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Summary: The ist in a series of sermons on guidelines to living a more abundant life that God wants us to live. Put God to the test by tithing and observing the benefits of the practice.

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Today I am talking about a subject that people don’t like to hear about—I’ll say that up front.

Preachers don’t like to talk about tithing and money because we don’t like people’s eyes glazing over or people getting fidgety or you start flip through the hymn book or something.

Church members don’t like to hear a preacher talk about money. “Money is my business. I didn’t come here to hear about that. I want to hear a spiritual message.”

I like the old story about the guy who came to church with his family. As they were driving home afterwards he was complaining about everything. He said, “The music was too loud. The sermon was too long. The announcements were unclear. The building was hot. The people were unfriendly.” He went on and on, complaining about virtually everything. Finally, his very observant son said, “Dad, you’ve got to admit it wasn’t a bad show for just a dollar.”

Two men were marooned on an Island. One man paced back and forth worried and scared while the other man sat back and was sunning himself. The first man said to the second man, "aren’t you afraid we are about to die." "No," said the second man, "I make $100,000 a week and tithe faithfully to my church every week. My Pastor will find me."

This is the first of a series of sermons on guidelines to living a life of abundance. I would guess every one of you here today wants to live a more abundant life. And this sermon topic for today is about one of the first guidelines to achieving abundance and growing spiritually.

The Bible is clear that we are to have an abundant life.

Jesus says in John 10:10 I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

It is the father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

abundance does not just include money but is about having good health, fulfilling relationships, work that is both pleasurable and meaningful and having adequate financial resources so that we can enjoy life and serve others.

Money is a means to an end, not the end itself. You cannot eat money, and it cannot keep you warm or cuddle you at night. Simply having money is not the goal. The goal is to use it to do whatever your heart leads you to do, and to do that which fulfills your divine purpose.

THE BENEFITS OF TITHING: Number 1 it--

1--DEVELOPS MY SPIRITUAL MATURITY

The first part of this scripture passage from Malachi says: Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in my house.

Three things I’d emphasize about tithing as a spiritual practice:

a—Tithing helps me to acknowledge that God is the source of all that I have. So tithing is not giving away your money.

b--Tithing is about giving back 10% of the 100% that God has given us.

c—By tithing you are feeding the place that carries out God’s work in the world. So where do you tithe?—to the place where you are spiritually fed—the place that reminds you that God loves you and has a purpose for your life. It’s the place or places that feed your soul that receives your tithe.

2—CONNECTS ME TO THE LAW OF GIVING AND RECEIVING (CIRCULATION). The second part of Malachi 3:10 says thus put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts.

Luke 6:37-38, Jesus teaches: “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.”

The basic principle in that verse is what you might call the law of circulation. There’s a natural flow to life in the universe. You breathe in and you breathe out.

Now if you are ready to tithe or increase your giving at any level it will be frightening.

In those moments of doubt, support yourself and quote the words of Jesus from Luke 12:31-32 to yourself:

Strive for his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

Or another way to state that is how the passage reads in The Message:

Steep yourself in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Don’t be afraid of missing out. You’re my dearest friends! The Father wants to give you the very kingdom itself.

The next benefit of tithing is it--

3--OPENS UP “THE WINDOWS OF HEAVEN”.

The third part of the Scripture passage from Malachi reads: see if I will not open the windows of heaven for you

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