Sermon Series


October 13, 2013 AD, by Pastor Ben Willis

A well-known Christian once wrote: “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that [what God wants me to do] is good…
“I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do…
“I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love [the ways God wants me to live my life] with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind…” (Romans 7:15-16, 18b-20a, 21-23b)
Anybody ever feel that way that you have a war going on inside of you trying get you to do what’s wrong when you’re seeking to love God and do what’s right? … Well, you’re in good company. It was the apostle Paul who wrote that, writing to the Christians in Rome.
Paul talked about these powers waging war against us to the Christians in Ephesus, too. Open your Bibles with me to Ephesians 6:12… Paul writes: “We are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”
If you’re looking at this passage with me you can see that Paul’s speaking about every battle we ever might go through being a spiritual one. If you are warring with your boss or if you are warring with an employee (the issues Paul was just addressing in vv. 5-9), Paul says those fights “are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” If your struggle is with your parents or if you are struggling with your kids, or if your adversary seems like it’s your husband or your wife (the issues Paul was addressing in 5:22-v. 4 of our chapter) he declares “we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” If you’re warring against temptations toward having sex before marriage or greediness or other evil things, if you’re warring against speaking obscenities or vulgar things or even just “silly” talk (the issues Paul was discussing at the beginning of chapter 5) he assures us “we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”
Whether it seems as though the wars we are waging are because of pressures and powers coming against us from outside of us or are because of pressures and temptations coming against us inside our minds: My friends, “we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”

2 Corinthians 10:1-6 [NLTse]
10 Now I, Paul, appeal to you with the gentleness and kindness of Christ—though I realize you think I am timid in person and bold only when I write from far away. 2 Well, I am begging you now so that when I come I won’t have to be bold with those who think we act from human motives.
3 We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. 4 We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. 5 We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ. 6 And after you have become fully obedient, we will punish everyone who remains disobedient.

During the time of the Roman Empire a prosperous city would surround itself with a stout wall for protection. Strongholds – fortified towers – would be strategically placed around that wall from which defending soldiers could strike back at their attackers below. When the Romans attacked such a fortified city they’d come against it with siege machines like testudos (that protected their battering rams), onager’s (trebuchet’s that threw burning boulder’s), ballista (that shot large, missile-sized projectiles), catapults (that hurled rocks or large explosives), siege towers (that helped them engage those fighting from the tops of the walls and the fortified towers), and galleries (that offered protection when they sought to weaken the very walls themselves, or to try and dig beneath them).
And that is the picture Paul is describing here: Of an army attacking and tearing down the fortified defenses of an enemy. Except that our battle is not against flesh-and-blood enemies so we don’t wage war as humans do. Our battle is not against flesh-and-blood enemies so we use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons. The strongholds Paul is describing are those clever arguments and “warped philosophies” that perhaps we came to believe before we became Christians or that perhaps we’ve come to believe through the effectiveness of advertising and the media upon us. The “proud obstacles” are barriers that believing and trusting the world’s truths have formed in our minds to keep us from believing – trusting – the truths of God.
For example, there was a young fella named Kevin who grew up listening to his father tell him that “real men” worked hard and provided for their families. So Kevin’s always worked hard, sometimes working two or three jobs. Now Kevin’s married, has a well-paying full-time job and also a part-time job, and all his hard work has produced a nice home and a nice standard of living that and his wife, Janet, have been enjoying with their three children. But Janet’s begun complaining that Kevin’s working all the time, and they’re starting to experience some disciplinary troubles with their oldest girl. Kevin’s small group has been encouraging him to honor Janet and put his marriage and family first and suggesting he perhaps quit his part-time job since they can live off of his full-time work. But Kevin doesn’t understand: He’s working hard (two jobs, even!); he’s being a “real man”; Janet and his kids have everything they could want; and look at all the Bible says about hard work! He’s doing everything right (he feels). So why is his life starting to fall apart?
Sometimes even good things (like hard work) can become warped into “proud obstacles” (Kevin thinking, “I’m working two jobs! I’m being a ‘real man’. Janet and the kids have everything they could want! And the Bible says that working hard is good!”) These “proud obstacles” can keep us from believing – trusting – the truths of God from friends and from His Word.
But Paul says that God has given us weapons that knock down these clever arguments, warped philosophies, and worldly priorities; weapons that can destroy these “proud obstacles” that have been built up against the truth of God. These weapons we’ve been given can also take every thought captive – like capturing prisoners after the siege – to make these thoughts obedient to Christ! Once the lies or deceptions or twisted truths have come down, and the priorities and ways of living we built on top of them, we can begin “reconditioning” our thoughts to believe and put into practice what God has said is true and most important and establish new priorities and ways of living on Christ.
And that takes us back – almost – to where we started: Ephesians 6 and the realization that “we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” Paul goes on to describe, what he calls, “the full armor of God”. Perhaps you know it:
• the belt of Truth
• the body armor of God’s Righteousness
• for shoes, the peace that comes from the Good News
• the shield of faith
• salvation as your helmet
• the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, and,
• praying in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion, alert and persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.
• (Of course, Paul adds in another place [Colossians 3:12] to put on – like a surcoat overtop of it all – love.)

As you can see, the only offensive weapon we are given is the “sword of the Spirit” which is not the “Word of God” (in the way that we can think of the entire Bible as a whole) but the “sword of the Spirit” is more accurately the “words of God” (particular Bible passages) the Holy Spirit brings to our minds at the right time to attack darkness, death, and ignorance, confusion, deceptions, and outright lies, to come against the gates of Hell.
We’re going to talk over the next couple of weeks about the “sword of the Spirit”:
• Next Sunday a representative from The Gideons is going to be sharing story after story about the ways the Word of God has transformed peoples’ lives for Christ.
• The Sunday after that we’ll talk about how we can equip ourselves to recognize these lies we’ve come to believe, how we can root out and tear down the areas of our lives we’ve built around them, and how we can begin bringing our thoughts into line with Christ.
• Then the first Sunday in November we’ll talk about setting up a training regimen to move us from being just hearers of the Word to both doers and users of the Word each day.

I hope you’ll come and that you’ll bring those you care about, or who seem hungry and thirsty for Christ with you, or even those who just seem interested in spiritual things whom He might be drawing to faith.

By the way, Kevin took the criticisms of his wife and the challenges of his small group seriously. He got some additional counsel from his pastor and others he respected around him and, not only did he quit his second job (which he realized he didn’t need and could free him up for more time at home and to get more involved at his church), but he started a small men’s group on being a godly dad hoping that leading and working with others would help him learn and grow that much better. Money’s been a little tighter but Janet couldn’t be happier and the discipline issues with their daughter have all but disappeared into just the normal challenges of raising a pre-teen.

October 6, 2013 AD, by Pastor Ben Willis

Ephesians 1:1-14 [NLTse]

1 This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus.

I am writing to God’s holy people in Ephesus, who are faithful followers of Christ Jesus.

2 May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.

3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. 4 Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes. 5 God decided in advance to adopt us into His Own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure. 6 So we praise God for the glorious grace He has poured out on us who belong to His dear Son. 7 He is so rich in kindness and grace that He purchased our freedom with the blood of His Son and forgave our sins. 8 He has showered His kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.

9 God has now revealed to us His mysterious plan regarding Christ, a plan to fulfill His Own good pleasure. 10 And this is the plan: At the right time He will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in Heaven and on Earth. 11 Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for He chose us in advance, and He makes everything work out according to His plan.

12 God’s purpose was that we Jews who were the first to trust in Christ would bring praise and glory to God. 13 And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, He identified you as His Own by giving you the Holy Spirit, Whom He promised long ago. 14 The Spirit is God’s guarantee that He will give us the inheritance He promised and that He has purchased us to be His Own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify Him.

[From behind the Lord’s Table] One of the reasons we have come here today is to celebrate Communion. Today is “World Communion Sunday”. Many Christians around the world, whether because they celebrate the Lord’s Supper on the first Sunday of each month (as many churches do) or because of this special day – “World Communion Sunday” – are celebrating the Lord’s Supper; more Christians celebrating the Lord’s Supper today than on any other single day of the year except, perhaps, Easter – Resurrection Sunday.

And yet we’re not celebrating “World Lord’s Supper Sunday” but “World Communion Sunday”. And “Communion” has come to be another title for the Lord’s Supper, but the word “communion” does have a meaning all its own that gives us a special focus for our celebration today.

The word “communion” is derived from the Latin word communio (which means “to share in common”). It translates the Greek term ????????, which is most often translated by the English word, “fellowship”. In Ancient Greek, ???????? could apply to a business partnership, to the fellowship of life in marriage, to a spiritual relationship with a divinity, to comradely fellowship between friends, as well as to the relationships enjoyed within a community or society.

In the New Testament and Christianity, ???????? – communion – describes and celebrates the especially close relationship that Christians, as individuals and as a Church, have with God and with other Christians. The Lord Jesus describes this close relationship we have with Him and each other as abiding in Him. The apostle Paul speaks of it saying, we are “in Christ”.

In our reading from Ephesians this morning the apostle Paul wrote that “Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into His Own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ.” (1:4-5)

To Timothy Paul wrote of it this way, “For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was His plan from before the beginning of time—to show us His grace through Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 1:9)

Think about that with me: Even before God began Creation He had chosen you to belong to Him.  With all the wonders  He had on the drawing board He wasn’t thinking about universal marvels the Bible makes clear He was thinking about you.

With all the wonders God had planned for the world He wasn’t thinking about what He was going to make He was thinking about uniting you with Himself, establishing you in Christ. So even before He spoke Light into being and before He made the land and the atmosphere and the stars, Almighty God was planning for you and me to share in the blessings of Jesus Christ!

Across Jesus’ life on Earth, too, God thought of you and me as being in Christ: Whatever Christ did God counted it as being something we did, too. The Bible makes this especially clear when speaking about Jesus’ death, because when Christ died God thought of us as having died, too. Romans 6 says our old self was “crucified with Him”. “I have been crucified with Christ,” Paul writes in Galatians 2. And this being in Christ in the past overflows to Christ being in us here and now in the present as Paul goes on to say, so “it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.”

This dying and rising with Christ occurs in this present life when we become Christians. Paul sees this present death and resurrection with Christ as a way of describing and explaining the change the Holy Spirit brings about in our character and personality when we become Christians. In Christ and with Christ in us we become so unresponsive to the pressures, demands, and attractions of our previous, sinful way of life that Paul can say we are “dead” to these influences, because we have died with Christ (Romans 7:6; Galatians 2:20; 5:24; 6:14; Colossians 2:20). We find ourselves wanting to serve God much more, and able to serve Him with greater power and success, so much so that Paul says we are “alive” to God because we have been raised up with Christ!

We are not on our own! Christ is in us because we have trusted in Him! And every spiritual blessing earned by Christ because of His sinless life and perfect sacrifice is ours if we are in Him! “Eternal life” (1 John 5:11), “faith and love” (1 Timothy 1:14; 2 Timothy 1:13), “grace” (2 Timothy 2:1), “salvation” (2Timothy 2:10), “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3) and God’s “riches in glory” (Philippians 4:19).

Because Jesus has inseparably connected us to Himself, the Holy Spirit gives us all the blessings that Christ has earned! And as Christ lives in us He calls us to live in Him: Everything we say to say for His sake; everything we do doing it for His sake. Keeping our minds set on Him so that people will see us and get to know Jesus because He’s in us.

Pastor and Christian author John Murray writes about it this way, “Union with Christ has its source in the election of God the Father before the foundation of the world and has its fruition in the glorification of the sons of God. The perspective of God’s people is not narrow; it is broad and long. It is not confined to space and time; it has the expanse of eternity. Its orbit has two foci, one the electing love of God the Father in the counsels of eternity; the other glorification with Christ in the manifestation of His glory. The former has no beginning, the latter has not end… Why does the believer entertain the thought of God’s determinate counsel with such joy? Why can he have confident assurance with reference to the future and rejoice in the hope of the glory of God? It is because he cannot think of past, present, or future apart from union with Christ.” (John Murray, Redemption Accomplished and Applied, p. 164.)

[Back to behind the Lord’s Table] The devil would have us forget that Jesus dwells in us, but Jesus tells us, “Do this to remember…”

And that is what we celebrate this World Communion Sunday: Our communion, fellowship, and sharing in the lives of each other. Our communion, fellowship, and sharing in the life of God!

September 29, 2013 AD, by Pastor Ben Willis

Genesis 22:1-14 [NLTse]

1 Some time later, God tested Abraham’s faith. “Abraham!” God called.

“Yes,” he replied. “Here I am.”

2 “Take your son, your only son – yes, Isaac, whom you love so much – and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you.”

3 The next morning Abraham got up early. He saddled his donkey and took two of his servants with him, along with his son, Isaac. Then he chopped wood for a fire for a burnt offering and set out for the place God had told him about. 4 On the third day of their journey, Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5 “Stay here with the donkey,” Abraham told the servants. “The boy and I will travel a little farther. We will worship there, and then we will come right back.”

6 So Abraham placed the wood for the burnt offering on Isaac’s shoulders, while he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them walked on together, 7 Isaac turned to Abraham and said, “Father?”

“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.

“We have the fire and the wood,” the boy said, “but where is the sheep for the burnt offering?”

8 “God will provide a sheep for the burnt offering, my son,” Abraham answered. And they both walked on together.

9 When they arrived at the place where God had told him to go, Abraham built an altar and arranged the wood on it. Then he tied his son, Isaac, and laid him on the altar on top of the wood. 10 And Abraham picked up the knife to kill his son as a sacrifice. 11 At that moment the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”

“Yes,” Abraham replied. “Here I am!”

12 “Don’t lay a hand on the boy!” the angel said. “Do not hurt him in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld from me even your son, your only son.”

13 Then Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught by its horns in a thicket. So he took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering in place of his son. 14 Abraham named the place Yahweh–Yireh (which means “the LORD will provide”). To this day, people still use that name as a proverb: “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.”

“Yahweh–Yireh” is most literally is translated, “The Lord will see”, but it carries with it the implication that “The Lord will provide” because for God to see a need among His children indicates His commitment to provide for that need. The way we sometimes say, “I see,” when we’re implying that we will see to it, or that we will take care of it. That is the meaning here.

In addition to the confusion at being asked to sacrifice his child, a variety of other issues likely plagued Abraham’s mind and tempted him to disobey God as he made provisions for the journey and across the days they travelled to Moriah. Abraham must have been thinking about his wife, Sarah, and wondering how she would react if she heard he’d sacrificed their son; he must have wrestled through the promises God had made he and Sarah that were wrapped up in Isaac’s life and future; I can only imagine he must have wondered how Isaac would respond and what Isaac would think of him, his father, binding him and raising a knife to him; and, perhaps, if he had any energy left, his mind might even go to the response his friends and neighbors might have to his act of slaying his son in the name of God.

And yet the only response we see from Abraham concerning these temptations was his resolute focus on God’s faithfulness. When Isaac asked, “We have the fire and the wood, but where is the sheep for the burnt offering?” Abraham replied, “God will provide a sheep for the burnt offering, my son.” …

I have us focusing on Abraham’s faithful obedience and God’s faithful provision this morning because I owe you all an apology. For the past two or three years I have preached nothing about money. As the economy got bad and then stayed bad I had (and continue to have, in many ways) much compassion for those who are hurting because of job-loss or salary-reductions and the effects of the loss of overtime, etc… And I am aware that when the church talks about money during times when money is tight that listeners can sometimes be deceived into thinking that all the church ever cares about is money, and I didn’t want you to be tempted to think that.

However, I’ve come to realize that, by not talking about money these past years, what I’ve done is stopped encouraging us about God’s provision, and stopped giving us any guidance on God’s plans for the use of whatever money we do have (whether we have a lot of it or only a little). And with society constantly feeding us selfish, greedy, and heart-hardening messages, by not preaching about these things I have left you undefended to fight off such attacks. I am sorry for that.

So I wanted to stand before you today and remind you about the good news of tithing!

“Tithe” is an Old English word meaning “a one-tenth part of something”. So when the Lord calls us to tithe across the Scriptures He is calling us to take one-tenth of all that He has given to us in our income and return it to Him for His purposes through His church.

Pastor and author Tim Keller, in his book, “Counterfeit Gods”, writes about the idolatry of money and the issue of tithing. He writes, “There have been times when people have come to me as a pastor, and asked about ‘tithing,’ giving away a tenth of their annual income. They notice that in the Old Testament there are many clear commands that believers should give away 10 percent. But in the New Testament, specific, quantitative requirements for giving are less prominent. They often asked me, ‘You don’t think that now, in the New Testament, believers are absolutely required to give away ten percent, do you?’ I shake my head no, and they give a sigh of relief. But then I quickly add, ‘I’ll tell you why you don’t see the tithing requirement laid out clearly in the New Testament. Think. Have we received more of God’s revelation, truth, and grace than the Old Testament believers, or less?’ Usually there is uncomfortable silence. ‘Are we more ‘debtors to grace’ than they were, or less? Did Jesus ‘tithe’ his life and blood to save us or did he give it all?’

“Tithing is a minimum standard for Christian believers. We certainly wouldn’t want to be in a position of giving away less of our income than those who had so much less of an understanding of what God did to save them.” (Tim Keller, Counterfeit Gods,p. 62)

And, of course, Mr. Keller is right. However, It think it’s true that the typical Christian today does not seem to see the idea of tithing as good news! And that tells me that the world’s messages of selfishness, greed, and hard-heartedness are winning in our souls.

So I have linked the Lord God’s command for us to tithe (and more than tithe) with the Lord God’s provision of a ram for Abraham to sacrifice in Isaac’s place this morning because I believe that tithing (and more than tithing) not only gives us opportunity to demonstrate how greater a debtor to God’s grace we are than those Old Testament saints, but because I believe that in giving us tithing that the Lord desires to give us opportunities to experience His grace more than we ever would otherwise.

Like weapons in the hands of a warrior, tithing and the more-than-tithing-generosity-that-demonstrates-the-Holy-Spirit-is-within-us are the weapons the Lord gives us, His children, to combat greed and materialism and the temptation to put our hope in money. Now, we may not look at our lifestyles and spending habits as being “greedy” or “materialistic” or even “idolatrous”, but that’s part of the enemy’s deception as we live in this world, isn’t it? Yet the Lord reveals the presence of these traits within us when He calls us to tithe (and more than tithe) and we balk and recoil at His call.

Because if we truly trusted God to take care of us and to provide for our every need as He’s promised, then none of us would ever pause or delay in giving God His tithe, nor would we hesitate in giving to any and all of those around us whom we see in need: We would see the need and then give to help provide for the need, trusting that the Lord also sees our needs and readily gives to help us provide for them.

Tithing (and more than tithing) has been transformative to me in helping me trust God for my daily bread instead of trusting my job or any investments over my life in Christ. Now don’t forget that I know the same pressures you know: We have a mortgage and bills that need paying; and we homeschool (which means we pay school taxes but also have to pay for all of our own curriculum and school expenses – basically, paying double for our kids’ education); our seventeen year old will be going to college in two years, and our fifteen year old the year after that, (and our youngest’s time will come soon); and Amy’s and my parents are at the age of needing our care and attention and, perhaps, our financial assistance; and, of course, seeking to save for retirement (God willing), etc…

But as those pressures tempt me to ignore the sound of God’s voice calling me to tithe and promising to bless me in tithing (and more than tithing), I seek to follow the example of Abraham and focus my thinking on God’s promises to provide.

After listing many of the pressures of the world the Lord Jesus charges us, “Don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.” (Matthew 6:31-33)

After talking about the Lord’s provision for him, the apostle Paul writes to the Philippian Christians, “And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from His glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” (4:19) And King David sings, “Once I was young, and now I am old. yet I have never seen the godly abandoned or their children begging for bread.” (Psalm 37:25)

So every time I get my paycheck from the church I immediately write my tithe check back to the church. When Amy and I first started tithing it was a challenge: There were some comforts, entertainments, and extras we’d gotten used to that we had to give up. But now, as long as I write the check as soon as I get paid, the money’s not in my account long enough for us to even miss it! And I find that living with 10% less money than we did before gives me and my family so many opportunities to worship God and celebrate His grace and provision to us. Because, since we’re tithing, money is much tighter and Amy and I find many more opportunities to pray about and even argue about money than we used to. (Now, that may not sound to you like good news but the reality is that because money is tighter Amy and I need to seek our Father’s provision for paying bills more often than we did when we didn’t tithe. And then we get to see and experience His miraculous provision when He’s made clear that we have enough!

In addition, the added pressures on me as provider and husband get me needing to seek our Father to provide me with the grace I need to be a better husband. And as I get to see His provision and Amy gets to see His provision, it gives us cause to celebrate Him in ways we wouldn’t have if we didn’t tithe! And as we see His provision for our household and for our marriage – sometimes with plenty of time to spare, sometimes right at the last minute – we both get to know the Lord better, and know a closeness to Him and to each other that we never would have without tithing.

God is the same today as He was in Abraham’s day. In the hour of Abraham’s great need, when there seemed no hope and he was out of options, the Lord saw Abraham and provided for his need. And He promises the same to all the children of Abraham – including us – today.

The Lord has saved us, and wants to direct our lives as our Lord. Sometimes those directions make sense to us, but other times they do not. But as we trust, follow, and obey Him – in the hour of our utmost need – God has promised and proven to see us, and in seeing our need, provide for us.

Money seems to be one of the biggest items we trust in, thinking that having more and more of it will make us happy. But, in truth, we are happiest when we are close to, enjoying, and trusting in God!

So I charge each of us to tithe – to give away to Christ 10% of all that God gives into your lives – and to give ourselves opportunities to need God and experience Him providing for our needs. And as we tithe I charge you to let your tithing grow you closer to God, grow you in knowing your need for Him, and grow you in experiencing His provision to meet your every need.

He is Yahweh–Yireh, the One Who Sees and Provides!