Introduction: Do you really believe that God is a promise keeper? If you do, you should want to line up with the promises He makes for those who give and try to avoid the promises that He makes for those who don’t give. God’s people should give with the right attitudes.
1. Make sure you are one of God’s people. In our text (see Mal. 3:8-10), Malachi was talking to those who called themselves people of God. John 3:16 is a great text for teaching a person how to be one of God’s people.
A person must ask and trust God to save them from the penalty of their sin because of Jesus death for their sins. Let’s make sure that we are saved by our faith in Jesus. We are not saved because of our giving, church attendance, or moral living.
2. God’s people strive to live by God’s word. In our text (see Mal. 3:8-10), Malachi assumes that the people are God will be responsive to the word of God. As saved people, we are convicted by the Holy Spirit to live by the word of God (see I Cor. 3:16; II Tim. 3:16).
Some have reported that there are over 1,500 mentions of giving in the Bible and about 20 of the 30 parables of Jesus deal with money or material goods to some extent (e.g., talents, lost sheep, lost coin, early inheritance, foolish barns, fruitless trees, etc.). Let’s strive to live by God’s word, as people of God. Living by God’s word includes the matter of giving to God.
3. Remember biblical giving before, during, and after the Law. In Genesis 14:16-20, Abraham tithed before the Mosaic law period. In Leviticus 27:30-33, we see tithing was clearly required under the law (see Num. 18:21-28; Deu. 12:5-18; 14:22-29; 26:12-15 for additional support and the idea of a second tithed).
Matthew 23:23 and Luke 11:42 support Jesus’ endorsement of tithing. And then passages like 1 Corinthians 16:2 support the principle of proportionate giving, after the law period. Matthew 5:21-45 teaches the idea that Jesus raised, not lowered the bar. Think about how Jesus raises the bar from thou shall not kill to don’t get angry without a cause.
He raised the bar from love your neighbor to love your enemy also. He raised the bar from don’t commit adultery to don’t lust after a person in your heart. Let’s strive to give God at least 10% of what He has given us.
4. Equal sacrifice, not giving. Notice that Malachi 3:8-10 and I Corinthians 16:2 both talk about proportionate giving. God is worth $1,000+ a week. But if you don’t make a $1,000, you cannot give it. If we lowered the number to $50 a week, some would still struggle, while others spend more than that on the casino, lottery, cigarettes, and other vices.
Let’s thank God for His calling for equal sacrifice, not equal giving. We can all give 10% of what God has given us.
5. Cheerfulness. Notice that II Corinthians 9:6-7 talks about an attitude of cheerfulness. Think about how cheerful a five year old child is when giving a dollar in the offering. As believers, we should give with an attitude of cheer, because we are in the giving line and not the begging line.
Whatever we give to the Lord, the Lord has already given us nine times as much. When God blesses those who support God works, He blesses those of us who give to good works. Let’s work on being cheerful in our giving.
6. Soberness. Notice that Romans 12:3 talks about a spirt of soberness. We should never get the “big head” because we are strong in the area of giving. All of us still have weak areas in our lives. Many of us struggle with loving our enemies, being faithful in service when disrespected and unloved, and being the salt of the Earth and light of the world.
If we cannot
handle what God has given us, He knows how to take it away from us and give it
to someone who can handle it (see Mt. 25:24-30). Let’s work on being sober in our giving.