Summary: This sermon stresses the personal benefits of tithing.
A Thief in Your House
Intro: When most people hear this verse, they think the preacher is about to ask them to give more money. They already believe that the church is only interested in them for their money. They ask, “Why should I give them money when I don’t have enough to get by myself?” Or they say, “All they talk about is money. Give and it shall be given unto you. God loves a cheerful giver. Give and you’ll have treasures in heaven. Well, I want my treasure now. I got bills to pay.”
Preachers also know how congregations feel about sermons on money. They’ve heard the same complaints you have. They know that if they preach sermons on sin or money, they won’t get any ‘amens’. But we are charged to preach the whole counsel of God, not just what is pleasing to the people. Jesus oftentimes preached what was not popular. In fact, His teachings got so controversial, that everyone, save the Disciples, left Him.
But I am not here to ask you for more money. I am not here to give you a slick presentation on why you should give more. No, I am here to help you help yourself. I am here to help you get all the blessings God has in store for you. I am here to help you stop cheating yourself. God intended for us to live on the leftovers, instead we give Him what’s left over, which is usually nothing. Then we wonder why we are not blessed.
There may be a thief living in your house and he’s stealing from you. In fact, the thief may very well be you. Why do I say this? We all say we want more. God says it is ours for the taking. So why is it that we left blessings fall through our fingers? Why do we give away money we don’t have to? Why do we take on debt we don’t have to? Why do we live beneath our potential? It is because we have been disobedient to God’s command. It is also because we don’t trust God to take care of us. As a result, we have become too stressed to be blessed. God’s message to Malachi tells us how we can go from being too stressed to be blessed to being too blessed to be stressed.
I. The Problem of the People
a. God confronted the people about their sins. He had created them to be a holy people, a people set apart for Him. Yet, they were defiling themselves with idolatry. They were brash asking what profit is there in serving the Lord. They were also secure in themselves. They didn’t see any need for God in their lives. Their security was in their possessions. The Israelites in Malachi’s time didn’t tithe not because they didn’t have it. They didn’t tithe because they didn’t see any need to. Sort of the opposite of the Pharisees. These Israelites didn’t tithe because they trusted in their wealth not in God. The Pharisees tithed but not out of obedience but to be adored by men. Yet, their security was in their possessions as well. Malachi’s people just didn’t think God would come through for them.
b. Today, we have many people on both sides of the aisle. We have some who tithe to be seen of men. You may hear about how they’ve given X number of dollars to fund this or that. Yet, there are those who don’t tithe because they see no need to. Their faith is in their possessions until their possessions can’t save them then they turn to God. Then there are those who don’t tithe because, like the early Israelites, they don’t trust God. They don’t believe that God will come through for them. They don’t believe that God has got their back. I know I can pay my bills because the money is in my hands. That’s not faith and without faith it is impossible to please God.
c. The Israelites did the wrong things and missed the blessings of God. The Pharisees did the right things for the wrong reasons and missed the blessings of God. If we are not careful, we, too, will do the wrong things or the right things for the wrong reasons and miss our blessings.
II. The Request of God
a. The Bible says that it is a wicked thing to try the Lord. It even goes on to say that God cannot be tempted, something the devil obviously didn’t believe. Yet, here is the only place in the Bible where God says it is OK to test Him, to try Him, to prove Him. He says, investigate this thing for yourself. Examine my command and see if it is true. Put it to the test. If I do not do as I say I would do, then you are off the hook. Just as preachers tell you to examine the Word for yourself to see if what we are telling you is the truth, you should examine God’s promise for yourself to see if God will do what He said He would do.