This past Sunday, my father-in-law, Tom Hunt, spoke on on tithing and generosity as part of our Street Smarts series. Tom has been preaching for over 40 years and is currently the minister of Discipleship at Jarvisburg Church of Christ in Jarvisburg, North Carolina. Below you will find his outline from Sunday’s sermon. Apologies for some of the outline mishaps… I was not able to adjust the parameters in the wordpress blog word processor.
Intro. “The Blessings of Tithing”
- I appreciate the opportunity to be part of this series on money – it’s an important subject confirmed by the emphasis the Bible puts on it.
- Quotes from “God & Your Stuff: The Vital Link Between Your Possessions and Your Soul” by Wesley Willmer:
17 of Jesus’ 38 parables were about possessions.
Possessions are mentioned 2172 times in the Bible – that’s three times more than love, seven times more than prayer, and eight times more than belief.
Quotes from “What the Bible Says About Money” by Alger Fitch:
1. The Bible has twice as many references to money and possessions as to prayer and faith combined.
- Jesus said more about money and possessions than about heaven and hell combined.
- Studies indicate that in the average church 100% of the giving is done by 50% of its members; 50% give nothing.
- If this is an average church up to half its members miss out on some of God’s greatest promises because they are associated with giving.
- Today I want us to think about how much we should give.
- Let me hasten to say that no one can decide that for you.
- 2 Cor 9:7, Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
1) Among other things this verse says – giving is a matter of the heart.
2) Jesus said it this way in Matt 6:21, For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
- Although no one can decide for us, God’s Word provides a guideline that’s a good place for us to start in our giving – the tithe.
- Let’s think about the tithe and the blessings associated with it.
- THE TITHE.
- We tithe when we give 10% of our income back to the Lord.
- Tithe in both Hebrew and Greek means one tenth – tithe in English means one tenth – I suspect tithe in any language means one tenth!
- So giving less than 10% isn’t a tithe – if you give 2.5% (the average) you’re giving 2.5%, not tithing – if you give 9% you’re giving 9%, not tithing.
- Secular history reveals that tithing was practiced in the ancient civilizations of Babylon, Persia, Egypt, and China – they worshipped and tithed to false gods!
- Shouldn’t we worship and tithe to the only true God?
- The first mention of tithing in the Bible is in Gen 14:20 when Abraham gave a tenth to Melchizedek.
- The next mention is in Gen 28:22 when Jacob promised to give God a tenth.
- I point these out because they occurred hundreds of years before the time of Moses and the giving of the law.
- Tithing became part of the Mosaic law – Israelites were commanded to tithe in order to provide for the Levites, priests, and the poor.
- Failure to tithe was very serious – how serious?
- Mal 3:8-9, “Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’ “In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me.
- There’s no question the tithe was the minimum standard of giving required in the OT – but does it apply to us today?
- Whenever Jesus spoke about matters pertaining to the law he raised the standard.
- Does it make sense He would lower the standard for giving?
- It’s true that the NT doesn’t command Xians to tithe but does that mean we shouldn’t tithe?
- 2 Cor 8:8, I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others.
- 2 Cor 8:24, Therefore show these men the proof of your love and the reason for our pride in you, so that the churches can see it.
- If our giving is an act of worship should we give less than those in the OT who never heard about Jesus dying on the cross to make eternal life available? You decide!
- I believe the tithe is a good starting point for us in determining how much we should give.
- THE BLESSINGS.
- The Bible has some amazing promises associated with giving – look at one from OT and one from NT.
- Prov 3:9-10, Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; 10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.
- Luke 6:38, Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
- Look at one specifically related to tithing.
- Mal 3:10, Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.
- This is the only place in the Bible that I’m aware of where the Lord says test me – see if I can be trusted.
- So it comes down to this – tithing is a matter of trust.
- It comes down to this – Do I trust God to keep his promise? Am I willing to take God at His word?
- If we can’t trust Him about tithing how can we trust Him about His promise of eternal life?
- I want to encourage you to put Him to the test – try tithing for a month – 3 months – 6 months – you decide.
- I will guarantee you from experience – you can’t out give God – you will be able to do more with the 90% after you tithe than with 100%.
- Some ask should I tithe the gross or the net? You decide – what can you do cheerfully? Do you want gross or net blessings?