THE TITHE

Author 

Cleve Sharp   

The tithe simply put is one tenth.  Many people today believe that the tithe is an outdated observance of the Law of Moses.  My purpose is to show:  where the tithe originated, how it became part of God’s law, how the tithe was used through out time, and finally how the tithe can become a very important part of the financial plan of God for your life.

In the Beginning

The first place the tithe is mentioned in the scripture is in Genesis 14:18. We find here that Abram is just returning from rescuing Lot his nephew.  Four kings came into the valley where Lot lived, attacked his city and had taken him prisoner.  When Abram got word of Lot's misfortune he pursued the kings, defeated them in battle, and came away with all the spoil these kings had taken in their raiding. On Abram's return trip home he came into contact with one of the most unique figures in history, "Melchizedek king of Salem, priest of the most high God"


Genesis 14:18 - 20 (KJV)

18And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. 19And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: 20And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.

            Melchizedek went out and greeted Abram. Then he fed Abram with bread and wine.  This was a covenant meal, a meal of communion.  Melchizedek then put his blessing on Abram, as Gods' owned man.  This is the first earthly confirmation of Abrams' heavenly ordination.  Melchizedek realized the special relationship that Abram had with God and validated it with this blessing.  Then Abram did something new, a thing before unheard of, he gave Melchizedec a tenth of all the spoil he had taken.  Let's look at Hebrews 7 for even deeper insight into this event.

Giving to Men of Rank

Hebrews 7:1 - 7 (KJV)

1For this Melchizedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; 2To 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; 3Without 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. 4Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils. 5And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham: 6But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises. 7And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.

            The writer of Hebrews begins to expound on this happening.  He begins to point out the important and powerful relationship Melchizedek had with God.  The writer say's that Melchizedek was one "like unto the Son of God". 

 

Like - (STR.) 871 to assimilate closely;  from 575 - "off" away & 3666 - to assimilate, compare, to become similar 

            Assimilate - (NWD) 1. to absorb into the body's system 2. to absorb, make one's own 3. to adapt 4. to make like by assimilation 

            Melchizedek was an individual without traceable lineage, but very clearly a man who walked with God, fellowshiping and imitating Him.  Melchizedek was an man who's identity had been dramatically defined by his personal relationship to the Most High.  He had absorbed, by relationship, the very character of God. Melchizedek is seen here as a man of great spiritual rank. “Consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham (the Father of our faith) gave the tenth of the spoils. "  This example is given us to establish a pattern that we will see throughout the scripture.  The tithe is given to support those, who, by their walk and relationship with God, and their direct input into our lives, are over us in the Lord.  Abram did not labor with this thought at all.  He recognized and reacted to the Spiritual rank of Melchizedek by the giving of the tenth.  Melchizedek imparted three things to Abram.  First he fed Abram the covenant meal of bread and wine, symbolic of pastoral care.  Second he confirmed the ordination of God on Abram.  Third he put his blessing on him.

Jacob’s Revelation

Many years latter Jacob promised God that, "I will surely give the tenth unto thee".  It is evident that Jacob understood the concept of giving the tenth. The tithe takes on further significance because Jacob committed himself to give the tithe as part of his covenant relationship with God.  It is apparent that this was not a random decision.  Jacob intentionally and specifically dedicated the tenth to the Lord.  It is clear that Abram had passed down his revelation of the tenth to his children. 

Genesis 28:22

And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.

The Tithe under the Law

            Some four hundred years later the children of Jacob (Israel) had grown from the seventy that had entered Egypt to around Three-Million souls.  Moses led these people out of Pharaoh’s bondage, across the Red Sea, and to mount Sinai.  It was at this mountain that God gave Moses a criteria by which His people were to live for Him.  This is called the “Law of Moses”.  We refer to it as the old covenant.  At this point, we begin to see the importance of the tithe in the Law of God.  God implements the tithe as part of His covenant.

The Tithe is Holy

HOLY  - (STR) 6944 - A sacred place or thing; sanctity

             (NWD)  1. of God or a god, his works, dwelling place, attributes etc.

             2. (of a person) living a life of spiritual purity 3. (of things) dedicated, set apart, for sacred usage

Levi 27:30-

And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the

fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s: it is holy unto the LORD. 31 And if a man will at all redeem ought of his tithes, he shall add thereto the fifth part thereof.  32 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. 33 He shall not search whether it be good or bad, neither shall he change it: and if he change it at all, then both it and the change thereof shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed. 34 These are the commandments, which the LORD commanded Moses for the children of Israel in mount Sinai.

            First :  The tithe is “holy unto the Lord".  The tithe then is consecrated and dedicated to the Lord.  The tithe belongs to the Lord.  The tithe is Gods.

            Second :  The individual wasn't to choose what tenth to give to God.  Some would have a tendency to give the tithe from the sick, the feeble or the worst part of their increase.  God knew the heart of man and wouldn't allow him to pick and choose concerning the tithe.  If a man decided not to give the exact lamb, the tenth one as it passed under the rod, but instead picked out an older or more feeble lamb, then both became the Lord’s.  God was dealing with the stinginess and guile of man’s heart.  However, God did make provision for a man to use his tithe for a period of time, and then give it, there was a surcharge of twenty percent to be added.

            We know that God has no need earthly things.  "The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof", it all belongs to Him.  So, if all the world is God's, why did he want his people to give a tithe?  Was the tithe a special punishment God had devised for his people or was he trying to bless them?

The Levites

Numbers 18:6 -7

And I, behold, I have taken your brethren the Levites from among the children of Israel: to you they are given as a gift for the LORD, to do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation. 7 Therefore thou and thy sons with thee shall keep your priest's office for every thing of the altar, and within the vail; and ye shall serve: I have given your priest's office unto you as a service of gift: and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death.

            God called the children of Levi to be his own, dedicated, priestly tribe.  Levi did not choose this job, God did.  God said, "I have taken...the Levites".  The Levites weren’t volunteers.  They were drafted by God.  God called the Levites to be His own dedicated priestly tribe.  What was there job?  They were servants (ministers) of the "tabernacle of the congregation".  They took care of the tent, the altar, and everything within the vail. They had the maintenance of all the dedicated things.  How was God going to take care of all these Levites?  God did not give them an inheritance with their brothers.  They were not given a piece of land to cultivate and care for.  How were they to be supported?  They were given a work of service (ministry) and through that work they were to be cared for.

Minding my own Business

            In 1971, at eighteen years old, I was at work, minding my own business when the Lord visited me.  He simply said, “You are mine”.  I have chosen you to serve me.  I have called you to the work of the ministry.  He did not ask me.  He simply informed me.  From that day, I have burned with the desire to fulfill this purpose.  Every activity and every work in my life has been influenced by that call.  My family and children have been infused with this vision. 

            The public many times have a real disdain for the ministry.  Ministers are sometimes looked upon as freeloaders and loafers.  One of the common questions asked is, ”Are you still preaching or do you have a real job now."  I am well aware of the abuse of the “ministry."  However, there are some “God called” individuals out there who are totally intent on following the Lord with all their hearts.  God has placed His finger on them and took them as His own.  They are seized from the mainstream of daily life, to labor in God’s vineyard.  Their future becomes part of a divine scheme, and their living is secured by His hand.

 

The Tithe and the Levite

Numbers 18:21 - 24

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. 22 Neither must the children of Israel henceforth come nigh the tabernacle of the congregation, lest they bear sin, and die. 23 But the Levites shall do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they shall bear their iniquity: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations, that among the children of Israel they have no inheritance.  24 But the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer as an heave offering unto the LORD, I have given to the Levites to inherit: therefore I have said unto them, Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance.

 

All  the tenth went for the support of the Levites, who were servants (ministers) of the tabernacle.  The tithe was not given to build, to pay utilities on, or to maintain the tabernacle.  The tithe was a dedicated and holy thing to the Lord but was to be given to men.  The tithe was given to the Levites. The tithe was the Levites’ inheritance for their service(ministry). 

 

The Method

 

The children of Israel were to come to the tabernacle and heave up (hold up) their tithe as a dedicated thing unto the Lord.  Then they were to give the tithe to the Levites, releasing it into their care, for their use.  This sequence is very important.  It reminds us that giving the tithe is not an issue just among men.  The tenth is a matter of the heart between the individual and God. 

            After the tithe was released to the Levites it became their inheritance.

 

Did the tithing end when the Levites received their portion?  No.  The Levites had to tithe also.

 

Here, we begin to see a distinction by rank between the people of Israel and the Levites.  The children of Israel were expressly forbidden to come near the tabernacle, lest they should, “bear sin, and die.”    The Levites were commissioned and entrusted with the care of the tabernacle.  They also bore distinction and honor because of that work.

Distinction between the Levite and the Priest

 

Numbers 18:25 - 32 (KJV)

25And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 26Thus speak unto the Levites, and say unto them, When ye take of the children of Israel the tithes which I have given you from them for your inheritance, then ye shall offer up an heave offering of it for the LORD, even a tenth part of the tithe. 27And this your heave offering shall be reckoned unto you, as though it were the corn of the threshingfloor, and as the fulness of the winepress. 28Thus ye also shall offer an heave offering unto the LORD of all your tithes, which ye receive of the children of Israel; and ye shall give thereof the LORD’S heave offering to Aaron the priest. 29Out of all your gifts ye shall offer every heave offering of the LORD, of all the best thereof, even the hallowed part thereof out of it. 30Therefore thou shalt say unto them, When ye have heaved the best thereof from it, then it shall be counted unto the Levites as the increase of the threshingfloor, and as the increase of the winepress. 31And ye shall eat it in every place, ye and your households: for it is your reward for your service in the tabernacle of the congregation. 32And ye shall bear no sin by reason of it, when ye have heaved from it the best of it: neither shall ye pollute the holy things of the children of Israel, lest ye die.

 

            After the Levites had taken tithes of all the people of Israel, they were to tithe to Aaron and his sons, the household of the high priest.  Aaron and his sons received a tithe (tenth) of the tithe.  In the same manner as Abram, tithing to Melchizedek, so the children of Israel heaved their tithe up to the Lord then gave it to the Levites.  The Levites promptly took what had been given them, extracted the best tenth, heaved it up to the Lord and gave it to Aaron and his sons, the household of the High Priest.  Aaron’s' rank was recognized and celebrated by this tithe.  His household was honored and distinguished by the best tenth of the tenth.  The tithe marked the position, responsibility, and privilege the Levite and the household of the High Priest had that others did not have.  Not only was Aaron and his son’s honored by the tithe of the tithe,  they were acknowledged by their exclusive entrance and access to the “Most Holy Place”.

            In verse 18:30  there is a comment of particular note.  The Levites were to heave up the best, releasing it to Aaron’s' sons, “then” it shall be counted unto the Levites as the "increase".  The tithe given to the Levites was not considered increase to them, until they themselves had tithed.  The tithe then was to be handled as a - first Priority.  It was the first tenth dispensed.  When the tithe was given, the release of the increase of God came on all that was left.

Because of the Anointing

 

NUMBERS 18:8

 And the LORD spake unto Aaron, Behold, I also have given thee the charge of mine heave offerings of all the hallowed things of the children of Israel; unto thee have I given them by reason of the anointing, and to thy sons, by an ordinance for ever.

 

            God tells Aaron, the reason the best tenth goes to him is because of the anointing on his life. 

            So, the tithe was given to men, men chosen by God for a particular work of service, men of spiritual rank, men anointed for a specific ministry.

Robbing God

Mala 3:8 - 9

8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.   9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.

            God takes the use of the tithe and offerings for personal reasons, very seriously.  He calls it theft.  He didn’t say man was stealing from man.  He said man was stealing directly from Him. The mishandling of the tithe brings a curse. 

The Storehouse

Mala 3:10

10a Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse............

 

The storehouse was the place where the people brought together their tithe and offerings.  Then the tithe was distributed among the Levites for their use.  The storehouse was the place where the tithe was kept for the provision of the men of God.  If there is no provision made for the men of God then they have to seek secular employment to make ends meet.  The storehouse at one point became an apartment for one of the enemies of God named Tobiah.  

 

Nehe 13:4 KJV

“And before this, Eliashib the priest, having the oversight of the chamber of the house of our God, was allied unto Tobiah:  Vs.  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.” 

The very place where the provision of the men of God was to be stored was occupied by a foreigner who was not supposed to come near the temple.  Because of disobedience many times the allotment of the men of God is overlooked and the enemy of God (Satan) has authority over there finances stopping them.  We need to be careful not to give the enemy control of the storehouse.

Under the Curse

 

            There is a blessing on the tithe, given from the heart, according to the prescribed pattern.  There is also a very real curse on the misuse of the tithe to the individual.  Analogy : When the children of Israel came into the promised land, the first city that they were sent against was Jericho. 

 

Josh 6:17- 19 

17 And the city shall be accursed, even it, and all that are therein, to the LORD:  18 And ye, in any wise keep yourselves from the accursed thing, lest ye make yourselves accursed, when ye take of the accursed thing, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it.  19 But all the silver, and gold, and vessels of brass and iron, are consecrated (devoted) unto the LORD: they shall come into the treasury of the LORD.  

 

            The first fruits of the promised land were dedicated to the Lord.  God’s instructions to the children of Israel was to burn everything in the city as an offering, as an incense and first fruit given to the Lord.  The people were warned that all of the contents of the city were the Lords and all the items of the city were a curse to the individual.  So the thing that was dedicated to the Lord became a curse to the people if they took those things for themselves.  When they went to war against the next city “Ai” they discovered sin in there camp.  One of the men named Achan had taken some of the garments and some money from Jericho and hidden them in his tent.  His rational, I’m sure, was God doesn’t need those things.  What will it hurt if I take a little for me.  However, there was a preordained curse levied by God on those items.  In order to purge the camp of this sin, Achan an his whole household had to be destroyed.

ACCURSED -   2764 cherem {khay'-rem}

physically (as shutting in) a net (either literally or figuratively); usually a doomed object; abstractly extermination

FROM 2763 charam

A primitive root; to seclude; specifically (by a ban) to devote to religious uses (especially destruction)

 

There is a curse on the misuse of the tithe.

Rank in the New

 

Ephesians 4:8 - 13 (KJV)

8Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. 9(Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? 10He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) 11And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

 

 

Ro   10:14 - 15

14  How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?  15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent?  as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

 

1Co  12:28

And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments,  diversities of tongues.

            Jesus gave some gifts to His church.  He gave the gift of Apostle, the gift of Prophet, the gift of Evangelist, the gift of Pastor, and the gift of Teacher.  He called them, instilled them with certain of His attributes, and prescribed their duties as it relates to the true tabernacle, “The Church”. 

            There are some things every believer is qualified and capable of doing.  However, there are duties and responsibilities God has ordained only for those whom He has called into a place of leadership.  He has determined certain endeavors for the five-fold (Ephesians 4:11-12) ministry that will never be acceptable for average believer.  This distinction in function does not make anyone lesser in the redemptive plan of God.  Jesus loves each of us the same.  Nevertheless, by order, by station, by position, and by responsibility God has ordained certain things for leadership, that those of the general assembly may not do.  God has set these stewards in His house for a specific purpose.  Others, who have not been called, commissioned, or sent by God may press their way into these areas. They are violators of the ordinance of God, intruders in these works. 

Giving in the New

 

1Co 9:1 - 19

 Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord? 2  If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord. 3  Mine answer to them that do examine me is this, 4  Have we not power to eat and to drink? 5  Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and [as] the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas? 6  Or I only and Barnabas, have not we power to forbear working? 7  Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock? 8  Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also? 9  For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? 10 Or saith he [it] altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, [this] is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope. 11  If we have sown unto you spiritual things, [is it] a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? 12 If others be partakers of [this] power over you, [are] not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ. 13  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? 14 Even so hath the Lord ordained (established and determined) that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel. 15  But I have used none of these things: neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me: for [it were] better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void. 16  For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! 17  For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation [of the gospel] is committed unto me. 18  What is my reward then? [Verily] that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel. 19  For though I be free from all [men], yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.

God Develops Believers through Men

 

1Co  9:1 - 2

 Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord? 2  If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord.

            Paul said, the people were his work in the Lord.  Men are used by God to build our spiritual lives.  Paul declared the church at Corinth to be the seal of his apostleship.  These folk became part of the signet, that proved Paul’s authenticity.  It is very important that believers support those doing the work of the Lord.  The work of the Lord is done inside the heart and achieved through skill and effort of Godly master builders (The Fivefold Ministry).

Related Text

1Co  3:5 Who then is Paul, and who [is] Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?  Vs.6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.

 

1Co  3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building. 

 

Vs.10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.

 

1Co  4:15 For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet [have ye] not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.

 

            There are those who plant, and there are those who water us with the gospel.  There are those who labor with God in us, to bring us into spiritual maturity.  We are the building of the Lord.  We are the New Covenant Temple. One man may lay the foundation and another man builds upon it.  God uses men to found, build, finish, and fill us.  Some, father and others nurse what is fathered.

Benefiting by the Work

1 Co 9: 7

  “Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock?” 

 

            The answer to these questions, plainly is ‘no one’.

 ‘Ministers’ the Oxen of the Lord

1 Co 9:9

Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen?”

            The oxen were used to turn the great millstones.  Through their strength the grain was crushed, producing the flour used to make bread.  What would have been accomplished to deny the oxen food from the same grain?  It would be foolish to destroy through starvation or lack, the one used in bringing provision to our door.  Some of us are so narrow minded to think, “that ox eats to much, so he will have to do without.”  What a dim-witted mistake.  The strength of this ox  called ministry brings great spiritual sustenance to the people of God. 

In Pr   14:4 the scripture say, “Where no oxen [are], the crib [is] clean: but much increase [is] by the strength of the ox.” As a young man, my job in the morning was to clean the stable. Afterwards, I milked our only cow, Rose.  I really didn’t like the dirty job of cleaning up after her but I enjoyed the cold milk the next morning with my breakfast.  Also each year that same cow produced us a fine butcher calf.  Wouldn’t it have been silly for us to sell the cow because we had to  clean up after her.  Some have complained and judged the ministry for it’s failings.  It’s true some ministers have soiled the church with their sin.  However, there are those at work with good and true hearts which bring much increase in the kingdom of God.  Let’s not discard the upright because of the corrupt.

Double Honor

1Ti 5:17 - 18

 17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine.  18 For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn.  And, The labourer [is] worth of his reward.

Honour    -    5092 -  from 5099

1) a valuing by which the price is fixed; hence the price itself: of the price paid or received for a person or thing bought or sold  2) honor which belongs or is shown to one: the honor which one has by reason of rank and state of office which he holds; deference, reverence

 

5099 tino 1) to pay, to recompense; to pay penalty, suffer punishment stable.

            Godly elders are to be given ‘double honor’.  This phrase denotes the value which the body of Christ should place on its leadership.  Literally the phrase has a twofold meaning; 1)  double reverence shown to the rank  2)  these men are worthy of double the pay.   To those rule well especially those who labor in the word they are worthy of twice the respect and twice the compensation.     Bringing choice spiritual food to the body of Christ is very labor intensive.  Certain of the body of Christ, see no need for their leaders to separate themselves to the work of ‘the word of God and prayer’.  The pilots of the church are distracted ‘by much serving’ (Luke 10:38-42) as Mary was when Jesus visited her house.  The pulpit is filled with the leftovers of yesterday.  Some are busy, caring for their own needs.   While others are constantly diverted by time depleting trivia demanded by many in the church.

Plowing in Hope

1 Co 9:10

“Or saith he [it] altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, [this] is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope.” 

            If a man of God is working on the “house of the Lord” (you), why shouldn’t he work in hope?  Should, there be hesitation to support someone who is there caring, covering, equipping, and providing spiritual strength and help?  No.  The minister of the work should receive the provision of God coming through those he diligently cares for?  This supply is right in God. 

Reaping Carnal Things

1 Co 9: 11

 “If we have sown unto you spiritual things, [is it] a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things”?  

Spiritual    -    4152 pneumatikos  -   from 4151

1) relating to the human spirit, or rational soul, as part of the man which is akin (related, similar) to God and serves as his instrument or organ; that which possesses the nature of the rational soul

 

Carnal    -    14559 sarkikos  -   pertaining to the flesh, i.e. to the body

 

Mt   10:7 -11

 7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. 8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. 9 Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, 10 Nor scrip for [your] journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.  11 And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, inquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence.

 

            Can we really compare the value of eternal spiritual things to temporal earthly things?  The emphasis and target of church leaders must be the impartation, development, and skill of the ‘believer’ in spiritual things. On the other hand, it is imperative that believers take up the care of those who are focused on this work.  Men of God must not charge to bring the gospel.  What we have freely received we must freely give.  However, Jesus told His disciples not to make provision for their own care.  Jesus intended, the people being ministered unto, to take up the keeping of His men in their hearts.  Many times men of God and their families sacrifice and do without the amenities of ordinary life in order to provide for the people of God.  What a testimony against the church.

 

Ga   6:6

Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.

 

            The body of Christ should literally become a partner, sharing with their leadership in all good things.

The Sad Heart

I Co  9:12 - 16

“If others be partakers of [this] power over you, [are] not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ.”  

            Apparently, some were receiving support from the Corinthian church.  Nonetheless, Paul was its Apostle and founding father.  It is clear that he was trying to establish the benevolent priorities of this church.  He was saying in essence “I’ve done the work but your support doesn’t reflect it.  I have the right and the authority by my relationship with you to require you to care for my needs but I have chosen to suffer and do without instead.”  Why?  Because, he wanted their support of him to come from their hearts and not by a law.  How disappointing this part of the letter must have been to Paul.  Every principle of the new covenant amounts entirely to a “matter of the heart”. 

 

VS. 13.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? 14. Even so hath the Lord ordained (established and determined) that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel. 15.  But I have used none of these things: neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me: for [it were] better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void. 16.  For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!

            Paul said to this same group, (2Co  11:7) “Have I committed an offense in abasing myself that ye might be exalted, because I have preached to you the gospel of God freely?” (2Co  11:8) “I robbed other churches, taking wages [of them], to do you service.”  Paul reminds and upbraids the church at Corinth about their past relationship, concerning his work among them, and their lack of support for him.  Paul said, he had taken the support of another church to enable him to provide for their needs.  This wasn’t God’s plan.  Provision should come through the church one labors in.   Even when times are lean, believers should do all they can to fulfill their part in caring for the ministry.  God requires us to support through our finances, and continue to support in prayer.  Provision for His workman is part of the plan of God.

Great Heart

            Pauls attitude and great heart is demonstrated in the following passages, (2Co 11:9) And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied: and in all [things] I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and [so] will I keep [myself].”

Ac   20:33 - 35

 “I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel. 34 Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me.  35 I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.” 

            Paul refused to be a burden.  He set a sobering example of self sacrifice before the churches.  Many men of God have take this approach.  They go into secular work to provide for themselves in order to remove the harsh accusation of the people from their lives.  Often the ministry is neglected simply for an obvious lack of time.  The heart of the men of God should be to serve and give, no matter what the personal expense.  However, God has a better plan for his church and these men.

Living of the Gospel

 

Vs. 13 “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?”  14 “Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.”

 

            Paul begins to tie the things we’ve said together.  Paul goes back to the example of the Levites.  What is Paul’s comparison?  There were men under the old covenant that worked on and in the tabernacle and the temple.  This work was their job.  Now there are men under the new covenant, chosen, equipped, and sent by God to work on His temple.  Who is the temple?  (1Co  3:16)  “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and [that] the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”  Paul said he, “laid the foundation” in them, the temple of God, and others had built upon it.    He uses the example of planting and watering. 

            The Levites were not commanded to stand in front of the people and kill the sacrifice, day and night, and yet unable to enjoy the fruit of that labor.  When the people brought their sacrifices the Levites took a portion for themselves. 

            The Levites were called to make the sacrifice.  New covenant leaders constantly sacrifice for the people.  They willingly give themselves, laying down their own lives for the flock of God.  Just as this teaching on the tithe has required much labor and many hours to make it available to God’s people, so there are many things the men of God do in private to effect, strengthen, and encourage the people they serve.  True spiritual food requires much time to prepare.  These men were taken by God; they are Gods owned men.  The requirements placed on their lives are much greater than the average believer.  Their level of accountability before God is much greater. 

Men of Sacrifice

            There are voices in the land that have criticized and condemned the men of God as money mongers.  I constantly hear examples concerning the abuse of the ministry for personal gain, and for those reports I am deeply ashamed.  However, I have never known a wealthy man of God and sadly I have only known a few with a comfortable standard of living.  I have known many who have ministered with holes in their shoes and unfulfilled needs at home.  There are those who have had to drive at night because their tires were so worn the heat of the sun would pop them.  I remember a man walking by my automobile in the parking lot of the church and laughing with an exclamation that, “any man who would drive that car all over the United States must be a man of faith.”  Thank God for better times.  Yes there are those who aren’t preaching for the money, but for their love of God and His people.  I am not implying, that sacrifice and suffering for the work are evil things, in fact, most men of God are compelled to pay any price to do the will of the Father.  The foul “spirit of antichrist” wants to destroy or distract the zeal of any true man of God, and he doesn’t hesitate to use the lack of finances to do so.  With every onslaught he intends to still their voices and often uses the indifference of believers concerning their giving to cause incredible stress on these.

2Co  9:6

 But this [I say], He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.

             The man who abstains to give, or is stingy, will ultimately go without the blessing of the harvest.  Your actions are guaranteed a return.  We are rewarded in proportion to what we do.  Of course, the widows mite has great power with God.  Giving is a matter of the heart.

 

The Blessing of the Tithe

 

Mala 3:10 - 12

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. 11 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. 12 And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts.

 

1.     Get ready, God wants to prove Himself to you!!!  God wants you to understand that He doesn’t intend less for you.  He has purposed to bless His people beyond their dreams.  God wants to take your finances out of the pit of lack and need.  God wants to open the “windows of heaven” to you.  He is wanting to bless you beyond your capacity to receive (not only in finance but other ways).

 

2.     God has promised to personally get involved with your adversary the devil and rebuke him concerning you and yours.  God wants to reprove, upbraid and stop the enemies advance on your life.

 

A.     He (the devil) will not be able to obliterate what you have planted.   What you plant will bear fruit.  

 

B.    He will not be able to destroy your children. 

 

C.    He will not be able to uproot your investments and make them unprofitable.  The one who comes to eat up, devour, or burn up the labor of your hands will not be able to.

 

D.    He will not be able to spoil, ruin, pervert, or corrupt what you commit to the Lord.

 

3.     The enemy will not be able to abort your efforts and make them fruitless.   The enemy will not cause you to miscarry and terminate your fruit, or the children (of the womb).  God will protect your life from premature death.  You will realize your prosperity.

4.      4.  You will be recognized as the “blessed” by the world.  The old saying, “he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth” will apply.

 

2Co  9:8 - 11

 And God [is] able to make all grace(every favor and earthly blessing) abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all [things], may abound to every good work: 9  (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever. 10  Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for [your] food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;) 11  Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God.

The Sum of Things         

            The tithe is Gods benchmark and starting place for giving.  It should only be the beginning of our support for the work of the Lord. Giving the tithe is a spiritual issue, a matter of the heart.  It is clear the tithe is the Lords.  From our hearts we honor the Lord by giving our tithe.   We deliver the tithe to men of rank, those that are over us in the Lord.  The tithe provides shepherds, bishops of the flock.  Offerings are given to provide the essential, material needs of the church (buildings, notes, utilities, upkeep etc...)  Once given, the tithe is to be released from our control.  Those that receives our tithes immediately becomes accountable before God for the handling and care of these resources. They should freely use it as the Lord directs them.

Attitude is Everything

2Co  9:6 - 7

 But this [I say], He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.  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.

            As with all things of the new covenant, tithing and giving are matters of the heart.  God is not wanting your mindless compliance to a law, but He is wanting a response based on your love for Him.  You must decide for yourself what you must do concerning your giving.  If you give as a matter of law, tithing will always be a burden to you and will not produce the effect God intends.  A constant struggle in this area, indicates a deeper spiritual problem.  Our attitudes must be right when we give.  The scripture warns us not to give grudgingly or of necessity but joyfully.  We need to monitor our attitudes about giving and make sure our hearts are right.  Be a cheerful giver.  Give from your heart.  Ministers of this New Covenant are not sent to extract a tithe from you by a law.  However, they are worthy to receive your tithe.  Paying your tithe as you would a tax, is unacceptable for the New Covenant believer. Give your tithe out of your heart, the blessing of the Lord will follow.  Once the tithe leaves your hand it is no longer your responsibility or under your charge.  Tithing should not end with the man of God that receives your tithe.  He in turn should first give his tithe to those that are over him in the Lord.  In this way the congregational member supports the superstructure of the government of God.