What Does God Promise to Those Who Tithe? Clarence Sexton
What Does God Promise to Those Who Tithe? Clarence Sexton First Edition Copyright
Solid Answers Series
What Does God Promise to Those Who Tithe? Copyright © 2015 Crown Christian Publications Powell, Tennessee · 37849 1-877 At-Crown CrownChristianPublications.com FaithfortheFamily.com ISBN: 978-1-58981-698-5 Layout by Ryan Keiter All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form–electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or any other–except for brief quotations embodied in critical articles or printed reviews, without the prior permission in writing from the publisher. Printed in the United States of America
No promise in God’s Word brings such bountiful blessings as the one act of obedience in tithing. “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” Malachi 3:10
o promise in God’s Word brings such bountiful blessings as the one act of obedience in tithing. In the book of Malachi, we find God’s message to His people. The name “Malachi” means “my message.” In chapter three, there is a wonderful passage where God says, “If you will, I will.” We have a divine invitation to obligate God. He declares, “Bring ye...prove me.” Every Christian is one of God’s stewards. God’s stewards have been assigned a responsibility from the Lord to manage God’s goods as they are distributed and used in this world. All that the Father has is at our disposal. May God help us to be wise, but even more importantly to be faithful in our stewardship. God’s Word says in Malachi 3:7-12, Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts. But ye
Solid Answer Series said, Wherein shall we return? Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts.
We have a divine invitation to obligate God.
There are two notable expressions found in the tenth verse of this third chapter. First, the words, “bring ye,” and second, the words, “prove me.” God says, “Bring ye…prove me.”
This book about God’s love for His people is one that we all ought to know with great familiarity. Looking at the opening of the book of Malachi, notice that the Lord says, “The burden of the word of the Lord
What Does God Promise to Those Who Tithe? to Israel by Malachi.” In verse two, He says, “I have loved you, saith the Lord.” This is where God begins: “I have loved you, saith the Lord.” Any conversation about God needs to begin where God begins–with the declaration of His love for us. Almost every child who attends church has been encouraged to quote John 3:16, which says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” When we begin speaking to people about the Every Christian Lord, we begin by telling them is one of that our God is a loving God who God’s stewards. gave His only begotten Son to pay our sin debt. The Lord Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God who became a man without ceasing to be God, did not die for His own sin. He proved He was the sinless Son of God, and He owed no sin debt. He demonstrated the love of God by suffering our death and hell. If you ever doubt the love of God in the darkest hours of your life, think of Calvary and what the Lord Jesus Christ did for us when He tasted death for every man (Hebrews 2:9). When I say Christ died for you and me, write your name in it. When you quote John 3:16, insert your name. “For God so loved Clarence Sexton, that He gave His only begotten Son, that if Clarence Sexton would believe in Him, then Clarence Sexton would not perish, but have everlasting life.” Put your name in there. God wrote to His beloved people Israel in Malachi, and He put their name in and declared to them, “I love you.” They began to ask questions. In verse two of chapter one, they asked, “Wherein hast thou loved us?” They doubted the 5
Solid Answer Series love of God. Never doubt God’s love. The love and goodness of God lead us to repentance (Romans 2:4). But these people to whom God addressed and gave this message said, “You love us, do you? Well, wherein have You loved us?” Notice that verse six says, A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the Lord of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name?
May God help us to be wise, but even more importantly to be faithful in our stewardship.
It is a form of mockery to answer back to God this way. Eight times in this book they ask the question, “Wherein?” “Where have?” or “What have?” Again in verse seven, “Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee?”
In Malachi 2:17, God’s Word says, “Ye have wearied the Lord with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied him? When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delighteth in them; or, Where is the God of judgment?” They are asking questions back to the Lord. In Malachi 3:7, God’s Word says, “Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return?”
What Does God Promise to Those Who Tithe? Again, in verse eight we read, “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee?” Then, in verse thirteen God says, “Your words have been stout against me, saith the Lord. Yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against thee?” Every time God makes a statement, He does not make it simply as an indictment concerning their sin. The knowledge of our sin should help us to cry out, “We need the Lord!” When God gives them His Word, they doubt Him and cry out, “Wherein?” “Where have?” Any “What have?” What is our attitude toward the Lord? I want to remind you of something God says in the New Testament book of II Timothy. It is possible to have every appearance of godliness but have no power. Paul, under the inspiration of the Spirit of God, wrote in II Timothy 3:1-4,
conversation about God needs to begin where God begins–with the declaration of His love for us.
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.
Solid Answer Series In verse five God’s Word says, “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.” The characteristic of our age is that we have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof. When we read the book of Malachi, God is speaking to His people. He is speaking to a remnant of believing people, and He declares that there must be more than a form; there must be the power. As God specifically points out to the people where the need is, they have the audacity to challenge the Lord. How do we respond when God by His Holy Spirit speaks to us? Could you imagine God making such a promise as the one we find in Malachi 3:7? “Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from my ordinances, and have not kept them.” God makes this promise, “Return unto me, and I will return unto you.” When we live religiously, “having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof,” we are not even aware that we do not have God’s power. We are not even aware that the Lord is missing from our religious routine. God says the priests are going about their religious routines, but with polluted sacrifices. The prophet states, “God wants to be the everlasting God in your life and love you with an everlasting love, but you are not even aware of God’s love. You say, ‘Wherein has God loved us?’” On and on God goes with these statements to them, and they are not even aware that God is missing. God says, “You return to Me in these areas, and I will return unto you.” What we need more than anything else in this world is God’s presence in our work, in our lives, and in our homes. We are living in a nation of misplaced priorities. These misplaced priorities lead to misplaced emphases. 8
What Does God Promise to Those Who Tithe? For example, there is so much talk about the filth of television, and people spend energy trying to clean up the television. There is so much talk about the issues in public education, and there are issues that need to be addressed; but some give all their time to that. There is so much talk about the homosexual agenda and their recruitment, and so many people give all their time and energy to addressing that. On and on the issues go. At present the issue is the financial crisis in our world–– not only in our nation, but in We are living our world. Constantly we are in a nation being bombarded with negative of misplaced information about what kind of priorities. condition our land is in financially. What if we all decide that we are going to do better in the matter of personal finances? If we get all that straightened out, we can still have a form of godliness but deny the power of God. Cleaning up Hollywood, cleaning up Washington, D.C., and cleaning up everything wrong in this nation that we think is wrong, and leaving God out will not be the solution we need. What is wrong in Washington, D.C., and what is wrong in Hollywood has nearly nothing to do with what is wrong in this country. God says, “You return to Me, and I will return to you.” This is the same thing that we read in II Chronicles 7:14. It is a verse we love to quote, but it seems so very difficult to apply to life. “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
Solid Answer Series God is doing things for His people. There are so many people who are not His people, who have never put their personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, who have never followed God’s Word, and have never sought to be true followers of Jesus Christ. There are so many people like that who are receiving blessings by living in the same community or on the same continent with people who do know the Lord, because God is caring for His people. The Lord says, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” We are looking at what God says to His people. The Lord does not give this message to the unsaved, but to His people. If you are living in a community of unbelievers and you are comparing your family with their families and your priorities with their priorities, God does not do that. God has a standard for His children and for the way they should behave in their families and rear their children. Certainly, we would all like to see all people know the Lord. The Lord is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (II Peter 3:9). If you think you and I can get by doing a little better than people who are not Christians, we have missed the point entirely. We can live a form of godliness, an appearance of godliness, yet deny the power thereof and be just as guilty as these ancient Israelites who asked the Lord, “Wherein? What have we done?” We are not to compare ourselves with others. Look at the Lord’s promise in Malachi 3:7: “Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from my ordinances, and have not kept them.” The Lord is talking to His people. 10
What Does God Promise to Those Who Tithe? Can you say, “I am one of His people. I have been born into His family”? This is His message to His people. “Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return?” In other words, “We did not know we were gone. What are we doing wrong? What is different?” Then the Lord says, “Will a man rob God?” What a question! “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee?” And the Lord says, “In tithes and offerings.” I have come to believe in my Christian life that the tithe is the tenth, and it belongs to the Lord. I also have the conviction that the storehouse for us is the New Testament church. A preacher I know said to his congregation, “We need to raise two thousand dollars.” A man came to him after he made that announcement and said, “I am ashamed of you, Pastor. That is so little money. I could have given that myself.” The pastor turned to him and said, “If you can, you should.” About two weeks later, the man came to the pastor and said, “I couldn’t get away from what you said. Here is a check.” It was not for two thousand dollars; it was for two hundred thousand dollars. Do not miss your personal accountability to God by being hung up on something that many people want to debate. This minimal standard––bringing the tithe––has been given by God to declare that He is the owner of all things. This collective work that God does through His local assembly, the New Testament church, only reveals the attitude we have toward the Lord. The Lord says, “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and 11
Solid Answer Series offerings.” The tithe is different from the offering. The offering goes beyond the tithe, and some people are able because of God’s blessing to give so much more than others in their offerings. Many of you have been so exceedingly blessed of God. God has blessed you, and because of that you are accountable to God as you pray about offerings to give. God has enabled you to give. The Lord says, “Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.” Then we come to one of these amazing promises again. The Lord says, “Bring ye...and prove me.” “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord.” God says, “I want you to prove Me. I want you to move Me to action. I want to declare something to you if you will declare something to Me.” Just as the Lord said, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven...” “If you will, I will.” He says, “If you return to Me, I will return to you.” Here He says, “If you bring, I will prove something to you.” I would hate to imagine that when we lay down this robe of flesh to soar beyond the stars to be with God, we find out that God had so much for us that He would not do. Because we would not bring to Him, He would not prove to us. There is a responsibility to church membership. There is such a responsibility in identifying with God’s people. Most people never think about it. You are a testimony. It ought to be a good testimony.
What Does God Promise to Those Who Tithe? God holds us responsible. We have an identity. Your behavior ought to be exemplary and pleasing to the Lord. In other words, it should mean a great deal to us to be identified with the Lord God and with His people. “I am not going to make tithing the issue,” you say. Well then start somewhere. It is all right with me if you give ninety percent to God and keep ten percent. There ought to be some starting place. The Lord makes these promises. God says, “If you will do this, this is what I will do.”
There Will Be Meat in My House God says, in verse ten, “That there may be meat in mine house.” What is needed for provision, you will have. There will not be any need that cannot be met through that local assembly. Some say, “Do you mean to tell me that if everybody will take this seriously and obey the Lord from their heart, not having a form of godliness and denying the power thereof, but doing it from their heart, that there will be an accumulative total of things to the amount that there will not be any need?” No, that is not what I am saying. I think certainly that would happen, but more than that, God promises that there will be meat. Our faithfulness to Him brings His bountiful blessing to us. I never believe that we ought to add up everybody’s tithe and everybody’s offering and then say, “Now here is what we have to meet the need.” We do not have what we give to meet the need; we have what God gives through His people, and He blesses
Solid Answer Series
Some people have done everything imaginable for their children except practice a life of obedience to God. The greatest gift you can give your children is the gift of your personal obedience to God. If you disobey God in an area, then you are sinning against your children.
beyond. He uses many channels, but He is always the source. I sat in my office one day and a man walked in and said, “Here is two hundred thousand dollars for the Lord’s work.” Think of that! I got a phone call one day and someone said, “This man listened to you on the radio, and here is thirty-one thousand dollars he left to help the ministry God has given you.” I received another phone call one day and a son had a lawyer call and say, “His dad was a business man, and you came into his store and he liked the way you behaved yourself. Here is a portion of his estate for the Lord’s work.” Another man said, “I like the fact that you sing hymns. I cannot hear them anywhere in these churches much anymore.” And when he died he left our ministry in his will, because he liked the fact that we sang hymns as he listened to us on the radio.
I received a letter from a man who said, “I have a house that I want to give to the Lord’s work. I am not able to go to church, but I listen to you on the radio every week, and I want
What Does God Promise to Those Who Tithe? to give my house.” I do not know where those things come from except to say that they come from God. There is a God in heaven who wants to prove Himself. Will you allow Him to prove Himself by being a person who tithes and gives offerings so that there will not be any need, there will be meat in God’s house?
I Will Open the Windows of Heaven The Lord said in Malachi 3:10,“That there may be meat in my house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven....” By the way, what is in heaven? In heaven are all the treasures of heaven. The Lord says, “You just bring, and I will prove something to you. I am going to open the windows of heaven. As you bring, I will prove, and one of the proofs I am going to give you is I am going to open the windows of heaven.” A man called me who watches our television programs and said, “We are taking an offering for you, and we would like to give an offering to the gospel work you are doing in England. You just mentioned it in the sermon.” I said, “We would deeply appreciate it.” He said, “Maybe we can raise ten thousand dollars.” I said, “Oh, that would be so greatly appreciated because we are trying to open another chapel in another city in England, training the people to go there.”
Solid Answer Series He called me after he took the offering and he said, “We do not have ten thousand, we have twenty, and we may have twenty more coming.” What did God do? I thank God for those people, but I am telling you the Lord raised the windows open in heaven. I would like to see more of that. Would you? Some of you are standing on top of the window sill. You have gone to the window and have locked the windows. Some of you have helped drive nails into the windows. Some of you have painted over it with six or seven coats of paint and cannot get it open. You say it will not open. Why? Because of disobedience. God says, “You obey me from your heart. Stop asking, ‘Wherein?’ Just obey Me from your heart, and I will open heaven’s windows for you.” I want to see the windows opened and the blessings overflowing. That is another thing God says He will do. He says He will “open the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” What a blessing!
I Will Rebuke the Devourer The devourer is the Devil. The Bible says in I Peter 5:8, “The devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” He is out to devour us, to make us disappear. I would like the Lord to rebuke him. God says, “I will tell you what I will do. You bring; I will prove. One of the proofs will be that I will rebuke the devourer.” I am in a spiritual warfare, and so are you. The more intense we get into the battle, the more intense the enemy gets with us. Some people say, “I am never even aware of the Devil.” Well,
What Does God Promise to Those Who Tithe? no wonder! You stay out of his territory. When you attempt something and try to go into an area where Satan has held the ground, he will fight you in every way he possibly can. God says, “Obey Me. You bring and I will prove, and I will rebuke the devourer.” I want him rebuked. Would you like to see the Devil rebuked right now? Then be an obedient Christian. Notice what else He says, “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground” (Malachi 3:11). God says the Devil will not be allowed to destroy the fruit of your ground. What about our children and our grandchildren? What about our fruit? What about the people we lead to Christ? Some people have done everything imaginable for their children except practice a life of obedience to God. The greatest gift you can give your children is the gift of your personal obedience to God. If you disobey God in an area, then you are sinning against your children. An old man said one time, “I don’t go to church. I don’t have anything to do with church. I don’t believe there is anything to it.” Finally, someone pulled out of him why he felt that way. He said, “When I was just a boy, I grew up in a preacher’s home, and one day one of my brothers brought home a stray dog, or at least we thought it was a stray. It was a beautiful little white dog with just a few little black hairs in the tip of his tail, strangely enough.” He went on to explain, “Someone heard we had the dog and called and asked if it happened to be the dog they lost. They described it and talked about the little tip of black hair in its tail. My father, the pastor, had grown attached to the dog, and we boys did not want to give it up. My father said, ‘No, this is not your dog.’ ”
Solid Answer Series The man said, “They believed my father, of course, because he was a preacher. And just to make sure of things, my father called the boys in and had us hold the dog while he personally pulled all the little black hairs from that dog’s tail just in case anyone from that family ever came by to check and see if it happened to be their dog. It no longer looked like the dog they described.” He said, “When I saw my father do that, I lost all confidence in his ministry and in his integrity. I decided right then and there that what he was doing was not for me.” What a story! When your children hear you say things that are dishonest, not forthright, or full of guile; when there are acts of disobedience in your life as a parent and you are a Christian; when you whine about why you cannot do what you want to do; when you doubt God in your attitude or live like there is no God to take care of you and solve your problems, you are saying to your children, “We preach a big, dynamite God, but He is not even as big as a firecracker.” There is nothing you are going to do that is as beneficial to your children as personally obeying the Lord. God says, “You bring; I will prove. One of the ways I will prove it is I will not let your fruit be destroyed.”
All Nations Shall Call You Blessed This is amazing to me. God not only says He will“rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit in the field, saith the Lord of hosts,” but also adds in verse twelve, “And all nations shall call you blessed.” God wants 18
What Does God Promise to Those Who Tithe? to use you in world evangelism. As you obey Him, the Lord will use you in world evangelism. I received a phone call from England one evening. It was about three in the morning in England. I said, “What in the world are you people doing up this time of night?” They said, “Oh Pastor, Pastor! We just had our one year anniversary, and we had over one hundred people here. We are celebrating how many people have been saved and what God is doing in this place, and we just want to thank you and thank the Temple Baptist Church, that God has used you to make all of this possible.” I thought to myself, “God said, ‘You bring; I will prove.’”
What a promise we have! God says, “You bring; you keep your part of it as best you can, and I guarantee My part.” I want God’s part on my life.
I remember a student by the name of Tim Carte coming from West Virgina to Crown College as a freshman. He said in jest, “I come from wild and wonderful West Virginia. It was wild because I lived there, and now it is wonderful because I left there.” He was full of vim, vigor, and vitality. Tim and my son Matt went on a mission trip to Venezuela. Tim was burdened to go back. He not only went there, but he met a Venezuelan girl—a dedicated, beautiful Christian girl—who became his wife. They now have two beautiful children, and they are starting churches and winning souls to God. They spent many years in the land of Venezuela. I think about where it all started and the sacrifices and offerings beyond the tithe that our church made to establish a 19
Solid Answer Series school to train people like that. God says, “I will tell you what you do: you bring, and I will prove.” I remember those early days when a man sold his house and gave the profit from his house to help start Crown College. I remember one of our men building an apartment on his house, giving up a certain freedom where he lived, and renting out the apartment. He has been giving the money for the last twentyfive years from the apartment rent to help keep the college going. I remember people selling automobiles that they did not need; they said they were not using them, and they gave the money to help start Crown College. God said, “You bring, and I will prove.” We have graduates in every state. We have people serving God on every continent. We have a young lady right now who is a nurse, teaching English to medical students in China and trying to win them to the Lord. Why? Because God said, “You bring, and I will prove.” We have graduates in the jungles in South America winning the lost to the Lord. Why? Because God said, “You bring, and I will prove.” We have graduates all across Asia. God said, “You bring; I will prove.” I know a young boy who came to America to make his fortune and wound up as a waiter in a restaurant. After being in several cities, he relocated to Knoxville, and somebody from our church led him to Christ. He came to our church and followed the Lord in believer’s baptism. One of our men took him under his care and gave him further training. He is in Indonesia today serving God, married to a preacher’s daughter, and is starting churches. Do you know why? Because God said, “You bring, and I will prove.”
What Does God Promise to Those Who Tithe? Would you like to see more of that? Then let us simply prove the Lord. He said, “You bring, and I will prove.” I came to know Christ as my Saviour as a fourteen-year-old boy. I did not have much instruction. When I was seventeen years old, I surrendered as best I could all of my life to the Lord. I said, “God, I am Yours. There will not be any more of this foolishness. I want You to have every bit of my life from this day forward. Anything, anywhere You want for me, I want to give it to You.” I was seventeen years old, and every time since then, when someone has taken the Bible and explained to me, “This is what God says you ought to do,” I have not had any argument with them. I have not had any hesitation with them. I believe in our bringing. If we bring the Lord our heart, nothing else He asks us to bring will cause any hesitation in our life. We will bring it. Many people have hesitation because they have never really brought the Lord their heart and said, “I am Yours from head to toe. Today and forever, I am Yours.” What a promise we have! God says, “You bring; you keep your part of it as best you can, and I guarantee My part.” I want God’s part on my life. Do you? I want God’s part on my ministry. Do you? I want God’s part on my children and my grandchildren; I want God’s blessing on them. Do you? Then “bring ye” and “prove Him!” Taken with permission from the full-length book, The Stewardship of Life, by Clarence Sexton.
Lesson Aims & Application To be reminded that the Lord owns everything and that our tithe and offerings belong to Him
Application: Bring your tithe and offerings to your local church, showing you recognize that everything you have belongs to the Lord.
To show that God has obligated Himself to bless us as we obey Him
Application: Obey the Lord from the heart. As you obey Him, He will pour out blessings abundantly. You will never experience all that God has in store for you unless you are obedient to Him.
To realize that the greatest gift we can give our children is our personal obedience to God
Application: As you obey the Lord, particularly in the matter of tithes and offerings, God says He will not only bless you, but also will protect your children from the devil.
o promise in God’s Word brings such bountiful blessings as the one act of obedience in tithing. In the book of Malachi, we find God’s message to His people. The name “Malachi” means “my message.” This is a wonderful passage where God says, “If you will, I will.” We have a divine invitation to obligate God. He declares, “Bring ye...prove me.”