Returning to God
Robert W. Caviness
God has provided us with his Word, which contains everything that we need that pertains to life and Godliness. Everything that we need instruction about living a Godly life can be found in our King James Bibles. We know from studying salvation that the responsibility is upon us to study his word and that it is also a necessity to walk in the word, and not only be a hearer, but a doer of the Word for us to reap the rewards promised to us.
God gave his only begotten son that all that believe in him SHOULD not perish, but we have to know this truth and walk in this truth or we will perish. God has provided a plan for us to be able to walk in his abundance in our personal lives. God is able and ready to provide our every NEED, not necessarily our every desire, but our every NEED provided that we take the time to study his Word and his commandments and keep them and DO them. The burden is on us, he has provided the answers, but we have to be wise enough to study his word and follow after his commandments to receive the fullness of his blessing in our lives. The thief cometh not but to steal and to kill and destroy, but Jesus said I am come that ye have life and have in more abundantly.
God, who created the heavens and
the earth, and set in place all the rules that govern its
operation, took the time to show us in his word exactly what we
should do to have all the things we NEED. God said his people are
cut off and/or perish for a lack of knowledge, lets not
overlook knowledge that God has provided for us brethren.
There is a crucial forewarning to this message though. This is an ESSENTIAL integral part of walking WITH God, and I intend to address it in that way first and foremost.
There are many who today have
developed the supermarket mentality towards Gods word. By
this, I mean that they go to the word, look through the different
verses, and pick and choose what they want to have in their
lives, and try to leave the rest on the shelf. This is not only
very foolish, but it will not profit a man in his relationship
with God. Unless you have the basic foundation of who Jesus
Christ is and what he did for us and why it was necessary, the
understanding of the importance of faith and how faith works by
love, and also what REAL Godly love is as opposed to what the
world thinks of as love, this will be of absolutely no lasting
benefit to you, and very well may lead you into gross sin and
error. If you dont have the son you dont have
anything, and the days are short. Make sure you have this crucial
foundation before you attempt to dig into these deeper things of
God, because without that foundation of the rock, which is Jesus,
your house will most certainly fall.
OK. We know were sinners, we know that our need for a savior is real, and weve come to God and accepted him as our Lord and Savior and are trusting in his atoning work for us on the cross to take away our sins and restore a right relationship with God through HIS righteousness and not our own self righteousness and works. We also understand that Jesus said if we love him well keep his commandments and were honoring Gods commandments or Royal Law by keeping them and walking in love towards God first and our neighbor as well. Now what? Weve repented, accepted Jesus and begun a walk with God towards greater and greater peace and fullness as we learn his perfect will from his word. What should we next be focusing on to add to our foundation of a Godly life? God tells us. Lets consider this from the book of Malachi:
MAL 3:7-12 Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return? Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts.
See, God is telling us to return to him. Then he poses the question himself, wherein shall we return? How do we return an draw near to God?
He goes on to answer this question with another question. Will a man rob God? He explains that they had robbed him in their tithes and offerings, and he tells them to bring the tithes into the storehouse and then he tells them/us what will happen if we do.
This is the ONLY place in the Bible that God tells us to prove him. Our walk is by faith and not sight for without faith it is impossible to please God. In most cases, requesting proof of God, or seeking after a sign would be a sin, all that is not of faith is sin. It demonstrates a lack of trust in God and his word, and it also shows a double mindedness which God says makes it impossible to receive anything from him. Here however, God dares and challenges us to prove him. I think thats crucial that this is the only place in the Bible he does so. And, if we do take this leap of faith and prove him, we see what he says he will do. Pour us out a blessing so great there will not be room enough to receive it all in. And, he also promises to REBUKE the devourer for OUR sakes.
In our positional authority we have IN Christ Jesus, we have authority over all the power of the enemy, and its most always OUR responsibility to rebuke the devil and keep him from hindering us in our lives. However, this is the only place in Gods word where HE promises to do it for us.
I trust Jesus and his word that I have power over all the power of the enemy, but wow, it sure is nice to think that God himself is rebuking the devourer for my sake. Im sure he can do it much better than I can.
This one chapter in the Bible has two different things that are found nowhere else in Gods word. Gods challenge to us to prove him and seek the sign that confirms this word, and also his promise to rebuke the devourer for our sakes. I think that makes it a very important thing to understand these verses, God made them stand out. The important thing to realize here is that God was telling them how to RETURN to him. Once youve repented and decided that you want to turn to God, how should you go about doing it? God tells us, very plainly to get obedient in our tithes and offerings, and then he offers us these incredible promises to expect from him if we do. We truly do have a good and wonderful God to serve.
Robbery is stealing, a direct
breaking of a covenant. Also, who is the last person we should
rob? Wouldnt it be much better to rob anybody BUT GOD? When
we rob God, we are acting like Satan in that we are stealing.
This is a serious reproof for us.
Notice how God says that you are cursed with a curse We understand that there is a curse on all of creation because of mans sin. God talks about blessing quite a bit in Deuteronomy. Consider Deuteronomy 28:1-14:
And it shall come
to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the
LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I
command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on
high above all nations of the earth: And all these blessings
shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto
the voice of the LORD thy God. Blessed shalt thou be in the city,
and blessed shalt thou be in the field. Blessed shall be the
fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of
thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy
sheep. Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store. Blessed shalt
thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou
goest out. The LORD shall cause thine enemies that rise up
against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out
against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways. The LORD
shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, and in
all that thou settest thine hand unto; and he shall bless thee in
the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. The LORD shall
establish thee an holy people unto himself, as he hath sworn unto
thee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God,
and walk in his ways. And all people of the earth shall see that
thou art called by the name of the LORD; and they shall be afraid
of thee. And the LORD shall make thee plenteous in goods, in the
fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the
fruit of thy ground, in the land which the LORD sware unto thy
fathers to give thee. The LORD shall open unto thee his good
treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his
season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt
lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow. And the LORD
shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be
above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken
unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee
this day, to observe and to do them: And thou shalt not go aside
from any of the words which I command thee this day, to the right
hand, or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.
Read that very slowly and carefully. Thats an incredible blessing. We see from this that our God wants to bless us all the time, in all our actions and all our possessions. There is a catch though. At the very beginning and then throughout this list of blessings we see it. IF thou shalt harken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to OBSERVE and DO all his commandments Thats the key. This completely blows name it and claim it doctrine out of the water.
It shall come to pass IF. There are people today that have made the error of mistaking gain for Godliness, and tried to take the verses in Gods word that apply to abundance and twist them out of context into a prosperity gospel that completely denies the Glory and Godhead of the ONE true God. Such people would have themselves set up as God, where they have the same power God has to speak things into existence in their lives. We DO have great authority in Christ Jesus, but its always and ONLY according to HIS will. Unless we first SUBMIT ourselves unto God and humble ourselves before him like Jesus did in the garden of Gethsemane and truly be willing to say nevertheless, not MY will but THY will be done, this doctrine will lead us into the idolatry of walking after the lusts of our eyes and coveting the things of this world.
Without the underlying foundation
of being IN Christ and ABIDING in him with his word ABIDING in
us, you will be led off into a form of sorcery or witchcraft
where you are attempting to fulfill your lusts rather than
walking after God. Gods message about this is clearly given
to us by Jesus
We are to seek FIRST the kingdom of God and
HIS righteousness, and then all these things shall be added unto
us. God knows what we need better than we do, and we are
commanded not to be like the heathen and worry about what
were going to eat or what were going to wear, but
were supposed to seek HIM, and trust in his ability to take
care of our needs. He is much more able to do so than we can ask
or think, we need to reach the point that we trust him for this.
Plus, its a crucial test of whether we love God or whether
we love money and/or the things of this world.
Luke 16:13 No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
Its interesting to note that Jesus tells us we cannot, (IMPOSSIBLE), serve two masters. So that we are certain not to miss and try to do that which is impossible, he says we cannot serve God and mammon. Mammon represents money. We cant serve God and money. He didnt say that we cant serve God and a whole list of other things, he said that we cant serve God and money.
Its almost as if hes
trying to tell us that not serving God IS serving money
isnt it? When you get right down to it, youre either
worshipping the creator who created all things, or youre
worshipping something that the creator created. We all have A
God, its just not necessarily the only real true God.
Whatsoever thing we SUBMIT ourselves to, that very thing becomes
our lord and master. One way of thinking of this is that so much
of the creation can be bought and sold. If we are worshipping
some THING, and NOT God, it is likely something that can be
translated into money. This doesnt clearly apply to
worshipping a created being like Lucifer, but lets dig a
I Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
Here we see that the LOVE of MONEY is the root of ALL evil. How can that be true? The root of ALL evil?
Well, the Bible tells us that sin
is in the world by lust. Eve saw the fruit and perceived that it
was DESIRABLE. Desire.. Lust
It is written that the lust
of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life is not
of God but of the world. Lust and covetousness go hand in hand.
When we lust after anything, we covet it. This is a form of
idolatry where we set something up in our hearts that means more
to us than God and Gods word. Its a horrible thing,
but so easy to do if we are sensual and carnally minded. I
dont fully understand all of this, but I know what
Gods word said. Its clear to me that we either serve
God or we serve the lusts of our flesh and love money, or the
things that money can buy us. The lusts of our eyes, lusts of our
flesh, and the pride of life that comes from the respect of
others for our possessions. That was, by the way, the original
sin. Satan wanted to be LIKE the most high and ascend unto the
throne of God. He wanted the worship and glory for himself. When
we covet that respect of persons that comes with having
possessions, then we are in our own small world setting ourselves
up to be worshipped and adored by men, and lusting after their
respect, rather than seeking to please God first and foremost.
Deut 8:6-19 Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to fear him. For the LORD thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills; A land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey; A land wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack any thing in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass. When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the LORD thy God for the good land which he hath given thee. Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day: Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein; And when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint; Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end; And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day. And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the LORD thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish. As the nations which the LORD destroyeth before your face, so shall ye perish; because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the LORD your God.
Here we see God warning the children of Israel about possessions. These people were slaves in Egypt, and then they had been led in the wilderness for 40 years, living in tents. God is now trying to warn them against the deceitfulness of obtaining possessions. God clearly wants to bless us, but we have to keep things in perspective. What profiteth it a man if he gain the entire world but lose his soul? Here we see the risk that God was trying to warn them about before they came up against it. Notice how the Lord expressed the vain imagination of man's heart - "My own power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth." Pride and lack of giving glory to God by acknowledging him as their provider. What are they admonished to do? Remember the Lord thy God that giveth the ability to GET wealth, in order to establish the covenant. So by this we see that the ability to get wealth is in order to establish the covenant. When we realize that were worshipping the God that created everything, then we see that we have nothing that was not given to us. We are warned not to be proud and to trust in the possessions or own own ability, we are to rather glorify God for his blessings unto us and remember that he is the creator and the source of every good and perfect gift.
Lets dig into the issue of tithes. A tithe is literally a tenth part. Tithe means 10%. When we are commanded to tithe we are commanded to give 10% of our increase to God. Right from the start of this, lets address firstfruits and how theyre holy unto the Lord. The tithe also is holy, and the two work together.
Exodus 13:1-2 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Sanctify unto me all the firstborn, whatsoever openeth the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of beast: it is mine.
Here we see firstborn of all man and beast is sacred unto the Lord. This is one of the first things that God told the children of Israel when he brought them out of Egypt. God had in his last and most powerful sign unto Pharaoh, killed all the firstborn both of man and beast in Egypt. This was the final miracle that broke the yoke of bondage and slavery from the necks of his people. This is very important that we always keep in mind this miracle to acknowledge that our God is the God that sets free from bondage in all its forms and allows us to walk in the perfect law of liberty and freedom. He that the son hath set free is free indeed.
This is a very holy thing unto
God, because its symbolic also of Jesus being a firstfruit
from the dead. He was the first to rise from the dead, and he was
the firstborn of the dead. God later expands this beyond just
firstborn in terms of animals or the first to open the womb into
firstfruits. The first fruits of our harvest, the FIRST fruit of
our increase. These are holy to God. It is for this reason that
we must be tithing from our GROSS income and not our net income.
If we tithe from the net, we are erring in more than one way.
First of all, we are not honoring God with our firstfruits,
were honoring the government with our tax money first, and
then were honoring God with the leftovers. Or if not the
government, then whatever we set aside money for first. God is
able to meet all our needs, and if we take out money from our
increase to meet our needs or fulfill our lusts, and then honor
him with a tenth part of whats leftover, we have committed
idolatry by having another God before him. We have completely
missed out on his call to walk by faith in this aspect of our
lives. Also, by not walking in faith we have completely blocked
the receiving of the blessings that go along with these
commandments, because without faith and single-mindedness, you do
not receive anything from God.
God wanted them to offer up for sacrifice animals that were without spot or blemish. If Jesus had the spot and blemish of sin, he would not have been a perfect offering and there would be no atonement for our sins, and we would be doomed to spend eternity in hell. The carnally minded man tended to have a problem with this then as now. If you had to sacrifice one of your lambs, the logical thing to do would seem to be to sacrifice a lame or crippled one. If you had 10, and one was lame, and you had to sacrifice one of them, that would be the most beneficial way for you to do it. God despised this though and spoke strongly against it. God wants our best offering, and he wants it off the top in FAITH, not off the bottom after weve honored all others and by sight ascertained that we can still set aside his 10%. Think about how he offered us his best in his son who was without sin, and realize this is part of our covenant with him. Our tithe is also a form of oblation. Its a recognition that the God we worship and serve is the creator of the earth and the owner of the fullness thereof, and by making this tithe unto him, we remind ourselves that he is the source of everything, by him everything was made, and that we should be grateful for his blessings.
There is another aspect to this that it is crucial to understand
Psalm 50:8-14 I will not reprove thee for thy sacrifices or thy burnt offerings, to have been continually before me. I will take no bullock out of thy house, nor he goats out of thy folds. For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof. Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats? Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High: And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.
Here we see a crucial truth. The earth is God's. Everything in the earth is God's. He made it all and he owns it ALL. He doesnt NEED our sacrifices/tithes/offerings. What need has God of money? And if he did need it or want it, surely he could make it, he made the earth to begin with right? Lets understand our place in the scheme of things, God doesnt NEED the things that we bring to him. God wants a relationship with us, but thats different. We NEED to be obedient to God, God doesnt NEED us to be obedient to him. He is the God and we are the created beings. This is very important to understand. God said that he didnt set up the system of tithing because he needed the tithes, he did it for the purpose of proving our hearts. God knows our heart better than we do, and God knows that this one test will determine if we love him or if we love money. This is a test for us to prove to ourselves and to God that we love him as GOD, and that we have no other Gods before him. Very important to understand this, Gods word and will will be accomplished even if none of us follow his plan for our lives. Kind of humbling when you look at it from Gods perspective, but we need that humility to walk obediently. Dont kid yourself into believing that youre doing God a favor with your tithing, thats laughable vanity. He made the earth, and the tiny little bit of its wealth that we might control is not impressive to him except that it can be a sign to him that we love him more than we love the world and the things in the world. Thats all, and when you get down to it, thats really all that matters anyway. Is God GOD, or is money god? Better prove your heart now before its too late and find out the hard way at the judgment seat.
An oblation is a sacrificial offering made to God that acknowledges that we worship the creator God that made all things. David wanted to build a temple to God, but God told him that his son would build the temple because David was a man of war with blood on his hands. Davids zeal for Gods house caused him to go ahead and set aside most of the things that were needed for the temple and David also instituted a crucial thing. He initiated the oblation offering, which was the morning and evening sacrifice at the spot where the temple would be built. Each morning and evening men would go up onto that mount and declare, Hear Oh Israel, the Lord thy God is one God. Oblations recognize both that God is one, and that he is creator of the earth and the rightful owner of it. Oblations are also a sign that we love and worship he who created and owns everything, and not a part of the creation. Keeping Sabbath is an oblation. Tithes are a commandment but this too is a sacrifice of our firstfruits unto God.
Note that God said in your tithes
AND offerings have you robbed me. We are commanded to tithe, the
offering is anything over and above the 10 percent. We are to be
given unction by Gods Spirit in regards to that. Also note,
bring ye the tithes into the storehouse that there may be meat in
my house. We are clearly told where the tithes should go, and
under the Levitical priesthood, the tithes were for the support
of the priests. The priests were set apart to minister unto God
and perform all the sacrifices and take care of all the
intercession between God and the nation of Israel. These priests
were the oxen that were treading out the grain and feeding the
people with Gods word. I think that our tithe should go to
help support the "storehouse" where we are receiving
Gods word, and if you have a good storehouse where an
anointed man of God is feeding you Gods holy word,
youd better not muzzle him, because hes treading out
the grain for you to keep from starving to death and being cut
off in this time of famine upon the earth for Gods word.
1 Cor 9:9-15 For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope. If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ. Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel. But I have used none of these things: neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me: for it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void. For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!
It is clear that he that ministers to us about holy things is supposed to have his living from the things of the temple, and hes a partaker of the things that are offered up at the altar. God hath ordained that those that preach the gospel should live of the gospel. Paul makes it clear that if he has sown to them in spiritual things that he should expect to reap of them carnal things. You dont want the man of God having to be out scrambling to put food on his table, you want him to be studying the word to teach you. You also want him to have the time to pray for you and make intercession for you before God. The prayer of a righteous man availeth much, and theres a special power in the anointing that is upon those called to preach. The body had BETTER learn to respect this anointing in this day because when the Spirit of God is manifest fully, he will not tolerate rebellion against that anointing. Just read through the OT and see how fearful it was to find yourself up against a man like Elijah or Elisha to understand this principle. If you receive a prophet in the name of (because he is a prophet) you receive a prophets reward. Were not all called to be missionaries for example, but we can all partake of the grace that a missionary has through this principle.
Philippians 1:1-8 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace. For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ
Look at this. He said he thanked God upon EVERY remembrance of them ALWAYS in EVERY prayer of his for them making requests with joy for their fellowship in the gospel. They were supporting Pauls gospel by giving to support his ministry, which becomes very clear later in the text. He said that he was confident that God would perform the good work of their salvation, in them until the day of Jesus Christ, and that it was meet, or appropriate, for him to think that of them, because they were in his hearts. He was praying for them so fervently and so earnestly with so much faith because of their fellowship in the gospel, that he said he was CONFIDENT that God would continue to perform his good work in them until the end of the age. Thats powerful.
We NEED that kind of intercession and prayer for us by someone thats called and anointed to do it for the brethren. He said that in his bonds and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, they were all partakers of his grace. The people at Philippi were not called to be bound and preach the gospel in Rome, Paul was.
I used to covet people who had such a calling because I thought how great their reward would be from God for answering that call. But, we see here, that we can all partake of that same Grace that they have by supporting them with carnal things, even as they have supported us with spiritual things. This is a foundational key to unity in the body. God says that we give them of what we have that they need, and then they give us what they have that we need, so that it can be fulfilled that there is no lack in his body.
We are to share liberally all things with our brethren, and we are supposed to look after the things of our brothers more than we look after our own things. Faith works by love, and Paul taught that love seeketh not her own, but the things of another. Love is selfless, whenever you get into selfishness youre no longer talking about love but lust/covetousness/and feigned affection.
Without love, all your works are
wicked and evil. With love, your faith is perfected in your
works, and then you have all things pertaining to life and
Godliness. There is no fractionalized doctrinal message that
allows us to take out what we want and then ignore the other
things. Jesus railed against the Pharisees because they tithed to
the point of obsessiveness, but they completely overlooked the
more important things like love and mercy. Their sacrifices were
not acceptable to God because their hearts were far from God.
1 Corinthians 12:27 - 13:3 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet show I unto you a more excellent way. Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
God judges the thoughts and intents of our hearts. If we dont have love REAL Godly love, then all our sacrifices at his altar are worthless. Worse, he says that they are a stench in his nostrils.
Isaiah 1:10-20 Hear the word of the LORD, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah. To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them. And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.
Notice, they bring no more vain oblations? I will hide mine eyes from you. God has told us what to do, and its by grace through faith, not through our works.
Micah 6:8 He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
If you dont have love, real GODLY love you have nothing. He desires mercy and obedience, not sacrifice for the sake of atoning for our sins and iniquities. Only Jesus can do that. Our works are all filthy rags in his eyes in light of our justification for sin, but when theyre done in love and obedience then theyre much different to God. Consider that if youre doing it out of fear and not cheerfully and in love, then youre in your own heart trying to use your sacrifices to atone for your sins. This is a mistake. Look at this to see how God views sacrifice to him thats done properly.
Genesis 8:21-22 And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done. While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.
The first thing Noah did when he came out of the ark was to build and altar and offer up sacrifice on that altar to God. An oblation that recognized he was their God and that he owned the earth. I cant imagine their gratitude at being spared the judgment and seeing all the wicked perish. See how God describes these sacrifices that are done at the altar in love and joy to him? Its a scent of a sweet savour, a pleasing smell in his nostrils. God actually commanded the people to stop sacrificing and keeping the law about tithes and offerings because they were not doing it in love and obedience, and that displeased him. Thats what we do when we get puffed up and consider our works righteous and think that were doing God a favor by sacrificing to him. He made the sacrifice that youre offering, and man was the end of creation. He doesnt need us he had cattle and gold and everything else here in the earth before the 6th day when man was made.
Hebrews 5:6-10 As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.
Genesis 14:18-20 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.
Mark 17:41-44 And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.
Now we are told that Jesus is a high priest on the order of Melchizedek. If we go back and see what Melchizedek did, he received tithes and blessed. Jesus is the only way to God. Jesus is the only fleshly man that God deals with, and all our interaction through God has to be through the doorway of Yeshua and his atoning work. We have to abide in him and keep his commandments. When we do that, we see that he receives our tithes and our tithes and our prayers go before God. The two go hand in hand. We are not to go to God and make supplication empty handed, it is more blessed to give than to receive, and God wants us to prove our hearts before him to see if we love him or the god of money.
Acts 10:1-6 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway. He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius. And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God. And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter: He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do.
Here we see where a gentile who feared God and GAVE alms to the people and PRAYED received a great blessing from God. Notice what he was told. Thy prayers AND thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.
Wed better make sure that our mediator Jesus has more than just our prayers to take before God or were in trouble. Jesus can go before God with our prayers and declare to the Father that we love God and we show it by being obedient in our tithes and offerings, and that we give to the poor when were obedient in this regard. Im not so sure exactly what happens when we dont but I have an idea. Faith without works is dead.
The just shall live by faith, and it is BY faith that we are saved and justified. If you dont have some works for Jesus to mix with your faith there at the altar in heaven, you may need to get on your face and question your salvation with God before its too late. Harsh words maybe, but I think its clear that wed better be loving in DEED and not just in word. God is a SPIRIT and all that worship him must do so in spirit and in TRUTH. He that hath ears to hear had better hear, and if youve been robbing God, youd better repent of it and not regard this iniquity in your heart or you may one day hear depart from me ye worker of iniquity for I never knew you.
Notice where Jesus was. He was in the temple. Jesus was in there looking at the alms box and noticing the people putting in alms. Would you have thought that Jesus would be looking over the altar plates in the church and paying such close attention to who gave and how much they gave. Youd better understand that that is EXACTLY where he would be if he were in a congregation of brethren today. Why? Because it is impossible to serve God and Mammon and this tithe is set up as a way for us to PROVE our hearts and prove that we truly love and serve God and not mammon and the lusts of our flesh.
The glorious thing here is the
widow with the two mites. All the rich cast in great sums, but we
see here that God is no respecter of persons. It doesnt
matter how much you give, it matters how much you have left over
because THAT is what proves our love. Jesus told them that the
rich men were giving out of their abundance while the poor widow
cast in her very living. The widows act required FAITH and
was done in obedience DESPITE her circumstances thereby proving
her heart was with God and not mammon. It doesnt matter
where you are or what you have, God blesses us in accordance to
our faith and obedience, and hes not impressed with the
amount given, but the amount of faith required for you to give
it. Faith worketh by love, and our works by FAITH prove the level
of our love for God. Alleluia Yeshua.
Matthew 5:21-24 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
Jesus was teaching here the difference between obeying God and following after the traditions of men. It was said in the law to love your brother. Men had added on a little to that though. It was a common phrase then to say Love your brother and hate your enemy. Their traditions of men that they were teaching had made the word of God of no effect Jesus said. Notice how he ties this in with the sacrifice. If you have a quarrel with your brother, God said to leave your gift at the altar and then go make peace with your brother FIRST, and THEN come back and offer your gift.
You cant go before the altar and say I love you God, and regard the iniquity of hatred towards a brother at the same time, because it is impossible to Love God whom we havent seen, and hate man whom we have seen. That man who incidentally is ALSO created in the image of the very God we are purporting to love AND also a man that Yeshua bled and died for just as much as he did for me, you or anyone. Dont be deceived in your heart, because youd better believe youre NOT deceiving God in the least. God is NOT mocked brethren. You may be mocked, but God isnt, and if your heart isnt right in love towards God and your neighbor, youre only fooling yourself into hell and wasting your time and efforts.
Seek ye FIRST the kingdom of God,
then all the things shall be added to you and the rest of your
life will just work itself out.
Philippians 4:10-20 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction. Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity. Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account. But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God. But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Here we have Paul speaking to the Philippians and we see that they were caring for him by supporting him with money to help his work in the Lord. He said they had WELL done by communicating with him in this regard. Its NOT because he desired a gift though, but because he desired fruit to abound to their account. What fruit would that be? My God SHALL supply ALL your NEED according to his riches BY Christ Jesus. ALL their need supplied. Thats amazing to think. A lot of people love to quote this Philippians 4:18 out of context. They never take the time to see WHY God was supplying their need, and they go through life speaking this verse and deceiving their own hearts. Paul made it clear that it was BECAUSE they had this fruit abounding to their account from the fact that they supported the preaching of the gospel.
Gen 8:22 While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.
Notice that Paul used the word fruit. In Genesis, we see that every seed produces after its own kind. This is a universal law that God put forth in creation. Blows evolution THEORY back to hell where it came from, but thats another subject. Anyway, God promised after the flood in the Noahic Covenant this above verse. Seedtime and harvest shall NOT cease. As long as the earth remains anyway that is. So we see that we are still under this sowing and reaping principle where every seed produces after its OWN kind. We can come pretty close to a complete understanding of Gods will for our lives if we have a basic foundation in gardening. Jesus applied this to the gospel as well.
Mark 4:14-24 The sower soweth the word. And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts. And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended. And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.
And he said unto
them, Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a
bed? and not to be set on a candlestick? For there is nothing
hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept
secret, but that it should come abroad. If any man have ears to
hear, let him hear And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear:
with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto
you that hear shall more be given.
We see this sowing and reaping applies to the word as well. The sower sows the word. We also see that with the same measure we mete, it shall be measured to us withal. The key things here are that the seeds that fall into good ground yield bountifully, some 30 fold, some 60 fold, and some 100 fold, and remember with the same measure YE mete. Give and IT shall be given unto you, pressed down, shaken together running over shall MEN pour into your bosom. We see here that its going to come from men. God doesnt print money up in heaven and then drop it down to us, when we sow the seeds of giving money in the form of tithes and offerings then MEN shall pour into our bosoms. Let me show how this applies to giving and receiving. Dont be offended by the money seed reference, everything in the earth can be converted to money, just remember the God and mammon principle. Also you have to consider that all the laws of tithing were set up at a time when the world was an agrarian economy. Your wealth was measured in your cattle, and your crops, not in terms of dollars. I think this is a sad thing because its led us to a more subtle form of idolatry. Its much easier to be deceived when you dont understand the underlying principle which is GOD created it all, and you dont have anything that wasnt given to you.
2 Corinthians 9:6-15 But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever. Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;) Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God. For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God; Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men; And by their prayer for you, which long after you for the exceeding grace of God in you. Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.
Here Paul was talking to the Corinthians about Giving. This sums up a lot of things about the subject. Be not deceived, God is NOT mocked, he which soweth sparingly shall reap sparingly, he which soweth bountifully shall reap bountifully. If you plant 1 acre of corn, you cant expect to reap 100 acres at harvest time. Every man according as HE purposeth in his heart so let him give. The tithe is a command from God, everything beyond the tithe is an offering. I can tell YOU that you NEED to give tithes and offerings. I cannot tell you how much you should offer or where it should go. Every MAN as he purposeth in HIS heart. There is ONE mediator between you and God, and that is ONLY the Lord Jesus Christ. No other man either. If any MAN ever tries to tell you what you should do with your offering, run away. God will give YOU unction in your spirit by HIS Spirit to know what is right.
Now, look ahead God LOVETH a cheerful giver. It HAS to be done cheerfully, and it has to be done in LOVE. If you want to give an offering and you dont have the faith to do it cheerfully and in Love, size it back to the point that you can do it cheerfully. This is where the proving of the heart comes into play. All that is not of faith is sin. Start out small and then let your faith be built up, and know that you cant out give God. Give and it SHALL be given unto you. God is able to make ALL grace abound towards you so that you always have all sufficiency in all things may abound unto every good work. Gods people perish for a lack of knowledge, and were blessed by God in order to be a blessing unto others.
Jesus said that we would always
have the poor with us, and Jesus said that even as we do unto
these the least of his brethren, weve done unto him. Do you
want to stand before Jesus and hear him say HE was naked, hungry,
thirsty and YOU failed to feed, clothe, or give him something to
drink? Better think hard on this now while there is still light
to work, for the time is very short. He hath given to the poor
his righteousness remaineth forever. If you give to the poor,
your righteousness remaineth forever. Now, heres a crucial
part that ties in with Pauls message in Philippians. He that
ministereth seed to the sower. Do you see how theres a
special blessing on doing that? The sower provides bread for your
food, and also MULTIPLIES your seed sown. The sower sows the word
and brings more people into the kingdom and also increases the
fruits of your righteousness. This is truly the good ground that
Jesus talked about that yields the 100 fold increase. Paul calls
their giving and unspeakable gift.
Its crucial that we understand these concepts. Every seed produces after its own kind. If we are walking in love, we cannot see our brother in need and then not be willing to give. What have you that was not given unto you?
Luke 16:10-12 He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own?
If youre faithful in that which is least youre faithful also in much. It seems to me that God is saying that money is the least important thing, and if youre not faithful in that, youre not going to be faithful in anything else either. Who will commit to your trust the true riches he says? Those true riches are the higher things of God, higher gifts, higher callings, greater peace and faith, and greater wisdom and grace to walk in repentance and obedience. If youre not willing to prove your heart in the unrighteous mammon though, youre never going to see those greater gifts. If you have not been faithful in that which is another's who will give unto you that which is your own. Lets not forget that everything in the earth belongs to God. He made it, and its not ours its His. He gives us commandments concerning tithes and offerings to prove our hearts to see if we love him, or the things of this world.
We need to understand this in its fullness today, because the times that are soon coming upon us are so fearful as to be unimaginable. What should we do? Hoard up possessions and trust in the uncertain riches with a survivalist mentality? God forbid. We are to trust God, and realize that Jesus promised that whatever we give up for his sake we get back, but whatever we cling to we lose. Every seed produces after its own kind. If youre running out of food during great tribulation, and you see someone thats hungry, youd better understand this principle and not shut up your bowels of love like the heathen will.
Youd better reach out to
that person in love, and in the knowledge that God can make all
grace abound towards you and that as you sow so shall you also
reap. We have to begin to see that these tests that God puts
before us are actually a great blessing, because they refine our
faith and give us the chance to prove our hearts in such a way
that he can bless us so that we might be a blessing unto others
and that we might help establish his covenant in the earth.
Its all about Love
Love thy neighbor as thyself. If
we dont have the love, we dont have anything, and we
too shall be cut off for a lack of knowledge. God gave us
everything there in his word, and wed better make sure that
we understand it and walk in it to be DOERS of the word and not
just hearers. Alleluia, Come soon Lord Jesus.
Matt 6:1-4 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
One last important point. Better make sure you give in secret and not before men for the glory and lust of the praise of men, rather than the praise of God.
Please realize that your seeds need to go into good ground and no 501c3 church can qualify as good ground because Jesus is not God in a 501c3 church, the state is. Click Here for a look at the details of the truth that Jesus is not Lord of 501c3 churches. It is amazing how few even know that their church is a 501c3 state church and NOT a church of the Lord Jesus Christ. If it is a non profit organization, do not give it any of your seeds, because they will not yield the 30, 60, 100 fold harvest there. The Lord Jesus Christ cannot be Lord, in any real way, but only a virtual way, in 501c3 church. Such churches are all instruments of the state. The salt and light is removed from churches which operate under such contracts which make the state Lord of such corporations. It should be easy to see how this has greatly facilitated the great falling away from THE Faith. (Rev 18:4, 1 Tim 6:5, and 2 Tim 3:5). A good rule of thumb is to realize that if it's a non profit organization then it can NOT be good ground for your tithe and/or offering seed for many reasons. Foremost among these is that it by law violates this commandment about doing your alms before men. There are many other reasons too, and I urge you to read the article on 501c3 churches. The law commanded the Israelites not to consume any of the tithe within their own gates, and if you tithe and then get part of that money back in the form of a tax deduction you're honoring the government taxation system above the Word of God.