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Message

Love Your City - Part 6, First Fruits Sunday
Miles McPherson - April 1, 2012

Message Recap

When you live an area of life according to the Bible, you secure a biblical blessing.

In this message series, Pastor Miles has challenged us to love our city by giving to our Pervasive Hope campaign. Today he instructs us to be biblically faithful with the income God has given us, first by tithing, and then by giving an offering beyond our tithes with the first fruits of all we have received. God promises us a blessing according to His standards when we act accordingly.

When you live an area of life according to the Bible, you secure a biblical blessing.

1. Tithes mean 10% and they are not given but returned. Malachi 3:8-10

Tithe belongs to God.

Pastor Miles shared that when he and his five siblings were children going to Catholic Mass, his mother would give each of them money to put in the offering plate. It was his mother’s money, but she wanted her children to understand the importance of giving themselves. Similarly, when we tithe 10% of our income to the church, we are actually giving God’s money back to him. God sets it up this way because He wants us to learn about giving and letting go of the resources that He freely gives to us.

“Will a man rob God?
Yet you have robbed Me!
But you say,
‘In what way have we robbed You?’
In tithes and offerings.
You are cursed with a curse,
For you have robbed Me,
Even this whole nation.
Bring all the tithes into the storehouse,
That there may be food in My house,
And try Me now in this,”
Says the Lord of hosts,
“If I will not open for you the windows of heaven
And pour out for you such blessing
That there will not be room enough to receive it.  Malachi 3:8-10

God offers for us to test Him to see how blessed we will be by tithing: watch what happens when you give generously from your heart.

2. Offerings are over and above tithes and are given. 1 Chronicles 29

Offerings are where true giving begins.

Tithes go to fund the staff, the building, and general operations of the church, but offerings go to special projects, such as our Pervasive Hope campaign. The giving actually starts with the offering, because the 10% tithe doesn’t belong to us anyway.

All that we have is not ours; it’s all from God. A habitual exercise of giving reminds us not to hold onto anything temporal.

But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.  2 Corinthians 9:6-7

3. First fruits are the quality of the tithes and offerings. Proverbs 3:9-10

The first fruits are the first of what we receive or earn. God deserves our best, not what’s leftover.

Honor the Lord with your possessions,
And with the firstfruits of all your increase;
So your barns will be filled with plenty,
And your vats will overflow with new wine. Proverbs 3:9

When the Jews had a harvest, the very first bounty they received went to the Lord. Don’t be mistaken—they needed that bounty! When they gave it away, they still had nothing, which took faith that God would provide more.

  1. First fruits or firstborn honor God with our best, our first and not our last. Exodus 22:2, Proverbs 3:9-10

    “You shall not delay to offer the first of your ripe produce and your juices. The firstborn of your sons you shall give to Me.” Exodus 22:29

    Giving our first fruits keeps our focus on the Giver of the gift. It acknowledges His importance, as well as our trust in His provision.

  2. First fruits secure a blessing on the rest. Exodus 11-13, Romans 11:16, Colossians 1:15

    If we want God to bless the resources we are going to keep and use for ourselves, we need to let go of the first fruits and give them to God as a sign of our trust and faith.

  3. First fruits are a sign of more blessings to come. Proverbs 3:9-10, 1 Corinthians 15:20, 23, Luke 6:38
  4. Jesus Christ was the first and only Son of God, and He was given as a payment to secure a blessing on all of us. The Bible also tells us that His resurrection is a sign of more resurrections to come.

If you have not pledged yet to our Pervasive Hope campaign, today is the day! Be faithful to what God is asking from you. Trust in His provision and His promise of blessing.

Love Your City

This 6-part series shares how God has called the Rock Church to love San Diego and beyond by being a catalyst for Pervasive Hope. In Part 6, Pastor Miles has challenged us to love our city by supporting the Pervasive Hope campaign.

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