Monday, April 2, 2012

The Tithe: "I'm Loving It"

I received so many comments after addressing the biblical subject of tithing from last Sunday’s sermon. Even some emails were sent this week which expressed people’s strong convictions regarding obedience-level giving according to what God’s Word teaches in both Old and New Testaments.

The most common statement that I have heard through the years from opponents of tithing is that we live under the New Testament which is under grace and that we are not under the law. Their assumption is that the act of tithing, (giving a tenth of their income to God) was only under Old Testament Law. Proverbs 3:9, 10 tells us to “honor the Lord with your wealth, and the best part of everything you produce; then He will fill your barns with grain, and your vats will overflow with good wine.” NLT

The truth concerning all giving is that God receives honor and blesses His people when they recognize Him as their source for all that they have and when they give Him the best part of everything they produce. Tithes and offerings were an expression of honoring God for all of His provisions and protection He afforded to His people. Malachi 3:8-12 is an appeal from God for Judah to return back to the covenant relationship He had with them so He could prove His faithfulness to His covenant promises toward them. The curse that was upon the nations produce (crops) from insects and disease would be broken by their obedience to return to the covenant of giving their tithes and offerings back to God. God would then rebuke the devourer and once again bring yields of produce and prosperity which would show the nations that God’s favor was upon Israel.

Today in American churches statistics reveal that Christians give an average of 2.5% of their income to their local church. This explains why so many ministries are under-resourced and church budgets are so limited in doing the work of the Kingdom. Could this lack of bringing honor to God through our giving be part of the curse that is bringing America to it’s knees financially? I believe that individually we can see the devourer rebuked in our lives if we become faithful to God’s covenant of tithes and offerings to advance His Kingdom!

New Testament Tithing - Jesus addressed the religious leaders in Matthew 23:23 that their liberty under grace should produce tithing, justice, mercy, and faith. Hebrews 7:8,9 says that Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedec whose priestly office would last forever and would be unchangeable. (Hebrews 7:24) We who are not Jews are also to walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham. (Romans 4:12, 16) Tithing was an act of faith for Abraham, and still is for us today! 

- Pastor Virgil Amundson