How to Turn Thanksgiving into Thanks-living
- Saturday, November 03, 2007
Do we have anything to give God? What's left? Hey folks, do you know what you ought to do? Before you write a check to anybody or anything else, you ought to make a gift to Jesus first. Do you know what the Bible says? "Honor the Lord with the first fruits of thy increase." First fruits, not what's left. Don't give God the crumbs. Don't give God the leftovers.
Don't see if there's anything left for God. That's the problem, listen friend. God doesn't want a place in your life. Everybody says give God a place in your life. He doesn't want it.
Well, you say yes, you're right; give Him a promise in your life. He doesn't want a promise. He demands pre-imminence, pre-imminence. You're to honor the Lord with your substance and with the first fruits of all thine increase.
I was reading in Malachi, chapter one, verse eight, and this is what the Lord said to the people of his day, "You offer the blind for sacrifice, and if you offer the blind for a sacrifice, is it not evil? And if ye offer the lame and the sick, is it not evil? Offer it not unto thy governor. Would he be pleased with thee or accept thy person, saith the Lord of hosts." Do you know what they were doing? They were saying well, we've got make an offering to the Lord. We've got an old blind calf over here. Let's give that blind calf, and we've got a sick goat. That goat is not going to live anyway. Let's bring it down to the priest, and let the priest kill it. Malachi said you're offering blind animals and crippled animals to God. Why don't you take it over here and give it to the governor and see if the governor will accept it.
You know there are people ─ we give to God things we wouldn't give to one another for Christmas presents or birthday presents. Try God.
Now, folks listen, we don't just give to the church because the church needs it. We don't give to a cause. It's a sacrifice to God. Friend, if there were not a need in this world, and if we just took the money that was given on Sunday and burned it up, I mean, just put in a furnace and burned it up; it'd still be a blessing just to come and give it. Do you believe that? I do.
That's what they did with the Old Testament sacrifices, they burned them up. They burned them up. They weren't giving to a need, they were giving to God. It was put on an altar and it was consumed. It didn't serve any utilitarian purpose. We just gave it because we wanted to give it to a great God as a sacrifice of His goodness to us. We need to get out of this thing saying, "Well, I don't know whether I agree with that." Me either, I don't think I'm going to give to this cause. Friend, we're giving to God. We're giving to God. It's a sacrifice to our great God, and "every man that giveth as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give, not grudgingly or of necessity." That is, you're not giving to a cause. You're not giving because somebody has made you do it, not giving grudgingly, or of necessity, "for God loveth a cheerful giver."
One last thing and I'll be finished. Not only is there the sacrifice of our possessions, one last of these five thanksgiving sacrifices, the sacrifices of thanksgiving, there is finally the sacrifice of a broken and a contrite spirit, which I want to call the sacrifice of purity.
Would you turn to Psalm 51 here for just a moment, and by the way, all of these sacrifices are based on, first of all, of what He has done for us and we just turn around and we'll do back for Him because of what He has done for us. We first love Him because He loved us. We give to Him because He first gave unto us and of Thine own have we given unto Thee.
Now, look if you will in Psalm 51:17. "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise." That's the last of these five sacrifices I want to suggest this thanksgiving. Do you have that sacrifice of a broken and a contrite spirit? Why do I call it the sacrifice of purity? Because David had sinned and what was it that broke David's heart? His sin against God. You see, God was so good, notice in Psalm fifty one, verse one. "Have mercy upon me, Oh God, according to thy loving kindness, according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions." Do you know what it was that led David to a broken spirit? Do you know what it was?
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