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by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan
A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Morning, August 5, 2001
“For with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness”(Ezekiel 33:31).
Many of you hold the unshaken belief that you’re a Christian because you have learned some Bible doctrines about salvation. You’re convinced that there is a God in heaven, that you have sins on your record, and that Jesus shed His Blood to die for your sins. You have no problem with believing that. You may even think that you have come to Jesus for salvation and are now a Christian. You have dispensed with that nagging issue of Hell, eternity, and judgment and you’re saved now – safe from the wrath of God. That’s all taken care of. Now you can live your life as you please – or so you think.
That’s the attitude of many so-called Christians in this country, and I think you’re one of them. Oh, you may even go to church, and occasionally read your Bible and pray. But you do not have a change of affections toward God and a new-found obedience toward Him. You especially stumble over giving the tithe, 10% of your earnings to God through His local church. You believe this to be an unreasonable demand upon you by God in the Bible. After all, you’ve worked hard for your money and you have many responsibilities, needs, and expenses. Never mind that God sent Jesus to horribly suffer and die for your sins so that you don’t have to go to Hell. Never mind that many people in this church labored and prayed and spent lots of money so that you could hopefully be converted. You say, "I don’t owe God or man anything. I’m a Christian now and I got what I came for. I’m saved now and that’s all that matters."
I. An unawakened person will not tithe.
1. You refuse to tithe because you don’t want conversion, only fire insurance from Hell.
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new"
(II Corinthians 5:17).
But you aren't interested in becoming a new creature. That’s not what you want. You don’t want old things to pass away and to have all things become new. You want everything to continue the same as they are now for you. You just want the security that you will not have to suffer in Hell for eternity for your sins. You want that taken care of. You want fire insurance from Hell and not conversion – not a change of life. You have the attitude of a person who isn't interested in being converted. But there is no salvation from sin and Hell without conversion. Jesus said:
"Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:3).
Real conversion brings about a change in the character. Things are now done with the desire to “keep his commandments and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.” If this does not occur in some measure, then the conversion is false and “ye are yet in your sins.” A genuine conversion will lead to a change in desire and obedience. Any lost person can “hear” the Bible but converted people will want to obey as well.
"But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves" (James 1:22).
You don't want to give the tithe to God through His local church because you want to save your life by maintaining control and autonomy of your possessions and not relinquishing that part that is God’s. It is unlikely that such a person with this attitude will find salvation through Christ. Jesus said:
"For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it" (Matthew 16:25).
Your refusal to obey God with your possessions is a sin. Your selfish attitude is a sin. You need to come to Christ for the forgiveness of these sins – and all your sins.
2. You refuse to tithe because you think nothing of breaking the Ten Commandments.
The Bible says:
"Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor’s" (Deuteronomy 5:21).
You say, "That’s not a bad sin, everyone does that. Everyone is a little covetous." Yes, and nearly everyone is lost and going to Hell too. Clinging to your covetousness and refusing to come to Christ will prevent you from being converted.
In the New Testament, Paul said:
"Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law…Thou shalt not covet" (Romans 7:7).
Paul acknowledged his sin of covetousness and came to Jesus for salvation. There is no salvation without a conscious turning from sin.
Jesus said concerning the tithe, “These ought ye to have done” (Matthew 23:23). If a person remains covetous and still refuses to tithe after hearing such clear teachings in the Bible, that is the attitude of a heart that is still against God. If you are like that, you need to come to Christ for the forgiveness of your sin.
3. You refuse to tithe because you are not afraid of robbing 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).
You would never think of robbing a man, but you think nothing of robbing God. Yet God is so much more important than man. And God has given you much more that any man will ever give you. God in his mercy has only claimed a tithe, or 10%, of your earnings when in fact He owns everything. He has blessed you materially and has allowed you to steward His blessings. God says:
"For every beast of the field is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof" (Psalm 50:10-12)
But that is not your perspective. You don’t give thanks for His many blessings upon you. You don’t consider that He has given you an able body, opportunities to make money, and even for some of you the privilege of coming to this country. No, you say, “I have earned this money and I will decide how to spend it.” You believe it should be left up to every individual how much he wants to give, but clearly a tithe is too much for you. This sounds good, fair, and democratic, but it is mere disobedience and rebellion toward God. This is your contrived excuse for being covetous and holding on to your money. Your robbing God is a sin.You need to have this sin forgiven by Jesus Christ.
4. You refuse to tithe because you do not value the blessings of God.
"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 3:9-10).
"What good are these spiritual blessings compared to 'real' money?" you say. You think, "Spiritual blessings will not give me a car, money in the bank, a big house, or a comfortable life." You are completely carnal and earthly-minded and see no value in spiritual blessings. You are like profane Esau who cared more about feeding his stomach than inheriting a spiritual blessing from his father Isaac (Hebrews 12:16-17).
Real conversion not only frees a person from the punishment of sin but also brings him to a recognition of God and the heavenly sphere. You cannot have the one without the other. If you are do not value the blessings of God, you have sinned against Him. You must be forgiven or your will go to Hell.
5. You refuse to tithe because money is your god.
"Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth. Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry "
Your affections are not set on things above, not set on God, but on the earth. So to part with a tithe would be unthinkable to you. There is no reality to your religion and it occupies none of your hopes and dreams. On the other hand, you have great plans for your money and you must not waste your tithe on God and the church. No, no; for you must serve the god of money and not the God of the Bible.
"If I have made gold my hope, or have said to the fine gold, Thou art my confidence; If I rejoiced because my wealth was great, and because mine hand had gotten much; This also were an iniquity to be punished by the judge: for I should have denied the God that is above " (Job 31:24,25,28).
How different you are from Job who, though a wealthy man, disallowed his heart from placing his confidence upon his wealth. He knew that all these blessings came from God and to deny that would be idolatry deserving of punishment.
"No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other: or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon "
You make money your god. You love and serve money instead of the true God of the Bible. This is a sin, and you need to have this sin forgiven by the Blood of Jesus Christ.
6. You refuse to tithe because you want to lay up treasures on earth, not in Heaven.
"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven, where moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also " (Matthew 6:19-21)
You never think of laying up treasures for yourself in Heaven but you frequently think of laying up treasure upon earth. In fact, you hardly think about Heaven at all. Oh, you may have thought about Hell and you were for a time afraid to go there, but you have never thought very much about Heaven. That’s because it’s not real to you. So, of course, laying up treasures in Heaven would not be a concern to you. There is no motivation to do anything that is not real or relevant to you. Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” It’s easy to see what’s most important to you and where your heart is. That’s the place where you lay up your treasures. A man who refuses to tithe has his treasures and his heart upon the earth. Such a person is not rich toward God. The Bible says:
"So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God" (Luke 12:21).
Isn’t it true that you frequently think of laying up treasures for yourself but never think of whether you are rich toward God? You need to be forgiven, you need to be converted – by coming to Jesus Christ.
7. You refuse to tithe because you love yourself and the world not God.
"For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous…"
(II Timothy 3:2).
Self-love, not love for God, is the reason you refuse to tithe. After all, you must be sure to take care of number one – yourself. And it might somehow hurt you, or you will lose out at something if you tithed; so you think. Related to this is your love of the world. The Bible says:
"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him"
(I John 2:15).
The material things in this world hold a fond place in your heart. You feel that to part with a tithe is to deprive yourself of some good thing or pleasure. This would be a seemingly foolish thing for you to do – no return on your investment, nothing in it for you, you say. And so, because you love the world, the love of the Father is not in you. Your love of yourself and this world over God is a sin. You need to come to Christ and be forgiven.
8. You refuse to tithe because you are not saved.
"He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful"
Jesus gave this parable of the sower to illustrate that many people who think they are converted have deceived themselves. Because they have heard the gospel and give mental agreement to it, they believe they are Christians. But notice that "the care of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful." In other words, these people are so choked by these things that they give no fruit, no evidence that they have been truly converted. Their heart and love remain earth-bound, not heaven-bound as is the case with true Christians.
"For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness…"
Because you have an unconverted heart, sins like covetousness and refusing to give the tithe proceed out of your depraved and wicked heart. Jesus said, “An evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them” (Matthew 12:35; 7:20). You need to come to Christ and be forgiven. You need to come to Christ and be converted.
9. Your refusal to tithe will damn you.
– Your refusal to tithe shows that you don’t want conversion, only fire insurance from Hell.
– Your refusal to tithe shows that you think nothing of breaking the Ten Commandments.
– Your refusal to tithe shows that you are not afraid of robbing God.
– Your refusal to tithe shows that you do not value the blessings of God.
– Your refusal to tithe shows that money is your god.
– Your refusal to tithe shows that you want to lay up treasure upon earth, not in Heaven.
– Your refusal to tithe shows that you love yourself and the world, not God.
– Your refuse to tithe because you are not saved.
– And so, your continued refusal to tithe will damn you to Hell!
Jesus, under the New Covenant, clearly stated that man should continue to give the tithe (Matthew 23:23). If a person, despite having heard a clear teaching on the Bible on tithing, refuses still to tithe, that is the attitude of a covetous heart whose treasure is in this world. You need to come to Christ before you are condemned to Hell.
II. In awakening, you will see how long you have robbed God – for years –
The awakened sinner will think of all the years that he has robbed God of His tithe. He will think of all those years that he spent God’s money and thought nothing of it, and also the vast amount of interest that he now owes to God. The awakened sinner will see that he couldn’t possibly repay all that he owes God.
1. You will tithe because you want a real conversion and are willing to obey God in all aspects, including tithing.
You know that you’re not saved and your doctrinal belief hasn’t helped you at all. You know that your heart hasn’t changed. But now you’re through fooling around and you want a real conversion. You don’t want to continue your sin any longer. You know that giving the tithe will not save you, but you dare not continue in your sin against God. You know that you cannot please God simply by attempting to keep His commandments, but you dare not sin boldfaced against God. You’re afraid to sin against God. So, when you become awakened, you will tithe.
2. You will tithe because you see that money is useless without God.
You will develop an eye for eternal things and the things of this world will become less important to you. You now see that you have an eternal soul with unpardoned sins in the books in Heaven. You’re concerned for your soul. Before, money seemed so important to you, but now you think it a curse if you do not give the tithe.
You’re convinced that what Jesus said is true, “Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth” (Luke 12:15).
3. You will tithe because you want to love God and not the world.
You’re convinced that “the world passeth away and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever” (I John 2:15,17). And so, you want to do that which is right, that which will abide, that which will remain. You sense that you have been so wrong all your life in loving the world and being covetous and now you want to turn your heart and mind toward God and salvation.
4. Your willingness to tithe is a good indication that you will likely come to Jesus Christ, because you see how much you owe Him. You could never pay Him back for saving you by His Blood.
You think of what Jesus has done for you and how much you owe Him for suffering, dying, and shedding His Blood for you. You sense the reality that He has risen from the dead and is now seated at the right hand of the Throne of God.
You know that you owe Him everything but realize that you can never pay Him back. You have sinned so long and so horribly, and you can never pay Jesus back. You have robbed God for so long that you could never pay what you owe.
But your willingness to tithe is an indication that you have seen something of the love of the Saviour for you. You have never had such an awakening before.
You come to Jesus with your sins and He washes them away in His Blood. Jesus will forgive you for your covetousness, for your robbing God, and for all your sins, the moment that you come to Him. Come to Jesus today. The Bible says:
"And now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ" (Ephesians 2:13).
"And the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin" (I John 1:7).
Scripture Read Before Sermon: John 1:17; 8:1-5,11; Leviticus 20:10;
Matthew 23:23; Ezekiel 33:30,31.
Solo by Benjamin Kincaid Griffith: “I Gave My Life for Thee”
by Frances R. Havergal (1836-1879).
You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.rlhymersjr.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."
THE OUTLINE OF
by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan
“For with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness.”(Ezekiel 33:31).
I. An unawakened person will not tithe
1. You refuse to tithe because you don’t want conversion, only
fire insurance from Hell, II Corinthians 5:17;
Matthew 18:3; James 1:22; Matthew 16:25.
2. You refuse to tithe because you think nothing of breaking the
Ten Commandments, Deuteronomy 5:21; Romans 7:7.
3. You refuse to tithe because you are not afraid of robbing God,
Malachi 3:8, Psalm 50:10-12.
4. You refuse to tithe because you do not value the blessings of God,
5. You refuse to tithe because money is your god,
Colossians 3:2,5; Job 31:24,25,28; Matthew 6:24.
6. You refuse to tithe because you want to lay up treasures
on earth, not in Heaven, Matthew 6:19-21; Luke 12:21.
7. You refuse to tithe because you love yourself and the world,
not God, II Timothy 3:2; I John 2:15.
8. You refuse to tithe because you are not saved, Matthew 13:22;
9. Your refusal to tithe will damn you, Matthew 23:23.
II. In awakening, you will see how long you have robbed God – for years –
1. You will tithe because you want a real conversion and are willing
to obey God in all aspects, including tithing.
2. You will tithe because you see that money is useless without God,
3. You will tithe because you want to love God and not the world,
I John 2:15,17.
4. Your willingness to tithe is a good indication that you will
come to Jesus Christ, because you see now much you owe
Him. You could never pay Him back for saving you by His
Blood, Ephesians 2:13; I John 1:7.