FIVE QUESTIONS I MUST ASK MYSELF
I have preached several sermons in a row about salvation. Six of my last nine sermons have dealt directly with scripture texts that relate to God giving His Son for our Salvation. No-one has complained to me about preaching several sermons in a row about salvation. Why is that so?
Complaints are always given when I preach sermons on consecutive Sundays about giving. Why is that so? It is my opinion that there are some selfish people who don't mind hearing about God's gifts, but don't want to hear about their responsibility to give.
Concerning this matter of financial stewardship there are five questions I must ask myself. You should also ask yourself these questions. They are:
Can I be an obedient Christian and not be a tither?
Can I be an honest Christian and not be a tither?
Can I be a loving Christian and not tithe?
Can I demonstrate my gratitude and not be a tither?
Can I demonstrate my faith and not be a tither?
Please follow as these thoughts are developed from the text and supportive
I. QUESTION ONE: CAN I BE AN OBEDIENT CHRISTIAN
AND NOT TITHE? v. 10
The plain command of verse 10 is: bring the tithe into the 'storehouse.' The Old Testament child of God heard His clear call. They had to make a decision to obey or not to obey. In the New Testament Jesus said, "For you tithe mint and dill and cummin. . .these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others." Mt. 23:23 The people in the New Testament times knew the approval of Jesus concerning the tithe. They had a choice to obey or disobey. Today I have the Old and New Testaments. My vote must be cast. Do I receive the Word of God or reject it?
If I received the Word of God and act upon it, I am obedient. If I hear the Word of God, understand it and refuse to act upon it, I am disobedient.
Notice what Paul writes in I Cor. 16:2 "Upon the first day of the week let everyone of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him.' What proportion did he mean? These folks only had the Old Testament, so it had to be a minimum of a tithe. Today if you make $500.00 a week, should you give $5 or $15? No! The minimum is $50.00.
Some want to toot a horn that says the tithe is really an Old Testament law. If you buy that idea, it shows how ignorant you are about Biblical truth. There are ceremonial laws in the old Testament that have been eliminated. Tithing is not ceremonial law but moral law. But Abraham and Jacob tithed before the law, so tithing is an eternal principle.
Also please note that the scriptures are clear in telling us when laws are eliminated. The law required an animal sacrifice but that is clearly changed. The Bible never eliminates tithing. Do you?
A missionary tells a story of the importance of obedience. One day he was sitting in his back yard. His son was playing in a tree. The father saw a deadly snake moving towards his son. He told his son, "drop to the ground and run towards me as fast as you can." The boy obeyed immediately. When he got to his father he saw the result of his obedience. The snake would have bitten him if he had not obeyed his father's command.
Has the snake of disobedience bitten you? You may even have been bitten by the snake of greed. You cannot be an Obedient Christian and refuse to tithe. Please notice question two.
II. QUESTION TWO: CAN I BE AN HONEST CHRISTIAN
AND NOT BE A TITHER? vs 8 & 9.
Notice that God states, "You have robbed me in tithes and offerings." Being a thief is not living honestly. Thieves are not trustworthy; they are dishonest. Honesty requires one to give the tithes and offerings
The ten commandments are still in force. One of them says, "Thou shalt not steal." That law of God is eternal. It can relate to the tithe because God accused His people of robbing Him. Therefore, they were stealing from God which is an act of dishonesty against God.
About a year ago some ladies in the choir had money taken from their purses. This took place while they were in the choir. They had left their purses in the choir room. They felt surely they were safe in a church. But as bad as that is, it is worse to steal from God. If you don't tithe, you are not an honest Christian.
Yesterday several of us attended an auction at a public school. Bids were made on a slip of paper attached to the items available. At 12:00 noon, the bidding ended. But I saw a lady start to write something after the time had been called. I told her she couldn't do that. She said, 'Can't I just write my name?" I said, "Yes, I guess you can do that." She then signed her name and started to make another bid. I told her, "Stop that. The man said bidding is ended."
You see, she was being dishonest. She was going to steal from some other
bidder. She wasn't going to play by the rules. God has rules for his children
and one of them is "bring all the tithes into the storehouse." I can't
be an honest Christian and refuse to tithe. Neither can you. Now notice
III. QUESTION THREE: CAN I BE A LOVING
AND NOT BE A TITHER? John 14:15
The greatest and purest motive for doing good is love. Real love for the Lord, His Work, and the lost of our world, will cause a person to tithe. The Lord said in John 14:15, "If a man loves me, He will keep my words." His commands include tithing.
Threats will not really make a child obey his parents. But if love is communicated in the home and a request is made of the child, he will be much more eager to fulfill that request. Love motivates more than just stern orders. Love makes it easy to give.
In the Old Testament Abraham gave a tithe. Jacob gave a tithe. Surely all the leading characters gave unto the Lord tithes and offerings. We can conclude from the words of Jesus in John 14:15 that they loved the Lord. Should we love less than they? Do you think an Old Testament believer without the grace you and I have received should give more than us? Surely our motive for giving ought to be greater.
But when love waxed cold, then the people robbed God. Robbery always
indicates a love for self more than the love of God or others. I cannot
be a loving Christian and refuse to tithe. Can you? Please follow as we
notice Question four.
IV. QUESTION FOUR: CAN I SHOW MY CHRISTIAN
AND REFUSE TO TITHE? v 10
The Lord promises to pour out a blessing to those who honor Him with the tithe. Paul says in Rom. 12:1. "I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present yourselves a living and holy sacrifice. . ." Gratitude should pour from the heart, mind and spirit of a Christian. We have received great blessing in our salvation. We are promised more blessings in proportion to our faithfulness. Surely out of gratitude we should pay the tithe.
We sing a song about counting your blessings. It says, "Count your blessings, name them one by one, Count your blessings, see what God hath done, Count your blessings, name them one by one. . .And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done."
Jacob promised to give a tithe unto the Lord if He blessed him. A little
later in his life he wrestled with the Lord. Jacob said, "I will not let
you go unless you bless me." The Lord blessed him and Jacob continued to
tithe. Has the Lord blessed you? Then out of gratitude you ought to tithe.
Now analyze the fifth question.
V. QUESTION FIVE: CAN I SHOW MY FAITH AND NOT BE A TITHER? v. 10
God makes all of the believer's life one of faith. In the text He calls on His people to prove Him. He wants to be put to the test but it takes faith in Him on the part of the believer.
If I claim to be a Christian and I don't tithe, then it is because I lack faith. If one believes the Word of God they need to act upon it. If they don't act, it indicates they don't believe. Do you believe God will do what He said He will do? He says He will bless the tither.
Jesus said, "Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you. He also said in Luke 6:38, "Give, and it shall be given unto you, good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye measure." Notice the verse said, "For with the same measure that ye measure." Some people seem to have a teacup religion. Occasionally someone has said, "I wish God would bless me like he blesses you. Friend, I come to the Lord with a punch bowl, not a teacup. (I'm challenged to come to Him with a 10 gallon tub.) But you and I are going to receive by faith if we receive.
If I don't tithe it indicates my lack of faith and my doubt of God's
Word. What about you? Years ago my mother explained tithing this way. She
said, "Son, which would you rather have $100.00 without God's blessing,
or $90.00 with God's blessing?" It made sense then, and it makes even better
sense today because I have put my faith and trust in Him. How about you?
Some of you here today have never heard about tithing before and you needed to be educated about this matter. You may want to ask other questions. The fact that you have not been a tither many be my fault. I apologize for not telling you sooner. But now you must obey.
Some ladies can't tithe because their husbands won't let them. You are responsible only for your money. Tithe it pray for your husband's salvation.
Some of you stole from God this very day. You have not believed God's
Word and practiced it in this matter. You need to repent.
Friday I played golf with a man I had never met before. He related that he had by-pass surgery. He is a Catholic and in the hospital he asked for the crucifix to be taken off the wall for him to hold because he wanted to be as close to Jesus as he could be. I told him that was an interesting story but I believed it was necessary to get Jesus inside. I shared with him a word of testimony about inviting Jesus into your life.
I wonder this morning if some of you know Jesus as a historical figure
or a man in a book called the Bible. You need to recognize it is His desire
to come into your heart and life. You can't understand tithing until you
do. Trust Him today.