Summary: How to keep a good attitude about the subject of money which appears over 800 times in the Bible.
Truths About Tithing
Introduction: The subject of my message this morning is one where there is much in the way of misinformation or in some cases misinterpretation of what God has said about the subject of tithing. Is tithing mentioned in the New Testament or is it an Old Testament practice of the law? What is the purpose of tithing? There are many questions around tithing and giving money to the church and God's Word has plenty to say about it! Money is mentioned over 800 times in the Bible! God knew money would be something we would hold tightly to and place a lot of importance on. Let's take a look at what the Bible says about tithing and giving 10% back to God. The below Bible verses are the definitive verses on this subject. Let’s read the passage that we have before us:
7 Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return? 8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. 9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. 10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. 11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts. 12 And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts.
I. The Commandment to Tithe v. 10a (bring ye)
One of the signs of Israel’s apostasy was the failure to keep the Lord’s ordinances mentioned in v. 7 God calls them to return to Him and to obedience to His Word. It is a sign of their spiritual blindness that they deny that they have done anything wrong. But God declares that they have “robbed” Him in the area of tithes and offerings. In v. 9 He declares that “they are cursed with a curse!” What does this mean? It means the withholding of His blessings from them.
ILL: Instant obedience is the only kind of obedience there is; delayed obedience is disobedience. Whoever strives to withdraw from obedience, withdraws from Grace.
Thomas a Kempis.
ILL: Once upon a time, last week, I picked up my son after football and he was hungry. So he and I stop at Burger King to pick up a snack. Well I bought for my son two of his basic food groups, Chicken Nuggets and French Fries. After going through the drive through, tossing in the bag of food in front seat of the car, I then do what any good Dad would do, I reach over to the bag with the food to grab a couple of fries, just to taste. With my son's lightning quick reaction, he reaches over and slaps my hand and says, “Don’t touch my French Fries.” I’m thinking that my son is being just a little bit selfish and stingy. I know who bought the French Fries and I’m really the true owner of the fries. I know also that my son belongs to me. I could get angry and never buy him any more French Fries to teach him a lesson, or I could “cover him in more French Fries than he could ever hope to eat.” Both options are well within my power to do. So I’m thinking, “Why is my child so selfish, I have given him a whole package of French Fries; I just want one French Fry…
Isn’t that the way we tend to be with all our things and with all our money and all our possessions? God owns it all, but we begrudging will give up only a French Fry or two, just so He will continue to bless us. The American way is to say "I pulled myself up by my own bootstraps," and "I worked hard for all I have." Do we realize it is God who gives, it is God who gives the opportunity and ability to work. It is God who ultimately owns all that we have and all that we are.
Some of you are like the little boy I heard about…
ILL: A family came home from church one Sunday and after they had lunch they sent their 6-year-old son off to play. After awhile, his mother realized that they hadn’t heard much from him, which any parent knows is a recipe for disaster. The mother got up from her recliner and walked to the child's bedroom and listened right outside his door. She kept hearing small metallic sounds and jingling come from the other side of the door. Intrigued, she cracked the door a little and looked in to see her son sitting on floor with his piggy bank opened and a few dollars in coins lying around the floor. He gathered them up and put them in the handkerchief, knelt down and prayed silently, and then threw the coin up in the air. He watched them all hit the ground, frowned, and gathered his coin back into the handkerchief and repeated throwing them up in the air. His mom opened the door and asked him what in the world he was doing. The little boy replied, “We learned in Sunday School today that we should give money to God for an offering. I forgot to bring mine today I figured I’d come home and throw mine in the air, and God would catch whatever He needed and I could keep the rest, but He hasn’t caught any yet!” As cute as that story is, it does highlight one of the common misconceptions about giving as an act of worship.