Luke 20:13-14 Then the owner of the vineyard said, What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; it may be they will respect him.' But when the tenants saw him, they said to themselves, This is the heir; let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours.'
If you can keep the first commandment, all the others will be no problem – if God doesn’t come first, then all manner of sin may tempt us. Sometimes its not obvious, for while we know that we should fear and love God so that we do not despise preaching and his word, but gladly hear and learn it – means that of course we should go to church – but does it mean more than that?
It’s a question of stewardship, and also a question of the attitude of the heart, which in this case is more important that any deeds, because its out of the heart that true stewardship flows. Lets take 2 examples – how important is it to worship God? Most things which are important require some preparation – athletes warm up before they perform – so, how do you prepare for worship – a shower, clean clothes, comb your hair – how do you prepare inwardly – something we know is important – for we know that if you aren’t prepared to receive the Lord’s Supper you can take it to your harm – so we teach everyone that they should examine themselves – preparation – and teach them the 10 commandments, so they are able to examine themselves, see their sin, repent – and see the need for forgiveness.
Suppose you arrive late to church, you are hurried, feel rushed – and you don’t prepare, because there is no time – you don’t examine yourself – its not that you’ve stolen time from God, the real danger is that the devil has stolen the grace of God that you need, and will continue to steal it, so that he might lead your away from the salvation which is ours in Christ.
Lets take another example, our offerings – it is not a collection, that is our leftovers – it is an offering – a gift of our very best. How do we know how much to give, Scripture says that on the first day of the week we should consider how God has blessed us, and set aside a portion of that blessing to return to God in thanks. Its not something that should come from grumbling or guilt. If our offerings are a reflections of God’s grace to us, when our offerings are short – are we not saying both to God and the world, that God’s grace has been kind of poor- that God has left us wanting. The church should never have to speak of offerings, let alone that we are in the red – for we know that God gives us everything necessary. Preparation, examine yourself, stewardship - - -
Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness!