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Finance Lesson #05

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Bible Perspectives
FINANCIAL TRUTHS FROM THE BIBLE
Lesson #05
CONCEPT #3 OF MAN’S RESPONSIBILITY

  • Memory verse: Luk 6:38
  • In our previous lesson we learned that the Christian should be a faithful steward in order to participate in God’s economy, and that faith activates the believer’s account.

 

  • The responsibility that man has and the part that man fulfills in the economic system of God:
  • Concept #3

 

  • Giving to God establishes the measure by which God will give to the believer.
    • One way a believer demonstrates his faithfulness is by his method of giving to God. Faithfulness is demonstrated by giving in two ways:
      • The quantity the believer gives to God.
      • The regularity or consistency with which the believer gives to God.
    • There is much misunderstanding about the quantity the believer should give to God. Many Christians believe in tithing and many do not. Let’s first examine this controversy from scripture.
      • Usually the misunderstanding is related to a misunderstanding about the Old Testament Period of Law and the New Testament Period of grace.

 

  • Giving abundantly to God under Law and under grace:

 

  • Read Exo 25:1-9 (Exo 35:5-18) Giving to God
  • Read Exo 35:20-29
    • What do we notice in this passage about giving to God?
      • The right motive for giving to God and His work, the church.
        • In a period of law or in a period of grace, the correct attitude in man’s heart for giving to God should be willingly in his heart.. (Exo 25:2 Exo 35:5, 21, 22, 29)
          • In other words, no one should tell the believer how much he should give to God for that violates man’s free will giving to God.
          • Notice that God speaks of the willingness in the heart.
            • Many pastors, teachers, and church leaders say that if you do not tell people how much to give, they will not give. However, the Bible indicates that just the opposite is true.
              • An Important Principle:
              • Law raises man’s rebellious nature.

                • Read Rom 7:7-9
                • We see that when a person is under law, the obligation which that law demands makes a person want to do exactly the opposite.
                • Because the Holy Spirit is living inside of the believer, He is the one who directs the believer to give to God and His work. It is His job to guide the believer to give.
  • The willingness in the heart is based on man’s love for God.
    • Read Luk 7:36-47
      • Jesus said that the woman gave him more because she loved him more. A person will give to God in proportion to the amount of love he has in his heart. Therefore, you can tell how much a person loves the Lord by the proportion of how much money he gives to the Lord and His work.
        • A person will demonstrate his love for the Lord in two ways:
          • By his obedience.
            • Read Joh 14:21
          • By his quantity of giving
            • Read Joh 3:16

 

  • Giving in a period of Law:

 

  • The tithe under the Mosaic Law:
  • What were the Israelites supposed to tithe?
    • Read Lev 27:30-34 (Deu 14:22 2Chr 31:5)
      • The tithe under the Law of Moses was for an agricultural society.
        • The Israelites were to tithe the seed of the land, the fruit from the trees, and the herds of animals.
      • The Israelite was to bring 1/10 of his crops and herds and give them to God each year.
        • Notice that the farmer could buy back from God certain products with money by adding 1/5 more of the value. However, he could not buy back animals. (Lev 27:31)
          • Therefore, in the end we can say that the Israelite gave to God more than the tithe of 10% plus 1/5 more in the form of money.
      • The purpose for the tithe was to provide a living for the priesthood and for the tribe of Levi. This tribe did not inherit any land in the Promised Land.
        • In turn, the Levites were to take a tenth part of that tithe and give it to God as an offering. (Num 18:26)
  • Did those who were not farmers pay tithes?
    • The Mosaic Law does not specify any tithe for a shopkeeper who sold sandals, pottery, cloth, etc. to make a living. The tithe related only to agricultural products. Why?
      • The Promised Land belonged to God. Therefore, any increase from the land in the form of food products belonged to God. However, in His mercy, He let the people keep 90% of the prosperity for their own use.
      • The Old Testament speaks of freewill offerings that were separate from the tithes. (Lev 23:18, 38)
        • These offerings are sometimes mentioned along with tithes (Mal 3:8), which indicates that both freewill offerings and tithes of crops and animals were given to God.
  • Did the Israelites faithfully pay tithes and offerings to God in the period of law? No.
    • Read Mal 3:8-12
      • This scripture was written in the period of law. We know this by the condition linked to the promise. (Remember that in a period of law the blessings of the covenant came if the people fulfilled the conditions.) God says He will rebuke the devourer, if they pay their tithes.
  • How much did the Israelites give?
  • The people gave abundantly and willingly until Moses told them to stop giving because they had too much.
    • Read Exo 36:1-7
    • This is remarkable in that the Israelites were so disobedient in every other way. How can we explain it?
      • The most likely explanation is the difference in motivation between law and grace.
        • The people were not commanded to give but encouraged to give willingly. That is the concept of giving in an age of grace. The motivation to give is love. Therefore the people gave freely and abundantly.
          • When people are commanded to give, like the tithe under the Mosaic Law, they naturally rebel and do not give, because the motivation to give is obligatory. (Mal 3:9-10)
    • This abundant wealth that the Israelites gave, came from the Egyptians when they paid the Israelites to leave Egypt.
      • We have already learned that God distributes the wealth of the world to believers.

 

  • The tithe in the period of law and in the period of grace:

 

  • Because the book of Exodus is the beginning of the period of law, and the tithe is part of the law given to Moses, we need to get a clear understanding of the tithe as it relates to giving to God.
  • What is the tithe?
  • The word, tithe, means 10%.
  • The word, tithe, first occurs in scripture in a period of grace with Abraham, the father of faith.
    • Read Gen 14:17-20
      • Because this reference to the tithe comes in a period of grace which is similar to this age of grace in which we now live, many Christians today believe that the New Testament believer should tithe.
        • However, this is the only reference to the tithe in a period of grace. Did Abraham consistently tithe month after month, year after year? We do not know.
          • Genesis does not tell us why Abraham paid this tithe, because the tithe was not the focus of this passage in Genesis. The priest, Melchizedek, was the important focus in Genesis according to Heb 7. Melchizedek was a prefigure of Jesus Christ.
        • Did Jesus tell His believers that they should tithe? No.
          • Jesus encouraged believers to give with a motive of love according to their free will in a manner consistent with Luk 6:38 (the memory verse for this lesson).
  • How does the tithe relate to the New Testament church?
  • Read 1Cor 16:2
    • The New Testament believer is supposed to give money to support the building and the operation of the church and its ministries just as we see how the Israelites gave for the ministry of worship in Exo 25. (Luk 10:7)
  • Because we see Abraham tithe in a period of grace, believers today, in a period of grace, may decide to begin their giving with the tithe and work up from there, but the tithe is not an obligation.
  • Summary:
    • What are some principles and guidelines for giving to God in this New Testament age of grace?
      • =1= Every believer in Jesus Christ should give abundantly to God as a freewill offering from the heart according to his love for God.
        • Read Mat 23:23
        • Read Mar 12:42-44
          • Notice that Jesus compares the widow’s freewill offering to the tithes of the Scribes and Pharisees.
            • She loved the Lord more than the Scribes and Pharisees, so she gave more of what she had. In other words, she gave more than a tithe.
              • Some Christians today make the tithe the standard for Christian giving. They say that all that you have to give is the tithe and no more. That is neither the Old Testament standard of giving, nor is it the New Testament concept of giving. It is the Pharisees’ concept of giving.
                • We have seen that the Old Testament standard was both agricultural tithes and freewill offerings.
                • We see in the widow’s mite the New Testament standard of giving. It is a freewill offering based on love which will often be more than the 10% tithe.
      • =2= The New Testament believer is not commanded to tithe. However, many Christians feel that the tithe is a good quantity at which to start giving. If your tithe is a freewill-giving from the heart, by all means start there with the understanding that it is not a New Testament standard to indicate you have arrived at all that God expects or desires.
      • =3= Every believer should first give his freewill offerings of money to his local church. Why?
        • The local church is God’s instrument for extending the gospel and ministering to people.
          • These methods of ministry are not cheap, nor free. Therefore, because Christ died for the church (Eph 5:25), the believer should support it by giving money to the church.
        • The local pastor has the responsibility and the call from God to feed and care for the sheep. Therefore, the congregation should invest their money in the local pastor and his ministry by giving money to the church in support of the pastor. (1Tim 5:18)
      • =4= Every believer should also give freely to other ministries outside of his local church that the Holy Spirit guides him to support. (Phi 4:15-17)
      • =5= Every believer should freely give his time, his talents, and his spiritual gifts to the local church.
        • This aspect of giving does not replace giving your offerings of money but should be in addition to it. (1Cor 14:12 Neh 10:32-39)
    • We come back to our memory verse in Luk 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.”

 

    • Jesus commands us to give to God. The measure we use to give to Him is the same measure He will use to give to us.
    • In addition, He promises that He will exceed our measure by 3 times more:
      • He will press it down in the measure.
      • He will shake it together in the measure.
      • He will cause it to run over the measure.
    • That is a good return on our investment in God’s Kingdom!

HOMEWORK
This is a self-study. Please do not send homework answers to the teacher forcorrection

  • Pray and ask God to show you the quantity you should give to God. Write the amount here as a pledge that you will be obedient to what God has showed you.

 

  • In prayer, make a determination that you will give this quantity consistently no matter what happens and trusting God to supply for your needs.
  • Remember that God tests every decision we make.

Memory Verse: Pro 21:20

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About Joyce

Joyce
I came to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ in 1963 giving my heart to Jesus in a Billy Graham crusade in Los Angeles, CA. I have been teaching the Word of God since 1964, Usually two to three adult classes a week.

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