Tithes, The Storehouse Part 4
Malachi 3:10 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.
Tithing is bringing 10% of the increase of my wealth to the Lord. Anytime your wealth increases such as in paychecks, business sales, etc… you are increasing your wealth and God is asking for 10% of whatever that figure or increase is.
I heard about a farmer who came by the office of Pastor Wayne Smith asking to see “The Head Hog at the trough.” The Secretary being offended said, “Sir, if you’re talking about our Minster, you can call him Evangelist or Minister, but I don’t think it would be proper to refer to him as the “head Hog at the trough.’” “Well, all right,” the farmer said. “I just sold a few sows and was going to donate ten thousand dollars to the building fund, so I was hopping to catch with him.” “Oh, just a minute, sir.” The secretary said, “It looks like the big pig just walked in!”
Where should the tithe go? To the Local Church. Where should the Offering go? Anywhere you are directed by the Lord.
Malachi 3:10 tells us why we should tithe, and also where we should bring tithe. “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse” - a depository, a cellar, a treasury.
1. OT - According to Mal. 3:10, the tithes were to be brought into the storehouse. For the Jews, this storehouse was the Temple at Jerusalem.
2. NT- According to Acts 4:35, 37 and Acts 5:2, the early Christians brought their gifts and offerings and laid them at the Apostles' feet. Acts 4:34 Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, 35 and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need. 36 And Joses, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus, 37 having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
3. NT -. 1 Corinthians 16:1 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: 2 On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come. According to 1 Co. 16:2, we are to lay up our giving in store. The Church at Corinth, to whom Paul addressed this letter, was the “store.” The basic meaning of Store house in Malachi 3:10 and Lay up in store in 1 Corinthians is the same: a place or treasury to keep things in stored up.
I believe the Biblical pattern is a clear one, a specific place, a specific time and a specific amount. The local church was that specific place, the first day of the week was the time and may prosper indicates increase, which was what tithe was all about. As mentioned last week we are no longer under law, but which is higher, better and more powerful, the law or grace? Which required more, grace of course!! Tithing teaches! If the early church did not understand tithing do you think they would have graduated to the grace of giving to the point where they even sold their houses and lands and laid the proceeds at the Apostles feet? I think not and the NT believers set a very high bar to jump or standard to follow.
Let us however return to the concept of storehouse. I believe that today the storehouse for your tithe is the local CHURCH. It is not God's plan for you to give your tithe wherever you decide; whenever you decide, to whomever you decide. I believe the tithe should go to the local church.
But some will rightly ask: Why should we put our tithe into our local Church or what local church since there are so many churches? I will seek to answer that a little later in this message, but lets go back to Scripture.
In the following passages God gives clear instruction of where His people were to give. Deuteronomy 12:5 “But you shall seek the place where the Lord your God chooses, out of all your tribes, to put His name for His dwelling place; and there you shall go. 6 There you shall take your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the heave offerings of your hand, your vowed offerings, your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks. 7 And there you shall eat before the Lord your God, and you shall rejoice in all to which you have put your hand, you and your households, in which the Lord your God has blessed you. 8 “You shall not at all do as we are doing here today— every man doing whatever is right in his own eyes— 9 for as yet you have not come to the rest and the inheritance which the Lord your God is giving you. 10 But when you cross over the Jordan and dwell in the land which the Lord your God is giving you to inherit, and He gives you rest from all your enemies round about, so that you dwell in safety, 11 then there will be the place where the Lord your God chooses to make His name abide. There you shall bring all that I command you: your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the heave offerings of your hand, and all your choice offerings which you vow to the Lord. 12 And you shall rejoice before the Lord your God, you and your sons and your daughters, your male and female servants, and the Levite who is within your gates, since he has no portion nor inheritance with you. 13 Take heed to yourself that you do not offer your burnt offerings in every place that you see;
So let us address the issue of, “Where should I bring my tithes?” If you are a member of this body, this is your storehouse, because this is your church home, this is where you worship and this is where you receive ministry and are served. In the Old Testament, there was only one temple that God placed His name. Today, as the saying goes, we should not bite the hand that feeds us. If this is where you are fed, this is where your tithes and offerings should go, in a sense to buy more grain to feed more people.
Let us consider how the tithe was used?
A. The tithes and offerings in the O.T. were used for the Temple and to support various ministries (i.e., the priests, etc.) (Mal. 3:10). 1 Co. 9:13-14 applies this principle to the N.T. church. 1 Corinthians 9:13 Do you not know that those who minister the holy things eat of the things of the temple, and those who serve at the altar partake of the offerings of the altar? 14 Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel. Verse 13 relates to the O.T. practice. Verse 14 carries this practice over to N.T. churches. Your tithes and offerings are for the support, upkeep and ministry of the local Church and its ministries.
A question was asked about splitting the tithe between churches? My straightforward answer is that while it is possible I am not convinced it is prudent. However, as tithing is a more a matter of grace not law, of commitment over commandment I want to be fair and to try and be clear in my answer.
I feel very strongly, that people should find a local church and stick with it. While they are free to visit and fellowship with other believers from other groups, there should be a place of primary commitment and the success of that place should be their priority, including the tithing of their money, talents and time. No local church will ever survive without a strong base of generous givers committed to its success. Church should be like family, each person has one to which they are committed. Double minded people the Scriptures say are unstable in all their ways. To whom is my loyalty, who is my shepherd? It is only a matter of time before conflicts arise in these kinds of situations where people divide their loyalties. It does not work in marriage or on the job, so why do we think its ok in the church?
I also believe that people should ask, What is the church doing with the money you give? Are they good stewards ensuring the gospel is being spread and the needs of the poor are not neglected? Does the church who asks you to tithe, tithe themselves? Do they have financial records that are available for scrutiny by their members?
I have heard that some churches require the tithe to be paid directly to the minister and then the people must give to support the ministry beyond that? It is important for you to have some understanding of what the church does with the money it receives. All of these are important questions to ask. But if you will be a part of a local church you should at least support it with your tithes. My personal conviction is that a church that does not tithe or its income, should not require it’s members to tithe.
Martin Luther said that a Christian must be converted three times. The first time for his mind. The second time for his heart. And the third time for his wallet, and of the three the most difficult conversion is of the wallet.
Another question that often arises, is should I pay tithes if I am from another country or should I send my tithe back home. Please forgive my bluntness but if you wanted to tithe to the church or ministry back home you should have remained there. If everyone in Cayman who originated from another country paid their tithe back home, we could never support many of the ministries we do. Every Pastor and church leader should understand this no matter where they are from. If you say I am your pastor and you love me and this ministry, then this is where you should give, if you choose not to give here, then I want to state emphatically a truth you should not miss. You should not be a part of this church!! Because your real pastor and church is where you send your money!!! Remember what Jesus said, wherever your treasure is your heart will be their also. Another pet peeve of mine is those who send their tithe to TV ministers, I also do not believe this is right, they need and deserve support (some) but not the tithe, this is an appropriate place to give offerings. The tithe should go to the local church and any other ministry efforts you want to support should come from your offerings.
Let me also add that I do not expect and have never requested anyone who has left Agape to send their tithe back to us, although some pastors do this. The tithe should be brought (your presence is required) into the storehouse where you are living. Jeremiah 29:7 And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace.
I believe what I have presented to you today is practical, reasonable and beneficial and very much based on sound Scriptural principals. So put them to work in your own like and see what God will do for you.
· Where should the tithe go? To the local church.
· If a family tithe of their income (say $1,000) and then divide that money, should the spouse then tithe? No. If $100 was paid, then the tithe was paid.
· Should I tithe of my business? Yes.
· Should I tithe from my Gross or Net? The answer is on your increase and for some business the mark-up differs and you would lose if you paid on the net, but lets say you had $10,000.00 in the bank giving you an annual return of 10% per year, hopefully you have already paid tithe on the $10,000.00 so at the end of the year when you get your dividend you should pay tithe on the $1,000.00 dollar increase you made. (Deuteronomy 14:22).
· When should I pay my tithe? It should be first – did you know there is a 20% withholding charge! Pay your tithe first.
· Should I expect a blessing when I pay my tithe and offerings? Yes, this is God’s promise. He will open the windows of heaven and bless you. 2 Corinthians 9:7, “God loves a cheerful giver.”
I tithe because -
1. In giving, I am acknowledging His greatness and all that I have as coming from Him.
2. I am also acknowledging my love and commitment to Him.
3. I am demonstrating an important act of worship.
4. I am declaring God to be involved in every aspect of my life, including my finances.
5. It is a good foundation for developing sound, disciplined personal financial practices.
6. It gives me an opportunity to exercise my faith in God.
7. It gives me opportunity to prove God’s faithfulness to His promises about the tithe.