Sermon 8 Wilfred - What means giving of tithes?
Giving tithes is an issue for many believers. But the Bible is very clear. For example, let us see what the Bible says about giving tithes. There is actually no origin, for giving tithes was possibly a normal custom that is first described in Genesis 14. Lot, Abraham's cousin, lived in the sinful city of Sodom and all the inhabitants of this city were carried away in captivity. When Abraham heard this, he and his trained warriors followed them and defeated them.
Genesis 14:12 They also took Lot, the son of Abram's brother, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.
Genesis 14:15-16 Abraham and his forces defeated them and pursued them ... Then he brought back all the goods, and also brought back his kinsman Lot with his goods, and the women and the people.
Genesis 14:18-20 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine (remember the Holy Supper); he was priest of God Most High. And he blessed him and said, "Blessed be Abram by God Most High, maker of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!" And Abram gave him a tenth of everything..
Abraham brought the tithes of everything. Where possible it appears that this was normal use. This fact is repeated in Hebrews 7:1-4.
For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him; and to him Abraham apportioned a tenth part of everything. He is first, by translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then he is also king of Salem, that is, king of peace. He is without father or mother or genealogy, and has neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues a priest for ever (The Lord Jesus Christ). See how great he is! Abraham the patriarch gave him a tithe of the spoils.
This proves that it is also valid in New Testament terms.
So why is giving tithes valid for both unbelievers and believers?
It may be clear from the foregoing that it was a normal practice even before the institution by God and as giving "law" to Moses on Mount Sinai. Since it was normal practice, and it happened in those days by non-Israelites, by common people therefore by unbelievers. It is showing gratitude to God the Creator for giving rain on time and giving it the right time so that the food, the grain and rice grow well. The trees and vineyard give their fruits. It is mankind showing that God provides their daily food. But Wilfred there is so much hunger in the world, how do you explain that? Humans are responsible for the correct food distribution. Greed and environmental pollution cause natural disasters and destroys harvests. And how many unbelievers thank God for their daily food and give their tithes? So we cannot blame God for this.
How much is the tithe?
Yes, that is a good question, I have read that when you calculate the tenth according to the Torah you will come to approximately 33% of your wage. So someone who law-abiding gives his tithe and literally 10% of his or her wage, gives TOO LITTLE! Let that be a lesson or the person giving it law-abiding. Can you defend this high amount, yes, read Leviticus 27:30-34, Numbers 18:24-28, Numbers 29:1-11 and Ezekiel 45:14-17. We also find the gifts in Ezra and Nemehiah.
Lev. 27:30-34 "All the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the trees, is the LORD's; it is holy to the LORD. If a man wishes to redeem any of his tithe, he shall add a fifth to it. And all the tithe of herds and flocks, every tenth animal of all that pass under the herdsman's staff, shall be holy to the LORD. A man shall not inquire whether it is good or bad, neither shall he exchange it; and if he exchanges it, then both it and that for which it is exchanged shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed." These are the commandments which the LORD commanded Moses for the people of Israel on Mount Sinai.
Num. 18:24-28 For the tithe of the people of Israel, which they present as an offering to the LORD, I have given to the Levites for an inheritance; therefore I have said of them that they shall have no inheritance among the people of Israel." And the LORD said to Moses, "Moreover you shall say to the Levites, 'When you take from the people of Israel the tithe which I have given you from them for your inheritance, then you shall present an offering from it to the LORD, a tithe of the tithe. And your offering shall be reckoned to you as though it were the grain of the threshing floor, and as the fullness of the wine press. So shall you also present an offering to the LORD from all your tithes, which you receive from the people of Israel; and from it you shall give the LORD's offering to Aaron the priest.
Num 29:1-11 "On the first day of the seventh month you shall have a holy convocation; you shall do no laborious work. It is a day for you to blow the trumpets, and you shall offer a burnt offering, a pleasing odor to the LORD: one young bull, one ram, seven male lambs a year old without blemish; also their cereal offering of fine flour mixed with oil, three tenths of an ephah for the bull, two tenths for the ram, and one tenth for each of the seven lambs; with one male goat for a sin offering, to make atonement for you; besides the burnt offering of the new moon, and its cereal offering, and the continual burnt offering and its cereal offering, and their drink offering, according to the ordinance for them, a pleasing odor, an offering by fire to the LORD. "On the tenth day of this seventh month you shall have a holy convocation, and afflict yourselves; you shall do no work, but you shall offer a burnt offering to the LORD, a pleasing odor: one young bull, one ram, seven male lambs a year old; they shall be to you without blemish; and their cereal offering of fine flour mixed with oil, three tenths of an ephah for the bull, two tenths for the one ram, a tenth for each of the seven lambs: also one male goat for a sin offering, besides the sin offering of atonement, and the continual burnt offering and its cereal offering, and their drink offerings.
Ezekiel 45:14-17 And as the fixed portion of oil, one tenth of a bath from each cor (the cor, like the homer, contains ten baths); and one sheep from every flock of two hundred, from the families of Israel. This is the offering for cereal offerings, burnt offerings, and peace offerings, to make atonement for them, says the Lord GOD. All the people of the land shall give this offering to the prince in Israel. It shall be the prince's duty to furnish the burnt offerings, cereal offerings, and drink offerings, at the feasts, the new moons, and the sabbaths, all the appointed feasts of the house of Israel: he shall provide the sin offerings, cereal offerings, burnt offerings, and peace offerings, to make atonement for the house of Israel
These are proofs that in addition giving tithes to the Levites, and the Levites giving their tithes to the High Priest, the tithing implied more that this to the Levites. It was a tenth about the yield of the land, the harvest, the vineyard, the fruits of the trees, and there was a sacrifice for every first-born son and animal. That total brings it to around 33%.
Let us see what Jesus says in Luke 21:1-4
He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury; and he saw a poor widow put in two copper coins. And he said, "Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all the living that she had."
The poor widow showed her gratitude by throwing a large part of her living iton the treasury. The rich can easily pay 33% of their wealth. Jesus therefore praises the poor widow.
In 2 Cor. 9:5-7 the apostle Paul says:
So I thought it necessary to urge the brethren to go on to you before me, and arrange in advance for this gift you have promised, so that it may be ready not as an exaction but as a willing gift. The point is this: he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.This is the New Testament, Paul is calling for a gift for the church in Jerusalem. A voluntary contribution, a voluntary "tithe", but valid for every believing Christian. And he adds GOD LOVES THE CHEERFUL GIVER. No obligation, no law-abiding giving of tithes, an stringent giving of tithes. And yes, what does the tithe legally count about? About the gross or net salary, after deduction of all taxes and social obligations by law?
Over which do one give tithe?
Well one does not give a tenth, that is law-abiding. Ones give with a cheerful heart. But I still want to give an explanation. In the Old Testament, the tenth is given to the Levites and they gave a tenth to what they received from the High Priest. Why was a tithe given to the Levites? Because they were exempt from "labor" by God. Their work consisted of 100% work for God, their work in the tabernacle and later the temple. Later we read that the Israelites did not fulfill their obligations of giving tithe and therefore the Levites had to go to work. The result was no education from the Levites to the people and the people no longer serving God. And God's punishment and exile came.
The tithe present serves to pay the wages of the pastor and at larger churches of the full-time elders and Sunday school teacher(s), the maintenance of the church (rent or mortgage), chairs, sound system, projection, Holy Supper, coffee table, flowers, caretaker, cleaning, equipment, evangelists and missionaries.
In addition to the tithe in the Old Testament there were the gifts for the three festivals a year instituted by God, the gift about the harvest and fruits and other institutions. I see that as the gifts, which the believer gives to evangelistic campaigns, material for this, missionary activities, material that the missionary needs, the help for those in need, construction of houses for the poor, social work and help for the mission field in the third World. Furthermore, training of pastors, evangelists and missionaries.
Possibly your faith in Jesus Christ came through evangelism and you did not grow up in a believing family. That costs money. And for every believer, including those who grew up in a faithful family, Jesus Christ paid a high price on the cross of Calvary. And consider the price that believers pay in the persecuted countries, even to the death of their own lives.
So be thankful and give with a cheerful heart. It is up to everyone personally what he or she wishes to give. BUT that is a VOLUNTARY gift. None of what is claimed in some churches give great gifts, for God so richly reward you, Malachi 3:10. THAT IS LARGE SWINDLE and so many have come into great poverty and misery. God does NOT reward, because they themselves wish to be better off, upon the false promise of pastors of blessing. God WISHES A CHEERFUL AND VOLUNTARY GIFT from a grateful heart.
I personally allow myself to be guided by what the Holy Spirit gives me for gifts. How? Well, there are different ways. First, there is the need for mission, the missionary to be paid, and what he or she needs in the mission field. There is the social help that the missionary gives to the people. It is precisely because of this social assistance that the population sees that faith in Jesus Christ is practical and comes to faith. There is the need of a needy brother or sister in Jesus Christ. The help requested by a beggar on the street or in the slum. And sometimes the Holy Spirit speaks directly and leads to a project or person.
Brothers and sisters, giving tithes and tenders is a cheerful matter, "without obligation." Your obligation comes from YOUR LOVE for the Lord Jesus Christ. Do NOT give from obligation, but from love. May God bless you and make clear what He wants.