Millions of people are going to send that in. They're going to spend thirty-two cents, and they're going to subscribe to that magazine. They've got about as much chance of winning that prize as getting hit by lightning while they're sleeping in bed. We all want more money. I am going to tell you how to be successful!
I got another envelop. It didn't come in the mail. I found it in the back of the pew. And I will guarantee you that if you will do something with this envelop you will get a blessing. Do you believe that?
People say, "If only the money went further we would all be in so much better shape." Now, I want to listen to what God tells me as to how I can be successful. I personally believe that God promises that He will bless me if I am faithful. Well, let's read it here in Malachi 3:10 (NIV), "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it."
Californians are facing El Nino this weekend. Tons of rain. We're going to experience heaven's blessing if we do what God says. But He continues in verse 11, 12: "I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit," says the LORD Almighty. "Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land," says the LORD Almighty. It sounds like a good place to live.
I'm not sure we really catch what God is saying here and I want to expand your thinking on this a little bit. I believe that God is saying that IF we Tithe faithfully and contribute our offerings from our heart, that God will assume full responsibility for our success! Do you get that out of that? That's what I get out of it.
God commands His people to give Him their tithe, which is 10% of their increase, and also to give to His store house an offering from their heart of whatever amount they decide in their heart. IF they do, God will blessed them beyond measure. The windows of heaven will be opened to them.
Now, why does God command His people to tithe and pay an offering?
God created everything, so He owns everything. So, that's the first principle.
Malachi 3:8,9 "Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. "But you ask, 'How do we rob you?' "In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse--the whole nation of you--because you are robbing me.
When you look at your checkbook does it seem a cursed thing? Never enough money. Here is one possible cause and a sure solution.
Notice several important points about this spectacular promise:
1. Stop Robbing God
When you do your income tax for 1997 check to see if your tithe represents 10% of the amount on the line that represents your gross income. If it does not, you are actually robbing heaven. And your limited giving is blocking the mechanical opening of heavens windows of blessing to benefit you. You are choosing to face life without God s promised help in Malachi 3.
2. Tithe is not offering
Notice we can rob our Creator in two ways: In Tithe and in Offering.
TITHE-- is 10 % of our total income before any deductions. It goes for the support of the ministry. None of the tithe you return to God is retained by our local church for such things as heat, air, school subsidy, or other local expenses. 100% of the tithe goes for the ministry...... for pastors, evangelists, bible teachers, missionaries and etc.
OFFERING-- This is also required.
God does not stipulate a percentage. So, how do we determine how much we should give?
For instance our church needs an average of 4-5% for local church budget. So you can see that to benefit your local church you give to the church budget. Most other funds including the world budget, campaign for community, mission offerings, investment, and tithe all benefit outside needs.
3. You can test God. By not robbing God in the Tithe or in the offerings, we fulfill our part of the equation and then it becomes Gods turn to act.
He says TEST me and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.
God will become personally responsible for your success if you will demonstrate your faithfulness in the Tithe and the Offering.
It is my personal belief that this promise is good! It is a promise to anybody. Even a non-Christian! Even a backslider. Anybody. Even a heathen. Why would I think that? Well....
Look at the fifth commandment Exodus 20:12 Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God gives you.
This commandment contains a promise just like Malachi does. If you honor your parents you will be blessed by living on the land a long time. The Chinese people greatly respect and honor their parents. They bow down to them. They venerate and care for their parents. And as far as I know this has been a long standing custom in China.
The Chinese people have lived for centuries in that same global spot with very little war or rebellion compared to so many other nations in the world. These Non-Christians are reaping the blessing promised in the fifth commandment.
Even William Penn understood that when he said: "He that does good for goods sake, seeks neither praise nor reward, but he is sure of both in the end."
If you return the whole tithe and give a liberal offering you will reap a signal blessing from doing it. You become a partner with the richest man in the universe.
Philippians 4:19 And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
Now that does not mean that you will be able to go out and live the life of Riley and charge up giant credit card bills and live irresponsibly. We should shun debt like leprosy. Most folk need to do plastic Surgery on their credit cards.
Romans 13:8 (Amplified)-- Keep out of debt, and own no man anything except to love one another.
Don't even take on debt by co-signing. Proverbs 17:18 A man lacking in judgment strikes hands in pledge (Co-signs for another).
Proverbs 11:15 He who puts up security for another will surely suffer, but whoever refuses to strike hands in pledge is safe. (See also Proverbs 22:26-27) Lenders tell us that near half of all cosigners end up paying for the debt.
I talk with our members and many are in debt and need money to pay off the credit cards. Larry Burkett said that one of the best things to do with credit cards when in debt is to preheat the oven to 400 degrees and put them in it. Then mail the cards back to their respective companies and ask them to mail you no more.
You don't have to go out and borrow trouble: just go borrow some money and trouble will come all by itself! There was a sign in a store window: Use our easy credit plan- 100 percent down, nothing to pay each month.
Prov 22:7 "The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender." Try your best to get your debts paid off.
According to Social Security records, 85 out of 100 Americans have less than $250 when they reach age 65. -- Reported in Master Your Money by Ron Blue. It is of interest that 85 out of 100 Americans do not return a faithful tithe. God does bless His people.
Try to earn more money and at the same time diminish your wants. In this way, you'll live well within your means and eventually have a surplus of money.
Testimonies to the Church, Vol. 6, p.448 (EG White) "There are only two places in the world where we can deposit our treasures- in God's storehouse or in Satan's, and all that is not devoted to Christ's service is counted on Satan's side and goes to strengthen his cause."
You may say I can only afford to go half way with God... I will pay my tithe but can't give any real offerings at this time. Can I still claim His promise that He will open the windows of heaven? Not really. If I want my car to take me somewhere I must start the engine and then put it in gear before I will begin to move. Without both procedures, I am not going anywhere.
God says if you will return the full tithe to me and give an offering to my storehouse, then I will kick in gear my blessing machine and you will feel the effect.
Satan does not want us to understand this. He fooled Eve in the garden. The tithing system is to us today what the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil was for Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. (See Counsels on Stewardship by EG WHITE.) It is a test of loyalty.
Adam and Eve did not recognize God's ownership of that tree. It was forbidden because it belonged to God. The Tithe or offering is not ours to go out and spend to pay the electric bill or purchase anything. It belongs to God. The great issue here is this: What does God want me to do?
John Wesley had this motto about life: Get all you can without hurting your soul, your body, or your neighbor. Save all you can, cutting off every needless expense. Give all you can. Be glad to give, and ready to distribute; laying up in store for yourselves a good foundation against the time to come, that ye may attain eternal life.
Who is responsible for your success? Why take that responsibility all on your shoulders? Let's take Him up on His challenge in Malachi 3. God is saying there that He wants to be accountable for your success. Let's be generous with God and watch Him work out our fortune.
I Timothy 6:17b-19 ...put (your) hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. ..... be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.
Today God is asking you to take the plunge. To turn over the keys to Him. As your pastor I am asking you to consider God's challenge. I personally have been a full tither all my life. In our home we give a faithful offering to our local church. Go ahead and return the full tithe to God.
Give a liberal regular offering to his storehouse. Check out His liberal blessing that will surely come. God is far more dependable than the sweepstakes chances that you get in the mail.
Proverbs 22:9 A generous man will himself be blessed.
More money in your purse means greater obligation to God and man. Colgate of Colgate toothpaste eventually gave far more than 10 or 20 % or even 40% to God. The more we have the more we are called on to give. If God has blessed you with a house that is paid for and no other debt, why not increase the amount of money that you contribute to God?
2 Cor 9:6 "whoever sows generously will also reap generously." Today you can open the window of Heaven. It is opened by Faith and faithfulness.
2 Corinthians 9:10,11 Now He Who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and....your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
Opening Hymn 120 There's a song in the air Scripture Reading: Psalm 34:8-10 Closing Hymn 468 My Father is rich in houses and lands.... He has riches untold, .... I'm A Child of the King 971206GETTYS#152
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last updated 2/3/98 by Bob Beckett.