Sr. Pastor Darrell G Vaughn
                                                        Faithfulness - A Key Step to Happiness
Dec 4, 2011                             "Trusting by Obeying!"
Sun AM Worship          We show our true colors in our obedience in giving!

Text: Judges 7:9-22 Mal 3:6-9   (King James Version) 

  "Father, I am your servant, willing and desiring to be used to bless your people."

                                       The Fields are white and the laborers are few!
C.H. Spurgeon said, "If God does not save a man by truth he certainly will not save them by lies, and if the old gospel is not competent to work a revival, then we will do without the revival;"

 

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.

 

Let's pray. Father,  Open my eyes so I can see Your truth.

Open my ears so I can hear Your voice.
Open my mind so I can understand Your Word.
And open my heart so I may receive all that You want me to receive. AMEN

 

Nothing in the church causes someone to hide from the truth anymore than a sermon like I feel led to give you this morning. Today, the Lord and His Word have a message for us that some of us would just as soon never heard. We've tried to ignore this part of God's Word and sometimes even downright denied it was even there. Even though we all believe that God's Word is truth, and that we need to live by every part of that Word, there are a few things that we just wish weren't there and find it hard to accept. 


This is one message that is liable to hit you where it hurts the most. No, it's not in your face; nor is it in your head; its right smack in the middle of your pocketbook, and the pain will travel from your pocket book to your head first of all; and then it will reverse course in a little while and hit you right in your heart. I believe that the Holy Spirit and the Word of God desire to speak to each of us this morning concerning the subject of being a faithful and good steward in the House of God.

I know that this is an unpopular subject for many people so if you don't want to take a chance on being struck by the Word of God and brought under conviction, then you might just want to tune me out for the next 30-45 minutes. Go right ahead and do that but don't forget that you are tuning out the Word of God too. The only problem is that you can tune me out, but you will not be able to tune Jesus out on the day you stand before Him.

 

A few of the Laws of Stewardship and of Sowing and Reaping:

THE LAW OF RIGHTFUL OWNERSHIP - Nothing truly belongs to us; everything actually belongs to God.
THE LAW OF PURPOSEFUL POSSESSION - Wise stewards are guided by lordship, not "hoardship."
THE LAW OF MIRACULOUS MULTIPLICATION - Man's economic measurements are no match for God's miracles of multiplication.
THE LAW OF GUARANTEED RETURN - As you give, so it will be given to you. You get more back than you give.
THE LAW OF JOYFUL GENEROSITY - God loves those who give with the right attitude.
THE LAW OF FAITHFUL DEPENDABILITY - How much can God trust you is the mark of a true steward.
THE LAW OF PARADOXICAL PARTICIPATION - The greatest blessings often come out of the greatest sacrifices.
THE LAW OF SUPERNATURAL SUPPLY - God enables the giver to give beyond his ability to give.
THE LAW OF PERSONAL INITIATIVE - Giving out of a desire to give is better than giving out of duty.
THE LAW OF GRACEFUL ABUNDANCE - Abundant grace brings abundant blessing that spurs abundant ministry.
THE LAW OF SECRET SPIRITUALITY - Godly giving is a private demonstration of our faithfulness, not a public display of pride.
THE LAW OF SACRIFICIAL EXAMPLE - The most significant gifts are often given by the most insignificant givers. (The Widow's Mite)
THE LAW OF RISKY MISMANAGEMENT - Trying to rob God will always cause robbery of your blessings.
THE LAW OF GODLY CONTENTMENT - Wise stewards are happy with what they have, not hassled by what they don't have.
THE LAW OF ABSOLUTE HARVEST - Sow sparingly, reap sparingly; sow bountifully, reap bountifully.
THE LAW OF CHANNELED RESOURCES - Good Stewards are "pipe-lines"; not storage tanks.


Illus
A priest once asked one of his parishioners to serve as financial chairman of his parish. The man, manager of a grain elevator, agreed on two conditions: No report would be due for a year, and no one would ask any questions during the year.
At the end of the year he made his report. He had paid off the church debt of
$200,000. He had redecorated the church. He had sent $1,000 to missions. He had $5,000 in the bank.
"How did you do all this?" asked the priest and the shocked congregation.
Quietly he answered, "You people bring your grain to my elevator. As you did business with me, I simply withheld 10 percent and gave it to the church. You never missed it."


Definition of stewardship is this: "Someone who is responsible for another man's property."

If we do not consider ourselves stewards of the Kingdom of God, we are going to have problems with Lordship, and we are going to have big problems when it comes to the area of Tithing.

Duet 16:17  "Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD thy God which he hath given thee. "

Illus
I read of one pastor who perceived the whole concept of encouragement from a financial point of view. He announced one Sunday that he had made a new offering box for the weekly collection of the tithes and offerings. He claimed that it was designed to encourage people to become better stewards of their money.
"This new box," he explained, "has some interesting features. When you drop in a check or paper money in large amounts, the box makes no sound at all. Put a quarter in and it tinkles like a bell. A dime blows a whistle, and a penny fires a shot. When you put in nothing, the box takes your picture."

Listen:"God judges what we give by what we keep."

"I have tried to keep things in my hands and lost them all, but what I have given into God's hands I still possess." - Martin Luther

J. D. Rockefeller said, "I never would have been able to tithe the first million dollars I ever made if I had not tithed my first salary, which was $1.50 per week."

"When it comes to giving, some people will stop at nothing." - Jimmy Carter

"The trouble is that too many people are spending money they haven't yet earned for things they don't need to impress people they don't like. "

"Give according to your income, lest God make your income according to your giving"-Peter Marshall

"If you give what you do not need, it isn't giving"
Mother Teresa

-One last quote...
Adolphe Monod
"There is no portion of our time that is our time, and the rest God's; there is no portion of money that is our money, and the rest God's money. It is all his; he made it all, gives it all, and he has simply trusted it to us for his service. A servant has two purses, the master's and his own, but we have only one. "


Money is not preached on real often, because some preachers have developed sensitivity about it. Prayer is also a topic that it doesn't seem like is preached on a whole lot. I think that a preacher should preach on subjects in proportion to what they are covered in the Bible. Doesn't that sound good? So, money and possessions should be preached on in proportion to prayer in the same amount that both are mentioned in the Bible. There are some 500 references to prayer in the Bible, and there are 2,300 references to money and possessions in the Bible. So, for every sermon preached on the subject of prayer, 4.6 sermons would be preached on the subject of money and possessions. For one Sunday sermon on prayer, there would be a month's worth of sermons on money and possessions.
I happen to think that prayer is a pretty important subject, and not many people would object to a sermon or even a series of sermons on the subject of prayer. With over four times as many references to money and possessions in the scripture, I think that is a subject that merits our consideration, perhaps even more than actually do. Why are we so afraid to talk about money? Perhaps it's because there are some TV preachers who have tainted our thinking about money. They beg and plead with people to send in their money, and people who can't afford it do it. Perhaps it's because the world sees the church as greedy. They see some churches building huge cathedral type buildings while people live in poverty down the block.
The truth is, however, that what the Bible says about money and possessions is related to who is number one in our life. Is God number one, or is the self number one?
The CALL of God.
The call of God in v 10 of Malachi is quite simple. 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.

 

Robbing OURSELVES.
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 naturally suffer.
We rob ourselves of opportunities on the job if we value goofing off more than we value our job. We will lose our job if that's the case.
We will lose fellowship with God if we don't make him number one in our lives, even ahead of money. The issue of tithing really isn't about money; it's about commitment to God. It's about our relationship with him. 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 owns what. If we believe that we own all we have, then we will have a stingy attitude toward God. If we realize that God owns all that I have, then we will gratefully give to him out of a heart of love.

 

Lets go to God's word for a few minutes and look at talk about this principle of Tithing. Once again we are going to use the Story of Gideon as a road map so to speak to learn about what God is asking of us in this all important area of stewardship.

Judges 7:9   And it came to pass the same night, that the LORD said unto him, Arise, get thee down unto the host; for I have delivered it into thine hand.

Judges 7:10   But if thou fear to go down, go thou with Phurah thy servant down to the host:

Judges 7:11   And thou shalt hear what they say; and afterward shall thine hands be strengthened to go down unto the host. Then went he down with Phurah his servant unto the outside of the armed men that were in the host.                        

Judges 7:12   And the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the children of the east lay along in the valley like grasshoppers for multitude; and their camels were without number, as the sand by the sea side for multitude.

Judges 7:13   And when Gideon was come, behold, there was a man that told a dream unto his fellow, and said, Behold, I dreamed a dream, and, lo, a cake of barley bread tumbled into the host of Midian, and came unto a tent, and smote it that it fell, and overturned it, that the tent lay along.

Judges 7:14   And his fellow answered and said, This is nothing else save the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel: for into his hand hath God delivered Midian, and all the host.

Judges 7:15   And it was so, when Gideon heard the telling of the dream, and the interpretation thereof, that he worshipped, and returned into the host of Israel, and said, Arise; for the LORD hath delivered into your hand the host of Midian.

Judges 7:16   And he divided the three hundred men into three companies, and he put a trumpet in every man's hand, with empty pitchers, and lamps within the pitchers.

Judges 7:17   And he said unto them, Look on me, and do likewise: and, behold, when I come to the outside of the camp, it shall be that, as I do, so shall ye do.

Judges 7:18   When I blow with a trumpet, I and all that are with me, then blow ye the trumpets also on every side of all the camp, and say, The sword of the LORD, and of Gideon.

Judges 7:19   So Gideon, and the hundred men that were with him, came unto the outside of the camp in the beginning of the middle watch; and they had but newly set the watch: and they blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers that were in their hands.

Judges 7:20   And the three companies blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands to blow withal: and they cried, The sword of the LORD, and of Gideon.

Judges 7:21   And they stood every man in his place round about the camp: and all the host ran, and cried, and fled.

Judges 7:22   And the three hundred blew the trumpets, and the LORD set every man's sword against his fellow, even throughout all the host: and the host fled to Bethshittah in Zererath, and to the border of Abelmeholah, unto Tabbath.

 

Remember I have said over and over stewardship comes down to Trust and Lordship. In no other area of our life do we need to practice Trust and Lordship than in our finances.
-Lets look at what we learn.

1)God Promises His Blessings v. 9

"During that night the LORD said to Gideon, "Get up, go down against the camp, because I am going to give it into your hands."

God promises us His Blessings. One of the ways He promises us His blessings is through the principle of Tithing.
Malachi 3:6-9
Verse 10 says "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."

The promise goes forth for those who are willing to give to the Lord. We don't have time to go into the Old Testament law in defining the what this tithe was that Malachi was speaking of other than to say it was a tenth.
-It was to be the First Fruits..the best.
-It did not belong to the Children of Israel.
-There were other offerings expected above the
tithe.
God has promised to bless his children if they will give. This is not only a Old Testament Principle

Matthew 7:9-11 says that God is willing to give good gifts to his children.

Over and over the principle of God blessing his people is there both in the Old and New Testament. We will look at some more scripture in a minute, but first lets look at the second point, because there is a prerequisite to receiving this blessing of God.

2) Blessings Require Action v9
"Get up, go down against the camp,"
There are times when God says..I have delivered the camp into your hands..now get up and go. Many times to receive the blessings of God in our lives, we must show action in our camp. Want some Scripture for this..Here are a few.

Luke 6:38   Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

2 Corinthians 9:6   But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.

 

Philippians 4:6   Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

Philippians 4:7   And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

 

Matthew 6:33   But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

 

-How about the Old Tesatment..
Isaiah 26:3   Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

-James sums it up..in 2:26.."Faith without Works is dead"
When we say we trust in God, and then we get up and go down to the enemies camp like the Lord told us too..then God truly can perform the miraculous in and through us. Our financial giving once again is a barometer of whether or not we are getting up and going.

3)Actions are designed by God vv 13-15

When God asks us to do somethings..it may not always be the most conventional way, do it anyways. He told the Leper to wash in the Dirty Jordon River..Did it Work? Yes. Did the Leper's conventional wisdom say it would work..No!It goes back to God wanting the credit..not man.
Sometimes God asks us to do some pretty unconventional things in our giving. It is so easy to try and talk ourselves out of this.. the enemy tries every rational in the book to confound our efforts of obedience. Here are some of lines he pitches to us..and excuses we use

I Can't Afford It
If I had More I Would
I already Tithe just by my own standard
I am so far behind I don't know where to start
I like to spread my tithe out

Don't listen to these lies..if God is in it He will help you to be obedient to Him.Is it always easy..no

Illus:
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 coming out of 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."

Is it easy to Tithe..no. But listen closely to this last point.

4) What God Designs He also Empowers v22
When the three hundred trumpets sounded, the LORD caused the men throughout the camp to turn on each other with their swords.

God calls us all to be cheerful givers. He will never call you to do something that He will not also empower you to complete. Does this mean if we tithe we will never have to sacrifice financially?

No in fact in may cause us to sacrifice greatly to fulfill what He is asking us to do. You know what..this is okay. It is good for us to deny self every once in a while in order for the Kingdom to be  built.

?Do I hear an Amen?
When I say that God empowers us..it doesn't mean that money will begin to grow on trees in our front yard the moment we begin to tithe.
In fact if the Tithing principle is correct according to Malachi, 10% is just our reasonable service..it has nothing to do with our gratitude for what He has
done for us.
When I say that God empowers us..I mean that He will provide, strengthen, equip, discipline, and train you to make it through the lean times.

In the case of Elijah their was always just enough oil and flower in the bins.

Conclusion
Illus:
There was a knock on the door of the hut occupied by a missionary in Africa. Answering, the missionary found one of the native boys holding a large fish in his hands. The boy said, "Reverend, you taught us what tithing is, so here--I've brought you my tithe." As the missionary gratefully took the fish, he questioned the young lad. "If this is your tithe, where are the other nine fish?" At this, the boy beamed and said, "Oh, they're still back in the river. I'm going back to catch them now.

We learn Lordship and Trust from Gideon. We also learn four principles we can put into the area of Stewardship, especially the area of financial giving.

1) God Promises His Blessings v. 9
2) Blessings Require Action v9
3) Actions are designed by God vv 13-15
4) What God Designs He also Empowers v22

-Have you been robbing God?
-What is God speaking to You?
-Have you been obedient to Him?
-Have you been trusting Him enough to Tithe?
-Are you leaning on or leaning against?