Should We Tithe?
OLD TESTAMENT TITHING vs NEW TESTAMENT GIVING
(By: Dr. Charles Halff, Executive Director, (Christian Jew Foundation)
How much should a Christian give? When should he or she give? Where should he or she give? Does a believer in Christ have to give anything at all? Is the local church God's storehouse? Is tithing required for this dispensation? These are some of the questions which we propose to answer as we bring this series of messages.
The Law of the Tithe
As we study the Bible, we find that the law of the tithe was given exclusively to the Jewish people. We must always be careful when we study God's Word to find out who is speaking, who is being spoken to and what is being spoken about. The reason why so many people don't understand their Bibles is that they've never learned how to "rightly divide the word of truth." - II Tim. 2:15.
God divides the whole human race into three distinct groups - the Jews, the Gentiles and the Church of God. Notice:
"Give none offense, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God." (I Cor. 10:32)
The Jews are those who are descended from Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the twelve tribes of Israel. All the other nations of the world are the Gentiles, the second mentioned class. Then there is the Church, which is that group of believers, both Jews and Gentiles, who by personal faith have received the Lord Jesus Christ and have been born from above.
The Jews are the only ones who were ever commanded to pay tithes. Notice:
"And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree . . . the tithe of the herd, or of the flock . . . the tenth shall be holy unto the Lord." - Lev. 27:30-32.
"Behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle of the congregation. Neither must the children of Israel henceforth come nigh the tabernacle of the congregation, lest they bear sin, and die. But the Levites shall do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they shall bear their iniquity: it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations, that among the children of Israel they have no inheritance . . . The tithes of the children of Israel which they offer as an heave offering unto the Lord, I have given to the Levites to inherit: therefore I have said unto them, Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance." (Numbers 18:21-24)
It's plain to see from these Scriptures that tithing was distinctly a Jewish command and practice. The Jews were to take one-tenth of all their corn, oil, barley, wine, cattle, and one-tenth of all their flocks and bring these things to the storehouse adjoining the temple.
Tribe of Levi Got the Tithe
The tithe was really the Jews' income tax (Many miss this). And the reason why God gave the tithing system to the Jews was in order to take care of the tribe of Levi. The tribe of Levi was the only tribe among the Jews who couldn't own any land. They were not allowed to cultivate any land. They couldn't engage in any kind of business. Their job was to take care of the temple service and administer spiritual things for the Jewish people. The Levites were to receive the tithe because of their job of serving in the temple and because they were the special servants of the Lord. They were to serve the Lord full time. Now the Jews had to pay their tithes regularly each year in order to take care of this one tribe of Levi. (Numbers 18:21-24)
I don't know if you have any Cohen's in your city, but if you live in a city of any size, you will probably find some Cohen's listed in the telephone book. Well, the Cohen family really stems from the high priestly family of the Levites. And when the division of land was made among the twelve tribes, the Levites didn't get anything. You see - God said to the tribe of Levi, "I am going to be your inheritance." They were to be in full time service for the Lord, so to speak. How would they be supported? Well, how do we support our President, our senators, our representatives, and our Police Departments? Everyone knows the answer. By taxes. Well, that's the way the children of Israel were to take care of the tribe of Levi.
In Hebrews 7:5 we have this enlightening truth. If you will turn with me to Hebrews, the seventh chapter, I will show you that the Levitical priests were the only ones who were allowed to receive tithes. Notice:
"Verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law." - Heb. 7:5.
Beloved, did you catch that? The Bible says here that the Levitical priests were the only ones ever given authority to take tithes from the people. Their duty under the law was to offer up dead sacrifices daily for the sins of the people. (Numbers 18:21-32) That was under the law. But now under grace, Christ is our high priest and all born again believers are priests of a royal priesthood. The Word of God says in I Peter 2:5 that we are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, and we are to offer up our bodies as a living sacrifice. The Levites offered up dead sacrifices, but today we are called upon to offer up our bodies as living sacrifices to the Lord Jesus Christ who loved us and redeemed us by His own precious blood.
What About the Storehouse?
No doubt many of you have heard it said at some time or other, that the local church is the storehouse. Many preachers have made it a hobby to preach on Malachi 3:9,10 to scare people into giving all their money to the local church. Now I would like to discuss this Scripture with you.
"Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. 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." (Mal. 8:9,10)
Those who "beat the drums" for tithing use this verse more than any other. In fact, this Scripture has been so worked to death that very few people have ever studied it in the light of its context. Now first of all, please notice that this Scripture has no reference to the church - the body of Christ. God is speaking here to the Jews, as the first verse of the book clearly shows. When you study your Bibles, you must find out to whom God is speaking and what God is speaking about. Now God is speaking here to our Jewish people in regard to a literal storehouse, a warehouse into which Israel brought tithes of food for the use of the priests and Levites.
Notice what God says, "Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation." By the way, when Malachi wrote this Scripture - when God spoke this to our Jewish people - they were in a terribly backslidden condition. God even had to make a bargain with the Jews and tell them that if they would tithe, He would give them rain from heaven and bless the land physically. But we don't have to bargain with God today, because the Bible says in Ephesians 1:3 that "we are blessed with all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus."
Now in view of these facts, how can anyone take this passage of Scripture and apply it to the church? This has no more reference to the church than the command to offer up animal sacrifices. The Jews were told to "bring all their tithes into the storehouse." And the storehouse adjoined the temple at Jerusalem where the Jews brought their field produce and flocks. There is no storehouse in this dispensation of grace. There is no tribe of Levi today to receive tithes. The temple at Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 AD when Titus and his Roman Army came into Jerusalem and scattered the Jews to the four corners of the earth.
It's surprising how many people have been influenced by pastors who have taken this one Scripture out of its context, Malachi 3:10, where God said to the Jews, "bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse." And these preachers have told their congregations that their churches constitute the storehouse. Oh, these people will tune into our broadcast and they'll receive rich spiritual blessing, but they won't support our program because they've been taught that the church is the storehouse and that all money must be given to the local church. They fail to see that this command was given to the Jews under the law.
Many pastors terrify their people and threaten them with horrible judgments. They say, "If you don't tithe, God will cause you to have sickness, doctor and hospital bills. If you don't pay that which belongs to God, you will have trouble, pestilence, loss of job, loss of money, poverty and other misfortunes." To prove their point they open the Bible and read the Old Testament Law in Malachi, and in the book of Deuteronomy. What pathetic jumbling of the Word of God!
We Are Not Under Law, But Grace
Remember this: All the curses and penalties of the law were abolished, ended, and done away with when Christ was "made a curse for us." (Gal. 3:13) The laws of Moses are dead, finished, and disannulled as weak and unprofitable. Heb. 7:18-19. No man is justified by doing the works of the law. (Gal. 3:11) But we are justified by faith in Christ. (Gal. 3:24) Paul declares, "We are not under law, but under grace." (Rom. 6:14 and Gal. 5:18)
Salvation and eternal life are FREE without money or price. (Isa. 55: 1) We don't give to be saved. We give because we are saved, and because we want others to be saved.
Here is the plain simple truth about giving to the Lord's work. In Old Testament times our Lord expressed His will by the tithing law. Disobedience brought punishment.
Under grace our Lord expresses His will, not by law, but in plain simple statements. Then He promises rewards to those who obey His will.
Failure to tithe under law brought wrath. Failure to give liberally under grace brings no rewards.
Here it is in a nutshell: Failure to tithe under law brought wrath. Failure to give liberally under grace brings no rewards.
Since there is no law or commandments to tithe today, don't you think that it is cruel, unjust and unrighteous to inject fear, to abuse and intimidate Christians because they don't tithe? Don't you think that it is plain iniquity to threaten them with dreadful calamities?
Many claim that the Old Testament tithing law is permanent, but that is not true. The Apostle Paul makes it crystal clear that the tithing law was nailed to the cross along with all the rest of the Mosaic laws when Jesus died at Calvary. Notice:
"Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross." (Col. 2:14)
In Malachi 3:7,14 we find that God refers to tithing as an "ordinance," but here we have the clear-cut statement that Christ "blotted out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross." In other words, the ordinance of tithing was abolished at the cross of Calvary with the rest of the Jewish law. Could anything be plainer?
God's Word forbids us to mix law and grace. (See: Col. 2:16 and Gal. 6:1.) Under law, men paid tithes because of fear. Under grace men give because they love the Lord Jesus and His Gospel. Under law the people gave because they had to. Under grace they give because they want to. That is, the Holy Spirit in men causes them to be willing and eager to give. (See: Rom. 8:4 and Heb. 8:10)
Therefore, in order to raise large sums of money to carry on our work we simply do not depend on men. Neither do we carry any feeling of resentment against those who do not tithe. Instead of depending on men, we look to the Lord; that is, we believe that His Spirit in men will cause them to support our work. (See: Heb. 10: 16)
Is the Church the Storehouse?
Nowhere in the Bible are we told that the church is the storehouse. Beloved, I challenge you to find one Scripture in the Word of God, which says that the church is the storehouse. If the church were the storehouse it would rule out any faith work such as this radio ministry, because we have never yet found a church which would sponsor and support our ministry 100%. If the storehouse tithing enthusiasts had their way there would be no Back to the Bible Broadcast, no Radio Bible Class, no Prisoner's Bible Broadcast, no Morning Chapel Hour or any other independent radio ministry. There would have been no Hudson Taylor, there would have been no David Livingstone, and there would have been no William Carey.
I say again, beloved, if I had to depend upon any local church for support I would have gone off the radio long ago. But God has raised up the radio ministry to reach countless thousands who would never be reached by the local church.
Let's remember that we are not here, as God's children, to forward the interest of any denomination. We are not here to build up big million dollar churches. It's our job to magnify the Lord Jesus Christ and to bear witness of Him. (Acts 1:8) You can support any work that glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ and magnifies His Name, and God will bless you for it. I personally believe that if pastors would be more unselfish, their own personal needs would be more abundantly supplied. Let's remember that we are one body and we are supposed to have one interest - the salvation of the lost. I am for every preacher and every servant of God who is faithfully preaching the Book, the Blood, and the Blessed Hope. They are all worthy of our support.
A Bomb on Tithing
There are two or three more Scriptures on tithing that I would like to discuss with you. I wish that I could get every storehouse-tithing enthusiast to read Deuteronomy 14:22-26.
Please notice: "Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year. And thou shalt eat before the Lord thy God, in the place which He shall choose to place His name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the Lord thy God always. And if the way be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it; or if the place be too far from thee, which the Lord thy God shall choose to set His name there, when the Lord thy God hath blessed thee:
"Then shalt thou turn it into money, and bind up the money in thine hands, and shalt go unto the place which the Lord thy God shall choose: And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the Lord thy God and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household."
I am sure that you can see the mischief which results when one tries to mix the covenant of Law with the liberty of Grace. This Scripture says that the Jew could spend his tithe "for wine or for strong drink." The storehouse tithing enthusiast will find himself in a pretty bad shape if he tries to live by this Scripture, for these verses plainly tell us that the Jews could spend their tithes on beer and whiskey. Anyone should be able to see that these instructions were given to Israel long before the full revelation of Christian living was given to the Church through the Apostle Paul. How necessary it is that God's people learn to "rightly divide the word of truth." (See: 2 Tim. 2:15.)
Jesus and Tithing
We have only three places recorded where the Lord Jesus ever mentioned tithing - Matt. 23:23, Luke 11:42 and Luke 18:9-12. In every instance the Lord Jesus was speaking to the unbelieving Pharisees - those who were under the law.
In Matthew 23:23 Jesus said: "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of THE LAW, judgment, mercy, and faith; these ought ye to have done and not to leave the other undone." You will notice in this passage that Christ was speaking to the Pharisees, and He told them that under the law their obligations were greater than just paying tithes.
Why did Jesus say that the unsaved Pharisees should practice tithing? Because they were under the LAW, and the law commanded it.
However, Jesus never said one word about tithing when speaking to His disciples. Now is it right to take what Jesus said to unbelieving Pharisees (those who were under the law) and apply the same to those who are under grace? Isn't this a little illogical?
There is not one Scripture where Christ ever enjoined tithing on born again believers. Christ nowhere taught His disciples to observe tithing. Tithing was for the disciples of Moses, not for the disciples of Christ. (See: John 1:17.)
We must always be careful as we study the Word of God to ascertain whether God is speaking to people under Law or under Grace. It certainly is wrong to apply that which is written for the Jew to the Church of God, and yet that is exactly what most of these people do who advocate storehouse tithing.
The Law which the Christian should be concerned about is the Law of Love, not the Law of Moses. We're under the Law of Love when we're saved and this comprehends all laws which man should keep. (Romans 13:10, Gal. 5:14, John 13:34, Matt. 22:37-39)
In Genesis 14:20 we read where Abraham gave tithes to Melchizedek, the high priest of Salem. One of the main arguments used by those who teach that tithing is for today is that Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek before the Law of Moses was given, and therefore, we ought to pay them too. But those who use this argument fail to realize several things:
(a) Abraham's tithing to Melchizedek was a freewill act, without any request on God's part that he should do it.
(b) His "tithe" was not brought to any "storehouse" or Sanctuary. (See Genesis 14:17-24)
(c) Abraham was 80 years of age before he tithed, and it is not recorded that he ever tithed again.
(d) Abraham was not given any promise of "blessing" for his tithing to Melchizedek.
Incidentally, Abraham's tithe consisted of spoils of war. (See: Genesis 14:16) He had just won a battle over his enemies. If we're going to do everything that Abraham did, we will have to kill some cattle, some sheep, some goats, and burn them as a burnt offering to God. We do not have to go back to Abraham's tithing to learn how to give in this dispensation of grace. Today we find our instructions for giving in I Corinthians 16:1,2; II Corinthians 8:2-4 and 9:7.
Many preachers say that we should prove or test God, because we are told in Malachi 3:10, "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." Again, all we have to do is find out to whom God is speaking. Is He speaking to the Jew, the Gentile, or the Church of God? (See: I Cor. 10:32) Just read Malachi 1:1 and you will see that God is definitely writing to Israel.
But are we to prove or test God today? Absolutely not. Today the Lord says that we as members of the Body of Christ are "blessed with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies in Christ." (Eph. 1:3) We are to trust God, not test God. Malachi 3 was written to Israel after the Jews had turned away from God - when they were not trusting His faithfulness. When Israel was in the favor of God, the Lord told them, "Ye shall not tempt (or prove) the Lord your God." (See: Deut. 6:16)
We are not to bargain with God. In this age of Grace we have something so much better than Israel had in the age of Law. Today we have the precious indwelling of the Spirit and the full revelation of God as revealed in His Word, the Bible. We are living on this side of the cross. We are living on resurrection ground. The Jews lived on types and shadows. Today we have the reality, Christ Himself. The reality is better than the symbol; the substance is better than the shadow.
Regardless of whether we prosper in this world or not this is not the main thing. Earthly prosperity is not guaranteed to every Christian. Many very worldly people prosper in business, but we, as Christians are to seek those divine blessings and promises, which are under the New Covenant.
Tithing Is Good - If...
I certainly am not opposing anyone giving a tithe of his income, if they tithe of their own free will and not by law. Most of us should give much more than a tithe, and with many of us tithing is entirely too little. But, whether we give a tithe or more than a tithe, it must not be by LAW, for we are not under the LAW. The law that contained tithing has been done away. (See: Col. 2:14-17)
New Testament Giving
The subject of giving is clearly brought out in the New Testament and there is no excuse for anyone to resort to the Old Testament and the law to teach how we should give. Now let's look at the New Testament principles of giving. Let us consider some portions of Scripture that establish the norms for our financial stewardship in this dispensation of grace.
Christian Giving Should Be Done Secretly
In regard to Christians' "giving," the Lord Jesus admonished that it should be done with discretion or secretly..."when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth." (Matt. 6:3)
Giving by means of "tithing" is the very opposite of this. You have to count it, speak of it, make it known, and quite a number of people will become aware how much one earns and how much one is giving. The entire system of tithing is linked up with other things, which are not in the spirit of New Testament teaching.
Christian Giving Is A Personal Matter
"Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come." (I Cor. 16:2)
This Scripture is very plain in telling us that giving is a personal matter. Notice the phrase, "let every one of you . . . " Let every one of you - father, mother, son and children do his own giving. Each one of us must do our own repenting, each one of us must do our own praying, each one of us must do our own dying, and each one of us must do our own giving.
Neither preacher nor leader in the church has any right to dictate or tell you how much to give or where you should give. That is strictly between you and the Lord. It is nobody's business where or how much you give. The Holy Spirit will lead you in your giving if you will seek His guidance.
Christian Giving Should Be Proportionate
Christian giving should be proportionate. Notice the expression, "let every one of you lay by him as God hath prospered him." How plain! How simple! Paul answers the all-important question of how much we should give to the Lord in just five terse words, "as God hath prospered him."
There are some Christians like Mr. LeTourneau who can give 90% to the Lord's work. Others can give 50%. Some can give 20% or 10%. There are some poor widows and pensioners who are only able to give a bare mite or nothing at all.
This is "proportionate giving" or as the Holy Spirit puts it, "according as God hath prospered you."
Christian Giving Should Be Voluntary
Born again believers should be ready and willing to give at all times - wherever the Holy Spirit shows us there is a need. Going back to I Corinthians 16:1-2 we have a good example of this kind of giving. The Apostle Paul said, "Now concerning the COLLECTION FOR THE SAINTS ... upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him . . ." This was a special offering to help the poor saints at Jerusalem. It was an emergency or relief offering. And Paul urged each Corinthian believer to lay aside so much money according "as God hath prospered him" so that there would be enough money on hand to help these poor saints when he came to the church.
I have heard some preachers use this passage to justify storehouse tithing, but actually it teaches just the opposite. Paul said, "Let every one of you lay by himself in store."
The Apostle did not tell them to place their offerings into a church treasury. Instead, each believer was to lay by, or store, a portion of his week's income until the time came to send it to the poor saints at Jerusalem.
Let us realize once and for all that there is no church storehouse in this dispensation of grace. Rather, each believer has his own storehouse and is his own storekeeper.
Christian Giving Must Be Spirit-Directed
In Galatians 5:18 we read, "If ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law." Now we know according to Matt. 23:23, Heb. 7:5 and Lev. 27:30-34 that tithing was a part of the law. It was a part of the old covenant that was done away in Christ. Now when people put themselves under the law of tithing, (a system that was weak and unprofitable according to Heb. 7:18) they are not being led of the Spirit.
In this dispensation of grace all of our giving must be Spirit-directed. Listen to this quotation from the Amplified New Testament. "But NOW we are discharged from the LAW and have terminated all intercourse with it, having died to what ONCE RESTRAINED us and held us captive. So NOW we serve not under (obedience to) the old code of written regulations, but (under obedience to the promptings) of the Spirit in newness (of life)." (Rom. 7:6)
Beloved, the law is not our standard of living today. Today it is no longer what the law requires, but what the Spirit would have us to do. To try to practice tithing is to go back to that which held Israel in bondage. It is the exact opposite of serving God in the NEWNESS OF THE SPIRIT.
There is nothing in the Bible, which tells the sons of God how much they are to give. That is left up to each believer and the leadership of the Spirit. "Let every one (give) as he has made up his mind and purposed in his heart, not reluctantly or sorrowfully or under compulsion." (See: 2 Cor. 9:7. Amplified Translation)
By all means give to the Lord's cause. Give all you can. But in all your giving ignore the law, its terms, decrees and demands. They were nailed to the cross and completely wiped away by the death of Christ. (See: Col. 2:13-14)
Let us no longer listen to the law or any of its decrees. Christ forever made us free from all that. But let us yield ourselves in humble submission to the Spirit of God, and He will lead us in all our giving, and in every thought and deed. There is no other way to have victory over the flesh with all its pride, its greed, its love for pleasure, its desire to satisfy self and all its longings. It is the only way to conquer all fleshly desires and habits. Victory can never come through listening to the law and its demands. It can only come through absolute surrender to the Spirit of God to let Him lead us in all our service, deeds, thoughts and actions. "Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh." (Gal. 5:16)
We need more Spirit-led giving and less law-led and preacher-led giving. Spirit-led giving always honors God -and promotes Scriptural things. Let the Spirit lead you in your giving and you will never go wrong.
Christian Giving Must Be Done Willingly
We are not to give to ease our conscience. We are not to give because we feel that we have to give. We are not to give to make a name for ourselves. We are not to give because others give. Rather, the born again believer gives because he loves the Lord and because of what Christ has done for him.
Listen to this enlightening Scripture: "For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to what he hath not." (II Cor. 8:12) Herein is the supreme difference between giving under law and giving under grace. Grace is undeserved, unmerited favor bestowed on sinful man because God so loved that He gave. Similarly, the only gift that God accepts in this age of grace is that which comes from the heart constrained by this same love. Any gift tarnished or cheapened by any other motive is unacceptable. God asks and wants no more than what we will give willingly.
Christian Giving Should Be Done Cheerfully
If we have the right motive in giving, God is going to bless us. What is the right motive? Listen to the Word of God.
"Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver." (2 Cor. 9:7)
Unless our contributions come from a willing heart, we need not expect to receive a blessing as a result of our giving. If we give grudgingly and reluctantly, how can we expect God to accept it in the same way as He does a cheerful contribution? Do not forget that God sees the heart, and he knows the attitude in which you give.
I heard the story of a man who felt around in his pocket on Sunday morning to find a penny. He thought he had found one, and quickly dropped it into the offering plate. After he reached home, to his surprise, he found that he had dropped in a ten-dollar gold piece instead of a penny. He said to his wife, "Well, it can't be helped now, and anyway, God will give me credit for my ten dollars." His wife answered, "You miser! God will give you credit for the penny you meant to put in." God sees the heart, He knows how you give, and He will bless you accordingly. Those who give cheerfully, from a heart of love, are those who are blessed in their soul from giving; those who give grudgingly, find it a painful operation to part with their money; therefore, a grievous wound is left in the soul, instead of God's blessing of joy and peace.
We can settle this whole question of money if we would realize once and for all that all of our money really belongs to God. When we are saved everything we have, including body, time and money belongs to Him who loved us and redeemed us with His own precious blood. That's why God's Word says, "Ye are not your own for ye are bought with a price." (I Cor. 6:19,20) God says, "The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts." (Hag. 2:8)
He also says, "For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills." (Psalms 50:10) I don't know where anyone gets the idea that only one-tenth of our money belongs to the Lord.
All that the child of God has belongs to God. What's the use of singing the song, "All to Jesus, I surrender all; all to Him I freely give" if we have the idea that only one tenth belongs to the Lord. We are just deceiving ourselves. Everything that we possess has been entrusted to us to be used for the glory of God. That includes our time, our talents, our minds, our business, our clothes, our bank accounts and everything we have. What a selfish idea that one-tenth belongs to the Lord and nine-tenths to us!
Liberal Giving Is God's Plan
When we compare the Old Testament teachings on giving with those in the New Testament, we find there is a vast difference. Under Old Testament law the people were forced to give. Under grace, a Christian gives because he loves to give.
Many times the question comes up, "How much should a believer give to the Lord?" Well, maybe you can give $5.00 a week, or maybe 50 cents is all you can give, but whatever the amount - God says "if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not." (2 Cor. 8:12) God not only considers what we give, but what we keep as well, and we are responsible to him for it all. He tells us too, that "he which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully." (2 Cor. 9:6)
Christian giving should not be done for the sake of reward, but God promises a reward to those who give liberally out of a heart of love. One who really loves the Savior and His work usually gives with a cheerful heart. It is just as natural for that person to give as it is for the sun to shine.
The Rewards for Giving
Actually, the human mind cannot grasp the greatness of the rewards that the Lord has for those who give all their time, work and talent to preach, teach, write and spread the Gospel. And those who support the Lord's work will actually receive a reward as great as those who do the Lord's work. (See: Matt. 10:41 and I Tim. 6:19)
What reward then does God promise to faithful givers? We find the answer in II Cor. 9:8,10: "And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: ... (Now He that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness."
Here God promises to the faithful giver, "bread for your food," that is, He will supply our needs. He promises "to multiply your seed sown." This refers to the "incorruptible" seed, "the Word of God" (I Pet. 1:23), and it indicates that God will give the faithful giver added opportunities for sowing the Word. He promises also to "increase the fruits of your righteousness." This shows that cheerful and faithful giving will enrich our spiritual lives now, but it also looks forward to the future. The faithful giver is laying up fruit in Heaven, to be received in reward at the Judgment Seat of Christ, when the Lord comes. Then we shall be rewarded, not only for our giving, but for all that we have done for our Lord.
Where Should We Give?
The Word of God makes it plain that we should give our gifts and offerings to those who are sending forth the Word of God.
"Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things." (Gal. 6:6) The word "communicate" here means to share with. In other words, we are to share our money with those who are faithfully proclaiming the Word of God. Pastors, teachers, evangelists, missionaries, tract distributors and any other Christian workers who are faithfully giving out the Word of God are worthy of our support.
The Scripture says, "Let him that is taught in the word give unto him that teaches. . ." Plain and simple, isn't it? We are to give to those from whom we receive spiritual food, encouragement and comfort. If you are being taught by the pastor of your church, that is where you are receiving spiritual food and that is your first responsibility. If you're receiving spiritual food from a Gospel broadcast, then by all means support it. There are faith missions at home and abroad, rescue missions and many other Christian works, which are worthy of the support of God's people. Don't forget that these, as well as Gospel broadcasts, could not be carried on without the support of God's people.
We are living in the end of the church age, when the professing church as a whole has departed from God and His Word. We must remember this, and be very careful to give our money where it will be used to get out the Word of God in its purity.
If you are a child of God and you support a preacher who doesn't preach the Word of God, you're as guilty in the sight of God as he is. Any Christian who stays with a modernistic church and helps to support it is going to lose his reward. Notice:
"If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: for he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds." (I John 10, 11)
If your church is not giving you spiritual food or holding to the doctrine of Christ, God says that you should not be a partaker of their "evil deeds" by giving them His money. You should know the church you support. You should know the preacher you support.
In closing, let me say that there is no rule governing the giving of a Christian except that he is to give freely, liberally and cheerfully. So my dear friend, if you are born again, the God who called you and who saved you, will guide you as to where, when and how much to give. If you will pray about your giving, you will not go wrong and you will not lose your reward. All that God expects from us is a willing heart. As Christians, let us bear in mind the statement of our blessed Lord, "It is more blessed to give than to receive." (Acts 20:35)
Editorial note: Here is another writing by the Director Of Precious Testimonies about money and ministry that brings another perspective to those who are seeking answers about financial sowing into the Kingdom of God: TITHING INSIGHTS
STAFF NOTE: To read another insightful article written by THE CHRISTIAN JEW FOUNDATION on the subject of LAW and GRACE, see the article titled: BELIEVER AND THE LAW and an article the founding director of Precious Testimonies has authored titled:
Another writing I strongly recommend on the topics addressed in this writing:
The absolute best book I have ever read about money and giving is written by Evangelist James Robison. It is a treasure chest of insight and wisdom. I would encourage all to read it. The title of his book is: "TRUE PROSPERITY" ISBN # 1-4143-0029-8 (hc). Published by Tyndale House Publishers.
-- Norm Rasmussen, Founder, Precious Testimonies Evangelistic Ministries
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