Summary: If the tithe is no longer required, why should I give it?
The following sermon was used in conjunction with the book "Take God at His Word, Book 2: Expect a Harvest" written by Dr. Kregg Hood, Sweet Publishing (5750 Stratum Drive, Fort Worth, Texas 76137)
Dr. Hood has an excellent packet to go with this sermon series that would be well worth your investigation.
OPEN: A woman gave her son Billy 2 quarters. One was for his Sunday School offering. The other was for an ice cream cone on the way home from Sunday School.
Billy was flipping one quarter in the air and catching it on the way down. This happened 8 times or so when all of a sudden Billy missed catching it. It rolled down the storm sewer and was gone.
Billy looked skyward and prayed, "Sorry, God."
APPLY: That’s the kind of attitude that Israel displayed in the days of Malachi. Israel had come on hard times. Financially they were challenged. They’d lost “their quarter.” It had rolled away and they had take to looking skyward and saying “Sorry, God.”
AND now, God was taking them to task. Because, under the Old Covenant, the tithe was required. And here in Malachi, God is saying – you folks have “robbed me.”
BUT He takes pity on them. He knows that life can be challenging, life can be hard. So He says: “Look folks – test me (Malachi 3:10-12) see if I won’t make good on my promises.
I. Now we’re no longer under the Old Testament. Now under New Testament or covenant.
We’re no longer under a curse if we don’t give a “tithe” to God. However, I can tell you with assurance: if we do give the tithe to God, we still get the same blessings that were promised in Malachi Why? BECAUSE the tithe has always been desired by God & always pleases Him.
Now you might say: Jeff how can you possibly say that? If we’re no longer under Old Testament, then we’re no longer required to give the tithe. BUT I didn’t say God “required” the tithe now. What I said was God has always “desired” the tithe. And the reason I know that’s true is because of something we find in Heb 6:19 (TURN THERE but don’t read).
The setting for the story described in Hebrews is found way back in the book of Genesis. There was a great battle in the valley of Siddim. In that battle Lot, nephew of Abraham, was kidnapped and carried away to slavery. Hearing of this tragedy, Abraham gathers a force of 300 men from household, rapidly makes his way after the conquering army. Ambushes the enemy forces, routes them, and returns home with the spoils of war. As he is heading back home he passes by the city of Salem.
Now, the writer of Hebrews is looking back on that incident to reinforce the arguments he’s already made. The thesis of Hebrews is that: There’s no one like Jesus.
· No angel is equal to Him
· No man is equal to Him
· Moses isn’t equal to Him
· The High Priest isn’t equal to Him (starting in chapter 4)
· AND the Levites – who offered sacrifices in the temple and interceded with God for the Israelites was inferior to Jesus’ priesthood. A priesthood that came from a greater tradition than even that of the tribe of Levi. The priesthood of Melchizedek.
The writer then basically says: "And I’ll tell you WHY He’s greater than High Priest & Levites:" Read Hebrews 6:19ff
Now what’s this mean to us? One of the things it means is that the tithe was given to God…
· before the Law
· before it was required
It was pleasing unto God and desired by God long before Law.
II. The tithe should be a benchmark for mature Christians to shoot for.
ILLUS: A man wrote an explanation of what his giving should mean.
WHEN I GIVE NOTHING: I cast a vote to close the church.
WHEN I GIVE LESS THAN LAST YEAR: I have experienced a decrease in income or I have changed my priorities, or I question the need for the work the church is doing.
WHEN I GIVE LESS THAN ONE-TENTH OF MY INCOME: I do less than what was required of the poorest Jew.
WHEN I GIVE GRUDGINGLY: I find no joy in my giving. I am a disappointment to the Lord, for God loves a cheerful giver (II Cor.9:7)
We know God’s pleased with the tithe. We know He has desired it. AND we know that when Abraham gave his tithe to Melchizedek Abraham was giving the tithe to a representative of Jesus whom we serve. Whom we belong to.
Now, this Sunday called – BRING THE WHOLE TITHE INTO THE STORESHOUSE SUNDAY
This challenge is only for our people. If you are not a Christian, if you are a visitor today, we are not asking you to take part in this challenge. This is a challenge for OUR PEOPLE.