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Summary: This message describes the consequence of faihtfulness and unfaithfulness in givng to God.

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Malachi 3:7-12

Will a man rob God?

Introduction:

Let me preface my message this morning by saying that we have nothing to give to God until we have accepted His gift of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ. God’s church appeals only to God’s people to fund its ministry.

This morning I am preaching a message that I pray will speak clearly and directly to our hearts. We may get stirred up because it very literally will cost to obey God (it will). We may rehearse the hollow accusation "that the church is only concerned about money." We may say perhaps that the message is self-serving (to that I confess that I share ultimate concern for the blessing of God on this ministry and our ability to advance His work around the world). I am concerned that we can maintain the staff that we have, but to be frank with you, at the rate of our giving we can’t support the staff we have, let alone hire a youth pastor.

I do not preach on giving often (that perhaps is a detriment not an asset, since Jesus spoke more about money than any other topic.) I am conscious of the cultural perception that unchurched people believe that all churches care about is their money. I am aware that even some church members mistakenly believe that so they use money as a threat - "if you don’t do what I want, then you won’t get my money."

I remember when I first came, I received a call from a pushy woman who wanted to give me her insight into what Faith Church needed and shared with me that for the three years prior to my coming she had not given to Faith because of her disagreement with the leadership. I told her plainly that she was in rebellion against God and she was robbing God and robbing her self of God’s blessing.

Divine blessing is the intent of God for His people. Blessing is that empowerment (enduement) from God to fulfill and live out the purpose for which He created and recreated you in Christ.

· Blessing is that which makes us productive fruit-bearing Christians.

· Blessing is what makes the difference in marriages.

· Blessing is what makes the difference in Christian service.

· Blessing is what makes the difference in the home.

· Blessing is what makes the difference in the attainment of personal joy and success.

· Blessing is what enlivens churches to become fruitful and effective.

· Blessing is the desperate need of the hour.

Malachi is the last prophet of the Old Testament and closes that canon with an indictment as well as a promise of hope in the coming Messiah.

Malachi is an indictment against a people who are living under the assumption that now that they returned from captivity to the land of Palestine, everything is all right.

They are in the right place--Palestine--they have the right institutions--temple and sacrifices--they have the right God--Yahweh (Jehovah)--yet something is missing--blessing (2:2).

Malachi presents a series of indictments against this people:

The method he uses is 1) a charge is leveled; 2) their rebuttal (excuse) is given (yet you say); 3) the evidence is set forth.

He indicts them for:

1. ... their questioning the special love God had shown them.

2. ... their offering of left-overs to God.

3. ... their unfaithfulness to marriage vows.

4. ... their amorality -- evil is good and good is evil.

5. ... their denying any disregard for his ordinances.

6. ... their robbing God.

7. ... their saying it is vain to serve God.

In this time of the year when giving is at the forefront of our thinking, I want to play on that thinking, only to cast it into the spiritual realm.

· I want us to see the relationship of giving to our entire spiritual life.

· I want us to realize that some of you have shut off the blessing of God in your life by robbing God.

· I want you to realize that the ability of this church to impact the world we live in is hindered by our robbing God.

· I want some of usto realize that the road back to revival begins with Giving.

· I want all of us to realize that "Robbing God of tithes and offerings is the ultimate affront against the holy redeeming God and Savior."

Our faithfulness in giving secures God’s blessing which in turn enhances our effectiveness to attract and impact a world for our God.

I’m interested in how verses 8-12 relate to verse 7.

Return to me, and I will return to you," says the LORD Almighty. "But you ask, ’How are we to return?’

The word here for return is the normal word for experiencing a revival. Revival is coming back to the Lord.

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