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Stealing From God

God challenges us to give at a level that will test His ability to bless us.

When we put our faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, we enter a love relationship with him. It's a sacred romance. It's not just a working relationship. It is a love relationship with God.

I was watching Fox news, and Geraldo Rivera was interviewing some troops in Afghanistan, those who are on the prowl to try to get Osama bin Laden. As he interviewed one of the soldiers, the soldier was standing right next to his commanding officer. Rivera asked him, "What do you think of your commanding officer?" And without hesitation the soldier said, "I love this guy." It was obvious there was a love relationship between them. There was a bond far more than just, This is the guy I have to report to and he gives me orders. There was a definite, genuine love between them. That's the way it's supposed to be between you and God.

But sometimes lovers quarrel. Lovers quarrel when one party in the relationship has committed an act of betrayal. Then things start to break down, and a quarrel breaks out. We're going to listen to a lovers' quarrel between God and his people.

We rob God when we don't give

It's in Malachi 3:6—12 where this lovers' quarrel breaks out. God begins, because he is the one who has been betrayed. He says, "'I the Lord do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,' says the Lord Almighty."

God is saying: Look, we have this love relationship. Somebody in this relationship has moved, and it's not me. I don't change. And it's a good thing for you, or you might be destroyed, because historically over the years of our relationship you have not been faithful. You've ...

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Steve Mathewson is senior pastor of CrossLife Evangelical Free Church in Libertyville, lllinois. He is also director of the doctor of ministry program at Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon.

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Sermon Outline:

Introduction

Malachi 3 is a lover's quarrel between God and his people.

I. We rob God when we don't give.

II. We are to give generously to God's church.

III. When we give, God blesses us abundantly.

Conclusion

Are we willing to accept God's challenge to give at a level that tests his ability to bless us?