Summary: Trust, honesty, love, giving. Christians should apply all of these words to their personal relationship with God in Christ Jesus. Father God wants to pour out blessings upon us; to those of us who trust, are honest, who love God, and who give to His work
"The Windows of Heaven"
Author: Dr. Neal Gray
Passage: Malachi 3:7-18, KJV
Purpose: Trust, honesty, love, giving. Christians should apply all of these words to their personal relationship with God in Christ Jesus. Father God wants to pour out blessings upon us; to those of us who trust, are honest, who love God, and who give to His work here on earth. Let’s learn to give the tithe; it is such a simple thing to do.
Before we read the entire passage, listen to one of the verses:
"Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in Mine house, and prove Me now herewith," saith the LORD of hosts, "if I will not open you THE WINDOWS OF HEAVEN, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it." (Malachi 3:10)
Someone in the congregation could easily be saying, "Oh no, he’s just like other preachers--always preaching about money." And, to some degree I can sympathize with Christians who think like that.
But, this sermon is not about the church trying to take away your hard-earned money. No. This message is ABOUT YOU LEARNING A CRUCIAL TRUTH on how God wants to give you His blessing. You are a child of the heavenly Father. Hold on, you’ll see.
==> And...I’ve never heard a "tither" complain about a sermon on tithing!
Our Scripture is from the last book in the Older Testament, Malachi 3:7-18. But let’s read only verses 7 through 15, leaving verses 16 through 18 until the end of the message.
THE LESSON OF MALACHI: GOD LOVES HIS PEOPLE
Malachi 3:10 is one of those texts that lends itself to manipulation by people who want to raise money for churches. It could be used that way.
It appeals to a cause-and-effect mentality. It could be used to underscore the mind-set of the ultra-fundamentalist, who sees salvation as a strict contract with the Almighty, namely: you do something good for God, and God will do something good for you. I DON’T GO IN FOR THAT KIND OF THEOLOGY.
But actually, THERE ARE ELEMENTS OF A CONTRACT, of promise, and even hints of cause-and-effect here. God does effectively say:
"If you will do thus and so, you can prove Me now! And I will do thus and so good things for you! I will open the windows of heaven!"
God’s Love for Us!
But to be fair we need to see that the whole book of Malachi REVEALS GOD’S DESIRE TO LOVE HIS PEOPLE AND TO BE LOVED BY HIS PEOPLE. This text (3:10) is a climax of the total lesson of Malachi!
==> The lesson for us to learn is: GOD IS DISAPPOINTED WHEN HIS OWN PEOPLE ARE LESS GODLY, LESS HONEST, LESS GIVING, AND LESS TRUSTING THAN THEY COULD BE.
The reason God’s people do not experience God’s full blessing is plain.
==> THEY HAVE FORGOTTEN THAT REAL LIFE CENTERS AROUND GOD!
SPIRITUAL IGNORANCE ON ISRAEL’S PART
So, one message of Malachi is a revelation of the spiritual ignorance of the people of Israel. Let’s look at that now.
God’s People Seen to be Exasperatingly Ignorant
The Book of Malachi reveals that the people who claim to know all about God and religion are, in fact, EXASPERATINGLY IGNORANT ABOUT GOD and religion! A recurrent theme throughout the short book is...
* A statement of fact by God, through His prophet, of THE SPIRITUAL GIFTS GOD GIVES TO HIS PEOPLE; immediately followed by,
* Incredulous statements from His people like: "How can that be?", "Why do you say that?", and "Where is that a fact?"
Examples of Their Ignorance
Look at some examples of the ignorance of God’s people:
* (1:2) God says: "I have loved you." The people said: "How hast Thou loved us?" They are ignorant of God’s LOVE to them.
* (1:6) God says: "Since I am your father, where is My honor from you?" The people said: "How have we despised Thy name?" They are ignorant of their insulting the name of God.
* (2:11-14) God says: "Judah hath profaned the holiness of the Lord...the Lord will cut off the man that doeth this." The people said: "For what reason?" (duh!) They are ignorant of any reason why God should despise their fancy worship, even though they have been idolators against God.
* (2:17) God says: "You have wearied the Lord with your words." The people said: "How have we wearied Him?" They are ignorant of the fact that God is weary of their empty mouthing of prayers that have no real devotion behind them.
* (3:7) God says: "You are gone away from My ordinances. Return to Me, and I will return to you." The people said: "How shall we return?" They are ignorant both of the need to return to God, and the way in which they might return to God.