Ezekiel 47: 1-5
“… When the man went out toward the east with a line in his hand, he measured a thousand cubits, and he led me through the water, water reaching the ankles. Again he measured a thousand and led me through the water, water reaching the knees. Again he measured a thousand and led me through the water, water reaching the loins. Again he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not ford, for the water had risen, enough water to swim in, a river that could not be forded.”
“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.”
“Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings.”
This is the sixth session on God’s Measures Our Faith.
As you already know, the things of the flesh refer to the sins that you commit with thoughts, such as hatred, judging, envy, and jealousy.
The works of the flesh refer to the sins in action.
It takes a relatively significant period of time and amount of effort to cast away things of the flesh, but you can easily cast away works of the flesh, if you try with determination.
Also, if you do not cast away but keep on committing works of the flesh, you might be distancing yourself from salvation.
Furthermore, if you commit the works of the flesh that are directly related with salvation, you cannot receive salvation.
These are the sins that deprive of salvation.
Among the works of the flesh, there are sins that cannot be forgiven, that is the sins leading to death.
You cannot receive spirit of repentance for these sins, so you cannot repent of them.
Therefore, you have to quickly cast away works of the flesh.
From the last session, among these works of the flesh, we are looking into the sins depriving of salvation one by one.
In the last session, I first talked about idolatry.
In this session, among the sins depriving of salvation, let us look into the sin of violating the Sabbath and not giving proper tithes.
I pray in the name of the Lord that you will check yourself to see if any part of the message applies to you, and if there is anything, you will turn away from your misconduct.
Brothers and sisters,
The second of the sins depriving of salvation I’ll discuss is violation of the Sabbath.
Exodus 20:8-10 says, “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you.”
This is the fourth commandment of the Ten Commandments.
In the Old Testament, they immediately executed those who violated the Sabbath.
The latter part of Exodus 31:15 says, “Whoever does any work on the sabbath day shall surely be put to death.”
We can understand that the violation of the Sabbath falls under the sins depriving of salvation.
What is the reason?
To violate the Sabbath is same as admitting that you are not among the people of God.
Exodus 31:13 says, “But as for you, speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘You shall surely observe My sabbaths; for this is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you.” As said, to keep the Sabbath holy is the sign that shows we are God’s children.
Let us think about the reason why.
In 2009, I explained about it in detail in the sermon series, “Keep the Sabbath Holy,” so let me just briefly touch on it again.
To keep the Sabbath holy is to recognize the spiritual authority of God.
God created heavens and earth and all things in them and rested on the seventh day.
Genesis 2:3 says, “Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.”
Therefore, to keep the Sabbath is to show our faith that says, “God created heavens and earth and all things in them including humans, and He is the Lord who governs all things.”
For this reason, to violate the Sabbath is same as admitting that we have nothing to do with God.
But today, even those who say they believe in God consider keeping the Sabbath very casually.
Some people think it is impossible to keep the Sabbath holy in these modern days.
They argue that the situations are very different from the Old Testament times, so we can just keep it according to the present situations.
Of course, we cannot keep the Sabbath exactly in the same way as the sons of Israel did in the Old Testament times.
But if we do not keep the things that we can keep, it is not to keep it according to the current circumstances. It is compromise.
In what ways does God say we have to keep the Sabbath?
Isaiah 58:13-14 says, “If because of the sabbath, you turn your foot from doing your own pleasure on My holy day, and call the sabbath a delight, the holy day of the LORD honorable, and honor it, desisting from your own ways, from seeking your own pleasure and speaking your own word, then you will take delight in the LORD, and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth; and I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
We have to keep the Sabbath as the word of God says even today.
And we can surely do it.
But what is the situation today?
God tells us we have to desist in our own ways, but people work even on the Sabbath for their personal benefit.
Some attend the service for a little while and go to work.
Or, they go on a picnic to the mountains or a park or they go to watch movies or sporting events.
They even indulge themselves in worldly pleasure with the brothers and sisters of the church.
Then, obviously they also buy and sell things.
They may even practice lawlessness following their desires.
They do all these things, but they think they kept the Sabbath because they attended a service.
Would God think the same way?
Isaiah 1:13 says, “Bring your worthless offerings no longer, incense is an abomination to Me. New moon and sabbath, the calling of assemblies I cannot endure iniquity and the solemn assembly.”
Even though they come to church and attend the worship service, if they work or enjoy worldly pleasure before church, they already violated the Sabbath.
They are also filled with the thoughts to work or to enjoy themselves after the service, so how can they worship in spirit and in truth?
I think you have discernment involving these cases.
If those who gathered in the name of the Lord enjoy worldly pleasure on the Sabbath, would God be with them?
He would just turn His face away from them not to mention being with them.
If they spend the Sabbath like that, how can they say they kept the Sabbath and that they have the faith to receive salvation?
Nowadays even churches have taken a lead in abolishing the Sabbath.
For example, as they work 5-days a week, and rest on both Saturday and Sunday, they do the worship service on Friday and let the members do what they want on the weekends.
They do not keep the Sabbath according to the will of God but they pretend to be keeping it according to men’s will and for their convenience.
But regardless of the age and the time, we have to keep the Sabbath holy according to the word of God.
The commandment on keeping the Sabbath was not just for the sons of Israel who came out of Egypt, but for all God’s children.
It is a statute that must be kept regardless of the age.
Of course, today, God does not punish us like in the Old Testament just because we violate the Sabbath.
Those who are in the 1st or the 2nd level of faith sometimes violate it for they do not understand the importance of keeping the Sabbath holy, or they have weak faith.
God does not castigate them immediately.
New Testament era is where we keep the Law with the heart rather than action itself.
It’s because our Lord fulfilled the Law with love.
So, even though our deeds are not perfect yet, God gives us chances with compassion if we have the willingness to keep the Sabbath.
But if we go beyond the limit of forgiveness, you should know that we cannot receive salvation.
If you repeatedly violate the Sabbath knowing that you have to keep the Sabbath holy, and while you can keep it if you make up your mind and try, then, it is an act of ignoring God’s word.
In such a case it cannot be said that you either believe in God or revere Him.
I hope you will keep the Sabbath holy according to the will of God and stay in the boundary of salvation.
Is there anybody who feels it is difficult to keep the whole day holy on every Sunday?
Then you might want to change your way of thinking.
Mark 2:27 says, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.”
Of course, the Sabbath is a day on which we serve God, but ultimately, it is made for us.
It is a day that God determined to give His children blessings.
If we believe in this fact and keep it holy, God protects us and blesses us during the rest of the week.
Also, the Sabbath is a day that He gave for us to enjoy true rest.
So, believe in this fact and keep it holy.
Dwell in the sanctuary of God, take the spiritual bread, offer to God praises and prayers, and enjoy the delight in the Holy Spirit. How happy a thing this is!
I pray in the name of the Lord that you will all enjoy this kind of blessing and rest.
Dear brothers and sisters, the sins depriving of salvation, thirdly is the sin of not giving proper tithes.
In Deuteronomy 14:22, God commands His people the sons of Israel, saying, “You shall surely tithe all the produce from what you sow, which comes out of the field every year.”
Malachi 3:8-9 also talks about how serious the consequences will be if we do not give tithes.
“Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. ‘You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you!'”
If we do not give tithes as God’s children it is robbbing God and it says for this reason they were cursed.
We can understand that not giving tithes is a sin depriving of salvation.
Let us think about why this sin is a sin depriving of salvation in two aspects.
First, not giving tithes, just like not keeping the Sabbath, is the evidence that you don’t believe in God, and for this reason you cannot receive salvation.
The deed of giving the tithe implies that you acknowledge the material authority of God over all things.
Namely, you acknowledge that all things in the world belong to God.
Haggai 2:8 says, “‘The silver is Mine and the gold is Mine’, declares the LORD of hosts.” As said, everything we have and enjoy on this earth belongs to God originally.
In other words, if you get 10 units as your income, all 10 units actually belong to God.
If you acknowledge this fact, why would it be difficult to give just 1 of those 10 units?
It is something very natural to give to God what is already his.
Furthermore, God does not tell His children to give the tithe because He lacks something.
He commanded us to give the tithes and offerings to give us blessings and abundant rewards in Heaven.
Malachi 3:10 says, “‘Bring the whole tithe 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 a blessing until it overflows.'”
This word is so true that He is even telling us to test Him on this matter.
The reason why people still do not give tithe is because they don’t believe in God or His word.
Those who don’t believe in God cannot enter into His kingdom, the heavenly kingdom.
This is the reason why those who do not give tithes cannot receive salvation.
Another reason why you cannot be saved when you do not give tithes, is your greed.
The sin of not giving tithes originally comes from greed for material things.
Some people think that they do not have anything or they don’t have enough to give tithes.
But everybody has some income.
Furthermore, all believers have some kind of income.
If your necessities are met, that is if you eat something and wear something, it means God gave you some kind of income.
The real reason why you cannot give tithes is because you have greed and stinginess.
If you are willing to give, you will pray to God so you can give the tithes.
God will also answer you so that you will be able to give.
Some people say they will give when their situations get better later because they feel it is wasteful to give tithes right now.
But if you think about it, what a foolish thought this is!
Luke 12:19-20 says, “And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come take your ease, eat, drink and be merry. But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?”
If one considers money more valuable than God’s word, this means he considers money more valuable than God and his own soul.
If God calls the spirit of this person right now, even though he has a mouth he will be speechless.
Therefore, cast away greed for money and cheerfully give offerings to God.
I pray in the name of the Lord that you will be able to stand before the Lord when He comes back without any shame.
Brothers and sisters,
When we give tithes, we have to give whole tithe according to the will of God.
Some people teach that giving tithe is a condition not for salvation but just for blessing.
They teach that they can give tithes if they want to receive blessings, but even if they don’t, it doesn’t affect their salvation.
Some of them misunderstand the truth, but in other cases, they know the truth, but they fear that the church members will leave the church if they teach the truth as it is.
But for any reason we must not compromise in giving tithes.
We can receive the blessings of God only when we understand and practice God’s word properly.
This way we can have living faith, namely the faith to receive salvation.
Also, some people say it is legalistic to put an emphasis on the deeds, and it is not right.
They say believing in heart is important, and it is only the heart that counts.
But is it really true?
Matthew 6:21 says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
To give offerings to God is to show that they have the heart towards God.
Also, in Matthew 23:23, Jesus said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness;”
But in the latter part of verse 23, He said, “but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.” Namely, the heart is important in keeping the law, but we must not abolish the deeds either.
Most of you give the tithe with joy stemming from the bottom of your heart.
You set apart your tithe first when you have income.
Also, to give proper tithe, you don’t calculate to the last cent to give exactly one tenth of your income with stinginess.
You consider the treats and other gifts you received and give more than what is necessary.
This way you can give whole tithe without omitting any income.
Is there anybody who is not giving such a tithe yet?
Even if you don’t, you don’t really have to worry that you might not receive salvation as long as you are praying and trying to do it.
But if you have listened to God’s word for a long time and are supposed to have significant measure of faith but have not yet determined to do that, I hope you will be warned through this message.
Dear brothers and sisters,
Where are you putting your heart?
I hope you will put your heart not on this earth but in Heaven.
The most representative signs of this are keeping the Lord’s Day holy and the giving of the tithe.
These two commandments are the most basic measurements when we measure the faith to receive salvation.
Therefore, possess the faith to be able to yearn for the Lord’s Day and to joyfully give tithe with thanks for God’s supplying your needs.
In doing so, I pray in the name of the Lord that you will dwell within the boundary of salvation safely and comfortably.