God.
This is a good time for me to share with you the financial condition of the church. Currently the churches finances are in good shape. So I am not preaching this message in fear of our doors being closed next week. That calls for me to give thanks to God for your consistent giving through the year. I must also share with you that we have had many months when we have paid out more than we have taken in. As the church grows the finances will take care of itself, if all give consistently.
I want you to focus on your own personal giving. I have always said to you that you should decide what you are going to give and give that consistently every time. Praise God in that we do have some members that are tithing every month in addition to their offering. This should be the goal of every Christian. Not that we are under the law to tithe but that we are under grace to give.
A question maybe asked.” Then what place does tithing have in the life of the NT believer?”
Tithing is a form of systematic giving and giving is a form of worship.
Look at it this way for a moment. In the OT God told the people how much they should give and this would be a demonstration of their obedience because it was a necessity for them to tithe. If they gave a tenth of their first fruit it was a demonstration of obedience and worship.
In the NT the demand for obedience and worship are still there but the specific amount is left to the heart of the person.
2 Cor 9:7-8 7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. NKJV
We are under grace (unmerited favor) not under the law but revenue is still needed even under grace.
Now God in the OT already established an amount to give that would satisfy Him, a tenth. He wants us to decide in our hearts what to give, not grudgingly or out of necessity but out of obedience and love.
God knows that some of us have to work our way up to 10%. What % are you at now? (2.5, 5%, 7.5) As we grow in our faith it is demonstrated in our giving. In the beginning of 2008 it is a good time to reevaluate your giving.
Another Reason to Tithe
Let me tell you what I think is the most important reason why we should tithe. When we are obedient in our giving we are most likely to be obedient in other areas of our lives.
Let me explain, God wanted His people to tithe so that they would fear Him.
Deut 14:23 23 And thou shalt eat before the Lord thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the Lord thy God always. KJV
We know that the fear (reverential) of the Lord is wise. If we fear God we are more likely to obey God and if we obey God He is more likely to bless us. Life is a whole lot better when we are blessed by God.
Look at what we can learn from or focus passage that is associated with robbing/cheating God. The children of Israel have moved away from God’s laws
7 Yet from the days of your fathers You have gone away from My ordinances And have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you," Says the Lord of hosts.
Because the people robbed God they were cursed. I have often said that God can curse as well as He can bless.
9 You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me.
God had good cause to curse them. In Chapter one you can see where they failed to show Him the reverence due Him (1:6), they offered defiled food on the altar (1:7), (v12) they profaned the table of God, they became weary in worship.
God sad He was coming to judge
Mal 3:5 5 And I will come near you for judgment;I will be a swift witness Against sorcerers, Against adulterers, Against perjurers, Against those who exploit wage earners and widows and orphans, And against those who turn away an alien — Because they do not fear Me," Says the Lord of hosts. NKJV
Remember the reason why God wanted the people to tithe.
Duet 14:23 … that thou mayest learn to fear the Lord thy God always. KJV
When we lose the fear of God then we begin to do that which is right in our own eyes or we just decide to do wrong in the eyes of God to satisfy our will over His will. That is a very dangerous way to live.
I mentioned that there are quite a few members that have been tithing and I don’t know everyone’s financial condition, but I feel confident that those that have been tithing have found that God has blessed them in their finances and in other areas of their lives.
More Reasons to Tithe
There are multiple blessing associated with our giving to the Lord. If you do not believe it God tells us to try Him.
10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this," Says the Lord of hosts, "If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it.
You will never experience this abundant blessing if you never try Him. I am a living witness to this truth and I know of others who have tried God and found Him faithful and true.
Let me give you a few other scriptural truths along this line.
2 Cor 9:6 6 But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. NKJV
Prov 11:24 24 There is one who scatters, yet increases more; And there is one who withholds more than is right, But it leads to poverty. NKJV
Prov 3:9-10 9 Honor the Lord with your possessions, And with the firstfruits of all your increase; 10 So your barns will be filled with plenty, And your vats will overflow with new wine. NKJV
Luke 6:38 38 Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you." NKJV
I want you to have a happy and prosperous new year in the Lord. I just told you another way how to have it. It will not work if you are giving just to get.
2 Cor 9:6-14
6 Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop.
7 You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don't give reluctantly or in response to pressure. "For God loves a person who gives cheerfully."
8 And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.
9 As the Scriptures say, "They share freely and give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will be remembered forever."
10 For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you.
11 Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God.
12 So two good things will result from this ministry of giving—the needs of the believers in Jerusalem will be met, and they will joyfully express their thanks to God.
13 As a result of your ministry, they will give glory to God. For your generosity to them and to all believers will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ. NLT