Posts Tagged ‘Shipwreck’


The minister decided to do something a little different one Sunday morning. He said ‘Today, I am going to say a single word and you are going to help me preach.’ Whatever single word I say, I want you to sing whatever hymn that comes to your mind.

The pastor shouted out, ‘Cross,’ Immediately the congregation started singing in unison, ‘The Old Rugged Cross.’

The pastor hollered out ‘Grace.’ The congregation began to sing ‘Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound.’

The pastor said ‘Power.’ The congregation sang ‘There is Power in the Blood’

The Pastor said ‘Sex.’ The congregation fell in total silence. Everyone was in shock. They all nervously began to look around at each other afraid to say anything. Then all of a sudden, way from in the back of the church, a little old eighty seven year old grandmother stood up and began to sing ‘Precious Memories.’

Memories can be precious, but to live our life in the past is not practical, nor pleasing to God. It means you have stagnated, been put out to pasture, basically your life is over. Life is meant to be lived in the now, with new precious memories. God is God of the Living, God is actively, intimately involved in your lives. He wants to be your God of the Now, not the God of the past.

God asks the question each and every day you get up: What are you going to do with me today?

We recently looked at how God values the Blood of Jesus Christ. He values the Blood so supremely that it was sufficient to satisfy His righteous demands for sinful man, it is powerful enough to enable us to be declared righteous, it is powerful enough to allow God to dwell in us, it is powerful enough for that very same blood to cleanse our conscience, not only at Salvation, but each and every day we live. It is powerful enough to put God on the side of man against all the accusations of Satan., In fact, through the blood, God declares that there is now NO CONDEMNATION. Satan can’t bring one charge against us.

The difficulty you and I face is one of belief. This week we will look at FAITH, and what it means to live a life of faith as Paul presented it here in Romans 3:26-4:24.

The saddest indictment that Jesus can bring against you is “O you of little faith!

Matthew 8:23-27 (ESV) And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”

Faith represents a storm of change. Instead of being tossed about by the storms of this world, you are in charge, you are in control. Your storm is more overpowering! FAITH has that power. It is not your personal power, but it is a rock solid belief in the one who has the Power!

So this morning I want us to step inside the Ship that Jesus commands, it is the ship called the USS FAITH! Let’s see what we need to learn in order to weather any storm, any tsunami, any hurricane!

What happens now to human pride of achievement? There is no more room for it. Why, because failure to keep the Law has killed it? Not at all, but because the whole matter is now on a different plane – believing instead of achieving. We see now that a man is justified before God by the fact of his faith in God’s appointed Saviour and not by what he has managed to achieve under the Law. And God is God of both Jews and Gentiles, let us be quite clear about that! The same God is ready to justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised by faith also. Are we then undermining the Law by this insistence on faith? Not a bit of it! We put the Law in its proper place. Romans 3:27-31 (Phillips NT)

[Romans 3:27 (ESV) Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith.]

In order to cruise with jesus, there are three things that are not allowed aboard His ship of Faith! These Three things will keep you from the Power of the Law of Faith which powers the USS FAITH!

THREE NO-NO’s!

1. NO PRIDE! (27,28)
Quit trying to keep a “profit & loss” statement w/God! Quit making an entry on the “credit” side of the page whenever you carry out one of the law’s requirements. The Gift always glorifies the Giver not the Recipient! So, no boasting! Remember the great hymn, “When I survey the wondrous cross, On which the prince of glory died, My richest gain I count but loss, And pour contempt on all my pride!”

2. NO PREJUDICE! (29,30)

Paul takes them to the basis of the Jewish creed, the very thing that every Synagogue service always begins with even today…The Shema, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one!” “One” – Not one kind of God for the Gentiles & One kind for the Jews…The Lord is One! The way to God is the same way for all!

3. NO PRESUMPTION! (31)

Does this mean the nd of the law? No! – It strengthens it! The Law is the expression of God’s Character and should never be ignored. Up to this time man tried to be a good man, tired to keep the commandments, tried to serve God, because he was afraid of God, & terrified of the punishment that would come. But now we strive for goodness because we love God, not because we are afraid of him!

Romans 4 and the Power of Faith

I. The USS FAITH is Piloted by Jesus and Powered by the Law of Faith

Romans 4 is all about the “Law of Faith” mentioned by Paul in Romans 3:27: “Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith! Here Paul masterfully lay’s out what the Reformers called “Sola Fide”! (Faith Alone). We MUST get aboard the USS FAITH, there is no other way!

“Any church which puts in the place of justification by faith in Christ another method of salvation is a Harlot church”. (Spurgeon)

The Monstrous Hull of the USS Faith is made out of an impenetrable material called JUSTIFINIAM!

Let’s go over justification one more time! It is a process by which an individual is brought into an unmerited, right relationship w/God. It does mark that instantaneous point of entry that makes a person right with God. As long as you remain in the ship of Faith, you are declared righteous! Even though the salt spray of sin covers you, the Blood of Jesus continually cleanses you! HOW? By staying on the ship called FAITH! As soon as you get off, as soon as you start to listen to the accusations of Satan, as soon as you start to feel sorry about yourself, as soon as you focus on yourself, you are wavering on the deck, and the danger is that you will fall and become shipwreck.

1 Timothy 1:19 (ESV) holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith,

Faith is able to turn the tables on the storms of life. Faith is able to quiet the winds, calm the sea, and deliver you safely to God’s destination. Faith alone!

A.   USS FAITH BLOWS THE STORM OF WORKS AWAY  (1-8)

Jewish tradition said it was from works! (The Mishna’s 3rd division Kiddushin [4.14] interpreting Gen.26:5 “because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.” “we find that Abraham our father had performed the whole law before it was given” [actually came 4 centuries later];

(Romans 4:1-2) “What shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.”

Abraham was not righteous because of his works. There is no boasting aboard the USS FAITH! “For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” He believed God – He trusted in what God said! He believed God would keep His word!

(vs 4) “Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due.” No, he didn’t work for his right standing with God, nor try to earn it as his rightful wage.

(vs 5) “And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness” God justifies the ungodly not the righteous, simply because you believe His Word! The ‘self-righteous” don’t see their need for a Savior. Only those who see their ungodliness cry out for God!

Mt.9:11-13 “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. “But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”

(vs 6-8) “just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”
To strengthen his argument First Mate David speaks.  From Ps.32:1,2 we see David knew God’s “forgiveness, covering, & the promise not to credit the sin any longer to his account.”

As long as you are remain in USS FAITH, your sins are covered, you are in a right lawful relationship with God. Your lawlessness is remembered no more! Corrie Ten Boom said “When we confess our sins, God casts then into the deepest ocean, gone forever. And even though I cannot find a scripture for it, I believe God then places a sign out there that says, NO FISHING ALLOWED!”

Justification is a double accounting. God will never count our sins against us. God credits our account w/righteousness, as a free gift, by faith, altogether apart from our works.

1 John 1:5-10 (ESV) This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

1 John 2:1-6 (ESV) My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

B.   USS FAITH BLOWS THE STORM OF RITUALS AWAY! (9-12)

Romans 4:9-12 (ESV) Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness. How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well, and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.

When was Abraham Justified by Faith(saved)? Gen.15:6: “And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness!” When was Abraham circumcised? Gen.17:22-27! So, it was several years later (Ishmael was 13). Kent Hughes says, “Sola Fide was a Gentile Principle long before it was a Jewish reality!”

So what was the importance of circumcision then?

  • It was not the work that attained him a right relationship w/God.
  • It was a sign of the justifying faith he already had.
  • It was a sign of faith, not a substitute for it.
  • It was also a sign of God’s Faithfulness to the Jews
  • Just as the Blood is God’s Sign to us of our forgivenss
  • Just like what baptism is to us today!

So, The USS FAITH was built before the seal of circumcision. God’s promises to Abraham & his descendants were not tied to their keeping the Law. The promise was of grace. It all starts with faith. And it always has. And it always will!

To put the relationship between God & man on a legalistic basis invites the wrath of God!

C. USS FAITH CALMS THE STORM OF THE LAW! (13-25)

(13-17)for the promise to abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression. That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of abraham, who is the father of us all, as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the god in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.

That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham. Some people are made uncomfortable by walking by faith. They would rather see a system of rules and laws to live by. It is easier to walk by sight that way. It is easier to live in the flesh.

“You’re worried about permissiveness–about the way the preaching of grace seems to say it’s okay to do all kinds of terrible things as long as you just walk in afterward and take the free gift of God’s forgiveness. …While you and I may be worried about seeming to give permission, Jesus apparently wasn’t. He wasn’t afraid of giving the prodigal son a kiss instead of a lecture, a party instead of probation; and he proved that by bringing in the elder brother at the end of the story and having him raise pretty much the same objections you do. He’s angry about the party. He complains that his father is lowering standards and ignoring virtue–that music, dancing, and a fattened calf are, in effect, just so many permissions to break the law.

And to that, Jesus has the father say only one thing: “Cut that out! We’re not playing good boys and bad boys any more. Your brother was dead and he’s alive again. The name of the game from now on is resurrection, not bookkeeping.”(Robert Farrar Capon, Between Noon and Three. Christianity Today, Vol. 30, no. 7.)

Common sense will tell you that you are too wrong to meet the standards of a holy God. Pardoning grace tells you that it’s all right in spite of so much in you that is wrong. Realistic common sense tells you that you are too weak, too harassed, too human to change for the better.
Pardoning grace promises that you can trust God to have a better tomorrow.

(vs 18) “In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.”) Contrary to hope in hope he believed! This is chiseled faith – not rose-colored glasses faith; not positive outlook that denies pain & struggle faith. We’re talking about “white-knuckle” faith. The kind that holds on for dear life!

Faith didn’t come easy for Abraham:

This one called “exalted father”(Abram)…was childless, in a culture in which it was a disgrace to the whole family. At 75 called to leave home,  given the promise of an heir of his own(“surely now the child will come”) – He didn’t. 10 years past he’s 85, he receives a re-promise. Confident God would do it, but still unclear how, he takes Hagar as his surrogate solution! At age 86 Ishmael is born(but this wasn’t the child of God’s covenant). 13 more years & he’s 99 now. He hears from God again. Name change “father of a multitude”[ok, that helps!] Promise reconfirmed. Finally at age 100 Isaac was born.

25 YEARS AFTER GOD PROMISED!

“Hope prevents us from clinging to what we have, and frees us to move away from the safe place, and enter unknown and fearful territory.” Henri J. Nouwen in The Wounded Healer.  Christianity Today, Vol. 40, no. 13.

(vs 19-20) “He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead ( since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God,

He glorified God by letting Him be God! Let Jesus Steer the USS Faith! He is the only one who can take the helm! True Faith would never put its own name in lights, but instead it always tips a searchlight to point up to God & His Grace!

(vs 21) “fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.

D. L. Moody said “God never made a promise that was too good to be true.”

(vs 23) But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone,

Paul says this has application to you this morning so, listen up! This wasn’t just for Abraham. This is for YOU!

In whom is your faith placed? Yourself? Your good works? Your faith’s faith? Your ability to lead a “good enough” life? Or, is it placed in His provision (Jesus Christ?)

Only Jesus can wipe your slate clean!  Only he can give you His own righteousness!

(24, 25) “but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.”)

So how is a person saved today?Simply by believing God’s promises as Abraham did.

“Faith & promise go together just as law & works go together.”Warren Wiersbe; pg.733

Imputed/credited/accounted – “At Calvary, our sins were put on Christ’s account; when you trusted Christ, God put Christ’s righteousness on your account” (2 Cor.5:21) Jesus Christ, crucified & raised to life, is God the Father’s gracious provision for the sins of a fallen race.

Once in a church in Chittagong, Bangladesh, where the Jesus Film was being shown, Weeping and gasps of unbelief could be heard in the shocked hush as Jesus was crucified. As the Bengalis watched, they were feeling the agony of Jesus’ pain and the disappointment of the disciples. In that emotional moment, one young boy in the crowded church suddenly cried out, “Do not be afraid. He gets up again! I saw it before.” A small boy’s encouraging cry gave new hope to the viewers of the film. – “He is risen!” is the cry that gives new hope to all!

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pathway-of-blessing-honor-with-your-possessionsOne Sunday a pastor told his congregation that the church needed some extra money for a special mission project. He asked the people to consider putting a little extra in the offering plate. He added that whoever gave the most that day would be able to pick three hymns in the worship service. When the offering plates were brought forward the pastor glanced down and noticed that someone had written a check for $1000. Excited, he immediately shared this news with the congregation and said he would like to thank personally the person who gave such a large gift. He asked who the donor was. A shy, elderly woman sitting in the back slowly raised her hand. The pastor asked her to come to the front of the church. She stood there nervously as the pastor praised her and then he asked her to pick out three hymns. Her eyes brightened as she looked over the congregation. Pointing to the three best looking men in the building, she said, “I’ll take him and him and him!”

This morning I’m going to talk about that dreaded five letter word…TITHE. Before you close your ears, I want you to consider a different way of looking at the tithe. Our outlook is so important…

Imagine you’re up on the 70th floor of the Empire State Building. Suddenly a man opens the window and says he’s going to jump. You call out, “Stop. Don’t do it.” “Try to stop me and I’ll take you with me.”

Noting that the guy is 6-foot-5, you say, “No problem. Have a safe trip. Any last messages?” He says, “Let me tell you my troubles. My wife left me, my kids won’t talk to me, I lost my job and my pet turtle died.” After an hour of stories like this, you’re so depressed you’re ready to jump with him. Finally he turns to you and says, “Tell me – why should I go on living?”

What do you say? Suddenly you get a flash of inspiration. “Sir, close your eyes for a minute. Now I want you to imagine that you are blind. No colors, no sights of children playing, no fields of flowers, no sunset … Now imagine that suddenly there’s a miracle. You open your eyes and you can see. Are you going to jump … or will you stick around a week to look around?” “I’d stick around for a week to see.” “What happened to all the troubles?” “Ah, I guess they’re not so bad. I can see.”

I want us to close our eyes and then open them with a new outlook on tithing.

Proverbs 3:9 tells us to Honor the Lord with our substance. Now we usually think money, but substance means much more. It refers to everything we own, everything we have under our control. I am hoping you will put a fresh perspective on a subject that usually causes people to squirm in their seats, and avoid eye contact with the preacher. In order to do so, let’s read Acts 27 beginning with verse 9:

Now when much time had been spent, and sailing was now dangerous because the Fast was already over, Paul advised them, saying, “Men, I perceive that this voyage will end with disaster and much loss, not only of the cargo and ship, but also our lives.” Nevertheless the centurion was more persuaded by the helmsman and the owner of the ship than by the things spoken by Paul. And because the harbor was not suitable to winter in, the majority advised to set sail from there also, if by any means they could reach Phoenix, a harbor of Crete opening toward the southwest and northwest, and winter there. When the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their desire, putting out to sea, they sailed close by Crete. But not long after, a tempestuous head wind arose, called Euroclydon. So when the ship was caught, and could not head into the wind, we let her drive. And running under the shelter of an island called Clauda, we secured the skiff with difficulty. When they had taken it on board, they used cables to undergird the ship; and fearing lest they should run aground on the Syrtis Sands, they struck sail and so were driven. And because we were exceedingly tempest-tossed, the next day they lightened the ship. On the third day we threw the ship’s tackle overboard with our own hands. Now when neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest beat on us, all hope that we would be saved was finally given up. But after long abstinence from food, then Paul stood in the midst of them and said, “Men, you should have listened to me, and not have sailed from Crete and incurred this disaster and loss. And now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve, saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me. However, we must run aground on a certain island.” Acts 27:9-26 (NKJV)

If we are to understand what it means to honor God with our substance, we must understand what Paul meant when he said “God, whose I am, whom also I serve.”

Apostle Paul is shipwreckedI think that most Christians don’t really understand what it means to really be God’s. To see yourself as belonging totally to God, you have to put yourself in the place of those seamen. You need to feel the salt spray on your cheek. You need to feel the ship rising and falling. You need to hear the thunder of the waves against the bow. You need to see the flash of the lightning, feel the wind blowing against you, so hard that you can lean 45 degrees into it and not fall over. You are totally helpless. You have given up hope of ever seeing home again, of ever hugging your wife, hugging your children, your grandchildren. You are going to die. Every possession you have, everything you hold dear, you would be willing to throw over the side of the ship if you could only feel dry ground under your feet again.

Nothing is as important as life at that moment. When you stare death in its face, everything of value fades away except life.

Paul knew this. He knew that everything he was and ever would be was totally tied up with Jesus Christ. He owed his very life to Jesus. In fact, Jesus was his LIFE.

Do you see that as well? Until you do, you will have a hard time when the preacher talks about money.

We tithe for a multitude of reasons.

  1. Emotional appeal
    A little church was having a homecoming service to which ex-members, who had moved away, were invited. One of the former members had become a millionaire. When asked to speak, the wealthy man recounted his childhood experience. He had earned his first silver dollar which he had decided to keep forever. “But when a visiting missionary preached about the urgent need for funds in his mission work, and the offering basket was passed, a great struggle took place within me. As a result,” the wealthy man said, “I put my treasured silver dollar in the basket. I am convinced that the reason God has blessed me richly is that when I was a boy I gave God everything I possessed.” The congregation was spellbound by the multi-millionaire’s tremendous statement until an elderly little man seated in the front row rose and said, “Brother, I dare you to do it again.”
  2. Guilt
  3. Fear of God
  4. Respect of Man
  5. Gratefulness for something God has done.
  6. Love of the pastor
  7. Love of the church
  8. Love of God

These are all good reasons, but as such, they are subject to the winds of change.

  1. We lose our tenderness to emotional appeals
  2. We become hard-hearted so guilt doesn’t faze us.
  3. We lose our fear of God
  4. Man doesn’t appreciate us
  5. God stops doing great things for us
  6. Pastor does something we don’t like
  7. Church does something we don’t like
  8. God does something we don’t like.

Our giving suddenly changes. Maybe we even stop giving.

David Russell, a pastor in Union City, Tennessee tells about Nathan, a precocious three-year-old in his church. Nathan’s parents were trying to introduce him to what it means to be in church. One Sunday they gave him a one-dollar bill that Nathan was to place in the offering plate. When the plate moved down Nathan’s pew, his parents held it infront of him and told him to place the dollar in the plate. Nathan balked. Finally his mother gently took the dollar from him. She placed it in the plate, and it was passed on down the pew. Suddenly the stillness of the offertory was shattered by a voice demanding, “I want my dollar back! I want my dollar back!” Nathan had been robbed and he wanted everyone to know it. His parents tried in vain to quiet their son, but he was insistent, “I want my dollar back!” Everyone in the congregation was fighting a losing battle against laughter. Throughout the remaining strains of the organist’s meditative tune, the only thing most worshippers heard was, “I want my dollar back!” Eventually, his parents gave Nathan another dollar to hold and he was content enough so that the congregation could make it through the Doxology.

Pastor Russell says that as he stepped into the pulpit, he knew he needed to talk about what had happened. Looking out at the smiling faces he said, “We shouldn’t laugh. It may be that Nathan is only voicing the feelings that some of us have after having given to God. We do so, not joyously but out of a sense of obligation. We do so unwillingly. We may not say it, but some of us think it, “I want my dollar back!”

God sees our tithing as an indicator of how much we value our Life in Christ.

Larry Burkett knew a pastor who did something interesting one Sunday – he took up the offering himself. And he didn’t just take it up, but watched what each person put in. If they put in a sealed envelope, he opened it up to see what was inside. A murmur rose up in the congregation and many of the members were furious. The next Sunday the pastor spoke from the pulpit: “Many of you were upset that your pastor looked in the offering envelopes last week. Has it ever occurred to you to consider what GOD thinks when he looks in there??”

Leighton Farrell was the minister of Highland Park Church in Dallas for many years. He tells of a man in the church who once made a covenant with a former pastor to tithe ten percent of their income every year. They were both young and neither of them had much money. But things changed. The layman tithed one thousand dollars the year he earned ten thousand, ten thousand dollars the year he earned one hundred thousand, and one hundred thousand dollars the year he earned one million. But the year he earned six million dollars he just could not bring himself to write out that check for six hundred thousand dollars to the Church.

He telephoned the minister, long since having moved to another church, and asked to see him. Walking into the pastor’s office the man begged to be let out of the covenant, saying, “This tithing business has to stop. It was fine when my tithe was one thousand dollars, but I just cannot afford six hundred thousand dollars. You’ve got to do something, Reverend!”

pray_03The pastor knelt on the floor and prayed silently for a long time. Eventually the man said, “What are you doing? Are you praying that God will let me out of the covenant to tithe?”

“No,” said the minister. “I am praying for God to reduce your income back to the level where one thousand dollars will be your tithe!”

Here is the way we need to view our privilege of tithing. Consider Paul and the Foundational Truth of His Life:

  • He was God’s
  • He served God

All of the stuff we have around our lives suddenly doesn’t seem too important when we are staring death in the face. When we consider that we owe our very life to Jesus Christ. Look what Jesus was willing to sacrifice for us. Now think about all your stuff, and how important it is to you. Do you LIVE Proverbs 3:9? Do you realize that you owe your Life to Jesus? Do you realize you are to serve Jesus because He has given you LIFE?jesus-i-will-come-again-melton

(Pro 3:9) Honor the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:

Do you Honor God with your possessions. Or do you use them to honor yourself?

A pastor told me of a very interesting thing that he did in his congregation one Sunday morning. He said that when the ushers had taken up the offering one Sunday and brought the plates down to the alter rail, he took the plates and held them up in the air and he gave a prayer: “Lord, regardless of what we say about you, this is really what we say about you, this is really what we feel about you. Amen.”

Now most people say that all our possessions belong to the Lord. And that is most certainly true. But God doesn’t need all your possessions unless you are putting them before Him. Then he has a problem; for God said I will have no other God’s before me. I believe God is dealing with America in such a way as to shake us from having Money as our God. God will bring us to the point where our trust will be in Him, and not in money.

So how do we Honor God with our Possessions?

The Pharisees used the Herodians to try to trick Jesus. They asked Him if it was lawful to pay taxes. Jesus asked them to bring a denarii to him.jesus-said-bring-me-a-denar

Tell us, therefore, what do You think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, “Why do you test Me, you hypocrites? Show Me the tax money.” So they brought Him a denarius. And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” They said to Him, “Caesar’s.” And He said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” Matthew 22:17-21 (NKJV)

Jesus said you need to pay taxes, but he also said something else. Give to God that which is God’s.

jesus-fulfilled-the-law1Now many people say that the concept of tithe is Old Testament. It doesn’t apply to today. But Jesus came to fulfill the Law, not cast it aside. In fact He said that not one jot or tittle of the Law would be done away with until it is fulfilled (Matt 5:18)

How do you honor the Lord with your substance? What things belong to God? God’s Law provides the answer to what is God’s…

(Lev 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.

(Lev 27:32) And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the LORD.

God says that one tenth of all you own is His! So when Jesus says to give God that which is His, we consider a tenth of all we make and own as set apart unto Him! Now how important is it to honor God with our substance that belongs to Him?

The Importance of Honor with our Possessions

Malachi is the last word that God gave His people for four hundred years, until the ministry of John the Baptist. He was really irritated at His people, and one of the reasons is their refusal to Honor Him.

“A son honors his father, And a servant his master. If then I am the Father, Where is My honor? And if I am a Master, Where is My reverence? Says the Lord of hosts To you priests who despise My name. Yet you say, ‘In what way have we despised Your name?’ Malachi 1:6 (NKJV)

Stop Robbing GodHe listed a number of other faults, and then He gave them some advice that we should pay close attention to. He said if you want to return to God you must do something. You must stop robbing from God.

Yet from the days of your fathers You have gone away from My ordinances And have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you,” Says the Lord of hosts. “But you said, ‘In what way shall we return?’ “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it. “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, So that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,” Says the Lord of hosts; Malachi 3:7-11 (NKJV)

Honoring God with our substance is critical if we are to return to Him. It is that Honor that comes with direct reward. Protection from the devourer, and material blessing.

I want you to consider taking the Jacob pledge:

“and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God’s house. And of all that you give me I will give a full tenth to you.” Genesis 28:22 (ESV)

ebenezerI’m not going to stand here and promise you that if you tithe you will be wealthy beyond imagination. Even though some very successful men claim that is why God has blessed them.

All I will tell you is that if you name Jesus Christ as your Savior, your sins are forgiven and God’s grace and mercy is open by the bucketfuls to you. If you love God, you love His Son, if your life is all about honoring them, because you belong to God, then you will want to Honor God with your substance.

  • He promises to reward you when you honor Him with your substance.
  • He promises to rebuke the devourer.
  • He promises fruit for your life.

Perhaps you need to return to God and confess your dishonor for Him in your life. You have laid a selfish claim to that which is Holy unto the Lord. You owe God your life. Your Life is what matters. So Honor God with with your substance.

The story of soap-maker William Colgate:

His family was poor and at the age of 16 he left home to seek his fortune. The only thing he knew was how to make soap and candles. He met an old canal-boat captain who gave him this advice: “Be a good man, give your heart to Christ, pay the Lord all that belongs to Him, make an honest soap, and I’m certain you’ll be a prosperous and rich man.”william-colgate-soap

William arrived in New York and got a job in a soap factory. The first dollar he earned, he gave 10% to God. Soon he became a partner. Later he became the owner. The business grew, so he gave a double tithe, 20%. Then a triple tithe, a four-fold one, half his income – finally he was giving all his income to the Lord. He was faithful to God, and his name is with us today on every tube of Crest toothpaste – Colgate-Palmolive.

Wesley’s guidelines on money:

1. Gain all you can.

Money can be used for good. But do not thereby damage yourself, others, or the environment.

2. Save all you can.

Two reasons were not to waste money, and not to increase desires.

3. Give all you can. Giving begins, but does not end, with the tithe.the-tithe-is-holy-to-the-lord

Now imagine that you are on that ship in the Mediterranean. You can hear it breaking up under the force of the wind and the waves. You have been throwing up for hours. You are weak from not eating. You are dehydrated. You know you don’t have very long to live.

What does all your money mean at that moment. What good are all those possessions. Would you give everything to save your life? Jesus gave everything to save your life. He died on the cross for your sins. He bore the price of your disobedience, your dishonor of the God of the universe. If you have accepted His love for you and asked Him to be your personal Savior, you owe Him everything. How hard is it to honor Him with one tenth of what you make, of one tenth of your substance?