OUR MONEY CAN GLORIFY CHRIST
by Cooper P Abrams III
INTRODUCTION:   This message is part one of two messages on giving. This first message deals with general principles dealing with money and giving in the Old Testament. The second message addressing what God says about giving in the New Testament. A part from the Gospel message of salvation...I wholeheartedly believe this is one of the most important truths in God's word.
Pastors are sometime criticized for preaching on money and giving. Probably, there are some preachers preach on giving too much and even for the wrong reasons....however, I do not. Some "ride the hobby horse" and preach on giving all the time. Conversely, pastors are to teach the whole counsel of God which includes biblical giving, but they should not constantly grill their congregations about giving. Giving is a matter between a Christian and God. What should be taught is biblical giving....not tithing. Some see tithing and giving as the same thing, but they are not. The New Testament teaches that believers should give to the Lord through their local church, but does not teach christians are to tithe, which was an Old Testament law given to Israel.(See 2 Cor. 6:9-15) Christians are absolutely to give to the Lord, and do so willingly out of a heart that loves the Lord, but not according to Old Testament laws on tithing. These two messages will explain giving in the Old and New Testaments.
I was talking with a man just last night who said that one of the greatest joys he has as a Christian is giving to the Lord. He said when he learned the principle of giving it changed his life. I know personally what he was talking about, and over the years have heard the same testimony about giving from many others. My desire is to preach God's biblical truths on giving because I have a responsibility to teach the whole counsel of God. That includes the very important doctrine of giving.
I challenge each of us here this morning to study the Old and New Testament principles about giving. We need to see how that giving an offering to the Lord was a vital and necessary for offering acceptable worship to the Lord. I would hope that each of us would listen with an open and obedient heart and follow in your Bible what God wants us to know.
2. How Christians give and think about money can be like a thermometer to indicate their spiritual condition much they are obedient to or love their Lord.
Regularly people ask - "What does the Bible say. How much is a tithe? Are Christians required to tithe? Does one give on the gross or net?" Years ago shortly after I began to preach, I generally accepted what I was taught, but did not really research the matter in the scriptures! Later, I spent a great deal of time in God's word researching the matter.
4. I have found that many Christians are not well rounded spiritually because of they are not handling money as God instructs us. Many do not understand the purpose of giving and of course some are misled by teaching that is incorrect.
I believe if a person does not come to grips with the issue of money they will never grow and mature in Christ. They will spiritually remain weak and a baby Christian. Babyhood is OK for a while new born infants, but after a few years is embarrassing to still have to have a bottle and wear diapers. Babyfood is good for infants, but it is not pleasing to mature adults. So much better is meat and potatoes!
First this message will deal with the principles of giving in the Bible in general. Next it will deal with giving in the Old Testament under the law and examining how the tithing and giving is presented. In the following message, which is part two for next Sunday, we will study giving in the New Testament and what God says about it to Christians. Please listen and study both messages to be able to correctly understand what God says about giving.
I. How should a Christian feel about money?
B. Christians should not trust it. vs17
2. Our trust is in God's power alone. "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon." (Matthew 6:24) You can't serve God and mammon or money.
They who seek to be rich fall into temptation! Money can be a snare - many foolish & hurtful lusts. On the radio yesterday I heard that 4 out of 5 couples who win a lottery will soon divorce. It does not mean that Christians are to try and be poor. God does bless some believers with a great deal of money and there is no sin in that. It is how one thinks about it and uses it that can be sinful.
2. It also is stealing not to pay your debts.
2. Believers should not gamble. No clear Scripture that says "don't do it", but really no scripture is necessary because the principle that gambling is wrong is clearly presented in scripture. Gambling, is an appeal to chance is in incomparable with the sovereignty of God. It is taking from others without earning it. God's principle is that we earn what we receive. "Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth." (Ephesians 4:28)
2. Let him not steal - but Labor! 2 Thess. 3:10 1 Thess. 4:11
C. Receive gifts..."brought" in New Testament is the word "propimpo" means financial support.
2. Provide for needs of those around you. 1 John. 3:17 "But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?"
3. Neighbor is those you know and meet, especially the family of God.
2. Romans 13.8, ". . . Owe no man anything but love." It does not mean you are not to borrow - it means we are to pay what we owe.
2. Proverbs 30:25 "The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer"
The opposite is also truth. To not return a portion to God is to display ingratitude.
2. On the first day of the week bring our offering to the Lord...(Sunday)
2. However, if you don't give...you can receive no blessing.
3. Our physical and spiritual well fare is affected by how we give. It's tied together. God says in Hebrews 11:6 that we cannot please God apart from faith. Romans 1:17 says the just shall live by faith. Therefore, giving involves trusting the Lord for our physical and material needs. He has promised to provide for us...we then in faith believe Him and take Him at His word.
4. Psalm 37:25 ....righteous man's children will not be begging bread.
2. Pictures of child with swelled out belly.
4 No church would have to have a special fund drive if the people were giving according to God's word and how they are blessed.
5. How should the church get its money?
ILLUS: Survey on giving comes to the conclusion: "If everyone in church in American were reduced to welfare income the church and made to tithe 10% the church would suffer a 35% increase in income."
2. It is to be done freely...not of necessity...cheerfully.
3. The word "Asar" 25 times used in the Old Testament. It simply means to give a tenth part of something.
1. The tithe is first mentioned in Genesis 14:20. This was a freewill offering of Abraham and was not required.
2. In Leviticus 27:30-32 the offering was TAXES. They appraised what each man was worth and taxed him on the "ESTIMATION" money was given to priests for up keep of government. This was civil taxation.
Deuteronomy 12: 17. A distinction is made between tithes, freewill offerings or heave offerings 14:23,28. This is vital to understand God's instruction on giving.
This was for the upkeep of Levities and temple. Levities were full time spiritual and governmental leaders.
Deuteronomy 26:12...Same reasons give for the upkeep of Levities
2 Chronicles 31:5,6,12. Verse 4....was for the upkeep of the Levities
Nehemiah 10:37,38. This for was for rebuilding the temple. Nehemiah called for the taxes or tithes to keep up Levities and temple.
Nehemiah 12:44 and 13:5, 12 was for upkeep of the priests
Amos 4:4...This was a warning against giving tithes to the up keep of false worship centers of Gilgal and Bethel.
Malachi 3:8,10. Note distinction is made between tithes and offerings (freewill).
Hebrews 7: 4,8,9. This passage is establishing the priesthood of Christ after the order of Melchizedek!
Matthew 23:23. Jesus said the Jews paid Temple tithes, but ignored special things.
Luke 11:42. Refers to the hypocrisy of the Pharisees.
Luke 18:12 Pharisee gave tithes and prayed to be seen of men. "God, I am glad I'm not like that old publican."
Giving tithes does not make one spiritual. It is the reason and attitude behind the giving that is important to God. A true child of God gives from a heart of gratitude. A truly spiritual person gives because he is already spiritual.
Galatians 5:18, "But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law." If the law demanded tithing and believers in this the Church Age are not under the law....then we are not commanded to tithe. That does not mean however we are not to give to the Lord. It means we are not given a command to give a specific among.
b. No indication here of a tenth!
4. Genesis 12. Abraham made an free will thanksgiving offering to God. No amount, or is a percentage is stated .
5. Genesis 13. Abraham gave a tenth (Hebrew 7:2)
b. He gave a free will offering of one tenth, out of gratitude. He was not commanded to give a tenth.
a. Fifth was 20%
b. This was a requirement of God to Pharaoh.
c. Note: God told Pharaoh to tax the people! The author of taxes was God!
d. Required giving was God's plan to fund a civil government.
2. If he fails to pay it this year, he adds a fifth part the next year or 20% penalty.
3. Ten percent of everything. You gave a 10th of actually fruits. You could have given money, but it cost you and addition 20%. No exchange for animals (INFLATION)
4. Note verse 33 The giver was not to search, pick, or chose over the offerings. They wre to give the best.
5. The offering was giving to the priests for the ministry of the Lord.
2. There was a social tithe To promote unity social responsibility
2. it was a tax for the poor.
2. It was never just 10% it was 23% (1/3) plus!
3. Also, the farmers were not to totally glean their fields and they also paid a 1/2 Shekel temple tax.
4. The Sabbatical year which was every seventh year. (Exodus 23:10-11) Every seventh year Israel was not to cultivate land, but to let the land lay fallow.
This was the year of Relief or Jubilee. Deuteronomy 15. All salves and bond servants went freed, and went back to their original owners and debits were forgiven.
2. Amount 25%
B. They gave the first fruits to the Lord ut of love and thanksgiving to the Lord. God told then how to give if they wanted to, but God left the amont up the individual.
It was, in reality, a test and an opportunity to worship God and show outwardly one's love for God. God gave instructions about how and what they were to give if they wanted to show God they were thankful to Him and were trusting in Him for their lives. HOWEVER, IT WAS NOT REQUIRED.
2. It was a test of living by faith. What if flood or drought comes? No matter, I'm honoring and in a sense investing with God.
3. No actual amount is stated.
4. Numbers 18:12. All the best of oil and wheat. This was an act of faith.
5. The only requirement was that it had to be the best. Do you think it would be an act of gratitude and thanksgiving to give God less than the best or some pittling amount?
2. Give the first fruit without calculation, out of love and gratitude.
3. No specific amount voluntary.
4. Free will giving.
5. Tithing was never Old Testament Giving to God. Tithing was taxation, however giving is without requirement.
2. Sow conservative and it tends to bring property!
3. V25 the liberal soul prospers.
Old Testament Principle: God gives an increase of that which is given.
2. Some have hard time why give sparingly.
3. Liberal giver is blessed, not one who is selfish.
4. Give a dollar get a dollar's reward.
2. With the heart!
3. Amount is not as important, but the heart attitude is 4. Give what you feel is right.
5. Principle is to give to God and reap benefit or keep and lose it!
6. 1 Chronicles 29:9 In building of the temple. "The people gave willingly, with perfect heart."
a. David rejoiced!
F. Moses had to stop the Israelites from giving when the tabernacle was built.
b. They gave because their hearts were set to glorify God!
Giving to the Lord was always presented as done in freedom with out requirement from a righteous heart.
Note Principle: We give in faith trusting God. He then honors faith.
Hebrews 11:6 ". . .with out faith it is impossible to please God."
Many a believer has remained an immature Christian because he would not learn to live trusting God. Many have missed the blessing of God because they refused to surrender their lives in the area of money to the Lord.
IMPORTANT! A local New Testament church is not a nation, nor does have the authority, as the Old Testament Israel, to levy taxes. Christians in this dispensation are not under the Law nor required to live by the law. Christians are to live by the prinicples God has given us and His instructions in 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 plainly state. Note what the verses say: "But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver." (2 Corinthians 9:6-7)
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