Honesty With God

Honesty With God

Scripture: Luke 8:15, Luke 16:10, Leviticus 27:30
Date: 02/17/2018  Lesson: 7
"In this week’s lesson we will study the spiritual concept of honesty through the practice of tithing and see why tithing is vitally important to the steward and stewardship."

It's Your Money! Isn't It? by Edward Reid

It's Your Money! Isn't It? by Edward Reid
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Good morning, friends, and welcome again to Sabbath School Study Hour, coming to here from the Granite Bay Seventh-day Adventist Church in Sacramento, California. Very warm welcome to our online members and those who are joining us across the country and around the world, part of our study Sabbath school group this morning. Also, I'd like to welcome the regular members and visitors right here at the Granite Bay church. Over the past few weeks, we've been studying through a lesson courtly on stewardship. It's entitled stewardship, motives of the heart.

It's been an excellent study so far. It's actually been convicting on a number of those topics that were brought to view in our study together. You can download the lesson at the Amazing Facts website, just amazingfacts.org. We also have a free offer that goes along with the subject that we're looking at, and this is our free offer for this morning. If you'd like to receive this anywhere in North America, give us a call on our resource phone line, that number is 866-788-3966.

If you're outside of North America, you can read the study guide at the Amazing Facts website, just amazingfacts.org. But before we get to our study this morning, we like to begin by lifting our voices in song. I'd like to invite our song leaders to come join me. O lord, you're beautiful your face is all I seek for when your eyes are on this child your grace abounds to me O lord, please light the fire that once burned bright and clear replace the lamp of my first love that burns with holy fear I surrender all I surrender all all to thee, my blessed Savior I surrender all All to Jesus I surrender make me, Savior, wholly thine let thy Holy Spirit feel me truly I know that thou art mine I surrender all I surrender all all to thee, my blessed Savior I surrender all All to Jesus I surrender lord, I give myself to thee fill me with thy love and power let thy blessings fall on me I surrender all I surrender all all to thee, my blessed Savior I surrender all your grace abounds to me I want to welcome you who are here at Granite Bay. I want to welcome our friends who are watching via Facebook or one of our satellite networks.

And I want to remind you, for those who are watching live, we'd invite you to send in any questions you might have 'cause usually about two-thirds of the way through the study today, we'll take questions on the subject from you. The lesson is honesty with God, talking about stewardship of course. Honesty with God, that's lesson seven in our quarterly. Now, if you don't have one of these, you can go to Sabbath school, it's online, and you can download the pdf. I usually study and get ready online, I just keep my quarterly here for you, it's a prop.

But I'm doing all my study online now. And they'll give one to you at your local Seventh-day Adventist Church. We have a memory verse, are you ready? Memory verse is Luke 8:15, and I encourage you to say it with me, Luke 8:15, " but that on the good ground are they which with an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience." Now, that verse sort of paves the way for us to understand what the theme of our study is today, that when it comes to stewardship, and faithfulness, and tithes and offerings, there is no substitute for dishonesty with God. And you ever heard a person use the expression, honest to God? Well, every Christian ought to be honest to God. And the reason we want to be faithful in our giving is not because of what people think but because we want to please God.

It's for his glory. Amen? And the verses we're going to consider here are sort of all across the Bible. Now we're going to have a couple of you help me read some verses. And, again, I want to remind those who have questions on the lesson, go to the Facebook page, send them to me. I've got a friend in there who's going to take them off my account, and they're going to put them up on the screen for us, and I'll read them back to you.

If someone's going to read in just a moment, Luke 16:10, and I'm going to read Colossians 3:9 and 10, talking about a matter of simple honesty, "do not lie one to another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds. And then put on the new man, who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of him who created him." That old man with the dishonesty, that's to be put off. Now, this subject is very close to my heart. Maybe I just should let you know right now. I got a cold or something, I feel okay, but I got like a frog in my throat, so if you hear me sound a little different.

I don't think it's terminal. Those on the front row might want to get a surgical mask, but otherwise, I think we're okay. So I feel okay, just, I know I sound different. I used to be a thief. And I didn't understand the principle that.

.. First of all, the ten commandments, I probably knew that it's wrong to steal. I did not think there was a God, I sort of believed in evolution. I figured survival of the fittest if you could get away with it. Animals steal from each other in the animal kingdom, it was okay.

When I came to believe there was a God and that God sees everything, my whole attitude about stealing changed. It didn't change instantly. I mean, I would shoplift, I broke into people's homes, and I stole cars. I mean, I was a thief. But once I realized that everything you do comes back.

Now, I started noticing a friend, he was into eastern religion, he said that, "doug, your karma is going to get you." He knew I was stealing. And I said, "what's karma?" He said, "well, whatever you do, it comes back." On the street, they say, "what goes around, comes around. You're going to get what you give." Jesus said something like that, he said, "with what measure you mete, it'll be measured to you again." So the principle, I'm not saying that Jesus taught karma, but the principle that you often get what you give in life, there's some tRuth to that. I said, "ah, there's no God." I stole that television set, and I got rid of it, nothing happened. He said, "you'll see.

" I don't know if he was praying for me, or meditating for me, or what happened, but a few days later, I woke up in my apartment in Boston and my door was ajar when I woke up, and I looked in the bureau, the tv was gone and my radio, and I was really mad, and I called the police. I wanted them to track down those terrible thieves because of what they had done. And I started watching and I saw that everything I did seemed to backfire, I would steal something, my friends were all thieves, they would then steal it from me or I would steal something and I was drunk or high when I did it. And I had to hide it, and I'd forget where I hid it. Or I'd like risk my life to steal something and then find out that it was broken.

I stole a broken stereo, you know, and finally, I began to realize, this is not working out, and it was actually a very small thing, but I'll never forget. I went to someone's house and while they were out of the kitchen, I saw in their cupboards, I was going through the cupboards, I saw they had a brand new box of krusteaz instant pancake mix. And I took it, I don't remember how I got it out to my backpack, and I stole it. And I did it 'cause I was very health conscious back then, it was whole wheat pancake mix, and I wanted the whole wheat variety. So I tried to justify and said, "it's healthy, lord, it's for health.

" And I remember the top of the box was stamped at $1.19, and that's back before the barcode, they used to have these blue stamps that they put on everything. That very same day while I was gone, some friends came to my place uninvited, and they drank my... I had a jar of tang powdered-orange juice. Any of you remember tang? And I had a brand new jar, and they drank the whole thing, several of them came to my house, they drank the whole thing, and I looked there, by the empty jar was the lid and it was stamped $1.19, and I looked at the pancake mix I just stole, and I thought crime doesn't pay. And so from that moment, I began to.

.. I didn't quit right away, I tried to taper off. I kept shoplifting 'cause I thought these evil corporations, they charge too much. And so I was sometimes stealing food from the Market, but eventually I became convinced, that was wrong too. And, you know, then God began to bless me.

And I read in the Bible where it said, "let him who stole, steal no more, but rather give." So instead of taking from people, which is what a thief does, a Christian's attitude is not just I stopped stealing 'cause I don't want to get in trouble, but I stopped stealing because I want to bless others, I want something to give. You never get ahead by robbery, you're always in the behind. You know, the parable, that rich man, and it may have been covered in an earlier lesson. The rich fool, his crops did very well, and he's wow, crops, I've got these bumper crop, I don't know what I'm going to do with it all, and instead of thinking, "well, maybe I'll give some to the poor," he said, "I know what I'll do, I'll build bigger barns, and I'll cram it all in there, and I won't have to eat, I don't have to work, and I could say soul, you got many goods laid up for many year. Eat, drink, be happy, it's all about me, me, me.

" And then the Bible said, God said, "you fool, this night is your soul required of you, then whose will those things be that you have stored up?" And so again, we're just here as stewards of God's things, and it's not about just seeing how much we can get. All right, a matter of honesty. Now, someone's going to read for me, please, Luke 16:10. "He who is faithful and what is least is faithful also in much: and he who is unjust is what is least is unjust also in much." Honesty can be learned with pennies as well as dollars. You can go to hell for stealing 10 cents just like you can go to hell for robbing a bank.

You're either honest, or you're not honest. And if you go out to the Market, I remember hearing the story when I was a kid, I don't know if they made it up, but I heard this story that... Abraham lincoln, when he was a young man, he got home from the Market, and found out that they'd given him nickel too much in change, and he had to walk 10 miles back to the... Five miles each way back to the country store to return the change. A lot of us would put it in the pocket and say, "God blessed me today.

" But you need to be faithful in the little things. The reason that God could use joseph to rule the world back in the days when he was in egypt is because as a slave, he was faithful in the little things. He did not sweep the dirt under the carpet. Joseph, because he was faithful in the little things, God blessed him and he saw that he could be a good ruler because he was a faithful servant for so long. Those who are the best managers are the one's who have really worked the way up through the ranks 'cause they understand what the little man is doing, so to speak.

And they understand what's going on in the factory. And so God wants us to be faithful in little things. And I quoted you this one in Ephesians 4:28, " let him who stole steal no longer: but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he might have something to give to him who has need." And Colossians 3:9, "do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man and his deeds." And so we're to be honest. You know, then there's another parable, if you look in Luke 20, I'm sorry Luke 12:47 and 48, he says, "and that servant, who knew his master's will, and did not prepare himself to do according to his will, he will be beaten with many stripes. But he that did not know, yet committed things deserving the stripes, he will be beaten with few.

For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required: and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more." Some people think, "oh, you know, if I could just win the lottery, I'd make a big donation to the church." If you're not making donations with your nickels and dollars, you're probably not going to make a donation if you win the lottery. He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much. Now I know that we always have people who either watching on satellite, or watching online, or even visitors that might wonder what is tithe. And I want to just restate the obvious for many of us. The word tithe is related to the word tenth.

And matter of fact, you'll hear where jacob makes the vow, it says, "if you bring me safely back from my wanderings, all that you give me, I will surely give the tenth to you. And did jacob do that? How many of you remember what happened when his brother esau was coming? Jacob took a tenth of everything he owned, and he sent it off to his brother esau, because esau was the patriarch of his tribe, he was the priest of his tribe. They didn't have the levi or levitical priesthood back then, he gave it all to his brother who also lived in the land back then, so he kept his vow. A tithe is a tenth. When abraham came from the slaughter of the Kings, chedorlaomer and his forces in the north.

On his way back through the land of israel, he stopped in the town called salem, later known as jerusalem, and he gave tithes. He gave a tenth of all the bounty of ore, all the spoils that they had acquired, he gave it to melchizedek, and he didn't keep anything for himself. He gave the rest to the soldiers. He said, "I am not going to say... I'm not going have the king of sodom saying, I made abraham rich.

" So Abraham had a very honest heart. He did not even, not only did he give tithes, he then shared, and he didn't keep anything for himself because he thought, "I did not go on this journey as a mercenary to battle, I went to fight this battle to save. He hated war, but he had to do it to save lot and his family. So there is a person of integrity right there in Abraham's example. You know, there's a quote in your lesson, and this is from testimonies to the church, volume 4, "dishonesty is practiced all through our ranks, and this is the cause of Lukewarmness on the part of many who profess to believe the truth.

They are not connected with Christ and they're deceiving their own souls." You'd think, oh, dishonesty, that's a pretty stern accusation, but is there sometimes dishonesty in the church? You think if there is gonna be a perfectly honest church, it would've been Jesus and the 12 apostles, right? Did Jesus have some dishonesty in his church? Or if not there, then after the Holy Spirit was poured out in acts 2, that must have been a perfectly honest church, was it? Go with me to the book of acts 5. I want to start if it's okay, go to acts 4, go to verse 33. It's talking about the power and the early movings of the spirit in God's church. "And with great power, the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all, power and grace. Nor was there anyone among them who lacked, for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them and they brought the proceeds of those things that were sold and laid them at the apostle's feet, and they distributed to each one as anyone had need.

" There is a great generosity, neither was there anyone among them who lacked. Are there missionaries in foreign fields who lack? Are there some self-supporting pastors who have to work all week long so that they can try to raise up a church in a dark county because otherwise they would have lack. Church is not perfectly honest today. Now, let's read on here. "And they'd take the possessions, they'd sell them, houses and lands, laying them by the apostles' feet: and they distributed to each one as they had need.

And Joses, whose name was also Barnabas, by the apostles, that means son of consolation or son of encouragement, a levite of the country of Cyprus, having sold some land, he brought the money, and laid it at the apostles' feet." Talks about Barnabas. Now, contrast Barnabas with the next chapter. Barnabas was a large-hearted, filled with the spirit, ended up, not only did he sell land and give it to the work, he then went off and became a missionary 'cause he worked with Paul, remember? But, now whenever you hear that three letter word, introducing us so it's talking about the spirit is moving, great things are happening, Barnabas sold his land and laid it at the apostle's feet, but, you know what's coming? Saying everybody wasn't the same, "a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, and they kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles' feet." Now you might be thinking, what's wrong with that, they sold their land, and they said, "we're going to give a percentage of it to the church," that would have been fine, but that's not what they did. What they did is they sold it, and then they told the church leaders, "we're giving all of it to the church." They wanted to get lot of the accolades, but when they began, they got maybe more than they expected, they said, "let's not give it all, let's keep some," they're being tested. And so they didn't fulfill their vow.

They had vowed to give it all to the church, and they lied. And he told his wife, he said, "let's say that we sold it for $20,000, and you and I know that we really got $30,000, we'll just keep $10,000 and nobody will know, right? Just between us, his wife pretty kept back part of it. "Peter said, ananias, why has satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit," and that ought to give you chills, the idea of lying to God. Can you lie to the Holy Spirit? Where can you flee from his spirit? Is there anything the spirit doesn't know? "And keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? While it remained, was it not your own?" So Peter is saying, you didn't have to sell it. "And after it was sold, was it not in your own control?" He said we didn't tell you to pledge 100%, "why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You've not lied to men, but to God.

" By the way, there's another verse where you see the Holy Spirit is God 'cause he said, "you've lied to the Holy Spirit," then he said, "you've lied to God," right? And after hearing that lied to God, you want to be honest with God, don't you? "Ananias hearing these words fell down, and breathed his last: so a great fear came upon all those that heard these things." Now why did, and then his wife comes later, and she continues to lie, she dies also. Why was the Lord so harsh with Ananias and Sapphira? What would happen to church membership today if the Lord should strike dead everybody who has been unfaithful in their tithes and offerings? You'd have, I think a great reduction of membership. Well, it's just true. Can I be brutally honest with you? Now you realize when I talk about tithes and offerings, I think everybody here knows and I'm hoping everybody watching listens. No matter what our church gives, no matter what people donate to Amazing Facts, it never affects my salary.

I'm on a flat fee, giving up and down doesn't change it, so my motive is never this. My motive is the spiritual health of people. But being a pastor, you end up knowing we just finished a year, we have one of the most giving churches in northern california, I want to tell you I'm really proud. I thank lord for that, but knowing what the membership is, and knowing what the final product is, and knowing what the average income is, it doesn't add up, it's still not 100% faithfulness. We are among the most faithful, but it's not new testament faithfulness, even if you factor in ananias and sapphira, where people are really being honest to God in their giving.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if missionaries around the world had no lack? We've got friends, you probably have them too, they're going to foreign mission fields, so they're there, and they just have to pray and struggle from week to week, they're sending out appeals, sending out reports hoping people will not forget that they're there and stop giving to support the work they're doing. Do you realize honesty covers, and even stealing, virtually all the ten commandments in one respect or another. Think about this. Don't have other Gods, that's stealing God's worship. When you give your worship to another God, you're stealing from God.

Remember the Sabbath, you're stealing God's time, when you don't. Honor your father and mother, you're stealing respect from your parents. You shall not murder, you're stealing a life when you do that. You shall not commit adultery, you're stealing a wife. You shall not steal, that's self-explanatory, stealing stuff.

You shall not bear false witness, you're stealing the tRuth. You shall not covet your neighbor's house, you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, you're stealing in your heart 'cause sin isn't just the action, it's the attitude, right? And so being honest to God with a subject of property really plays itself out in every other area of your life. And if you're not honest to God in that respect, you're probably not honest to God in other ways as well. Malachi 3:8, now here's a verse that's pretty clear, this is the last book in the old testament, "will a man rob God?" Now he starts with an outrageous rhetorical question, this is the prophet Malachi. Anyone here think you can get away with robbing God? Talk about a real foolproof security system, and anyone think that you can break into God's house and steal from him and him not know.

They say, you know, you get a good enough thief, he will find a way to overcome the security system, but you cannot overcome God's security system. It's all on camera. Every idle word you speak, every movement you make, every thought you think, you cannot really rob God, and so it's sort of an outrageous question that he is asking, but he said, "yet you robbed me! But you say, 'in what way have we robbed you? In tithes and offerings." Now what percent of what we own belongs to God? Hundred percent. What percent does he ask for back? A 100%, but he wants you to show that you've put it all on the altar by returning 10. See if you're a real Christian, you take up your cross, you follow Jesus, do you still hold back 90% of who you are? Or you put everything on the altar? But he wants you to show you have faith that it all belongs to him, by faithfully returning at least a tenth, and then there's offerings beyond that.

I often get phone calls. Yeah, we do a radio program, you know, people call and say, "Pastor Doug, you're telling people about tithe, that's an old testament law." And I say, "well." They say, "we don't hear tithe repeated in the new testament." Well, tithe actually is repeated in the new testament. You can look in Matthew 23:23, and Jesus said, "you pay tithe of your mint, and your anise, your cumin, the herbs in their gardens, they were paying tithe." And he said, "and you've omitted the weightier matters of the law, justice, mercy, and faith," he said, "these you ought to have done, justice, mercy, and faith," and he says, "and do not leave the other undone." Don't forget to be faithful in your tithe, but don't neglect the weightier matters. And the very fact that another system is not established in the new testament means the old system has not been abolished. If God gives the law, and you don't see where he retracts the law, you are to assume it's still there.

And if not tithe, what is the system? It's at least tithe. Now, when you get to the new testament, it's actually more. And so people who are struggling and saying, "a tenth of what I have belongs to God." Well, if you want to be a new testament Christian, it says no man said that art that he had was his own. But they had everything in common and they sold their possessions, it's tied as kindergarten. You want to be new testament Christian, then it was a lot deeper sacrifice, they were really stretching out in faith.

And, you know, when God pours out his spirit, I think you're going to see the church is going to have the same attitude. And you know what? Maybe instead of us saying yeah, when God pours out the spirit, I'll put it all on the altar, maybe when we put it all on the altar, God will pour out the spirit. You know, it's kind of like we're waiting for God to pour out the spirit and then we'll start giving sacrificially again. Maybe when we start putting that all on the altar and giving sacrificially again, he'll pour out the spirit. I just wonder.

.. All right, Leviticus 27:30, "and all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the trees, it is the Lord's, it's holy to the Lord." Now let me just say something that make it clear. Most of time in the Bible, the tithe was, it could be money, but the tithe was frequently agricultural things. A tithe went to the temple and they would distribute it among the levites. So the levites didn't have to.

.. You really see the levites did not get any farmland. Hope I won't confuse you, but how many tribes of Israel were there? Thirteen, really? There were 12 sons of Jacob. But because Joseph was sold by his brothers, Jacob in his last years, he said, "I'm going treat your two sons, Joseph, as though they are my sons to compensate for you losing out for so long. So Ephraim and Manasseh will be counted as tribes of Israel and they will get an equal inheritance in the land.

" You say, "well, how come you end up with 12?" Because the levites were later denied an inheritance, they got the best inheritance, they got the spiritual inheritance, they were to be the priest for the people, The Sons of aaron which were part of levi. So when they entered the promised land, they divided the land 12 ways. The levities were spread all through the land around wherever the cities of israel were. The people were to bring their tithe to their local temple or the synagogues that then was distributed among the levities 'cause they didn't have as much land as the people for agriculture, and for their pastures and everything. And so they depended on a tenth, and you can read several times when the people were unfaithful in their tithes, the levites had to neglect their ministry and go take care of their fields so people stopped hearing the word.

During times of great revival, you'll often see they were faithful in their giving and the levites were out teaching the word, those things often went together. All right, "so all the tithe of the land was for the Lord." Now I'm getting a little note from the studio, it looks like we do have a couple of questions that have come in from some of our viewers, okay. So we're just going to take these, I don't know what they are, and I'll read it to you. "I returned to God about a year ago and have been giving back my tithe since then. Should I tithe on the money I made prior to that time?" What do you do if you backslid for 50 years and you stopped paying tithe and then you return to the Lord.

Now do you need to give God all the back-tax for all those years? Well, I would say in spirit you ought to do your best to compensate, it may not be realistic to say, you know, here I made millions of dollars and I lost it all, I just don't have it to give and I'll nothing to live on if I've got to pay, it'll be kind of like God becomes the irs, right? I would say that try and go above and beyond what you can, what you normally would do and just say, "lord, if you'll bless me, I'll try and do a little more than normal for the years I didn't do anything." That sound like good advice. But the idea of having a figure hanging over your head that could be crushing. So God will give you wisdom just... But he accepts you when you come back just as you are. You get a new beginning, you're a new creature, right? Start where you're at.

All right, another question, "what if I'm not connected to a church, how do I tithe?" Get connected to a church would be my answer. Everybody should be connected to a church, and yeah, with the mail, you can tithe through the mail. But you ought to be connected with a Bible teaching church because you need accountability. Now I know that sometimes we've people that are watching, they are shut in, so they have health problems and they can't actively participate in a regular church service, but you still ought to pick out a church that you're going to support, you believe its teachings are biblical, and you can then get engaged that way. But everyone ought to be connected.

If you got a baby lamb and it's not with a flock, the wolves tend to get it. And so I'd suggest you get... You get it that way. Does tithe have to be monetary? No, and I'm glad you asked that question. Does tithe have to be monetary? I just started saying that a lot of time when they brought the tithe, it was, they would bring their sheep, extra sheep, they would bring their grain, they would bring their firstfruits, you know, they were an agricultural people.

And I've been in some parts of the world where the people are so poor, they have no cash and when they come to church, they bring their coconuts, and they bring fish, and they bring what they have. There are some missionaries that use to pass the plate and people all put their little few ounces of rice in the plate 'cause it was a tenth of what they had harvested. And so God knows, you know, if you can't do it in cash. Cash is a little easier to transport these days and work with but by all means. Boy, I tell you the pastors here do really well in the fall, I'm looking at John upfront and seeing some of our members here pay the pastor's tithe from their vegetable garden.

I mean what you can do, send it to the conference? So we accept that, that's okay. That's not my tithe. Oh, that's not your tithe. Oh, we'll talk later, okay. All right, do you have anymore questions here? "Why do we pay tithe when we are currently living under grace and not under the law?" Well, we're living under grace but when you're living under grace, does that mean that you neglect the law.

Do you cheat on your spouse and say, "I'm now under grace, I don't need to keep the seventh commandment." Try that, no, don't try that, yeah, I mean but that argument will not work, I can promise you. And so the idea that because we're under grace that we no longer have an obligation to keep the law... If not tithe and offerings, what method, is there any system to it? People get a little bit... You can kind of tell people are struggling in their hearts, 10%, oh, 10%. Now keep in mind, it's 10% of your increase.

If you're in business and you buy t-shirts, you're in a t-shirt business and you buy t-shirts for $5 and then you sell the t-shirts for $10, what is your increase on a t-shirt sale? It's not $10, it's $5, right? So you pay tithe on your increase and there might be other, you know, expenses connected with that. And so it's pretty simple business math. I got another question here, "will God punish us for not giving all that we have like Ananias and Sapphira?" Well, there is a judgment, everyone is going to be standing before the judgment seat of God. So maybe they are asking about not giving all that we have, and keep in mind, you might wonder why was he so severe with Ananias and Sapphira? Why was he so severe with Hophni and Phinehas, and Nadab and Abihu were just these, they were punished so severely. Ananias and Sapphira were living in the time where they saw the Holy Spirit come down in tongues of fire.

They were seeing miracles. They were seeing the power of God, and right there in the midst of a revival, in the power of God, their attitude was the very thing that was going to quench that power if God did not deal with it severely. We read, "to whom much is given, much is required." They had been given the ability to live in the church where the Holy Spirit was being poured out and they sinned in the face of that, so God was more severe. "Can you give your time as a tithe?" Well, let's just be more specific. Let's suppose that you're an expert at something and you're normally paid for it.

And somebody needs, may be you're an expert accountant, you normally charge $10 an hour, you might donate some accounting time and, you know, there might be a way where that could happen where you're actually giving money by giving time that you would otherwise be paid for. You see what I am saying? Well, that could kind of get loose, so you want to be careful and not neglect giving off your own increase. But I've seen people give a tithe of their time to a project. All right, well that covers some of the questions that came in. If there is more then you can just pop it up on the screen.

We know, these questions are coming active right now while I'm teaching. All right, the life of faith, someone's going to read for me Hebrews 12:2 in just a moment, and I'm going to read Genesis 22:1. "Now, it came to pass after these things, that God tested abraham, and he said to him, "abraham," he said, "here I am." He said, "take now your son, your only son, isaac, who you love, and go to the land of moriah and offer him there as a burnt offering on the mountains of which I shall tell you."' You know, one reason abraham was called The Father of the faithful, is because does anyone here doubt that abraham gave 100% when he gave his son? Did abraham put everything on the altar? I mean how may of you would be willing to give everything you have if it meant doing that to save your children? And abraham, when God said, "do you really love me with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength or I've a test for you. Prove it. I'm not going to ask for all your gold and your silver.

But take your son..." And, of course, what happened with abraham and isaac is an illustration of what The Father did for us in his love for us. So abraham did that because he had faith. Now go ahead and read Hebrews 12 for us, verse 2? "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has set down at the right hand of God, at the throne of God." All right, here it tells us that Jesus is the author and the finisher. And the word finisher here is used in this only one instance in the new testament. It's translated the perfecter of our faith.

It means Jesus is intent on bringing our faith to maturity. Faith is something that grows, it's something that cures so to speak. And Jesus, your faith will start but he wants to finish it. Sanctification is a process. And I think if we're honest, we'll all admit there's times we struggle to believe.

And that can be demonstrated in living the Christian life in the number of areas of obedience, and even in areas of giving. But I can tell you, I was young and I'm now old and I've found whenever I was tested, whenever I was tested on the area of faithfulness and stewardship, when I stepped out on faith, and I trusted God, and I gave, he always compensated, and he blessed. It's like jacob, Jacob said, I went out when he left his parents, he had a staff in his hand. You know, remember when he slept, he had a rock for a pillow and the dream of the ladder, he had nothing. And when he came back he said, "lord, I've now become two companies, our substance is so great.

" He had four wives and 11 children I think at the point, I don't know benjamin wasn't born yet. No, joseph wasn't born yet 'cause rachel died in bethlehem. So he had 10 boys and all this substance. But he had made a covenant to pay tithe went he left. You remember when he had the dream there? He made a covenant.

When he comes back, look at how God had blessed him. And so God, he always blesses if we have that faith. Author and the finisher of our faith. Hebrews 6:1, "therefore leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and faith towards God." There is growth, the elementary things. Tithe and offering is really an elementary thing.

You know, before we baptize a person, I go through some of the fundamentals and we in our church have... I mean we don't define every doctrine, you can't define and do a commentary on every verse 'cause there is some things that we freely admit that are difficult. But we have 27 or 28 fundamental beliefs... And they're well supported by scripture. Things like the Bible, and the trinity, and.

.. You know, the nature of Christ, and number of other issues. And one of the doctrines is on stewardship. Then we melt those down when we review the baptismal vows with the person. We melt them down to 12 or 13 of the most important things a person needs to be clear on.

You know, one of the things that is included in the baptismal vows is that we believe that God owns everything and because of our love for Christ, we want to be faithful stewards and we agree to return tithes and offerings to God. Now, there are some churches that police their members, did you know that? They review their members, they look at their statements, they say, "oh, hey, the tithe hasn't been paid." They police their members to make sure they pay tithe. We don't do that. We say it's between you and God. That's why this lesson is called honest to God.

When we have communion, the Bible says, "let every man examine himself." We practice open communion. You decide if you're serious about your commitment. We don't police people and say, "you should do it, you shouldn't, you should." Did Jesus let judas participate in communion? Yes. He let him judge himself. We believe that the Holy Spirit has to talk to people.

And do you want to give because you got elders and deacons that are policing you. Well, nobody really wants the church officials snooping around in their bank account. I remember, I was doing an evangelistic meeting in paradise, california with pastor lonnie melashenko. And during the worship service, he wanted everybody to greet each other and they often had visitors. He'd say, let's all stand up and turn to the person, turn to the person, your right, your left, and tell him how much money you've got in the bank.

And everybody laughed nervously... I've used it several times since I thought it was funny way to break the ice because that's the last thing in the world people are going to tell, isn't it? Those are private affairs, and so whether or not you're giving faithfully, church doesn't police that, it's between you and God. And you want to be faithful. Amen. Because you're blessed if you're, it's a life of faith.

Romans 12:3, "for I say, through the grace that is given me, to every one who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt each one a measure of faith." You might say, Pastor Doug, I just don't have enough faith, is that true? I don't think I can do this tithe thing, I don't have enough faith. Do you not have enough faith? I read here, God gives to every one a measure of faith. Everybody has got some faith. It's just whether or not you want to use it or not. You can believe if you want to, you can test God.

Matter of fact, in Malachi, he says, "prove me now." Have faith, test me, see if I don't open for you the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing you don't have room enough to receive it. All right, moving along here. One of the most accurate indicators of a person or a congregation's spiritual condition is the giving thermometer. That's true. And it also could be an indicator of the faithfulness of the leadership because if the people are confident that those in the church that are in leadership are faithfully administrating the money, you know, other church friends since we got a board and in our board we have a finance committee, and we've got a treasurer and the board meets, and we evaluate the finances, and we make sure that the expenses stayed down, or we make sure that the money is being allocated biblically to worthy causes and there is accountability.

And then we have a business meeting, we're having one next month. All the churches invited together, the treasurer will show everybody, what's going on financially, everybody gets to look. Matter of fact, they are open books. Anyone could ask anytime and we'd be happy to report this, nothing to hide. So if there is faithfulness that way, people are supportive, but then if there is faithfulness in your home, you're going to see there's regularity in giving.

That's usually the indicator of spiritual health. If a person is not giving off their substance to the work of God, you have to ask, "do they really love the Lord? Do they want to get the message of salvation out? Do they care about their fellowmen that are perishing in ignorance?" And if you're hoarding everything and you know people are being lost for lack of the gospel, there is something wrong spiritually, does that make sense? And so giving is sometimes an interesting indicator of that. All right, honest tithe, honest to the Lord. And if you look in Matthew 6:3-4, "but when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. That your charitable deed may be in secret, and your father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

" So we're not supposed to grandstand, Jesus said it's the hypocrites who go to church and they blow the trumpet, they make a big deal, and say, I'm going to make this donation, and they want to get a lot of human accolades, and Jesus said this all. But if you give faithfully and it's between you and God, and you don't tell everybody about it, the Lord is going to bless you. If you see a person in need, a beggar, and you do something for them, you don't need to advertise it all to your Christian friends and try to prove to them that you're spiritual, it's, God saw it, right? That's what's most important. All right, I'm going to jump along here. Someone is going to read for me I think, Ecclesiastes 5:4 and 5.

Okay, mangie, I'll have you do that in just a moment. Here is a quote from the book counsels on stewardship, page 66, "in like manner, tithe of our income is holy to the Lord. The new testament does not re-enact the law of tithe, as it does not that of the Sabbath, for the validity of both is assumed, and their deep spiritual import explained. While we as a people are seeking faithfully to give to God, the time which he has reserved as his home, shall we not also render to him the portion of our means that he claims." And basically the author here is just saying, you're not going to hear a lot about tithe in the new testament because it was just understood, it was assumed, it was sort of common knowledge. Everyday we go to and fro from church.

We drive about 55 or 60 miles an hour. We almost never mentioned it in church, you know that? 'Cause I'm assuming that you know that. It's a common knowledge. Right, go ahead, mangie? "When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it, for he has no pleasure in fools, pay what you have vowed. Better not to vow than to vow and not pay.

" That's talking exactly about what happened with Ananias and Sapphira. If you make a vow to God, pay what you vowed. Better not to make a vow than make one and not pay it because we need to be honest before God. And something else in closing that I thought was very important is, you look through the Bible at the times of great revival, there is great giving. Have you ever noticed that? In the time of David, when they had had victory over their enemies, the philistines, and David said, you know, "whoever is large hearted, if you want to give to build a temple to the glory of God.

" What happened? Incredible gifts were given from the poorest people right up on through the leadership. When they were going through the tabernacle, and God was in there going through the wilderness, and God was in their midst, and they were building the tabernacle. They gave so much, they had to be told not to give. Let me read this to you, Exodus 36:2, "and moses called bezalel and Aholiab, and every gifted artisan, in whose heart the Lord had put wisdom, every one from whose heart was stirred to come and to do the work. And they received from moses all the offering that the children of Israel had brought for the work of the service of making the sanctuary.

So they continued bringing to him freewill offerings every morning." And the offerings were in gold, and wood, and skins, and silver, and whatever they needed for the temple, that wasn't money necessarily. "Then all the craftsmen, who were doing the work of the sanctuary, came each one from the work he was doing." They just dropped the tools and came to moses. "And they spoke to moses and said, 'the people bring much more than enough for the service of the work, which the Lord has commanded us to do.' So moses gave a command, and they caused it to be proclaimed throughout the camp, saying, 'let neither man nor woman do any more work for the offering of the sanctuary.'" The people were restrained from bringing, for the material they had was sufficient. Indeed it was too much." Oh, friends wouldn't God, I had to make an announcement. Please stop giving, right, we don't know what to do with all that you're giving.

And when was the last time you were in a church and you heard that proclamation. But this is a time the people had a mind and they had a heart to build and to do the work, and you can read also in 2 Chronicles 31 during the time of king hezekiah. It says, "there was a great revival, they returned to the Lord, they had a passover." It says, "they brought in abundantly the tithe of everything and they had big heaps and they had so much, they had to build storerooms to store it. And the Lord blessed his people israel." So this was also during the time of revival, so God will bless you that way too. All right, we're out of time.

And we want to tell you one more time about the free offer that we have available. And if anybody would like to get a copy of this book, it's determining the will of God. Its offer number 778. Just call the resource line on your screen 866-788-3966, they will be happy to send that to you for free. Or you can go to AmazingFacts.org, and I think you'll find the book there and you can read it for free online and then share with your friend. God bless you until we study his word together again next week. Today smartphones are a virtual universe of information that fits in the palm of your hand. It's a good thing we have a plausible thumbs. With it you can buy your groceries, take care of your exercise regime, watch a video, listen to music, you can surf the international world wide web which may not always be a good thing.

And, you know, there is more computer processing technology and power in a little smartphone today than was used by nasa to put a man on the moon. And I almost forgot, you can also use these to make a phone call. But who does that anymore. Today communication is not in complete sentences, it's all about short message servicing or sms texting. That's right.

There are about 2.5 billion people in the world today that are communicating with their fellow humans in short bytes called texting. That's more data that is being used than those who're surfing the web or even playing videogames. And, friends, nowhere is this more true than right here in the philippines. Even though the philippines has about a 100 million people, they are responsible for the largest number of text messages of anywhere in the world. They are the 12th largest country but they send 400 million text messages everyday.

Wow, that's a lot of finger fatigue. Even though the greatest number of texters is here in the philippines, the record for the fastest texter in the world is from brazil. A young man by the name of marcel frenandes filho, he was able to text 25 very complicated words in a little more than 18 seconds. Wow, it takes me longer than that to just say I love you to my wife and press send, all thumbs. One of the neat things about texting is you can text just about anywhere.

If you're surrounded with people, you want to send a personal message, you text. You're in a crowded subway or an airport, you can text. If you're surrounded by noise or nosy people, you can text. Just don't text while you're driving. That's what's so wonderful friends, you can always text God a message of prayer from your heart.

When you're wondering what school do I go to, what job do I take, who am I supposed to date that may be a future life partner. Your prayers don't have to be long. The shortest prayer in the Bible is three words, when Peter prayed, "lord, save me." And Jesus answered his prayer. And it doesn't matter how fast you can text when you're talking to God. He'll know what you're asking for and hear your prayer before you have a chance to say amen and press the send button.

In fact, friends, you'll bring joy to God when you send him regular messages from your heart to his. So why don't you talk to him right now. Amazing Facts, changed lives. By the time I got to high school, abuse was just a way of life for me, I just felt that, that was the way it was and that many people were going through that. And I found out that a lot of the girls were not going through the abuse that I was going through.

I started acting out, and playing out, and misbehaving in school. I felt when I spoke to mom, she was too busy worrying about where dad was, what dad was doing. When I spoke to the older siblings, they couldn't be bothered, I had stupid questions. I seemed to feel very lonely all the time and I just forgot at that point where God was. And felt that I didn't need him, because anyway when I did need him, he was never around for me.

I was living a very, very busy life, working till 2, 3 o'clock in the morning and then drinking alcohol till 5 o'clock, so that I could get to sleep for few hours, wake up and then get back to work at 8 o'clock at night. So my life continued and spiraled until I decided I needed to do something different. So I pack my bags and spent 11 months crossing Africa from Zimbabwe all the way through Switzerland. Met a lady in a missionary who spoke to me about God and gave me a Bible, and that was when I started thinking again that God, may be you led me on this trip. And that was the start of me really re-thinking what am I doing with my life.

I had made a decision that, God, this time I'm never going to let you go. I know you've never let me go, it was always me who let go. My return to Jesus was the most amazing feeling that I had ever experienced. I felt as if this time I had made a connection with God. Together we've spread the gospel much farther than ever before.

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