This week Pastor Chris continued in our mini-series about financial stewardship, exhorting us to handle God’s resources His way. The Bible provides clear instructions for tithing so that we can know how to live as obedient and faithful stewards. Chris shared how the human heart is prone to wander, and that the tithe is a test of our spiritual health. Like the Israelites, we can lose our direction and live outside of God’s will for our lives. The question of whether we tithe ultimately comes down to a question of whether we will trust God.

The Lord is Consistent (immutable)

Malachi 3:6 (ESV)
6 “For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.

Ways the Enemy Attacks
• Tries to trick us into mistrusting God.
• Convince us to take matters into our own hands.
• Deceive us to control our lives.

An Issue of Returning to God
Malachi 3:7 (ESV)
7 From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts. But you say, ‘How shall we return?’

• If you are not close to God, it is not because He has moved.

Who Owns It?

Malachi 3:8 (ESV)
8 Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions.

The goal is not to rob God less. The goal is to not rob Him at all.

Deuteronomy 14:23 (ESV)
23 And before the LORD your God, in the place that he will choose, to make his name dwell there, you shall eat the tithe of your grain, of your wine, and of your oil, and the firstborn of your herd and flock, that you may learn to fear the LORD your God always.

People often want favor from God without honoring God.

Proverbs 3:9–10 (ESV)
9 Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; 10 then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.

Leviticus 27:30 (ESV)
30 “Every tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the trees, is the LORD’s; it is holy to the LORD.

“When we take what God says is not ours and use it for something other than his prescription, we become thieves. So some are wearing stolen clothes, some are driving stolen cars. Some are living in stolen houses. Others are taking stolen vacations because they rob God to do it. Theft has become a lifestyle. Because it is done day after day, year after year, decade after decade. Then they say, well, when things will get better. Well, guess what? Nothing is going to get better because you’re under the curse.” — Tony Evans

The Goal Is Not to Rob God Less

Malachi 3:9 (ESV)
9 You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you.

When you rob God, you rob yourself.

Proverbs 10:22 (ESV)
22 The blessing of the LORD makes rich, and he adds no sorrow with it.

A blessing is when the joy and pleasure of the Lord joins the stuff.

Matthew 6:19-21 (NKJV)
19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

“It includes power (Luke 19:15–19), possessions (Matthew 19:21), and pleasures (Psalm 16:11). Jesus promises that those who sacrifice on earth will receive “a hundred times as much” in heaven (Matthew 19:29). That’s 10,000 percent—an impressive return!” — Randy Alcorn

Full Tithe or Paying Dues?

Malachi 3:10 (ESV)
10 Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.

Giving Statistics
• Only 2-3% of church goers in America tithe.
• Christians are giving at 2.5% of income today while during the Great Depression it was 3.3%.
• The average Hebrew in the Old Testament gave 25-27%.

1 Corinthians 16:2 (NIV)
2 On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.

Financial Covering

Malachi 3:11–12 (ESV)
11 I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the LORD of hosts. 12 Then all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land of delight, says the LORD of hosts.

“Tithing isn’t the ceiling of giving; it’s the floor. It’s not the finish line of giving; it’s just the starting blocks. Tithes can be the training wheels to launch us into the mind-set, skills, and habits of grace giving.” –Randy Alcorn

Key Takeaways

  1. Something must be blessed before it can multiply.
  2. Only what is given away can multiply.
  3. The point is not to rob God less. It’s not to rob God at all.
  4. Spiritual health and financial generosity are deeply connected.

Discussion Questions

  1. What is the immutability of God? How should this character trait of God affect our relationship with Him?
  2. What are the 3 areas the enemy often attacks us? Has he been attacking you in any of these areas recently?
  3. How is refusing or neglecting to tithe a way of robbing God? How is robbing God a way of robbing ourselves?
  4. Pastor Chris said that we can behave as if we’re walking with God while our hearts are wandering or detached from Him. Has this ever been your walk with the Lord? What was the root issue?
  5. How is our tithe a heart test for us? Has this sermon series exposed anything in your heart that needs to be changed or surrendered to God?

Application Questions

  1. Have you wandered away from God in a specific way? What would it look like for you to return to Him, and what is your action plan for doing so? Share this struggle and your plan with a spiritual mentor or discipler this week, and begin to walk in accountability.
  2. Do you currently tithe? If you don’t, pray the 4 R’s this week (repent, receive, rebuke, replace) for the sin of withholding God’s resources from Him, and begin to tithe this month.