Pastor Miles begin todays teaching about tithes by drawing a parallel to his marriage. Miles had Debbie have been married for 31 years, and there are certain things they do consistently to reinforce their love and strengthen their relationship. For example, every time they have been apart for the day or an extended period, they greet each other with a kiss. They regularly tell each other, “I love you,” and they seek romance with one another. Reinforcing their commitment and love for one another ensures that their marriage is blessed and strong. Otherwise, it might not be as good.
This type of giving is not a law, but a privilege and a pathway of blessing.
Because they are in love, they do these things willingly – not by law but by the heart (not out of obligation but by choice), the relationship remains strong.
Today we are talking about tithing, or the giving of 10% of your income to the church. This type of giving is not a law, but a privilege and a pathway of blessing. God may bless you if you don’t tithe, but there is an additional blessing to receive by freely giving back to God what is His. This is a sign of our trust in God.
1. A tithe is the first 10% of what you receive from God.
Before the Law
- Abraham: Genesis 14:18-20 (430 years)
- Jacob: Genesis 28:22 (400 years)
Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. And he blessed him and said:
“Blessed be Abram of God Most High,<,br>
Possessor of heaven and earth;
And blessed be God Most High,
Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.”
And he gave him a tithe of all.
After Abraham rescued Lot, before the law was given, tithing is introduced in the Bible.
In Old Testament Law: Leviticus 27:30
And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s. It is holy to the Lord.Leviticus 27:30
You may have heard it said that tithing is part of the Old Testament and no longer applies to us, but the whole Bible applies to us. God used the law of the Old Testament to establish the principles of order, health, safety, etc. – principles of holy living. Although the method of application is different under the New Testament, the Old Testament law still applies to us in spirit.
God wants us to tithe so that we can learn to be generous and remember from where our get our blessings.
After the Law: Matthew 23:23; Hebrews 7:8
Grace myth: I don’t have to do anything and I still get blessed.
Grace is a higher standard than the Law. The cross was never about 10%, but all of Jesus’ blood. God wants your entire heart.
You don’t have to tithe, just as you don’t have to do anything, but don’t think that just because God loves you unconditionally that he will bless what you do. Grace doesn’t mean you can not do something and still get the blessing as though you did it. Our actions still have consequences.
You may think you life is good because you are used to the level of blessing you have now, like letting your eyes adjust to the dark as you are reading and the sun is setting. When someone finally turns on the light, you can really see! But having become accustomed to the dark, you didn’t realize how much more light was available.
The law means “I have to”, grace means “I get to.”
If you consistently prayed 30 minutes every day, would your life be different? Of course it would! This doesn’t mean you aren’t blessed now, it just means that there is more blessing to experience.
2. Tithes were a source of blessing. They:
- Supported ministry.Malachi 3:8-10;
1 Corinthians 16:1-4
You may feel pretty good about your life now, but don’t you want to experience all God has for you? Would you like God to open up the windows of blessing for them to pour out on your life?
This doesn’t mean that money will fall from the sky, but that we can learn trust that you don’t need all the things we have in order to live fully and joyfully.
- secured a blessing on the 90% that the giver kept. Leviticus 27:30;
Deuteronomy 26:13-15; Romans 11:16
One of the reasons your marriage, finances, or job is not honored, may be because you haven’t honored God with it first. When we honor God with it first, then God offers more blessings on that which we keep.
3. Offerings are over and above a tithe. Exodus 34; 2 Chronicles 28-29
Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: “Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring Me an offering. From everyone who gives it willingly with his heart you shall take My offering. Exodus 25:1-2
Offerings are in addition to a 10% tithe and are to be used for special circumstances and special ministry projects.
4. A tithe was a sign of appreciation and trust because it actually belonged to and came from God.
Everything we have is God’s for his glory and we are called to honor Him with it.
5. A tithe is not giving, but returning.
6. Giving a tithe is a heart issue, not money issue.
Matthew 6:21: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Look at your checkbook – it reveals where your heart is.
Consider taking the tithe challenge this year because you want to invest in ministry and to take your relationship with God to the next level of trust and faith.