1. Hello, listening friends.
2. We are thrilled that you have tuned in again today;
3. and I want to begin by talking about something that is not very pleasant,
4. but it is very important to deal with.
5. Dishonesty is a problem to a lot of people;
6. yet the sad part is that many people don’t think that dishonesty is a sin.
7. Let’s take, for example, the worker who leaves work early,
8. or, spends his day talking to friends and not working;
9. or the shopkeeper who puts his finger on the scale to cheat the customer of a few extra grams,
10. or the student who cheats on his exams,
11. or the merchant who overcharges the customer.
12. All these people probably don’t see themselves as thieves.
13. They say, “I have never robbed a bank.
14. “I have never stolen an automobile.”
15. Most people think that the Eighth Commandment applies only to big robberies.
16. They think that when God said, “Do not steal,” it applies only to burglars and thieves;
17. but the original word for stealing, “ganaf,” is an all-encompassing word.
18. It means everything from larceny to taking the company’s pen.
19. In other words, the biblical definition of stealing is this:
20. the taking of anything that does not belong to you, regardless of its value;
21. yet, a large percentage of people would claim that they have never broken the Eighth Commandment;
22. yet, not tithing your income is also stealing from God.
23. If you have a Bible, please turn with me to Malachi, Chapter 3,
24. and begin with us from verse 6.
25. Now, there are some people who misunderstand Malachi, Chapter 3.
26. They think that it means that God is a salesman who is trying to sell you a get rich quick scheme.
27. The people in Malachi’s day were thinking the same thing.
28. You see, human nature is never changed.
29. They were accusing God of unfaithfulness.
30. They were accusing God of not prospering them enough;
31. and that is why verse 6 is the foundational stone of this passage.
32. This passage is not really about money. It’s about God.
33. Verse 6 says, “I, the Lord, do not change.”
34. What does it mean that God does not change?
35. It means that God cannot get better, because He is perfect.
36. He cannot get worse, because He is God and He is perfect;
37. and so God is saying, “I never change, but you do.”
38. In fact, God goes on to ask them to be changed back and to do the right thing.
39. What God is looking for is a changed heart.
40. God is looking for people to change their own attitudes toward Him -
41. not only that they stop accusing Him of unfaithfulness,
42. but He wants them to realize that they are robbing God.
43. He wants them to realize that, as long as they are robbing God, they are thieves;
44. and, as long as they are thieves, they will not be blessed;
45. and that’s what God is saying to them.
46. He is saying, “Until your hearts are changed and you stop robbing Me, you will not be blessed…”
47. and the problem with those people is the same problem of our day, and every day.
48. It is a problem with many believers today.
49. Times have changed, but people have not.
50. The reason people rob God and don’t tithe and give offering to the work of the Gospel,
51. the reason they do not give the money back that belongs to God
52. is because they do not trust God to provide for their needs.
53. They do not tithe because they do not trust God to meet their needs in the present nor in the future.
54. God’s concept of His people giving back to Him is, as follows:
55. imagine a silo full of grain
56. and every time you turn the faucet and you give the first bucket to God,
57. God keeps on filling it from the top;
58. and, when He has met all of your needs, there’s always more left over.
59. Some of you are not experiencing God’s blessings right now.
60. Do you know why?
61. Because you are keeping the money that belongs to God.
62. Here’s what God is saying:
63. He is saying the problem is not the problem of money.
64. It is the problem of the heart.
65. That really is the problem;
66. and it is manifesting itself in the tithe and offering.
67. If you are robbing God, there is a problem with your heart.
68. You are not trusting God;
69. but think with me for a minute.
70. If you trust God with your soul, will you not trust Him with your money?
71. The Eighth Commandment is all about trusting God.
72. The Eighth Commandment is all about stewardship.
73. The Eighth Commandment is all about being good stewards of all that God has put in your hands.
74. Good stewards are never greedy.
75. The basic essence of greed is desiring something that doesn’t belong to you.
76. The very essence of greed is desiring something for nothing.
77. The very essence of greed is desiring something that you are not willing to work for;
78. and that is why the good steward is not greedy.
79. A good steward is not wasteful.
80. A good steward does not squander God’s resources.
81. They do not spend it all on themselves and then say, “We do not have enough.”
82. Not returning to God what belongs to God is not only bad stewardship,
83. the Bible calls it stealing from God.
84. There is something else about good stewards.
85. Good stewards work hard.
86. If the boss expects you to work 40 hours, you put in 50 hours.
87. That’s a good steward;
88. so, in Malachi, Chapter 3, what God is saying is this:
89. He is saying, “I am the changeless God
90. and I’m asking you to change.
91. I want you to change your heart toward Me.
92. I want you to change your heart toward the possessions that I have placed in your hands.
93. I want you to change your attitude from that of an owner to that of a steward and a manager.
94. I am asking you to change your attitude of distrust in Me and My faithfulness to that of trust, commitment and surrender.”
95. Change your attitude and, then, see what God can do.
96. Change your heart from fear of the future, to trusting in God’s provision and see if God is not worthy of your trust.
97. Change your heart from wanting to accumulate, to wanting to distribute and see what God will do for you.
98. That’s what God meant.
99. Begin to see God for who He is-
100. the God who loves you,
101. the God who’s concerned for every detail in your life,
102. the God who wants to bless you and longs to bless you,
103. the God who desires good for you.
104. He is saying, “I want you to change your heart.
105. I want you to change your attitude.
106. I want you to trust Me.”
107. That’s what God is saying.
108. God was deeply angered by His people’s distrust of Him.
109. Not only did they distrust Him, but they were accusing Him of unfaithfulness;
110. and that is why he speaks through Malachi and says the following:
111. “I, the Lord, do not change, but you must, if you really want to be blessed by Me.”
112. Change your heart.
113. Do something to prove that you trust in the Lord your God.
114. Step out in faith,
115. so that you may be blessed in the long run,
116. because that is God’s desire for you.
117. God is saying, “Don’t be greedy with what I have given you,
118. because that kind of attitude does not honor Me.”
119. Instead of stealing the money that belongs to God,
120. trust in Him and see what happens.
121. God is completely trustworthy.
122. God is entirely faithful.
123. He is the keeper of His promises.
124. He is the keeper of His side of the agreement,
125. because He is a changeless God.
126. It is my prayer that you will begin to change your heart;
127. and, then, write to us and tell us.
128. Until next time, I wish you God’s richest blessing.