~ Agathos Church is a non-denominational Christian Church in Columbus, Ohio. This blog post is a summary a sermon by Brad Ettore. You can read the whole sermon, Financial Principles of the Bible (part 7), by clicking here.
When we understand the heart of tithing, we see that it is literally beautiful and exciting! That said, our mind may say “how can giving away 10% of my income possibly benefit me?!?” 2 Cor 9:6 shows us the answer to this concern: “But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” How is that possible? The answer is in verse 8: “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.” That’s how it works! Grace makes it work! “Grace is God’s willingness to use His power and His ability on our behalf.” God says in Luke 6:38 “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” God uses the same type of measure that we use when He blesses us, but God’s measure is 100x bigger than ours! (see Mark 4) Whatever measure we use, God’s going to use – and He gives to us abundantly using that measure!
This is how tithing and giving works in the Kingdom. You cannot think outside the Kingdom of God about tithing because the minute you do, it becomes a weight and a burden. But when you think about tithing from within the Kingdom, it becomes a blessing! God is not requiring the tithe of man because He needs any of it! God has given us tithing to strike our thinking and remind us of something: “I am your provider! Trust me with this!” God knows that it is going to cause some trepidation for us to bring our best to Him, but He is saying “do it and see what happens!”
Tithing WORKS because God gets involved with it! Pure numbers, the math on it, doesn’t work. Without God, tithing is impossible, “but with God ALL things are possible” Jesus said! The world’s concept is “get all you can, can all your get, and then sit on your can” but that will lead to poverty! But to the tither, God says “I will bless you and I will protect you financially!”
Now, some people say that there is no New Testament example of tithing. That said, the question of “where is the proof of tithing continuing in the New Covenant” is not really the right question. The better question would be “where’s the proof of it ending” because there is no place in the Bible that talks about the tithe ending. And, beyond that, Hebrews 7 makes it so clear that the tithe is on-going that it is undeniable that not only is the tithe NOT from the Law, but it is also very clearly a New Covenant, post-resurrection practice.
A little back drop to Hebrews 7:8 says“Here mortal men receive tithes, but there he receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives.” Who is the “of who it is witnessed that he lives”? Who could that be talking about besides Jesus?!? Jesus is receiving our tithes! The tabernacle of the Old Testament was a type and shadow of the true substance – Christ! The Old Testament had a tabernacle and a high priest, but Jesus is the real high priest to whom we bring tithes and He receives them! “For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. Therefore it is necessary that this One also have something to offer.” (Heb. 8:3) Jesus needs something to offer to the Father from you! God is still receiving tithes. Jesus is the High Priest and He wants to receive your tithes so that He can give them to the Father and then turn and speak blessing over you and me!!!
So, when do we tithe? It should be our first and our best. It should not be “in the process of time” we eventually get around to it. Again, this isn’t legalism, but we want to have a heart stance that says “Lord I want to honor you because I know that this all comes from you!” We want to be quick and prompt in bringing our tithe to the Lord – to be more like Abel and not like Cain where you “eventually get around to it.”
In Deut. 26 we see what God told Moses to write down about “how” to tithe. There is a specific celebration (or ceremony) around the tithe that God wants you and I to get involved in every time we tithe – similar to how there is a ceremony around communion. In summary, this is how we tithe:
- We remember our deliverance. The first part of what how we tithe is we “remember.” Remember what? That we were delivered out of darkness and into His marvelous light! Out of bondage into liberty! From the power of satan into the power of God! (see Col. 1:13, Acts 26:18).
- We worship God and not Mammon. Money tells us that it will make us happy, improve our relationships, and give us influence in the world. But that is a lie! Only God brings true happiness. Only God can truly bless a marriage. And that whole thing about influence – it’s all about identity! Only God can give you true identity. Mammon promises to do all the things that only God can do. Every time we worship God with our tithe we take an ax to this weed called Mammon that is constantly trying to take root in our soul. The tithe is actually literally the ax that we take to the root of the spirit of Mammon!
- We rejoice in all that He’s given us Then I begin to rejoice for every good thing which the Lord my God has given me! I say “Father, I thank you for my house and my cars. I thank you that I have money in the bank Lord, that I have food in my fridge Father. Lord, I thank you for a soft bed and blankets every night to sleep in. Father, I thank you for Max, my cat. I thank you for my health. I thank you for my family that loves me and I love them!” This is really healthy for us! That’s why God has us do it. Because it is healthy for us! It just keeps the road clear from the enemy coming in and sowing a bunch of garbage in our life. This causes us to be constantly reminded how great God has been in our life! So you rejoice!!
- We call upon the blessing. In verse 16 it says “This day the Lord your God commands you to observe these statutes…” He’s saying “Listen. I’m telling you to call upon me and command the blessing.” God commands us to command Him to bless us. “God look down from Your holy habitation, from heaven, and bless me Your son and the land which You have given to me – causing it to flow with milk and honey – just as You swore to my fathers that you would do! Father, rebuke the devourer for my sake so that He will not destroy the fruit of my ground!” God says “you declare that; I will do it!” That’s how we tithe.