The Baptist Pillar © Brandon Bible Baptist Church 1992-Present www.baptistpillar.com
"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15
E. L. Bynum
Available in Tract Form. Contact the Editor.
We have chosen one of the most unpopular sermon subject for our message today. People do not object to hearing about money at the grocery` store, clothing store, amusement park and appliance store, but they vigorously object to hearing anything about it in Church. Millions of Christians make regular weekly or monthly payments to stores, banks, and finance companies, to pay for necessities and luxuries. Yet, when it is suggested that the Christian ought to give part of his income regularly for the financing of the Lord's work, many will plead their inability to do so.
Millions of Americans are buying things that they don't need, with money that they don't have, to impress people that they don't like. The Christian should not be associated with this way of life.
Instead of accepting God's plan of financing His work, thousands of Churches have substituted their own unscriptural plans. Some churches enter the junk business by sponsoring a RUMMAGE SALE. Others get in the restaurant business by serving hamburgers at the fair or sponsoring a fund raising chili supper. The car wash has become exceedingly popular in recent years, especially with the younger set. The church can easily go in the dry goods business, if the ladies will get busy and make the aprons or they can be purchased ready made.
There is easy profit (so they say) to be made for the church, by selling candy, jelly, tulip bulbs, and dozens of others items, door to door in your neighborhood. Many companies are anxious to send their merchandise on consignment to any church that will use this method to raise money. Some churches (so-called), get in the gambling business by sponsoring bingo parties, etc. Funds may be solicited from door to door or from business organizations, this puts the church in the begging business. The members can be pressured into signing pledge cards, and this puts the church in the bill collecting business. None of these unholy, unscriptural plans need be used if God's plan is adopted.
I. GOD'S PLAN
"How much shall I give?" This is a question that Lord's; it is holy unto the Lord. And if a man will at all redeem ought of his tithes, he shall add thereto the fifth part thereof. And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the Lord. These are the commandments, which the LORD COMMANDED Moses for the children of Israel in Mount Sinai." Leviticus 27:30-32, 34.
Under the law, Israel was told that the tithe (one tenth) of all the increase belonged to the Lord. It was the Lord's possession. Therefore, man was not to use it for himself. If he wanted to redeem or keep part of this tithe, whether it was the seed of the land, fruit of the tree, or lamb of the flock, he had to give equal value plus 20%.
Many other scriptures could be given concerning God's plan under the law, but we believe this one scripture proves beyond any doubt that the tithe belonged to the Lord.
2. GOD'S PLAN BEFORE THE LAW
In Genesis 14:18-20 we have the first mention of the tithe in the Bible. In the New Testament we read also of this event. "For this Melchisedec, King of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; To whom also Abraham gave a TENTH part of all; first being by interpretation King of Righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually. Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the TENTH of the spoils." Hebrews 7:1-4.
Many object to tithing since it was a part of the commandments of God under the LAW. However, we make bold to say, that Abraham gave the tithe over 400 years before the law was given at mount Sinai. You want proof? "Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. . . . And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect." Galatians 3:16, 17. Abraham lived and practiced the tithe over 400 years before the law.
We find Jacob making a vow unto the Lord in Genesis 28:22. He told God, "of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee." Of course this also took place many years before the law.
3. GOD'S PLAN UNDER GRACE
We are privileged to live under grace and not under law. Surely no Christian would prefer to live under the Old Testament Law. The Law was severe. A man could be stoned to death for picking up sticks on the Sabbath day. No fire could be kindled on the Sabbath day. Should we do less for God today, than Israel did for God under the Law?
Jesus commended the tithe. "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 YOU TO HAVE DONE, and not to leave the other undone." Matthew 23:23.
Jesus did not discourage them from tithing for He told them that they ought to do it. Jesus Himself was a tither. The Pharisees and Sadducees constantly sought to prove that Jesus had sinned by breaking the Law. If he had failed to tithe, they would have accused Him openly.
"Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that here be no gatherings when I come." I Corinthians 16:2. Someone has pointed out five wonderful things about this scripture.
GIVE PERIODICALLY. "first day of the week." This is regular giving.
GIVE PERSONALLY. "every one of you". No one else can do it for you.
GIVE PROVIDENTIALLY. "as God bath prospered". True prosperity comes from the Lord.
GIVE PROPORTIONATELY. "as God has prospered". Give in proportion to your income.
GIVE PREVENTIVELY. "that there be no gatherings when I come." It is better to give each week than to wait for the "gatherings."
Under God's wonderful plan of finance, there can and should be equality in giving. The poorest man with the smallest income, can be just as obedient as the richest man with the largest income. In fact, the poor man is more likely to be obedient than the rich man. The paper boy who makes $10.00 a week can gave $1.00. The mechanic who makes $100.00 a week can give $10.00. The business man who makes $1,000.00 a week can give $100.00. In the eyes of God there is complete equality in their giving. There is no room for boasting by either one of the three.
"For if there be first a willing mind it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not. For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened: But by an equality...II Corinthians 8:12-14.
II. GOD'S PLACE
Many people have the mistaken notion that they can give God's tithes and offerings to whomsoever they will. Some want to take the money that belongs to the Lord and divide it up among certain radio preachers. Others want to give the Lord's money to charitable organizations. Some would even dare to take it and support sick relatives with it. But, what saith the Lord?
"But unto the place which the Lord your God shall choose out of all your tribes . . . thither ye shall bring your burnt-offerings, and your sacrifices, and your tithes . . . . and your freewill-offerings...Ye shall not do after all the things that we do here this day, every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes. Take heed to thyself that thou offer not thy burnt-offerings in every place that thou seest." Deuteronomy 12:5, 6, 8, 13. Israel did not choose the place to take their tithes and free-will offerings, but God chose the place.
The principle of storehouse tithing is found throughout the Bible. "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse. . ." Malachi 3:10. We find in the New Testament that the members of the early Church, "brought the money, and laid it at the apostles feet." Acts 4:37. Their offerings were brought to the Church. This is the way it should be. If a church is worthy of your membership, it is worthy to be God's storehouse to receive your tithes and offerings. If you can't trust them with money, you can't trust them with your membership. The storehouse principle is found in I Corinthians 16:2. "Let every one of you lay by him in STORE."
III. GOD'S PROMISE
"He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly." II Cor. 9:6. A farmer who is stingy with his seed, may save money at planting time, but he will certainly lose money at the harvest time. " . There is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty." Proverbs 11:24.
Many times God's child may be tempted to covet that which belongs to the Lord. This unholy desire for money, leads to heartache and sorrow. "But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil. . . ." I Timothy 6:9, 10. "Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation." Malachi 3:9.
It is impossible for a Christian to rob God and get by with it. Many respectable, pious people sit in Church every Sunday, hoping that they can get by with robbing God. It can't be done. I am reminded of the usher who got tired of seeing a well to do church member who never gave anything in the offering. One Sunday the usher curtly said to the covetous member, "Go ahead and take some, the money is for the heathen anyway."
2. GOD'S PROMISE FOR OBEDIENCE
". . . He which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully . . . God loveth a cheerful gives." II Cor. 9:6, 7.
"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. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts." Malachi 3:10, 11.
"Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine." Proverbs 3:9, 10.
"The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself." Proverbs 11:25.
"Give, and it shall be given unto you: good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again." Luke 6:38.
It is plain to see from the above scriptures that we cannot out give God. His wonderful promises endure forever. One tenth of all that we receive belongs to Him. This means that ten cents out of every dollar that we receive does not belong to us. If we spend the money that belongs to the Lord, we are merely robbing God of that which belongs to Him. If we steal from man, we can easily get into very serious trouble. If we steal from God, we will get into serious trouble.
It pays to be honest with God. We never lose anything worth while when we give the Lord His tithe. In fact, we can get along much better with nine tenths of our income with the Lord's blessing upon it, than we can with ten tenths with the Lord's curse upon it. I am persuaded that every Christian tithes. Some bring it to the Lord's storehouse where it belongs, while others take it to the doctor, hospital, repair man, etc.
Not only should we give the tithe unto the Lord, but we should also give a free-will offering. This will bring untold blessings to the Christian who gives out of a heart of love, regular free-will offerings unto the Lord.
IV. GOD'S PURPOSE
God owns the cattle on a thousand hills, and all the gold in the hills are His. Why does God want us to give to Him? It is not because God is poor. He can get along well without our money, but we cannot get along without His blessings.
1. GOD WOULD CURE OUR SELFISHNESS
Man is inherently selfish and self centered. God wants us to give, that we might begin to really live. Someone has said, "You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving."
2. GOD WANTS US TO PROSPER
We cannot prosper, if we are being dishonest with God. According to God's promises, we will prosper spiritually and materially if we give out of a heart of love.
3. GOD WANTS US TO SHARE IN THE BLESSING OF SPREADING THE GOSPEL
God could have sent angels to preach the Gospel, but He did not. He could have chosen some other method to finance the spreading of the Gospel, but He did not. What a thrill to know that God has given us the opportunity of helping in the spread of the Gospel of salvation. Millions of people have never heard of the plan of salvation. Millions of others in foreign lands have not even heard the name of Jesus Christ. This is not right, because the Lord told us to "preach the Gospel to every creature."
Christians in America live in luxury, while thousands of people die without Christ every day. Christians have money to make payments on cars, houses, clothes, television sets, vacations, fishing trips and countless other items. Then some of them have the audacity to say that they cannot afford to tithe and give a free-will offering.
The average cigarette smoking church member smokes at least one pack a day. This will amount to around $146.00 a year. Fifty such smokers could quit their cigarettes and use that same amount of money to keep one missionary family on the foreign field for one year. For those 50 smokers are spending over seven thousand dollars a year for cigarettes. Besides this, these same fifty people would save thousands of dollars in doctor bills each year.
Every Christian ought to regularly give an offering through their church for missions. This should be above and beyond the regular tithe.
4. GOD WANTS US TO EARN ETERNAL REWARDS
"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Matthew 6:19-21. There is coming a day when we shall be rewarded according to our works. Faithful living and faithful giving will bring eternal rewards. We cannot take anything with us when we die, but we can send it on ahead.
In the Readers Digest for June 1964, was printed one of the most amazing success stories of our time. In 1945 a badly battered Japan surrendered. Her economy was shattered, her cities bombed out, and there seemed very little hope for the future. Two young Japanese men combined their assets and talents to found the Sony electronic firm. They managed to acquire the use of part of a burned out building. They incorporated the firm in May of 1946 with a capital of $527.00.
Today Sony is known worldwide as one of the largest electronic firms in the world. Their miniature television sets, transistor radios and tape recorders are marketed world wide. The amazing part about the story is as follows: If you had invested $100.00 in 1946 in Sony, you now would be worth 7 million dollars ($7,000,000.00). Many people have probably regretted many times that they did not invest in this company.
In 1946 I had very little money, but I could have invested $100.00, if the opportunity had presented itself and I had wanted to. If I had, I would now be worth over 7 million dollars. Such opportunities are few and far between.
Somehow I believe that God will pay greater dividends than Sony or any other company. Who can say what $100.00 invested in the Lord's work now, will amount to in eternity? I know that we shall not walk the streets of gold counting our money in heaven.
God's great eternal rewards will be far more valuable than money could ever be. There amid the great beauties of heaven, basking in the light of His wonderful presence, we will have all of eternity to enjoy the blessed rewards He shall give us. We shall not regret then, the tithe that we have given Him. If there is any regret, it will be that we did not give more to Him, and do more for Him. Not what we grab, but what we give, makes us rich. Or as Jim Elliot wrote in his diary before his martyrdom by the Auca Indians, “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”
Only one life, t’will soon be past.
Only what’s done for Christ will last.