series: Back to the Basics: 4. Principles of First, Serving God
Series Back to the Basics we started with the purpose and power of church belonging, the family of God, the body of Christ. The second was the power of the Word, studying and doing what the Word says to do. Many people read the Bible, but doing what it says is another subject. The power of God is released when we obey His Word and do it. Number three was Prayer. The power of prayer is talking to God, but the missing ingredient was Listening to God. Many people pray especially when is in trouble, but prayer is relationship with God. Listening, stop and just listen to Him speak to you and then do what He says to do is the rest of prayer, not just asking for things, help get me out of this bind. Relationship.
Today is another hallmark of the Christian believer walk. We will call it the PRINCIPLE OF FIRST. This principle says God is and must be first in our lives in everything. God will not be second to nothing. We are living in a cultural shifts. God has been moved by culture. We have to make a stand on where God is in our lives. The culture, the world, political none of those should affect this principle. Many claim to be Christian in America, over 90% of Americans claim to be Christian. I could claim to superman, but my choices, how I live my life, and my ways my priorities prove what and who I am really. Claiming is not the test, your lifestyle how you live your life proves to God and the world who you serve. Its not who you claim to be its who you serve FIRST PROVES who and what you are.
“‘THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME.” MATTHEW 15:8 AMP
The principle of first is God is first in every area of my life. Everything will come in order for your life when You choose to honor this principle of First.
“Honor the LORD with your wealth And with the first fruits of all your crops (income); Then your barns will be abundantly filled And your vats will overflow with new wine.” PROVERBS 3:9-10 AMP
Honor means Hebrew to make heavy, glorify, promote (to honor), rich. When anyone would go before a King they would always bring gifts of wealth to honor His position, honor the relationship.
Why honor? God told them in the beginning to honor Him. God told Adam and Eve not to touch this one tree. You can eat and have everything but this one thing. The one thing is what God says is His. The tree was His tithe, His set apart for Him and His Purpose.
God says Honor me with your wealth, your increase, this is 10% of all you create this tithe is also to be the FIRST. GOD does not receive second. We live in a culture where God and the things of God are not honored like God says to honor.
God tithed Jesus, His first and best and gave it as an offering for Humanity. Its not the 10% that brings the increase. Its the faith to give 10% that brings the Increase. Money does not bring blessing, it’s the faith to obey God in this area that releases Gods prosperity and blessings.
When God instructed Moses to teach about bringing the tithe to the storehouse or local church God instructed Moses to teach the people how to honor God.
God said bring the first fruits, the first of your increase to God. All the years we would cut the check, put it to the side for offering. God first. God first. The principle of first is God is first. I speak to Him first, I read His word first. Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all these things shall be added. Honor the Ore by coming to church on His Sabbath.
God can not and will not be second. In our religious ways and views we have done this. God required His people to bring the first and best to Him and His House to do His business.
You can see the power and seriousness of this principle of first in the very beginning.
“And in the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground. But Abel brought [an offering of] the [finest] firstborn of his flock and the fat portions. And the LORD had respect (regard) for Abel and for his offering; but for Cain and his offering He had no respect. So Cain became extremely angry (indignant), and he looked annoyed and hostile.” GENESIS 4:3-5 AMP
Here is the power of the Principle of First seen. Two brothers both come to God with an offering. Cain brings some fruit. Abel brought the finest FIRSTBORN AND FAT PORTIONS. THE FINEST AND THE FIRST. Cain brought the leftovers. Cain kept the finest and first for himself. Which is the spirit of this culture. Give God the scraps and leftovers, cause i worked hard for it. Its mine.
All through the Word of God, God would say the tithe, the first and finest IS MINE. Abel brought the first and finest. Two brothers two hearts. Both claim to serve God, the difference is seen in their giving. Its not the amount, its about the heart. One really does love and serve God and puts God first in all that he is and has.
Giving, tithing is not a money thing, its a heart thing. God says i can only accept the finest and first. The principle of first He gave Jesus, not cheep, not second hand or used. Abel brought the finest and first and God received it.
““Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings [you have withheld].” MALACHI 3:8 AMP
Cain robbed God. The same can be true today. You have withheld.
“You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, this whole nation!” MALACHI 3:9 AMP This word curse is opposite of blessings. When we do not love or trust God enough to have faith in His system. We because of FEAR, put our faith in mammon the system of our world. God said He put before man, blessings and curses choose you this day whom you will serve. God said choose God First and blessings. We have a choice everyday if we will Put God first in our daily lives or self or something else.
The curse is God can NOT speak blessings over your life and stuff. You get what you got. A closed hand can never receive anymore than what is in it.
“Bring all the tithes (the tenth) into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the LORD of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you [so great] a blessing until there is no more room to receive it.” MALACHI 3:10 AMP
You get a $1000. What is the tithe? $100. God blesses the $900 for you. In order to do this and give offerings after I tithe can only come from a heart that is trusting and faithful to God.
FOR THE PERSON WHO REFUSES TO BELIEVE THIS AND STILL CLAIM TO BE A CHRISTIAN, CLAIMING IS NOT THE TEST. OBEDIENCE IS. THE WINDOW OF HEAVEN IS NOT OPEN. SUPER STAYS WITH GOD AND YOU ARE left with the natural. What you can make and do.
I realized that before Jesus Christ i was a mess. My life was a mess. Jesus picked me up from my mess. He gave me purpose. He thought me how to dream and develop a stronger more sure confidence. He healed me. He changed my life. He gave me life when i was dead in my sins. I was a slave in bondage. A slave has nothing. A slave owns nothing. A slave has not rights.
Jesus gave me my freedom. Because of that opportunity of which i could not have done on my own. I am eternally grateful. My heart loves Him and remembers Him every time i get to give Him the first and finest of my life. My money, My time, My talents, My family, My dreams, My hopes, My life is His.
Pride, greed, selfishness forgets who picked you up, forgets who healed you, forgets who gave confidence.
Every time week when I come to church, I worship and praise Him and give my tithe and offerings I remember and am so grateful. I look at what faith and trust in God has brought me and i say to myself, i can not live any other way.
When Jesus healed the 10 lepers and only one came back and he was a Samaritan. The lowest class of people at the time. Only he came back to thank God and worship Him for he was made whole. Jesus asks where there not 10 where are the other nine.
When we come to church on our Sabbath and give our first and finest 10% plus as our heart is directed not our head. God sees our heart.
““He who is faithful in a very little thing is also faithful in much; and he who is dishonest in a very little thing is also dishonest in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of earthly wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you? And if you have not been faithful in the use of that [earthly wealth] which belongs to another [whether God or man, and of which you are a trustee], who will give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stand devotedly by the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and mammon [that is, your earthly possessions or anything else you trust in and rely on instead of God].”” LUKE 16:10-13 AMP
Here is truth to show whats in our heart. You and I can serve two masters. God says trust me or Mammon. Mammon is a spirit. Mammon means riches. It comes from the Syrian culture. They had the God of Mammon which was a false God. The Syrians where times of the Tower of Babel. Babylon was where mankind tried to build a tower to get to God with Gods Help or Way. Babel means confusion. Mammon creates a spirit of confusion that gets people to trust in things and self to create the things only God can give.
Its a spirit. Money will never create happiness. Only God can. No Joy. But Mammon speaks and says I can give you security, identity, you will be somebody with me. Its a lie.
Mammon is looking for servants who will bow down and worship the creation rather than the Creator. Mammon makes people arrogant and prideful just like Satan.
Its a heart issue.