Summary: God’s principle for THANKSGIVING is His principle for FIRST-FRUIT giving as well. God demands first place ... in GIVING ... and THANKSgiving.

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“God’s Principle Of First-Fruit Thanksgiving”

Proverbs 3:9-10

INTRODUCTION: Tomorrow is THANKSGIVING! This is a special day set aside to THANK GOD for His blessings, love and grace.

Even ATHEISTS can’t get around the fact that our nation honors God on this special day. Why don’t true Atheists go to work on Thanksgiving Day … or Christmas Day? As Christians, we need to show the world that God is worthy to be praised … NOT ONLY on Thanksgiving Day … BUT … every day of the year.

The Bible points out a PRIMARY PRINCIPLE for Thanksgiving … the PRINCIPLE of FIRST-FRUIT GIVING. In Old Testament times, the Jews would come together at Passover time, and appear before the LORD with their FIRST-FRUITS. PURPOSE: To offer to God the VERY FIRST of the VERY BEST that they had.

This is an important principle to remember as we approach Thanksgiving Day. We can’t ignore it … BECAUSE … God requires this of US, as well. God based their prosperity on the adherence of this principle. It’s not just an O.T. principle … OR a N.T. principle … OR a Church program. It’s GOD’S PRINCIPLE.

FIRST-FRUIT GIVING goes deeper than just passing the offering plate on Sunday. It’s based on a BIBLICAL THEME. Proverbs 3:9-10 – all turn.

God has always demanded to be FIRST PLACE. Exodus 20:5 – “for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God,” Our relationship with God is like a MARRIAGE RELATIONSHIP … we are the “Bride of Christ”. He demands FIRST PLACE … AND … He gets JEALOUS if He’s not. He won’t play “2nd Fiddle”. He doesn’t like you “flirting with the Devil”.

There are certain EXPECTATIONS & RIGHTS in a marriage relationship. I buy MY WIFE flowers … NOT somebody else’s wife. I give my LOVE AND DEVOTION to MY WIFE … not to YOUR WIFE. She EXPECTS it … DESERVES it … WANTS it … DEMANDS it.

So does God! This is FIRST-FRUIT GIVING. This is THANKS-giving. God demands that we give Him our very BEST … making Him FIRST PLACE in our lives. Times haven’t changed. This is an ETERNAL PRINCIPLE. 1 Cor. 10:31 – “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”

Since the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, God no longer demands blood sacrifices in the Temple. His METHOD has changed … BUT … GOD hasn’t. His PRINCIPLE has never changed. God STILL demands FIRST PLACE in your life. Romans 12:1 – “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” Luke 10:27 – “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind;”

SECOND BEST would never do in FIRST-FRUIT OFFERINGS. What COACH would be satisfied with a 2nd BEST effort? (“Go out and give it your 2nd best!” NO! They always say: “Go out and give me 110%!”). What HUSBAND would be satisfied with 2nd RATE cooking? (BEETS every day!). What WIFE would be satisfied being the 2nd MOST IMPORTANT WOMAN in her husband’s life? YET … Why do we expect GOD to be satisfied with less than our best?

What is the FIRST-FRUIT of a sour grape vine? A bunch of sour grapes. What is the FIRST-FRUIT of rotten apples? A bag of rotten apples. IN CONTRAST: What is the FIRST-FRUIT of an orchard of red, ripe apples? God requires that the FIRST-FRUIT OFFERING be the VERY BEST. NOT … just enough to get by … a token … a symbol … a kind gesture … BUT … the very BEST.

God doesn’t accept POLLUTED sacrifices or offerings. Malachi 1:6-8 – all turn.

Too often, we keep the very best … and give God what’s left over. We keep:

o The best TIME … and give the Lord maybe an hour on Sunday.

o The best SERVICE … and then we’re too tired to work for Him.

o The best THOUGHTS … and only think about Him if we think about it … OR … if we’re desperate.

o The best DOLLARS … and put a TIP in the offering plate … IF … we have anything left over at the end of the week/month.

So many times, our giving to God is an AFTER-THOUGHT. Instead of having our offering ready to give to God on Sunday, a lot of people open their wallet/purse as the offering plate is being passed, and look inside to see if they have any money that they don’t need.

In Malachi’s time, God’s people had neglected God’s principle of FIRST-FRUIT GIVING. RESULT: They were giving to God something that was of NO VALUE … to THEM … OR … to GOD. They were:

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