Summary: God is teaching the principals of stewardship.
Malachi 3: 8/12
I want to talk to you about what God expects of us, as stewards of the things that He has given. Of all the things that God has given us, the number one thing that we are concerned about, and therefore God is concerned is our money. Now God doesn’t need our money, we do, but He is concerned about how WE handle it.
When it relates to money and our giving, there are four ways that we give. There is the tithe [the ten percent], then there is what is called first fruits, alms giving and the sowing of seed. So what does the bible has to say about tithing.
Some people say, “Don’t talk about money. Talk about something spiritual.” But Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” And then He says, “The love of money is the root of kinds of evil.” In other words, money can affect your spiritual life and your relationship with God.
While Jesus was on earth He gave us thirty-six parables and sixteen were about money. There are 2,300 references in the bible about money. God is concerned knowing that Satan is interested in your money. He will bait his hook with money to lure us if he can. So, in order to stay free not allowing Satan to create a stronghold in our lives, we must hold fast to the principles of God’s word that have been set forth.
When I read the text there is a word that jumps out at me. It’s the word ROB, “will a man rob God’ it is a strong word. God says the peopled of Israel robbed Him. And robbery is a serious charge; it’s mentioned in the Ten Commandments, thou shall not steal.
When we look at the text we see three different robberies in this passage – robbing God, robbing the church of resources, and robbing oneself of God’s blessings. The first one is the most important and leads to the two others. God uses the word ROB because everything belongs to Him. HE IS THE PRINCIPLE OWNER OF EVERYTHING. Tithing serves as a reminder that everything we have come from our Heavenly Father.
There are three different types of people who attend church each Sunday. The first group says, “I will share with God if I want to, you see it is my money.” The second says, “I will share with God because I have to [He said to give a tithe]. And the third says, “Everything belongs to God, so I will follow the principles of tithing, first fruits, alms giving and the sowing of seed.”
God in His wisdom tells us to return ten percent and that’s not an Old Testament Law. God put that in the heart of His people long before the Law was given. We read in the book of Genesis that Abram gave a tithe to Melchizedek king of Salem, He was priest of God Most. He gave a tenth of the spoils of war to the priest, for the continuation of God’s work.
We read that Jacob has a close encounter with God in a dream concerning giving. So we have Abraham commencing tithing and Jacob continuing the practice. Then Moses came along, and God gave him the Law. “A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the LORD; it is holy to the LORD.”
And a few hundred years later, Malachi confirms tithing. And then Jesus commended it. “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices-mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law-justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.”
So we see Abraham begins the principle to tithing, Jacob continued, Moses commanded, Malachi confirmed, and Jesus commended it. Tithing is the most basic act of thanksgiving to God. It is a privilege, not a duty.
Then in our text the Lord says, “Test me with your giving.” It is an issue of trust, that’s why I have called this message GOD’S TRUST FUND. The tithe is God’s way of blessing us. “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 it I will not open the WINDOWS of heaven and pour out a blessings that you will not have room enough to receive it.”
“And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the fields, says the Lord of hosts.”
When you acknowledge God in tithes, you are opening up the flood gates of heaven. You have to believe that you can achieve more with the ninety percent and God’s blessings, than with the total amount without His blessings. I’ve heard people say, “I can’t afford to tithe.” But the truth is you can’t afford not to tithe.