Summary: Malachi #6
One day a man called his church and said, “Can I speak to the head hog at the trough?”
The secretary thought she heard right but asked,
“I’m sorry. Who would you like to speak with?”
The caller repeated, “Can I speak to the head hog at the trough?”
The secretary answered, “Well, if you mean the preacher, then you may refer to him as ‘Pastor’ or ‘Brother,” but I prefer you not call him the ‘head hog at the trough!’” The man replied, “Well, I was planning on giving $100,000 to the building fund…”
To which the secretary quickly responded,
“Hang on. I think the big fat pig just walked in.”
As we begin this morning, let me acknowledge that the church has gotten a bad rap for the perception that it is always asking for money. Would you agree? Pastors are often characterized as talking about giving too much and making people feel guilty about giving.
I want you to know that I wrestle with speaking about giving because I realize the stakes are high. Maybe even now you’re looking for an excuse to head for the exit. Please, especially if you are visiting today, please don’t feel like we’re after your money because we’re not.
I do want to mention that our study in Malachi has really messed with me, as I’m sure it has with you. If you feel a bit beat up and guilt-ridden, let me remind you that the very first message of Malachi is that God loves you. We must never forget that!
God sent His Son to deal with our guilt and shame. As we come to our theme today, let me say that the elders or church council have not put me up to this. I’m not trying to manipulate you to give to any plan or program of Lakeview Bible Church, ok? As we’ve been going through this last book of the Old Testament verse-by-verse, this just happens to be the next topic.
Even though I feel some awkwardness about preaching a message on giving because it has been abused by so many before, I’m not apologizing about the subject matter today.
How we manage money is directly linked to our discipleship.
In fact, there are more verses in the Bible about money and giving than about Heaven and Hell combined!
Of the 38 parables Jesus told, 16 of them are about money!
The Bible has fewer than 300 verses on prayer, less than 500 on faith and over 2,000 verses that deal with money and possessions! The inescapable conclusion is that how we deal with finances in general, and what we give in particular, is a big deal to God.
And so we need to focus on our funds, no matter how uncomfortable we may feel about it.
Last week we concluded by establishing the fact that Jesus is a refining fire. He cleans us up because we’re dirty.
And He does His work in us so that He can see His image reflected through us. I want you to notice that one of the reasons He refines us is so that we can give offerings to God with pure motives.
Look at Malachi 3:3-4: “Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the LORD, as in days gone by, as in former years.”
Instead of giving their injured, crippled, and diseased animals, once they honor God’s name, they will offer acceptable offerings. They will bring their best, not their worst.
My guess is that most all of us could stand a little refining in our attitudes toward giving as well. What do you think?
We need some refining in our attitude about giving so that we come to realize that:
We don’t give in order to get.
We give because of what we’ve been given.
With that in mind, let’s focus on Malachi 3:6-12 where we will discover Features of Grace Giving.
We will discover 5 features of grace giving in our passage this morning...
Features of Grace Giving
1. Refocus on God’s character (v. 6)
As we’ve been learning in Malachi, our view of God determines everything else about us.
If we consider Him weighty, we will live and give accordingly.
If we see God as out to get us, then we’ll be afraid and give only to appease His anger.
And, if we don’t think much of God at all, chances are we won’t give much either.
Verse 6 helps us get refocused: “I the LORD do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.”
God is speaking in the first person here.
The word “Lord” literally means, “He who is” and refers to His immutability, or unchangeableness. It is the word, “Yahweh.”