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Thursday, July 05 2018
Last week’s study saw us looking at a very interesting topic – Caring for the Messenger where we learnt how important it is for us to care for our pastors and spiritual heads and the blessings we receive for it. As we see in Matthew 10:41-42. Today we shall be considering a topic that many leaders have conveniently shied away from; bordering on the word - Balance! As it relates to Giving and especially Tithing! Balance is “a state in which different things occur in equal or proper amounts or have an equal or proper amount of importance or in the correct proportions”. The opposite of “Balance” is “Imbalance” or “Extremity.” Balance implies you are not picking and choosing scripture to obey but considering all the facts while being guided solely by biblical principles! We need balance because the lack of it means we are thrown into extremes; and that is where the enemy wants us to be because it is easy to get into the ditch of error on either side of the road. A Balanced message therefore implies a message that is not one-sided but complete and entire.
THE ROOT CAUSE OF IMBALANCE
Where the problem lies (and both parties - those who are for tithes and those who are against - are guilty). Is the picking and choosing of what Jesus’s sacrifice covers and which of God’s commands to obey.
THE ANTI-TITHING CAMP
This Camp quotes Galatians 3:13 and say that we don’t need to obey the law because Christ has borne the curse of the law by being hung on a tree. So, let’s read the scripture and see what He did
“But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree."
He rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law and took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. He did not take away the responsibility of our obedience and the blessings that come with it.
Clearly, we are no longer under the curse of the law. What this implies now is that what now propels us to obey God’s commands which includes giving Him His tithe is our love for Him not our fear of the curse.
Many ministers are uncomfortable with preaching this truth because they fear people will take it for granted. But there is nothing we can do but for the truth! Our obedience to God in all giving; tithes, offerings, first fruits, etc. should be propelled by the love of God and not by the fear of the curse!
They also quote Matthew 5:17 which says:
“Do not think that I came to do away with or undo the Law [of Moses] or the [writings of the] Prophets; I did not come to destroy but to fulfil.
And then they go on to say Jesus has fulfilled the commandments, we do not need to fulfil them again. But let’s take a closer look at that scripture and how other versions render the phrase “fulfil it.” Most versions use the same phrase “fulfil it” but two versions render the verse slightly different and throw more light:
The Message version says – “Complete it”; the Living Bible says – “Make them come true”
Now let’s re-read Jesus’s statement in verse 17 in this light and we will see what truly makes sense.
“Do not think that I came to do away with or undo the Law [of Moses] or the [writings of the] Prophets; I did not come to destroy but to complete the Law of Moses and to fulfil the [writings of the] Prophets;
Completing the Law
In terms of the law, we will see how He has come to complete them when we read the rest of the verses from 18-47 with emphasis on the verses 21-22, 27-28, 31-32, 33-37, 43 - 47
Fulfilling The [Writings of the] Prophets
What did the prophets say about Jesus? There are about 55 prophecies that cover His Birth, Ministry, Death and Resurrection. We will just mention one of each
His Birth: Prophecy (2 Samuel 7:12–13) – Fulfilment (Matthew 1:1)
His Ministry: Prophecy (Psalm 40:9) – Fulfilment (Matthew 4:17)
His Death and Resurrection: Prophecy (Psalm 22:18) – Fulfilment (John 19:23–24)
These and many others Jesus came to fulfil and He did fulfil them!
Romans 3:31 (AMP) also says: “Do we then nullify the Law by this faith [making the Law of no effect, overthrowing it]? Certainly not! On the contrary, we confirm and establish and uphold the Law [since it convicts us all of sin, pointing to the need for salvation].
THE TITHING CAMP
There are pastors who have focused more on money, giving, and prosperity than any other subject. Sometimes they would put a guilt trip on people if they didn't give, or they would use high-pressure tactics to motivate individuals to respond. Yes, we know all the scripture verses that teach both the responsibility and blessing of giving. The Bible does say, "Give, and it shall be given unto you..."(Luke 6:38).
It does say, "... seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matthew6:33).
Giving in the Kingdom of God is a very important truth. These truths should be taught to all believers. But using schemes, guilt trips and high-pressure tactics is however not the right way to present this important truth to the people of God. Reason being that the Bible also says: "Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver" (2 Cor. 9:7).
The Message version renders this passage thus:
"I want each of you to take plenty of time to think it over, and make up your own mind what you will give. That will protect you against sob stories and arm-twisting. God loves it when the giver delights in the giving"
There are also preachers try to hammer Christians by quoting from Malachi chapter 3 saying that they are cursed if they don't pay tithes and give offerings. Obviously, this is not correct. While the people of Malachi's day were under the Law of Moses, the New Testament plainly declares that Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the Law (Gal. 3:13). “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”
Does that mean that tithing is no longer valid? Not at all.
God's people were tithers four hundred years before the Law, and Jesus reaffirmed the validity of tithing in His teaching. In the only recorded instance of Jesus' referring to tithing, He said it should be done!
In Matthew 23:23 NLT Jesus, addressing the Pharisees said:
“What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore the more important aspects of the law—justice, mercy, and faith. YOU SHOULD TITHE, YES, but do not neglect the more important things.” Emphasis mine.
This is the end time; we should be aware that there’s a continuous stream of attack from the gates of Hell. In these past few months/years the specific attack is by the god of money (mammon) diverting the funds that should be used in propagating the work of the kingdom into the hands and pockets of the greedy, stingy, ignorant and confused; whether they are pastors or members.
People claim that if the leadership of the church told the people the needs of the church they would give freely. This is simply a baseless claim. Well, God asked for a tithe because He knows us better than we know ourselves. The amount of noise made over the payment of tithes is usually directly proportional to the amount of love we have for money! Be it the pastors or the members!
It does not matter if “Men of God” say you are cursed if you do not pay your tithe! No one can undo the fact that Jesus has taken up the curse of the law on our behalf! The truth is this: There is no curse today for not tithing. We are free from the legalistic requirements of the Mosaic Law. Is there any other consequence? Yes, if we don't tithe, we limit ourselves from receiving the blessings God has promised those who pay tithes and give offerings by faith.
Giving is an essential part of Christian living. Every Christian leader has a responsibility to practice and teach what the Bible says about giving. But the emphasis must be kept in balance with teachings about other truths and doctrines in the Word of God. Pastors do as much a disservice to their congregations by never teaching on tithing and giving as by talking about it all the time. There must be balance. And the purpose for the instruction must be for the benefit and blessing of the people—not just for what the preacher will gain from it. The Bible says that Jesus went about teaching, preaching, and healing (Matt. 9:35). It doesn't say that He spent a lot of time taking up offerings and emphasizing prosperity. We know He did have partners who supported His ministry. We can find scripture references where Jesus talked about money and giving, especially in reference to helping the poor. But even the critics of Jesus were never able to say that He was in it for the money. Instead, the report that was published throughout all Judaea was that He went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed of the devil (Acts 10:38).
Parts of this study was culled from the Midas Touch by Kenneth E Hagin