Volume. XXVII, No. 14
Sunday, 30 September 2012

Givning Our Best to God

“Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.” (Malachi 3:8).

The book of Malachi was written over 400 years before the birth of our Lord. The name Malachi means “my messenger.” Malachi was a devout Jew in post-exilic Judah, a contemporary of Nehemiah and most likely a priestly prophet. Although the people had initially responded to the restoration of the temple with zeal for God, their commitment to Him diminished as the years went by.

Malachi confronted the people with their lack of trust in God, their insincere worship and their refusal to obey God’s law. A subsequent backsliding had occurred among the priests and the people. The prophet Malachi uses the “Didactic Dialectic” method of teaching which can be divided into three phases:

 i) an assertion or charge is made
ii) the writer gives the presumed objection to  
    the charge
iii) the objection is soundly refuted.

Among the sins cited in this book which happens to be the last book of the Old Testament, are corrupt practices of the priests, infidelity and rampant divorces. In today’s writing, the writer will focus on the corrupt practices of the priests.

During the time of the prophet Malachi, the Jews were experiencing a spiritual decline. God had to send His prophet to speak to His people. His people had not only become cynical. They were also doubting God’s love, promises and even questioning His justice. As their faith dimmed, they became mechanical and insensitive to their observances of worship.

They were offering sick, lame and blind animals on God’s altar. By offering these inferior animals, the people were robbing God of the best. Malachi chides the people by urging them to offer this type of sacrifice to their governor. God equated their offering with a lack of reverence for Him and accused them of despising His name.

Malachi Chapter 1:6-8 reads, “A man 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? Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the Lord is contemptible. And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? And if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? Offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the Lord of hosts.”

“For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye have profaned it, in that ye say, The table of the  LORD is polluted; and the fruit thereof, even his meat is contemptible.”

Malachi brings this topic up again in the third chapter. He asks, “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me! But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.” (Malachi 3:8) Yes, God accused them of robbing Him as they had not given their best.

One might ask what has this to do with me? The prophet was writing to the Old Testament readers. The teaching in the New Testament by the Apostle Paul is that Christians are commanded to give of their means on the first day of the week. Paul told the saints at Corinth in 1 Corinthians 16:1-2 “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of every week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.” This giving as instructed by Paul is a planned and conscious giving. It is not a random giving.

How much should I give back to the Lord on the Lord’s Day? How much does God expect of me? C.R. Nichols quotes, “This subject is much neglected, both in teaching and practice; perhaps it is neglected in practice because it is so much neglected in teaching. Possibly preachers fail to preach on it because they fear they will be criticised and accused of preaching with selfish ends in view, or it may be because they cannot approach the subject in a wholly unselfish spirit.”

John MacArthur says that 16 out of 38 parables of Christ in the New Testament deal with the matter of money. He goes on to say that more is said in the New Testament about money than heaven and hell combined. Five times more is said about money than prayer. Where there are 500 or more verses on both prayers and faith, there are 2,000 verses dealing with money and possession. The above indicates that ‘giving’ is a very important ministry in Christian teaching.

How much must we give? The prophet Malachi clearly reminds us in Chapter 3 verse 10 that we must give one-tenth to God. Malachi Chapter 3:10a admonishes us to “Bring ye all the tithes into my storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house…” The word “tithe” is specified in this verse. This is a command from God. This is proportionate giving.

The Hebrew word for “tithe” (ma’ser) literally means “a tenth part.” In the law of God, the Israelites were required to give one-tenth of the production of the land, the livestock, and their income as a recognition that God had blessed them. The tithe was used primarily for the expenses of the worship of the Lord and for the support of the priests. God held His people responsible to manage the resources He had given them in the promised land.

The earliest documentation of tithing in the Bible is revealed in the book of Genesis, Chapter 14 when we are told that Abraham, father of the faithful, went off to war and when he was returning with the spoils of his victory, he met a man who was a priest called Melchisedec. He gave to this man a portion of what he had plundered. Abraham gave one-tenth of everything.

Tithing is spiritual. It is required of every Christian who has the privilege and honour to be called His steward. Tithing is putting aside every week a portion that is due to Him. It is proportionate giving. Tithing is the duty of every Christian. In the laws about tithing, God was simply commanding his children to return to Him what He had first given.

Among other teachings about money, tithing is an anecdote to greed. Tithing is fulfilling our obligation to God. If we love God, we will tithe. At the heart of tithing is the notion that God owns everything and we are His stewards. We have no rightful ownership of our possessions. We own nothing. All we have belongs to Him. If we honour God, God will honour us.

How you might ask? God assures the Israelites in Malachi Chapter 3:10b, “……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.” God has promised to reward them according to how they have given to Him.

In Malachi Chapter 3:8 God has made a very serious accusation. “Yet ye have robbed me” said He unto His chosen people. But who can plead not guilty? Can we? He charges us with the same crime. He says, “Ye have robbed me.”

Have we given to Him what rightfully belongs to Him? If we have not given to Him, have we taken from Him? Have we withheld what belongs to Him? Apart from tithes, have we robbed Him of His time, talents and wealth? Have we claimed what He has blessed and prospered us with to be our own and use it in the way we like without putting Him first before all else? Who can plead not guilty? Can you? Can I? These are questions that only we ourselves can answer.

Let us take time to reflect upon our conduct. If we have not given unto Him our best, let us confess our sins, seek His pardon, change our course and render unto God the things that are God’s. May the Lord grant us a double portion of His grace as we * give to Him our best, for “God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7).

Your Co-labourer in Christ.
Deacon Tony Law

More Lively Hope



*Kitchen Roster: Today’s Team Leader: Bro Raphael Ng. Next Lord’s Day: Bro Simon Yeo.
*Warm Welcome to our pulpit: Rev Dr Mark Lehman.
*Hope Bookstore: Open today: 12:30 - 1:45 pm.
*All worshippers are encouraged to attend this Evening’s Worship Service.
*For those seeking membership, transfer of membership, baptism or re-affirmation of faith, please see Pastor Weng or Elder Michael D Lee.
*Fellowship Lunch today is catered. Adult $5. Child under 5 years old FREE.
*Daily Manna for Oct – Dec QTR available on literature table. Donation $1.
*Reminder: Daylight Saving starts next Lord’s Day. Advance your clock 1 hour before retiring on Sat.
*2013 Family Bible Camp Committee will be formed. Anyone interested to join please come to a meeting next Lord’s Day after Worship Service.

Praise & Thanksgiving
Journey mercies: Rev Dr Mark Lehman (Adl); Dn Tony & Sis Sally Law (Syd); Dn David & Sis Giok Yeo & Audrey (Bali); Bro Chilton & Sis Emily Gan & family (Adl); Bro Joseph & Sis Chrisanthi Selvanayagam & family (Tas); Bros Raymond Ang, Jonathan Liao, Pirun Pech, Jason Tan, Lucas Yiew (Adl), Raphael Ng (Goolwa/Adl) & Jonathan Yeo (Syd); Sisters Michelle Lee (Melb), Gillian Ong (Adl), Christabelle Selvanayagam (Tas), Mary & Rachel Ting (Qld); & others who have arrived safely.
Church Activities in past week.
AFG-YAF Retreat Thurs, 27 Sept - Sat, 29 Sept; Speaker: Rev Dr M Lehman. Participants & edifying messages.
God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.
Visitors & new worshippers.

Prayer Items
Health & God’s healing - Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (S’pore); Rev George van Buuren; Rev & Mrs James White; Bro Colin & Sis Kathleen Creaser; Bro Len & Sis Margaret Pearson (Nursing Home); Preacher Zhang (Sihanoukville); Grandpa Ki (S’pore); Bro Elton Law; Sisters Lynette Booth, Mabella Booth (Nursing Home), Margaret Hooper, Lai Kheng Chiong, Myung Ki, Vivian Kou (Melb), Irena Kurek-Braden (NSW), Choon Fong Lee (KL), Lehia Paauwe (Per), Susan Varadi (Nursing Home); Mr Swee Liang Ng (Bro Raphael’s father); Mr Mang Soo Ong (Sis Gillian Ong’s father); Mr Wong (Dn Wai Kin Wong’s father); Mrs Maggie D’Mello (Dn Edwin’s mother in Mumbai) & Mrs Chuilin Yap (Malacca); Mr Tony Zhang; & others in affliction.
Cambodia Missions - Bro Sun Sokha & Ministry (Phnom Penh).
Ministry in New Life BPC (London): Ps & Sis Ki. Approval of UK visa (Urgent matter).
Batam Missions - Sis Ang Liang Phoa & Ministry.
God’s Comfort - Those afflicted & grieving.
iSketch&Tell Studio, YouTube Ministry & Ordination - Pr HS Lim  (Melbourne, Vic).
IBPFM (USA) - Rev Keith Coleman & Board members; missionaries in India & South America.
Ps & Sis Weng - Ministry in Hope BPC.
Journey mercies: Rev Dr Mark Lehman (Per/Taiwan); Rev Dr & Mrs Patrick Tan (Adl); Bro Joseph & Sis Chrisanthi Selvanayagam & family (Adl); Bros Raymond Ang (Pinnaroo), Jonathan Liao (Canb), Raphael Ng (Goolwa/Adl) & Lucas Yiew (Tas/Adl); Sisters Michelle Lee (Adl), Gillian Ong (Bris), Christabelle Selvanayagam (Adl), Mary & Rachel Ting (Adl); invited wedding guests; & those who are travelling. 
Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.
Full-time Job - Sisters Amanda Kheng, Michelle Lee (Melb), Clara Sim & Corinne Teng; & others looking for  stable jobs.
Unity in doctrine & fellowship of all B-P Churches
Health in pregnancy - Sis Josephine Wong.
Leadership Seminar tomorrow. Speaker: Rev Dr Mark Lehman, & participants.
Preparation for wedding - Bro Yick Ho Lam & Sis Kerrie Pinnell next Sat.



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