Summary: Honoring God with our wealth
SERIES RECAP. This is week 3 of our series on giving and just by way of recap it is good to remember where we have been so we will know where we are and anticipate where we are going with this series.
• Wealth can…KEEP SOME OUT OF HEAVEN, STEAL OUR AFFECTIONS, STEAL OUR WORSHIP, and CAN CREATE IN US A FALSE SENSE OF SECURITY. We love what/who we worship and we worship what/who we love and God alone is worthy of our worship.
• We learned that the Lord does not want us to worship Him with our wealth in a ritualistic, legalistic or empty way but with a THANKFUL, HONEST AND TRUSTING HEART, purposed to GLORIFY HIM through it all.
THE “WHAT” The Lord is so good to us in that He gives us instructions in this area knowing that we would never honor Him as we should with our wealth, or in any other area of our lives for that matter, on our own due to our fallen nature. Therefore, having heard what the Lord has had to say to us about how to worship Him with our wealth, we are going to see today WHAT the Lord has instructed us to bring to Him as we worship Him with our wealth.
THE TITHE LEVITICUS 27:30-32
THE BIBLICAL TITHE The Scriptures teach that the “what” we are to worship the Lord with in the area of our wealth is the tithe. The word, as it is used in and outside of the Bible, literally means “a tenth.” The prescription for the tithe was laid forth in the Law that God gave to His people to live by. LEVITICUS 27:30-32 gives us explicit details regarding the discipline of worshipping God with the tithe and as you can see it is 10% of the whole whether it be, in the case of God’s people of old, currency such as grain, vegetables, fruit, etc… or currency such as animals. We live in a time in history where the currency of the day is money so the instruction God gives in worshipping Him with our wealth is 10% of our income. When we study the Scriptures we find that the Lord seeks that we would be a people who worship Him with the FIRST AND BEST PORTIONS of our time, talents and WEALTH. Some push back at this idea but they cannot deny the teachings of the Scriptures. Furthermore, for those who would object here, I would rather tithe off the top because I desire the whole to be blessed.
IS IT FAIR FOR GOD TO REQUIRE A TITHE? Many push back in this area with objections to the idea that God wants His people to worship Him with their wealth in tithing and one of the most common objections I have heard to biblical teaching on tithing is that “it just doesn’t seem to be fair that God would expect me to give Him 10% of my income.” That type of complaint is fundamentally flawed and reveals a lack of understanding what they have to begin with. IT IS ALL GOD’S (PSALM 50:10-12). HE GIVES AND ASKS FOR 10% TO BE RETURNED ILLUSTRATION. Is there anything unfair about being given so much and only being asked for 10% in return? NO!
WE ARE NOT UNDER THE LAW ANYMORE SO THE TITHE DOESN’T APPLY. This objection comes from religious people. They understand that Jesus came to fulfill the Law and therefore the Law has no applicable value any longer for the believer. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross did put an end to the Law as it pertained to sacrifices/offerings for sin and guilt, religious ceremonies, etc… In the same way, Jesus’ announcement of all food being clean to eat put an end to the “kosher” dietary restrictions among God’s people. However, in the Law as we know it, there are prescriptions for GODLY LIVING and WORSHIPPFUL LIVING that still stand. And to the one that would argue that the tithe is no longer applicable for the Christian because we do not live under the Law I would ask if murder was now acceptable as well? What about idolatry? Using the Lord’s name in vain. Honoring parents. Lying? Coveting? Adultery?
• GENESIS 14:18-20—Abraham giving a tithe of all he had to Melchizedek.
• GENESIS 28:20-22—Jacob giving a tithe.
• MALACHI 3:8-10—God calls His people to obedience.
• MATTHEW 23:23-24—Jesus did not deny the tithe but affirmed it as proper worship.
• LUKE 21:1-4—Jesus taught about the faith of the widow in her giving.
• 1 CORINTHIANS 9:13-14—Paul applies the law that taught that the levitical priests were to be provided for out of the tithe that was given to defend how he and his ministry partners (pastors) were provided for by the church out of the tithes that had been given. Paul’s connection and application of the Law to the Church shows that tithing and the use of the tithe as it was in under the Law is contextualized in the Church.