I. The way a Christian conducts his affairs in the area of mammon says much about his character.
A. Our giving rests upon the foundation of Christ's gift. 2CO 8:9.
B. Under the law, a specific amount was commanded to be set aside for God.
1. There was a tithe each year for the Levite. NUM 18:21.
2. There was also an annual tithe for feasts of worship. DEU 14:22-27.
3. There was also a tithe every third year for the Levite and the poor. DEU 14:28-29.
4. Israel was obliged to give about 23-1/3% annually in tithes.
5. There were also soul offerings, freewill offerings, sacrifices, vows, etc.
C. Under the N.T., a different principle applies. 1CO 16:1-2; 2CO 9:7; ACT 11:28-29.
1. A personal fund instead of a central treasury is best: “...lay by him...” (1CO 16:2).
Scripture supports the individual’s power of decision in giving.
MAR 14:7; ACT 5:1-4.
2. “...in store...” (1CO 16:2) and “Every man according as he purposeth in his
heart...” (2CO 9:7) as opposed to an amount mandated by law or a corporate
policy, and as opposed to unplanned spastic giving. 2CO 9:2; 1TI 6:18.
3. “...every man according to his ability...” (ACT 11:29) for God honors sincere
efforts, large or small. MAR 12:41-44; 14:8; ACT 3:6.
4. HEB 7:2 is not a proof of a N.T. tithing requirement. c/w GEN 14:20.
a. If a tenth is “law,” then giving less or giving more would be wrong. DEU 4:2; 1CO 11:2.
b. Abraham gave a tenth of the spoils once. HEB 7:4.
c. This passage is meant to show the superiority of Melchisedec, not that
Christians are bound by a tithing example of Abraham. HEB 7:4-10.
d. You are not in trouble with God if you decide to give Him a tenth/tithe
unless you fudge on what you have promised or if you make this into a law
is a common ministry in which all saints participate. 2CO 8:4; 9:1.
that binds others. ECC 5:4-5; JAM 4:11-12.
should come from the firstfruits, not the leftovers or discards. GEN 4:4; PRO 3:9.
1. firstfruit: The fruits first gathered in a season; the earliest products of the soil; esp.
with reference to the custom of making offerings of these to God or the gods. 2. transf. and fig. The earliest products, results, or issues of anything; the first products of a man's work or endeavour.
2. Our first bill due is God’s cut.
F. Give from current resources as able. LUK 11:41; 2CO 8:11-12.
G. Give willingly, generously and cheerfully. 1CO 16:3; 2CO 8:12; 9:6-7.
H. Poverty is not an excuse to give nothing. MAR 12:41-44; 2CO 8:1-4.
I. Give without self-promotion (1CO 13:3-5; MAT 6:1-4). The lack of a tax benefit is a
poor excuse to not give.
J. Giving is a sacrifice which pleases God. HEB 13:16.
III. God commands us to give for:
A. the support of the ministry. 1CO 9:13-14; GAL 6:6; 1TI 5:17-18.
B. the relief of the genuinely poor. DEU 15:7-8; GAL 2:10.
1. Things “needful to the body” are our obligation. JAM 2:15-16.
2. Charitable relief beyond that is optional at our discretion, governed by the law,
should be proportional from the increase. PRO 3:9; 1CO 16:2.
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“...Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (ROM 13:9).
3. Folly should not be subsidized. PRO 1:32; 2TH 3:10.
4. The order of priority in charitable relief is:
a. the needy within one’s own family. 1TI 5:4, 8.
b. the needy within one’s own church, especially destitute widows and
orphans. GAL 6:10; JAM 1:27.
c. the needy in other churches of like precious faith. ACT 11:29.
d. the needy outside the faith as opportunity is presented. GAL 6:10.
e. other godly support as wisdom and discretion direct.
IV. Avoid muddy thinking. Think according to the two great commandments. MAR 12:29-31.
A. “I can’t afford to give.” Ans. You can’t afford not to give. Don’t accuse God of error.
B. “I’d like to help him/her but I already gave my ‘tithe’ to the church.” Ans. Dig deeper,
and consider Paul’s wisdom. 1CO 16:2.
C. “I just don’t think of my giving as an obligation.” Ans. Do you think of other obligations
that way: mortgage, utilities, taxes, etc.?
D. “Others will pick up the tab.” Ans. What if they think the same? This is covetousness.
E. “God will just make things work out if I don’t give.” Ans. This is magical thinking, not
the godly obedience of faith.
E. Concerning ministerial support:
1. “The pastor is supposed to follow Paul who opted not to receive support in 1CO 9:12-15.”
a. It was his option, and one he later regretted (2CO 11:7-8; 12:13). He had deprived them of a blessing. ACT 20:35.
b. Paul had no wife or children to support.
2. “The pastor is supposed to be prepared to work an extra job like Paul (ACT 20:34)
so I should scale down my support.”
a. Maybe the pastor should work two or three other jobs and then you won’t
have to support him at all?
b. Would you work for an employer who treated you this way?
3. “The pastor seems to be getting ahead in life so I will cut back my support.”
a. What if the pastor has other revenue that he uses?
b. So you want to penalize sagacity and success?
c. Would you work for an employer who treated you this way?
4. “The pastor’s wife works so I can scale back my support accordingly.”
a. Maybe if she worked two or three jobs you could stop support entirely? b. Would you work for an employer who thought like this?
5. “I support the pastor when I remember or feel like it.”
a. How does your mortgage or utility company feel about this approach? b. Would you work for an employer who thought like this?
V. Failure in giving is generally owing to a lack of faith: one doesn’t genuinely believe the promises of blessing or cursing in this matter.
A. God promises to judge those who fudge. HAG 1:4-11; MAL 3:8-9; 2CO 9:6.
B. God promises to bless those who give. MAL 3:10; PRO 3:10; MAT 6:33; LUK 6:38.
C. (1SAM 2:30) Wherefore the LORD God of Israel saith, I said indeed that thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before me for ever: but now the LORD saith, Be it far from me; for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.
D. (2CO 9:15) Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.
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