This should be the third ‘Saturday class’ that starts so slow…people looking tired and discouraged…passive and unhappy…the praise could not ‘pass the ceiling’…I felt that there was opposition, like religious spirits that wanted entertainment, or ‘church as usual’, or prayers for praying sake and nothing more…I felt that the religious spirits wanted to hijack the meeting…
It is rare that I stop all activities during a prayer meeting, but this time there was no other solution. It is like we started to sing with the wrong key and all people were struggling to sing…I told everybody to stop all things, the music, the worship team…to sit down on the chairs and just pray for mercy…We told God that without Him we can never move forward, that His presence cannot be replaced by anything and by anybody…we just pleaded for mercy…we asked for forgiveness in case we took His presence for granted…then slowly, the anointing descended and the fire, the passion was kindled once more…in less than thirty minutes, suddenly all people stood up and praised God with dancing and clapping and shouting…the difference in atmosphere was so great, it looked like the first group of people was replaced with another…even the children sensed the presence of God and were jumping and singing all over the sanctuary…
The song we sang again and again was this:
“I waka, waka, I saw no one, I searched, I searched: I saw no one, I turned around and still no one, There is no one like You Lord! There is no one like Jesus!”
“O Lord, I have heard Your speech and was afraid; O Lord, revive Your work in the midst of the years! In the midst of the years make it known. In wrath remember mercy!” (Habakkuk 3:2)
I don’t want to preach a whole sermon on tithe to you. But in times like these, when the thieves increase in the land, I cannot avoid bringing it to notice.
These are some points about the tithe (I have practiced these over the years and I testify that they are true):
1. Tithe is a command from God the Father. God’s commands are to be obeyed. Period! Jesus did not cancel the tithe.
2. Tithe is the FIRST 10% of your increase (not of capital). It is the first, not any 10%. This is for us to remember that God is first!
3. Tithe is to be paid to the local church where the spiritual food is given to you. Occasionally the Holy Spirit may direct you to divide the tithe. Part of it may be given outside your local church, to a ministry that has consistently blessed you with the ministry of the Word. Obey the leading of the Holy Spirit!
4. Tithe is to be paid first, of all; then any other offerings is above the tithe. If you don’t pay the tithe, God will not receive your offerings, no matter how big the offering is. Without the tithe, your offerings are a waste.
5. Paying the tithe is a form of worship and it pleases God because of obedience.
6. God promises to bless the remaining 90% of your increase by preventing the devil from devouring it (there shall be no loss, no stealing, no unnecessary bills from hospital, accidents… etc.)
7. Paying my tithe has brought to me a peculiar joy that I am a responsible child of God. I have NEVER regretted paying my tithe.
“Test Me in this – says the Lord Almighty- if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it!” (Mal 3:10)
This is the story of the royal wedding feast. The King is God the Father. The Son is Jesus. The servants sent with the call to come to the banquet of grace are the prophets, the apostles, the evangelists, the missionaries. The call is that of grace to salvation.
Come to the intimate fellowship of grace and unspeakable joy with the King of kings! This invitation is once in a life time opportunity to meet with your God in charge of your destiny. Failure to respond here means total failure in life.
The servants meet only rejection. The only explanation for this negativity is that sin is madness. The servants are sent to other dignitaries, kings and rulers. Most of them ignore the call for the sake of involvement in the ordinary life. They chose to be ‘local champions’ in their farms and businesses. Under pressure, some insult the servants and others kill them so that they may have ‘peace’. All the prophets of the Old Testament up including John the Baptist died at the hands of the religious Jews.
The King is angry at the rejection and the disgrace of His grace. God is gracious, kind, patient and longsuffering with the sinners. But His Spirit will ‘not strive forever with man’. He will avenge the blood of His servants and kill the unbelievers with fire. These were ‘not worthy’ of the praise, the fellowship, the reward and promotion the King had in mind to bestow on them inside His palace. For the sake of ‘akara’ business they lost an eternal crown.
Then the second invitation comes to the rest humanity. The Gentiles like you and me we are invited to partake of Christ. It is the call of grace, the unmerited favor of God to both ‘the good and the bad’. The glory of a king is seen in his many subjects around him, giving him all the praise. A prince without servants is disgraced (PV 14:28). The refusal of the first group of people was so that the king and his son will be lonely, disgraced and sad at a time of rejoicing. But the King can make even the stones to praise him. The wedding hall has to be filled with guests. And so it was…
Later the king comes in to see the guests. Do you know that God comes down to see and inspect the heart of each person gathered in His presence? The guest list is in His hand.
He discovered a stranger who was not dressed with the garment of imputed righteousness of the Son. He came on his own. He wanted to go to heaven but he did not want to see Jesus in heaven. But heaven belongs to Jesus and no stranger can stroll inside unnoticed. He was punished, tied hand and foot and thrown outside in the utter darkness, as far from the light as possible.
The call of God is to search the hearts and motives towards the King and His Son. Examine your heart: is the passion for Jesus real inside? Then each whisper calling you will give you hope and strength to answer yes. What is your attitude when coming to church, doing ministry? Is it hard? Is it boring? It is to be pure joy. God’s calling is a privilege.
‘Many are called (for testing and approval) but few are chosen (for eternal life and blessed rewards)’ (Mt 22:1-14)