Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Tithe was Then; This is Now

Romans 15:26
For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem.

The only thing that I can find ‘wrong’ in the book of Philippians (as far as the conduct of the saints goes) is that they had slacked in their contributions. 

Philippians 4:10
But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.

We don’t take tithes and offerings today in this dispensation.  Tithing was a system of giving for the nation of Israel under the law.  And, by the way, it was not money.

Deuteronomy 12:6
And thither ye shall bring your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, and your tithes, and heave offerings of your hand, and your vows, and your freewill offerings, and the firstlings of your herds and of your flocks:

I throw that out to preachers and they are shocked.  But when you study tithing in the scriptures, you will find that it was never money.  It was fruits and grains; lambs, bulls and goats – the fruit of the ground.  In fact if you were an Israelite and you were outside of the land and you were supposed to bring your tithe to the Levitical priests in the temple, and the journey was too long for the animals to make, you could sell an animal, pocket the money, and then buy another animal to offer when you got to Jerusalem. 

Deuteronomy 14:23-25
And thou shalt eat before the Lord thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the Lord thy God always. And if the way be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it; or if the place be too far from thee, which the Lord thy God shall choose to set his name there, when the Lord thy God hath blessed thee: Then shalt thou turn it into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go unto the place which the Lord thy God shall choose:

That is why they had moneychangers there.

John 2:14
And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting:

Mark 11:15
And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves;

The Lord rebukes the Pharisees regarding their tithe:

Matthew 23:23
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
Their tithes were mint, anise and cumin – not money.  In Malachi 3 God is speaking to the priests and the people of Israel about tithes and offerings which were food for the priests…

Nehemiah 13:5
And he had prepared for him a great chamber, where aforetime they laid the meat offerings, the frankincense, and the vessels, and the tithes of the corn, the new wine, and the oil, which was commanded to be given to the Levites, and the singers, and the porters; and the offerings of the priests

Ezekiel 42:13
Then said he unto me, The north chambers and the south chambers, which are before the separate place, they be holy chambers, where the priests that approach unto the Lord shall eat the most holy things: there shall they lay the most holy things, and the meat offering, and the sin offering, and the trespass offering; for the place is holy.

…so there would be meat in his house.

Malachi 3:8-10
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.  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, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

The Lord blessed Israel based on that covenant.  If they were good he would bless them; if they were bad he would curse them.

Deuteronomy 11:26-28
Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you this day: And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known.

Tithing is not for you and me today.  We are not under the law, we’re under grace.

Romans 6:14b
…for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

For denominations to take people back to the law of Moses (legalism) and call them cursed of God and accuse them of robbing God because they don’t give 10% of their gross income, even to the point that they are requiring them to show their paystubs, is an abomination in the eyes of God.

Today we give under grace.  What you give is between you and God (not you and your pastor); you give as God has prospered you.

1 Corinthians 16:2
Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.

It is regular; it is a faithful thing between you and God or you and your family and God, and you give as God has prospered you according to the riches of his grace.  You look at what Christ did for you on the cross, and you say, “This is how thankful I am, Father, and I want this word to get out.”  It is not a tithing system.  You can give 1% or you can give 100%.  It is up to you.  It is between you and God.  So don’t let anyone put you under a performance-based acceptance system.

So the Philippians had been helping Paul by giving…

Philippians 4:15, 18
Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God.

 …but then they slacked off.

Philippians 4:10
But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.

It was a weariness in well doing.

2 Thessalonians 3:13
But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.

So Paul sent word to them to support the ministry.  By the way, there was one man who worked with his hands to help the apostle Paul.

Philippians 2:25
Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants.

Here is what our apostle Paul tells us about giving today:

2 Corinthians 9:7
Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

Transcribed from a Message by Ron Knight at TCGF on 1 Cor. 1

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