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Luke 6:38

 In just a minute I will read two passages of scripture to you this morning, the first is from the New Testament, and the second is from the Old Testament.  But before we do that, please watch this video

No More Tithing Video

I think I'll keep preaching on tithing, what do you think?  The bible says, 

 "Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return." (Luke 6:38 NASB)

 "’Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘if I will not open for you the windows of heaven, and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.’” (Malachi 3:10 NASB)

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 These two passages teach that God blesses generous people.

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 These blessings come in many forms, for instance, BEING GENEROUS ITSELF IS A BLESSING.  Who would your rather hang out with, an immature, stingy person who is always looking out for themselves?  Or a mature, generous person you cares about you too?  Virtue is its own reward.  We like being around generous people and most of us would like to see ourselves as generous.

 In 2005, Time Magazine named Melinda Gates, Bono and Bill Gates as their persons of the year.  According to the Time, they are Good Samaritans “on a global mission to end poverty, disease—and indifference.”  (http://www.freshministry.org/illustrations.html)

 Good for them.  And good for Time Magazine for recognizing generosity as something worthy of recognition.  While most of us don’t have the influence or wealth of this trio, we can aspire to do our part.  At the least, we can cultivate a generous spirit in our hearts and avoid being tightwads.

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 Not only is generosity a blessing in and of itself, GENEROUS PEOPLE ARE OFTEN RECIPIENTS OF OTHER PEOPLE’S GENEROSITY.  Seven years ago, the Good Shepherd Hispanic Baptist Church in Metairie, Louisiana showed compassion to fellow believers in Honduras who were suffering after a hit from Hurricane Mitch.  The people at Good Shepherd sent twelve containers of food and clothing to an evangelical church and a Baptist church in Honduras in 1998 to meet the needs left by the storm.  When Hurricane Katrina hit Good Shepherd hard this summer, they were surprised when both Honduran churches returned the favor by helping them.

 Though the people of the Honduran Baptist Church were poor people who worked in the local marketplace, they sent their pastor a love offering of $1,000 to help their American friends.  The other church from Honduras sent their pastor and five workmen along with a gift of $17,000 to help Good Shepherd.  The men helped in cleanup efforts, and cooked a chicken dinner for a celebration service attended by more than 450 people.

 The Pastor of Good Shepherd Church, Gonzalo Rodriguez said Good Shepherd never expected the Honduran churches would remember what they did seven years ago and decide to come and help.  He said, “What makes a difference is that Honduras is what we consider a country of the third world. They are very poor people and we never expected they would come here to help us."

  Rodriguez is thankful for the gifts and admits Good Shepherd will struggle for some time because most of their congregation was scattered by the storm and have not returned. He hopes the church can reach out to other Hispanics in the community during this opportune time.  He added, “We need to organize an evangelistic team because there are lots of needs among all the people without a place to stay, and we need the wisdom to see how we can help these people." (http://www.freshministry.org/illustrations.html)

 Now this makes sense.  Think about it.  Who would you rather help with your limited resources, someone who is only looking out for themselves or someone who helped you when you were down and out?  They say, what goes around comes around, and certainly, in this case, they are right. Remember, we don’t just receive help from the hands of others.  Their help is from God.  2 Corinthians 1:4 says, “he supports us in every hardship, so that we are able to come to the support of others, in every hardship of theirs because of the encouragement that we ourselves receive from God.”  (NJB)

 But there is more to the blessings of God than the things I’ve mentioned.  Yes, I believe that being a generous person is a blessing unto itself and that what goes around comes around, because Luke 6:38 says, "Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return." (NASB)  Notice the last part, “For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.” 

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This scripture teaches a proportionate response.  GOD WILL BLESS YOU.  AND HE WILL DO IT IN DIRECT PROPORTION TO THE SIZE OF YOUR GIVING.

 Which leads me to ask this question, what size shovel do you want God to use when He blesses you?  He will bless you according to the “standard of measure” you choose.

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 Do you want Him to use a spoon, a shovel or a front-end loader? 

 Before I go any further with this analogy, I want to remind you of a few things.  You cannot buy your salvation or bribe God with your giving.  This is simply a law of sowing and reaping.  2 Corinthians 9:6 says, “Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” (NASB)  The farmer that plants 100 acres of cotton will harvest more than the one that only plants a single acre.

 Now here’s where it gets a bit tricky, because we’re not talking about the actual amount here.  We’re talking about the attitude of the heart and the size of the sacrifice.  Mark 12:41-44 “Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. [42] But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. [43] Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, ‘I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. [44] They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything--all she had to live on.’” (NIV)  To those who accepted the gift, it was a small amount, to the women who gave it, it was everything.  It was the size of her faith that impressed Jesus.

 That is the kind of giving that pleases God—giving that love motivates and faith regulates.  Tithing can be a terrible thing if it born out of legalism or fear—that could actually stunt your spiritual growth.  In Matthew 23:23-24 Jesus said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You pay a tenth of mint, dill, and cumin, yet you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy, and faith. These things should have been done without neglecting the others. [24] Blind guides! You strain out a gnat, yet gulp down a camel!” (HCSB)  God didn’t bless these men when they tithed because they had the wrong attitude.  For them, it was a legalistic obligation that made them feel better than others.

 When we tithe, we should base it upon gratitude and faith. Please don’t get me wrong, I am not saying don’t tithe, I just saying that when you do, do it for the right reasons. 

 In Malachi 3:10 God asks the people to test Him,  It says, "’Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘if I will not open for you the windows of heaven, and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.’” (NASB)

 He says, “Test me.”  Today, we are proving the tithe—we are taking God at His word that He will bless us if we give this tithe.  As I make clear in my devotional on the back of your bulletin, He promises to bless you, but that blessing may not necessarily be financial in nature. Because you trust in God and because you are grateful for the blessings He’s already bestowed upon you, will you “prove the tithe today?”  Join me and my family in placing a tithe of this week’s income into the offering plate.  Then during the week, evaluate whether or not God blessed you for doing so.
 

Impact Preaching: A Case for the
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