26 Luke 8.1-3
v I’ve been here nearly two years and I bet you are asking yourself one thing….
Ø When is Blake going to preach on giving!
§ Something you have all been waiting for with baited breath
v I have not preached on giving, tithing
Ø Not because I don’t want to…
Ø Not because I am afraid to…
§ There is always lots of emotion when your are talking about money
Ø Not because I don’t need to…
§ The church certainly is always in need of funds
Ø But because it simply has not come up
§ You see…
· Preach expositorily through books of the Bible allows the text to control the topic
v And hear we come upon a little transitional text in Luke…
v This transition text tells us 3 things, two of which we would not know except for this text…
Ø Jesus’ mission is being accomplished (v. 1)
§ Proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom of God
· Explain here
Ø Women were prominent part of Jesus’ ministry (v.2)
§ This was unusual
· Women were low rung in society
¨ But the Bible keeps them front and center elevating their status
§ See this throughout early Christianity
· Gospels ~ Women were first at the tomb
¨ Resurrected Jesus appeared to Mary M. first!
· Acts ~ Pricilla, Lydia
· Pauline letters
¨ Always thanking, mentioning women in his letters
Ø Phoebe ~ Deaconess in the church in Rome
Ø The accusation that the Bible demeans women simply is untrue
§ In fact, just the opposite is true
· The Bible elevates the standing of women
Ø These same women helped support Jesus’ ministry
§ Notice in verse 3
· “Woman were helping to support Jesus and the ministry out of their own means”
Ø These women were, in essence, tithing…
§ Giving to the work of the Gospel
· But why?
v Well, as the Bible explains tithing, there are two reasons
Ø There are the practical reasons and the Spiritual (theological) reasons
The Practical Side
Ø There is a practical side of ministry
Ø No two ways about it
§ Jesus and his disciples were giving all their time to ministry
· Jesus left his carpentry job
· Some of the disciples left their fishing jobs, tax collecting, etc
¨ They were not making any income anymore
Ø But they still had to eat
Ø They still had to replace worn sandals, tattered cloaks
§ The ministry had to be supported
· So these women were doing just that
Ø This practical side of giving is evident in the OT tithe as well
§ READ Num 18:8-10, 20-21
§ Priests & Levites had to be supported
· So the Lord set up a system called the “tithe” that would take care of them physically
¨ They had no land inheritance
Ø No way to make money
¨ So the Lord provided for them practically
Ø And just as in OT Temple worship…
§ NT Church worship needs to be supported as well
§ The pastor has to be supported so that he can devote himself to the work of the Lord
§ Bills have to be paid
§ Programs must be funded
§ Organs must be bought
§ Steeples have to get fixed
Ø And the Lord practically supplies for this through the “tithe”
v But we would be missing the bigger picture if we looked at the practical side alone…
Ø Tithing is much more significant than that
§ Giving is also a very spiritual act
The Spiritual Side
Ø I’d like to take a few moments for us to look at tithing spiritually and examine our own hearts in this regard…
v Tithing is an act of Gratitude
Ø This attitude goes all the way back Abraham
§ Turn to Genesis 14:18-20
Ø Explanation while turning
§ King Kedorlaomer and 5 kings allied
§ Conquered Sodom & Gomorrah
§ Took Lot captive (lived in Sodom)
§ Abram takes 318 men and routes alliance
§ On way back, Melchizedek comes out to meet him
Ø READ Genesis 14:18-20
§ Abraham gives Melchizedek a 10th…WHY?
· Schaeffer ~ Christophany
· Because Melchizedek reminds Abram who actually defeated the alliance…
· The person responsible for the spoils that he has is…Yahweh
¨ Abram gives to God’s priest out of gratitude
Ø And that is part of the attitude that should dominate our tithing…
v God has given us everything that we have
Ø We are to recognize this just as the Israelites did
§ And give to God a portion recognizing everything is his
· DT 26:9-10 (Moses)
¨ He brought us to this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey; and now I bring the firstfruits of the soil that you, O Lord, have given me
Ø Moses is teaching the Israelites that God gave them everything and to give back to God recognizing this
v But how much should we give?
Ø The Israelites were told to give 10%
§ But if you do a study of OT tithe, I think you will find that it was closer to 28%
· Fallow fields, gleaning laws, other offerings to the Lord, etc.
Ø In the New Covenant, the “how much” question is not given a percentage
v Oswald Chambers says this on the subject…
Ø The basic question is not how much of our money we should give to God, but how much of God’s money we should keep for ourselves
§ This is a good and challenging perspective
Ø Paul tells us in 2 Cor 9:7
§ Each one in his own heart must decide…
· But that is difficult too because Jeremiah (17:9) tells us that
¨ The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure, who can understand it?
In the 5th century AD, the Franks would baptize whole armies at one time, and the warriors went into the water with their right hands held high, so that they did not get wet. Then they could say, 'This hand has never been baptized,' and they could swing their battle axes just as freely as ever.
The modern counterpart of that partial baptism is seen in many people who have been baptized, all except their pocketbooks. They held these high out of the water so they could do use it as freely as ever.
v That is the temptation today…
Ø To hold our pocketbooks out of the water and say
§ “It’s all yours except this. This is mine. I have worked for it, I saved it, I planned for it and it is mine.”
Ø But what we have to realize is that is simply not true
§ All the increase that we have is because of the Lord
· As Psalm 24 puts it
¨ The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters
· Everything is the Lord’s
Ø Believe me…tithing is hard!
§ We see how hard within the pages of Scripture
· God’s people again and again struggled in this area
· 700 BC ~ Hezekiah ~ 2 Chron 31:4
¨ People slowly stopped tithing
Ø Hezekiah’s reform
· Mid-5th century BC ~ Nehemiah ~ 10:37 & 13:10-14
¨ Reinstituted the tithe, left for 14 years, came back and people had stopped!
Ø Levites had left the Temple
§ Had to re-institute tithe again!
· Barely 50 years later
¨ 400 BC ~ Malachi ~ 3:6-10
Ø scolded for not bringing “whole” tithe, only partially tithing
Ø Difficulty in tithing is nothing new!
The second spiritual reason to giving is that…
v Tithing is an act of Worship
Ø RQ: Have you ever wondered why we take an offering in church?
§ Because it is an act of worship
· As much as praying
· As much as singing
· As much as hearing the word of God preached
¨ It was part of the OT Temple worship
Ø And it is part of NT worship
§ Paul encouraged the Corinthian church (16:1-2)
· Now about the collection for God’s people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income
· First day of week was day of worship
¨ We are to give to God in worship as an act of worship
Two little boys were each given a box of chocolates by their grandfather. The first boy took the package into his bedroom, tore into it, and stuffed the candies into his mouth until he was one big mess of smeared chocolate.
The other boy unwrapped his package there in front of his grandfather. He opened the box and looked at all the candies. Then he raised the box to his grandfather and said, "Thank you grandpa! Here, you have the first piece.”
v When we offer the Lord with a portion of all that he has given us…
Ø We are in effect saying..
§ “Here, Father, you have the first piece.”
· But how many of us come to church with chocolate on our faces!
v But the key to being a faithful giver is promising to give God the first piece before he gives us the box
Ø Give first portion, not what is leftover
§ Me and Carrie’s example
Ø This principle is shown to us in Genesis 28
v Jacob, Abraham’s grandson, was fleeing for his life from his brother Esau. One night he lay down on the ground and used a stone for a pillow. The fact that he was sleeping out in the open with a stone for a pillow shows the kind of predicament he was in. That night Jacob had a dream.
v In the dream he saw angels going up and down a ladder - this is Jacob’s ladder that you might have heard of. The dream was a message from God. God was telling Jacob that he was not alone. Even though he had nothing and was fleeing for his life, God was with him. And even as he slept God’s angels were caring for Jacob.
v When Jacob woke up he anointed a stone and named the place "God’s house" or in Hebrew "Bet’ El" - Bethel.
Ø Then Jacob pledged to give one tenth of all he would receive from God. Jacob recognized that he had nothing and that God was blessing him.
§ He knew that all he would receive would be a gift from God. It was all God’s to begin with he was just return part of it to God.
v But more important than that was the emotion behind the tithe.
Ø For Jacob tithing was an act of worship that spontaneously grew out of thanksgiving.
§ Jacob was thankful for the promise from God that his angels would protect Jacob.
§ Jacob was also thankful for the comfort that this angelic revelation gave him the midst of his loneliness and fear.
v Has God blessed you?
Ø Have you ever received a word of comfort from God?
§ Have you ever felt an assurance that God was watching over you?
· Do you have enough food and clothing to care for you and your family?
¨ Have you ever received an answer to prayer?
Ø Have you ever known a great victory in the battles of your life?
v God has blessed you!
Ø God has given you the victory over sin and death though Jesus Christ.
§ God has given his only Son to die in your place.
· God has offered you perfect peace that passes all understanding.
¨ God has revealed to you that his angels are ascending and descending a heavenly ladder to take care of you.
v What will you do?
Ø Abraham gave a tenth of all he had
§ Jacob pledged a tenth of all he would receive
· God has done so much for us so we should give as a response of gratitude and worship.
v If you need a reason tithe then here it is…
Ø Tithe to give thanks to God for the blessings he has given you!
Ø Acknowledge that all you have is his through the tithe
Ø And worship your Lord and savior by bringing the full tithe into the storehouse
Ø Gratitude can easily turn to Greed
§ Not to get anything in return!
· Bad uses of Scripture
¨ Luke 6:38
Ø Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap
Ø Context is forgiveness
¨ Sow a seed
Ø Cast your bread upon the water