Tithing Series #4

Fred R. Coulter—January 7, 2006

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How much do you really believe God?
How much are you really committed to God?

These are all the very basic important things. Let's add to something Jesus said: 'When the Son of man comes will He really find faith in the earth?'

  • How much do you really believe God?
  • How are you willing to prove it?
  • How are you willing to back it up?

James said, 'Show me your faith without your works, and I'll show you my faith by my works.' The Greeks says, 'You show me your faith with your works; let's examine your works, which is reflective of your faith, and I will show you my faith by my works.' What's another slang saying? Put your money where your mouth is! Talk is cheap!

I want you to read the whole Psa. 50, but we'll cover selective parts of it. We're reaching a time that everything is coming to a climax at the close of the age. Everything in this world, everything with the prophecies, and everything concerning the Word of God—which the world rejects and doesn't want to know or understand—is going to come down in such a great fulfillment and fantastic conclusion {note Daniel/Revelation series} and this ties right in with it.

Psalm 50:1: "The mighty God, God, the LORD, has spoken and called the earth from the rising of the sun to its going down." God controls the heavens and the earth; He controls everything that is here. It is His!

Men in their stupid vanity like to reject God and think: 'Oh, we'll have freedom of choice and we can do this and that and the other thing. And, God, by the way, help me when I'm in trouble, but don't bother me when I'm in pleasure or comfort.' God let's people do that.

Verse 2: "Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God has shined forth." That's exactly how Christ is going to come (Matt. 24); He's going to come as the light of day that shines from the east to the west.

Verse 3: "Our God shall come, and He shall not keep silent; a fire shall devour before Him, and it shall be very tempestuous all around Him. He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, so that He may judge His people" (vs 3-4).

  • His Church—which judgment is upon us now

That's what Peter said: 'Judgment is upon the house of God now. And if the righteous be saved with great difficulty, where will the sinner and ungodly be?'

  • His people Israel—all 12 tribes
  • all the nations of the world—the heathen

It's all coming, but now all at once, but in a step-by-step way.

Verse 5: "Gather My saints unto Me… [this has to be referring to the resurrection; that's what it is: a harvest, a gathering] …those who have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice."

We want to stop here and talk about this.

  • Do you believe in the New Covenant?
  • Do you believe that you are under the New Covenant?
  • Do you know that you have made a covenant with God by sacrifice?

Two ways:

    • The sacrifice of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sin!

Not only yours but the whole world; but God has called you to give you an opportunity first.

    • Your sacrifice, no longer animals, is you!

Your whole life! That's what Paul says, 'that you be a living sacrifice' (Rom. 12:1-2).

When you make a covenant with God by that sacrifice through baptism and the receiving of the Holy Spirit, you're no longer your own, you belong to God.

You can act on your own; you can go your own way if you desire, and know for sure that God is going to deal in your life to correct you or whatever needs to be done to bring you back to Him, because He has a purpose in your life. We need to understand that the covenant that we are in with God is this: He has called us to be the Church of the Firstborn!

Everyone wants salvation! Everyone wants to be first! That's why Jesus said that the 'first shall be last and the last shall be first.' Meaning that God is going to decide.

Let's understand something about the firstborn; we're part of the Church of the Firstborn. God exemplified this when He brought the children of Israel out of Egypt. We've been called out of spiritual Egypt. God has called us with a 'mighty hand.' We have been called out of spiritual Egypt and spiritual Sodom for a great and a marvelous purpose.

Let me tell you something we need to understand: The first resurrection is going to be unique for eternity! You need to understand that those who come into the Kingdom of God during the Millennium, and those who come into the Kingdom of God via the second resurrection are never going to be in the same status and position with God that the Church of the Firstborn is. Let that sink in deeply. Just like there will never be a relationship with anyone in the Kingdom of God like it has been, was and is with God the Father and Jesus Christ. That will never be duplicated by anyone anywhere.

Likewise with the covenant that we make with God by being baptized, we give our whole life, and we come in this category for a special purpose.

Exodus 13:12: "You shall set apart to the LORD all that opens the womb… [the epitome of this was the birth of Jesus of the virgin Mary; because all animal types were until Christ would come] …and every firstborn that comes of any animal which you have; the males shall be the LORD'S. And every firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb. And if you will not redeem it, then you shall break its neck. And all the firstborn of man among your sons you shall redeem" (vs 12-13). There are many parallels you can draw with that for the New Testament"

  • we are redeemed of Christ
  • we belong to God
  • we are part of the Church of the Firstborn

Let's see where we find the prophecy of the birth of Church of the Firstborn, which will be dedicated to God through all eternity.

Isaiah 66:7: "'Before she travailed, she gave birth; before her pain came, she delivered a man child." You can tie this in with Christ (Rev.12); with the Church.

Verse 8: "'Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things like these? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day?…. [talking about the resurrection; the true born again from flesh to spirit] …Or will a nation be born at once? For as soon as Zion travailed, she also gave birth to her children. Will I bring to the birth, and not cause to be born?' says the LORD. 'Shall I cause them to be born, and shut the womb?' says your God" (vs 8-9). Of course not, the resurrection is coming.

Being the Church of the Firstborn, everyone who is in that belongs to God in a special relationship, and has special responsibilities to God. Let's see how this fits in with what we are going to cover.

How much do you believe God? There is a vast difference in believing in God—which even the demons do and James says they 'tremble'—and believes in God! Not only in Him, but what He is, what He commands, what He tells us to do—all of that.

Psalm 50:5: "'Gather My saints unto Me… [that's the resurrection of the Church of the Firstborn] …those who have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice'… [be a living sacrifice (Rom. 12)] …And the heavens shall declare His righteousness, for God Himself is judge. Selah" (vs 5-6). Everyone is going to be judged of God; that first comes upon the Church.

Verse 7: "Hear, My people, and I will speak, O Israel… [there's physical Israel and spiritual Israel, and God is dealing with both of them] …and I will testify against you; I am God, even your God. I will not reprove you for your sacrifices…" (vs 7-8).

Verse 12: "If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world is Mine, and all the fullness of it."

Let's come to another aspect of what Jesus said, and what we are to do. {note appendix H—How Did Jesus Fulfill the Law and the Prophets}

By the way, a lot of people are under the misconception that Jesus was under the terms of the Old Covenant. Not so! He was in a special covenant between He and God the Father.

Matthew 4:3: "And when the tempter came to Him, he said, 'If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.' But He answered and said, 'It is written, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God"'" (vs 3-4).

Let's think about this for minute. Who is required to do this? Church members? People who are baptized? Who is God requiring to do this? Every human being on earth! Every single human being on earth is required to do this. Those who don't have the Spirit of God are required to do it in the letter of the Law. Those who have the Spirit of God are required to do it in the Spirit of the Law. "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God"

Quite a thing—isn't it? You think about that! Think about what it is in the world. Think about why the world is in the mess that it is in. Think about why it has been so overwhelmed with sin; almost like a great tsunami engulfing the whole nation in sin. {note sermon series: The Addicted Society}. This nation is almost possessed in drug and sex addiction. Why? Because they kicked God out! The pastors and teachers don't teach them. That's required by everybody by God!

If you want to go out and live your life contrary to God, God has given you that choice to do. But know that heaven and earth is a testimony against you: That you're going to receive blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience regardless of who you are or where you are in the whole world, down through all time from the time of Adam to the return of Christ.

John 14—here's a dividing line. There is a dividing line between those in the world and those in the Church; those who are the Church of the Firstborn and those who are in the world in the many different stripes of 'religion' and brands of 'Christianity' or paganism that they may have.

John 14:6—a very fundamental Scripture: "Jesus said to him, 'I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father except through Me.'" A lot of people don't like that statement. They don't like that He is:

  • the Way!

They want a way and always leads to God—big time satanic lie!

  • the Truth!

Because He represented the personification of the Word of God and spoke all the words of the Old Testament as the Lord God of the Old Testament.

  • the Life!

No one is going to have eternal life, no one is going to get into the Kingdom of God except through the Door (John 10) and Jesus is the Door! Any other way is a thief and a robber. That's what He says.

  • no one comes to the Father except through Me!

That is exclusive, discriminating, because God made it that way for a great and profound purpose.

Let's talk about Truth for just a minute. Which version of the Truth or how much of the Truth are you willing to accept? Or people in the world are willing to accept? Everyone has an idea; everyone has a belief; everyone has an opinion. Living in this post-modernist age where everything is equal, everyone's opinion is fact. If you don't believe that watch the stupidity of the news and how they try and create news via their opinions and political agendas.

Matthew 7:13—God says: "Enter in through the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter through it; for narrow is the gate and difficult is the way that leads to life, and few are those who find it" (vs 13-14). Very important! Remember what we covered in John 14: no one is going to come to the Father except through Christ.

If you want a good concordance study, look up false prophets. Verse 15: "But beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep's clothing, for within they are ravening wolves. You shall know them by their fruits…." (vs 15-16). If you don't know what fruits to look for; if you don't know what fruits are produced by the Holy Spirit, or fruits of obedience to God that are produce, you won't know what to look for.

"…They do not gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles, do they?…. [no they don't] …In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, but a corrupt tree produces evil fruit" (vs 16-17). Think about that in relationship to many different things:

  • families
  • individuals
  • organizations
  • governments
  • churches
  • religions

—applies to everything!

Verse 18: "A good tree cannot produce evil fruit, nor can a corrupt tree produce good fruit." Though people want to try it, going all the way back to Cain.

Verse 19: "Every tree that is not producing good fruit is cut down and is cast into the fire." That's God's judgment as He said in Psa. 50.

Verse 20: "Therefore, you shall assuredly know them by their fruits." There are a lot of 'religious' people in the world. There are a lot of people who say 'Know the Lord.' There are a lot of people who claim they are Christian. If 94% of Americans claim some sort of belief in God, and 76% of them claim to be some sort of Christian or whatever:

  • How are you going to know who's who?
  • What is the standard that you're going to use?
  • How are you going to measure it?
  • How are you going to know?

You can't even go into a store a buy something and write a check without identifying who you are.

  • How are you going to identify…?

This becomes very important; there're going to be a lot of disillusioned people who thought that they were doing good; who thought that they were doing the will of God, and were to some degree.

Verse 21: "Not everyone who says to Me, "Lord, Lord," shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but the one who is doing the will of My Father, Who is in heaven."

  • What is the will of the Father in heaven?
  • Do you know what it is?
  • Do you understand what it is?
  • It's all right here in the Bible!
  • It's the will of God!
  • These are the Words of God!
  • He recorded it for you!

Verse 22: "Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy through Your name?….'" How many people are out there in the name of Jesus saying this, that and the other thing?

"'…And did we not cast out demons through Your name?….'" (v 22). Gather great followings!

"'…And did we not perform many works of power through Your name?'" (v 22)—even miracles? I tell you what, you do a bona fied miracle today—and there are false miracles, demonic miracles—people flock after it like crazy.

Go on the History Channel and watch the special they did on 'stigmatists'—those who bleed in the same place that Jesus did when He was crucified; people flock to it. An idol of Mary that's weeping; they come and worship it.  This is the day of judgment, and everybody is being judged today, and there's a final judgment at the end.

Verse 23: "And then I will confess to them, 'I never knew you. Depart from Me, you who work lawlessness.'" What is lawlessness? Doing what you think is right contrary to the will and commandments of God! And the greatest form of lawlessness today is right smack-dab in 'Christianity':

  • that the Lord did away with the Ten Commandments
  • that the Lord did away with His laws
  • Never happen!
  • Has not occurred!

Then He gives an example so we will understand, v 24: "Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine and practices them, I will compare him to a wise man, who built his house upon the Rock."

  • Christ is the Rock
  • Wisdom comes from God
  • the Word of God is Wisdom

Read all of Psa. 119

Verse 25: "And the rain came down, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; but it did not fall, for it was founded upon the Rock."

In this area we have a lot of floods. What happens? Everyone who is not up off the low ground they get flooded: mud, destruction! Compare that to your life:

  • How is your life?
  • Is your life overwhelmed?
  • Is it being flooded by circumstances?
  • Are you giving yourself over to things that you shouldn't do?
  • What is your life?
  • What is your standing before God?

This is what it's all talking about. If you are truly built upon Christ and Christ is in you, whatever trial and difficulty that comes along in your life, you will come through it, because you believe in God; you trust in God and He will watch over you!

Even if it costs your life to stand for the Truth, because the day is coming when that's going to be—not to far around the corner, by the way. Especially when you understand that a federal judge gave an order that the legislature in Indiana could not pray in the name of Jesus, and chaplains cannot use the name of Jesus in the armed services anymore. Think about it!

Verse 26: "And everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not practice them…" They've all heard it, but they haven't read it. They've got a Bible at home, but they haven't read the Bible. That's not God's fault; He made sure they have it.

It's not hard to understand. What makes the Bible hard to understand is that you see where God says that 'you shall not' or 'you shall do' and you don't want to do it. That becomes complicated because you're unwilling to obey God. You read the Ten Commandments; there is nothing difficult about any of them! They're all easy to understand, but people are not willing to do it, so they don't hear what God says! "…and does not practice them…" as a way of life. Jesus said, 'I am the Way…'

"…shall be compared to a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand" (v 26). You can build a house upon the sand. Where we live we've got a place called Sand City. Sand City is the place to build, because you can layout the foundation, compact the sand; you don't have to dig through muck and mud; you don't have to blast through rock, or anything like that. You lay it out. "…who built his house upon the sand…"

Like people who build their houses right next to a river. You see it every year, whenever there is a flood someplace some newsman is there with a camera and watch a house and here comes the river and the whole house collapses and goes down the river. Take this house: first of all, it's on the wrong foundation, it's on sand, you put the best of everything in it; you make it so fantastic; today you can make it marvelous. You can have it so that when you enter into a room the lights go on. You go in the kitchen and say, 'turn the stove on—the oven on—3500. You walk into the laundry room and all you do is push a button, throw your clothes in and it's done.

Whatever it is; you get in your car and you say, 'I'm going to work, give me the best route.' You get in your car and say, 'We're going to a restaurant tonight, what does everybody want? Chinese? Steakhouse?' Whatever! Tell your car, 'Find me Outback Steakhouse' or the best Chinese restaurant in town.' Okay, you go here and you follow the map.

You build a house that is so fantastic, but it's on the wrong foundation. Here's the point, the key, the lesson: If you take some of the commandments and precepts of God to build your 'religious' or 'Christian' life' and it's not built on Christ and it's not based on the Word of God, you can build it and it will look good. A lot of people will follow, and a lot of people will come and say, 'What a marvelous house.'

Let's take St. Peter's Basilica in Rome for example—the house of idolatry. Do you know where a lot of those stones came from to build St. Peter's Basilica? From the Coliseum where they murdered and killed Christians! I think it's very fitting that they built it with those stones—don't you?

All this great edifice, but God said, 'You shall not make any graven image of any likeness of anything that's in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters under the earth, nor bow yourself down them.For I the Lord am a jealous God.' God doesn't want anyone worshipping anything other than Him!

Then He says that He brings it on to the third and fourth generation of those that hate Him. A lot of people don't think it. You look at this great funeral that they had of John Paul II. The whole world said, 'This is marvelous!' But it showed the hate and contempt that they have for God with their idolatry! But the world thinks it's wonderful.

If you make idols and bow down to them, you hate God. That's what He says! But 'showing mercy unto thousands of them who love Me and keep My commandments.' (Read John 14—New Testament doctrine).

You can build that house; you can even make it with the best materials; whatever you want. Just like a lot of 'religions' and churches do, they go through the Bible and say, 'This is good, we'll do this.' Then someone says, 'This other thing over here I don't like to do that.' Oh, we don't need to do that!

  • How about just a 'wee little cross?'
  • How about just a 'wee little necklace?'
  • How about just making it 'convenient so that we can all come together on a day that we agree upon?'

Jerusalem is kind of stuck:

  • Friday the Muslims close
  • Saturday the Jews close
  • Sunday the supposed 'Christians' close

Did God sanction all of them? Even if you keep some of the commandments of God and reject Christ, it's not going to work. It's either all God's way or no way!

He said, v 27: "And the rain came down, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell, and great was the fall of it."

Now let's look at some other things that God says, and see what this ties into.

  • Can anyone improve upon God's way?
  • if God is perfect; which He is
  • if God is righteous; which He is
  • if God is Lawgiver; which He is
  • if God is eternal; which He is
  • if God loves us; which He does
    • Can anybody improve upon God's way?
    • Can we come along and substitute our 'good' ideas for God's ideas?

A lot of people may be pleased and satisfied if you do, but is that going to be acceptable with God?

Deut. 8 is the end of the 40-year wandering in the wilderness. God didn't intend for them to be out there 40 years. He brought them up to the 'promised land' within 18 months of coming out of Egypt.

He said, 'I want you to go into the promised land and I'll fight for you.' They said, 'Well, we'd better find out what it's like, so let's send in some spies.' They sent in the spies, and they came back and ten out of the twelve spies said, 'We can't do this. People were tall, and the cities are walled.' Joshua and Caleb said, 'No! God will deliver us.'

 They didn't believe God! He didn't want them wandering 40 years in the wilderness. But you look at all the rebellions that they had up to that point, too. So, He said, 'All right, My judgment is a year for every day that the spies were spying out the land—40 days/40years! When they got that sentence, they said, 'Oh! That's too much, we'll go.' God said, 'Don't go!' We'll go! God said, 'Don't go!' What happened? They got beaten back! So, they wandered for 40 years and their bodies were strewn in the wilderness.

When we come at the end of it in the book of Deuteronomy—the second giving of the Law—here's what Moses was inspired to tell them. How much does it take for people to get the point? Think about it!

Deuteronomy 8:1: "All the commandments which I command you this day shall you be diligent to observe and to do that you may live… [God wants you to live] …and multiply and go in and possess the land, which the LORD swore to your fathers. And you shall remember all the way which the LORD your God led you these forty years in the wilderness in order to humble you, to prove you, to know what is in your heart…" (vs 1-2). Very important thing!

  • What's in the heart of any human being?
  • What's in your heart?
  • What's in my heart?

If it's not based on the Truth—all the Truth, the whole Truth and nothing but the Truth—according to God's definition of Truth, then it's all built on sand—isn't it?

"…to prove you…"—that's why we go through the life that we do; that's why we have trials and difficulties. God is proving us and He's proving us whether we are going to enter into the spiritual Kingdom of God through the resurrection. But here it's applied to Israel and also we can apply it to us today, too.

"…to know what is in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not" (v 2). Some people don't believe in keeping the commandments of God; well then, you go stand on the beach. You go stand on the beach and raise yourself up to the highest level of your bootstraps and shake your fist at God and say, 'God, I defy You. I don't want this water to come up here anymore'; when God said that He sets the bounds of the ocean and He says 'this far and no further.' You try that with the commandments of God.

  • God I don't like this commandment because it's not convenient.
  • God, I don't like this commandment because I shouldn't do it.
  • God I don't like this commandment because…

Like one minister confessed when he found someone who was there in the gym exercising with him that he was a Sabbath-keeper, and the minister was a Sunday-keeper. And through their conversations the minister would understand—because he would study subsequently—that he ought to keep the seventh-day Sabbath. So, he came back and said, 'You know, it sure would be good if we could keep the seventh-day Sabbath, but my congregation wouldn't go for it.

We're going to start talking about something else along with this as He gives us the instruction.

Verse 3: "And He humbled you and allowed you to hunger, and then He fed you with manna which you did not know… [they didn't understand what it was] …neither did your fathers know it, so that He might make you know…"

Here's what Jesus quoted; that's why it's important to understand. Jesus did not give permission for selective obedience:

"…that man does not live by bread alone; but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD does man live. Your clothing did not wear out on you, nor did your foot swell these forty years. And you shall consider in your heart that as a man chastens his son, so the LORD your God chastens you. And you shall keep the commandments of the LORD your God to walk in His ways and to fear Him" (vs 3-6). Not too much different than John 14:6. You can tie in there: 1-John 2, about keeping the commandments of God, etc.

Verse 7: "For the LORD your God brings you into a good land… [He wants to bless you] …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 olive oil and honey, a land in which you shall eat bread without scarceness…." (vs 7-9).

I want you to think about today's circumstances in which we live. Do we live in a country where we can have bread without scarceness?

"…You shall not lack any thing in it. It is a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you may dig copper" (v 9)—and give you all the wealth of the world.

Here's the problem of human nature. Since we live in the Laodicean age this becomes very important and this will apply to a principle that we're going to cover.

We had a Sunday-keeping minister come in here and sit in with us until right here. It was very evident that I described the kind of Christianity that he is in to a T. 'We will select and choose what we want to do.' I prepared this sermon before he came. We didn't know he was coming; he was actually coming here to see if he could rent the building for another activity. But perfect example: In hearing they shall hear and not understand! In seeing they shall see and not comprehend! He couldn't stay for the rest of it.

(go to the next track)

Just a little more about the situation with the Sunday-keeping pastor who was here; it shows this: a perfect example of what Jesus said: 'In hearing they shall hear and not understand! In seeing they shall see and not see!They want their own version of what God wants. That's why I emphasized in the beginning:

  • Do you believe God?
  • At what point do you come down in your spiritual house to where you no longer believe God and want to believe what you want to believe because of your own circumstances?

That's what it gets down to. It's convenient to believe God as long as everything is fine and wonderful.

  • What if you've got to give your life?
  • Do you still believe God?

That's what we're into; that's where it is in the Church. Until all the Churches of God and all the ministers of God, and all the brethren of God come to the point of believing and loving God in the covenant that they made with Him, they are going to be in varying degrees of the seven attitudes of the seven churches in Rev. 2 & 3.

With the churches, God was not pleased with most of them—right? Why was that? Because they only went so far in believing God! Their sacrifice to God was only so much of their life, not all of it. It was very evident having that Pastor Franklin here to sit through as much as he did.

Here's a very important point, and this is something that we all need to realize and understand. It is a proclivity of human nature. God says:

Deuteronomy 8:10: "When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land, which He has given you." What have we done with a people?

  • We have cursed God!
  • We have despised the good land that He has given us!
  • We have despised God and His commandments!

What happens?

  • People go out and go their own way!
  • Do what they want to do!

Verse 11: "Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God by not keeping His commandments, and His judgments, and His statutes, which I command you today." What does He mean in forgetting God? Not only in the commandments, but let's see what He emphasizes here the rest of the way through. There still is a problem with some people in the Church, and even some ministers in the Churches of God.

Verse 12: "Lest when you have eaten and are full and have built goodly houses and lived in them, and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold is multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied" (vs 12-13). That's precisely where we are today. Did not God fulfill that for Israel today? Yes, indeed!

Verse 14: "Then you become haughty of heart, and you forget the LORD your God…" That's what people do. One of the ways that people forget God is that they focus in on some corrupt minister or some corrupt brethren and judge God on their behavior, and that is a fatal mistake. Your heart be lifted up (KJV) means that you go against God; that you do as Cain did and start deciding what God should accept from you or not. And you decide how much of God's Word you're going to obey or not.

"…Who brought you forth out of the land of Egypt from the house of bondage, Who led you through the great and terrible wilderness with fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water, Who brought forth water for you out of the rock of flint, Who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers did not know, so that He might humble you and that He might prove you to do you good in your latter end" (vs 14-16).

  • Why has God called us?
  • Why do we go through all the things that we go through?

Though we have all the physical comforts in everything; we have a multitude of different trials and difficulties living in this sex-addicted and drug-addicted society and world that we live in now—it affects 80-90 percent of all families, or you know someone who is afflicted by it. Living in a land where everything is so convenient, to keep the Sabbath, the Holy Days, all of these things that run counter to the whole society and counter to the way that the world is.

God wants to do you good in your latter end. What is the greater good that God wants to do in the latter end? What is your latter end? It's not your posterior that you're sitting on. You latter end is the resurrection! Isn't that the greatest good that God can do for you? Of course!

Here's where we're coming, because in this world it all comes down to money, v 17: "Beware lest you say in your heart, 'My power and the might of my hand has gotten me this wealth.'" We are great, wise, inventive people, and we have brought all this to ourselves! As a nation isn't that what we've heard: American ingenuity, etc. Watch out for the Chinese!

What is God talking about in forgetting God? Let's understand something about wealth. Who gives you wealth?

Verse 18: "But you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He Who gives you power to get wealth, so that He may confirm His covenant which He has sworn to your fathers as it is this very day." The bottom line gets down to since God has given us the world, all mankind, in giving us these things, God has a share in it!

People think by their wise investments and manipulations, buying and selling or working or whatever, that they get wealth themselves. Let me a truism, and absolute living law: Doesn't matter how hard you work, how smart you are, if God does not bless you, you can't do it. For a while you may do it through stealth—like the current government—through lying, cheating, etc., and there is prosperity for the wicked for a while—we understand that.

However, let's also understand that in forgetting God—today there is every reason to forget God—because you have so much and because we have so much of our income committed to maintaining what we have—don't we? What is the very first thing that people do? They quit tithing! Then what happens? People get mad and angry about this point! There are some people who are going to turn off this sermon, because I had the gall and audacity to mention tithing and offering.

What you need to realize is that not everything you make belongs to you. You need to realize that. Whatever you have God gave you the power to get wealth! God will bless you if you keep His commandments and tithe. What happens?

Verse 19: "And it shall be if you do at all forget the LORD your God and walk after other gods serving them and worshiping them, I testify against you this day that you shall surely perishyes, perish." We can see that happen in the Churches of God. Just witness Worldwide Church of God; they had everything! Yes, they did extract from the brethren in ways that they should not have, but also brethren were guilty of trying to get something from God by following a man. You've got both things in play there.

  • Where are they now? Worshipping other gods! Sunday-keeping!
  • Where are the campuses? All three gone!
  • Where are the buildings? Gone!
  • Why? Because they rejected God! Forgot God!

First of all, when you forget God you start doing your own way. When you start doing your own way you start telling God what to do! All of those who do not believe in tithing on their income, and all those churches that do not believe in tithing, but giving offerings, what do they do? They have another way! They have 'pledges'; they sell and merchandize things. That's why God gave tithing.

Verse 20: "As the nations whom the LORD destroys before your face, so you shall perish because you would not obey the voice of the LORD your God."

Let's see what God said concerning the tithe. Let's understand one thing concerning tithing. A lot of people think that if they tithe and give offerings that somehow they're going to be deprived. No! Is God able to bless you because you do? How is God able to bless you? In many, many ways besides financial gain or whatever! Understanding the Word of God! Loving God! Our whole relationship with God!

Numbers 18:20: "And the LORD said to Aaron, 'You shall have no inheritance in their land…'" That is the tribe of Levi would not have a geographical territory. They were given different cities within all the tribes of Israel.

"…neither shall you have any part among them. I am your part and your inheritance among the children of Israel. And behold, I have given the sons of Levi all the tithe in Israel…" (vs 20-21).

  • Who did the giving? God did!
  • Did He give something that was not His? No!

This is His! God says in other places that all the gold and all the silver 'is Mine.' This is God's; He gave it!

"…for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, the service of the tabernacle of the congregation" (v 21).

All the tithe is an all inclusive statement that is not restricted to agricultural or animal products. If you dig the brass, the iron, gold and silver, is that not wealth that God created? If you extract the oil and the natural gas, is that not wealth that God has created? Did that not come from God? Who made it? God did! He gave the power to get wealth!

Also, if you work, who gave you the mind, the hands, your body—everything about you—to be able to work and produce? God did! Whatever the nature of your work is, God did it! If we do not base what we do on the Truth and understand overall that God owns the tithe, that's His! When people give a tithe they are not giving of their own, they're giving to God what is His! That's what they're doing.

Haggai 1—here again is another principle. Here it was under Joshua and Zerubbabel and they were building the second temple, after they came out of the first contingency coming back from Babylon.

  • Have we been called out of Babylon?
  • Have we been out of this world?
  • Yes, we have!

Christ is building a temple—isn't He? The Church! We are a temple of God having the Spirit of God in us. So, there are many, many analogies and parables that you can draw.

Haggai 1:2: "Thus the LORD of hosts speaks, saying, 'This people says, "The time has not come, the time that the LORD'S house should be built."'" They all have other things that they're going to do.

This is exactly the situation that we have today—isn't it? 'Well, the Lord didn't return in 1975, 88, 89, 93, 95, 99, 2000, 2004, etc., and it looks like the long haul is still ahead of us. It's not time! We don't know what God has in mind.

Verse 3: "Then came the Word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying, 'Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your finished houses, and shall this My house lie waste?'" (vs 3-4). What were they doing? They weren't tithing; they weren't giving offerings, and they were putting it all into their own properties; their own way of living.

Let me tell you something that's going to happen one of these day—how soon down the road, I don't know. When I drive around and see all these houses and look at the real estate pages and see all these inflated prices; I see where people are having to make house payment anywhere from $1,000 to 4,000 a month, and have these jobs and everything. One day, something is going to happen. You wait! Because, as the people of Israel living in the land, they have forgotten God and gone after their own lusts and their own ways and stealing from God.

If it belongs to Him, it is His! If you use that which is His… A lot of people are not going to like this. When I gave a sermon and used Mal. 3 I got a nasty letter from someone who is supposed to be a converted church member. Well, I didn't put Mal. 3 in the Bible. So, if you're still smoking put it in your pipe and smoke it.
Verse 5: "And now, therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts, 'Consider your ways.'" Stop and think about what you're doing in relationship to God. Spiritually we can say in relationship to your spiritual building—which you are building before Christ—that God wants you to do. This happens whenever people steal tithes and offerings, this happens—I have never seen fail, yet. I know people who used to tithe, but don't and now they don't have a nickel sideways to do anything, because of everything that has come upon them.

Verse 6: "You have sown much, but bring in little; you eat, but you do not have enough; you drink, but you are not filled with drink; you dress, but no one is warm; and he who earns wages, earns wages to put into a bag with holes." We're not talking about bringing animals—are we? We are not talking about bringing agricultural goods—are we? We are talking about wages! Which most of us are on today—right? Some of you are on the government wage.

"…earns wages to put in a bag with holes." That's what happens when you forget God!

  • Yes, you can use it!
  • Yes, you can take it!
  • Yes, you can steal it!
  • Yes, you can forget God!
  • Yes, you can be mad at any minister you want to get mad at when he preaches about tithing!

Nevertheless, you stand or fall before God and not by your own thoughts and not by a minister.

Verse 7: "Thus says the LORD of hosts, 'Consider your ways. Go up to the mountain and bring wood, and build this house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified,' says the LORD" (vs 7-8). If we're busy about doing the spiritual building in our lives; about building the spiritual character and qualities of God, as exemplified by Gal. 5 and 2-Pet. 1, then everything that we do will be in that perspective.

We are to be glorified by letting God be glorified in us, by His Spirit, by doing the things that God wants us to do; to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and being! Be dedicated to Him and not the self. He wants you to work.

Verse 9: "'You looked for much, and behold, it came to little!…." Does that not describe today in this nation? What is happening? The more they spend the more they have, the more they need and the more in debt they go! They're about ready to raise the national debt again, and know that that is going to have a tremendous impact on the financial markets of the world. That's going to happen!

"…And when you brought it home, then I blew on it…." (v 9). Instead of having a blessing, it just sort of seems to disappear, because you're spending everything on your own lusts and what you want to get.

"'…Why?' says the LORD of hosts. 'Because of My house that is waste, and you, each man runs to his own house.'" You go on about your own business; you go on about doing things the way that you want to do them rather than the way God wants it done.

Look, if you are Christ's, body, soul and spirit, then you're to live by every Word of God. Think about it! You have to judge your own circumstances. You have to judge your own way. You have to go before God and yourself. If you say, 'I forgot tithing so I'm going to tithe now so I can get a blessing from God,' don't necessarily think that you're going to. You have to have your heart right with God.

  • You're not going to buy salvation!
  • You're not going to buy off God!
  • Neither are you going to prosper by stealing from God!

Verse 10: "Therefore, the heavens above you have held back the dew, and the earth has held back its fruit. And I called for a drought upon the land, and upon the mountains, and upon the grain, and upon the new wine, and upon the oil, and upon that which the ground brings forth, and upon men, and upon livestock, and upon all the labor of your hands" (vs 10-11).

And we can say this: God called for a drought and destruction upon the Churches of God because of their arrogance, lying, cheating and stealing. Because of the governmental structure that they have, and brethren who were not brethren—false brethren crept in. This has happened to the Church and look where we are today!

Think about it! We're kind of down where it was with Elijah. He ran down to Mt. Horeb and said, 'O God, I, only I.'

  • Where are the people of God?
  • What are they doing?
  • Where are they going?

Let's ask ourselves:

  • What are we doing?
  • Where are we going?
  • How are we headed?
  • Are we really building on the Truth of God?

or

  • Are we really building on sand?
  • Are we building on Christ?
  • What is that we are doing?

It's all going to come out in the long run—isn't it? Yes, it is! We're all going to have stand before the throne of God and give account for ourselves! In bringing these things out and talking about them and showing what the Word of God says, don't be mistaken for one minute that I'm trying to club you over the head so you can send in more money.

  • We live within our budget!
  • We live within what God inspires to be sent in!
  • We don't club people over the head to get money!
  • We don't send dunning letters, either!

We do mention tithes and offerings, and once a year I give a sermon on tithes and offerings so we can evaluate where we are and where we're going, where we're headed and what we're doing. It's all part of our relationship with God.

Then they repented and they obey the voice of the Lord their God. This is what you obey. You obey the voice of the Lord your God.

What also motivated this sermon was that we send out soft cover New Testaments to those who are incarcerated—free. We send out a lot of them. There's this one man in prison who says that he's getting out in ten years. He says, 'I have no money, don't earn any money, but I do have some stamps, so I want to tithe my stamps. My stamps are my tithe.' Here are some pitiful 6-8 stamps and I think: What a testimony that is to those who don't believe in tithing, who have everything! Who lack nothing! And have no room to tithe and spend all their money on whatever, or give a little pittance of something once in a while.

Then I see the widows dedicated to God who send in $5, $10, who live on social security. Living on social security you're not required to tithe because that is not an increase to you. That is subsistence living. They send in their offerings from that.

I look at people who have plenty, lots, and do nothing, provide nothing. I'm not judging you. I'm just bringing out some examples so that you can tell yourself—sit down and have a talk with yourself: What am I doing before God? That's what it's about.

If you are right spiritually before God, giving tithes, and offerings on the Holy Days, becomes something that you want to do, you're willing to do, you plan to do. God will bless you in everything that you do when you do it.

Proverbs 3:5: "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not to your own understanding." Which is what everybody is doing.

Verse 6: "In all your ways… [not some of your ways, part of your ways, most of your ways] …acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths." Isn't that what you want God to do? Yes, indeed!

Verse 7: "Do not be wise in your own eyes…" He says:

  • don't lean to your own understanding
  • don't be wise in your own eyes

"…fear the LORD and depart from evil. It shall be health to your navel and marrow to your bones…. [Note sermon series: Addicted Society] …Honor the LORD with your substance…" (vs 7-9). What is that? Anything! Anything that is wealth that you have!

In thinking about that inmate that sent the stamps, I know that a lot of people on our mailing list—and we're happy to do so—that don't send anything. We don't charge for things. We give you everything and there are people who send in money so that we can do it.

"…and with the firstfruits of all your increase; and your barns shall be filled with plenty, and your presses shall burst with new wine" (vs 9-10). In other words, God is going to bless you above and beyond what you think.

Now, I know there are going to be some who say, 'Take me off your mailing list because you read Mal. 3!' All right! Go! You're a free moral agent. Mal. 3 includes more than just tithing. But this is a very interesting thing. Where do you begin?

Malachi 3:7: "'From the days of your fathers, you have gone away from My statutes, and have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you,' says the LORD of hosts…."

Do you want God on your side? He tells you how to do it!

"…'But you say. "In what way shall we return?"…. [How are we going to do this, Lord?] …Will a man rob God?…. [If tithing is optional you can't rob God!] …Yet, you are robbing Me. But you say, "How have we robbed You?"….'" (vs 7-8). How can that be? We haven't gone to heaven; we haven't held up the angels; we haven't gone in and chipped off the gold off your throne.' How have we robbed You?

He says, "…'In tithes and offerings!'" (v 8). For some people that's like a dagger in the heart when you read that. Then you need to ask:

  • Do you believe God?
  • Do you believe what Jesus said that 'man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word of God?
  • What do you really believe?

Verse 9: "You are cursed with a curse; for you are robbing Me, even this whole nation."

  • Is this nation in this state right now? Yes, indeed!
  • Are the Churches of God in this state? In many cases, yes!
  • What of our personal lives?
  • What are the difficulties that we have?
  • Could it be that some of them surround this?
  • Could it be that in deciding your own way and what you will and will not do, and tell God what to do, just like Cain did?

Just because it comes from the mouth of a minister, you reject it. If I read the Word of God, it is the Word of God and not my words and not my manipulation of it, but speaking the Truth!

Verse 10: "Bring all the tithes into the treasure house, so that there may be food in My house. And prove Me…" God says, 'You prove Me!' He gives you a challenge.

  • Are you willing to take up the challenge of God?

God is proving your heart! That's what He says in Deut. 8.

  • Are you willing to prove God?
  • Are you willing to come to God and say:
  • I realize what I've done
  • help me
  • strengthen me
  • let me prove You
  • I come to You and claim Your promise
  • Not because I'm great, but because You have given Your Word: Prove Me!

"'…now with this,' says the LORD of hosts, 'to see if I will not surely open the windows of heaven for you, and pour out a blessing for you, until there is not enough room to receive it" (v 10).

  • Can God do that, or not?
  • Can God bless what you have, or not?
  • Yes, He can!

Verse 11: "And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes…" How many devourers are out there today? A lot of people are so far in debt, what is the greatest devourer that they have? Interest! Does that not devour your income?

You get a 30-year loan on a house, the first month you make the payment you pay a pittance—pennies—on the principle. All the rest is interest. You get a loan for $100,000, by time you pay it back you pay $220,000! What about credit cards? What about all the mismanagement of your financial life because you haven't tithed and had the discipline to understand that you have to honor God first! How many things are you being devoured by? Look at it! I don't know your life! All I know is the Word of God!

"'…and it shall not destroy the fruit of your ground; nor shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field,' says the LORD of hosts" (v 11).

  • Think about work!
  • Think about the job!
  • Think about what God can do!
  • Think about how many people God has to bless and prosper in this economy so each one of us can have a job so that we can live, exist and we can give God His tithe!

Think about it!

  • Where do you work?
  • How many people work there?
  • How many people does God have to bless so He can bless you?

An amazing thing—isn't it? Quite an amazing thing!

Verse 12: "And all nations shall call you blessed… [they will at the resurrection] …for you shall be a delightful land,' says the LORD of hosts. 'Your words have been all too strong against Me,' says the LORD…." (vs 12-13).

  • we don't have to keep the Sabbath
  • we don't have to keep the Holy Days
  • besides, I'm sure glad I'm a Gentile so I can eat shrimp, lobster and pork—all that stuff

Just like one woman who gave up on God because she was mad a man. She divorced her husband and went out and got hooked up with a man in the world and started eating all kinds of unclean food. One of the favorite things they would do is eat raw ground pork meat. She died from eating that raw pork sausage! Someone in the world not knowing the Truth probably would have gotten by with it. But somewhere along the line God has to be severe in His judgment to us if we just utterly reject Him. Think about it!

"…'Yet, you say, "What have we spoken so strongly against You?"'" (v 13). 'God, we love you! We'll do this, we'll do that, 'we'll do the other thing. But don't ask me to tithe; don't ask me to give offerings. I'll give if I'm willing.' I've heard a lot people who say, 'I don't believe in tithing; I believe in giving.' Oh? How do you do that? I think we should give more than tithing. It has never, never failed; they don't ever come close to doing it.

Verse 14: "You have said, 'It is vain to serve God; and, what profit is it that we have kept His charge… [any of the commandments] …and that we have walked mournfully before the LORD of hosts?" Oh yeah, I'll tithe, yes! (grudgingly)

Verse 15: "And now we are calling the arrogant blessed…." Look at all those out in the world; they're prospering; they're getting along, but I'm having troubles and difficulties.

"'…Yea, they that work wickedness are built up, they even tempt God, and are delivered.' Then those fearing the LORD…" (vs 15-16). It shows the difference if you don't fear God; if you don't love God. That's how you're going to be toward God—right? Yes!

I've seen it happen: even those who are called brethren; even those who are so-called elders and ministers in the Church of God come to that point. However, God always has the remnant few that are faithful to serve Him.

Verse 16: "Then those fearing the LORD spoke together, each man to his neighbor. And the LORD listened and heard. And a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who feared the LORD…" This includes the whole gambit of everything. Not just tithes and offerings, but all the commandments of God, all the growing in character and grace and knowledge that we have in the New Testament.

God is writing it down; there's a book of remembrance. Today in this world you have what is called a credit report. You can go online and get your free credit report. What's written about you? Well, God has a book of remembrance about each one of us. I wonder what's under each name? It's there—isn't it? Doesn't God say we're going to give an account for every idol word that we speak? Isn't that true? Yes!

"…a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who feared the LORD and for those who thought upon His name. 'And they shall be Mine,' says the LORD of hosts… [you are the firstfruits] …'in the day that I will make up My own special jewels…. [there's a crown of life that's going to be made for you] …And I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.' Then you shall return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between the one who serves God, and the one who does not serve Him" (vs 16-18).

Where are we today in tithes and offerings? Every year at this time we all get focused in on finances—don't we? Everybody is waiting for that dreaded 1040 form to come through the mail from the government—or wherever it is in the land that you live in—and the government is going to take its taxes.

You know you're going to pay, because they're going to come and get it one way or the other. You do it voluntarily in most cases. However, people feel as though they have liberty to rob God. God somehow is going to overlook it and they're going to get away with it.

If you can't get away with it with the federal government or the national government, how do you suppose you're ever going to do it with God? That's where we are!

The long and short is this: God loves a cheerful giver!

All Scriptures from The Holy Bible in Its Original Order, A Faithful Version by Fred R. Coulter

Scriptural References:

  • Psalm 50:1-5
  • Exodus 13:12-13
  • Isaiah 66:7-8
  • Psalm 50:5-8, 12
  • Matthew 4:3-4
  • John 14:6
  • Matthew 7:13-27
  • Deuteronomy 8:1-20
  • Numbers 18:20-21
  • Haggai 1:1-11
  • Proverbs 3:5-10
  • Malachi 3:7-18

Scriptures referenced, not quoted:

  • Matthew 24
  • Romans 12:1-2
  • Revelation 12
  • John 10
  • Psalm 119
  • 1 John 2
  • Revelation 2; 3
  • Galatians 5
  • 2 Peter 1

Also referenced:

Sermon Series:

  • Daniel/Revelation
  • The Addicted Society

Appendix H from The Holy Bible in Its Original Order, A Faithful VersionHow Did Jesus Fulfill the Law and the Prophets

FRC:bo
Transcribed: 11-24-13

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