I have been a Christian for fifty-one years, forty-four of those years have been spent in full time ministry.
We were always tithers, because that’s what was expected of us. I can honestly say I didn't always know why we did, other than we were taught that we should.
For the first ten or twelve years I pastored, our Church didn't tithe. We were a giving Church, supporting missionaries as well as helping to start new Churches at home. We always responded to the less fortunate and helped many in times of difficulties. But we didn’t take ten percent and return it to God’s work as the Lord’s Tithe.
Approximately thirty years ago that all changed. God supernaturally took me on a journey which is ongoing to this day. He revealed to me the joy of tithing, and I mean it has become our joy.
Not only have we tithed personally, but we’ve led the Church to tithe of all its increase. This includes all money received, even building fund offerings.
You see, first of all, we weren’t giving to get blessed; we were giving because we are blessed. No one can give what they haven’t received, so the fact we could give meant we had first received.
King David discovered this in 1 Chronicles 29:14, “But who am I and what are my people, that we should retain strength and be able to offer thus so willing? For all things come from you, and out of your own hand we have given thee.”
God is always the first giver, and we have the joy of returning what He has blessed us with.
One of my resent joys has been watching the new FCF Church in Moncton. From day one they have been a tithing Church, and again we are seeing something wonderful happen. The goodness of God is manifest.
I don’t believe the idea that under Grace we are exempt from tithing. This idea is not supported in Scripture. The great difference is that under Law you had to give, but under Grace you get to. I do believe Jesus was made a curse for us, and no one is cursed or loved less by Jesus, even if they don’t tithe. However, the lack of tithing reveals a lack of understanding of Jesus and His goodness in the area of finance.
I am going to give a few points for your consideration, and we will expand on them in future blogs.
We are familiar with Scriptures such as 1 Peter 5:2, Titus 1:7, 1 Timothy 3:3, all of which refer to money as filthy lucre.
Luke 16:11 refers to unrighteous mammon or deceitful riches, and admonishes us to be faithful in this area lest we disqualify for true riches.
Question: How does something unrighteous become righteous?
Romans 11:16 “For if the first fruits be holy, the lump is also and if the root be holy so are the branches.”
This is called representation, the sum becomes what the first fruit is. Jesus was God’s tithe. He is the first and the last. He is the first born from the dead; we are holy because He is holy. The sum of our money becomes righteous because of the first fruit, the tithe. We don’t use filthy lucre. It has been declared righteous money for a righteous cause. We are living under a righteous system.
In reference to Melchisedec, Hebrews 7:4 tells us that Abraham gave tithes to him showing how great this man was.
Jesus is greater than all. When we tithe to our priest, Jesus, we are declaring how great He is.
1 Corinthians 11:26 is the communion scripture. Here we are told we show the Lord’s death.
Hebrews. 7: 8 tells us that tithing is a witness that Jesus is alive. “Here men that die receive tithes, but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth.”
Communion isn’t a celebration of the greatness of Jesus, tithing is. Communion celebrates what He did, He died for me. Tithing celebrates what He is doing for me, supplying all my needs according to His riches in Glory by Christ Jesus.
My motive in tithing isn’t to get rich, but rather to celebrate how great Jesus is to me. The blessing of the Lord maketh rich.
My pride isn’t in tithing, but rather that Jesus loves me, and it represents all of His blessing on my life.
I don’t have to, I get to tithe. The increase of tithe is something to rejoice about. It represents that fact that my whole life has increased, His blessing is evident, and His giving to me has become something to celebrate!
Next month be watching as we explore Luke 15.
-Pastor Bill Annis