Rev. Jaerock Lee
Malachi 3: 7-10
“From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from My statutes and have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you,” says the LORD of hosts. “But you say, ‘How shall we return?’ “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! “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.”
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
This is the second session on the whole tithe and offerings. In the last session, I talked to you about the concept and origin of the tithe and the reason why we give tithes.
The tithe is giving to God one tenth of our income.
This was established as a statute after the Exodus of the sons of Israel.
But some say that tithe is only a law that was applicable in the Old Testament times and we don’t have to keep it today.
Of course, we don’t keep all Old Testament laws as they were kept then.
But the intent contained in the Law does not disappear.
In Matthew 5:17 Jesus says, “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.”
We should keep the Law more completely in the New Testament and it is true that we can keep it more completely in the New Testament times.
Namely, we have not only the formality of keeping the Law but we can realize the true meaning contained in the Law and keep it with all our hearts.
It’s the same with the tithe. We cannot abolish the Law just because we are in the New Testament times. We have to understand the will of God embedded in the tithes and keep it more perfectly.
In Matthew 23:23 Jesus rebukes the hypocritical scribes and Pharisees.
He said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.”
Namely, we not only have to give the tithe, but we have to add our love for God and our heart to suit the purpose of establishing it as a statute.
What is the purpose of giving the tithe? The most fundamental reason is to express our faith and love for God.
I hope you will keep in mind this point and listen to the message with the grace of God.
In this session, I will explain in greater detail why we can receive blessings when we give the tithes.
I pray in the name of the Lord that you will receive great grace and strength through the message and you will receive overflowing blessings.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the tithe is the expression of our belief that not only our income but all material things belong to God and God has sovereignty over everything.
Also, while we are living on this earth, we give our material things that are comparable to our life itself to God in order to express our love for Him.
After all, giving tithe is the action that proves that we are children of God along with the action of keeping the Sabbath holy. Because giving tithe contains this kind of a meaning, it is related to salvation.
God says not giving the tithe is to rob God. If we have the willingness to rob God, obviously it is very difficult for us to be saved.
Of course, I am not saying this applies unconditionally to everyone. It is the God of love and justice who considers the measure of faith of each individual.
New born babies are so young that they cannot comprehend that they are being fed and clothed with the money of their parents.
It’s the same with those new believers who have just accepted the Lord and are at the 1st level of faith. Because they are not able to discern among these things, God considers this fact.
Even those who are in the 2nd level of faith try to obey the word but sometimes, they cannot obey. Although obedience is not perfect, God considers their desire to obey and leads them to the way of salvation.
But if a person at the third level of faith or higher does not give the tithes, it’s very difficult for him to receive salvation.
Because he has been listening to the word of God to quite an extent, he clearly knows the will of God. He must have also experienced the blessings given to him when he gave his tithes.
But if he still does not give, it proves that he does not have faith.
But it doesn’t mean only those who are at the 3rd level of faith or higher should give the tithes. Obviously those who are in the 1st and 2nd levels of faith ought to give the tithe.
In this church, I already explained to you the truths about tithes very clearly.
Also, you have been seeing so many evidences with which you can believe the word of God. Therefore, even those who have weak faith can give their tithes if they are just willing.
Even though their faith is at the level of a child, if they believe the word and obey, God certainly lets them reap good fruits.
His promise is so true that He even tells us to test Him!
Some of you may have studied hard while in school because you were forced to do it by your parents or teachers.
And if you became successful in the society as a result of that hard studying, you will probably think it was good to listen to your parents and teachers, although at that time you might not have liked it.
Some of you may have faith that is too weak to truly understand why it is so important to give the whole tithe.
Nevertheless, if you obey, it will be a blessing to you. You will feel later that you have done well. Therefore, even if you are new believers, I urge you to try to obey the word.
Brothers and sisters, in fact, God is not asking us to give the tithe just for salvation.
God tells us to give because He wants to give blessings to His beloved children.
So, why do we receive blessings when we give the tithe? I will explain the principles in detail.
Some say they cannot give the tithe because they have very little income or because they are poverty-stricken.
But tithe is not something only for those who are financially well-off to give. If you are in poverty you ought to give well so that you can receive blessings.
We believers must understand according to the truth. It’s not true that we have more difficulties and become poorer because we give the tithe. It’s actually the opposite. We are poor because we don’t give tithes.
In today’s passage Malachi 3:9, God tells this clearly to the nation of Israel.
He said, “You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you!”
When this word was written, the country of Israel was destroyed by the invasion of the Gentiles. The Temple was also destroyed and the people were taken as captives.
But later a remnant of the people came back to their land and rebuilt the Temple and the city walls of Jerusalem.
But their life was still hard and unstable.
They couldn’t expect a good harvest from farming or flourishing of commerce in the region.
Thus, they could give such physical excuses as, “We were invaded and destroyed. We are not in a situation to become rich.”
But God says all those sufferings were caused because the whole nation of Israel did not serve God properly.
God said it was the curse that fell on them as a result of robbing God.
Likewise, poverty does not come upon us just because we are lazy or because we are in bad situations. Spiritually, poverty is caused by the curse that results from sin.
In curses, generally there are spiritual curses and physical curses.
Spiritual curses are those that lead one’s soul to eternal death, which is Hell, as a result of his sins.
Physical curses refer to all kinds of curses that are inflicted physically on a person’s life. The curse of poverty belongs to the physical curses.
Genesis 3:17 says, “Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’ Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life.”
Here, the ‘ground’ contains everything in this world.
Because the lord of all creatures, Adam, was cursed, everything that belonged to him on earth together were cursed.
That is why Romans 8:22 also says, “For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.”
Before, men could just eat the fruits that grew naturally.
But now the ground has been cursed and it produces only thorns and thistles. Men could now eat only with the toil and sweat on their brows.
And the pain of poverty also began from this point. Therefore, we can be set free from poverty and enjoy true richness in life only when we are redeemed from this curse.
By the giving of the tithe, this curse is broken and the gate of blessings opens. Therefore, to say, “I cannot give tithe because I don’t have enough” is not faith at all.
Then, how can we be redeemed from the curse by giving tithe?
To be set free from a curse, first, we have to accept Jesus Christ as our personal Savior.
The Lord redeemed us from the curse of sins by taking the cross on our behalf.
Namely, he saved us from eternal death. Additionally, He also redeemed us from physical curses, one of which is poverty.
2 Corinthians 8:9 says, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.”
In order to redeem us from the physical curse, He was born in a stable and led a poor life all throughout his life. Therefore, if we accept Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, we will be set free from spiritual and physical curses.
After accepting the Lord, we have to keep the statutes of God diligently. Only then can we be completely set free from those curses.
Today’s passage Malachi 3:7 says, “From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from My statutes and have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you,”
Among the statutes, God commands us to give Him the tithe and the offerings. When we acknowledge the sovereignty of God over all material things by the act of giving whole tithe and offerings, we will be set free from physical pains and suffering.
If we are free from the curses and also have the physical conditions to meet the standards of justice, we can receive the blessings given by God.
The enemy devil, Satan cannot accuse us any more, and because we have sown the seed of blessings according to the justice, we can reap the fruit.
On the other hand, if we do not give tithe but steal from God, we will still be bound by the curses.
Of course, there are rich people among the unbelievers. There are many means to accumulate wealth and many are wealthy because they are hard-working or very capable at something.
But we cannot say that is true blessing. That kind of affluence is imperfect; we don’t know when it’s going to go away.
There are some people who are financially well-off but they suffer from disease, accidents, or problems in their families. How can we say this is true blessing? Above all else, their spirit will fall into hell later, and how pitiful it is!
Some of our church members have seen with spiritual eyes the punishments inflicted in the Lower Grave upon those who didn’t give the tithe.
Those who die without receiving salvation will receive the punishments in the Lower Grave according to each one’s sin.
Among them, those who didn’t give their tithes will have the name tag on their chest on which is written ‘Robber’.
Both their hands and feet will be tied to a chair, and they are stoned or pierced with spears of bamboo by the same kinds of sinners, those who stole their tithes from God.
They rotate between giving and receiving the punishments. The one who is tied will scream loudly and be covered in blood, but nobody has any mercy on him. If they don’t torture that soul, they will be tortured by the messengers of hell.
And after the Great Judgment, they will fall into the lake of fire or lake of sulfur and suffer even more greatly forever.
Some people may feel they are burdened by listening to the sermons about tithes, and some others may misunderstand that I am putting an emphasis on money.
But since I know the miserable realities, I cannot help but teach you as your shepherd. I want you to receive blessings.
What is the reason that I collect even a penny and help so many families that have financial troubles?
It’s because my heart is so broken to see those church members who are in difficulties.
I help them with the hope that their faith will grow up quickly and they will receive blessings. I know quite well about poverty.
While I was in my sickbed for 7 long years, and when I saw my debt increasing like a snow ball, I couldn’t have any hope.
I had to send my dear wife to the market place, and I couldn’t give any good food or clothes to my pretty daughters. How can I express such feelings that I had as the head of the family?
But since I met the Lord, my life was a continuation of miracles like a fairy tale. All my diseases were healed completely.
I also received such great financial blessings that I can say I am one of the richest people in the world. Of course, even after I accepted the Lord, until I began to receive the true blessings, I sometimes had to live in one-room house and work in construction sites.
But since I met God, I never felt burdened by the great amount of debt, although it was not easy at all just to pay the interest, not to mention the principal on the money borrowed.
Although I didn’t have much, I was just so happy that I could give something to God. So, my wife and I just kept on giving to God, as much as we had. Without changing ever since we met the Lord, we have always wanted to give to the Lord the best and most precious things.
And as God began to give me blessings, I was always number 1 or 2 in the amount of offerings before the opening of this church, and after I opened this church, I have always been the number 1.
My dream was to become a rich elder of a church who would contribute to the kingdom of God and help the poor.
But God accomplished much more than that. God blessed me abundantly to let me fulfill His will and providence.
There is no end to the race between God and me; I always try to give more, and God pays me back 30, 60, or 100 times more.
Wouldn’t you want to become someone who is blessed like this?
In the next session, I will explain to you in detail about how to give the whole tithe.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, as the days go by, people say more and more that times are difficult. And as the day of the coming of the Lord gets nearer, the flow of the economy will be this way.
But at these times, God’s children can give glory to God more greatly and accomplish His kingdom.
It is the power of faith that makes what is impossible in reality possible.
God shows us many witnesses of faith in the Bible and in history.
At the time of the King Ahab, Israel worshipped idols and distanced themselves from God. This caused 3 and half years of famine. Elijah had to hide himself from Ahab and Jezebel who were trying to kill him.
In this situation, God did not send Elijah to a very rich man in Israel. In Luke 4:26 this is recorded, “…and yet Elijah was sent to none of them, but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow.”
When Elijah got to Zarephath, the widow was preparing her last meal with the last portion of flour and oil, which she and her son would eat and then die.
Even in a situation of this kind of reality, this woman of faith served the man of God, Elijah, with the food which was same as her life itself.
Then, God gave her the blessing that the container of flour would not become exhausted nor would the jar of oil become empty until the famine was over.
I hope you will obey with faith like this woman and become the joy of God.
I pray in the name of the Lord that you will receive the blessing of your flour container and jar of oil not running out on this earth, and in the kingdom of heaven you will enjoy the glory given by God forever!