That You May Prosper
The irrevocable offence in Adam's life was his infringement upon God's sovereign authority. Adam could not be allowed to eat of the tree of life and live forever, for a curse necessarily follows the one who infringes on the sovereignty of God. Accordingly, Adam was cursed and banished from the Garden of Eden and was destined to walk in the path of affliction where thorns and thistles grew.
In Malachi we can see that God cursed the Israelites for infringing upon God's sovereign authority in a way similar to Adam's infringement on that sovereignty:
"Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return? Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation" (MALACHI 3:7-9).
Through this scripture we can see that the curse in the Garden of Eden, and the curse in Malachi, were both incurred by infringing upon the sovereign authority of God. The curse in the Garden of Eden came by stealing the fruit of the tree of knowledge, and the curse in Malachi came by stealing the tithe. Just as the tree of knowledge stood in the old days in the Garden of Eden, so the tithe still stands as a symbol of God's sovereignty in today's material world.
Satan's Temptation Against Tithing
Through Satan's interference we are able to understand more clearly that the tithe is a "symbol" of God's sovereign authority. This is the first target of Satan's wicked manoeuvre. He tenaciously tempted Eve until she finally gave in and ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge. He incited Herod to attempt the murder of Jesus when He came into this world. Satan followed Jesus wherever He went and interfered with His work.
Today, countless Christians find it difficult to give their tithe, in spite of their prayers and tears, because Satan sticks to them and obstructs them with temptations. Satan tempts us with enticing words like these: "Since tithing belongs to the old traditions of the Jewish law, it no longer binds us who live in the dispensation of grace. God knows you are poor, so it is all right for you to postpone paying this obligation until you can better afford it. Then you can compensate for this negligence by giving a double portion of your tithe." This is a typical argument that Satan uses to keep us from paying our tithe, and it leads us to a surer conviction that the tithe symbolises the sovereignty of God. Is the devil's argument therefore valid? First, let us consider that the tithe is a relic from the dispensation of the law.
The Law was first given to the people of Israel through Moses, but the Bible tells us that Abraham, who lived 430 years before Moses, paid tithes:
"And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all" (GENESIS 14:18-20).
The Bible tells us further that Jacob, the grandson of Abraham, was blessed in a dream in which angels were ascending and descending from God. He vowed that he would continue giving his tithe when he fled from home to his mother's brother, to avoid the wrath of his older brother. (Read GENESIS 28:20-22).
During New Testament times, did Jesus say that we no longer need to give tithes? In which place of the Bible is it written that we are no longer bound by the obligation of tithing, because it is a relic of the dispensation of law, which should be abandoned? We must see that the argument that the obligation of tithing was binding only during the dispensation of the law, is a temptation and trick of satan to violate God's sovereignty. God's commandment concerning the tithe is the word of the living God, Who is the same, yesterday, today and forever.
Second, let us analyse the temptation that we may put this obligation off until we can financially better afford it. Since Satan
"cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy" (JOHN 10:10), his deliberate lie in this case clearly shows how false and abominable his argument is. Satan does not want us to prosper. Consequently, he knows that if we follow his advice in putting off paying our tithes, we will become increasingly poorer. There is no place in the Bible that says we should pay two-tenths of our income. God wants us to tithe in order to give us a prosperous life, by making us admit the fact that sovereignty over the material world belongs to God and that we must be obedient to Him.
It is by no means true that God is so poor that He needs our tithes. God is the creator of the universe, who made the heavens and the earth. He could create another world if He wanted to. In PSALM 50:9-12 we read,
"for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof".
Satan comes to us and accuses God. He distorted God's will in the garden of Eden by saying to Eve,
"Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil" (GENESIS 3:4-5).
Satan distorts God's image concerning tithing as if God takes away our money for His own needs. If we give in to the devil and think lightly of God's sovereignty by stealing the tithes, we shall live in an endless curse. We may never be so rich as to give two-tenths of our income. Even if we did, it would be very difficult. Though we may be poor and have little to give, we must still give a tenth back to God no matter what our situation may be. If we are poor, we must tithe so that we may become prosperous, for God's blessing is poured out upon us when we acknowledge His sovereignty in His tithing plan.
Tithing and the Blessing of Material Things
Tithing is a beautiful sacrifice. If we are obedient in this way our natural response will be to exercise our faith that God will bless us.
The meeting between Abram and Melchizedek which is recorded for us in Genesis may help us understand God's plan for tithing (See GENESIS 14). King Chedorlaomer was like Hitler. He took over five cities and forced the people to pay tribute to him. Finally, they revolted and there was a battle in which King Chedorlaomer won. He also took Lot and his family as prisoners. Lot was Abram's nephew. When Abram heard the news, he went out with his 318 servants and attacked at night. Abram won a great victory and brought back Lot with his family and servants and all the goods. On his way home he met Melchizedek. Then Abram gave tithes to Melchizedek of all that he had gained in battle.
"After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward." (GENESIS 15:1)
This was the blessing given to Abram, because he tithed. The Bible states that Abraham (as his name was changed) was not only the father of the Israelites as pertaining to the flesh, but the father of all of them that believe, as pertaining to the faith. Today, those who have faith like that of Abraham receive the same blessings (GALATIANS 3:7-8).
When we lived for the world, we were robbed of everything and became prisoners of the devil. Abraham went out and brought back all that was taken by King Chedorlaomer, who represents satan in this passage of Scripture. Abram is here our type of Christ, and through faith in Christ we also have recovered all that we lost (1 JOHN 5:4-5).
Melchizedek was a type of Jesus. In HEBREWS 6:20 we read,
"Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec".
When we believe in Jesus Christ, we become the victors who are translated from death, hell and the position of the devil's slaves, to life, heaven and the position of God's children; just as Abraham triumphed in the battle and recovered all that was taken away. We not only become victors, but we also become eligible to partake of the sacraments of holy communion. So when we pay our tithes, the same blessing that was given to Abraham comes to us.
There are a lot of Christians today who do not enjoy the blessings which are available to every Christian, because they do not tithe. When we pay our tithes to God, it becomes the expression of our faith in God's blessing.
What do the blessing and assurance which Abraham received from God mean to us?
"I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward." (GENESIS 15:1)
In biblical times, a shield was used to protect the body in battle. While we live on this earth, our enemy, the Devil, brings us temptation, tribulation, trouble, agony and sorrow time and again. But if we pay our tithes, God becomes our shield and makes us overcomers. If God is our shield and our shelter, we need never to worry. In PSALM 121:5-6 we read,
"The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night". Therefore we can boldly confess our faith:
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us" (ROMANS 8:35,37).
The second assurance of the promise which God gave to Abraham was the
"exceeding great reward" (GENESIS 15:1). Today, the reward which the world pays is extremely futile. The wealth, glory and honour of the world are always fickle, and we will lose tomorrow what we gain today.
"For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away." (1 PETER 1:24)
The reward God promised to Abraham was not a reward which rusts or is eaten by cankerworms. The great Lord God who made heaven and earth has become our reward, and He pays the reward of abundance and prosperity:
"If God be for us, who can be against us?" (ROMANS 8:31)
"I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." (HEBREWS 13:5)
"Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." (MATTHEW 28:20)
If Abraham prospered by paying his tithes, modern believers should also receive the same blessings (MALACHI 3:10-12).
The blessing which will be poured out for us, due to tithing, cannot be written more certainly and correctly than this. This passage of Scripture is true, for God cannot lie.
When we pay our tithes to acknowledge the sovereignty of God, there are several things we must be careful about. First, we must give
"all the tithes". We must give the precise amount: one-tenth of all our income. If we interpret the regulation of the tithe freely, as we like, and give thank offerings, Sunday offerings and alms out of the tithe, that is not paying all the tithe. We must keep our tithe intact. As for other offerings and alms, we can give them according to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
It is written,
"...that there may be meat in mine house". We must give our tithes to the house where we get our spiritual meat, namely one's own church, for if we take the tithe and decide to give it to some other place or person, according to our whim, this is not acknowledging the sovereignty of God as we read in MALACHI 3:10-12.
God promised that He would give us two blessings if we keep these two conditions. One is the blessing to protect us from disaster. However large our income may be, if we encounter a succession of disasters, we may be in worse condition than if we had no income at all. The other is the blessing of inner strength. Though we make a lot of money, if illness and trouble strike us, our money disappears like "water poured down the drain." We still will not have what we hoped to have, because we did not pay all of our tithes.
So we see that paying tithes is an act by which we acknowledge the sovereignty of God and practice obedience. It is the key of faith with which we can open the door of blessings prepared for us by Jesus Christ. By accepting Jesus Christ as our Saviour, we have acknowledged the spiritual sovereignty of God, and by giving our tithes we have admitted His supreme power over the material world. When we are obedient, it follows that God's blessings come to us and we prosper in all things.
Christian Principles of Finance
- Tithing may be defined as a devoting of one-tenth of one's income to the service of God.
- The term tithe itself means "one-tenth".
- In ancient times, it consisted of one-tenth of a man's gain in material possessions such as property, produce, or livestock.
- In the Old Testament, tithes were paid by Abraham to Melchizedek (GENESIS 14).
- Jacob continues the tithe in GENESIS 28:20-22.
- Moses incorporates the tithe in the Levitical Laws (LEVITICUS 27:30-33).
- Nehemiah saw that tithing was a means by which God's presence could be known and experienced (NEHEMIAH 10:38; NEHEMIAH 12:44; NEHEMIAH 13:12).
- Malachi charged the whole nation of Israel with the sin of being thieves and robbers in the sight of God (MALACHI 3:9-10).
- Christ commended the tithe when He said that He came not to destroy the Law of Moses, but to fulfil it (MATTHEW 23:23).
- Paul sets forth the principle of proportions giving (1 CORINTHIANS 16:2).
The Spiritual Aspects of Finances
Tithing is defined as the crucial test of stewardship. It is the only revealed method of acknowledging the sovereignty of God. It not only means a literal tenth, but is always the first tenth by reason of its involvement with the Law of First Things (see LEVITICUS 27).
To identify the "storehouse" of MALACHI 3:10 with the local church is to raise a storm of protest. Nevertheless, we shall cling to that definition for the purpose of this study.
Worship is any act or attitude by which the relative position of God and man is established.
Stewardship is the central theme of Scripture (GENESIS 1:28; 1 CORINTHIANS 4:1), the very core of life. Ownership of all things is vested in God alone by virtue of His creative and sustaining activity. This includes all things of material value and such intangible factors as time, energy and talent. Before man ever emerged, everything necessary to his sustenance was provided and stored in "knockdown" form.
Man is a unique creation, given dominion over the earth and all its creatures, and charged with the administration of the whole. To this end he was made in the image of God (GENESIS 1:27).
To say that man is a steward is to say that he is accountable (ROMANS 14:12). This accountability applies to all mankind, whether or not he acknowledges it and whether or not he is a Christian. His first responsibility is to God, but he is also responsible to society and to the earth itself, in an ecological sense.
Man has suddenly come to the realisation that the resources of this planet are not inexhaustible. Forests are ravaged, oceans of oil sucked dry, minerals depleted, and the four inches of topsoil, standing between man and starvation, exhausted.
Stewardship, as exemplified in the tithe, was declared in primeval law. When Adam was given custody of the Garden of Eden it was necessary that he be taught the difference between possession and ownership. To that end one tree was set apart (GENESIS 2:17). Its difference and its significance lay in the prohibition. By that prohibition, therefore, Adam was continually reminded of his dependence upon another. As long and only as long as he honoured the tree, he declared the sovereignty of God and made the distinction between ownership and possession.
The tree, therefore, represents the tithe. The tenth is acquired in the same manner as is all income, but it belongs to God in a special sense and may not be consumed for oneself (LEVITICUS 27:32).
There are those who disparage the tithe because, they say, it does not represent their true ability to give. These kingly souls who will give a fifth, or a half, or 90 per cent, and who judge their proportion not by what they give, but by what they have left, deserve the admiration of us all. But they miss the very genius of the tithe. They make three mistakes:
- The tithe is an obligation of honour; the other is a program of partnership.
- Rendering a special tenth is an act of worship by which the sovereignty of God is acknowledged and relative positions are established.
- The tithe must be administered by another. It is never an offering.
Tithing is stewardship in microcosm because it is the acknowledgement, not the payment, of an obligation. It does not imply, as is sometimes sincerely stated, "Ten percent belongs to God and 90 percent belongs to me."
Many expedients have been devised to evade the tithe. One which needs examination is the seemingly plausible "proportionate giving". On the surface it seems to honour the tithe, but when it is honestly stated it simply means a man should give whatever proportion he may be able to afford. In practise (with exceptions) it amounts to insignificant amounts. In the face of overwhelming obligations no one can "afford" the tithe.
Other expedients seem to have been devised because they have promise of producing more money. Giving is urged as the pathway to riches. And there is the "prestige syndrome" where offerings are taken under such circumstances that the subscribers gain status in the eyes of the onlookers.
That vast sums of money are necessary to adequately evangelise the world is beyond question. And the tithe is the revealed method of financing the work of the Kingdom (MALACHI 3:10; 1 CORINTHIANS 16:2), but this writer holds that the tithe is best (and scripturally) utilised to construct a strong base in the local church. Other funds can be used in outreach programs.
But underneath the use of the money that is acquired lies a much more important principle. The tithe is primarily an act of worship, and the money is a by-product. The Lord our God is a jealous God (EXODUS 20:5) and He, not His Kingdom, must come first. The value of the individual in the sight of God cannot be overstated. Stewardship involves not only the payment of the tithe, but also duties to family, neighbourhood, and society as a whole.
A monstrous thing hangs over our civilisation. It makes money both a menace and a madness. Extravagance and vulgar display abound in politics, sports, love, and romance. It makes one wish to revert to an earlier age, to warn our congregations against the vanity of worldly wealth, and to declare that the pursuit of money enfeebles the spiritual life. But it is not so!
It is our task, rather, to drive away the unclean vapours that have fogged the face of money. We cannot create an artificial environment where we can live above such sordid considerations. We must live in this world as it actually is and find our saving grace in reverent stewardship. Value should mean to us spiritual energy, and money is only the token of its presence. Stewardship is to understand its high calling of partnership. We are to be investors, not dreamers. We are to understand the miracle of value, which came from God, turn it into money, and then send it forth into the world again to work the works of God.
We remind ourselves again that tithing is stewardship in microcosm. Here I begin. Here is the nucleus, the "chromosomal chain", from which springs the finished product. In the nature of things it is unlikely that more than a few of us will be captains of industry for Christ. Some of us ought not to be rich in this life. But there are none who need to be deficient in loyalty and integrity. Thus, on whatever scale, everyone can be a steward.
The paying of tithes is the Christian way of denying the dominance of the world. The tither escapes the stranglehold imposed by the love of money, for he has elected to live by another principle and serve another sovereign. In the face of overwhelming obligations - the necessity to feed and clothe his family, to educate his children, to pay his just debts on time - he has elected to live by another principle and to set apart a portion of his living as a personal acknowledgement of and for God.
Tithing thus becomes a therapeutic agent cleansing the life of selfishness. It is God's way of sanctifying our business life - the production of "mammon".
Money is not evil per se, but it does seem endowed with an evil. The tithe diverted from God, or the tithe reserved and not paid, is as dangerous as a ticking time bomb. Tithed money is sanctified money.
The payment of the tithe and the investment of additional funds in the work of God is a transmutation of value from earthly to heavenly treasure. Thus, the payment of the tithe is a simple act of honesty by which the position of the Lord as sovereign and the position of man as subordinate are established.
The payment of the tithe represents a portion of life contributed. It should not be casual repetition, a weary gesture toward peer conformity, or a tacit acceptance of a supposed legality. It should be a conscious act of worship in which a substantial portion of one's life is laid down as a promise that all of life and its resources are at the disposal of the Lord. When this understanding is shared by a congregation, the time of offering becomes a moment of great significance.
Mastery is the natural habitat of man. He was created to have dominion, and all nature was programmed to give him that place. This dominion, but not the hunger for it, was lost in the Fall. That drive, rather than being the benevolent rulership originally intended, has resulted in tyranny, despotism, and war.
Because dominion was lost through the misappropriation of God's token of ownership - the tree - so it must be regained by reaffirmation of the principle of His sovereignty. There is one continuing analogy which embodies the same interrelation as did the tree, and that is the tithe. To pay the tithe is to restore the harmony of structure and function existent before the Fall. This restoration is not perfect, because the original sin not only wrought judicial condemnation, but also warped and distorted all the creation which lay under the influence of man. Not until the restoration of all things, shall we see the perfection of restoration.
There is a harmony of truth throughout God's creation. From micro-particles in atomic orbit to wheeling galaxies in space, all move with ordained precision. All that is truth is supported on every hand by parallel forces converging on the ultimate destiny chosen of God. The portal of entrance to this harmony of energy is at the point where God's sovereignty is acknowledged, and man once again assumes his proper place in the scheme of things.
The task of the preacher, therefore, is to bring man into harmony with the eternal purpose of God by the presentation of the truth. The central core of that truth is what we know by the name of stewardship - God as sovereign, man as subordinate; God as owner, man as possessor.
For man, that truth begins with the payment of the tithe. By such acknowledgement he places himself as a voyager in the stream of purpose and is carried forward in harmony with all else that moves in the will of God.
The church is the divinely ordained successor of the tribe of Levi, which in ancient days was appointed to receive
"all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they served". If the Israelite was not permitted to "dedicate" his tithe, but was required faithfully to devote it to the purpose for which God had already dedicated it, the obligation rested upon fundamental reason; it was neither local nor arbitrary. Surely Christian intelligence will recognise the same holy obligation. If honour is required to set apart a tenth in acknowledgement of God's ownership, then honour is certainly required to administer that tenth in accordance with God's revealed purpose.
The very genius of the tithe is that it must be administered by another. To designate the tithe is to change its status from tithe to offering. The exaltation of the affluent and the diminution of the less fortunate are avoided, while the ministry of the church is rediscovered and manifested.
The establishment of a tithing program, and after that a partnership with God in the evangelisation of the world would require a second seminar. Suffice it to say, we must see the Bible as the source, the pastor as the energiser, and the church as the vehicle.
There are many mysteries in life, and one of them is certainly the mystery of affluence. Why does one man succeed and another fail? All across the country we meet men who have become embittered because they attempted to live the philosophy that all Christians ought to travel "first class", and have suffered severe losses. We shall never be able to answer all the questions and solve all the problems.
It would seem to me, however, that any fault there may be lies in the wrong goals. It is not the acquisition of money as such which should govern the Christian steward, but the establishment of an honourable relationship with God.
It is not required of stewards that they be successful, but that they be faithful. The steward will not reach the apex of his career in this life - there is another. We are either voyagers in the stream of God's purpose, or we are taking shortcuts across that stream and suffering the buffetings of adverse fate. There is a place where the windows of heaven are open.
Tithing is the Foundation of all Giving
The foundation of God's financial program, is found in tithing. Tithing is the launching pad for all giving. Tithing is not the only giving we are to do. Tithing is simply the foundation. If you don't tithe, your giving is not going to get too far, because you missed the foundation.
A lot of people have given and they thought they were doing good, but their foundation was not laid right, so all they did was lose their money. But when you follow God's financial program and you tithe and give in God's way, you don't lose anything. You are investing. And God will bring it back to you many, many times above what you've given.
Let's go on a little farther with tithing and look at some other things that the Bible teaches us about it.
"Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them." (MALACHI 3:7) What are God's ordinances? His ordinances are His Word. If you don't keep the ordinances, that means you don't keep the Word.
"Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return?" MALACHI 3:8
"Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings."
You see, God is saying to the people, "You've robbed me, you've not kept mine ordinances, you've turned away from me and you have robbed me." And the people said, "What do you mean, Lord? How did we rob you?" And the Lord said, "Because you have not paid your tithes and given your offerings, you have robbed me."
This has nothing to do with Old Testament Law. This was a situation that arose in the lives of the people because they did not obey the Word of God. So, it applies to us today.
If you were before the Lord talking about your financial matters, and God said, "You have robbed me", and you said, "But, Lord, what do you mean, robbed you? I put a 'buck' in the offering plate every Sunday. Isn't that a good enough tip?" The Lord would say, "You rob me in tithes and offerings." Tithes is first, offerings is second. The foundation of our giving is tithes, and if you are not a tither, you are robbing God!
In MALACHI 3:10 it says:
"Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing..." (MALACHI 3:10).
Do you realise this is the only place in the Bible that God says, "Prove me". He is saying, "Test me." If the Bible is true, then you should do that. Prove Him. What you are saying is, "Lord, I see you said that if I tithe, you will open the windows of heaven and pour me out a blessing." God said, "It's OK to say prove it Lord." But before you say prove it, you'd best be tithing. He will do what He said.
Notice it did not say "houses". It said,
"Bring all the tithes into the storehouse". In the Old Testament, that was the temple. There was only one temple where the Jews brought their tithes, because it was there that they worshipped God. It was there that they were taught the Word of God. As the Jewish people grew, they then began to build synagogues, because they lived too far away to get to the temple. They would bring their tithe to the synagogue where they worshipped and where they were taught.
The storehouse in the New Testament church times is the place where you go to worship God and receive spiritual food. He says,
"...that there may be meat in mine house". The storehouse is the place where you go to worship God and receive spiritual meat.
Notice the phrase:
"Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse". Not storehouses. In other words, we should not be splitting up our tithes by giving a little bit here and a little bit there, and a little bit over here, and a little bit over there. We should bring the tithe, all of the tithes, to the storehouse. Offerings above and beyond the tithe are what is used to support other ministries; the poor, and any other gifts that you want to give. And, you can do that all you want. Where you give your offerings, and how you give your offerings, and to whom you give your offerings is totally up to you. But, the tithe, the first-fruit, that is not your choice. Because God said, where you are going to be fed, is where the tithe should go. You don't have to pray about where to give your tithe. God made it real easy for you. You give it to the storehouse where you're being fed.
If you say, "Yes, but how can I give my tithe when I don't get spiritual food?" You have already answered your own question. You go to church to worship God and to be fed spiritually. If you are not worshipping God and being fed spiritually, you should not be there. The tithe is to go to the storehouse that there may be "meat" in God's house.
"...And if you'll bring the tithe, if you'll obey My Word, I will open the windows of heaven." Do you know what happened the last time He opened the windows of heaven? The earth was flooded. He said,
"I will pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it". What does that mean? You'll have enough to give. You won't be able to take care of it all yourself. You'll have more than you want.
'God's Financial Program' is always designed for you to give out.
That is His whole desire, to have His people giving out. And, if you will begin to obey the Word of God, you will be able to give out and bless others, and to provide for the Kingdom of God.
DEUTERONOMY 26:1-2 says:
"And it shall be, when thou art come in unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance, and possessest it, and dwellest therein". Just for your information, we are in the land. The Bible says in COLOSSIANS 1:13
"Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son". We are children of the Kingdom. We are in the Kingdom of God right now. We are in the land which God told us would be ours.
"That thou shalt take of the first of all the fruit of the earth, which thou shalt bring of thy land that the Lord thy God giveth thee, and shalt put it in a basket, and shalt go unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose to place his name there."
In the Old Covenant, when God said I'm going to put my name there, that signified His presence. The name of the Lord in the Old Covenant signifies the presence of the Lord. This verse could read like this: "And shall go unto the place which the Lord thy God shall choose to put His presence."
You should be tithing to a place, giving your first-fruits to a place where the anointing of God is, where the presence of God is, where folks are being saved and filled with the Spirit and healed. That is where God is at work.
Read DEUTERONOMY 26:4. What is this verse saying? You should confess before Jesus what He has done for you as you give your tithe. It is not just a dead work, but it is a ministry to the Lord Jesus in obedience to His Word, confessing what He has done in your life.
If you will begin to do that, your faith will begin to work in tithing, and your tithing will begin to be a joy instead of just something you think you have to do. Release your faith, and make it a spiritual reality.
By obeying God's Word, we enter into a windows-of-heaven blessing, more than you could imagine. God wants to pour you out a blessing that you can't receive. So much blessing, we cannot even receive it!
I remember the story of Charles Finney. He was praying for God to fill him with the Holy Ghost. When he released his faith, the Holy Spirit came into his life so powerfully that he said it was like waves of glory coming over him and it went on for almost an hour. It was so powerful that he finally had to say, "God, stop! I can't take any more." That would be good, wouldn't it?
The Lord says He wants to pour you out a financial blessing, when you will obey Him through tithes and offerings, that you will finally have to say, "Lord, I can't receive any more of it."
God wants to bless us so abundantly we can't receive it all. Yet, 99% of Christians are just trying to get by. That condition keeps you bound to the fleshly things of the world. All your time is taken up with trying to get by, trying to make ends meet. God wants you to get to the place where you've got more than enough. Where you are receiving the windows-of-heaven blessing and you get on to helping other people.
The tithe is something that every believer, every person in God's family gives to the storehouse. Not to storehouses, but to the storehouse. You don't have to think about that. You don't have to decide how much tithe should I give here and give there, and give here and give there. That's not biblical. That is erroneous according to the Word of God. God's tithe, all the tithe, the Bible says, comes to the storehouse. All the tithe, one tenth of your income, goes to the church where you are being fed.
If you go to a church where you are not being fed, you should not be there. It is as simple as that because it is not a storehouse. If I go to a restaurant and sit down and say, "I'll have a hamburger and fries and a milkshake," and they say, "I'm sorry we have no food here," I am not going to hang around there too long. If I am looking for spiritual food and I go into a place and sit down to get some spiritual food and I don't get any spiritual food, it should not take too long to figure out I am in the wrong house.
Go someplace where they have some food, then you can pay your tithes to the storehouse. There is no question, no choice, no thought, no decision to be made about that. Wherever you are being fed, you give your tithes to that storehouse.
Some people have a problem because part of their home wants to serve God and obey the Bible, and the other part of the home does not want to tithe. You say, "What am I supposed to do? If I tithe, my husband or my wife is going to be mad at me." They disagree. "But if I don't tithe, I am cursed with a curse and I am a God-robber."
God understands your situation. God is a merciful God. What you need to do is to give as you can. God knows your heart and if you are doing all you can, He is going to bless you as if you were doing everything, because that is what your heart is doing.
Source: 'Church Growth'