Tithe, The Part 1
Malachi 3:8 “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. 9 You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation. 10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the Lord of hosts, “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. 11 “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, 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; 12 And all nations will call you blessed, For you will be a delightful land,” Says the Lord of hosts.
Today I begin a new series of teachings dealing with the subject of money and specifically looking at God’s prescribed plan of prosperity for His people as we obey the divine mandate or command to give. The Bible deals extensively with this subject including how to make, manage, borrow, lend, give, receive etc. Think of the source of this very profound statement: MONEY ANSWERS EVERYTHING! This can be found in Ecclesiastes 10:19A feast is made for laughter, And wine makes merry; But money answers everything. That’s in the Bible folks!!
A boy and his mother were in a drug store and there was candy on the counter, the owner spotted the little boy looking intently at the candy, when the mother went up to pay the owner said to the boy “you want some of this candy”. The boy nodded, and the manager said well go “ahead and take some”. Well the boy just stood there, and again the owner said “go ahead and get a handful of candy”. The boy still stood there but did not move, the owner then reached into the jar and pulled out some candy and gave it to the boy and the boy filled his pockets. When they got outside the mother asked, why didn’t you get a handful of candy the man told you it was O.K.? And the boy responded, “because his hands were bigger than mine”. Wow! This is an astute understanding of God’s generosity and heart towards us when it comes to giving, His hands and heart are much bigger than ours. So, let me ask: you whose hands do you want to live out of yours or God’s?
There may be some who think that talking about money is a regular feature and motivation of this congregation or my ministry, but the last time that I spoke on this issue in a comprehensive way was in 1988. I have felt impressed of the Lord to speak on this issue for some time and as I submitted this to prayer I believe NOW is the right time, it is my prayer and desire that you will learn and benefit personally and positively from this teaching.
Three boys in the school yard were bragging about who had the better father. The first boy says, "My Dad scribbles a few words on a piece of paper, he calls it a song, and they give him $500." The second boy says, "That’s nothing. My Dad scribbles a few words on a piece of paper, he calls it a brief, and they give him $1000." The third boy says, "My Dad is even better than that. He scribbles a few words on a piece of paper, calls it a sermon, and it takes six men just to collect all the money!"
Some people may be surprised to find that God is interested in their money! He is interested in how you secure it, spend it, save it, share it, survive with it and handle it spiritually. In looking at this important subject we must remember that Jesus Himself spoke about money far more often than He did about heaven and hell. We are told that there are some 2300 verses in the Bible dealing with the subject of money and possessions, comparatively; there are approximately 500 verses which deal with the subject of prayer and another 500 on faith. Jesus told 36 parables, 16 of them dealt with money and our attitude toward it! Did you know that one (1) out of every ten (10) verses in the NT deals in some way with the subject of money! I suspect this comes as a shock to some people; why is the subject of money and possessions mentioned in the Bible so many more times than prayer or faith? What message is God communicating to us? Well, a proper understanding of Biblical truth reveals that how you handle your money is a very important spiritual truth and matter, for Jesus said in Matthew 6:21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be, and God is more interested in your heart than your money, but how you handle your money is a good barometer of where your true interests lay, and this is the message the Scriptures continually convey.
We could say that prayer and faith are the very oxygen by which believers live, move and have our beings, yet they are mentioned less than a quarter of the time money that money is mentioned in Scripture. I think this at very interesting at a minimum. I also suspect that one reason it is mentioned so often in Scripture is because God knew how important money and possessions would be to our daily survival. Heaven and Hell will be the outcome and ultimate destiny of our lives, but how we handle our attitudes and possessions is an important process that will greatly influence and affect where we spend eternity. For instance the Bible says that no liar, thief or murderer has any inheritance in the kingdom of God, to which most do not object, but Malachi says “we are thieves if we don’t tithe because we are robbing God!” Since the Scriptures mentions money and possessions so often, I therefore believe it is reasonable to conclude that we need to pay close attention in order to learn and understand what God has to say on this subject so that we will operate our lives from a Biblical perspective and not a worldly one, because I believe with all my heart that, God’s way is always the best way. Remember His hands are larger than ours!
Someone has said “a faith that hasn’t reached your wallet, probably hasn’t reached your heart.” (Adrian Rogers)
I want to therefore state emphatically that I believe that the foundation of material and financial blessings in your life is very much tied to the principal of tithing as found in the scripture. I further believe that if we don’t understand and obey this teaching of Scripture as Christians, we will never know the joy of true success and prosperity as God intended for our life and family.
In my understanding, the principal of tithing from Scripture is first and foremost an acknowledgement that we see and believe God to be the Owner of ALL things.
The purpose of the tithe also incorporates the following understanding or instruction from Scripture: Tithing honors God. It is giving to God not man (although man benefits from it), in fact more than giving to God, tithing is more of our returning to God what is already His. It is an act of worship, requires discipline, and diligence. Instills an understanding of proper financial management and planning, teaches us the value of generosity, is a sign of spiritual growth, obedience and servant-hood, destroys the spirit of greed and god of mammon and releases the blessings of God on the individual, their family and community.
Throughout the scriptures there is a clear pattern of the development of the tithe:
*Abraham commenced it. - Genesis 14:20 And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” And he gave him a tithe of all.
*Jacob continued it. - Genesis 28:20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, 21 so that I come back to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God. 22 And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.”
*Moses commanded it. - Moses and the God given law: Lev. 27: 30 And 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 unto the LORD. 32 And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the LORD.
*Malachi confirmed it. - Malachi 3:8 “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. 9 You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation. 10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the Lord of hosts, “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. 11 “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, 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; 12 And all nations will call you blessed, For you will be a delightful land,” Says the Lord of hosts.
*Jesus commended it. – Matthew 23: 23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
* Jesus completes it. - Hebrews 7:8 Here mortal men receive tithes, but there he receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives.
It commenced with Abraham continued in Jacob was commanded by Moses confirmed in Malachi and commended by Jesus, completed in Jesus…so, who is authorized to cancel it?
John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Church, said, “Get all you can, save all you can, give all you can.”
Martin Luther said, I have tried to keep things in my hands and lost them all, but what I have given into God’s hands I still possess.
J.L. Kraft, head of the Kraft Cheese Corporation, who had given approximately 25% of his enormous income to Christian causes for many years, said, "The only investment I ever made which has paid consistently increasing dividends is the money I have given to the Lord."
J.D. Rockefeller said, "I never would have been able to tithe the first million dollars I ever made if I had not tithed my first salary, which was $1.50 per week."
Sir John Templeton, chairman of the $15 billion Templeton fund is quoted as saying: “I have watched over 100,000 families over my years of investment counseling. I always saw greater prosperity and happiness among those families who tithed than among those who didn’t.”
As Christians we should give out of: Love, Obedience, Example, Vision, Joy because
Giving is God’s idea and the means by which we are set free from the curse of poverty. Truly as the scriptures teach it is more blessed to give than to receive! Do you believe this?
1845 Tithing Surprises - The Christian who tithes will be surprised:
(1) At the amount of money he has for the Lord’s work. (2) At the deepening of his spiritual life in paying the tithe. (3) At the ease in meeting his own obligation with the nine-tenths. (4) At the ease in going from one-tenth to a larger percentage. (5) At the preparation this gives to be a faithful and wise steward over the nine-tenths remaining. (6) At himself for not adopting the plan sooner! (Encyclopedia of 7700 illustrations)