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Summary: This sermon explains the tithe and its relationship to our obedience, offerings, trust and faith in God.

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INTRO:

-The best way to get in the zone -- is obedience -- giving

* As I consider preaching on tithes its always touchy

* In fact, I wonder if it would fit better in my Hot Topic Series

* Story of the Skittles

* Over the years of pastoring

* I've received many questions regarding skittles

* I've reworded them and broke it into 6 questions

1. What is the percentage of tithes?

A man in the church once made a covenant with the pastor to tithe 10% of their income every year. They were both young and neither of them had much money. But things change.

The layman tithed $1,000 the year he earned $10,000; $10,000 the year he earned $100,000; $100,000 the year he earned $1,000,000.

But the year he earned $6,000,000 he just could not bring himself to write out that check for $600,000 to the church.

He telephoned the minister, long since having moved to another church, and asked to see him. Walking into the pastor's office the man begged to be let out of the covenant, saying, "This tithing business has to stop. It was fine when my tithe was $1,000 but I just can't afford $600,000. You've got to do something, Reverend!"

The pastor knelt down on the floor and prayed silently for a long time. Eventually the man said, "What are you doing? Are you praying that God will let me out of the covenant to tithe?"

"No", said the minister. "I am praying for God to reduce your income back to the level where $1,000 will be your tithe!"

- Tithe = 10%

- 10% is symbolic of all

- A tithe is not a tip

- There are 3 kinds of people

1. The Tipper

2. The Taker

3. The Tither

- Explain the difference between tithe and offering

- Tithe I owe

- Offering I give

- The Bible teaches that God intends for his word to be financed through 2 channels

1. Tithe

2. Offering

- Jesus was both

John 3:16

- Only begotten Son = tithe -- firstborn

- Sacrifice -- offering

2. What should be the Tither's posture?

- I'm not talking physical

- I'm talking about attitude

* In Malachi we see some improper attitudes

* Malachi was writing to people with bad attitudes

* They doubted God's love

-Chapter 1:2 we read:

"In what way have you loved us?"

* They were bored with serving God

-1:13 "Oh what a weariness"

* They doubted God's justice

-2:17 "Where is the God of Justice?"

In the Old Testament we see several people who had a healthy attitude about tithing. Consider Abraham. After completing a military mission Abraham was overwhelmed with a compulsion to thank God for his blessings. He offered God a tithe as an expression of his gratitude.

Genesis 14:20 (NKJV)

In Genesis 28:22 we find Jacob struggling with some personal insecurities. During that time he found peace with God. In that moment Jacob set up a testimonial stone before God and offered a tithe of gratitude.

Genesis 28:22 (NKJV)

Illustration:

The importance of attitude was beautifully illustrated in an article in Reader's Digest several years ago.

"My mother, a teacher, was having a hard time settling on a suitable role for one of her students in the 3rd grade Christmas pageant. Finally, she decided he should be the innkeeper, a role she felt he could handle. All he had to do was tell Joseph, "There is no room at the inn."

Everything went fine at rehearsals, but when Joseph begged for a room for his pregnant wife during the first performance, the lad didn't have the heart to turn him down. To everyone's surprise, he said, "If it's so urgent, please come in."

That little boy was touched by Jesus and his attitude was right.

3. Where is the appropriate place to give your tithe?

Malachi tells us to bring our tithe to the storehouse.

- not a friend in need

- not a charity

- not an evangelist

- not the 700 club

- the storehouse -- where you are fed

Galations 6:6

The Law of Reciprocity

4. What is the purpose of tithing?

-if we don't support the work and mission of the church who will?

-by tithing we are able to systematically and regularly carry on God's work.

The apostle Paul gives us a wonderful example of this in:

1 Corinthians 16:2

This verse teaches three important principles about giving:

1. It should be regular...each 'week'.

2. It should be systematic..."lay something aside". Make it a habit

3. It should be proportionate..."as he may prosper." By giving a tithe you maintain the proportion of what God blesses you.

This text from Malachi raises a common question:

-Should ministers be paid for their work?

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