Participants: Pastor Stephen Bohr
Series Code: CGC
Program Code: CGC000030
01:12 Shall we bow our heads for prayer?
01:13 Father in heaven, we thank You so much for the privilege of
01:17 being here for this study today.
01:20 We ask for the presence of Your Holy Spirit as we study about
01:24 how to invest in our future, not only in this life
01:29 but in the life to come.
01:31 We thank you for hearing our prayer
01:34 for we ask it in Jesus' name, Amen.
01:37 There is no subject that Jesus addressed more frequently
01:44 than the subject of money.
01:47 Now Jesus spoke about a lot of things: He spoke about the love
01:50 of God, He spoke about the judgment and other subjects.
01:54 But time, after time, after time in the gospels,
01:59 Jesus speaks about money.
02:03 And so this evening, in our study, we're going to discuss
02:07 what the book of Genesis has to say about investing;
02:12 investing our material resources.
02:16 And our study is going to be very simple.
02:17 We're going to study four principles that we find in the
02:22 book of Genesis, and which are amplified in the rest of
02:25 scripture, on how to administrate the money that God
02:31 has blessed us with.
02:32 So lets begin with our first principle, which is found in
02:37 Genesis 1:1, Genesis 1:1.
02:42 I don't even have to look up this verse in my Bible.
02:45 I don't think you have to either. It says there:
02:54 Clearly we find in this text that God was the Creator.
02:58 And because God was the Creator, we know that He
03:03 is the owner of everything.
03:05 And so in Genesis 1:1 we find our first principle,
03:10 and that is that God is the owner of everything,
03:14 because He created everything.
03:17 Now lets notice some other texts in the Old Testament
03:21 which underline this specific principle.
03:25 Psalm 24:1, Psalm 24:1.
03:30 We find this same principle expressed in different
03:34 terminology. It says there in Psalm 24:1:
03:49 So notice once again the idea that the world is the Lord's,
03:54 and all of the fullness thereof.
03:56 When it says the fullness thereof, it's referring to
03:59 everything that is in the world.
04:01 By the way, many people might think that perhaps we're just
04:07 reading from the Old Testament.
04:08 But allow me to say that the apostle Paul
04:11 in 1 Corinthians 10:26 actually quotes Psalm 24:1,
04:17 and reaffirms in the New Testament that the earth is the
04:22 Lord's, and the fullness thereof.
04:24 Now lets notice several other Biblical texts that refer
04:29 to this same principle, that God is the owner of everything.
04:32 Psalm 95:5, Psalm 95:5.
04:38 The same idea comes through, obviously, in different words.
04:43 It says there in Psalm 95:5:
04:49 And then it explains why.
04:56 So notice once again, the seas belong to God, and the dry land
05:01 belongs to God, because God made these things.
05:05 Notice also Psalm 50.
05:08 Let's remain in the book of Psalm just for another passage:
05:12 Psalm 50 and I would like to read verses 10 through 12.
05:18 Psalm 50:10-12. It says here:
05:36 So notice, the cattle and the beasts belong to God. Verse 12:
05:53 So our first principle is that God is the owner of everything.
05:57 He is the owner of everything, because He was the Creator.
06:02 But not only does God own the beasts of the field,
06:07 the birds of the air, the fish of the seas;
06:11 not only does He own the trees, and the seas, but God also owns
06:16 the silver and the gold, minerals,
06:18 because He created these.
06:20 Notice in the little book of Haggai 2:8, what we find
06:27 about the silver and the gold.
06:29 Haggai 2:8. It says here:
06:43 So the silver and the gold also belong to God.
06:47 Now what about us?
06:49 What about our bodies?
06:51 Go with me to 1 Corinthians 6: 19, 20, 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.
07:02 We find this very important principle expressed once again
07:06 that God is the owner, not only of the world and its fullness,
07:10 but He is our owner as well.
07:13 This is what He says:
07:38 Now it's become very common, for example, for women who
07:42 believe in abortion to think that their body belongs to them,
07:47 and they can do whatever they wish with their body.
07:49 They say, my body is mine, and what I do with it doesn't
07:52 make any difference.
07:53 The fact is that the Bible tells us very clearly that our body
07:58 belongs to God, because first of all God made it, and in the
08:02 second place God redeemed it through Jesus Christ.
08:06 Notice also 1 Timothy 6:7.
08:10 We're still on this first principle, the principle that
08:14 God is the owner of all.
08:16 1 Timothy 6:7, the apostle Paul says this,
08:21 and it's absolutely very true.
08:27 By the way, not even the clothes that we wear.
08:39 In other words, while we live we have,
08:42 when we die we have not.
08:45 Which means that everything that we have,
08:48 everything that we enjoy, belongs to God.
08:51 And as He gives us life, we have.
08:54 And when we no longer receive life, we no longer have.
08:58 Some people say, well, pastor, but all that I have
09:01 I've worked hard for.
09:03 Well, it's true that you've worked hard for it,
09:06 but let me ask you this, who gave you the resources
09:09 to be able to work?
09:11 Who gave you lungs to breathe, and a heart to beat?
09:15 Who gave you a mouth to speak, and eyes to see,
09:18 and ears to hear, which are so necessary for working,
09:22 and for making money?
09:23 Obviously, God has given us all of the resources
09:27 necessary to gain riches.
09:29 In fact we find this principle in Deuteronomy 8:18.
09:34 If you go with me there, Deuteronomy 8:18.
09:38 As Israel was about to go into the land of Canaan,
09:42 God gave them a very important warning.
09:45 And notice what He said in this warning.
10:01 So notice that it is God who gives us the power to gain
10:06 wealth, because He gives us all of the resources that we need
10:10 in order to gain wealth.
10:12 Perhaps we'll read only one more text that deals with this first
10:17 principle, that God is the owner of everything.
10:20 It's found in 1 Chronicles 29: 14, 1 Chronicles 29:14.
10:31 Here David is speaking about the building of the temple.
10:36 And I want you to notice what David has to say about the
10:41 resources that people brought for the building of the temple.
10:44 He's going to actually say that nothing that is brought belongs
10:49 to the person who brings it.
10:51 Once again, 1 Chronicles 29 and we'll read
10:56 first of all, verse 14.
11:15 Notice that they're just returning to God what already
11:18 belongs to God. And then we'll go to verse 16.
11:26 Actually, this is verse 15.
11:36 And now verse 16.
11:51 So they really weren't giving anything to God.
11:54 They were only returning to God that which
11:57 already belonged to Him.
11:58 So our first principle is that God is the owner of everything,
12:04 because God was the Creator of all.
12:07 Now let's go to principle number two.
12:10 It's also found in Genesis.
12:12 Principle number two is this: even though God is the owner
12:18 of all, He placed Adam and Eve, and us as well now, who descend
12:24 from them,...
12:27 ...of that which belongs to God.
12:30 We are not owners, we are administrators, or stewards of
12:34 that which belongs to the owner; that which belongs to God.
12:37 Notice Genesis 1:28, Genesis 1: 28.
12:44 God is speaking here about the creation of Adam and Eve,
12:49 and it says:
12:59 And now comes the key part that I want to underline.
13:11 Notice that Adam and Eve were given dominion.
13:13 That means that they were supposed to care for creation.
13:16 They were supposed to rule over creation.
13:19 But they were not the owners, they were the administrators,
13:23 or stewards of God.
13:25 Notice also Genesis 2:15.
13:28 It's speaking here specifically about Adam;
13:32 when Adam was created.
13:33 It says there in chapter 2 and verse 15:
13:45 Notice that Adam was placed in the garden of Eden to take
13:48 care of the garden; to keep the garden.
13:51 In other words, he was God's gardener.
13:53 He was God's steward, to take care of that which had been
13:57 made by the owner.
13:59 What I'm saying is that man does not own anything.
14:04 We are only administrators of God's goods.
14:08 Now there are some principles of good stewardship,
14:12 and I'm not going to look up these verses.
14:13 I'm only going to mention the characteristics
14:16 of a good steward.
14:18 In 1 Corinthians 4:2, the apostle Paul says that the first
14:23 and foremost requirement of a steward, or an administrator,
14:28 is that the administrator be found faithful;
14:32 in other words trustworthy.
14:34 A steward, or an administrator, of another person's goods
14:38 must be absolutely honest and faithful in everything
14:44 that he does with that which belongs to the owner.
14:47 Another characteristic is found in Matthew 25:27, where we have
14:54 the parable of the talents.
14:56 And you remember that there was one individual that received
14:59 one talent, and he buried the talent under the ground,
15:02 because he hadn't received many?
15:04 And when Jesus comes He demands an accounting from this
15:10 individual who buried his talent.
15:12 And He says, you should have taken this talent,
15:15 and you should have invested it so that I could receive
15:19 my own back with interest.
15:22 So notice that a good steward not only enjoys that which
15:26 belongs to the owner, but he invests, and strengthens that
15:30 which belongs to the owner.
15:31 Which means that God gives us strength.
15:33 Through exercise we are to gain more strength.
15:37 God gives us money; we are supposed to multiply that
15:40 for His honor and glory.
15:41 God gives us time; we're supposed to redeem the time,
15:44 and take advantage of the time, and invest our time wisely.
15:49 So characteristics of a good steward: first of all faithful
15:53 or trustworthy, secondly invest and multiply that which belongs
15:58 to the owner, and one further characteristic is that
16:02 eventually a steward is going to have to render the owner
16:06 an account. In fact, we find in Luke 16:2 that there was a
16:12 steward that had been embezzling money from the
16:14 owner, and the owner brought him before him, and he says,
16:18 I hear that you've been embezzling money from me.
16:23 In other words, as administrators of God's goods,
16:26 someday we are going to have to render Him an account for the
16:30 way that we have used the resources that He has given us.
16:34 Now we've studied two principles so far, both of them
16:38 in the book of Genesis, and amplified elsewhere
16:41 in scripture. The first principle is that God is the
16:45 owner of everything.
16:46 We own absolutely nothing.
16:48 The second principle is that even though God is the owner,
16:52 we are the administrators of the goods that belong to God.
16:57 In other words, we should be faithful.
16:59 We should invest what He has given us.
17:01 And we will have to render an account, as His stewards,
17:04 or as His administrators, someday.
17:07 Now let's go to principle number three.
17:10 It's found in Genesis 2:16, 17, Genesis 2:16, 17.
17:20 You see, God was the owner.
17:22 Adam and Eve were the stewards, or the administrators.
17:26 But there was something which God reserved for Himself,
17:30 which was only the property of the owner, which Adam and Eve
17:36 were not to use for themselves.
17:39 We find this in Genesis 2:16, 17.
18:02 All of the trees in the garden of Eden belonged to God,
18:05 no doubt whatsoever.
18:07 But this tree belonged to God in a special sense,
18:12 in a special way.
18:13 And Adam and Eve could actually enjoy the fruit of all of
18:17 the trees of the garden, as God's administrators,
18:20 but this special tree God conserved only for Himself.
18:26 Now let me ask you, is there something that God has reserved
18:32 today only for Himself of that which He has entrusted
18:36 us to administrate?
18:38 The answer is absolutely yes.
18:42 The Bible calls it the tithe.
18:46 Go with me to Leviticus 27:30, Leviticus 27:30.
18:55 Here we find a reference to the tithe.
18:58 Tithe means ten percent.
19:00 It says there in verse 30:
19:18 So in the case of Israel, all of the seeds they planted,
19:22 all of the animals that they had, and so on, one out of every
19:27 ten belonged exclusively to God.
19:30 They were not to administrate it.
19:32 They were not to use it.
19:34 God reserved it exclusively to Himself, and for Himself.
19:40 I've heard people say, well, Pastor Bohr, do you know
19:44 that the tithe was actually something for the Jews
19:48 in the Old Testament?
19:49 The tithe is not for Christians today.
19:52 You know, I find it kind of interesting that people today,
19:55 anything that demands a change of lifestyle was for the Jews.
19:59 People say, oh, the Sabbath?
20:01 No, that was for the Jews.
20:03 Healthful living and the distinction between clean
20:06 and unclean foods?
20:07 That was for the Jews.
20:09 Tithing? Oh, that was for the Jews.
20:11 Anything that requires a sacrifice, or requires an
20:15 investment for God, people say it was for the Jews.
20:19 By the way, do you know that the tithe did not
20:22 originate with Moses?
20:23 The tithe originated way back hundreds of years before
20:29 Moses ever lived.
20:30 We have two references to tithe in the book of Genesis.
20:35 We have in Genesis 14:18-20, the story of Abraham.
20:41 You know, he went and he fought against the kings that had
20:44 looted Sodom and Gomorrah.
20:47 And, of course, Lot lived in Sodom, his relative.
20:50 And so Abraham went and fought with them and he got
20:52 all of the loot back.
20:54 And as he's returning to the city of Sodom, with all of
20:57 things that he had rescued, he meets an individual called
21:01 Melchizedek, and Melchizedek was a high priest
21:06 of the Most High God.
21:07 And the Bible says that Abraham gave Melchizedek the tithes
21:13 of all of the loot that he was bringing.
21:16 In other words, tithe is mentioned in Genesis chapter 14.
21:21 It's mentioned in the days of Abraham.
21:23 Long before Moses, at least four or five hundred years
21:27 before Moses, tithing was a practice.
21:30 So it doesn't have anything to do with the Jews, or with Moses.
21:34 Furthermore we find another reference to tithing
21:37 in the book of Genesis.
21:39 In Genesis 28 we have the story of the ladder that Jacob saw
21:43 between heaven and earth.
21:45 It's been called Jacob's ladder, but it's actually
21:47 the Lord's ladder.
21:48 And immediately after Jacob sees that ladder in the dream,
21:53 and he wakes up, he promises the Lord, he says:
21:58 ...and you protect me along the way, I will give you a third
22:03 of everything, or not a third, a tenth of everything
22:07 that I receive, as a result of Your blessing.
22:11 And so we find very clearly in Genesis 28 that Jacob understood
22:18 the principle of the tithe.
22:20 He said, I will return ten percent to You.
22:24 So we find a reference to tithing in Genesis 14,
22:28 and we find a reference to tithing in Genesis chapter 28,
22:32 long before Moses and Israel came on the scene.
22:37 Now the question comes up, why should we tithe?
22:41 What should the tithe be used for?
22:44 If it belongs to God, it comes through my hands, how am I
22:48 supposed to give it?
22:49 Where am I supposed to give it, and what is the purpose or
22:52 intent for its use?
22:54 We find the answer to this question in Numbers 18:20, 21,
23:01 Numbers 18:20, 21.
23:05 And while you're looking for this passage in Numbers 18,
23:10 allow me to give you a note of explanation.
23:12 When the children of Israel left Egypt and they entered the
23:16 promised land of Canaan, God gave each of the tribes a piece
23:20 of land to distribute among the families that
23:23 belonged to that tribe.
23:24 Now allow me to say that there was one tribe that did not
23:29 receive anything in the land of Canaan.
23:33 They received no inheritance.
23:34 They received no land.
23:35 And so you say, well, if they didn't receive any inheritance
23:39 how could they survive?
23:40 You know, they couldn't raise animals
23:41 if they didn't have land.
23:43 They couldn't raise any agricultural products if they
23:46 didn't have any land.
23:47 So how could they survive?
23:49 Well, the answer is very simple.
23:51 The tribe which received no inheritance was Levi.
23:54 And God told the Levites, You are going to work
23:58 in the Sanctuary.
23:59 You're going to serve the spiritual needs
24:01 of the congregation.
24:03 And as remuneration for your Spiritual service to the
24:07 congregation, the congregation will bring the tithes
24:10 to the temple, and you will live off of the tithes that are
24:14 brought by all of the other eleven tribes.
24:17 Now let's notice this in Numbers 20, and beginning with
24:22 verse 18, Numbers 18:20, Numbers 18:20.
24:34 It says here:
25:10 Several important things in these two verses:
25:12 First of all, the tithe is given to the Levites by the Lord.
25:17 The people brought the tithe, yes, but the Lord was the One
25:21 who was giving the tithes to the Levites, because the tithes
25:25 belonged to God.
25:27 Another important principle is that the Levites had a
25:30 perfect right to receive the tithes, so that they could live
25:34 on this money which was brought, because they actually
25:37 served the spiritual needs of the congregation.
25:41 A very important and interesting detail that we find in
25:45 Numbers 18, is that even the priests tithed.
25:50 I mean, how could the priests ask the children of Israel to
25:53 tithe, if they didn't give an example and tithe as well?
25:56 We find in Numbers 18:26, that the priests also tithed.
26:04 Notice what we see here:
26:25 Notice that they were supposed to offer the tithe of the tithe.
26:29 The priests were to give a good example, and they were supposed
26:33 to tithe the tithes that Israel brought.
26:37 Now let's notice the book of Malachi 3:8, and we'll also read
26:43 the first part of verse 10.
26:45 Malachi is the last book of the Old Testament,
26:48 chapter 3 and verse 8.
26:50 The question is asked by God Himself:
27:09 And then notice verse 10. God says:
27:18 Let's stop there.
27:20 God says bring all of the tithes into the storehouse.
27:23 By the way, the storehouse is an area in the temple where
27:27 the agricultural goods were brought in and stored,
27:31 so that the Levites could receive remuneration for
27:35 their work in the sanctuary.
27:37 So we find very clearly here that God is saying to Israel,
27:41 you're not paying a faithful tithe.
27:43 You are robbing Me.
27:44 So if we don't return to God the portion that belongs to God,
27:49 we are actually robbing God.
27:51 We should bring all of the tithes, and notice, all of the
27:55 offerings into the Lord's storehouse.
27:59 Now some people say, well, this was only for the Jews
28:02 in the Old Testament.
28:03 Jesus didn't teach us that we're supposed to tithe, did He?
28:07 Well, the fact is that Jesus did.
28:09 In Matthew 23:23 the Lord Jesus actually rebuked the Pharisees.
28:16 He says, you tithe the mint, the dill, and the cumin
28:21 which are, by the way, little tiny seeds.
28:28 which are things like:
28:33 And then Jesus says, you should have done the tithing,
28:39 and also have justice, mercy, and faith.
28:43 You should have done these without leaving
28:46 the others undone.
28:47 In other words, Jesus implicitly taught that we are supposed
28:52 to tithe, as well as have mercy, and justice, and faith.
28:56 Some people wonder why Jesus did not reenact the tithe,
29:00 and say clearly, you're supposed to tithe,
29:04 just like in the Old Testament.
29:05 The fact is folks, that Jesus didn't have to say that,
29:08 because everybody was practicing the tithe.
29:10 The same is true of the Sabbath.
29:12 You won't find one reference of Jesus in the New Testament
29:15 that says, you shall keep the Sabbath,
29:18 at least in the gospels, keep the Sabbath holy.
29:21 And yet Jesus went into the synagogue on Sabbath.
29:25 Jesus kept the Sabbath.
29:26 Jesus taught the true meaning of the Sabbath.
29:28 But Jesus did not have to make a command to keep the Sabbath,
29:33 because all of the Jews claimed to be keeping the Sabbath.
29:36 Jesus simply had to correct the wrong view that they had about
29:40 the tithe, because they were tithing and they didn't have
29:43 mercy, justice, and faith.
29:44 They were keeping the Sabbath, so called, but they were not
29:48 having mercy on people.
29:49 They had lost the meaning of the Sabbath.
29:51 And so Jesus is saying, you should have mercy, justice,
29:55 and faith, and you should also tithe as well.
29:58 Now what about the rest of the New Testament?
30:02 Does the New Testament re-enact the principle of the tithe?
30:06 Well, the apostle Paul certainly does.
30:09 I want to just mention from 1 Corinthians 9, we're going to
30:13 read verses 13 and 14 in a moment, but I need to give you
30:17 the previous context.
30:18 The apostle Paul here is speaking specifically about
30:22 the tithe, and he gives three examples that are not Biblical,
30:26 and then he gives two Biblical examples to show that the
30:30 tithing principle is still binding upon Christians.
30:33 First of all he says, what person goes to war
30:37 at his own expense?
30:39 I mean, what would it be like if our president said to all of
30:42 our soldiers, I want you to go fight this war over in Iraq.
30:46 And I want you to pay for your own airfare, and you'll pay for
30:50 your own meals in the airplane.
30:52 And when you get there you're going to have to pay for
30:55 your own hotel, and your own food in restaurants.
30:57 I mean how many people would go to war if that was the case?
31:01 Obviously, not very many!
31:02 And so the apostle Paul says, if you go to war, you're going to
31:06 live off of the funds of the one who sends you to war.
31:10 And then he goes on to say, If you plant a vineyard,
31:14 you're going to be able to eat the grapes from the vineyard.
31:17 And then he gives a third example.
31:19 He says, if you raise a flock of cows, you have a right to
31:24 drink the milk that the cows produce, because you are worthy
31:27 of the work that you perform.
31:30 And then he's going to apply that principle to those who
31:33 preach the gospel.
31:34 He's going to say, if you preach the gospel, you have a right
31:37 to live from the tithes that are given by those who are receiving
31:42 the preaching of the gospel.
31:43 Let's go to 1 Corinthians 9:13, 14, where we find the Biblical
31:51 argument. By the way, there's another Biblical argument also.
31:54 The apostle Paul quotes from the book of Deuteronomy, which says
31:57 you shall not muzzle an ox when he treads the grainery.
32:02 You see, the oxen were used to tread the grainery to shred the
32:07 grain, and a muzzle was not to be put on their mouth,
32:12 because as they were working, they had a right to eat
32:15 of the grain that was on the ground,
32:17 because they were working.
32:18 And the apostle Paul actually uses the argument from
32:22 Deuteronomy to show that that principle applies to ministers
32:27 working in the gospel, and being remunerated for their work.
32:30 Notice 1 Corinthians 9:1-14.
32:40 That's where the whole passage is, but let's read specifically
32:43 verses 13 and 14.
32:46 Here the apostle Paul says the following words:
32:53 verses 13 and 14 of chapter 9.
32:58 Do you not know that those who minister the holy things
33:04 eat of the things of the temple? and those who serve at the altar
33:11 partake of the offerings of the altar?
33:14 Notice, those who serve in the temple, those who serve
33:18 at the altar, they partake of the things of the
33:20 temple and the altar.
33:21 That's referring to the tithes that were brought.
33:23 And then notice verse 14: Even so the Lord has suggested.
33:29 Is that what it says?
33:31 Even so the Lord has recommended.
33:35 Is that what it says? No.
33:38 Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel
33:45 should live from the gospel.
33:47 Obviously, he's taking the example of the priests that
33:51 served at the altar, and served at the temple,
33:53 priests that ministered to the spiritual needs of Israel,
33:57 and he's saying the same applies today to those who preach
34:02 the gospel; those who preach the gospel should eat from the
34:05 gospel. In other words, they should be remunerated from
34:09 the tithes. So we've studied three principles so far.
34:13 Principle 1. God is the owner of everything.
34:16 Principle 2. Even though God is the owner, He has placed us
34:21 as His stewards, or His administrators.
34:24 Principle 3. God has reserved for Himself something which is
34:29 exclusively for Him.
34:32 It is not to be used by us, and that is the tithe.
34:36 Now there's a fourth principle, which is extremely important.
34:40 We find this one in Genesis 1: 28, Genesis 1:28.
34:48 And then we're going to go to another verse that we find in
34:52 Genesis 2. But anyway, in Genesis 1:28 it says:
35:12 Notice, God blessed them.
35:15 Now what was the condition for them continuing to enjoy
35:19 the Lord's blessing?
35:20 Well, we know that there was a condition.
35:23 We find it in Genesis 2:16, 17, which we already read before,
35:29 but let's read it again.
35:30 It says here, And the Lord God commanded the man, saying,
35:33 Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat:
35:36 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not
35:39 eat: for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.
35:43 Notice God is saying, look, I blessed you, and I bless
35:46 everything connected with you.
35:48 But I have this tree that I want you to respect:
35:51 the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
35:53 All of the other trees belong to Me, too.
35:55 You can use them, you can administrate them, but when it
35:58 comes to this tree, it's off limits.
36:00 It belongs exclusively to Me.
36:01 Now God says, if you partake of this tree, you're going to die.
36:05 You know, it's no coincidence that immediately after Adam
36:09 and Eve sinned, the word curse is used three times
36:14 in Genesis 3 and 4.
36:17 The earth is cursed, the serpent is cursed, and Cain is cursed.
36:22 What God is saying, is if you respect my tree, and you don't
36:30 use it for yourself, you will continue to enjoy the blessing.
36:35 If you, however, disrespect My tree, and use it for your own
36:39 purposes, then the curse is going to come.
36:42 And, by the way, it's not the case that God is sitting there
36:45 on His throne, He's saying, boy I'm just going to wait to see
36:47 who's going to tithe and who isn't, because I'm just
36:50 dying to curse someone.
36:51 That's not the case.
36:52 The case is that we bring a curse upon ourselves by not
36:57 respecting that which belongs to God.
36:59 And so the fourth principle is that if we respect God's
37:03 portion, that He has reserved for Himself, which now is the
37:06 tithe, a blessing comes upon us.
37:10 If, on the other hand, we use the tithe for our own personal
37:14 benefit, and for our own expenses, the result is
37:18 the curse, just like it says in the book of Genesis.
37:21 By the way, we find this same principle in the book of Malachi
37:26 chapter 3, Malachi chapter 3, and I would like to read
37:30 verses 9 and 10, Malachi 3: 9, 10.
37:35 God says to Israel:
37:44 What have they robbed Him from?
37:46 We noticed already in verse 8, in tithes and offerings.
37:50 Verse 10.
38:11 Notice what God is saying.
38:12 He's saying, if you respect the tithe; if you bring the tithes
38:16 to the storehouse, I will pour out upon you a blessing so great
38:20 that you will not have room to receive it.
38:23 Now let me explain something.
38:25 We do not tithe in order to be blessed.
38:28 We do not tithe because we are blessed.
38:33 We tithe and we are blessed.
38:37 I'm going to repeat that again.
38:40 We do not tithe in order to be blessed.
38:43 We do not tithe because we are blessed.
38:47 We tithe and we are blessed.
38:51 In other words, we're not mercenaries in the service
38:53 of God; where God says, if you're faithful in your taxes,
38:57 I won't curse you.
38:58 God is not a heavenly IRS agent.
39:00 In fact, the reason why I tithe is because it's a
39:04 matter of principle.
39:05 The tithe, I know, doesn't belong to me.
39:08 It belongs to God, pure and simple, and therefore
39:11 it comes through my checkbook, and it goes out
39:14 on the other side.
39:15 I bring it to church, because I know that it's not mine.
39:18 I know that it is His.
39:20 But even if I didn't receive blessings, I would still give
39:24 the tithe, or return the tithe, because it belongs to God,
39:28 as a matter of principle.
39:30 Now I'd like to share with you two stories that we find
39:33 in the Old Testament that illustrate these two principles,
39:37 or these four principles, actually, not only the last
39:40 two, but all four.
39:41 The fact that God is the owner of everything.
39:44 The fact that we are His stewards.
39:46 The fact that God has reserved something for Himself.
39:48 And the fact that we receive a blessing if we reserve that
39:52 which God has reserved only for Himself.
39:55 And we bring a curse if we use that which God has
39:58 reserved for Himself.
39:59 The first example that I would like to give is from the story
40:03 that we find in 1 Kings 17.
40:06 And we're not going to look it up.
40:07 You can look it up in your spare time.
40:08 It's in your list of texts.
40:10 But, anyway, it's the story of Elijah.
40:12 God told Elijah, I want you to go to the city of Zarepath.
40:15 And there you're going to find a widow that's going to sustain
40:18 you until it rains again upon the earth,
40:21 because Elijah was fleeing.
40:23 It hadn't rained for about three years.
40:25 So Elijah goes to Zarepath, and as he's coming into the town
40:29 he meets this little widow.
40:30 And she's picking up a few sticks to build a fire,
40:34 and to prepare her last meal, because she just has a little
40:36 bit of flour, and a little bit of oil left.
40:39 And so when Elijah sees her he says to her, ah, please bring
40:43 me a cup of water.
40:44 That was a real luxury, by the way, because it hadn't rained
40:47 for three years. So the little widow, she's going to bring
40:51 Elijah the cup of water, and Elijah says, as she's going on
40:55 this errand, he says, oh, by the way, bring me also some bread.
40:59 And the widow looks at him and she says, listen, I have just a
41:03 little bit of flour, and a little bit of oil,
41:04 and I'm going to go prepare just a couple of loaves of bread
41:08 and then my son and I are going to die, because we're not
41:11 going to have anything more to eat.
41:12 And Elijah says something very strange to this widow.
41:15 He says, listen, go and do as you have said.
41:19 Go and prepare the bread, but bring me a small loaf first.
41:27 Now that's interesting.
41:29 Elijah was God's minister.
41:32 And Elijah says to her, bring the small loaf first.
41:38 And then Elijah makes a promise, actually it's a promise
41:42 of God through Elijah.
41:44 Elijah says, if you do this, if you bring me the small loaf
41:48 of bread first, God promises that the oil will not be
41:53 lacking, and the flour will not be lacking until it rains
41:56 again upon the earth.
41:58 Now the widow had to make a decision.
42:00 She had to say, well, is it better just go ahead and enjoy
42:03 a full meal now and then die, or is it better to risk it
42:07 and give God's prophet the little loaf of bread first?
42:11 Well, all I need to say is that the little widow decided that
42:14 she would give the little loaf of bread to the prophet first.
42:18 And do you know what?
42:19 That barrel of flower, and that flask of oil produced flour
42:23 and oil continuously until it rained again upon the earth.
42:29 God, connected with the tithe, always gives a promise.
42:33 He says, if you are faithful in your tithes and offerings,
42:37 I promise that I will not forsake you.
42:41 I will not leave you.
42:43 I will provide for you.
42:44 But folks, the only way that we can know that that is true,
42:48 is if we test God, or if we try God.
42:52 In other words, we have to step out in faith, and we have to
42:55 say, I'm going to respect God's tithes.
42:57 I'm going to give offerings, and God promises that He's not
43:03 going to forsake me, and He's not going to leave me.
43:05 If we don't do that, we'll never know whether God's promise
43:09 was going to be fulfilled or not, because it won't be
43:12 fulfilled with us.
43:14 Another story which we find in the Old Testament,
43:17 which is really interesting, is the story of Joseph.
43:19 Genesis 39:1-9 has this story.
43:23 Joseph, of course, was taken as a slave to Egypt.
43:27 And he ended up in the house of a man named Potiphar.
43:30 And Potiphar developed a real trusting relationship with
43:34 Joseph. In fact, Joseph was the steward, it says in Genesis 39,
43:40 of Potiphar's house.
43:41 And Potiphar trusted Joseph so much that, we're told there
43:45 in that passage, that Potiphar didn't even know how many
43:48 many possessions he had.
43:49 He didn't know what he owned.
43:51 Basically all he knew was that he would come and he would eat
43:54 his meals at the table, because he trusted Joseph so much.
43:58 Joseph was a faithful steward.
44:00 But I want you to notice in this story that there was something
44:03 which Potiphar had reserved only for himself,
44:05 and that was his wife.
44:07 And Joseph, to show that he was a faithful steward,
44:10 had to respect that which Potiphar had reserved
44:14 only for himself, and that was Potiphar's wife.
44:17 Notice how we find the principles here.
44:19 We find the principles that Joseph recognized that
44:23 Potiphar was the owner.
44:24 Joseph was a faithful steward.
44:26 Potiphar had reserved something for himself, which Joseph was
44:31 not to use for himself.
44:32 He could use everything else, but he could not use
44:35 Potiphar's wife. You say, well, but wait a minute.
44:39 What about the blessing and the curse?
44:40 Wasn't Joseph cursed because he was faithful to God
44:44 rather than being blessed?
44:45 Well, it would appear so in the immediate context, but I'm not
44:51 going to get into the story.
44:52 As a result of Joseph's faithfulness in respecting the
44:57 wife of Potiphar, as well as obeying the law of God,
45:01 thou shalt not commit adultery, Joseph became the savior
45:05 of his father and his brothers, and he preserved the seed
45:09 through whom the Messiah would eventually come.
45:12 So if you look at it in the long range situation,
45:15 you'll find that Joseph's faithfulness in respecting that
45:20 which Potiphar had reserved for himself,
45:22 brought a huge blessing.
45:25 Now we need to talk a little bit about offerings.
45:29 You say, wow, so we're supposed to return to God ten percent,
45:33 and we're also supposed to return offerings to God?
45:36 Boy, God is really asking a lot from us.
45:38 Well, I don't think God is asking that much from us.
45:41 Let me give you an example.
45:42 Let's talk about someone like Bill Gates, for example.
45:47 What if Bill Gates came to you.
45:50 He's the owner of Microsoft, by the way, if you don't know.
45:52 He comes to you and he says, I'm going to open this company,
45:55 and I'm going to provide all of the capital,
45:57 all of the technology, all of the personnel.
46:00 I'm going to provide you with everything that you need
46:03 for this business enterprise to be successful.
46:06 And he says, I want you to be the administrator
46:09 of that company, and I'll tell you what I want you to do.
46:13 You administrate the company, you can keep ninety percent
46:18 of the proceeds or of the profit from the company,
46:22 and I want you to return to me ten percent.
46:25 Would you say, man, what a stingy guy?
46:29 You mean to say that he expects me to return ten percent to him?
46:34 Listen, folks, God has given us all the resources in the world,
46:37 and He only requires that we recognize that ten percent
46:42 belongs to Him, but He also wants us to show our
46:46 gratefulness, our thankfulness to Him by returning offerings.
46:51 You know, there's a very interesting word which appears
46:55 constantly in scripture, and that is the word give.
47:00 Do you know that God's kingdom is based on giving?
47:04 Satan's kingdom is based on selfishness and covetousness?
47:10 Allow me just to mention some verses in scripture that use
47:14 this little word with reference to God, and to Christ.
47:18 The apostle Paul, in Acts 20:35, quotes the Lord Jesus as saying:
47:24 It is more blessed to give than it is to what?
47:29 It is more blessed to give than it is to receive.
47:34 We find also in John 3:16...
47:37 We don't even have to look up that verse.
47:49 Notice once again, more blessed to give than to receive.
47:52 God gave His only begotten Son.
47:55 We have Matthew 20:28, the same idea. Jesus says:
48:09 Notice once again the emphasis upon the word give.
48:13 Luke 6:38 we find that Jesus says:
48:32 Notice once again, that if you give, it will be given unto you.
48:37 Also we find the experience of Zaccaheus.
48:40 You know, Zaccheus was a pretty selfish man.
48:44 He actually extorted money.
48:46 He was like a tax collector, and he extorted more money than
48:51 what people owed to the Roman government.
48:53 And when Zaccheus met Jesus on the road to Jericho,
48:59 we find that Zaccheus, you know, he wanted to catch a glimpse
49:04 of Jesus, and Jesus knew all the time that he was in the sycamore
49:07 tree, and so Jesus says, Zaccheus, come down for
49:12 I'm going to go to your house today.
49:13 And Zaccheus accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior and Lord.
49:18 His heart was converted to the Lord.
49:21 Now I want you to notice what the first result
49:24 of his conversion was.
49:25 Zaccheus stood publicly, we're told there in Luke 19.
49:30 He publicly stood and he said:
49:45 In other words four times more I give.
49:47 And some people say, why would Zaccheus only give half
49:52 of his goods to the poor?
49:53 Well, the fact is, he probably needed the other half to restore
49:56 fourfold to the people that he had defrauded.
49:59 But I want you to notice that when Zaccheus is converted
50:02 the first result is that he considers money
50:06 in a different way.
50:07 He reckons money is a different fashion.
50:10 Now instead of hoarding riches, instead of extorting money,
50:15 instead of keeping money, now he is a giver.
50:20 We find many examples in scripture of this.
50:24 You know, here in the San Joaquin Valley we have,
50:28 on the eastern ridge we have the Sierra Nevada;
50:32 just absolutely beautiful this time of year, in the winter,
50:36 you know, on a clear day.
50:37 Today was a very clear day.
50:39 You have the snow capped mountains.
50:40 I want you to think about the cycle of water.
50:44 You know, in the springtime the snow on those mountains
50:47 melts. And the snow melts, trickles down the mountain
50:53 side in little brooks, and the brooks become streams,
50:56 and then those streams go into the Kings River,
51:00 and the Kings River goes into the reservoirs,
51:02 it goes into the ocean eventually, some of that water,
51:06 and then, of course, the water goes from the ocean and
51:09 condenses, goes into the clouds, and then the clouds send,
51:12 once again, their snow or their rain upon the mountains,
51:15 and the process begins all over again.
51:17 That's the cycle of water.
51:20 You know, the clouds give their snow to the mountains.
51:23 The mountains give their water to the streams.
51:25 The streams give their water to the rivers.
51:28 The rivers give their water to the ocean.
51:31 The oceans give their water to the clouds.
51:34 And once again the cycle begins.
51:36 If at any point any of these steps ceased to give,
51:41 life would cease to exist.
51:45 All of nature teaches the principle of giving.
51:50 Let's notice Mark 12:43, 44.
51:55 This is speaking about an offering which was given
51:58 in the temple. Mark 12:43, 44.
52:03 This is the experience of the little widow who put in her
52:07 two mites in the treasury of the temple.
52:10 Actually, I'm going to begin reading at verse 41
52:12 for the context. It says: Now Jesus sat opposite
52:17 the treasury and saw how the people put money
52:22 into the treasury, and many who were rich put in much.
52:27 I can imagine them just taking their coins and dropping them
52:32 from high up, so that everybody could hear all of the money
52:36 that we're putting into the treasury.
52:37 But now I want you to notice, among all of those rich people
52:41 comes this poor little widow.
52:42 Verse 42. Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites,
52:48 which make a quadrance, a very insignificant amount.
53:04 Not more in amount, but she gave more in principle.
53:08 Why? Notice verse 44:
53:23 Do you know that our generosity is not measured by how much we
53:26 give, but by how much we have left after we have given?
53:30 Sacrifice is not measured by the amount that we contribute,
53:34 it's measured by the amount that we have left after
53:38 we have contributed.
53:39 She gave more because she gave everything that she had,
53:43 because she believed in the cause of God.
53:47 You know, we should really follow the example of Jesus.
53:50 2 Corinthians 8:9 says, that though Jesus was rich,
53:56 he became poor...
54:03 Jesus did not consider the riches and the glory of heaven
54:07 something to be grasped, or something to be hung onto.
54:10 Jesus was willing to give it all up in order to save us from sin,
54:15 so that we could be in His kingdom.
54:17 Those who have the heart of Jesus will have the same
54:20 priorities as Jesus does.
54:22 The Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Timothy 6:9, 10, that the love
54:28 of money is the root of all kinds of evil.
54:33 And, by the way, the King James version says,
54:36 is the root of all evil.
54:38 It can be translated either way, the root of all evil,
54:41 or the root of all kinds of evil.
54:43 Just look at this world today, and I think that if you look
54:47 carefully you'll see that this statement is true.
54:50 Almost every single problem in the world, at some point,
54:54 revolves around money.
54:57 Jesus said in Matthew 16:26, Matthew 16:26,
55:04 a very well known verse.
55:06 It's one of those formula sayings of Jesus. He says:
55:22 What does it profit a man if you're going to gain everything
55:25 in the world, and yet you lose your soul?
55:28 By the way, Ezekiel 7:19 tells us that someday soon,
55:34 when Jesus comes, people are going to take their silver
55:39 and their gold, and they are going to throw their silver
55:42 and their gold into the streets, and they're going to say,
55:46 this is no good. It doesn't do us any good,
55:49 because our gold and our silver will not be able to deliver us
55:54 in the day of the wrath of the Lord.
55:57 So we must make investments in the bank of heaven.
56:01 Let's notice our last text: Matthew 6:19-21,
56:09 Matthew 6:19-21. This is also one of those sayings of Jesus
56:17 which is very well known.
56:18 Here Jesus says this:
56:47 And so God gives us these four principles.
56:50 He is the owner, we are the His students.
56:53 He has reserved for Himself tithes and offerings,
56:57 by the way, and if we return a faithful tithe,
57:02 and our offerings, we receive a blessing.
57:05 If not, we bring a curse upon ourselves.
57:09 Let's make investments in God's kingdom.
57:13 Let's use our resources for His honor and for His glory,
57:18 and for our eternal investment in heaven.