"ONE OF MAJOR WAYS TO PROFANE
THE NAME OF THE LORD
IS WHEN WE CALL OURSELVES CHRISTLIKE
AND YET WE DON'T LIVE LIKE CHRIST!"
LESSON 3: THE PRINCIPLE OF HUMILITY
Click to watch Robert Morris' message:
“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain."
Pastor Robert believes there is a principle behind each of the 10 Commandments that leads us to a deeper relationship with God and with others.
Why would God be so insistent about not using His name the wrong way?
Because His name is His character.
It is who He is!
The name used for God in the Old Testament nearly 7,000 times is Yahweh.
People have asked Pastor Robert the difference in the names Yahweh and Jehovah. They are the same. Yahweh comes from four Hebrew letters.
YHVH- Yod Hey Vav Hey
These are the letters of God's name.
There are no vowels in the Hebrew alphabet, only consonants.
It was around the 13th century before people began to say God's name. Catholic scholars took the four Hebrew letters and added vowels with them. They wrote it
YeHoVaH which meant "He will be," "He is," "He was."
In the Greek, God's name is called the Tetragrammaton which means the four letters.
Israel went into bondage in around 594 BC because they profaned God' name. As a result, the Jewish people stopped pronouncing the name of God around 600 BC because they did not want to take the chance of profaning His name.
What we need to understand according to Pastor Robert is that they were not profaning God's name by saying it out loud, but rather by the way they lived!
They had the name of God on them, but they were worshipping idols.
The people of the land could not tell the difference between the people of God and the people who did not know God!
He warns that one of greatest ways to profane the name of the Lord is when we call ourselves Christlike and yet we don't live like Christ!
Jonathan Cohen is a Messianic Jew. When he texts Pastor Robert, the message will look like this:
May G-d bless you!
Pastor Robert thinks this principle of not writing God's name might be a good idea because we need to be cautious, careful and reverent when we use the name of God! That way, we won't mix His name - the holy with the profane. It is a holy name!
Ezekiel 36 is talking about when the people went into exile.
20 When they came to the nations, wherever they went, they profaned My holy name—when they said of them, ‘These are the people of the Lord, and yet they have gone out of His land.’ 21 But I had concern for My holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the nations wherever they went. 22 “Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name’s sake, which you have profaned among the nations wherever you went. 23 And I will sanctify My great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst; and the nations shall know that I am the Lord,” says the Lord God, “when I am hallowed in you before their eyes.
Profane means to treat as common.
We get the word profanity from profane.
In other words, the people treated God's name as common.
His name is not common because it represents Him!
hallowed - means set apart, referred to as holy.
"You shall not take the Lord's name in vain.
take - means to lift up or carry
You shall not carry the Lord's name in a vain, empty, or prideful way.
This is the principle of humility.
All through scripture, we have to know that the name of the Lord is interchangeable for the Lord.
In the scriptures below, you would think they would say the Lord, but instead they say the name of the Lord.
The scripture doesn't say the Lord is a strong tower.
He is, but the name of the Lord means the same.
The name of the Lord is a strong tower;
The righteous run to it and are safe.
Some trust in chariots, and some in horses;
But we will remember the name of the Lord our God.
The prayer of Jesus in John 17 occurs when He is in the garden before He is crucified. He is praying for us. Pastor Robert points out that there are three phrases that we have probably never seen even though we've probably read John 17 many times.
“I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.
Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are.
While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.
Jesus kept the people and God's character.
For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Whoever calls on the name of the Lord is the same as whoever calls on the Lord!
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:
Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,
This is a very important verse to the Jewish people
because in the Old Testament, it said "the Name."
The God who is, is called by the Name. Every place in the New Testament when it says "the Name" is referring to Jesus.
Pastor Robert explains that what it is saying is you've called on Yahweh meaning the Name of God and now Yahweh is here!
This is because God the Father has given Jesus the name that is above every name!
Pastor Robert tells of a time when he was in college. There was a student who was a charismatic, or a Pentecostal. Pastor Robert said he and his friends thought this guy was a little weird and they all made fun of him. One night, at an all night grocery store though, changed all that. The Pentecostal was at that store getting some groceries when a guy with a gun came in the door and told everyone not to move or he would kill them.
The Pentecostal told the guy with the gun that he was not going to kill anyone
in the name of Jesus
and to put the gun down and go turn himself in at the police station!
The gun did put the gun down
and about 15 minutes later turned himself in at the police station!
Pastor Robert said that he and his friends
did not make fun of the Pentecostal guy after that!
So God says not to carry or take the name of the Lord in a vain way.
Here are 3 ways not to carry the name of the Lord in a vain way, but instead in a humble way!
Pastor Robert says to remember that the people were entering a land filled with heathens, idolatry, and witchcraft.
The way that they called on their idols was to call the name of the idol.
Pastor Robert reminds us that we have to put the 10 Commandments in context.
What the Lord was saying was that His name is not a magical incantation. We don't use His name like they use the name of their idols because His name is who He is!
Even in the New Testament, people used the Lord's name incorrectly.
Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, [a]“We [b]exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.” 14 Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so. 15 And the evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?” 16 Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, [c]overpowered them, and prevailed against [d]them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. 17 This became known both to all Jews and Greeks dwelling in Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.
"That will teach us to use the Lord's name wrong!" says Pastor Robert.
He continues by stating that when we use His name the wrong way by praying selfishly, we are using His name in a prideful manner.
You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.
amis - means sick, miserable
This is because what we are asking for would make us sick and miserable if the Lord gave it to us. We don't even know what we are asking.
Pastor Robert continues by saying the right way is to pray for the Lord's will. Then we will know for sure we are praying the right way. We do use His name when we pray.
Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.
We must pray the way Jesus prayed. We must not pray our will, but the Lord's will be done.
Pastor Robert tells of time when he and his wife Debbie were praying about a house to buy. Pastor Robert was really praying for the Lord to give them a particular house. Their kids were small. Pastor Robert remembers having a prompting to pray "if it is Your will." He said he didn't want to say that though because he didn't want to give the Lord an out.
The Lord told Robert that He hadn't saved his finances. He had saved his family! The water had risen three feet in 20 minutes. How would his wife been able to get their three small children out of the house in time! So Pastor Robert reminds us that when we pray, we use His name, but for His will not for our vain purposes!
“I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy lies in My name, saying, ‘I have dreamed, I have dreamed!’
Her prophets plastered them with untempered mortar,seeing false visions, and divining lies for them, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord God,’ when the Lord had not spoken.
Pastor Robert says we have seen this in the church today. We have people sharing their opinions and saying thus says the Lord. They are taking the Lord's name in vain.
We need to know the second part of the commandment.
“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.
guiltless - means unpunished
The Lord will not let him go unpunished.
13 Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, the prophets say to them, ‘You shall not see the sword, nor shall you have famine, but I will give you [a]assured peace in this place.’ ” 14 And the Lord said to me, “The prophets prophesy lies in My name. I have not sent them, commanded them, nor spoken to them; they prophesy to you a false vision, [b]divination, a worthless thing, and the deceit of their heart. 15 Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the prophets who prophesy in My name, whom I did not send, and who say, ‘Sword and famine shall not be in this land’—‘By sword and famine those prophets shall be consumed!
In the above scripture, the Lord was telling Jeremiah that sword and famine was coming, but Jeremiah disagreed because of what the prophets had been saying.
vain - means worthless
In other words, the Lord said the very thing the prophets said was not coming would come upon them.
Pastor Robert is not trying to scare us but in our society, we have so unvalued the name of the Lord.
We must remember how holy and reverent it is and that it is Him that we are taking about when we use His name.
We are calling into question His character.
Pastor Robert tells a story of a time when he was speaking at another church. The pastor there told him about a man in his congregation that had gotten mad at him and stood up in church and prophesied that God was going to kill him! That week, the man who had prophesied against the preacher died! Pastor Robert remarked that he was not saying that God had killed that man because he spoke against the pastor, but the man had used the name of the Lord in a vain way.
Pastor Robert reminds us that there is a commandment the Lord will not let him go unpunished for using the name of the Lord to achieve his own agenda in the church. We ought to be careful.
Proclamation is speaking the name of the Lord in a wrong manner. We can pray, prophesize, and proclaim the name of the Lord in the wrong way.
12 And you shall not swear by My name falsely, nor shall you profane the name of your God: I am the Lord.
6 They shall be holy to their God and not profane the name of their God, for they offer the offerings of the Lordmade by fire, and the bread of their God; therefore they shall be holy.
Remember, Jewish people won't even speak the Lord's name out loud and we use "omg" like "lol."
Pastor Robert warns that we need to think about this!
We can proclaim the Lord's name in the right way.
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
The best way to proclaim the name of the Lord is with praise and gratitude!
In reflecting on the second part of the commandment about the Lord not letting him go unpunished who has profaned His name, Pastor Robert began to think that he, himself, was in serious trouble. He said that he had probably prayed the Lord's name in the wrong way, said somethings that he thought the Lord had said to him that He had probably not said, and had proclaimed the Lord's name wrong even it had been by using the expression omg.
He had considered the Lord's name common. So what would that mean? Would Pastor Robert go unpunished?
Pastor Robert wants us to realize that the 10 Commandments were given by grace!
He continues by explaining that this shocks so many people because they talk about the Mosaic covenant.
Pastor Robert reminds us though, that before the Lord made the Mosaic covenant, He made the Abrahamic covenant - that Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteous. Righteousness was put into his account!
"Why did God give us the 10 Commandments?" asks Pastor Robert.
Because it's about grace according to Pastor Robert.
He states that he wants to show us grace even in the 10 Commandments. He says that God did not give the 10 Commandments to Israel while they were in Egypt. In other words, God didn't tell the Israelites to straighten up and act right and then He would deliver them from their enemies by burying them in the Red Sea.
Instead the Lord saved them by grace and then gave them some principles to help them have a better relationship with Him! That's the 10 Commandments given all by grace!
It's grace through faith because when Israel walked through the Red Sea, they had to believe that the walls would not crash down on them!
In review, Pastor Robert states:
1. The 10 Commandments are not to tell us to straighten up and live right.
2. Jesus took our punishment.
3. Keeping the 10 Commandments will give us a deeper relationship with God and other people.
Pastor Robert challenges us to ask the Holy Spirit what He is saying to us through this message.
He says he personally felt like he needed to ask the Lord to forgive him for considering His name common and not using His name like he ought to.
Pastor Robert encourages us to ask the Lord for forgiveness too, if we feel like we need to. He reminds us that Christ has already provided forgiveness through the cross.
We receive it by faith.
LESSON 2: THE PRINCIPLE OF PURITY
Click to watch Robert Morris' message:
Pastor Robert also reminds us that the Children of Israel were leaving a pagan land, Egypt, and were entering a pagan country, Canaan. Canaan was a land of many idols.
They even sacrificed their sons
And their daughters to demons,
According to Pastor Robert, Deuteronomy 18:9-11 sets up the second commandment.
Avoid Wicked Customs
9 “When you come into the land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the [a]abominations of those nations. 10 There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass[b] through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, 11 or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead.
For Moses truly said to the fathers, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you.
The Canaanites made their children walk into the fire alive.
has not appointed: God has not prepared this things for His children
Prophet: talking about Jesus
Him: talking about Jesus
1. The Danger of Impurity
The 2nd Commandment is written in three verses. Pastor Robert uses one of each verse for his three points in this message.
“You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that isin the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth;
Pastor Robert points out that the Canaanites worshipped idols more than any other people on the face of the earth.
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
Colossians 1:15 is referring to Jesus.
Israel was the only nation that had an invisible God. So when they went to Canaan, the Canaanites began to talk to them about their gods.
The Canaanites had
a personal god,
a family god,
and a national god.
The Canaanites tricked the Israelites by telling them that they understood the Israelites had a national God, Jehovah, but that they needed a family god (Asherah) and a personal god (Baal). That is why throughout the Old Testament, you will see the Israelites built Asherah poles and Baal idols. God warned them that when they went into Canaan, the Canaanites would try to deceive them and they did.
So the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord. They forgot the Lord their God, and served the Baals and Asherahs.
Elijah is talking in 1 Kings 18:19 below:
Now therefore, send and gather all Israel to me on Mount Carmel, the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal, and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.”
1 Kings 18:19
Pastor Robert challenges us to think about this:
The Canaanites believed that the gods lived in heaven and when they carved an image of any of one of these gods in heaven, the god would put its spirit into the image. The Canaanites would then take the image, for instance to the field to bless their crops. They would make an image of their fertility god and put it in their bedroom so they would conceive. They even went as far as to have temple prostitutes. If they couldn't conceive, then the men would pay for a temple prostitute, have sex with her, and think the goddess of fertility would bless their wives. It was both immoral and inhumane as then they would sacrifice their children by making them walk into fire alive.
God was trying to warn them that if they allowed a mixture into their lives, it would bring impurity into their lives. As a result there is danger and consequences of such a mixture.
Satan had this idea because God fashioned an image of Himself on the earth and put His spirit in it.
That is why there doesn't need to be another image of God on the earth. We are the image of God on the earth! God puts His spirit in us!
If you imagine yourself with another person sexually other than your spouse.
If you image yourself in another job or in another house because you can't be content with what you have.
If you can't be happy until you get a raise, or promotion, or title, or position, or a certain amount of money in the bank.
When you begin to imagine yourself doing something or having something other than what God has provided for you, then you have an idol.
2. Consequences of Impurity
Point two is based on the second verse of the 2nd Commandment.
you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me
The word visiting is misunderstood in Exodus 20:5.
Pastor Robert says that you can not image how this verse has been misapplied in the body of Christ.
He points out that in Exodus 20:5, this happens to people who hate God. The next part of the scripture tells what God does for those people who love Him.
Pastor Robert wants people to understand the grace of God in the Old Testament. He states that visit is a great word because God does not say that He is going to cause the iniquities to inhabit the next generation. God will only let them visit the iniquities and for a good reason.
Why would God even allow this visiting to occur?
The answer is that God is a jealous God for our affection so He will do something to get our affections.
Jealousy is a work of the flesh but can be good or bad. The bad type of jealousy is when you are jealous for another person because of selfish reason. Good jealousy is when you jealous for another person for godly reasons, because you love that person and don't want anything to happen to them.
Pastor Robert points it says in the Old Testament that God is jealous for Israel. He however, is not angry at Israel. He's angry at the ones trying to take them captive.
Again, why would the Lord visit the iniquity?
Even in Israel, they misinterpreted this commandment.
They stated that a son shall die for the sins of his father.
It is like our modern day saying - Like father, like son."
“If, however, he begets a son
Who sees all the sins which his father has done,
And considers but does not do likewise;
Who has withdrawn his hand from the poor
And not received usury or increase,
But has executed My judgments
And walked in My statutes--
He shall not die for the iniquity of his father;
He shall surely live!
3. Blessings of Purity
but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
Deuteronomy 7:9 backs up Exodus 20:6.
Exodus is the law.
Deuteronomy is the second law, the repeated law.
“Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments;
The word showing is a Hebrew word translated in several words. Some of them include, fashion, accomplish, prepare, appoint, ordain, institute, bring about, produce, press, and squeeze.
Pastor Robert shares about a time his daughter walked away from God for a while.
Elaine lived a double life late in her teenage years for about two years with wrong attitudes and wrong actions.
He and his wife knew something was wrong but didn't know what all was going on. They continued to pray and seek God for wisdom. She repented and came back to the Lord and truly got saved at 19 years old.
One night she confessed to her parents what had been going on. Pastor Robert had grabbed a couple of Tootsie Rolls before their conversation. He ended up only eating one of the pieces of candy because his heart began to break for his daughter. Later he started to throw the second piece of candy away but He heard the Lord say to keep it. Pastor Robert said some of the reasons she rebelled was because he was traveling a lot during that time and wasn't home as much as he needed to be during those formable teenage years. He asked Elaine if there was a way he could make it up to her. She remembered when she was very young and he had promised to take her on a date at Reunion Tower when she was older. He had never done that, so she asked if they could go now. Pastor Robert took her on that date. As he was getting ready to go to dinner with her, the Lord told him to take that piece of candy that he had saved and to share it with her as a way of closing chapter in their lives when she walked away from the Lord and embarking on her new future walking in a pure relationship with the Lord.
Pastor Robert asks us all to take a moment and ask the Holy Spirit what He is saying to us personally.
He urges us not to have imaginations about things in our lives. He says not to build up those things up in our minds that are something for us to fall to, or to claim as our weakness.
Pastor Robert said that during this message, the Lord put His finger on two areas in his life that the Lord wanted to get out of his life.
What idol will the Holy Spirit reveal that He wants to deliver us from?
This message is very strong in Pastor Robert's heart. He believes that God is going to deliver everyone from something.
LESSON 1: THE PRINCIPLE OF PRIORITY
Click to watch Robert Morris' message:
Did you notice the #10 in the spelling of this study?
28 So he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he neither ate bread nor drank water. And He wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant,
the Ten Commandments.
As Pastor Robert delved into this study , he began to see the Ten Commandments differently than he had ever heard anyone preach or teach on them. He said he got books and videos to study, but none of them fit the burden he felt that the Lord had given him for this study of the Ten Commandments.
As a result, Pastor Robert does not believe that God was giving us
a list of rules
- of do's and don'ts.
Pastor Robert has a one word principle for all Ten Commandments.
The first Commandment word is priority.
Pastor Robert has 3 points in the message. He says the first point will help us understand the whole series, while his other two will focus on priority.
1. It's about relationship.
When the Lord first told the Children of Israel about the Ten Commandments, He actually reminded them that He was their God and that He had a relationship with them! Then in verse 3, He gave them the first commandment.
The Ten Commandments
1 And God spoke all these words, saying:
2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt,
out of the house of bondage.
3 “You shall have no other gods before Me.
In the above scripture, before the Lord gave the Ten Commandments, He reminded the Children of Israel that He brought them back. He redeemed them out of bondage and slavery so that they could have a relationship with Him.
6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him,that the body of sin might be [a]done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.
Pastor Robert explains that we were all slaves of sin and God redeemed us out of slavery and bondage to sin. When we look back at the Ten Commandments, here's what we see:
The Ten principles that will deepen our relationship with God.
Pastor Robert says most people see the Ten Commandments as a list of rules telling them what to do and what not to do. But it is not something to do and something not to do.
God redeemed us for a relationship with Him!
Exodus 20:3-17 are the Ten Commandments.
Exodus 20:18-22 tells what happened immediately after the Ten Commandments were given.
The People Afraid of God’s Presence
18 Now all the people witnessed the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar off. 19 Then they said to Moses, “You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.” 20 And Moses said to the people, “Do not fear; for God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin.” 21 So the people stood afar off, but Moses drew near the thick darkness where God was.
test you: means to prove you in fire - make you better
His fear: means God's honor may go before you so you won't sin
God is giving us some principles to help us get us out of the bondage of sin that we are in.
The choice is ours like it was Moses' and the Children of Israel.
In Exodus 20:21, Moses drew near to God. He determined that He wanted to have a deeper relationship with God!
The Children of Israel determined that they wanted to have a relationship with God through Moses. They told Moses to speak to God and then come and tell them what He said.
Why would we do that?
The reason is lest we die.
According to Pastor Robert, what that means is the flesh always dies in the presence of God. He explains that we do die when we go into the presence of God, but that is great because then Jesus can live through us!
He says the more we enter into God's presence, the more we can reckon the man dead and the new man can be raised to walk a new life in Christ Jesus.
The Peoples' Determination
The Children of Israel wanted Moses to have a personal relationship with God
and they wanted their relationship with God to be through Moses.
The next verse sums up their decision.
He made known His ways to Moses,
His acts to the children of Israel.
Do you see the difference?
According to the verse, the Children of Israel knew what God did,
but Moses knew why He did it!
Moses understood the ways of God. He didn't just see the acts of God.
Pastor Robert asks us if we want to have a relationship with God based on rules
(thou shalt not....)
do we want to have a relationship based on principles that allow us to go deeper with God in order to get to know Him better?
2. Worship God only.
3 “You shall have no other gods before Me.
In the above verse, God is not saying that we can have other gods as long as they are not in front of Him!
The word before in Hebrew is used in the Old Testament over 1,000 times. It is only translated to actually mean before a few times.
Other translations of before are:
You shall have no other gods besides Me,
in front of Me,
because of Me,
in My face,
inside of Me,
other than Me
Pastor Robert explains that we have to take every scripture and have it be congruent with the rest of scripture.
Isaiah 45:5 does just that with Exodus 20:3.
I am the Lord, and there is no other;
There is no God besides Me.
Since the Children of Israel had just come out of a culture that had more gods than any other culture,
the Lord wanted to make it clear to them that they shall have NO other gods at all!
When you have other gods in your life, it will not work!
One day during his quiet time, the Lord asked him to write down his priorities. He wrote
The Lord said to him that He did not tell Robert to write that.
Robert argued and told the Lord he knew what He was going to say because he knew about this and taught about it. It should be
The Lord said no. So Pastor Robert tore up the paper and listened to God.
The Lord told him that 1. should be his wife Debbie.
Pastor Robert said what the Lord told him next changed his life. The Lord told him that if he would put his wife first, then he would be putting the Lord first. He told Robert if he couldn't serve his wife, the he couldn't serve Him!
3. Another way to say the Principle of Priority is to put God first.
God is saying to put Him first place in our lives above everything else.
So what is really first place in our lives?
This Principle of Priority runs all through scripture.
When they went into the Promised Land, God told them to bring all the silver and the gold from Jericho into the House of God.
Because Jericho was the first city.
When your first born has offspring, sacrifice it to God.
The first born belongs to God. It's the Principle of First.
Pastor Robert reminds us that God didn't say when your sheep have lambs, you can wait until you have 10 lambs and then give him the one you don't like. The one that gets into your garden. No, the Lord says to give Him the first lamb before you have the others.
The principle with God is the first born and the first fruits belong to Him.
Many people don't understand and why God accepted Abel's offering but it clear in Genesis 4:3-5.
3 And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. 4 Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, 5 but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.
In the above scripture, the words "in the process of time" and "came to pass" are very important.
Cain's offering just kind of happened. The scripture never said Cain offered first fruits.
The Lord respected (received) Abel and his offering because Abel put Him first.
Pastor Robert reminds us that the Lord says it only works when we put Him first.
Jesus comes and reiterates the same thing.
33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
Put God first.
In 1 Kings 17, there was a famine in the land. God was providing for Elijah beside a brook. He sent ravens to bring him food every morning and evening. When the brook dried up, the Lord told Elijah to go to Zarehath where a widow would provide for him.
10 So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, indeed a widow was there gathering sticks. And he called to her and said, “Please bring me a little water in a cup, that I may drink.” 11 And as she was going to get it, he called to her and said, “Please bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.” 12 So she said, “As the Lord your God lives, I do not have bread, only a handful of flour in a bin, and a little oil in a jar; and see, I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.” 13 And Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son. 14 For thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the Lord sends rain on the earth.’ ” 15 So she went away and did according to the word of Elijah; and she and he and her household ate for manydays. 16 The bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke by Elijah.
1 Kings 17:10-16
In verse 13, Elijah tells the widow to make him a small cake first.
(We must put God's kingdom first in our lives!)
Pastor Robert says that many people believe that God has dual purposes for His children. While He commanded the widow to provide for Elijah, He also sent Elijah to Zarephath to provide for the widow! The widow had one meal left and she and her son were about to die, yet God sent Elijah, a man of God. Elijah to told her to make a cake first for him and then for she and her son.
Gateway Church has a Stewardship Ministry. The purpose of the ministry is to help people learn to manage their finances. Pastor Robert said that they also have a giving program called Heart for the Kingdom. The purpose is not about raising money but for allowing the Lord to do something in participates' lives. Pastor Robert asks everyone at Gateway Church to make a financial commitment for the Heart for the Kingdom.