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How We honor

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EA Week 2 How We Honor
Welcome to week 2 of Economic Atheist
Where we are challenging the most important questions in your economic life. It’s in the notes in your bulletin and where we left off last week
Those questions are
How I work
How I honor
How I budget
How I Sabbath
Today I would like to have a candid conversation with you about why I tithe.
Why do I faithful return the whole tithe to the storehouse? I say I because I am talking about me. Why do Desiree & I do this?
Why do I say return?
See when you borrow something from someone you return it to them, you don't give it to them…
The word return defines ownership….Desiree and I return the first 10% because its God’s. This is not a charitable donation, this an act of worship…
It's a tithe…the word tithe is a mathematical term, it simply means 1/10th
It’s an act of worship that that God asks of us
And so I want to take this time today to talk about what it means to me…
So I get to tell one of my favorite tithe jokes right now…
Two men were shipwrecked near an island. When they landed ashore, one of them began screaming and yelling, “We’re going to die! We’re going to die! There’s no food! No water! We’re going to die!”
The second man leaned calmly against a palm tree.
When the first man saw how calm his friend was, he went crazy and shouted, “Don’t you understand?! We’re going to die!!”Undisturbed, the second man replied, “You don’t understand, I make $100,000 a week.”
Dumbfounded, the first man looked at him and asked, “What difference does that make?!? We’re on an island with no food and no water! We’re going to DIE!!!”
The second man answered, “You just don’t get it. I make $100,000 a week and I tithe ten percent on that $100,000 a week. Wherever I am, my pastor will be sure to find me!”
Most of us think. Well the pastor probably would find that guy he was giving 10K per week for 52 weeks that's $520,000 per year!
Of course…Because the pastor and the church are all about the money!
Usually we say the pastor and the church are all about the money because we don't want to have an honest conversation about it and how often we are about the money…
You see business is about money
Business is for consumers
Church is about ministry
Church is for worshipers
Whenever we get these confused…we get into trouble
What you give is an act of worship, not a charitable contribution…because lets face it; the church is about giving ourselves away…
As an organization our church practices this. We give away money to missionaries all over the world....We give back to our community through food and big family events. We help support new churches that are being planted…And young students who are going into ministry.
The church gives itself away…Business don’t do this and when they do it part of a marketing strategy...
The way we operate is by what comes in the offering!
“So the church is all about money…” Really?
Now some prosperity groups out there are all about money…raising money so the ministry can get a second gulfstream…
There are a small number of churches out there that yes are all about money…
But the heart of the matter is that its not about money at all with us…Its about your spiritual formation.
I care about your obedience! I care about your relationship with God!
That's what tithe is about…your worship to God…So would you agree that as your pastor I should care very deeply about whether or not you tithe…?
See I don't believe its possible for you to really have trust and have intimacy with God, to really have peace with him… until you settle the financial issue in your faith
And many people are outside the fence of God’s favor…and it doesn't have to be that way.
New Research from Christianity today says this
26% of evangelicals have no practice of tithing
42% tithe less than 2%
23% Tithe 2%-8%
10% of evangelicals give over 8% of their income
I mean there are times when we might be hurting financially…and so we go to God and ask him to bail us out…and the reality is that 91% of evangelicals show with their actions that they don’t really trust God with their finances
I have the opportunity to interview every single pastor that is going to be ordained in the Wesleyan church…At the end of their interview, I specifically ask them, do you tithe 10% of your and your spouses income to your church. If the answer is…Then I will not pass them in the interview...’
Why? Because if your going to pastor a church you better trust God with your finances....because we are not in it for the money.... Also you have to call people to tithe, its in the Bible…How can you call people to that if you are not doing it yourself....So I tell young pastors you better have enough faith to tithe 10% of your income
SO today I want to talk specifically about this number 10%, why I do it and why I think that this fence God established is the best one to live by...
By the end of this service it could be a whole new beginning for you…
Now I want to give you the 4 reasons for me…why I tithe…
1. Because I am an economic Theist
We talked about what this was last week. A Theist is a person who believes in the one true God. God the Father…God the son…God the holy spirit…I actually believe this stuff…that Jesus died on the cross and has forgiven our sins…that there is a heaven and a hell…That Jesus Christ is the one way to the father…I believe this….So I based my life on it!
I believe that God has established, like in the book of Leviticus…this way of understanding his word…and he draws a number of lines...last week we called it the fence of God’s favor…
And if you remember last week we talked about God establishing these fences all through Leviticus…and he tells his people this is how you live in my favor…
He says look inside my fence you have my favor but if you talk and pray one way and act another…then you tie the hands of God…Your not the type of person that God will trust with his favor!
One of the things we talked about last week was the economic cycle…SowGrowHarvest
we talked last week about how we get addicted to the harvest…we want harvest—> harvest --> Harvest
And what did we discover in chapter 19:23? Who gets the first harvest? God does
Open your Bibles with me to Leviticus 27,
Leviticus 27:30
30 “‘A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord. 31 Whoever would redeem any of their tithe must add a fifth of the value to it. 32 Every tithe of the herd and flock—every tenth animal that passes under the shepherd’s rod—will be holy to the Lord.33 No one may pick out the good from the bad or make any substitution. If anyone does make a substitution, both the animal and its substitute become holy and cannot be redeemed.’”
34 These are the commands the Lord gave Moses at Mount Sinai for the Israelites.
God told Israel hey this is just the way it is!
This is what I want from you…a tithe is 1/10 of everything in the land…
God doesn't want his people to become mistaken on this! He wants his people to live inside of his favor and he wants to teach his people faith!
But towards the end of the Old Testament…God has to call his people to the carpet…
Malachi 3:6-10
6 “I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.7 Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them.
You keep going outside of my fence…You pretend like I don't have a fence…you act like I don't exist…You are acting like you are god of your own life…and particularly…in the area of economics… you act like I am not the author of economics and I am, I am the provider…
God says you keep walking outside of the fence so what does he say next?
Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty.
“But you ask, ‘How are we to return?’
8 “Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me.
“But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’
“In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. 10 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 there will not be room enough to store it.
God is simply saying, I am the source…acknowledge it…live inside the fence of my favor…
And here God gives the second reason:
2. The Tithe Belongs to God
I have debated many Christians on this point who want to tell me where they stand on the matter…And you know what…opinions on this are great…But you can go into the Bible and God is like…start with my opinion…here is what I actually believe on the matter…
Psalm 24:1
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;
So incase we are not clear what earth, everything and all means…he lays it out for us quite nicely here…
Pretty comprehensive!
Listen God has not given up ownership…he has entrusted stewardship….
God says I own all of this…and I freely give it all back to you humanity…now honor me with the first fruits!
And you know what we say!???
Oh but its mine!
Don't touch what’s mine…
When my kids were smaller, they were stingy with their Halloween candy…They are so much better now…but when they were smaller…It was terrible
I know right?
Kids are stingy with candy this probably shouldn't be a huge shock to any of you…
But on numerous occasions when I try and go for a piece of their candy
They let out a scream like they are being abused or something…
Now what I’d submit to you is that there are 4 main things my kids have forgotten and these are in your notes
1. They forgot I was the source
Don't mess with the source
See they don't get it!
I’m their daddy…I’m the man I am the source of all their candy!
I mean I am not a millionaire. But I can go to Costco and do some damage on the candy isle
2. They forgot I don't need their candy.
I’m not a rich man. I’m not wealthy by American standards, I do not need my kids lousy candy…I can afford my own …In fact if I wanted to today I could go to costco and do some damage in the candy asile…I don’t need their candy!
3. my kids forgot I can take away their candy
Now maybe you don't think pastor Dave is so tough…But I can still take my kids….One day they will probably be able to beat me up…But they are still young enough that I can take their candy away…
If I really wanted them I could have taken my kids candy away and made sure that they didn't get any more as long as they were under my roof….
I mean I am not going to do that I am not a monster, but I could
4. They forgot that they need to give the candy
Don't miss this
See my kids need to remember to give me candy voluntarily because it defines the relationship that I have with them.
When my candy hoarding kids withhold candy…It makes them tough and hardhearted toward me whenever candy is involved…It sets their disposition toward me...
Now when my kids were younger, I had one kid that would snuggle up with me and say, daddy, would you like some of my candy?
My heart melts for this
You need to give your candy…it sets your disposition toward the Lord…
See all four of these points are so true in our relationship with God, Let me say them again
1. God provides for us. Our income our economic life, it is his!
2. God doesn't need our money!
3. He can take it away if he wanted to
4. And we need to give…because it sets our disposition toward God.
I tithe because I am an economic theist
I tithe because the tithe belongs to God
And I tithe number 3 because
3. I want his favor on my life
See everyone wants God’s favor…God’s favor is when God does for you what you can not do for yourself…
There are tons of scriptures all through the Old Testament that the Lord fights for you! I mean I want that so I want to get inside the fence of God’s favor
Proverbs 3:5-6; 9-10
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.[a]
9Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops; 10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.
You see that? Trust God…honor Him with the firstfruits…and you will be in his favor!
Trust and Honor…
My wife and I have been in places in our life where we have been financially strapped. We were living so tight every month and we still tithed…
And my wife just says…Its simple, when you give to God first you will always have it…Even if everything is tight…when you honor God first.. he will always take care of you..
And I have heard people say…hey life is just so tight if I had money, I’d give it…and the reality is that when you think that way what you are saying is if I had money left over…when all of my desires are satisfied…then I’d give it…
No you wouldn't…
Because you did have it and you gave it to something else…
See God asks for first because that’s his role in your life…
And I’ve had people say…hey that is Old Testament…that is the law I am a New Testament person…I am a Love person…
So if your there the question I have for you is which one demands more…
In the Old Testament: Do not Commit Murder: Law
New Testament: Jesus says: You have heard what it says do not murder, but I tell you whenever you are angry with someone you have sinned…whenever you call them raca or fool you are in danger of hell..
Which one demands more? The law or Love? Yes love
OT: Don’t commit adultery
Jesus: You have heard do not commit adultery but I tell you don't even look at a woman lustfully or else you will commit adultery in your mind
Which one demands more…law or love
OT: Eye for an eye…tooth for a tooth
Jesus : Love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you…give to them
Which one demands more Law or Love?
OT a lamb was fine for sacrifices
NT Jesus was the final sacrifice
Which one demands more Law or Love???
I have had the debate more than once that the word “Tithe” is not affirmed in the New Testament…and its false, Jesus actually affirms the practice of tithing in a rebuke that he is giving to the pharisees
Luke 11:42

42 “Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.

See What Jesus is saying to the pharisees is that you are using the tithe to try and make yourself look Good to God…but you are not allowing it to shape your heart. And if you don’t let it shape your heart then the rest of your life wont be shaped by it.
Because in the New Testament it doesn't need to say anything…Its just the benchmark for what the believer ought to do!
And if you want to follow New testament giving then guess what…you’re going to be giving way beyond 10% because in the time of Jesus & Paul the tithe was simply the standard…
But instead of Paul saying…pay your tithe…he said this
2 Corinthians 9:6-7
6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
See the New Testament standard is generosity! Because that’s what love does!
So I want to live in the favor of God more and more and more because the more I live in God’s favor…the more it freed God up to use me and work in my life…
That’s why Desiree and I have been married 14.5 years and we’ve never missed a month of tithing.
I honor God with first fruits because I am an economic theist
I honor God with first fruits because it belongs to God
I honor God with first fruits because I want to live in his favor
4. Because I want treasure in heaven
Matthew 6:19-21
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Listen, you are either bent on storing up treasure on heaven or here on earth…its one of the two…
But he says look everything earthly gets dusty, moths eat it…stuff degrades and rotts and you are going to forget what you invested in and in reality you will live for a far greater portion of your in eternity…so store up your treasure there!
By honoring God you store up treasure in heaven
And see Jesus got this…He knows that where your treasure…there your heart will follow…
So I think if you changed what you treasured…you’d change where your heart was…
Jesus is calling out priorities…In the Gospel of Matthew Jesus continually talks about the Kingdom of Heaven…Or His kingdom…
Now the question is what really matters to you? What do you really want to invest in…This stuff!
Or people
The mission of the church is people…its transformed lives…
Our church exists to for the transformation of people!
We exist for people…
Closing thought:
Honor God with firstfruits;
robbing God is for economic atheists
Now if you're here and you are seeking out who God is and this is all new to you…what I am about to say is not for you…
Who I’d like to talk to now are people who call REC Home…
So I want to give you an invitation…This is not an obligation…See so many people see the way that the church talks about money as trying to take from them…and that couldn't be further from the truth of the scriptures…
When you give you honor, you proclaim to God that He goes first in your life…it is a statement of putting your economic life in God’s hands…So I want to challenge you…
If you Call REC Home.
If you have been attending here or are a member here for some time…And you don't give…or like most people…you give to God out of what’s left rather than what is first….I want to challenge you from now until the end of the year to try out Malachi 3
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 there will not be room enough to store it.
It is the start of a new year. Why not start it declaring that God is lord of your finances and trusting Him with your finances
Are you a worshiper or are you a consumer…
So I want to challenge you from now to the end of the year to do what the Bible says and to put God to the test…every paycheck…Take the first of what God has given to you and honor him with it.
I want to let that sit with you…Over the time of this next song Maybe God wants to do some work in your life in the area of finances.
Let’s pray
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