Robert Morris — The First Open Door
So, we've been talking about open doors, and a few weeks ago we talked about pride. Well, I want to talk to you today about the first opened door. Pride would have been the first door Satan opened, but this is the first door mankind opened, Adam and Eve. First door and it is such an important door in our lives.
And before we get to Genesis 3, let me just read you a Scripture to clarify how we're going to talk about this, and what we're going to talk about next weekend, alright? 1 John 2:16 says, "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life is not of the Father, but is of the world". I believe these are the three major doors that the enemy comes in through. We talked about the pride of life. We're going to talk about the lust of the eyes today, and then next weekend, the lust of the flesh, and how to deal with these three open doors, all right? But, in the same way when God spoke to me about pride, I had some ways to identify it.
If you remember, I said that many times when I announce that I'm going to speak on pride, the first thought most people have is, I'm proud I don't have pride. And then as we identify that we could be confident, or trust in our own strength, or our own righteousness, or our own wisdom, and that that's pride, we started seeing pride in all of ourselves, all of us. Well, in the same way, I want to show you how the lust of the eyes manifests in three different ways, okay? So, number one is greed.
Now, look at Genesis 3:1. It says, "Now the serpent", that's Satan, obviously, "was more cunning", or more subtle, "than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, "Has God indeed said", I just want you to notice the first thing he does is cast doubt on the Word of God. Did God really say, "You shall not eat of every tree of the garden"? And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden, but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, "You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die". Then the serpent said to the woman", watch very carefully, "You will not surely die", directly contradicting the Word of God.
Now, let me just stop just for a moment, because we're going to talk about tithing some in this message, and it is amazing that it is completely clear that we open ourselves to a curse, that God doesn't curse us, but we open ourselves to a curse when we don't tithe, and it is amazing how many people, and even leaders, will say, oh, you won't be cursed. It's amazing that they absolutely contradict the Word of God. It's exact same here. No, God did not mean that, that's not true. Even though God said it, that's not true.
He says, "You will not surely die. For God knows", let's keep going, "that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened", we're talking about the lust of the eyes, "and you will be like God, knowing good and evil". So, "when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes", we're talking about the lust of the eyes, "and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate". They both fell at the same time.
Now, Satan's strategy, again, is to simply get you to doubt or question the Word of God. Is it for today is one of the ways Satan gets us to doubt it. He is like a salesman that just wants to keep you talking. You know, just get you talking so that eventually he can get his foot in the door. And, she saw that it was pleasant to the eyes. Now, here's what's amazing. Most people think that this was the only tree pleasant to the eyes. Let me read you another Scripture. Genesis 2:9 says, "Out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight". Pleasant to the sight. They were all pleasant to the eyes. There wasn't anything different, but Satan convinced her there was something different about this tree.
This word pleasant, by the way, is sometimes translated — you ready for this? Greed, or lust, or desire. The word lust, many times, is translated desire. It was desirous. There was something about it. She thought that something else would make her happy. That's greed. She thought, God's holding out on me. Why would God hold out on us? That's what we think sometimes. What kind of God would say to us, you can have all of this, but not that, that's mine? Now, listen to me very carefully, again because we're going to talk about tithing, and this, please, please, please hear me. If you close every door in your life and don't tithe, you've left a door open to the enemy, and I'll show it to you clearly in Scripture. I'll show it clearly to you in Scripture. And many, many people do this, but here's what happens. Here's what Adam and Eve did.
Do you know what the first open sin was? They took what belonged to God. That's the tithe. That's what they did. God said, you can have it all, except that one, and that's the one they took. Now, why would God do that? He does it, according to Deuteronomy 8 and other Scriptures, He says to test you so I can bless you, because God blesses us when we believe. He blesses us when we live by faith. When He tells us to do something and we do it, then we're blessed. And so, God gives us a test. The word tithe, if you're new to church, means tenth, one-tenth. And the number ten, all through Scripture, represents a test, all through Scripture. I'll ask you a few questions, and all campuses, you can answer out loud, okay?
How many plagues were there? How many times did God test Pharaoh's heart? Ten. Okay. How many Commandments are there? How many times — now, you may not know this one, but the answer is obvious, okay? How many times did God test Israel when they wandered in the wilderness? How many times were Jacob's wages changed? Come on, don't fade off on me. How many days was Daniel tested? How many virgins were tested in Matthew 25? All right, how many days of testing are mentioned in Revelation? How many disciples were there? No, there were twelve. I just tested you! I was just testing you, okay? But, the number ten represents a test.
All God's simply doing is testing us, and every two weeks, or how often you get paid, you take a test. Who are you going to thank? Who are you going to honor? And will you believe that 90% with God's blessing will go farther than 10%? That's the test. Are you going to live your life by faith, or by what the enemy tells you? Because see, here's what God said. You remember, there were two trees, the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Let me just classify for you — the Tree of Life and the Tree of Death. He said, you eat this tree, you die. God says, this tree is not good for you. Satan said, no, it's good for you. Are you going to believe God? And then, their children did the same thing, at least one of them did, Cain did. And let me show you, God represents the tithe through the principle of the first born and first fruits.
Let me show you a few Scriptures before we get to Malachi. Exodus 13:1, "Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, "Consecrate to Me all the firstborn", all, by the way, all, "whatever opens the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and beast", now watch this, "it is mine". In other words, it belongs to me. You have to give me, you have to return to me, the firstborn, because it belongs to me. Exodus 23:19, "The first of the first fruits of your land you shall bring into the house of the Lord your God".
The first fruits belong, and I want you to notice, when it talks about the tithe, it never uses the word give. Here's the reason. It always uses the word bring, because you can't give what doesn't belong to you. You can only bring it to the house of God, according to the Bible, and I've studied it, I'll bet more than most of you. Listen to me. Listen. According to the Bible, there's only two things you can do with a tithe. You can bring it to God's house, or you can steal it. Those are the only two things you can do. And we return it. It's a return. Leviticus 27:30 says, "And all", all, "the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord's. It is holy to the Lord". Holy is that big word that means set apart. It's set aside for the Lord. Now, I just want you to notice, "is the Lord's". All of the tithe. What part of all do we not understand? The whole tithe, the whole 10%, belongs to God.
Okay, so greed is the first open door of the lust of the eyes. Here's number two, unbelief. Why would a person not tithe when the Bible is so clear? Really, it's because they don't believe it's for today. They're not bad people. They're really not. I've met a lot of people that have a disagreement with me on this issue. They're not bad people. Pastor, I just don't believe that that's for today. Okay, I just want to show you, this principle though goes all through Scripture. And I want you to notice, it was way before the law, and it goes all the way back even before the law. So, there is an unbelief that Satan puts in our heart. So, let me show you a couple of Scriptures here.
Remember, the first goes to God. God said, "Bring all of the silver and gold from Jericho into the house of the Lord". Why did he do that? Why didn't he say 10%? It's very simple. Jericho was the first city they conquered. Here's what He's saying. You give me the first one, the rest are blessed. Joshua 6:19 says, "But all the silver and gold, and vessels of bronze and iron, are consecrated", that means set apart, "to the Lord. They shall come into the treasury of the Lord". Again, that's the temple. And then, Joshua 7:11, God said, "Israel has sinned, and they have transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. For they have even taken some of the accursed things", now watch this, "and have both stolen" and you say, now, how can you steal except that it belongs to someone else? "And they have put it amongst their own stuff".
They bought stuff with it themselves. He put it in his tent, but they put it amongst their own stuff. "Therefore the children of Israel", now watch, this is how it opens a door. I told you I'd show you clearly. "Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies because they have become doomed to destruction", because they took the tithe. Doomed to destruction. Here's what He's saying. I wanted to bless them, but they stole. They took what was mine. Therefore, they can't stand before the enemy. God wants to bless you. He does! But, He can't bless a thief.
Now, look at Malachi 3. This is very, very strong in the area of stealing, but it's going to take it to another level that I've preached on this for many, many years, and I've never seen this level until this week, never. Malachi 3, look at Verse 7. "Yet from the days of your fathers you have gone away from My ordinances". Look at me just for a moment and let me explain something to you. The word ordinance means ordinary principle. It's an ordinary principle, and He's talking about tithing. It is an ordinary principle for God's people to return the tithe to him, the first 10% of their income. That's an ordinary principle.
It was, some say, 400 years before the law, 430 they're going back to Abraham. It was 2.500 years before the law, because we can take it back to Adam and Eve, and Cain and Abel. And it was after the law, too. By the way, one of the New Testament Scriptures that has the word tithe is in red. That's Jesus, and do you know what He said? You ought to tithe. It's Matthew 23:23. He said you tithe on all of this stuff, but you neglect this. This you ought to do without neglecting the other. Okay, that right there, that one Scripture, would be enough for me, because I was lost. I don't know how lost you were, but I was lost, and the one who saved me said you ought to tithe. That's enough for me. That's enough right there.
That's Matthew 23:23, that's New Testament, and it's in red, if you like red, okay? "You have gone away from My ordinary principles and you have not kept them. Return to me and I will return to you", says the Lord of hosts. But you said, "In what way shall we return"? Now, watch what God's answer is. This is not my answer. It's not a preacher. This is God! "Will a man rob God"? Notice how many times you see the word rob or a form of the word rob. "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".
This is God talking! "For you have robbed Me, even this whole nation. Bring all the tithes" that's the whole tithe, not 2%, 3, 5 or 8. "Bring all the tithes into the storehouse", that's the house of God, "that there may be food in my house", and watch what He says, "and try", this word, try, means test. It's the only place God says you can test Him. "Test me now in this", says the Lord of hosts, "and see", in essence of what He's saying, "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, and I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes". In other words, I'll close the door to Satan's attack on your life. "So that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field", says the Lord of hosts. "And all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a delightful land", says the Lord of hosts".
All right, let me show you the last open door here for the lust of the eyes — fear. Fear. Luke 22 says, and I'll just read it to you. You might not have time to turn to it. It says, "Then Satan entered Judas", that shows he enters humans, "surnamed Iscariot, who was numbered among the 12. So he went his way and conferred with the chief priests and captains how he might betray Him to them, and they were glad and agreed to give him money". Okay, was there an open door in his life? I think it was fear and I'm going to read you a little more about Judas.
John 12:1 says, "Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead. There they made Him a supper, and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him. Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the oil". By the way, this represents a tithe. I think it means the house is filled with the presence of God, the presence of the Holy Spirit, when we all tithe. "But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, who would betray Him, said, "Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii" by the way, that's a year's wage, "and given to the poor"?
Now, watch very carefully. "This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief", remember who else is a thief, and Satan entered a thief, "and he had the money box", that's the offering box. They didn't have it on walls, because they traveled around and they carried it around with them. "And he used to take what was put in it". He used to take money out of the offering box. Now, I don't think anyone here would take money out of our offering boxes. I really don't think that you would do that. But, let me just ask you something. That money in the offering box belongs to God. It's the tithe that belongs to God. Is it the same?
When we don't put money in the offering box that belongs to God, is it the same as if we took it out? Are we becoming thieves and giving Satan the right to enter us? Because that's what happened to Judas. Let me show you just a hair more about what he sold Him for. I think he did it for fear. I think he realized Jesus wasn't going to set up an earthly kingdom, so he was afraid, and a lot of people don't tithe for fear of the future. That's the open door, fear.
Matthew 26:15, "Judas said, "What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him"? And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver". Matthew 27:3, "Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, "I have sinned by betraying innocent blood". And they said, "What is that to us? You see to it"! Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple", he's in church now, in the temple, "and departed, and went and hanged himself. But the chief priests took the silver pieces and said, "It's not lawful to put them into the treasury, because they are the price of blood".
Okay, listen. Do you know where they got the thirty pieces of silver in the first place? From the treasury. They said it's not lawful to put it into the treasury, or back into the treasury. So, they went, it says, and they bought a field and it's prophesied in Scripture they'd do it. It's called the Field of Blood. Okay, I'm going to tell you something maybe you've never thought of or heard in your life. They took tithe money to betray Jesus. Now, here is what most of us here would think. I would never do that. But, I want to ask you a very, very hard question. Would you betray Jesus for 10%? And if you would, you're opening a door to Satan.
By the way, do you know what thirty pieces of silver is? Do you know why it was exactly thirty pieces of silver? Exodus 21:32 says, "If the ox gores a male or female servant, he shall give to their master thirty shekels of silver, and the ox shall be stoned". Okay, thirty pieces of silver was the price of a slave. We're talking about bondage, believers being in bondage? Listen very, very carefully. Please, please, please hear me. They betrayed Jesus with the tithe. It was thirty pieces of silver. Listen. It's the price of bondage. That's what it is. When you don't return to God what belongs to God, you become a slave. You go into bondage.
This past week, I was eating in a restaurant, and a waitress came up and talked to me that comes to the church here. She's a single mother. About three months, I was eating in that restaurant, about two or three months ago, with a pastor friend of mine, and she came to the table and told us she'd just started coming to the church, and we said, that's great. And when she brought us our food, this pastor friend of mine said, "Is there anything we can pray with you about when we bless our food"? And she started crying. And she said, "Well, I've just started coming to church, but I'm a single mother and I'm really, really worried about my son, and the lots of difficulties going through things". So, I said, "Well, we're going to pray for you".
So, we prayed for her. After that, I said, "Give me the contact information for you. We have a ministry to single parents. We love to minister to single parents". And I talked to the person over at Single Parents, Pastor Samantha Golden, and I had her contact, we got her involved. Okay. So this week, she comes to me and she says, "I have to tell you that they called me, I'm involved in the ministry now. Everything's changed. My whole life's changed, my son's changed, everything". She said, "But I have to tell you when it happened". She said, "I started going. I started going to class, started doing all of that". "But", she said, "I was sitting in church and the Lord said to me, "When are you going to return to Me what belongs to Me"? She's a single mom. And listen, this is what she said to me this last week. She said, "The day I started tithing, everything changed". Everything changed. Here's what she was saying. I closed the door to Satan in my life.
Please, please hear me. Please hear me. If you don't know me well, you might think I'm preaching to get more offerings. That's the furthest thing from the truth. If you know me well, you know that's the furthest thing from the truth. I'm preaching this because I love you. I don't want the devourer having an open door in your life, and I have watched hundreds, probably thousands of people close this door to Satan, and their whole life changed. Don't leave the original door that was opened to Satan. Don't leave it open.
Let me tell you why this truth is so important — because Jesus said, "Where your heart is, there your treasure will be also". It is so important to understand that when we withhold our treasure, when we withhold the tithe, what is rightfully the Lord's, it causes heart problems. Now, I'm not saying physical heart problems. It causes spiritual heart problems. It causes greed in our lives. It causes doubt. It causes fear. It causes unbelief. Because we're withholding from God what is rightfully God's, and I know a lot of people struggle in this area.
I want to encourage you, if the Holy Spirit is speaking to you today about this area, begin tithing to your local church. Don't send your tithe to us. Don't send your tithe to a television ministry. But, send your tithe, give your tithe, bring your tithe, take your tithe to a local church, and here's the great thing. Watch God close this door to the enemy in your life. Hey, I love you so much, and I am so proud of you that you have a hunger for God, and for God's Word. I want to let you know, we're not finished with this series. I'll be continuing this series, "Free Indeed", next week.