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Giving and Receiving

Philippians 4:15   Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only.

II Corinthians 9:6-8...He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give: not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:

God has no favorites. Financial and material abundance is dependent upon the application of specific principles that God set forth in His Word. When prosperity is viewed in its true spiritual light then other values in life fall into proper order.

Throughout the Bible material prosperity and receiving always hinges upon giving the minimum of a tithe. As born again believers we are not under the law of the old testament but under the grace of the mystery God established for our day and time. Grace is much bigger than law. Believers living today under grace should give cheerfully above the tithe knowing that God is able to make all grace (in this context: financial abundance) abound toward us. God's word establishes giving as the key to receiving God's abundance.

First Use - The Patriarchal Administration

In the Bible the first use of a word, expression or idea provides God's explanation so that the believer may understand a concept throughout the Word of God. If God ever changes the meaning, He clearly explains it in His Word so that the reader does not have to guess. God's Word is God's Will and he wants no misunderstanding.

 There are seven different time periods (or administrations) described in God's Word in which certain rules and principles are in effect. In each time period, God deals with believers according the Word which he has established for that period. The principle of giving spans the entire Bible and does not change with the change in administration of God's Word. The first place the tithe is used is in the patriarchal time period when the Word of God was passed from father to son prior to the writing of the law of Moses. This first occurrence establishes God's principle of giving, whom to give God's tithe to, what is to be given, the reason for giving, and the attitude of the believer when giving the minimum: the tithe.

The Tithe - God's Minimum Standard for Giving

Genesis 14:17-20 And the king of Sodom went out to meet him (Abram) after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and the kings that were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king's dale. And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. And he (Melchizedek) blessed him (Abram), and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he (Abram) gave him (Melchizedek) tithes of all.

Hebrews 7:4 Now consider how great this man (Melchizedek) was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils. (spoils is the Greek word akrothinion which means the best of the heap, the choice part, or firstfruits)

Genesis 14:22-23 And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the Lord, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, That I will not take from a thread even to a shoe-latchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich:

 "I have lift up mine hand" is and oriental expression signifying full and complete surrender as a servant of God. It means to surrender to God without any doubt.

 When Abraham tithed, he acknowledged God's absolute sovereignty and ability to provide for him. He also knew that he did not need to depend on or be involved with the unbelieving king of Sodom. He did not allow some man to claim the glory that was properly due God. God got the glory.

Genesis 15:1 After these things the word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.

The Tithe in the Mosaic Law

Deuteronomy 14:22-23 Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year. ... the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firslings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear [reverence, respect, awe] the Lord thy God always.

Numbers 18:21 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 tribe of Levi were the ones who ministered and were priests in God's tabernacle and later in the temple of God. They were God's men responsible to bless God's people.

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

 "The windows of heaven" expression was used to describe the flood waters that covered the earth in Noah's time (even above the highest mountain almost 5 1/2 miles above sea level). Can you imagine the amount of rain that must have fallen from the "windows of heaven" in forty days and nights! God also promised to rebuke the devourer (the devil). Many times our increase in finance is eaten up by unexpected expenses for repairs and "accidents" that happen to our possessions. God promises to keep "the devourer" from destroying our increase when we tithe.

The Tithe during Christ's Time on Earth

Matthew 23:23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weighter matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

 The lord Jesus Christ did not tell these men to stop tithing. He told them to continue to tithe, but not to be hypocrites. Tithing was never intended to be a religious ritual done without thought or believing, nor was it intended to be a substitute of doing the rest of God's Word.

Luke 6:38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

 In the oriental market place a "good measure" was when you brought your cup to the market to be filled with grain by the merchant and he filled it, pressed it down, shook it together, and filled it some more until it was running over. When we give (the minimum - a tithe) God blesses us with a "good measure" in return.

The Administration of the Grace of God - TODAY

II Corinthians 9:7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

 The Corinthian believers had already promised but, as of yet, had not given. "Purposeth in his heart" does not mean that the believer decides if the tithe is applicable for him. The Word of God clearly states that the tithe is the proper, minimum standard for giving. That which is purposed in the heart when a person is giving is established by the giver each time he gives. The heart's agreeing or not agreeing with God's Word does not change God's Word. We are to change our heart to line up with the Word, not the Word to line up with our heart. All giving, whether it be the tithe or sharing abundantly above, is to be the manifestation of a heart of love, thankfulness, respect, and honor to God. We should never give with a heart of reluctance, sorrow, guilt, or out of compulsion. Thus anyone who uses humiliation by condemnation and guilt to receive gifts from believers is outside of the Will of God. God loves a cheerful giver. A gift should never be given to God or anyone grudgingly out of compulsion. "We love Him because He first loved us."

The Tithe

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© Copyright August 1996 Michael Cortright