Summary: Understanding the Buzz Words in Christianity
Series: Buzz Words
Title: What is Tithing?
Focus: Introduction to Sacrificial Giving
INTRODUCTION: In Matthew, Mark, and Luke 1 out of every 6 verses deals with money. Of the 29 parables Christ told, 16 deal with a person and his money.
#1: Tithing in the Old Testament (Lev. 27:30-33; Num. 18:21-28; Deut. 15:7-8 and Malachi 3:10)
• Explanation: "Tithe" in the OT meant a tenth (10%). There were 3 tithes in the OT…
o Two Every Year: Twice a year every person took 10% of produce, flocks, cattle, etc. and gave it to Levites (priests) as a “gift back to God”.
• People to priest: “Every tithe of the land… is the LORD's; it is holy to the LORD. every tithe of herds and flocks, every tenth animal of… shall be holy to the LORD.” (Lev. 27:30-33)
• Priests to God: “To the Levites I have given every tithe in Israel for an inheritance, in return for their service that they do… So you (Levites) shall also present a contribution to the LORD from all your tithes, which you receive from the people of Israel.” (Num. 18:21-28)
• The nation and the church were combined so the “tithe” was how God funded his earthly kingdom (temple, tabernacle, etc.).
o One every Third Year: Contributions for festivals, etc.
• A case could be made that the people in the OT gave 23%!
• Illustration: In other words, God said: "Throw a party and I'll pay the bill. However, do not forget whom it came from, those in ministry and the poor. Then you will be blessed."
• Application: Do not throw out OT giving. The followers of God were commanded to be generous with what God has given.
o “Be openhanded and freely lend him (the poor) whatever he needs.” (Deut. 15:7-8)
o “Test the Lord” (Malachi 3:10)
• Malachi 3 (Prophet): Malachi prophesied the people were having difficultly (nation) because they had “robbed me (God) in tithes and offerings” (Malachi 3:8). Malachi pleaded for the people to “test the Lord”, give to Him what was His for provision and protection. We are called to do the same!
• Explanation: NT “Tithing” is mentioned only 3 to 4 times (word “tithe” is never used). The command from Jesus and the Apostles is implied from OT teaching from OT law obligation. Jesus often affirmed and expanded upon OT principles. He made it clear we are to give (1) to those in need (Matthew 25:31-46) (2) cheerfully (2 Corinthians 9:6) and (3) Not for public recognition (Matthew 6:1-4).
• While the OT set precedence, those saved through faith should want to give as much as possible to support the gospel and the poor (be “like Christ”). In the NT rather than give a certain amount out of obligation, Christians are urged to give sacrificial financial gifts as well as talents and abilities entrusted to our care.
o “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7