Summary: Discusses the confusion around tithing.
Satan’s Great Lie Part 5
Previously I shared with you the great lie of naming and claiming it. This week message was to talk about what we generally name and claim – financial blessings. I was to deal with the prosperity message. However, I cannot do that yet because there is too much confusion around giving to the Church. So this morning, I want to cover the truth behind tithing in order to lay the foundation as to how the prosperity message got started and why people are in bondage. Are you cursed to hell if you do not tithe? What about what Malachi says? This morning I want you to walk away with a clear understanding of tithing and why today there is so much emphasis on it. The tithing we see today is not the same as what was practiced by the Children of Israel. The purposed is similar, but the practice is different. My plan today is to explain the history and bring you to giving in the New Testament. Then next week, after you have this foundation, I will discuss the prosperity message and why it is a lie. The prosperity message started with giving tithes and offerings so in order to understand that message, you must understand the history of tithing and why we cling to Malachi when we are taking up offerings.
I was told several years ago by a pastor that if I ever taught the truth about tithing and giving in general that I would never get anyone to give to the church. This pastor told me that people needed some guidelines and right now making sure they tithes is the only way to ensure that they will give. People accepted tithes as it was being taught. I believe differently. Let me say up front that I believe in tithing, but I believe it is the beginning of our offering to God. I do not believe, and let me be clear about this, that I have the right to dictate to you that you tithe or give anything to God. That is totally your choice. You will never hear me say to this congregation that you are cursed if you do not tithe. Your giving is personal and you will be blessed on what you decide in your heart to give. Would I like for everyone to tithe? Yes that would be great, but what would be perfect is that if each you of you could hear from God and give what He directs you to give. Because people are not expected to attain this level of confidence in God, we have established a situation where if they can give at least 10% then they will receive all of God’s blessings – even if they could give much more. This will become clearer as we get into God’s word.
Lets start with the Scripture in Malachi that we often hear quoted in Church when it is time to take up the offering.
Malachi 3:8: “Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, how have we robbed you You? In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you! Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house and test Me now in this, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing until it overflows. Then I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it may not destroy your fruits of the ground; nor will your vine in the field cast its grapes says the Lord of hosts.”
When the Church is looking to teach members how to give “responsibly” the foundation is the tithes. We say things like “everyone should tithe; if everyone tithe then the Church would have all its needs met”. The purpose of giving to the Church is so that the ministry of God can go forth. Yes the Church has needs, but those needs should be centered around doing the “work” of the Lord, not the building of monument to men. In most cases, supporting the Church may require a person to give more than 10%. The first thing you need to understand is that tithing did not start with Abraham. Tithing, or giving a tenth of one’s income, was practiced by ancient cultures long before Abraham was born. Abraham, being aware of the practice, chose to do the same when he gave a tenth of his spoils to Melchizedek. In ancient times, people tithed their property, produce and currency. The Egyptians, Syrians, Lydians, Babylonians and Assyrians all practiced tithing. Their motive for tithing however was different from Israel’s motive. The motive for tithing both in other cultures and “somewhat” in Israel’s culture was political, humanitarian and economic. People tithed a lot of things including grain, wine, fruit, cattle, wool, cloth, wood, etc. However, in general, Israelites were to tithe all of the wealth of the land that God gave to them.