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The “Trust” Fund

Mal. 3:7-11

 

I heard about a black preacher, who had a very vocal congregation [of my dreams]!  He preached to them, and they preached back to him [like saying ‘sic ‘em’ to a dog!] 

He illustrated church growth by the growth of a child:

“If the church is gonna grow, she’ll have to learn to crawl.”

        And all the people responded:  “let her crawl, preacher, let her crawl.”

“If the church is gonna grow, she’ll have to learn to walk.”

        “let her walk, preacher, let her walk.”

“If the church is gonna grow, she’ll have to learn to run.”

        “let her run, preacher, let her run.”

“If the church is gonna grow, she’ll have to learn to fly.”

        “let her fly, preacher, let her fly.”

All was at a fevered pitch, so it was time to make his application.  He said,

“If the church is ever gonna walk, run, and fly, it’s gonna take lots of money!”

        And they all said together, “let her crawl, preacher, let her crawl!”

 

God is interested in your money.  Not because He needs your money…for He certainly does not!…but because YOU need it!  Since you are important to God, your money is important to God.

 

God is interested in how you secure it/spend it/save it/share it.  Immediately, some people say…don’t talk about money, preacher, talk about something spiritual.  That kind of statement shows a lack of Biblical knowledge.  For nothing is more spiritual than how you handle your money.  It is the supreme test of where our heart is. Jesus said it…

Matthew 6:21

    For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

[Jesus wants us to preach the gospel, the cross, heaven/hell, salvation, and also the heart, which is sooo tied to our money]

 

Adrian Rogers:  “A faith that hasn’t reached your wallet, probably hasn’t reached your heart.”

 

So I’m sorry I have waited over a year to preach these important truths.

 

How can Jesus Christ be Lord, and not be Lord over our money?  How can He care about us, and not care about that which is so intrinsically tied to our very survival?

“You shouldn’t preach on money”…wait just a minute!  The Bible says that the love of money is the root of all evil!  That means there is nothing more spiritual that we can talk about today, than our attitude toward money.

Eccles. 10:19

    … money answereth all things.

 

“But, it’s uncomfortable…I don’t like it when the preacher talks about money.”  [for me, looks self-serving!] If that’s true, you would not have liked the preaching of Jesus Christ.  When He walked this earth, he gave 36 parables, and 16 of them had to do w/ our attitude toward money! 

 

Verses about faith…about 500/prayer—500/money—over 2,000

Remember the story Jesus told about the widow’s 2 mites?  The Pharisees were giving their large offerings, and the little lady gave her small offering.  That whole story has to do w/ our attitude toward money.  If God’s not interested in money, then why include that story in His Word?

 

Unjust steward—Lk. 16…at the end of the story Jesus said, if you have not been faithful w/ your money, who do you expect to commit to you the true riches?  That whole story has to do w/ our attitude toward money. If God’s not interested in money, then why include that story in His Word?

 

Rich Young Ruler—came to Jesus and asked what he had to do to be His follower…Jesus said, sell all you have, come and follow me.  But he couldn’t do it, he went away sorrowful, because he didn't own his possessions…they owned him!

 

Ever use fly paper?  As a kid, I remember mom hanging it in our house…it was somewhat curly, and she would hang it from the ceiling…I thought it was Christmas or something!  Well, fly paper has on its surface a sweet, honey-like substance, which is also very sticky.  It’s a simple principle:  the fly approaches saying, I want the honey, want the honey, want the honey!  He lands and begins to eat, saying, I got the honey, got the honey, got the honey…and he tries to leave and the paper says, I got the fly, got the fly, got the fly!

Many people today run around saying, I want the money, want the money, want the money…and before they know it, the money has got them!

 

The parable of the rich young ruler has to do w/ our attitude toward money. If God’s not interested in money, then why include that story in His Word?

 

Clearly, God is interested in your money!

 

I’ll tell you who else is interested in your money…Satan!  It is his desire to keep you under a curse/in bondage.  And the best way he can do that is to affect your attitude toward money in a negative way.

 

Oh yes, God is interested in your money/so is Satan…

 

…and one more person is interested in your money:  You are! 

Don’t look at me all holy like mother Teresa, because you know it, you are! 

 

Some churches these days hold their people accountable to the tithe, even requiring them to show what they make in salaries, and calling them in if they get behind!  While I don’t agree with that method, studies done in such churches have revealed some startling statistics:  3-7% total giving.  Folks:  that’s not tithing!

Joke--      “home of 5% tithe!”  [incomplete obedience=disobedience]

        Honestly, it’s hard for me to imagine that our average here is much below 10%, as good as the offerings have been.  But obedience is not about a church average, it’s all about what YOU give.

The word “tithe” literally means tenth…ten percent…it’s God’s perfect plan.  The wisdom of God planned for us a method of giving which is completely fair and equal to all who will obey, no matter what you make!  So no one can say, I would tithe, but I can’t afford it.  The less you make, the less you owe!

 

3:7   We don’t give to God, we return to Him, for He owns it all anyway.

 

3 groups in this room right now: 

 

  1. “It’s all mine/I worked/earned it/deserve it/can do what I want to”…and when offering plate goes by, they say, I can give if I want to, but I don’t have to.  If I feel led to give a dollar, I will/$20…but it’s all mine, I can do what I want with it.
  2. “Tithe belongs to God, and the rest is mine” (90%).  In obedience I give Him 10%, and with the rest, I’ll do what I want to with the rest.
  3. “It all belongs to God”…the tithe/the rest of it.  I return to Him what He has commanded, and He entrusts me with the rest of His money.  Just because I return the tithe, that doesn’t give me the right to do whatever I want w/ the rest of it.  I still have to pray about every expenditure/my lifestyle…and be a good steward of ALL of His money.  I will be judged someday for what I do w/ this portion [10%]…and with this [90%]!

 

There is a radical difference between the first 2 groups, and the 3rd group.  These 2 say, I am the owner, and I share w/ God.

First-I share w/ God when I want to

Second-I share w/ God because I have to

Third-It’s all God’s, and He shares w/ me!

 

 

Now that we understand we are to return the tithe…what is the tithe?

I.      A Definite Proportion

 

10% is a simple calculation, it’s as simple as moving the decimal point.  What is the tithe on $100/$1,000/$482

 

Since the beginning of time, tithing has been God’s method.  God’s people thru out all history have maintained the practice of returning to God the first 10%.

 

“That’s the old testament law!”

        No, God put that in the heart of His people long before the law was ever given.

Gen 14

18 And Melchizedek…was the priest of the most high God. 19 And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: 20 And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.

 

They took all the spoils of war…all their increase…and gave it unto the priest, for the continuation of God’s work.

The tithe:        Abraham commenced it

 

Gen. 28

22 And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.

                Jacob continued it

 

Then Moses came along, and God gave him the law:

Lev. 27

30 And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD'S: it is holy unto the LORD. 32 And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the LORD.

Moses commanded it

 

A few hundred years later, Malachi confirmed it, we read that a moment ago.

 

Then, a few years later, Jesus commended it:

Mt. 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.

Jesus said, you were right to have tithed, but you also should have done these other things…tithing is a basic foundation, but there’s much more to add to that…and tithing is not an excuse for unholy living.  You can’t buy God off…but notice, He does commend them for being obedient in the tithe.  [also, tithing is not “serving God” in total…a good start, but not enough!]

 

Abraham commenced it/Jacob continued/Moses commanded/Malachi confirmed/Jesus commended it…who am I to cancel it?

 

Besides, the NT always demands more than the old!  (kill-hate/adultery-lust)

 

It has always been God’s method…He has always used His people to do His work.

        Yes, the water of life flows freely here, but the plumbing costs money!  We may have online church when we have to cancel, but the bills still pour in.  And the church doesn’t get a stimulus…that is, until you tithe on yours!

 

Tithing isn’t just a duty, it is a delight!

II Cor. 9:7

…let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

That’s the right motive, love and obedience.

        We need to print bumper stickers that say, tithe if you love Jesus, any fool can honk!

 

Think about these radical Muslims who are so willing to give everything to their cause…they give everything they own, everything they are, for the sake of evil…

…it breaks the heart to see some of God’s people moan and groan to give the first tenth!

 

Tithing is a privilege!  And it’s a definite proportion.

 

II.    A Designated Place (to bring it to)

 

The local church where you are based/fed.

Mal. 3:10 “storehouse”  A reference to the OT temple.  Part of the temple was the storehouse…this was an agricultural society.  When they harvested, they brought the first tenth of their wheat/corn, etc. and put it in the storehouse.  When their herds gave birth, they took one out of ten to the storehouse.

        It was used to feed the priests/for animal sacrifices/medium of exchange to continue the work of God.

 

The tithe was brought to the place where the people worshipped.  Today, that’s the local, NT church.  Some think they have a “side deal” w/ God, or that He has “told them” to put their tithe somewhere else…but He tells us exactly where in this passage.

 

“We come together on God’s day, w/ God’s people, to study God’s Word, and we ought to bring w/ us, God’s tithe”

Tithe where you are fed…don’t eat and run, you wouldn’t do it at a restaurant…don’t do it here…and don’t send your tithe to para-church organizations!  You want to give to them, fine, give over and above the tithe, which you’re commanded to bring to the storehouse from which you are fed! (try going to McD’s and saying, I have a burden for Burger King, I’ll send it to them!)

 

God has promised to meet the needs of FBC whether you tithe or not/my needs…my salary doesn’t change by one dime if you start tithing…but if you do decide to tithe…you can expect a great blessing!

 

3:10 “prove me”….that’s an important phrase which means “put me to the test”, “try me”!  Normally, we’re not supposed to test God, but in this case, He says, it’s an unconditional promise, “put me to the test…see if I won’t bless you for it…I will pass that test!”

 

Ever heard someone say, “I can’t afford to tithe”?    Don’t ever be caught saying that, for it reveals that you’re tithing last, instead of first.

Prov. 3:9

Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:

That kind of person looks at their budget and says, I’m going to deal w/ all these obligations, and then, if I can afford it, I’m gonna tithe…oops!  Look here, I can’t afford it!  [Don’t give God the leftovers!]

 

God says in Malachi, try me…try this…see if I won’t open the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing bigger than you’re even capable of receiving!…see if I am able to take the other 90%, and make it go much farther than 100% ever possibly could.

 

Then He goes a step further in v. 11, look at it:

“rebuke the devourer”

        These agricultural people had enemies to their crops:

Floods/drought/locusts, etc.

                And God said, put me first, and I’ll rebuke these enemies of your finances.

 

Now, most of us aren’t farmers, but do we have enemies to our finances?  Sure!  They’re called hospital bills/car repairs/tuition (any other parents here ever suffer from mal-tuition?)

 

My God makes shoes last longer/the roof stronger!

 

How will you fare w/ 90% and God as your partner?

How are you doing w/ 100%…how’s your plan workin’?

(in some cases, seems fine.  Remember, Satan can reward disobedience too!)

 

“If God really blesses me, I’ll tithe” (cart before horse)

“We can’t afford to add that to our bills”

        Hey, I’m not trying to put you into a straight-jacket, I’m trying to set you free!

“But we’ve got a lot of debt”

        Hey, you can talk about financial freedom all you want, but as a believer, you’ll never be free until you obey this…no Christian can skip over this step.  When you tithe, there’s always a blessing, and when you don’t, there’s always a curse!

 

v. 8-9       curse

 

Definite portion/Designated Place/for…

 

III.   A Divine Purpose.

 

For the glory of God, to get the gospel out, so most of our messages can be about the cross, heaven, hell, and holy living!

 

Ill.—in Africa, there’s  a certain monkey that’s considered a delicacy to eat (hungry?)  They have a proven method for capturing these monkeys.  The build a little box, put a hole in the side of the box, and fill the box w/ nuts and fruit.  The hole is just big enough for the monkey to slide his hand thru, but once he grabs the food, making a fist, he can’t get it back out thru the hole!  And he will stand there for hours, rather than to drop the food!

        Matter of fact, he’s so greedy for the food, the natives can actually walk right up to him, and knock him in the head…he would rather commit monkeycide than to drop that food.

 

There’s undoubtedly people here today who are committing financial suicide, because they won’t let go of the tithe!

 

Who’s in charge of your money?  Tell God He’s in charge of your finances, by returning the tithe!  It’s a trust fund!

 

Never been saved?  All God wants from you IS you!  He gave everything for you!  Christian, will you give everything to Him?

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