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White Oak Baptist Church

Firstfruits of Our Wealth

FIRST Things FIRSTThe FIRSTfruits of our Wealth

The Principle of Firstfruits

Deut. 26:1-2, 10, 15; Prov. 3:9-10

Introduction

*          The principle of Firstfruits recap.

*          This morning, I want us to continue in our teaching series First Things First.  This series is to challenge us in what we say we believe when it comes to God, not in belief alone but in belief that our affects     behavior. 

*          Two weeks ago week we took a look at putting the kingdom of God first and saw how many say they     do this but in reality they don’t.  To put the kingdom first meant to place God’s will over our own and    place the things of God as of first importance in time, place, and order.  When we place the kingdom         first then God gives us all we need, but if we fail to seek first the kingdom then we struggle in our needs.

*          Last week we looked at the first day of the week and if the principle of Firstfruits is true, then if we give   God the first day of the week then the rest of our week will be blessed. If we truly say we seek first            the kingdom of God and His righteousness, then coming to the house of the Lord on the day of the Lord           to worship on the first day of the week should not be a question nor an issue, right? That should be a     given!

*          This morning we move on to the next progressive event in dealing with the principles of Firstfruits. I      want to talk about giving the Firstfruits of our wealth. So, if I truly seek first the kingdom then I will be    in the house of the Lord on the day of the Lord, Sunday, the first day of the week, and I will give the           Firstfruits of my wealth. Why? Because I am seeking the Lord first in my life and I giving back as He      has given to me!

  1. The Principle of the Firstfruits of Our Wealth: (Deut. 26:1-2, 10, 15; Prov. 3:9-10)

            *          As God provided the Israelites with a land flowing with “milk and honey”, He instructed them as                         they entered the land to give the Firstfruits of the soil to the Lord so He could bless the people-                            giving God the Firstfruits meant future blessing.

            *          We hear this same truth in Proverbs being echoed in the writings of King Solomon (Prov. 3:9-                           10). Solomon teaches that we are to honor the Lord with our wealth and honor is shown by                                 giving the Firstfruits of our wealth not the seconds and leftovers.

            *          I want you to notice the word “then” that connects the principle of Firstfruits. If we honor the                            Lord with our wealth “then” our barns will be filled to overflowing, and our vats will brim over                            with new wine. When will the blessing happen? When we give the firstfruits “then” the                                     blessing comes.

            *          Again, please notice that blessing doesn’t necessarily come from giving only but the giving of                                 Firstfruits, giving the first portion, giving first things first. Anybody can give something at                                   anytime, but how many give the Firstfruits of their wealth on the first day of the week?

            *          Jesus echoed this same truth in (Luke 6:38). Notice a few observations here: 1) If we give                           it will be given to us. 2) if we give it will be given to us pressed down, shaken and running over.                  Do we see the principle in Firstfruits? (Illus. pouring grain vs. pouring grain and shaking it                                   down). 3) If we give it will be running over back to us. 4) The blessing in getting is in direct                              proportion to our giving. He that gives little or second receives little (no Firstfruit principle) and                                     he that gives much or first receives much (Firstfruit principle).

            *          Now, when it comes to giving Paul teaches we are to set aside a sum of money in keeping with                                   our income on what day of the week? The first day, Sunday, the Lord’s Day (1 Cor. 16:2).

            *          See how what we have been learning is progressive? If I seek FIRST the kingdom then I will be                                   in the house of the Lord worshipping on the FIRST day of the week. If I’m in the house of the                           Lord on the FIRST day of the week because I’m seeking FIRST the kingdom then I will be                            giving the Firstfruits of my wealth on the FIRST day of the week.

            *          It really is a no brainer to blessing but I am amazed at how many of God’s people forfeit this                               blessing by not giving Firstfruits. If this principle of Firstfruits is true then why do so many of                             God’s people not practice it?

            *          Which would you choose? To have all your needs met or struggle in making ends meet? Who                                in their right mind would ever choose the latter option? No one! But when it comes to the                          Firstfruit blessing that is exactly what so many of God’s people are doing.

            *          Why do we choose not to be blessed? Did you know we can choose not to be blessed and not                                   even be aware of it?

                        1) Because we're not kingdom minded (Haggai 1:5-11, 2:15-19). When the Israelites did not                                 keep the Sabbath, among other laws, God sent them in to captivity for 70 years as a penalty for                               their sin. But God is gracious and set them free and sent them back to their land. As they                                    entered the land the first thing you think they would do is rebuild the temple of the Lord, but                              instead they rebuilt their own houses and left God’ temple in ruins for 16 years.

                        How many of us are guilty of this? I wonder if our struggles in life spiritually, physically and                              financially, those struggles that we cry out to God desperately for and even question God why,                             are not a result of our own failing to put God first and be kingdom minded? We suffer like                                Haggai was teaching his people.

                        So many times our minds are set on this world and what it offers. We’re guilty of the very                                characteristics of the people in the end times, lovers of self, lovers of pleasure, lovers of money                               and not lovers of God (2 Tim. 3:2-4). We tend to spend our money on the world and not give to                          the kingdom of God. When this happens we suffer the consequences rather than receiving the                                     blessings of God.

                        We can conclude this truth: “When God gets mine everything will be just fine, but if I get mine                        and take God’s too, what do you think He will do?”When we seek the kingdom first and                                     become kingdom minded then that is when the Lord will bless our needs!

                        2) Because we don't trust in God to provide (Matt. 6:8, 32).The truth is we trust in our                                    paycheck. We work so hard six days a week, even on Sundays, to provide the basic necessities                              that the Lord said He would already give us if we just sought first the kingdom. God said he                            would provide our needs and He even knows our needs before we even ask.

                        Why do we keep our money and not give on the first day of the week and spend it on things the                                     Lord said He would already give us? Because we don’t trust in God to provide we trust in                          ourself. If you need your money to stretch then give it away to the Lord and watch how God can                 take what YOU think you don’t have and do the 5 loaves and two fish effect with it.

                        3) Because we live above our needs (Prov. 30:7-9). Do you know Agur? He asked the Lord                              that He would neither give Him riches or poverty. Why? Because if God gave us all riches in                          time we all would most likely have too much and no rely on the Lord to provide and disown the                          Lord. If God gave us poverty in time we would all most likely become desperate for food and                              the basic things for life that we would begin to steal and dishonor God.

                        God never promised to provide our wants, just our needs. And that’s where we run into trouble                             and fail to give God the Firstfruits of our wealth because we live in a lot of ways above our                           means and it takes so much money to maintain our lifestyle. There is nothing wrong with our                                     wants as long as God and the kingdom gets the Firstfruits. We go wrong when God gets our                                   seconds, thirds and we get the firsts.

                       4) Because of the love of money (1 Tim. 6:10). Paul told us in the end times we would be                              lovers of money (2 Tim. 3:2) and the love of money is the root of all evil (1 Tim. 6:10). Jesus                                clearly taught us that man cannot serve two masters       (Matt. 6:24). He also said for us to lay up                           treasures in heaven not on earth (Matt. 6:19-21). The way store up treasures in heaven is by                            giving not getting. We must remember it is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35).

                        5) Because we don’t have the desire to give Firstfruits (2 Cor. 8:10). Paul challenged the                                    Corinthians to do what the Macedonians were doing when it came to the grace of giving.Not                              only were the Macedonians the first to give to the poor but the first to have the desire to give.

                        Notice, I didn’t say God’s people don’t have the desire to give, I said many don’t have the desire                          to giveFirstfruits. Anyone can give God something, anyone can give God leftovers-if any,                                   anyone can give God seconds, anyone can give God out of abundance, anyone can give God a                              little that’s not a sacrifice, but not many can give God the Firstfruits of their wealth.

                        Who is more important in our life, God or our creditors? What’s more important in our life,                          the kingdom of God or our bills? Now, here is where the rubber meets the road and here is                                    where we are challenged in what we “say” we believe versus what we actually believe and “do”.

                        Which of these two statements best represent what you have done this month when it comes to                                your giving: 1) Did you pay your bills first and what money is leftover, if any, you gave God                                something second? 2) Did you give to the Lord first and then what money was leftover, if any,                            you paid your bills second?

                        If we said God and the kingdom was first then our giving will be the Firstfruits of our wealth;                                anything else is placing God and the kingdom second. Let’s put first things first!

Conclusion

*          God gave His Only Son-the Firstfruit. Jesus gave His very life-the Firstfruit from the dead. What do we            give back to them-Firstfruits or seconds?

*          I challenge all of us to come to this Alter and give ourself first to the Lord, give our family to the   Lord, give our life to the Lord, and give our money and everything to the Lord. Seek Him first, worship          Him on the first day of the week and give the Firstfruit of our wealth and watch God’s blessing be   poured out on us.

*          Or, we can do nothing and give God our seconds and struggle and miss the blessing we have been promised. It’s our choice but don’t question God and ask Him to give us blessing if we give Him         seconds.

*          Let’s stop saying God is first and living and doing like He is second. Let us make today the day we         truly put FIRST THINGS FIRST!   

 

 

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