Volume. XXIV, No. 48
Sunday, 30 May 2010


Biblical Reasons to Tithe


Introduction

 
As most of us are aware, in the Old Testament, God designated one of the twelve tribes of Israel, the tribe of Levi, to be the tribe that would have the ministry of the tabernacle and the temple. So instead of giving them a portion of the land, God said that these vocational ministers of the tabernacle should live off the tithes of the other eleven tribes. In Num 18:20-21, God said to Aaron, “20 And the LORD spake unto Aaron, Thou shalt have no inheritance in their land, neither shalt thou have any part among them: I am thy part and thine inheritance among the children of Israel. 21 And, behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle of the congregation.” The question is whether Jesus, in the New Testament, continued this principle for the sake of His church? The crucial question many of us want to ask is: “Is tithing ever endorsed by our Lord?” The answer is yes! Our Lord in Matt 23:23 says, “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.It is very clear that Jesus endorses tithing: there is no doubt about that. Yet one might say that Jesus is only talking to Jews in an essentially Old Testament setting in the gospels. But there is another pointer that the principle was preserved in the early church. In 1 Cor 9:13-14 Paul says, “Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar?” Why would Paul bother to link the Old Testament principle of tithing with the provision of ministers in the New Testament if he does not believe that tithing is still relevant? In other words, the Apostle reminds the church that in the Old Testament economy, there was this system in which the Levites who worked in the temple, lived off the tithes brought to the temple, and the same principle should be carried forward. Then he says in verse 1 Cor 9:14: “Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.” The least Paul is saying is that those who spend their lives in the service of the Word of God in the New Testament church, should be supported by the rest of God’s people just as the Levites in the Old Testament were. But since Apostle Paul draws attention to the way it was done in the Old Testament as the model, it seems most likely that tithing would have been the early Christian guideline, if not mandate. In other words, when we tithe today, we honor a principle and plan of God that sustained the ministry in the Old Testament and sustained the New Testament ministry as well. Having said that we must realize that tithing is not just about providing the need of the Levites in the Old Testament or ministers in the New Testament churches. There are more biblical reasons why God’s people today should tithe. 
 
Honouring God Our Creator
 
When we render a tenth of our income and beyond to the ministry and mission of Christ in the world, we honour the Creator rights of God, who owns everything, including all our income. Although tithing is an Old Testament principle which should be carried forward, the amount that we give to God should not be limited to just the 10% of our income just like the way we should observe the Ten Commandments today. For example, when the Lord commanded us to honour our parents, it is not limited just to our natural parents, but whoever is in authority above us. In fact, all our income essentially belongs to God as the Psalmist says, “The earth is the LORD\'S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein,” (Psalm 24:1) and it is our duty to honour Him with one tenth of our produce. Technically, God’s people can and should honour Him with all they have, not just the resources, but time, talents and their whole being. Thus, it is not just about how we manage our money, but about how we manage our life and set our priorities right. Nonetheless, what we do with every cent says something about our view of God and what He means to us, what our values are in this age and how we set our priorities. This is why God declares that one day in seven is especially His. Technically, they are all His, but He sanctifies one especially for His Holy purpose. Similarly, this is the way it is with our money and God. Giving God a tenth of our income and beyond does not deny that all our money is God\'s. It only proves that we believe it. Tithing is like a constant offering of the first fruits of the whole thing as done by the Old Testament saints from the dawn of human civilization! Like one writer aptly wrote, “The tenth is yours, O, Lord, in a special way, because all of it is yours in an ordinary way.” Whether the tithe should be the first check we write or not is not something a church leader can interfere or define for you. However, it was no doubt the practice in the Old Testament saints. We can’t bring what’s left over to church and expect that would honour God who deserves the ‘first fruit’ of our produce and the best of what we have received from Him!
 
The Antidote to Covetousness
 
Giving away a tenth and beyond of our income to the mission and ministry of Christ is also an antidote to covetousness. The last of the Ten Commandments says: "Thou shalt not covet." (Ex 20:17) Jesus said in Lk 12:15, " And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man\'s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth" And in Col 3:5 Paul calls covetousness "idolatry." Wanting things too much is incredibly dangerous for your soul. Paul also warns us that the “love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” (1 Tim 6:10) The more money we have, the more prone we are to fall into the snare of covetousness—it is just our fallen nature.
 
The writer of Hebrews wrote, “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have.” (Heb 13:5)   Every time we give a tithe, we must deal with the desire for what we might have bought for ourselves. To give is not to buy. And that weekly crisis is utterly important to maintain. We must fight covetousness almost every day. And God has appointed an antidote: giving. He tests us again and again: what do we desire most—the advancement of His name or 10% more temporal security and comfort and fun? It is up to us to decide. As Jesus says, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matt 6:21; Lk 12:34) Where is your heart and where do you lay up your treasures—here on earth where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal or in heaven where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal? You decide.
 
Biblical Way of Bringing About Good Works
 
The next reason for going to the tithe and beyond in our giving is that this is God\'s way of bringing about many good deeds for his glory. What do you do with the excess of money that God has blessed you with? If you do not know how to spend the excess, here is a guideline—spend it on those who you think need help in financial assistance. According to Titus, one of the reasons why Christ died for us is so that His people may be “zealous of good works" (Titus 2:14). 2 Cor 9:8 also says that the aim of material bounty is that we "may abound to every good work." Excess money is given to us so that we can show where our treasure is by giving it away to others who need it more than we do. It is unfortunate that many Christians today take God’s grace for granted since they are saved by grace alone. It is true that we are saved by grace alone, but James warns us that faith without works is dead; that is, living faith must be accompanied by works that evidences his faith. If God has blessed us with excess money, it is on us to give away to those who need help. These are the things that make our light shine and cause people to give glory to your Father in heaven. If you lay up treasures on earth, people have no reason to think your Father in heaven is glorious, because we behave in exactly the same way as those people in the world without eternal hope—clinging to their riches as temporal security, selfish comfort and a display of power.
 
In Conclusion:
 
Tithing is not merely a means to provide for ministers of God who serve the Lord full time, but it is ultimately a way to prove and strengthen our faith in God’s promises. There is an absolute correlation between faith in the promises of God and peace of mind in giving away what we may think we need, but don\'t. Heb 13:5 says, “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Why should God’s people be content with what they have because of a promise— “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee”? What does this have anything to do with tithing? Because every time you doubt that you can live on 90% of your income instead of 100%, you have trusted your wealth and riches more than God and have forgotten that God would never leave you or forsake you. Let this promise of God strengthen our faith and let God supply all our needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus" (Phil 4:19) by living like we really believe it and render due honour and glory to God by our action and good works! May God help us.
 
Ps Weng
 

More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

Announcements
*Kitchen Rosters: Team Leader: Sis Tabitha Tan. Next Lord’s Day: Team Leader: Sis Yvone Kam.
*Helpers needed for VBS. Please see Sis Josephine Wong if able to help. Please invite your friends
*Sparks4Christ Fund Raising Project - for Photocopier.  The Sparks organising Fellowship Sausage Sizzle Lunch today - $2 per sizzle w/o onions, $2.50 per sizzle with onions.
*New organ (keyboard) required for Sunday School.
*Candidates for Election to 6th Session 2010-2013:-
Ps Okman Ki; Ps David Weng: Elder Michael Lee; Deacons Edwin D’Mello, Tony Law, Yaw Chiew Tan & David Yeo; new Deacons - Bros Christanto Budiman, Colin Gan & Wai kin Wong; new Deaconesses - Sisters Joyce Gong & Purdee Yeo.
 
Looking Ahead
*AFG Bible Camp/Retreat in 11-14 June.
*24th Anniversary Thanksgiving on 20 June.
*Vacation Bible School, 12-16 July.
 
Praise & Thanksgiving
1. Journey mercies: Ps & Sis Ki (USA/Lond); Bro Wai Kin Wong (USA); Sis Sarah Lo (Adl/Keith); & others who have travelled.
2. Church activities - over the past week.
3. Sparks4Christ (Teens) - for organising the fund raising project: car vacuuming & fellowship lunch.
4. Daily mercies, protection & guidance.
5. Working Bees - much work done.
6. Much needed rain over the past week.
 
Prayer Items
1. Health & God’s healing - Rev George & Sis Nan van Buuren; Dr SH Tow; Rev & Mrs James White; Preacher Zhang, Dn Yaw Chiew Tan; Bros Colin Creaser, Makoto Kobayashi (JPN), Elton Law, Jonathan Liao, Len & Richard Pearson, Moses Tan (S’pore), & Fred Volvricht; Mr Swee Liang Ng; Grandpa Ki (S’pore); Auntie Oei; Sisters Lynette Booth, Mabella Booth, Annie D’Mello & her mother (Mumbai), Lydia Fan, Myung Ki (UK), Choon Fong Lee (KL); Fiona & Lehia Paauwe; Margaret, Dianne, & Sarah Pearson; Susan Veradi, Irena Kurek-Braden; & others in affliction.
2. God’s comfort: Rev Dr SH Tow & family; Sis Yvone Kam & family, Mrs Angela Nguyen & family & others still in grief.
3. Healing & health - Bro Winston Selvanayagam
4. Cambodia Missions - Pr Zhang & ministry; (Sihanoukville); Rev Stephen Choi & ministry (Phnom Penh & Kandal Province).
5. Laos Missions - Bro Surish & ministry (Vientiane).
6. iSketch&Tell Studio - Pr H S Lim & his ministry in S’pore/Malaysia/Indonesia (June) & Adelaide (July).
7. IBPFM (USA) - Board, missionaries & funds.
8. Ps & Sis Ki & ministry in New Life BPC (Lond).
9. Ps & Sis Weng - ministry in Hope BPC.
10. Hopefuls in S’pore; In Kuching: Teo family.
11. Journey mercies: Rev George van Buuren (Holland); Bro Colin & Sis Kathleen Creaser (Bris); Bro Wai Kin Wong (Adl); Sis Sarah Lo (Keith/Adl); & others travelling.
12. New Photocopier for church & new organ (keyboard) for Sunday School - For God’s provision.
13. ACM & 6th Session Election on Sat, 28 August.
14. Job - Sisters Xandrea Cai, Marion Chan, Judy Li, Corinne Teng & Mag Yu (S’pore).
15. Good health in pregnancy - Sis Demelza Ting. 
16. 24th Anniversary Thanksgiving Speaker: Elder KH Koh of Sydney BPC.
17. Final Stage of pregnancy: Sis Josephine Wong
18. AFG Bible Camp - Speaker: Rev Tim Meyer (Qld), organisers & participants.
 
 

 

 

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PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063