Summary: This sermon discloses an element that is lacking in many divine worship services around the world, and that element is the vital offering to God of heartfelt and joyful praise.
“Will a Man Rob God?”
There is a familiar passage of scripture that ministers of all denominations love to preach about... It is found in Malachi chapter 3 verse 8 and it reads like this; The Lord says; “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob Me.” But you ask; ‘How do we rob you?’” And the Lord replies; “..in tithes and offerings--you are under a curse-- the whole nation of you because you are robbing Me.”
Through the ages, sermons on this passage have caused people to open wide their pocketbooks and give more generously to the church. A good preacher will
be sure to drive home the point that giving back to God is of the utmost importance. It is indeed very important because returning a tithe to God is not only a test of faith or merely dues paid for membership of a church, but tithing is actually a form of worship.
With that being said, let me just inform you that I don’t even have to look at the monthly financial statement and tithe remittance to know that this congregation is in fact robbing God. Now you may be sitting there thinking; I return a faithful tithe and generous offering every single week-- I know he can’t be talking about me! Well, chances are
very good that I am talking about you.....but what’s even worse.... some weeks, I’m talking about me too!
What? We have an Elder in the church who is not being faithful to God in tithes and offerings?! No, I’m not saying that...and by the way, you can stop trying to remember how much you gave last month because most of us are not robbing God of tithes and offerings......praise the Lord that we seem to see the importance in returning a faithful tithe, but the overwhelming majority of us are robbing Him of something just as important~if not more so.... and it is the purpose of this message today to allow God to tell us exactly what we are robbing Him of.
Let me ask you a question; why did you come to church this morning?--why did we assemble here in this sanctuary today? We came to church this morning to
worship and glorify God didn’t we? Well besides returning our tithe, how do we do that? In the 50th Psalm God says that; “those who bring praise as a sacrifice glorify Me and I will show them my salvation.” And the author to the epistle to the Hebrews says in 13:15; “....let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise--the fruit of our lips that confess His name.”
You see brothers and sisters; we, as a congregation are robbing God -not necessarily of tithes and offerings-- but of heart-felt praise, adoration which are vital elements of true spiritual worship...... And by neglecting to give God the Glory and Praise that is due Him, we are also robbing ourselves of a deeper and more meaningful communion with the Lord.
Now I can tell that I’ve totally lost a few of you already this morning; some of you are probably sitting there thinking; what is Dwight talking about? we praise the Lord every time we assemble together in this sanctuary.
Well I’ve got some bad news for you folks; when it comes to praising the Lord in our worship services~ when it comes to expressing our love and adoration for Jesus Christ, we as a whole leave a lot to be desired. I sit up here Sabbath after Sabbath and as I look out upon the congregation, I simply don’t see a group of “joyful” Christians united in heartfelt praise and worship of the Most High God..
I know exactly how you are feeling right about now....I remember a while back, we had a guest speaker who was delivering a genuine, spirit-filled sermon and when he should have been hearing praise the Lord and Amen....he was getting no response at all--it was almost as though the people were there...but their minds and hearts were somewhere far away. He actually stopped in the middle of his sermon and made the comment that we, as a church body, needed to come alive and stop “vegetating” in the pews. Pretty strong words, but also true.
I remember thinking; this guy’s got a lot of nerve coming here and criticizing the way we worship! I left church that day with a sort of bitter taste in my mouth, perhaps you will leave today with much the same defensive attitude though I cerainly hope not. But as I continued to grow in the Lord, I realized that, even though it hurt to hear it, he was exactly right. It is spiritually vital that we revive our first love and be not ashamed of expressing that love to the Lord.