Summary: Sermon on the matter of tithing to the church.
As I was preparing this message I couldn’t decide on how I wanted to start this morning. Maybe with a story, or an anecdote. But I don’t really know how. The topic this morning has caused a lot of people to get angry. It has caused some people to leave the church. It has brought a lot of arguments within a home and to be honest, it has caused husbands and wives to separate and divorce. With that said, what is going through your mind right now? Some might be thinking, well the Pastor is going to talk about infidelity, being unfaithful to your spouse. Although that is a topic that can cause the things that were just mentioned, it is not what I am going to talk about…today. I want to talk about money. In the form of tithes and other things.
Read text verse.
Here we have Abram returning from a battle after Sodom and Gomorrah along with three other cities were taken over by four kings. Of course this interested Abram because of Lot his nephew. So Abram, according to scripture armed his trained servants and went to war. God gave Abram the victory over these 4 kings and Abram brought back all that pertained to the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. From the spoils that were taken of the victory, our text says that Abram gave a tithe to Melchizedek (a reference to a type of Christ). I used this passage for my starting point this morning because this is the first mention of tithe in our scriptures.
What does that word tithe mean? The Hebrew word is the word ma`aser mah-as-ayr' It means a tenth. So from all the spoil that Abram got from the battle, one tenth he gave to the Lord. A lot of people will say that the tithe in the Old Testament was a form of legalism. But remember that Abraham tithed some 430 years before the Law was given.
Before I go any further, I would like to say that I took some information concerning tithes from Larry Burkett. Many of you might have heard of this name, because he has a radio show that he uses to help people, especially Christians get out of debt. He hosts a five minute program called, “How to Manage Your Money” and also a live call-in program called “Money Matters.”
As we continue, there is a lot of scripture that mentions tithes. As a matter of fact, according to Mr. Burkett the Bible contains more than 700 direct references to money and hundreds more indirect references.
So there are many places that we could start. I don’t know what you believe about tithing. I don’t know what you were taught about tithing, but this area in tithing is very important to a Christians life. In my opinion, it is a step that we can use to trust God to supply our every need.
Now the moment you got saved, you didn’t know everything about being a Christian, did you? No. We have to grow in maturity to be the Christian that God wants us to be. There is a learning process. We have to “get into that habit” of doing things. It is not my intent to make anyone mad this morning or to put anyone on a guilt trip. If you get mad at the preaching of the Word of God, then it is you with the problem. I am just a messenger. A lot of people want to shoot the messenger, why is that?
When some people hear that the Pastor is going to preach on tithing, they might start to grumble and say that the preacher is begging for money. That’s all he talks about is money. Well, I have been here for three years, and I have not preached a full sermon on this topic. It is a touchy one to be honest and I want to approach this subject as delicately as I can. But I feel the Lord leading me in that direction. And heaven help me if I don’t preach what the Lord says to preach about. Tithing is an issue that a lot of Christians struggle with. Your Pastor and his wife has had that problem. And to be honest, there are times that we still do. But we understand that it pleases God when we tithe. The first thing that I want us to see concerning this matter is:
I. God owns it
You have heard me say a lot of times that when it comes to spiritual things, we have to put our perspectives in the right place. The same is true for tithing. The church in Macedonia was a giving church. Look at 2 Corinthians 8:1-2. The church was not only in poverty, but deep poverty. I understand about our economy and the situation it is in. But listen to me, God also understands it. We have to put our trust in Him. The Macedonian’s generosity of their abundant giving continues to a model if you will for giving almost 2000 years later.