Summary: Why worship God with our wealth?
THE NEXT LOGICAL QUESTION. Having looked at what the Scriptures say to us regarding the “what” of cheerful giving, the tithes and offerings, the next logical question that would come to the curious mind is “Why give?” We have heard over and over again that the Lord owns it all so it is not as if He needs our wealth. Therefore, “Why?”
APPROACHING THE OLD TESTAMENT. One of the issues that Christians most commonly deal with is how to relate to the Old Testament since the Old Testament covenant between God and His people was all preparatory and foreshadowing of the coming of Jesus whereby the New Covenant would be ushered in through His blood. Therefore, many of the laws and prescriptions of the Old Testament are no longer applicable because Jesus put a fulfilled/completed or put an end to them. There are others, as we saw last week, in regards to worship, godly living, etc… that still apply to the people of God not as a way to merit salvation but as guidelines for living a life that honors and glorifies God as His people. Paul offers us an important teaching about how the Christian relates to the Old Testament in 1 CORINTHIANS 10:11. With this in mind, we are going to look at a message given to God’s people through the Old Testament and seek to understand WHY we are to worship God with our wealth.
“BREAD” IN THE HOUSE
The Law, in particular DEUTERONOMY 14:29, teaches that the purpose of the tithe was for the ministry that flowed from the Temple. The Levites (Priests) that were set apart by God to serve in the Temple were to be provided for by the tithes of the people. There were supplies that were needed for the ministry that flowed from the Temple and the tithes were used for such. Furthermore, the poor, fatherless, sojourner, and widowed were to be ministered to through the meeting of their needs with the tithes that were brought into the storehouse of God by His people. Therefore, when we read “so that there may be bread in MY house” we can understand that the tithe is the means whereby God has chosen to, very practically speaking, fund the ministry to and of His people.
THE MINISTRY OF THE CHURCH. As we take this eternal truth from the days of old and bring it over to our current day we see the same thing taking place. The ministry of the local church is funded by the tithes and offerings of God’s people. In a very real sense, we give of our tithes and offerings to the local church so that there may be “bread” in the house of the Lord. This is not physical bread, as it was in the Old Testament but spiritual bread. Jesus said that He is the BREAD OF LIFE—JOHN 6:32-35—and the ministry of the local Church is to be about worshipping, adoring, proclaiming and teaching Jesus—the BREAD OF LIFE. Therefore, when we worship God with our wealth through the tithes and offerings we are doing so in order that there may be BREAD IN THE HOUSE.
• LIVES TOUCHED AT FBC: These people have been impacted by this faith family because there was “bread in the house” because of your tithes and offerings.
o CONSERVATIVE NUMBERS: $1,000,000 over 6 years/local church ministry. $225,000 special offerings for missions—TAKING “BREAD” TO THE WORLD.
When you worship God with your wealth through the giving of tithes and offerings God uses that for the ministry to and of His people. We are ministered to through the ministries of the local church and we minister to the world through the proclamation of Jesus. Therefore, when you give you are giving to something bigger than yourself and that is a good thing; and eternal investment.
GROWING IN FAITH:
“’TEST ME!’ SAYS THE LORD AND GROW IN YOUR FAITH IN ME!” In the withholding of the tithes and offerings God’s people were revealing just how shallow, fragile and failing their faith had grown in Him. God, desiring their faith in Him to be great invites them to test His faithfulness to bless and supply their need. There is nowhere else in the Scriptures where we are told to “test” the Lord. As a matter of fact, it is said that we should not put the Lord our God to test (DEUT. 6:16; MATT. 4:7). However, there is an exception to the ‘rule’ here because it is God who instructs His people to test Him in this area. The fact that the Lord would invite us to test Him in the area of our finances reveals just how heated the competition can be for our hearts when it comes to money/wealth. This, I believe, is why Jesus warned us so much about the unique dangers and threats of money/wealth during His ministry. He knows our hearts and how quick we are to lack faith in His love and care for us and to begin to place our faith in things of this world as if they could ever really meet our deepest needs. God’s invitation to test Him in this area is a call back to full faith in who He is—provider.