Saturday, August 18, 2012

Financial principle #3: Tithe

Financial principle #3: Tithe

I.          The BIBLICAL history of tithing.

            A.         Abraham [Genesis 14:17 – 20]

                        1.         After victory, Abraham is met by Melchizedek (king of Salem/High Priest).
                        2.         Melchizedek greets him with bread and wine (v 18)
                        3.         Melchizedek then blesses Abraham in the name of “God Most High” (vv                                        19b, 20a)
                        4.         Abraham responds by giving a tenth (tithe) of EVERYTHING.

            B.         Malachi 3:6 – 11 (tithes and offerings)

                        1.         Context: A rejected priesthood and religious system (1:10)
                        2.         Context: (v 6) “For I the Lord do not change.”
                        3.         Context: (v 10) The ONLY place in the Bible where God says “put me to                                         the test.”
                        4.         Context: (v 11) God promises to hold off “the devourer.”

            C.         Jesus (Matthew 23:23)

"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices--mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law--justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.”

                        1.         Context: list of “woes” that Jesus leveled at the Pharisees (legalism).
                        2.         They had the letter down but missed the meaning.
                        3.         Jesus is up-holding the “tithe.”

 II.         Ideas about tithing

            A.         History:

                        1.         Origen, Jerome, and Augustine all taught that the tithe was the minimum.
                        2.         The tithe became a legal requirement in some nations (Europe), making it                                     a tax.
                        3.         Others:
                                    a.         Barnes “practical acknowledgment of the absolute and exclusive                                                   supremacy of God.”
                                    b.         Gill and Henry: “respect” and “thankfulness” and “gratitude”

            B.         Modern:

                        1.         Dave Ramsey

                                    a.         Tithing is for our benefit… put God first, teach us to be unselfish.
                                    b.         “If you cannot live on 90% of your income, then you cannot live                                                      on 100%”
                                    c.         Tithing is an act of love for God.  (not church or pastor)

                        2.         Randy Alcorn

                                    a.         “Our giving is a reflexive response to the grace of God.”
                                    b.         “Money leads, hearts follow.”
                                    c.         Tithing is NOT legalism… “does God expect His new covenant                                                        people to give less or more?”

III.        Tithing is a matter of the heart!

            A.         2 Corinthians 8:1 – 5 

“[1] And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. [2] Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. [3] For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, [4] they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. [5] And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God's will.”

                        1.         Notice the Macedonian church’s social and financial situation:
                                    a.         Social: “severe trial” (persecution)
                                    b.         Financial: “extreme poverty”
                        2.         Look what they did:
                                    a.         They “urgently pleaded” for the “privilege” of helping others!
                                    b.         They gave “generously”… “even beyond their ability.”

            B.         Reality check:

                        1.         Barna claims on average 53% of Christians have given NOTHING to their                                       church in the last month.
                        2.         PBS “Affluenza”:
                                    a.         Average American shops 6 hours a week, plays with their children                                                  40 minutes a week.
                                    b.         In the year before the showing, more Americans declared                                                               bankruptcy than graduated from college.
                                    c.         In 90% of divorce cases, money played a prominent role.
                        3.         An idea:
                                    a.         The SAME Greek word is translated “grace” and “giving.”
                                    b.         Dixie Fraley “We’re most like God when we’re giving.”

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