Summary: This sermon is the first in a two part series which answers six common questions about tithing.
This month we have studied one of the most delicate subjects a church can study. That subject is money. The subject of money and religion has been hotly debated over the years. There have been abuses of this subject. There have been distortions of this subject. No matter which way you examine the subject, it is a subject the Bible discusses in great detail. Jesus had more to say about money than about Heaven.
Our church has gone even further. Not only have we studied the subject of money, we have even discussed the subject of tithing. We are really living dangerously! Ha! Ha! I think most of you would agree that we should not by-pass an issue just because it is unpopular. Today, as we conclude this study I want to ask and then answer some questions about tithing. With that in mind lets look at three verses of scripture from Malachi 3. "Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, `In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and prove Me now in this,’’ says the Lord of hosts, "If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it.” vs. 8-10 NKJV
Over the next two weeks I am going to ask and then answer six questions about tithing. All of these questions are addressed in Malachi 3.
First question: What should be the tithers Attitude?.
A. In Malachi we observe some improper attitudes. The people to whom Malachi wrote were struggling with their attitude. They doubted God’s love. In chapter 1 verse 2 we read “In what way have You loved us?" (NKJV) They were bored with serving God. In chapter 1 verse 13 we read “Oh, what a weariness!”( NKJV) They doubted God’s justice. In chapter 2 verse 17 we read "Where is the God of justice?’’(NKJV) If a person’s attitude is unhealthy it will affect everything in their spiritual life. Sometimes we must confront our unhealthy attitudes.
Ill- A small church in Virginia needed to have a new roof in the worst of ways, but there was no money in their account. Most of the congregation was very poor except for the local banker. He was an ornery old cuss, and he would be the first in church so he could always sit in the back pew by the door. That way, he could always get up and leave during prayer right before the offering was collected.
One day, on the way to church, an accident in front of him made him late. When he got there, the only place to sit was on the front pew in front of the pastor.
As the pastor prayed for God to send them money for the roof, a piece broke off and fell down, hitting the banker on the head. He immediately yelled out, "I’ll give $1,000. for the roof!" And one of the men in back yelled out, "Hit him again, Lord!"
(Contributed to Sermon Central by Bruce Ball) Obviously, that man needed an attitude adjustment.
Your greatest need may be to discover a God who loves you, cares for you and wants to be your friend. Do you doubt God? Are you struggling with unanswered questions? The attitude of your heart must be healthy! God wants to help you with your attitude.
B. In the Old Testament we see several people who had a healthy attitude about tithing. Consider Abraham. After completing a military mission Abraham was overwhelmed with a compulsion to thank God for His blessings. He offered God a tithe as an expression of his gratitude. “And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.’’ And he gave him a tithe of all.” Gen. 14:20 (NKJV)
In Gen. 28:22 we find Jacob struggling with some personal insecurities. During that time he found peace with God. In that moment Jacob set up a testimonial stone before God and offered a tithe of gratitude. "And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.’’ (NKJV)
Ill- The importance of attitude was beautifully illustrated in an article in Reader’s Digest several years ago. My mother, a teacher, was having a hard time settling on a suitable role for one of her students in the Grade 3 Christmas pageant. Finally, she decided he should be the innkeeper, a role she felt he could handle. All he had to do was tell Joseph, "There is no room at the inn."