The Big Deal 1 – February 1, 2015
Today, we kickoff a new teaching series – THE BIG DEAL- Now let me state from the start of this series, that many of you are going to struggle with this teaching. It might disturb your present mindset, it might disrupt you present plans and it might shatter you existing worldview. BUT – it could also propel you into a life of joy, contentment, blessing and plain old peace in your life.
Today we want to break our teaching into three parts: 1) What is required of us 2) How we are to respond to the requirement and 3) What’s the Big Deal?
Before we start with number 1 – let’s stop and recognize that anytime we talk about money it is an emotionally-charged subject. But, What does God require of us?
Many of us have heard or read or been taught that “The tithe is holy unto the Lord.” One of the many reasons that I believe that we don’t give to God’s work is that we can’t imagine the legalistic perspective of HAVING to give 10% of our income to God. We are a people that love freedom – love independence and love control —- especially when it comes in the form of money!
So, the question asked is what does God require in our giving to Him?
Well, tithing , the giving of 10% of your income goes all the back to the book of Genesis…it is highly touted as a requirement by the prophet Malachi, where we read that God’s people were literally stealing from God by not tithing on their sources of income.
In the Old Testament, we read of the tithe as a law. As a matter of fact, going back to the time of the Ten Commandments, we see a lot of laws – more than 600 of them, in fact. And tithing was one of them. These laws are often referred to as Mosaic Laws – Laws which governed the people of Israel. Often created, upheld and enforced by the religious elite of the day.
The people in Malachi’s day had treated God badly by robbing from Him. They had become bored with God. Their worship had turned from relational to ritual. As a result they offered blemished sacrifices in Malachi 1:6-14; the priests had become unfaithful Malachi 2:1-9; infidelity was commonplace and easy Malachi 2:10-17; their words wearied God Malachi 2:17; businessmen were defrauding their workers, cheating their customers and taking advantage of widows and orphans Malachi 3:1-5.
But the most atrocious treatment of God was that they were robbing God Malachi 3:6-12. How? By withholding their offerings, by giving the worst instead of the best, by giving the least and not the most. Their attitude was, “How little can I give and still keep God happy?”
The people proclaimed their innocence, but Malachi, like a prosecuting attorney, presented the evidence to back up the indictment. Three statements stand out to me in this passage.
I) The tithe is the minimum 2) The curse Malachi mentions came from the people’s disobedience 3) The storehouse MALACHI speaks of represents God’s work
Then, God through Malachi offers up The Big Deal – he says on this issue, that we can put Him to the test. God says – test me in this one thing. He says this one time in ll of Scripture that you can test Him and if we do our part – He will pour out blessings that will blow our minds! Malachi 3:10.
In a giving match, the fact remains that you and I cannot out-give God.
So our response is to return our hearts toward God and our actions then follow. As a result, we please God.
In the Old testament – Tithing is taught as an obligation, as so many of the 600 plus rules were – It was legal issue that was rigid, hard and challenging.
We do not discount the Old Testament – but we do honor above all else, the teachings of Jesus. As a result, like everything I teach regarding Jesus – it is a matter of the heart!
So you might ask, how does the Old testament Mosaic Law relate to us in this New testament, New Covenant church? Take a look at Romans 7:4 Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God.
Did you see that? We have died as a captive and we have a new life in the way of the Spirit of God!
Galatians 2:19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. Again – dead to the chains of that law that made this giving or this service a tax…but through Jesus fulfilling the law, I might now give out the love of my heart!
Ephesians 2:15 By abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace. Peace between Jews and those new followers of Jesus that didn’t know of the laws.
Romans 6:15 Well then, since God’s grace has set us free from the law, does that mean we can go on sinning? Of course not!
We are called to live under what is pleasing to God – What Paul describes twice as The Law of Christ – Galatians 6:2 Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. We are not set adrift without instruction – but rather set on a course defined by love – Love of God (heart, mind and soul). Jesus is our new course of instruction – The Law of Christ fulfills the law – the Old testament commandments –
This New Covenant found in Jesus is our new standard – our new expectation – our new love fulfills the commandments – Look at Romans 13:8: Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. Whatever commandments – all filled up as we love our neighbors as ourself.
So, we are turned away from keeping the law as a way of loving and showing our love to out creator God – But how does this answer the question of tithing – of Giving?
The way Paul addresses this is waterford crystal clear – in 2 Corinthians 9:7. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. Did you see that – each as they determine in their heart… Paul directs that we are to give cheerfully – NOT reluctantly.
You see, God’s deal in Malachi holds true today – He just amended the deal with the arrival of His son, Jesus to fulfill the law and we now give – not out of being legal, but out of freedom and love – that we wouldn’t be bound to 10%, but rather use that as a floor not a ceiling.
Everything is greater in Jesus so what wouldn’t giving be the same? Why would we want to do less? It’s greater in the new covenant – Better promises and better giving.
Let me give you a few quick thoughts on giving —- God’s Way
- Giving is a direct reflection of your heart –
- Giving is living in obedience and peace with God
- Giving Trusts God’s Provision
- Giving Models God’s Salvation
- Giving Advances God’s Kingdom.
- Giving Applauds God’s Character.
- Giving Gives God a Smile
SO – Here’s the Big Deal: God Says Test Me On This – GIVE and I’ll bless you. You’ve been given the what we should give, the why we should give and the who we should give to – Now all you have to do is TAKE THE DEAL!
You choose to give in this month of February 2015. Do it online or on the APP so we know what you gave…if you finish the month and don’t think God is doing His part, send me an email or text and I’ll ask Craig to give you 100% of the money you gave to God through Sugar Hill Church back to you March 1. Thats a GREAT DEAL!