Summary: This is the third week in our Blessed Life Series. Each year we take a month and focus on Stewardship. This week we look a the promises associated with Tithing.
So here we are, week three of Money Month 2013. You having fun yet? For those who are visiting with us or new to Cornerstone this is an annual event. Each April I take the opportunity to teach the theology of stewardship, which is a fancy way of saying we look at what the Bible says about money, what got, how we get it and what we do with it after we get it. Nice thing is that means I won’t ambush you about money throughout the year.
And we culminate Money Month with an event we call Step Up Cornerstone which is next week. And we will be talking more about that later in the service.
This year our theme is “The Blessed Life” and we’ve been looking at the blessings that God has for his people. Week one we looked at the premise that God wants to bless his people. It is there in the first chapter of the first book of the Bible, it is there in the last chapter of the last book of the bible and it is there throughout the Bible. God is not a vengeful God who wants us to suffer, God is a loving God who wants to bless his children. And it would appear from the word of God that some of those blessings are financial. This is not the prosperity Gospel, let’s get that straight, if you’ve been coming to Cornerstone for any length of time then you know I do not preach or condone a name it and claim it theology.
But there is a reality to the fact that God wants to bless his children. For years my objection to this was “What about Christians in developing countries? They aren’t rich?” And then I travelled to developing countries, and no Christ Followers in those countries aren’t rich, but they are blessed. And even within their context they are blessed financially.
But the blessed life is not about a blessed chequebook, it is about a blessed life. You don’t give to get, you give to give. As a by-product of that God blesses those who give to his work. But that can’t be the motive and motives count. Jesus’ brother James wrote in James 4:3 And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure. And Denn may never know your motives but God certainly does.
Last week we looked at the blessing of First Things and how the giving of the First Born was done to Remember. To remember that we weren’t always free, that were slaves who had been delivered. The giving of the First Fruit was done to recognize that all we have comes from God. And the brining of the First Tithe was done in obedience to the commands of God.
So let’s jump into our scripture which is the “go to” scriptures for preachers and tithing.
Malachi 3:10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!
There are times that I think “God why did you have to put this scripture where you put it? Just another page, just another 13 verses and it would have been in the New Testament and I wouldn’t have had to listen to people say ‘but that’s in the Old Testament that doesn’t count’”
And then I realize that I’m not God and he put it exactly where it belongs. So what about the argument that it’s in the Old Testament and it doesn’t count, or the “I’m not under the law I’m under grace” statement?
Let’s go back to an illustration that I used last week. Say Jason asked to borrow my Smart Car on a beautiful day so he and Marla could put the top down and go to Peggy’s Cove for a picnic, and I agreed. The purpose of the story last week was to illustrate that we are told to bring our tithe not give our tithe, because you can’t give someone something that already belongs to them. And so at the end of the day if Jason came back and said “Denn, Marla and I like you a lot and we’d like to bless you by giving you this car.” I’d have to say “you’re not giving it to me, you are simply bringing it back, it already belongs to me.”
Let’s take it to the next step, at the end of the day Jason says “Denn, we really like your car so we are going to keep it.” And I say “you can’t keep my car, that would be stealing.” To which he might say “But ‘thou shalt not steal’ is an Old Testament thing and I’m under grace not under the law”