Cheerfully bringing to the storehouse
Malachi chapter 3:6-18
I will be here 5 years in July and this is the first message I will give on giving or tithing. What it means to give an offering. Noone can ever accuse me of always asking for money. The offering has already been taken, so relax, I won’t take another one today.
A wealthy old gentlemen had just recently married a lovely young lady, and was beginning to wonder whether she might have married him for his money. So he asked her, tell me the truth, if I lost all my money, would you still love me? Oh honey, don’t be silly, of course I would still love you. And I would miss you terribly.
Ann Landers had an interesting letter in her column. It was from a girl who was writing about her aunt and uncle. She said, my uncle was the tightest man I’ve ever known. All his life, every time he got paid he tool 20 dollars out of his paycheck and put it under his mattress. Then he got sick and was about to die. As he was dying, he said to his wife, I want you to promise me one thing. Promise you what? I want you to promise me that when I die that you will take my money from under the mattress and put it in my casket so I can take it all with me. He died , and his wife kept her promise. She went in and got all that money the day he died and went to the bank and deposited it, wrote out a check and put it in the casket.
Let’s get to the background of the text. Background- Malachi is a collection of prophecies, a collection of warnings, and a call to holiness.
Call to worship- As he talks about sacrifices and tithing. Because as you will see, giving is actually a form of worship. Some churches actually clap as the offering is being taken to show that they are cheerfully giving to the Lord.
Call to service- (purity) He attacks the priests that are corrupt and misleading God’s people.
Call to relationships- purity of marriage, hatred of divorce, and his warning for adultery.
You see I’m going to look at giving, but truthfully in context we will have to talk about the other things also. I guess this would fit in the series I did a while ago on Faith that works . Because giving is apart of our faith. You put your faith in God and are obedient to what God word says or you are tight-fisted and hold back and trust that you can do it yourself. The thread in the book of Malachi is “If you will trust me and be obedient, I will give you far more blessings than you yourself can muster up for your life. Israel has again walked away from God. They have corrupted the temple. The priest were far from God. Their lifestyle was against God’s Word. Their worship was self-centered. They allowed idols into their homes and it polluted their walk with God. God says there will be a calling out. Judgement day is coming. He will distinguish between the righteous and the wicked. Giving is an indication of what is going on in your heart.
Malachi 3:6-18 (last book in the Old Testament)
God really get’s right to the point doesn’t He? When we don’t give our tithes and offerings to God, we are robbing Him. That is not what I think, that is the Word of God. Rest easy this morning, I am not asking for a show of hands, and I have not pulled everyone records to look at, but if you are not doing it, you are robbing God by not being obedient to His Word.. (v8)But you ask me how do we rob you? In tithes and offerings. “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse. 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” Right away everyone want to get technical on weather it is on the gross or the net. Well, the average according to the Barna group is that only 2.7 % of Christians give 10 %. So pick one and start somewhere.
Get all you can, save all you can, give all you can.
I have tried to keep things in my hands and lost them all. But when I have given it into God’s hands I still possess it.
Cory Ten Boom
I don’t want to have to have God pry my fingers off of something he has given me”
A tithe is 10 %. If you are giving 5 % you are not tithing, you are giving a 5%offering. Offerings are given above the tithe. They are given from abundance that God has given you. God expects a tithe off the top of all wealth that comes to you. The first fruits of all you receive. Job wages, earned income, inheritance, it all income to you. He takes that and uses it to run and supply the storehouse. The storehouse is to reach out to those in the church that are n need. First to the body of believers and then to the community. The widows in the church that are in need. When people are doing what they are suppose to do, there is an abundance in the storehouse to meet needs. When the storehouse is empty, the local church suffers in that ministry. The storehouse also supplies the needs of the pastor, the shepherd of the storehouse. If we had paid staff, that would come out also. It takes money to keep this church operating, last year the operating budget was just under 100,000 dollars. It takes money to minister to people. The budget at our Ephrata church is 1.6 million a year. The more people, the more it takes to run it.
Illustration- I told you last week about the man who did not feel he needed to say a prayer over his food. Because you worked hard. Jimmy Stewart movie Shenandoah plays a farmer praying “Lord, we planted this seed, we water the plants, we picked the food, and we cooked it, we did it all ourselves, we work dog gone hard for this, thank you just the same, Amen Believers have not received and acknowledge that God owns everything on a 1000 hills. But as a Christian, as a believer, we know it is not about us, it is about Him. He supplies our everything. I give you 100%, you give back 10%, you live on 90% and then He says that you will be able to live better on that 90% than the 100%. He challenges us by saying, v10 “Test me in this, says the Lord almighty, and see if I won’t throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.” Test me, in the Hebrew, examine. See if I won’t bless you. You can’t out give God He doesn’t promise 10 fold like some people teach, but you cannot out give Him. He may not always give it back in money, but just like the Israelites in the desert for 40 years, where their sandle’s didn’t wear out- or that car you have just keeps running. God can bless you in other ways.
Giving helps us be free from stuff- nothing wrong with stuff. As long as stufff doesn’t have you. America is one of the richest nations in the world. We like our stuff. We live way above our means so that we can have the stuff the Jones have next door to us. We spend God’s 10 %, our 90%, and have 1000,s on a credit card to prove we love stuff.
Giving helps us make sure our hearts are right- people are tight-fisted. It is all about me, it is all about my family. Jesus talked about money more than he talked about heaven because to most people - money is more important than making it to heaven. God wants us to be honest about our finances. For some we know that we are over spending. Because we over spend, there is not enough paycheck to meet the bills. The only way you stop that hamster wheel from turning is stop spending more than you make and start obeying the commandments the Lord laid out for us. Test me and see Stop the snowball.
“ I never would be able to tithe the first million dollars I ever made if I had not tithe my first salary, which was 1.50 per week.
“Give, and it will given to you, a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
You never give with the motive of getting, but God loves a cheerful giver, and a person who is giving to others will be given by God. “And all of 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 to the Lord” Lev. 27:30
Ohio preacher once said- “God promised he would open the windows of heaven for those who tithe. What about 5 % someone yelled, no, said the preacher, God doesn’t do windows for less than 10%. There is no doubt we are living in difficult economic times. But it is no different for anyone else, other people, other cultures, struggle just like us. The expenses of the church are still there, the ministry to the people is still there. They don’t go away in bad times, actually they are more during hard times. Truth is, if you won’t be faithful with a little, you would not be faithful with a lot. “I would give more if I had more”, no you wouldn’t. Because it is a heart thing
The most important thing to God is not that you have a new house, lots of money, kids with everything. The greatest thing to God is for you to be more Christlike. And when you are obedient in all areas, faithfulness, moral living, giving, loving others, then the umbrella of blessings falls to us in these other areas of our lives that are important. Our pockets appear to have holes in them. Money just seems to fall through. We hold back, and it seems like it cost us more. God is going to get our attention, he has to be number one in our heart, and until we get it right, we will struggle. The great thing, he says to test Him Test me and see if this is not true It is the only place God says to test Him. Most places tell us to not test God.
Closing # 1
There are two places God tells us about opening up the floodgates of heaven. One is in Genesis as the floods came- waters pushed up from the earth and floodgates of heaven opened up. God was bringing judgement to Israel. The other place is here in this passage. That when we are obedient that He will open up the floodgates of heaven and pour out blessings on his people. One is judgement, one is blessings. Which do you want? The attitude of the heart determines which we will be receiving. Some will say, oh the church just wants money. They want me to give till it hurts No this morning I am asking you to give until it feels good.
2 Cor 9:7
“Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under conviction for God loves a cheerful giver”
I have heard of so many testimonies of people who decided to give and God poured out to them. Single moms who could not afford to give but determined to give. Give 10% and the boss comes and gives them a 13 % raise. God takes care of his people.
“Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine” God says that when we are obedient by tithing, that He will pour out blessings. That is a promise from God, you can take that to the bank Tithing is not a test to see how much money the church can bring in. It is a test of our faith and helps us to grow in our relationship with God, and helps supply the needs and the ministry of the local church.
a boy and his mother were in a drug store and there was candy on the counter and the owner spotted the boy looking at the candy, when the mother went up to pay, the owner said to the boy “you want some candy?” the boy nodded, and the manager said go ahead, and get a handful of candy. The boy still stood there then the owner reached in the jar and pulled out some candy and gave it to the boy and he filled his pockets. When they got outside, the mother said, why didn’t you get a handful of candy when the man told you it was okay. The boy said, because his hands were bigger than mine”
We want God’s hand giving out the blessings because He has bigger hands.