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Open Handed Part 1

Open Handed  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  41:28
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Introduction

Last week we wrapped up our series on the Bible called “Breath”. We breathe all the time. It is central in our lives.
Another area in our lived that is equally central/vital/important in our lives (whether we like it or not is money)
money (how we get it, spend it, save it) stands right at the center of our existence — even if we try to ignore this issue
So I would we’re going to talk about money the next two weeks.
Why? Are you just trying to get us to give more money to Vintage.... Yes! (but not if you’re new with us) We are behind.
But even if this were not the case, the elders of Vintage Grace believe that how we deal with money as God’s people is central to discipleship.
If we attempt to disciple and equip you guys and fail to address money, we have only addressed the visible area of a massive iceberg.
“What if, for the next 25 minutes, let’s just be openhearted about what God says about this topic? And after that, it’s between you and God.”
Malachi 3:7–12 ESV
From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts. But you say, ‘How shall we return?’ Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the Lord of hosts. Then all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land of delight, says the Lord of hosts.
Main Idea: This passage raises some really important questions about our relationship to money. Questions of ownership, trust, and mission. (Let’s look at these.)

A Question of Ownership

This passage asks a startling question: “Will man rob God?”
Even at first glance this question is striking. “Rob God?”
It’s even more striking when you find out that this word translated “rob” is not the typical word for stealing another person’s belongings. It means more … to plunder, pillage, oppress.
But how are they robbing God? By not bringing in their tithes (10% of their wealth) to the temple?
But how is the “robbing” God? It’s their money? Their belonging right?
No … This passage assumes that ultimately everything we have ultimately comes from God.
Wait a minute, Russell. I’ve work for my living. I’ve studied, prepared, trained, and worked for what I have.
Yes, but what if you were born in eastern Congo. I can pretty much bet that you wouldn’t be in the same situation.
1 Chronicles 29:12–14 ESV
Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name. “But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you.
Everything we have and are is due to God. So therefore, if God tells us to give—and we fail to do so—we are in fact robbing God.
But there is also something greater and more cosmic and sinister going on here as well. (Tim Keller points this out)
Notice verse 9, “You are cursed with a curse, for you a robbing me, the whole nation of you.”
He is saying here that there is an inherent curse when people are greedy and materialistic.
Think about it. God created the world to exist in peace and harmony. Generosity and cooperation—everyone working together helping one another.
However, when greed and materialism exists; shalom is broken and curse exists.
So when we deny that we are not owners of what we have and are really just managers/stewards; we are in fact unraveling creation the way God has established things.
God created us to be stewards/managers/brokers of his good gifts, and when we fail to live this out, when we’re greedy and materialistic; we bring a curse.

A Question of Trust

Let’s look now at verses 10-11
Malachi 3:10–11 ESV
Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the Lord of hosts.
Why the importance of giving? Why is this such a big deal?
The heart of the matter here has to do with trust and allegiance.
Notice it says bring the tithe in the “storehouse”. This means the temple treasury.
Notice also it says “bring the tithe into the storehouse that there may be food in my house.”
God is saying bring to me your offering; into my treasury; my temple; for the service of my worship.
The implication then is that our tithe our treasure would be in another temple, another treasury, another worship.
Tim Keller gives 3 examples:
Hard to give away money but easy to buy clothes—your appearance, approval, acceptance (rather than the love of God)
Hard to give money but easy to put into a beautiful new house—that’s your real temple—looking to it for importance and significance
Hard to give away money but find it really easy to save it —your bank is your temple, rather than God you’re looking to your accounts to control and safety
Money always shows you where your true worship is. If you find it very hard to give your money away rather than spend in on yourself (or a loved on) or save it—there’s a really good change your “bringing in the tithe” to the wrong temple.
The tithe was the outward recognition that everything belonged to God and that we ultimately trust God more than money.
We are to bring Him our whole selves, body, soul and spirit, all that we have and all that we are, all that we know about in our lives and all that we do not know about yet.
Romans 12:1-2 This is our act of worship.
This is why we pass the plate during our worship service. It’s not a power play. We believe that giving is a huge part of our worship.
But why would we do this? Because of what he has already done for us. He gave everything for us.
2 Corinthians 8:9 ESV
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.
So Paul fulling believing this, is joyfully willing to give away everything for the one who gave everything.
Galatians 2:20 ESV
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
So our willingness to give is as its heart a gospel issue. Do we believe the gospel? Do we trust God enough in the gospel, to give away—maybe even lose everything for his sake?

A Question of Mission

There’s a very unique challenge in this passage. God says test me. (Look at verses 10-11)
Malachi 3:10–11 ESV
Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the Lord of hosts.
God is actually challenging us. Trust me in this, and I will bless you beyond your understanding.
Now this is not a name it claim it, prosperity thing here. God is not saying if you tithe, then God promises to give you all the selfish things you want. (That’s a lie)
No this is the exact promise given to Abraham. “I will bless you.... so that you will be a blessing to all nations”
Look at verse 12 here:
Malachi 3:12 ESV
Then all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land of delight, says the Lord of hosts.
God will bless us so that we can be a blessing to others. There is a reason for this.
If we trust our hearts to God (by outwardly showing it in giving), God is going to use us to bless others … and in the process we will be hugely blessed!
Now when I start talking about giving to Vintage Grace, its this mission that is in mind.
It’s not about me getting a salary. Let me tell you. I left a very secure salary and position at Pinewood. I could go get a “job” at an established church and get a salary.
What we’re talking about is bringing the blessing of the gospel to people here in OakLeaf who desperately need it.
That’s what I tithe to. That’s what I give to.

Conclusion

So let’s ask these questions again.
Who owns your property?
Which treasury are you giving to?
Who’s mission are you on?
Last question:
How much and where should I give? Just Vintage?
Notice it says, “Bring in the full tithe” … this definitely means the full amount. But it also means all the different tithes.
Israel wasn’t supposed to just give 10%. They were to give 3 different tithes. --levitical tithe (Lev 27:30-32; Num 18:21,24), annual festival tithe (Dt 14:22-27), and tri-annual poor tithe (Dt 14:28-29)
So, no, please don’t just give to Vintage. Give to other charities and organizations. Vintage cannot do everything. (There is a Vintage emergency fund for those who are in need.)
However, we are asking all our regular Vintage peeps to give to our mission here. Can’t do 10% or more? Fine. Start somewhere.
Next week we’re going to ask for a pledge.
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