Summary: An Exploration of the Biblical Concept of Tithing.
DATE: July 08, 2001
TEXT: Malachi 3:7-10
THEME: "The Lord’s Tithe"
“Average church(Gallup Poll) 17% say they tithe but only 3% actually do. 40% will give nothing in a year. 91% say they make more money than they ever have in their life. 71% of pastors believe that church members have changed from stewards into consumers.”
“According to the Barna Research Group (BRG), giving to churches dropped significantly last year, even by those identified as born-again Christians. Seventy percent of them gave to the church last year, down from 84 percent the previous year. Their average total gift for the year also fell 19 percent from 1999 to $1,166. The nationwide survey of 1,005 adults also found that although 32 percent of born-again believers claimed to tithe, a check of their household income revealed that only 12 percent actually did. 29% of adults surveyed in 1997 actually believe that Bible commands us to tithe.”
I. THE MEANING OF THE TITHE
The word “tithe” comes from Hebrew maazer and Greek dekate both of which mean a “tenth.” Tithing thus refers to the practice of giving a tenth or ten percent of one’s income to the Lord.
II. THE PURPOSE OF THE TITHE (v. 10b)
The central purpose of the tithe is the Lord’s service (Num. 18:20-24) The LORD said to Aaron, "You will have no inheritance in their land, nor will you have any share among them; I am your share and your inheritance among the Israelites. 21 "I give to the Levites all the tithes in Israel as their inheritance in return for the work they do while serving at the Tent of Meeting. 22 From now on the Israelites must not go near the Tent of Meeting, or they will bear the consequences of their sin and will die.
23 It is the Levites who are to do the work at the Tent of Meeting and bear the responsibility for offenses against it. This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. They will receive no inheritance among the Israelites.
24 Instead, I give to the Levites as their inheritance the tithes that the Israelites present as an offering to the LORD. That is why I said concerning them: ‘They will have no inheritance among the Israelites.’"; (Neh. 12:44) At that time men were appointed to be in charge of the storerooms for the contributions, firstfruits and tithes. From the fields around the towns they were to bring into the storerooms the portions required by the Law for the priests and the Levites, for Judah was pleased with the ministering priests and Levites.
III. THE IMPORTANCE OF TITHING (v. 10)
q It is a command of God Deut. 12:11 Then to the place the LORD your God will choose as a dwelling for his Name— there you are to bring everything I command you: your burnt offerings and sacrifices, your tithes and special gifts, and all the choice possessions you have vowed to the LORD.
q It is encouraged by the Lord Jesus Christ (Matt. 23:23) "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices— mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law— justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.; (Luke 11:42) "Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.
q It is a symbol of our devotion and love to God and, as such, it counteracts the hold of the world upon us (Gen. 28:16-22; Mal. 3:7; Mark 12:30 “strength”)
q It is a declaration of our faith in God to supply our needs (Gen. 14:20-23) And blessed be God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand." Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything. The king of Sodom said to Abram, "Give me the people and keep the goods for yourself." 22 But Abram said to the king of Sodom, "I have raised my hand to the LORD, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, and have taken an oath 23 that I will accept nothing belonging to you, not even a thread or the thong of a sandal, so that you will never be able to say, ‘I made Abram rich.’
q It is an acknowledgement that God is the source of all we have (I Chron. 29:11-14). This reality is basis of the New Testament concept of Stewardship.
q It is an important key to blessing and financial stability (Mal. 3:9-12)
· Note the curse on those who are not unfaithful in tithing (Mal. 3:9). (Deut 11:26) See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse—the blessing if you obey the commands of the LORD your God that I am giving you today; the curse if you disobey the commands of the LORD your God and turn from the way that I command you today by following other gods, which you have not known. The blessings of obedience and the curses of disobedience are outlined in Deuteronomy 28.