Giving: Where Treasure and Heart Meet

Giving: Where Treasure and Heart Meet


You will never understand about God if you make tithing or offerings, or anything money related, a check box. You will never understand. Paul said that the law served as schoolmaster until Christ was come, and then when faith has come we don’t need the law anymore. That’s what Paul said. And yet there’ll be people that will say, “Well, the tithe is law.” And it’s a sad statement because the tithe indeed was in the law. This has been said many times before. The tithe was before the law, and the tithe was occurring in Jesus’ day as well. So when we come to the subject of money, there’ll be people listening to me right now going, “Oh, I’ll come back later, I don’t want to know about this. It’s real easy for people to come in to a church with preconceived ideas of how the money should be raised, or better yet, the new, which is not so new, transparency system: “Well, we want to know where every dime goes, because we want to hold you accountable.” And I’ve said before, you know it’s a funny thing, but I didn’t see them weighing the priests in the Old Testament to see if they had consumed too much bread. I’m not sure why we are in such a state, except for the fact that there have been so many abuses over hundreds, thousands of years that we now have the problem of “Well, who do we trust?” and “How can we trust that person? How will we know?” How many times have you heard people saying, “Well, how will I know where money goes?” There is the clearest idea that someone has not been taught about what their responsibility is. You see, if you are brought to a place where somebody’s teaching you and they say, “Send your money,” and they are a charlatan and they are a thief and they are a robber, God will deal with them. You will not be robbed of your rewards. I pray that you would, you’d, you’d learn enough of the Scriptures to know what really it means when God says He desires this of people that you not be robbed of your rewards. Any time somebody says, “Give,” and they put they little twist on it; yes, the Bible says, “Give and you shall receive,” or “Ask and you shall receive,” but they put a twist on it, which is no longer giving; it’s an investment, you’ll get it back. And the one they love to quote the most is out of Job. Job, God took everything away and at the end he got it all back. Now last time I checked, for most of you that have been tithing here and have been claiming the promise of Malachi, you’re still waiting for God to pour out that blessing. That’s what I, that’s why I tell you, that’s not law, that’s a faith opportunity, a perpetual faith opportunity in action, “Well, God, it hasn’t happened yet, so I’m going to keep doing it until You do it, I’m going to keep doing it.” But I don’t, I haven’t even taught that. I have not taught a message here if you really think about it, I have not taught a message here on that particular passage for a reason, because I felt for too long people use that as a quid pro quo with God. Now some people say, “But you know, you haven’t given me anything to hold on to. You just keep telling me that this is God’s way and this what God wants, but you haven’t given me some lever I can pull, like, well, ching! ching! ching! ching! ching! ching! ching! Because you know I only want to give if there’s going to be some buzzer action at the end, right?” No! Now I love what Dr. Scott did. You know there’ll never be another one like that. He took 1 Corinthians 15, talking about the Resurrection: He is risen, and then here we are in between the He is risen and the 16th chapter, “Now concerning the collection,” and somewhere in the middle here we are. And what I take away from that is that we are being transformed and changed into something away from what we were by nature. In the middle of 1 Corinthians 15 and 16, here we are, a band of believers, some of us crying inside, “Lord, please change me, transform me, I, I don’t want to be like this, get me out of this shell.” Others fighting and saying, “I, I don’t really want to be changed because I’m scared of what will happen to me.” But here we are in the middle of that. And as much as he taught on this, so many lessons and so many repetitions on that same lesson, I’m now finding out that there are so many people who heard him but they didn’t hear about the middle part. They heard about He is risen, 1 Corinthians 15 and they heard about now concerning the collection, but that part in the middle, past and we too shall rise, future, but right in the middle what is being changed. Now I’m not going to say it’s the missing gospel because it’s not, it is the core of the gospel when we talk about people being transformed by the risen Christ. I think I’ve been referring to this almost every week now, at least one or two things in reference to that, but the reality is, that I was reading Tozer earlier in the week and Tozer said something like, there are a lot of mediocre Christians and what he meant by that mediocre is halfway up the hill, there’s a lot of people that are just half, there right in the middle, they never take a position. And I’m afraid that there are a whole lot of people like that. They like to come in to the church, but they never want to take a position. And the greatest position that you’ll ever stake out is at least wrapping your mind around some one thing that God has said and not putting your own spin on it. Giving is the same way. So the tragedy is, as I said, Satan will come in on this and we’ll have people in the church that will say, “Well, we need money because we need to buy airtime”” and other institutions, other places will say, “Well, we need money because this is the only way that we’ll be able to do thus-and-so,” and they’ll explain to you what it is. There’ll be other people that will say, “Well, listen, if we don’t, we don’t get money; but we’ll get money and we’ll give you a tax deduction.” Let me just tell you, that will come to an end pretty quick here I’m quite sure. We’ve, Dr. Scott fought for the right to be able to give a tax deduction, tax credit, but we don’t do that. And I’m so glad that we haven’t engaged in that because that whole mindset says, that the government somehow is allowed to dispense back to you, for you giving knowledge of what you do, which is contrary to what Matthew 6 says: do your giving in secret. Am I speaking a foreign language? Now there’ll be people hearing this for the first time saying, “Well I’ll be, I, how can a ministry exist without giving receipts?” We’re still here! Now let’s talk about this tithe thing before I go anywhere else, let’s talk about tithing and tithe. For the people, and I had to spend time reading these articles and combing through stuff; people who have said, “The first time a tithe is mentioned is in Genesis where Abraham meets Melchisedec and gives him a tithe; but it’s not really tithe,” now this not what I believe. The person is saying this, obviously they do not read Hebrew, that’s “it’s not really a tithe, because he gave him of the spoils of war.” Now a tithe is a tithe is a tithe. You can call it a tenth; you can call it a percentage, but a tithe is a tithe. And the Hebrew word does not change. So when, when Abraham meets Melchisedec and gives him a tithe, even if it’s of the spoils of, of war, it was still a tithe. And there’ll be people who will say, “Well, but it wasn’t of his substance.” Oh, wait there’s more! Because if you read carefully you’ll find out that Abraham did not have a problem with his substance. When God said, “Take your son, your only begotten son; we’re going to see now, Abraham, what’s really in your heart.” You want to talk about the ultimate test of what you have and putting it on the altar: “Take your only begotten son, take him up the mount, to Mount Moriah and offer him there as a sacrifice.” And you’re worried about talking to me about a tithe? Without reading the Bible carefully people will draw conclusions, not getting the proper picture, so they say, “Well that wasn’t really a tithe.” But turn around and look what God said: “I am going to see what is in your heart,” Genesis 22, “I’m going to see what’s in your heart, Abraham. Take your son, your only begotten son, offer him as a burnt offering.” Now God, this is the amazing thing, God sees the heart. We cannot. And it says very carefully; people say, “Well, God doesn’t test people like that.” Oh yes, He does. Read Deuteronomy 8:2, the same thing. He says He brought them into the wilderness to test them and to try them to see what was in there heart, to see what faith was in there, what they would do. And, oh boy; did God get to see what was in there and it was not pleasant, at least for the children of Israel. But Abraham took his son, his only begotten son, better than any tithe; wouldn’t you say a child is better than a tithe? A child of promise, he waited all that time for this child to come along, made another child, which became a problem. And God says, “That one.” This issue is that God gave that seed of that promised child to him. He didn’t make it━sorry, you can say, “Well, they did it the old fashioned way,” but God had to open up a dead womb and give an old man enough stuff to produce in that dead womb. And you want to talk about who owns what in talking about a tithe? Boy, this is the best giving message so far, right? “Well, I can’t serve a God like that.” Well then, you’re going to have a lot of trouble, because when you comb the Bible and you do not read the black and white; black and white may say a tithe, may say an offering, but when you look at the bigger picture, you understand that God says, “This is what pleases Me, and I want to see that you’re willing to please Me.” You’ve got to almost go back and reverse the way you think about everything, including when you start from the creation forward. Think about this. God in His perfect Godhead, in the triune Godhead, the person of God had━this is going to weird━perfect communion with Himself, perfect communion, the Father, the Son and the Spirit, perfect communion. Why disturb that perfect communion in creating Adam? Well, don’t even try and answer that one. We’ll come back to that thought later, because some of you are just already spun out into orbit. But God opened His mouth and said, “Let us make Adam in our image, in our likeness,” which brought on the, we’ll call it the fact, the established fact that God desired to have communion with man and also said to Adam, “It’s not good for you to alone.” Oh boy, that was a mistake, “I’ll make a helpmate for you,” and made Eve, another picture of perfect communion, or what was supposed to be perfect communion. And in that perfect communion, God provided and said, “Everything that is here you may have, except this one thing that belongs to Me.” Now we come on the scene and we think that everything is ours and everything includes the thing that God said belongs to Him; “It belongs to us, it’s all ours, everything that’s here.” I can just see Adam. Adam, transport Adam in the garden to Adam of 2015, “It all exists for me! It’s all about me. It’s all for ME!” And that’s the problem with our society. We’re so conditioned to everything is ours, everything must be instantaneous and it all belongs to us. Well, the Bible says the earth is the Lord’s. We talk about this and it can become a glib statement, but the reality is what God wants to see before your pocketbook is moving is He wants to see a changed heart, and only He can see it. The mind is changed, the heart is changed. What did Jesus say to the people in His day? He said, “Their mouths are moving, they honor Me with their mouths.” He was basically quoting Isaiah and Ezekiel and others that said the same thing: “The mouths are moving, but the heart is far away from Me.” And we have that same problem today with people’s mouths moving: “Amen! Hallelujah! Can I hear an ‘amen’?” “Amen! Hallelujah.” Now the offering comes along and you know, you’ve got to scratch around a little bit to find the little bit of junk in your pocket. And you know, it’s like, “Here, here’s a coin for the slot machine; thank You, God.” Now you know, some of you may just say, “That’s, that’s insulting,” but that’s just the way people have treated the church, treated the offering, treated the idea somehow that God; it couldn’t be that God’s given you all that you have. And failure to recognize that begins inside the heart of man, not in your pocketbook. Quit thinking, right when I’m talking right now, quit thinking about the sole thing I’m worried about is your pocketbook, because if the heart isn’t right, I don’t care how many checks you can write, it will not fix the heart. When the heart is right with God, everything else flows the way God intended it to; the bumps in the road, but it flows the way He intended it to. The psalmist says, “It’s good for me to draw near unto you,” to God. And that’s part of the problem. It’s not enough to step into a church and somebody will say, “Lift up your Bible,” and repeat a certain phrase, and then we put down our Bibles and we have to listen to skyscrapers and fantastic stories about fluttering eyeballs and happy people on cotton trails, all the while people that are actually needing to be fed and bring some understanding to the kingdom of God on earth are being robbed, because it just takes a little work to open up the Bible and actually start making some applications. I don’t care whether in the Old or in the New; 66 books were given to us. All Scripture is God breathed, inspired for rebuke, for instruction, for the building up of the body. So let me start first with the Scripture that I have used many times before to set the tone for something, so you don’t think this is just a one-way track here. It’s a one-track mind, but what we’ll see the diversity, which is going to appear in different ways, but all sifting down to the same thing. Start with the most familiar passage, if you will, in turning to Exodus 25, “Speak unto the children of Israel that they bring me offering.” Depending on which version you read, the King James has just one word for offering; the Hebrew has multiple words for offering, it doesn’t matter. It just says the following━I want you to pay attention to this. He comes out of the mount, God says, “Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering.” The key thing I want you to focus on is “willingly with his heart,” not the fact that God said, “Take me offering.” That’s been my focus in times past. What I want you to focus on is could there have been people that were delivered out of Egypt’s bondage that brought all that booty with them as well as the stuff they had while they were there, that when God said, “Build Me a tabernacle,” that somebody might say, “Nah, I don’t feel like it; plus all these other people are going to give stuff, so who cares?” They lived in a camp, in a community where people would know one another. Sorry, you’re going to, you’re going to see that what happens in Exodus is really a picture of what happens in the New Testament in the koinonia community. People saw. You know, when we think of the children of Israel living in encampments, after they built the tabernacle and they erected the white curtains to wall people away; but all of the tribes situated in perfect order around that tabernacle, you mean to tell me that people didn’t know, you know, it’s not like you’ve got to go to a different village. All I’ve got to do is walk over to your tent. “Oh, wow, you’ve got more silver and gold in here. Ah, I’m going to come stay with you!” I’m just saying, you know, we talk about the New Testament koinonia community, but we seldom really apply this mindset to think that in this, in this realm it would have been highly unlikely to have people who were hoarders in this particular instance, in this particular time. They’d just been delivered, God says, “Take Me up━take up an offering of those who will give it willingly with his heart,” and then goes on to say what the offering is. Now let’s talk about the craziness of God; this is crazy stuff. God, who spoke, “Light: be out of darkness,” and there was light, and the same God that separated the earth and the sky; the firmament above, the earth below, that same God that spoke everything into existence now has to depend on humans, who robbed the booty out of the land Egypt to build a tabernacle for Him to live? Now the God of creation could have just said pwish! “Tabernacle: be,” just like “Light: be; tabernacle: be.” Yeah? Because that’s the God we serve, He could do anything; part the waters. What did He say? “Listen, before we cross that Red Sea, you guys have got to get out there and start building a dam; start digging, start━come on!” He just, He separated the waters. They went through on dry ground. But the same God who did that could have just simply erected a tabernacle! Why bring the materials? God’s way of letting us know not only are we needed, but God’s way of revealing Himself to us; all of these things that they gave, the gold and the silver and the brass and the purple and the blue and the scarlet and fine linen, goats’ hair, rams’ skin; all of that, let’s call it common material or maybe not so common material, but things that they had amongst them that now will be used for the house of God, that now will become holy unto the Lord. They didn’t go through some special ceremony. God just said, “Take up an offering,” and specifically the focus is “of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart.” Now we tend to look at giving and we then tend to put this in a box: God will demand this, the law said thus-and-so, God wants that. I’m looking at what could have happened here, which we don’t have a record of. We don’t have a record of any man in the camp saying, “Nah, I think they’ve got enough gold, plus, mine was free. I’m keeping it.” Never mind, that’ll hit you later. And all of the material is used, as we know, to build the habitation for God that God could, again, back to that communion, man and God being able to commune together. Now if you just take this, you might say that the people, we’ll call, last week is I said to you, you are God’s treasure people, but if you think of this it’s this became, the people’s possessions, whatever they had became God’s treasury. And this treasury is used for God for His house. Now follow me just a little bit down the road here. After, we’re going to skip a couple of books and we’re going to get into the book of Joshua. And I’m going to show you why I said all of this is crazy if you don’t understand a principle. Let’s fast-forward now. They’ve built the tabernacle. They have been moving around for 40 years, Moses goes up on Mount Nebo, he’s let to see the Promised Land, but he dies. Joshua is appointed to lead the people into the Promised Land, God gives instructions to Joshua, “I’ll be with you; be of good courage. I’ll take you in. I’ll show you the land.” Okay, that’s all great. Now we’re just at the point in Joshua 6━wow, that was like, just, you know, a little fast-forward there. We’re at the point where the walls of Jericho have fallen and the only one that was saved was Rahab, and her household. And beginning at verse 18, I want you to read what is said here, “And ye, in any wise keep yourselves from the accursed thing,” that was all the things that were in the city that, that essentially were left, except, except for, and God will spell out what the “except for” is, but He says, “You keep yourself from all the accursed thing, lest you make yourself accursed,” and we know that Achan, that was his sin. He, he coveted something; he saw it, he took it. He wanted it and he wanted it for himself, and it caused everything to stand still. But read onto the next verse, “But all the silver, and gold, and vessels of brass and iron, are consecrated unto the LORD: and they shall come into the treasury of the LORD.” Now you know those people that say, “Well, why do you need to talk to people about money?” Well, let me ask the same question here. They already had a tabernacle they were schlepping around with them for all of these years, moving from place to place, with all the vessels already made and people are already, they are doing what they need to do to get by. They take this land, they’ve crossed over; seemingly, they have enough and God even says, “Now, don’t touch some of this accursed stuff&. But the silver, the gold, brass and iron; those vessels, they’re consecrated unto the LORD: they shall come into the treasury of the LORD.” You know the people that say, “Well, doesn’t God have enough already?” Or the people that say, “Well, God doesn’t need anything.” No, but God’s people did. And then let me ask the next question, because I’m probably covering things that most people would contemplate, those that haven’t been taught, which is it goes into the treasury of the Lord, but is the Lord sitting there and going, “Now, 50, 100, 200; oh, there’s one pile there and there’s another pile there, and then”━the treasury of the Lord; they were custodians. Somebody was in charge. Forgive me for being ludicrous, but I’m trying to kind of get people to see while people in this day and age say, “Well, why do you talk about giving and why do you talk about money?” Well, the Lord did here! And said, “These things that I don’t want, they are accursed. And these things I want, they’re sacred, they’re consecrated”━well, you know, a picky, choosey God here━“and put into the treasury of the LORD.” Now let me do one thing. Let me give you a Hebrew word that will reoccur for us. So at the root of this word “treasury; treasure, treasury”, atsar as a verb and there’s a reason I’m showing you this. And this is a noun; as a verb and as a noun, these words will reoccur as “treasure, treasury, storehouse,” they’ll reoccur. They are reoccurring. They are not mentioned in Exodus, the chapter I mentioned, but they are mentioned throughout the Bible, including this word, “into the treasury of the LORD.” And this word for “treasure, treasury, treasure house,” will keep going through the Bible and if you were reading the Old Testament translated into Greek, which is called the Septuagint, you would encounter the Greek word, which I do have written down somewhere here; the Greek word that looks like this: thesauros, from where we get out word for “thesaurus”” or down to “treasure.” So this word, this Hebrew word, both in its verb and noun form, atsar and otsar, are equal to this Greek word for “treasure.” Now don’t think I’m wondering here. I’ve got a very specific mission I want to show you. So God says, “You take the gold, the silver; all this, and you put it into the treasury of the Lord.” Now people might say, “Why does God need to have this thing put into the treasury?” These people have their tabernacle, they’ve got all their goods; they’ve got all their stuff. So you keep going a little bit, and boy, I’m going to skip over a whole lot, because I don’t want to run out of time. But I’m actually going to bring you to Malachi, because by the time you get to Malachi’s day, which is the close of the Old Testament cannon, the last book of the Old Testament, you have a picture of the religious people. And we’ve, we have traversed a lot of years here, hundreds and hundreds of years between where we were and where we are in Malachi. And the question by the prophet Malachi is asked, “Will a man rob God?” Now I want you to stop and think for a second. The first thing I wanted to show you is, God said, “This is that. This is what I; this is what pleases Me. This is what I ask,” which, if you really want to be sharp about this, the passage I referenced out of Exodus 25 was before the law, as in the, the 316 dos and don’ts were given. We’re not talking about the Ten Commandments; the Ten Commandments are not the whole law. And we see a shift from people who are being mandated to do to, in Malachi’s day, the attitude had already drifted. The heart was already away; there was no more willingness. And in fact, when you read through Malachi, you see people were offering God defective offerings under the guise that God will not see, He will not know. And God says, “This, this is a terrible thing you’re doing.” And if you read the Septuagint of this passage, the Septuagint says, “Will a man insult God.” I prefer the Hebrew and the English, believe it or not, the King James, “Will a man rob God.” He says, “Yet, you have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.” Now stop right here and just check your brain for a minute. And you might say to me, “Well, but, but the tithe is the tithe.” We’re talking about something that is at the heart of everything, that if you go back to the garden, if you traverse the whole Scriptures, God had something communicating to man, God’s ownership over all, His lordship over all, and man’s responsibility and his capability to respond or not respond to what God has said, and if he responded with a willing heart, versus responding, but dragging the heels like, “You know, oh, I really don’t want to do this thing, but the law requires.” So here we have the religious folks, Malachi, the book is made out to those who are already believers and they’re saying, “Wherein have; wherein have we robbed You, God?” “You’ve robbed Me of tithes and offerings.” And then in verse 10, it says, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse.” Now that same word━I have a point in showing you this. That same word in the Hebrew, add a definite article on the front and you’ve got “storehouse, treasure house,” God’s treasure house, the same word that occurred in Joshua. And the relevance here is that throughout the ages, God had a place where He assigned bringing whatever He said was “Bring.” People have this idea somehow, because we read something, we read it in, in tunnel vision, I guarantee you in the garden and outside of the garden, God designated a place for them to bring their offerings. Even though we don’t have a record, the ancient writers chronicled both in the Judaic and the Christian realm, offerings made. Read the book of Enoch and the book of Jubilees and other books to get an idea that somewhere there were offerings being offered. And don’t say, “Oh no! That can’t be, because we don’t have a record.” All, all I need to do is go to the heathen record. Some of you know my propensity to read about ancient cultures in the ancient Near East and you’ll find in almost every culture, in almost every culture you will find a form of tithing or offering; votive offering, libations, right across the board in the ancient Near East. So don’t say, “Well, we don’t have any record.” That’s just ignorance talking. They did. And whether we’re talking about the cultic gods or we’re talking about the God, Yahweh, there was in that land a basic principle that covered the land: you presented offerings to God. So when people talk about “We don’t do this anymore today,” or, “We don’t have a temple,” or “We don’t have a place,” God says in Malachi, “You bring the tithes and offerings to the storehouse.” Now wait, I’m going to, I’m going to try and connect some dots here for you. You see what happens in the Old Testament and by the way, the prophet says if you will listen to what he is saying, “You are cursed with a curse: for you have robbed me, even this whole nation━not just you priests; the whole people, all the people, they’ve robbed Me,” God speaking. Then it says, “Bring the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house.” Now take that mindset and go to Matthew 6. I’ll start with verse 19; 6:19, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures,” take a look at my word right here, because that’s the exact word that appears, right, this Greek word appears here, in, this is Matthew 6:19, and it will appear again in 21, et cetera. “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, where thieves break in and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break in through nor steal”” And the question that has been the quintessential question of the ages is, “Well, where is there a place where I may put the treasures? And are these tangible or are these just merely spiritual?” And I’d say to you they’re both. They’re both, ha, ha, ha: they’re both. You’re going to like this one, but verse 21, “For where your treasure is, these will your heart be also.” What did I say to you? And it’s the same word, “treasure,” it’s the same word being repeated, so it’s the same word as the Hebrew. If you were to flip these back, which I did, you’ll find “treasure of your; your treasure,” simply looks like this. I had to go back and make double sure that it would read as it does. This makes this “yours,” this ending, suffix ending -ka and so here so you have it. You have the same concept and ironically it’s the same principle that God was spelling out for the children of Israel in Exodus 25: take up an offering. There was an express purpose for it, by the way, that in their day was visible and tangible. Take up an offering, willing heart. Now Jesus takes these same words spoken and says, “Where your treasure is, that’s where your heart will be also.” So don’t think linear check-boxing here, “Check, check, I’ve done that, check that there.” Look at the whole picture and God is saying, “Now, I’m going to give you some bookends.” In Malachi, they had a bad heart, they were disconnected, they despised the offerings of God, “Will a man rob God?” And God says, “You’ve robbed Me this way.” The heart wasn’t right. Now Jesus, in the New Testament, comes on the scene and He says, “Blessed are the pure in heart.” We’ve dealt with this word before, the “catherized in heart, for they shall see God.” Well, those same people who have been catherized in heart have begun to have a change of heart, and they begin to see the things around them, including the storing up of treasures. Let’s go back and look at the 6th chapter of Matthew and see what these treasures could possibly mean. Matthew 6 begins with alms, prayer, fasting, it goes on to what, what I just referenced, “treasures in heaven.” So you may say to me, “How are you connecting these dots?” Very easily. A person whose heart is not yet right with God will not want to pray, “Our Father,” because you have a Father, your Father knows how to talk; the Father knows how to talk to His child through the Son. In other words, the heart is turned. And when the heart is turned, your focus on where your treasure is turns radically. And you do begin to focus on what pleases God, what things are pleasing to God. Somebody might say, “Well, are you saying that giving money pleases God?” No. First and foremost, the giving of yourself; this is why the Philippian letter talked about those who begged with much begging. They’d already presented themselves like Romans 12, “a living sacrifice.” You know, until the heart is completely turned towards God, you’ll still be looking at your pocketbook, you’ll still be looking at your time, you’ll still be looking at church like it’s an inconvenience. I’m not, I’m not trying to win friends today. I’m trying to get under the skin of some of you, especially the ones that listen out there that say, “Well, it’s just not that important.” Last week’s message was about faith; “without faith, it’s impossible to please God,” well, “faith comes by hearing,” and hearing this word, not my words, not flattering words, not poetry; this word right here! And this word talks about what God says about treasures. And somebody will say, “Well, but you just mentioned the tithe and, and we don’t like that.” Well, then, let’s, let’s go New Testament. Let’s just go New Testament, because I, I do, it, it angers me at times when I hear people saying, “Well, that’s law.” Well then, let me give you a choice of things so you can, you have something to put in perspective if you really want to understand this aright. When Ananias and Saphira came in the book of Acts, presenting only a part of what they had, they were withholding some portion, they were lying to those saying that was it, and they’re basically busted by the Holy Spirit. It was revealed that they were withholding stuff, right; they didn’t bring the whole sum of whatever they’d promised. No one knows if that was the sum total of their property only that they had said this is what they would do, and then they tried to pull a fast one and God said, “Uh, uh, uh. Okay, come on, ambulance people; come pick up the bodies. That’s your reward.” I think in great clarity, what God has been saying over and over again in the New Testament, people say, “Well how can we live this way”” Jesus said, “Sell what you have and give it to the poor and follow me,” and they think that that’s exactly how every person should be. Well, let me ask you something. If the disciples sold all they had, how is it when Jesus was in the grave and they said, “Hey,” Peter, “I go afishing,” where did they get the fishing boat? Wait a minute. Okay, let me go back for a second. Let me repeat that, because they said, it says, they, they forsook their nets and people say, “Well, they left everything they had,” and Peter says, “Lord, we’ve left everything too!” Jesus, was, was in the ground. He had not yet risen and Peter says, “I go afishing.” And when He catches up with them, they’re on the shore and their fishing boats with nets; where did they get that? That’s possession. Oh, you never thought of that, right? Okay, because that’s the way I think. God does not say, “Hey, listen, I’m going to make you give everything up,” but I really do believe God will put the screws on you to see what’s inside here. Are you holding on to the tangible? Are you holding on to what is God’s and saying, “It’s mine!” or are you saying, “Lord, it all belongs to You. It’s all Yours”? And if the Lord is Possessor of heaven and earth and we, as His children, know how to ask and the Father in heaven gives good gifts, we know how to ask and say, “Lord, I have a need.” But I’m not doing the reverse part, which is seeking to get the things and I’m not seeking after God. What’s the Scripture I always quote to you? Matthew 6:33, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God,” if you get that in your head, you want to find out what matters to God. And God says, “This is what matters.” Now they were tithing in Jesus’ day. Jesus got money out of a fish’s mouth, do you really think He had to say to somebody, “Hey, do you have any money?” And yet, you’ll read for example how the women that followed Him, it says they gave, they supported Him, Luke 8. They supported Him of their substance. My point is that God is very specific. He has not said, “I want you to make an investment.” He says, “This is recognition of what belongs to Me.” Now if you’re going to start making an inventory of what belongs to you, you’re going to come up with this at the end: zero. You know why? Because at the end of the day, if you really think about it, the Lord blesses the work of your hands, the Lord blesses your ability to see and to do and to work. All, everything comes from Him. We turn around and God lets us be included. And I really do believe this. You may think what a sharp way, what a sharp turn to look at this; I believe that God tests the heart sometimes for some of us by the pocketbook. He tested Abraham with Isaac that was his most beloved, his only one; boy, he could not part with that. and I believe daily we encounter these tests where, when I say, “these tests,” they are opportunities of faith, but they’re also opportunities for God to see will our heart be reacting to what God’s word says, or will we go back to our carnal way and say, “No, that can’t be”? Now last but not least on the subject of this word, turn to 1 Corinthians 16 and you’ll see how this word goes straight through the Bible. In 1 Corinthians 16, Paul has just finished, in the 15th chapter, telling people about He has risen, we too shall rise; now concerning the collection. And I love the idea that Paul connected right on the heels of talking about He has risen, we shall rise; now concerning the collection as a response to the message of the Resurrection, Christ being a Firstfruit of a type of what we shall be. We shall be with Him, we shall be like Him: “Now concerning the collection&. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store.” Do you want to know what that word “in store” is? It’s this word right here: thesauros, treasure up. In this case, he says “as God has prospered him.” And what I marvel at is the consistency of God’s word and language through the word. He calls this a treasuring up. Now I don’t read here that there’s some legalism, but there’s a regularity about this: the first day of the week and treasuring up what God has prospered. I see something very regular. By the way, the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament translates this word as “what is deposited.” I like that, it’s a great translation. So what would I like for people who have not been taught about giving or who have not understood what it means to give? There’s something that God uniquely places in us at the moment we turn to Him. And it’s not by law and it’s not by saying, “I will have this and I will have this.” He gives us freewill, He gives us the ability to read and to see and to look and to say, “This, this is what pleased God.” Do you want to know what frustrated God’s spokesperson, Paul, is when he came back, writing a second time to the Corinthians and saying, “You haven’t made good on what you promised.” These people grossly and greatly endowed with spiritual gifts, yet they had trouble letting go of their pocketbook, and it really ticked Paul off. He said, “Now listen, I don’t want it to be that we come to you and,” he says, “I don’t want it to be,” King James says, “covetousness”” in the 2nd chapter of 2 Corinthians, but rather, it should read, “by extortion or pressure.” Again, coming back to the heart that is willing to listen to what God’s word says, and act upon it. Now there is this big, looming white elephant in the room. No, it’s not my shirt, and that is why would somebody give? What should be that motivation? Because, as I said, commonly today how people are told or motivated to give, “If you give, we’ll send you this love gift; if you give, you’ll get that, if you give, this,” but how about this? How about God looking down at all of His children and He sees the gifts He’s given to each one? And they, they may be diversified, but they’re all His gifts, and He’s looking for a heart response to that which He has placed in you. And the ability to respond begins with turning from your way to Him and following Him, and then begins to be a life that is committed to Him. That doesn’t mean you go and live in a monastery, it simply means a life committed to Him. You, everywhere you see His presence is around you. Wherever your eyes can look, whether it’s to the sky or the mountains, wherever you look, you see Him in all things, and the reality of His presence and His person in your life and you go back to read about rewards in heaven. What could that possibly mean? And let me give you something that’s analogous to something so you can put some, some perspective. We talk about our prayers here on earth and we pray and we ask God with our mouth, we pray and we ask God and we petition God, our hearts are prepared, we approach the throne of grace boldly. And then you’ll read in the book of Revelation when John is up in heaven, seeing the picture in heaven, in Revelation 5:8, he sees golden bowls with the prayers of the saints in the bowls. They’re called “incense”” but they’re prayers of the saints captured, if you will, spoken here on earth. You may say, “Well, that’s poetry.” Well, that’s what the book of Revelation reads as John saw it, the prayers that were petitioned here on earth that ascended like incense captured in these vessels by the four and twenty elders that are seen in heaven. So don’t think when you think about rewards and giving, don’t think, “Well, I’m just putting my money,” like opening your mouth and praying and words come out and a petition or a supplication is made, but I don’t see, using the imagery of Revelation that the very same thing happens in all dimensions of your being when you have committed with your heart to follow God and to trust Him that God is not looking down and seeing that which Jesus calls “treasure” and “reward.” Now you don’t do it for the sake of saying, “Because that’s what I’m going to get,” like it’s a quid pro quo, but at the same time of doing it, He says, “This is a reward.” We’re told when we pray, we shall be rewarded by God. Isn’t that what Matthew 6 says? When we pray we will be rewarded, go in your closet and pray. When you fast, don’t put on a spectacle; wash your face. All of these things are seen by Him, so is your giving. I’m just a steward. Don’t let anybody sit in this sanctuary or in a church where somebody is naming the name of Jesus Christ and say, “Well, you’re going to make So-and-so rich,” or “You’re going to give too much to an organization,” or “You’re going to do this.” God sees the heart and I get a little bit weary of this, because it can become for some people a business and business is conducted, the business of keeping the machine of the church going. But what is the church: a people who belong to the Lord. And think about this. This is the definition of ekklesia, “a people who belong to the Lord,” but do they really belong to the Lord when they haven’t even recognized Who their Master is and are hearing His voice and responding to His words? Let that settle in because that’s the reality. And let no one coerce you into giving, giving for other reasons other than God in His word said, “This thing is pleasing.” Let nobody coerce you and say, “If you’ll do this thing.” I know there’ve been people who’ve said, “Well, you know, you can’t just ask people to do this.” Well, I’m not; God is. That’s the difference. I don’t have an agenda here. My agenda is exactly what Paul said and I will stand with Paul on this. There are two things that I couldn’t be more absolutely bone marrow sure of: “I’m determined to know nothing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” That’s a safe one for your pastor. And the second one is “I don’t desire the gift, but that fruit may abound to your account.” A different way of saying what Christ said in Matthew 6, “that fruit may abound to your account.” That means somebody somewhere in heaven is taking an account of what’s going on, on earth. Now you either toss these words around and they’re cheap or they settle in and you’re kind of shaken out of your complacency, “You mean I have the honor to participate?” Yes. Now I know there are people who will say, “I heard what you said,” and I’ll say to you what Proverbs 2 says, “Apply your heart to understanding God.” And if you will delight yourself in the Lord, the Lord will give you the delights of your heart. That is the Lord will give you the Lord; what you ask for in His word becomes a reality because it’s what is God’s will in your life. Now imagine having a bunch of kids, and some of you parents know what this is. You have kids, you put diapers on their butts for so many years, you fed them, you clothe them, and then they get to a certain age and they basically say, “Bye!” Boy, that was a tough one right their; they say, “Bye, don’t need you anymore.” How many have had your kids say, “Don’t need you anymore. Bye!” Come on. And they turn out to be real pieces of treasure. Come on, now. I want to see it, the hands again. Show me your hands. How many have had that? So some of you know what I’m talking about and it’s such a great illustration, because God lets some of us see what we have put God through in our attitude. If this is the fleshly, earthly demonstration and we know how painful it is, can you imagine what God thinks when He looks down and He sees His children? He knows we are faulty, frail, sinning, lost; all of that, but looking on and really, I think at least, it might be true for me, God might have actually thought, “Well, this time she might really get it right.” Now that’s not a perfectionist idea, I’m just telling you that in a microcosm He lets some of us experience that bitter sting of having somebody say, “I don’t need this!” Well, let me ask for the child, who, who wiped your behind when you couldn’t? It was Mom or Dad, or Mom and Dad. And who was up and who took you to the doctor and all of these things. Now take that and multiply that so many times above and beyond what you can fathom as God looking down and saying, “I provided all this for you!” The people in Malachi’s day said, “No, You haven’t.” You see, we really are no different and the only way that we take and approach to giving and put some reality on it is when you read━and there’s many Scriptures. I could keep going and say there’s many places where you can get this from, but let me give you some; we’ll take some bullet points so we have some walk-away bullet points today that when somebody says, “Well, give me the, give me the premise for the things you’re going to say,” well, here they are. The first thing I’d say to you is, strangely enough, Proverbs 3:9 says, “Honor the LORD; Honor the LORD with your substance,” which for some people may be very little. And it doesn’t matter. That’s honoring the Lord. And in this case, it’s honoring the Lord with your firstfruits and your offerings. Out of 1 Corinthians 16:1 and 2. We’ll call it what is regular, or with regularity that’s an on-going, regular. That’s not a tip for God, that’s a regular, on-going. And also from this same passage in 1 Corinthians 16 the treasuring up principle, laying aside that in which God has prospered you, we’re not talking; maybe you think, “Well, you’re confusing tithes and offerings”” I’m talking to you about a principle. 2 Corinthians 8:12 talks about willing, the willingness or eagerness to participate in the offering, and Philippians 4 and 17 talks about fruit abounding, but the most important of these is what Jesus said about your treasure: where your treasure is; where your heart is. They are interconnected, they’re not separate. And you look at the big picture and you say, you know, we don’t have to be beggars with a cup somewhere saying, “Would you, would you, would you please consider digging a little deeper today.” Wait. I might want to━there is an evangelist in there somewhere. I just keep trying to suppress it. I want you to put your giving just where Jesus did. Put your giving and your fasting on the same level with your praying. Those three things together, they’re not imbalanced, they are not one’s set apart and one less, but all have honor and dignity. If we say, “Let us approach the throne of grace boldly, let us go unto Him; we have this High Priest who is touched with our infirmities, and we also have one who is listening, seeing the heart and recognizing His ownership. Why is it the church tosses all of these concepts around, but when it gets to giving, it says, “Well, I hate to talk about this, it’s the annual message on giving, so I understand if, if none of you like this message, but the board of directors and the board of elders and the board of presbyters and every other board that’s bored told me to do it and I have to do it. There. It’s done. I’m so sorry.” I make no apologies for this. I want to be able to say we have looked at the whole council of God. I don’t know if I’ll live long enough to do that, but I do know this. There is honor in giving to God with regularity. There is━I haven’t even exhausted all the words, I just fit in this here. There is the grace of giving, which Paul talks about in 2 Corinthians. And maybe the few who can understand this when we finally come to the reality this gift that we have been given is not about how much I will get or how much I will spend or how much this; Lord, all that You have given me belongs to You. And I turn around and I give You Your portion, putting You first. Your word says━this is not a quid pro quo━Your word boldly proclaims putting You first, You put a blessing on me and everything else that remains. Now I don’t, I don’t━I’m not here for the blessing, because I’ve already received mine. But Lord, that’s, that’s my promise. That’s my claim on Your promise. That’s my act of faith; this is what I’m doing. Not, you know, “Now the ushers are going to come and I’m going to pray, I’m going prey on the offering right now.” No! I’m going pray that some of you understand exactly what my late-husband said. Do you realize people who come into the church of Jesus Christ, I’m not talking about Faith Center; I’m talking about the universal, wherever you are, church, and say, “I won’t give. I want to be here for the message, but I can’t give to a church. I won’t give to a church.” Basically what you’re saying is, “I’m not a Christian.” The Pope came out and said that a couple of weeks ago that giving and Christianity go hand in hand. That’s about the first thing in a couple hundred years we’ve heard out of that church that resonates even remotely with what the word of God says! The treasure, the treasure and the heart should be found in the same place. If you’re still trying to figure out what the take-away is, the take-away is pretty plain and simple. You have either turned towards God, are a recipient of His Spirit and the Spirit flowing through you has done something to change you. Now it may not be that instantaneously you think, “Hey, I’m, I’m ready for this thing.” I told you it took me a while. When I first started listening to Dr. Scott, I, I━no one has sat me down and said, “Now look, I’m going to explain this to you.” There were things that I didn’t quite understand coming out what I’ve told you, the lint offering. You know, you reach in your pocket, whatever change and whatever, you know, gum wrapper, whatever else goes in the plate: let them sort it out, and the wrapper is gratis, by the way━to a point of understanding this offering is the highest form of worship. Lots of people can pray and lots of people can fast, but when you start putting your money where your mouth is and you start walking the walk and saying, “This, this thing front and center is what matters!” you are and have come to the place of what Jesus said. Treasure and heart have met at the same place and yes, at that point, I would simply say we’re going to take up and offering. And if you’ve been offended by anything that I’ve said or are uncomfortable, I’m glad, because today is a day where I stand in front of you saying I make no apologies for preaching the very thing that Jesus Christ instructed, which was, “Go ye into all the earth, into all the nations, preaching and teaching; making disciples, making learners.” And He also talked about this thing regarding that preaching of the gospel, regarding the woman with the alabaster box. He said, “See to it wherever this gospel is preached, you also tell what this woman did.” Well, she brought something to Him. And you may say, “Well, text out of context.” No. Text in context, because He highlights this as the act of sacrificial giving, whether it be in saying this is my sacrifice, my tithes, or what I represent belonging to God, the offerings I give over and above, but I give it all in the name of what it belongs to and Whom it belongs to. It belongs to Him and I’m giving it to Him with honor and with gladness. God will bless that heart and the hands, and maybe even the pocketbook. You might be surprised at what the Lord does. Don’t start doing it because you think He’s going to bless you back. You do it because He says so. And when you start walking according to that, my friends, you’re closer to the heart of God and of the mind of Christ than most people who’d like to show off in the flesh and in the spirit and everything else that they can demonstrate to you. This one thing week in and week out on a regular basis, giving God’s way. I’m not done, but I’m out of time, so that’s my message. You have been watching me, Pastor Melissa Scott, live from Glendale, California at Faith Center. If you would like to attend the service with us, Sunday morning at 11am, simply call 1-800-338-3030 to receive your pass. If you’d like more teaching and you would like to go straight to our website, the address is www.PastorMelissaScott.com

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