The Royal Exchange
Pastor Mike Hayes
December 1, 2019
Main Idea – The Bible teaches that God wants to make a deal with you. If you are faithful to return a tithe of your increase to Him, God will bless you with the far greater gifts of elevation, possession, and dominion.
God will give you more in exchange for your lesser gift
- God will always give you more than you will give Him.
- However, He is still impacted by your willing, faithful gifts. He is interested in engaging in a transaction with you.
- Isaiah 61:3 – To console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.
- The Bible teaches that - from the beginning of creation - God has provided the framework for how your transactions with Him will take place.
- The Bible teaches that the tithe – the first ten percent of your increase – is the fundamental building block of your transactions with God.
Be obedient to God’s process
- Offerings are sacrificial in nature. They are deliberate; not casual.
- One of the first stories in the Bible tells of two brothers: one who gave an appropriate offering, and one whose offering was improper.
- Genesis 4: 3-7 – And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. So the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”
- Both Cain and Able had learned about proper offerings, likely from their parents Adam and Eve. God’s stern reaction to Cain’s offering happened because Cain had become casual – and therefore disobedient – to the rules of God’s exchange.
- From the moment Adam and Eve fell into sin (Genesis 3) God determined that the road to reconciliation would come through the shedding of innocent blood. Therefore, in the Old Testament, God required animal sacrifices for the sin offerings. (God even performed his own animal sacrifice to provide clothing for Adam and Eve. Genesis 4:21 – Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.)
The Blessing of Abraham
- Unlike Cain, Abraham was happily obedient to a righteous transaction. He, therefore, received in return three significant blessings from God.
- Genesis 14: 18-20 – Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. And he blessed him and said: “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” And he gave him a tithe of all.
- Like Abraham, when you tithe you are showing honor to God. Then, in return, God will bless you even more.
That same Abrahamic blessing is available to you today
- The blessing Abraham received of elevation, possession, and dominion is available to you.
- Galatians 3: 13-14 – Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
A New Testament example of one who was unwilling to give a meaningful sacrifice
- Luke 18: 18-30 – Now a certain ruler asked Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’” And he said, “All these things I have kept from my youth.” So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich. And when Jesus saw that he became very sorrowful, He said, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” And those who heard it said, “Who then can be saved?” But He said, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” Then Peter said, “See, we have left all and followed You.” So He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life.”
- The ruler in the above verses was owned by his money. Money had become his real God, and he was unable to let go of its pursuits. Jesus knew that and, therefore, required of him a sacrifice that would actually free him from that form of slavery. But, the man was unwilling to make that commitment.
- The above verses end with the promise that when you give an appropriate offering (or sacrifice) God will pay you back many times more in blessings for your life.
A New Testament example of one who was willing to give a meaningful sacrifice
- Luke 19: 1-9 – Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature. So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully. But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.” Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
- One will notice in the above verses that Jesus did not ask Zacchaeus for any kind of sacrifice. Rather, Zacchaeus willingly gave a righteous offering.
- From being around Jesus, Zacchaeus was moved by grace.
- The more you allow God’s grace in your life, the more generous you will become. People who know grace realize there is an endless abundance of blessings – more blessings than can be equaled by any earthly sacrifice.
- One who understands grace just naturally wants to participate in this royal exchange with God.
The Royal Exchange and the local church
- Always express your thankfulness to God when you are blessed. He doesn’t need your thankfulness, but He appreciates it when you express it to Him. Luke 17: 15-19 – And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan. So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” And He said to him, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.”
- If we are all regularly returning the tithe to God there should be no need for special offerings. The Apostle Paul knew he didn’t have time to raise special offerings in all his churches; so, he taught the transactional principle of setting aside the first portion of each person’s increase for the Kingdom work. 1 Corinthians 16:1-3 – Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come. And when I come, whomever you approve by your letters I will send to bear your gift to Jerusalem.
- Christians return their tithes to God through the local church. Then, God richly blesses their lives so they themselves – as well as the church - will have an abundance from which to go and bless others. 2 Corinthians 9:8 – And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.
Reflective Questions for The Royal Exchange
- From the Bible verses in this lesson, can you describe the attributes of an appropriate tithe offering to God?
- How, if at all, do you relate to the character Zacchaeus in Luke 19 (above)?
- Perhaps most new Christians find it difficult to commit to a regular tithing schedule. Why is that? While visiting with those who don’t tithe, why may it be productive to be sympathetic to their reasons while focusing on God’s promises?