Dec 6, 2009                                  "A.B.C's of Giving!"   "To Here the Audio with this Sermon click"  "Here"

Sun Am Worship                                  "The Whole"

Text: Mal 3: 6-10   (King James Version)

Subject:  Equipping the Church for the Harvest"

 

OPEN: A mother wanted to teach her daughter a moral lesson. She gave the little girl a quarter and a dollar for church. "Put whichever one you want in the collection plate and keep the other for yourself," she told the girl.
When they were leaving church, the mother asked her daughter which amount she had given.
"Well," said the little girl, "I was going to give the dollar, but just before the collection the man in the pulpit said that we should all be cheerful givers. I knew I'd be a lot more cheerful if I gave the quarter. so I did."

APPLY: The mother may not have agreed with her daughter's reasoning, but at the heart of the matter is this fact the daughter gave in the way she believed.

AND IT'S TRUE OF ALL CHRISTIANS we give as we believe

Out of the almost fifteen years I have been Sr Pastor I think this is ony the 3rd time I have ever ministered on Giving.

 THE REASON I PREACH A SERMON every so often on stewardship, and giving is not intended to offend but rather it is because I believe in the same vision you do. AND I KNOW you can't grow if you don't give.

ILLUS: Flip Wilson was a popular comedian several years ago, and one of his characters was a Preacher at the "What's Happening Now Church." Flip did a Skit where he told about this preacher. He'd shout out:
"IF THIS CHURCH IS GOING TO SERVE GOD IT'S GOT TO GET DOWN ON ITS KNEES AND CRAWL!!!"
And the audience yelled back "Make it crawl preacher, make it crawl!
"AND ONCE THIS CHURCH HAS LEARNED TO CRAWL, IT'S GOT TO GET UP ON ITS FEET AND WALK!!!"
"Make it walk preacher, make it walk" the audience moaned.
AND ONCE THIS CHURCH HAS LEARNED TO WALK ITS GOT BEGIN TO LEARN TO RUN!!!"
"Make it run, preacher, make it run!"
"AND IN ORDER TO RUN, ITS GOT REACH DEEP DOWN INTO POCKETS AND LEARN TO GIVE!!!"
(pause) "Make it crawl preacher, make it crawl."

A Church can't grow if it doesn't give. And if it doesn't give. it'll crawl.

The truth is, what the Bible says about money and possessions is related to who is really number one in our life. Is God number one, or is the self number one? Consider that question as we look at our scripture passage today. Turn with me to Malachi chapter 3. Malachi is the last book of the Old Testament.
Read Malachi 3:6-10.

Malachi 3:6   For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

Malachi 3:7   Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return?

Malachi 3:8   Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.

Malachi 3:9   Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.

Malachi 3:10   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.

Do words ever jump out at you when you read something? You can be sitting there reading along, and all of a sudden, this word just kind of jumps right off the page and smacks you. Well, the word that jumps out at me here is the word "rob."

Four times in verses 8 and 9, the word "rob" appears, or some variation of the word. Robbery is a pretty serious charge. Only murder and rape would be considered worse crimes in our culture. It's one of the Ten Commandments. There are several types of robbery. There is forceful robbery where someone uses a weapon and threatens the victim. There are also more passive methods. Embezzlement is robbery. Over the last few years the crime of identity theft has cropped up.

 Robbery can also come in the form of cheating. Robbery is a very serious charge.
Robbery also affects many people as well. As we examine this passage today, let's consider somethings that are affected by the type of robbery that the prophet Malachi talks about. The first is.

God levels a very serious charge in verse 8. He asserts that the Israelites were robbing him by the withholding of tithes and offerings.
Understand The land was in ruins. The Temple was destroyed. The city of Jerusalem lay in ruins. It was a desolate land. Work was scarce. Money was in short supply. Poverty ruled the day. Here was a group of destitute people, who were struggling to provide food, shelter and clothing for their families. They had almost nothing. To top it all off, there was drought in the land, so the crops weren't growing. It was awful.
And  God says, "You are robbing me." Does God not  see that these people have nothing? They are scrounging for food wherever they can find it. They can't pay the rent. They can't buy new sandals for the kids. They can't buy enough grain to make a decent loaf of bread. God says, "You are robbing me."

 

 The truth is that no matter what our level of income or wealth, God expects us to give back to him a portion of what he has given us. They didn't have much, but they had something. look at the account of the poor widow's offering of two little copper coins. Jesus said that she gave more than the wealthy that piled in money. It's not the amount of the gift, but it is the motive and sacrifice behind the gift.

 (read)

Mark 12:41   And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.

Mark 12:42   And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.

Mark 12:43   And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:

Mark 12:44   For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.

 

What's Jesus doing here? There was something in what is happening in the Temple that was appealing to Him. He has been watching people put their offering into the temple treasury and. WHOA!

What does that say? It says he was watching people put their money in the offering? So What we give is important to God. And He does watch.

ILLUS: Did you know that in the Bible prayer is mentioned 371 times, love 714 times, and giving 2162 times? Where does the Bible put greater emphasis?

But why should it matter to God what we give? It's the thought that counts isn't it? He doesn't even need my money. AND He shouldn't need my money to know how much I love Him. should He?

 

Instead of God getting our 1st fruit   He often gets our last. He gets what's leftover. He gets the crumbs.

how does this really make God feel.

You see God knows: "Where our treasure is, there our heart is also."


By Giving our First Fruits means we are acknowledging God's ownership of all you have.
It means you are NOT giving God your leftovers.
It means your gift to God is NOT an afterthought.
YOUR GIFT TO GOD is something you've purposed


When you do that (when you give God your 1st fruits) you are beginning to learn the concept from Proverbs: "in all your ways acknowledge him"

 

It  is all about Trust. It's all about what you "really" believe
Proverbs 3:5 "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding"


II. Secondly, in your giving of your first fruits to God. you're honoring Him
Something else here that Jesus does. He tells us what pleases God. Notice that Jesus is more impressed with the widow than with the wealthy. This tells me God is more impressed with the quality of our gift than with quantity.

This is poor woman. Her offering is probably a day's wages. IT WAS A sacrifice FOR HER. It was ALL she had.

 "It's one thing to say you believe in something, but so much more to prove it."
QUOTE: Hudson Taylor said, "Unless there is an element of risk in our exploits for God, there is no need for faith." My Bible tells me we still walk by Faith and not by Sight

In Genesis and Exodus and Leviticus and Numbers - that which gave the offerings to God "an aroma pleasing to the LORD" was that it was a sacrifice Dedicated  to some service or Consecrated Holy unto the Lord.

 

In  Nov. 1995): The Butterball Turkey company set up a hotline to answer consumer questions about preparing holiday turkeys. One woman called to inquire about cooking a turkey that had been in her freezer for 23 years.
The operator told her it might be safe if the freezer had been kept below 0 degrees the entire time. But the operator warned the woman that, even if it were safe, the flavor had probably deteriorated, and she wouldn't recommend eating it.
The caller replied, "That's what we thought. We'll just give it to the church."

Why does that strike us as funny? She was consecrating that Turkey to God, wasn't she? What she was offering was still good wasn't it??? BUT tho' it may have been "consecrated". though it still was "good," it wasn't going to taste good or smell good.

I. Offerings to God - that which is consecrated to God - should taste good. They should smell good.

Lev. 1:9 talked about the Burnt Offering that was to be offered to God. When properly prepared this burnt offering would offer up an "aroma pleasing to the LORD."
Lev. 2:2 describes the Grain Offering. When properly prepared this grain offering would offer up an "aroma pleasing to the LORD."
Lev. 3:5 tells us about the Fellowship Offering. When properly prepared this fellowship offering would offer up an "aroma pleasing to the LORD."

Lev. 4:31 introduces the Sin Offering. When properly prepared this sin offering would offer up an "aroma pleasing to the LORD."

When Noah offered up his sacrifice after the flood, it says that "the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart [is] evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done."

THAT WHICH IS CONSECRATED UNTO GOD,  Should smell good.

II. So what can make an offering to God "smell good?" Appeal to God

 

Well THE RICH putting in their offering, were not sacrificing anything. That was what Jesus was pointing out here.

What is it about sacrifice that pleases God??? God knows that I will sacrifice for that which is important to Darrell. If something IS NOT important to Darrell I won't sacrifice.

 

if you give something on the altar that causes no pain and doesn't challenge your flesh, it is not a sacrifice.

Some of you are missing a real experience,you are just not understanding what God has for you.

The next question is Why is it considered the WHOLE

2. WHY 10%

What is it about ten percent that is appealing to  God ?
Why didn't he say 15%? Or 20%

And there is such a thing as doubling you tithe.

And I have seen people who have moved in a realm of faith where they would double their tithe.

And I have even seen people who have tithed on what they wanted to make.
They really challenged the Holy Spirit and said I'm going to call those things that be not as though they were.
And I'm going to prove you,


Jesus said in Matthew 9:29 According to your faith be it unto you. Do you know what according means?
In proportion too, In harmony with,,,,,

 

But 10 percent is the minimum.

So Why? 10percent?

Answer,,, Ten is symbolic of the whole.

Our numerical system teaches in groups of ten.
And in our system of numeric's, if you can count to ten you can count to a million.

Because a million is just groups of tens.
And when you count from 1-10 and they say 11 you have gone back to one.

See and when you give the tithe, what you are really saying is,
All of my money belongs to you.

I just represent it with the tithe.
The tithe is symbolic of the whole.

And this principle is so powerful that, You got saved on this principle and Most don't even know it.

Example:
Jesus, represents the whole of the body of Christ.
And that is what it means in
Ephesians 2:6 And hath raised [us] up together, and made [us] sit together in heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus:

Because he is the Whole you and  I now represent the whole.
You and I are now in him, and when the father accepted His Sacrifice he also accepted me. Jesus Gave the WHOLE

Acts 17:28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.

So when you bring your tithe up you are saying,
All of my money is under God's sovern authority and rule.
And that is why the enemy can't get to you finances, because you have brought it under the umbrella of the covenant.

And that is important because when, you bring it to God,
you don't have to worry about it.
Because you know God has got your blessing covered.

And what ever God has for you is for you.
Because when God, gets ready to bless you, he doesn't meet with no body.
He doesn't call no board of directors. And take a vote.
When God gets, ready to bless you, he blesses you.
And all of your critic's mouths are stopped, and that stopping happened because you have a Covenant with God.

 

God Simply says if you bring the ten percent I'll bless the 90, because the 10% represents the whole.

He says, "Bring the full tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house." The storehouse is the center of God's activity. At the time Malachi wrote this, it was the Temple. Now, it is the Church. The storehouse is the Church.
There is some confusion about which storehouse we should give to. I believe you give to the church where you are being fed. You don't go and eat at Ruby Tuesday's and then go pay the bill at Applebee's. You pay for dinner where you are fed. You tithe to the church where you are fed spiritually. God calls us to support his ministry on earth.

And when we do get to the point where God's kingdom & His righteousness are valuable enough for you and I to sacrifice something for.

God will give us the power to change our world.

In his second letter to the Corinthian church, the apostle Paul wrote, "We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own free will." The churches in the region of Macedonia were poor, but they gave generously. Paul wrote this to a rather wealthy church in the city of Corinth.
I believe that is a challenge for us. We are wealthy. We may not be rolling in money, but compared to the rest of the world, we are wealthy. I believe God is challenging us to step up and step out on faith to support the work of his Kingdom.

By withholding our tithe, we not only rob God and the Church, we also rob ourselves.

We rob ourselves of the blessings that God pours out on those that are faithful to him.
That doesn't mean we give for the sole reason of getting. We aren't lab rats who punch a button and get a food pellet. We don't plop our money into the offering to buy a special favor from God. We can't buy off God.
God does promise to supply the needs of his people who obey his commands. Tithing is as much a command as anything else, and God expects us to follow through on that command. He expects us to tell the truth. He expects us to be faithful to our spouse. He expects us to kind and compassionate to others. He expects us to love him above everything else.
We rob ourselves of a vibrant relationship with God when we allow something to get in the way between him and us. If we value our money and possessions more than we value our relationship with God, then our relationship with God will  suffer.
We will lose fellowship with God if we don't make him number one in our lives, even ahead of money. When we fail in that commitment to him, we rob ourselves of a complete relationship with him.
This basically comes down to our attitude of who really owns what.

 "Who owns your possessions, bank account, and even your very life?" We have no control over our possessions, money or life. Our house might burn down tomorrow. The stock market may take a dive and slash the amount you amy have in  retirement fund. Our life may be taken at any time. The truth is that we don't own ourselves, much less the stuff we possess. God owns it all. He gave us what we have. It's all a matter of our attitude toward what we have and who we are.

Not only is it all his But The Tithe is HOLY!

Leviticus 27:30   And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD'S: it is holy unto the LORD.

 

isnt that awesome to know. The fact that when we give our tithe to God, it is received as being HOLY  as consecrated and sacred. No one knows me better than myself. I know there is very little, if anything about Darrell Vaughn that is Holy. And yet God not only receives my tithe, but He calls it HOLY  a HOLY ACT!

Listen carefully. -- It would be better for you to rob a NationsBank.
There are people who wear the tithe, drive the tithe, watch the tithe, play with the tithe, vacation on the tithe, invest the tithe or pay bills with the tithe.
I caution you today that is robbery, taking that which does not belong to you. It is HOLY!!!!
8. Tragic truth - Malachi says there is a "curse" on those who commit this crime.
The curse according to the O.T. could occur spiritually, physically or materially.

 

Not only is it Holy Tithing is an act of OBEDIENCE

It is your obedience that constitutes worship.
The word worship comes from the Latin word that means  Worth Ship
How much is he really worth to you?

Let me see your check book...
Giving is an expression of worship.
The best investment you could ever put your money in is with God.
One woman broke an alabaster box, and began to wash the feet of Jesus.
Now, the alabaster box, represented what some scholars say a life savings.

She spent on Jesus feet, and Judas was UP SET>>
Huge attitude.

And Judas never got delivered off his attitude over money,


In the 14th chapter of the Gospel of John, Jesus states, If you love me, you will obey what I command. Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me.
Jesus says, that if we truly love Him, we will obey Him. If we have an area of our life that we aren't obedient to God, its not because we have an obedience problem, its because we have a LOVE problem.

 

Ive had many people ask me about how to tithe. How often or when do I tithe? Do I tithe off the gross or off the net of my paycheck. Do I tithe when I receive a gift or an income tax return? Etc
And although the Bible may not specifically address each of these issues, there are definite principles that the Bible teaches that is applicable.

I believe God deserves our firstfruits the first tenth of our ENTIRE or GROSS income upon us being paid, whether that is weekly, biweekly or monthly. I recently discovered I was not being faithful in this. It was not that I was not tithing but rather here is what I was doing that God had to enlighten me on. When being paid I would write checks or pay bills online and then put my Tithe in the offering on Sunday..  God checked me on this.. You see his was not really first even though I was faithfull his was not first. So now when I receive money or income I automatically write a check out to the Church FIRST and then on and on.

 

Hopefully you do give to God, to Glorify Him & Build up His kingdom. Hopefully, you give with a vision that God is going to do something special because of your faithfulness.

 

Our Tithing is an act of LOVE
A certain ruler asked him, Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life? 19Why do you call me good? Jesus answered. No one is good except God alone. 20You know the commandments: Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother. 21All these I have kept since I was a boy, he said. 22When Jesus heard this, he said to him, You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me. 23When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth.

A woman gave her son Billy 2 quarters. One was for his Sunday School offering. The other was for an ice cream cone on the way home from Sunday School.
Billy was flipping one quarter in the air and catching it on the way down. This happened 8 times or so when all of a sudden Billy missed catching it. It rolled down the storm sewer and was gone.
Billy looked skyward and prayed, "Sorry, God."

APPLY: That's the kind of attitude that Israel displayed in the days of Malachi. Israel had come on hard times. Financially they were challenged. They'd lost "their quarter." It had rolled away and they had take to looking skyward and saying "Sorry, God."


What is it that you love more than God? Is it your business? Maybe your hobby? Perhaps its a sport or even a relationship. The bottom line is God is the giver of all good and perfect gifts and though hes given you your job, your business, your leisure time, if we set any of these above God, Hes asking us to rid ourselves of them so that He might take His rightful place, 1st place in our lives!

 

Do I really believe that God would bless anyone who put in their tithe
 Woud it be POSSIBLE that I might deny someone a blessing if I didn't minister on tithing?
In order to answer that truthfully I had to face the difficult question Do I really believe what I am preaching?

Well to answer this question in My belief


I TELL YOU WHAT WE'RE GOING TO DO. If you make a discision to give a tithe . we're going to give you a money back guarantee. If you tithe and you believe that God hasn't supplied for you as this passage says, you just march up to me and you tell me how much you put in. and we'll refund your gift.

CLOSE: The reason I am convicted in believing what I'm preaching, Is that God has proven himself faithful to me more times than I can count, My wife and I have faithfully Tithed as long as I can remember and have never once missed it. I have heard people say out of ignorance and lack of trust, Pastor I would like to Tithe but simply can not afford to. You see for us we simply cannot afford not to give to God what is his. I once heard a man give his testimony of coming to Christ after many years of alcoholism, self indulgence and waste. He was part of singing group that came to share at the church where I was preaching.
He told us that, when he finally came to Christ, his family's finances were in a state of disrepair. One night, while attending a Revival at his church, he looked into his wallet for something to put into the offering plate. All he had was a $20. He and his wife looked at one another, remembering a significant bill that was coming due, she squeezed his hand in agreement, and, he placed the $20 in the plate. He said that they both experienced something like a lifting of a burden from their shoulders.
Upon arriving at home, there on the dining room table was an envelope containing the precise amount that they needed to pay their creditor. He marveled at the grace of God in supplying his need at the just the right time with just the right amount of money. But who put the money there? He had no idea

 

Malachi 3:10-11 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit," says the LORD Almighty

 

This is all in agreement with the powerful passage in Hebrews 11:6 that says: .without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

And so, faith is important in all aspects of our walk in Christ. Especially in our giving.
Do we really believe that God will reward us if we are faithful in our giving???

A faith that hasn't reached your wallet, probably hasn't reached your heart."