Proverbs 3:9 (Mini Sermon)Submitted by Pastor Chad Wagner on Thursday, October 24, 2019.
9. Pro 3:9 - "Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:" A. Honour the LORD with thy substance i. Contained in this verse and the next is both a commandment from God and a promise of blessing to those who keep it. a. We are supposed to honour to God of our substance. b. Substance n. - 16. a. Possessions, goods, estate; means, wealth. arch. (chiefly as a reminiscence of biblical language). b. With a: An amount of wealth, a fortune; pl. riches, possessions. c. Honour v. - 1. trans. To do honour to, pay worthy respect to (by some outward action); to worship, perform one's devotions to; to do obeisance or homage to; to celebrate. d. Therefore, a key element of worshiping God is giving a portion of our wealth to Him. e. We live in a nation "whose God is their belly" (Php 3:19), whom they honour in the way of the prodigal son who "wasted his substance with riotous living" (Luk 15:13). ii. This verse is an imperative statement, not a suggestion for the people of God. iii. The following is something to consider. a. The word of God also commands us to give of our substance to the government in the form of taxes for the service they provide (Rom 13:6-7). b. Why is it that some Christians obey the commandment to honour the government with their substance, but refuse, neglect, or forget to honour God with it? (i) Both are commandments from God, but the former is more often obeyed because of the belief that to not do so will result in severe punishment, such as imprisonment or death. (ii) The government is not the only one that promises painful judgment to those who don't give them their due. (iii) God likewise threatens to curse and punish those who don't give Him His due (Mal 3:8-9; Hag 1:9-11). c. Those who pay their taxes but not their God demonstrate that they fear men more than Him, and that they believe the threats of men more than the threats of the LORD. d. Such have their priorities backwards and should "serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire" (Heb 12:28-29), lest they end up on the receiving end of His rod. B. Honour the LORD . . . with the firstfruits of all thine increase. i. God is to be honoured with the firstfruits of all our increase. a. Firstfruit n. - 1. The fruits first gathered in a season; the earliest products of the soil; esp. with reference to the custom of making offerings of these to God or the gods. b. In other words, to give one's firstfruits is to give God a portion of one's income first before any other expenses are paid. c. When creating a budget, a Christian should determine what percentage of his income that the LORD should get and make that the first line of his budget. d. The remainder of the budget should then be allotted for all other expenses such as savings, taxes, housing, transportation, food, clothing, utilities, education, entertainment, etc. e. Sadly, some Christians budget precisely opposite of God's prescription: they pay all of their expenses first and then give God whatever is left, if there is anything. f. That is called giving God the leftovers, not the firstfruits. ii. How do we give God our firstfruits when He is in heaven? a. Though God cannot personally be given to in this life, His work in this earth can be. b. When a man gives in support of the LORD's ministers and His house, he is giving unto the LORD (Num 5:8-10). c. Under the Old Testament, Israel was supposed to support God's ministers, the priests and Levites, with their firstfruits since they had no inheritance in Israel and were not supposed to be out working in the fields, but rather working in the house of God and encouraging themselves in the word of God (Deut 18:1-5; Eze 44:30; 2Ch 31:4; Neh 13:10-12). d. This principle is carried over into the New Testament. (i) God's ministers were to be supported by the congregation under the law of Moses. (ii) In like manner, God's ministers of His churches are likewise to be supported by their church under the New Testament (1Co 9:6-14). e. Another way to give to God under the Old Testament was to give to the poor, the widows, and the fatherless (Deut 26:12-13; Pro 19:17). f. Likewise under the New Testament are the LORD's people and His ministers responsible to give in support of the poor, widows, and fatherless (Rom 12:13; Gal 2:9-10; 1Ti 5:16; Jam 1:27). iii. The next question would be how much of one's income is considered the firstfruits? a. Under the law of Moses, the firstfruits of one's increase was a tithe, which is a tenth (2Ch 31:4-5). b. Giving the firstfruits was proportional giving. (i) If the crop was plenteous, the firstfruits would be plenteous; if the crop was paltry due to a drought, the firstfruits would be paltry. (ii) What about today under the New Testament? (iii) There is no explicit commandment to give ten percent in the New Testament, but it does teach proportional giving: "let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him" (1Co 16:2). (iv) If God has prospered us with much, then we should give more; if God has prospered us with little, then we should give less. c. Without a specified percentage given by God in the New Testament, what proportion of his income should a Christian then give? d. That is up to each man to decide for himself as "he purposeth in his heart" (2Co 9:7). e. As for me and my house, we will walk in the steps of our fathers in the faith, Abraham and Jacob, and follow their example of giving 10% of our gross income to the Lord (Heb 7:1-6; Gen 28:20-22).