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Summary: IN GOD'S ECONOMY, HE DARES US TO PUT HIM TO THE TEST.

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God's Economy: Passing the Test

Malachi 3:8-12

INTRODUCTION

Selling it.

The inside back cover of the Consumer Reports Magazine is always one of my favorite things to scan in the magazine. My mother-in-law subscribes to it so whenever I'm home I take a look at the pages called Selling it--Devoted to exposing the half truths of advertising.

Here are a few of the gems found there.

Some are just dumb.

Some are misleading when it comes to truth.

Some are just plan scamming you.

Unfortunately When it comes to God and His promises some churches or ministries have fallen prey to "selling it".

T.S. We've been talking about exchanging our economy for God's economy. But how do you know God isn't just selling it, when it comes to how his economy works? How do you know it's not just some vain and empty promises?

P.S. IN GOD'S ECONOMY, HE DARES US TO PUT HIM TO THE TEST.

We're going to end up in an Old Testament book today, he last book of the Old Testament--Malachi.

Turn there with me as I give you a bit of back ground.

BOOK OF MALACHI,

* Some scholars believe the word Malachi should be interpreted as a description ("my messenger") rather than as the name of a specific person.

* This line of reasoning would mean that the book was written by an unknown author.

* But no other book of prophecy in the Old Testament was written anonymously. So although nothing else is known about this person, the weight of all previous prophetic evidence points to the fact that the book was written by a prophet named Malachi.

* The prophecy can be specifically dated at about 450 B.C.

Historical Setting.

* At first the people had been enthusiastic about rebuilding Jerusalem and the Temple and restoring their system of worship.

* The people have begun to offer God their second best efforts and offerings. Mal 1:6ff

* While giving him less than he deserves the whine why is he neglecting them. Mal 2:13ff

* They have cheapen the idea of marriage and commitment Mal 2:15ff

* Their understanding of God's kingdom is so messed up they are calling evil good. Mal 2:17

* The appeal of the prophet is for the nation to "return' to God and the sign of their repentance will be their willingness to live by God's economy. Mal 3:6ff

Mal 3:6-12

6 "I the LORD do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. 7 Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you," says the LORD Almighty.

"But you ask, 'How are we to return?'

8 "Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me.

"But you ask, 'How do we rob you?'

"In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse-the whole nation of you-because you are robbing me. 10 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. 11 I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit," says the LORD Almighty. 12 "Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land," says the LORD Almighty.

One of the signs that we are in a right relationship with the Forgiver is that we are willing to test God's economy.

Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty

Did you know that . . .

* One out of every six followers of the Forgiver (16%) gave no money to his/her church during 1999.

* The proportion who tithed to their church was just 8%.

* In general, the more money a person makes the less likely he/she is to tithe.

o While 8% of those making $20,000 or less gave at least 10% of their income to churches,

o that proportion dropped to 5% among those in the $20,000-$29,999 and $30,000-$39,999 categories;

o 4% among those in the $40,000-$59,999 range,

o down to 2% for those in the $60,000-$74,999 niche;

o 1% for those making $75,000-$99,999.

Why? Because when we live by the world's economy we mistakenly believe it's all about getting ours.

Appl: The First Step in putting God to the Test is admitting we are failing in this area.

I know we are struggling in this because even though I don't have accounting degree I can discern this trend.

2008 averaged 359, say that 200 of those represent adults.

Say that they gave $30/wk 312,000

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