TITHES AND OFFERINGS
GIVING TO THE POOR AND NEEDY
WE BELIEVE THAT EVERY CHRISTIAN, AS A STEWARD OF THAT PORTION OF GOD’S WEALTH ENTRUSTED TO HIM, IS OBLIGATED TO SUPPORT HIS LOCAL CHURCH FINANCIALLY. WE BELIEVE THAT GOD HAS ESTABLISHED THE TITHE AS A BASIS FOR GIVING BUT THAT EVERY CHRISTIAN SHOULD ALSO GIVE OTHER OFFERINGS SACRIFICIALLY AND CHEERFULLY TO THE SUPPORT OF THE CHURCH, THE RELIEF OF THOSE IN NEED, AND THE SPREAD OF THE GOSPEL. WE BELIEVE THAT A CHRISTIAN RELINQUISHES ALL RIGHTS TO DIRECT THE USE OF THE TITHE OR OFFERING ONCE THE GIFT HAS BEEN MADE.
Proverbs 3:9,10 states, "Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: 10 So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.
Acts 4:34-37 – Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, 35 And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need. 36 And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus, 37 Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
I Corinthians 16:2 – Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.
II Corinthians 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.
Galatians 6:6 – Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.
Ephesians 4:28 – Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.
I Timothy 5:17-18 – Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour 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 worthy of his reward.
I John 3:17 – But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?
Some Considerations About Tithing
We believe in giving the tenth of our gross salary to the Lord as a tithe. Anything above the tenth is an offering. For the self-employed person the tithe is given on the increase. (What is left over after your business expenses.)
A true story is told of a farmer who wanted to know how he could tithe since his income mostly came in once a year. If he tithed on the income from his crop, everybody would know when he tithed and how much. He didn't want that. So he decided to calculate how much he should earn by farming, divide that into 52 weeks, and give an offering each week. He would make up the difference at the time the crop came in. If he didn't make any money farming that year, his offering would be an offering, not a tithe. That would all be decided at the end of the year, according to how his finances came out. As it turned out, the Lord gave him the best crop of his life.
This farmer was saved at the age of 36 and decided not to farm on Sunday because that was God’s day, and to tithe. The first year he didn’t farm on Sunday, it rained every week, clearing so there would be one full day to harvest - Sunday. He didn’t run his combines on Sunday, but got out early on Monday. It rained about noon on Monday and continued just enough rain so combining couldn’t continue until Sunday, when the whole process started all over again. The other farmers tried to pressure him into working on Sunday, but he wouldn’t. When the season was almost over, the farmer didn’t have much of his crop gathered, but most of the other farmers were finished. All these farmers got together and harvested his crop for him. His faith paid off!
Another time the farmer’s crop of soybeans was almost ½ corn. When he took that load of beans to the elevator, the operator took a sample and declared about 3% was foreign. The farmer went into the office and asked the operator to come look at his load because it was far more than 3% foreign. The operator looked at the load, but refused to increase the foreign material, saying he would trust his sample more than his eye. This is another example of non-religious people helping a man who was full of faith.
This farmer died at the age of 38 years - a man full of faith and of excellent reputation.
For the person who is not self-employed, we believe in tithing on your salary before any deductions are taken out. This means to figure your tithe before any taxes, hospitalization, or anything else is taken out of your check. A lot of people don't do this because that means they will have to "pay more to the Lord". They don't seem to understand that God sees the unwillingness of their heart.
Lost people should tithe – There is no scripture that excludes them.
I. Old Testament.
A. Before the law given to Moses.
1. Genesis 14:20 - And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all. Abraham gave tithes to Melchizedek. This was when the world was some 2000 years old. Abraham was born when the world was 2006 years old.
a. A very interesting point: where did Abraham get the idea to give a tenth to the Lord?
1.) Abraham gave tithes before the law was given to Moses.
2.) The law given to Moses was not new; it was the same law that was understood by "Christian" people before it was written down.
3.) The law given to Moses clarified the law that God had given to Adam, who had orally passed the law to other generation.
b. Another point: where did Noah get the understanding about clean and unclean animals before they were explained in the law given to Moses? Compare Genesis 7:2 with Leviticus 11. The events of Genesis came before the book of Leviticus was written!
1.) The answer is that Noah understood the division God had made between unclean and clean animals before God wrote it down for Moses.
2.) There was nothing new in the law, only a new description given to men because of the hardness of their heart and the forgetfulness of their minds.
c. Another point: Melchizedek is a priest forever: How could he be a priest before the law given to Moses established the priesthood?
1.) The priesthood was already established by God, but was only written down by Moses.
2.) Melchizedek was a priest typical of the priesthood of Jesus Christ.
2. Genesis 28:22 - Jacob giving tithes to the Lord.
B. Under the Law of Moses.
1. Leviticus 27:30 - All the tenth of the increase belongs to the Lord.
a. God collects interest.
b. Leviticus 27:31 - God collects 20% for non-payment of tithes.
2. Numbers 18:24 - The heave offering of the firstfruits is to go to the priest.
3. Numbers 18:26-28 - The priest is to tithe of their income.
4. II Chronicles 31:5, 6, 12 - Israel tithing in the days of King Hezekiah.
5. Proverbs 3:9,10 states, "Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: 10 So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.
a. If a person tithes so that they will receive from God, they probably will not receive because they are giving tithes for the wrong reason.
b. If a person tithes to God because they love God, God will make them satisfied even if they do not have a lot.
c. God can make us happier with his blessings than with great material wealth.
6. Nehemiah 10:34-39 - Israel tithing in the days of Nehemiah.
a. In II Chronicles 31:5,6, 12 and Nehemiah 10:34-39, tithing is a part of the backsliding people of Israel getting back to the place where God wants them to be.
b. This shows us that when we backslide (in a state of rebellion); we will withhold our tithes from God.)
7. Amos 4:4 - Israel offering tithes without worshipping God. (They gave tithes as a matter of works, not of faith. They did it for themselves, not for God.)
8. Malachi 3:8,9 - Israel robbed God by not giving tithes.
a. Amos 4:4 and Malachi 3:8,9 reveals that God does look into the offering to see if we give our tithes and offering like we ought to.
b. He looks at our heart to see if we love Him and trust Him enough to depend entirely upon Him for all our lives, and the things of our lives.
9. Mark 12:41-44 - The story of the widow's mite: gives an illustration of the way God looks into our giving.
II. New Testament.
A. Malachi 3:1-4 - fulfilled in Matthew 21:12 and 23:23.
1. Matthew 21:12 - Jesus cleaned the temple of God of money exchangers.
2. Matthew 23:23 - Jesus condemns the scribes and Pharisees of omitting the weightier matters of the law while continuing tithing.
B. I Corinthians 9:1-18 - the New Testament fulfillment of Numbers 18:24.
1. Israel gave their tithes to the Levites for their living because they didn't have any inheritance in Israel.
2. Today, people are to give their tithes to the ministry of Jesus Christ.
C. Ministers are commissioned by Christ to preach His Word, and spend their time in prayer and the ministry of the Word.
1. They don’t have time to devote to working to supply for their own families.
2. The people of Christ should oversee the physical welfare of their ministers and their families as the ministers oversee their spiritual welfare.
D. Hebrews 7:1-8 - The New Testament proof of tithing by using Genesis. 14:20.
1. Abraham gave tithes of all to Melchizedek, who is a priest of the most high God.
2. We give our tithes to Christ (through His kind of churches) who is a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.
III. Objections to tithing.
A. I Corinthians 16:2 - Give our offering on the first day of the week.
1. This passage is not speaking about tithing, or giving an offering for the support of the ministry.
2. It is plainly talking about the collection for the saints.
3. The various churches in Galatia took up this collection for the poor saints in Jerusalem.
B. II Corinthians 9:6-7 - This passage is frequently given, declaring that a person ought to give willingly, not sparingly, and he ought to be happy to give, for "…God loveth a cheerful giver."
1. It is declared that it is more important to give of a willing heart than to give grudgingly, or of necessity.
2. This passage, however, is not talking about tithing.
3. As I Corinthians 16, this passage is talking about giving an offering (which is above and beyond the tithe and offering given for the support of the ministry) for the poor saints in Jerusalem.
C. The only objection I have ever heart against tithing is by a man who believed that tithing limited the amount he could give.
1. This man gave much more than 10% to the Lord.
2. I think he had more objections to using the word "tithing" than he did in practicing.
IV. We believe that a Christian relinquishes all rights to direct the use of the tithe or offering once the gift has been made.
A. Many people and churches require missionaries to give an account of all monies they receive and how they spend that money.
1. I believe this is wrong, because that makes the missionaries responsible to the churches that give the money and not to God.
2. God knows how to take care of his missionaries and his churches, and we should let him do it, and not get in his way.
3. If God puts on our heart to give money, it is our responsibility to give it.
4. How that person spends our gift is their responsibility.
5. I do not hold them accountable, God does.
6. The case of Ananias and Sapphira concludes that a person has the right to do with their own, but they should not lie about anything.
B. This is specifically speaking about designative offerings.
1. Designative offerings is when the person gives an offering to the church and tells the church how to spend it.
2. Giving a designative offering to the church takes authority away from the church and puts that authority into the hands of the person giving the offering.
3. If you want to give a gift to a person without that person knowing who gave you the gift, do not give the money to the church and require the church to give it to them.
a. When you do that, you are taking authority away from the church.
b. Find another way to giving to the person so they do not know.
Giving To the Poor
Luke 6:35 - But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.
This message is not about helping the needy, but about giving to the poor. These are two very different things. In the course of this message, I want to show how helping "bums" continue to be "bums" is not a command of God, but a guilt trip put on Christians by those not willing to work. Almost every person, at one time or another, will be needy through circumstances that are not their fault. Medical expenses, loss of jobs, so forth, happens to almost everybody. It is not wrong to help those people, especially if they are publicly associated with God’s work before the tragedy overtook them. But it is not right to take the Lord’s money and give it to those that refuse to work, seeking instead to "live off the fat of the land", begging for a living. (By the way, there is good money in begging – and there are no taxes to pay.)
Tithes and offerings are given to the church. Helping the poor is on top of that. I know a man who gives 10% of his income as a tithe to the church, then gives offerings to the church on top of that, then sets aside 5% of his income to help the needy.
My question does not involve helping people in need. That is a "given" in scripture. My question involves how much we should help those in need, whether we should help the "poor", and which needy person, or poor person do we help. Are we really helping the poor by giving them money, or by paying their bills? It is evident in our society that people are taught that the world owes them a living, especially that churches have no other purpose on this earth other than to feed those that refuse to work. I think everybody feels pity for and wants to help those that truly need help.
My question is: Does God expect us to give to every beggar, everything they ask. I have made the specific statement, "Many would agree to help the poor out of church funds, but I believe the real test of helping the poor is – would you help them out of your own funds. It is easy to give that which we have already given, but when we give church funds, we are giving the Lord’s money, not our money. I believe we should have the same consideration (or more) for where the Lord’s money goes as we would where our money goes."
Some scriptures about giving to the poor
Luke 6:35 - But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.
Matthew 5:42 - Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
Proverbs 19:17 – He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.
Luke 3:11 - He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.
John 13:29 - For some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, Buy those things that we have need of against the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor.
The question here is not that the church gave to the poor – they did. The questions are: Who are the poor? And where did the money come from? This article will explain that the poor are the poor and needy of the household of faith, and the money comes from the individual members of the church, not necessarily from church funds.
Some examples of how our society believes poor people are entitled to be helped, and how Christians are obligated to help.
Dona Eva is a strange lady. She is, by her own admission, a poor lady. She is also a widow with three sons, one in prison for homicide. Society has taught her that if she is poor, everybody owes her a living. Therefore she begs door-to-door. Our door included. After all, this is her right. If no one answers the door bell soon enough she gets to yelling and hammering on the front gate. After all, she has this right. She came to Sunday School studies in our home on one occasion, but we found out later that morning that it seemed she came to stay for lunch. After all, she has this right. We had to began locking our front gate more carefully because she would let herself in without any warning. After she came by begging one night after we had all been tucked into bed, I knew we had to come to an understanding. We endeavored to teach her that she had no such right but that her two working sons had a responsibility toward her. She evidently understood and our home is at peace again. Oh the joys of a socialistic country!And he is living in Brazil! But the United States is also a socialistic country! (Perhaps not in name, but in action.)
During one of our fellowship meetings at IBC (I do not remember if it was a Bible Institute, or a revival meeting) we are having sandwiches at the church building, when a beggar came, asking for food. Brother Cecil fixed the man a sandwich and a drink, and brought it to him in the auditorium. As the man sat on the back pew, eating his sandwich, he said, "This is what churches are for." I asked him what he meant. He said, "You know, churches are to be charitable. They are to feed the poor, like Jesus did." I said to him, "Churches are not just for feeding the poor, actually the poor have wanted churches to give them more than Jesus would have given them. Jesus did feed the 5,000, and the 3,000. But he only fed them one time, and he only fed them after they had followed him into the wilderness, hearing his preaching. Now, we are feeding you one time, and right there is the door, and you can now leave, and don’t come back." I do not feel in the least regretful of helping the man, or giving him some food. Many people today do not think they should work, but instead put a guilt trip on believers, knowing they are a "soft touch" and want to obey God. These kinds of people use our belief in Christ, and desire to be obedient to him against our conscience, telling us we have no compassion, or that we are not "Christian" if we do not help them.
What is a poor person?
A poor person is a person who does not have what the normal person in society has. What is a sluggard? The sluggard is slow, lazy, and slothful.
Proverbs 6:6 - Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:
Proverbs 6:9 - How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?
Proverbs 10:26 - As vinegar to the teeth, and as smoke to the eyes, so is the sluggard to them that send him.
Proverbs 13:4 - The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.
Proverbs 20:4 - The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing.
Proverbs 26:16 - The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason.
There is a difference between a poor person and a sluggard.
Jesus fed the hungry
5,000 fed - In Matthew 14:13-21 – Jesus fed 5,000 who followed him into the wilderness to hear the Word of God. Jesus did not feed anybody who did not come to hear the Word of God. The Sunshine Mission in St. Louis (and other such missions around the country) often feed people only after they hear the Word of God. This plan is often discouraged, because it is said the preacher is bribing poor people and forcing them to hear that which they may disagree. Nobody is forcing people to stay at Sunshine Mission or any other mission. The people are free to leave and seek food somewhere else. In Matthew 14:31-21, there were apparently towns within walking distance. Jesus fed the people, not just because they were hungry, but; as is related in Matthew 16:9, that the disciples might understand the power of God to supply all material needs, and later they would understand the leaven of the Pharisees.
4,000 fed - Matthew 15:29-39 - Jesus fed 4,000 only after they had followed Jesus after three days. There is no doubt many of these people had little to eat in the preceding days, and Christ would not send them away hungry.
It must be noted that Jesus did not feed the poor in these verses. He fed those that had followed him, seeking his healing power in their lives, and in the lives of their loved ones.
The early church was not involved in feeding vast numbers of people, or even people who came to them asking for help. That is socialism, not Christianity. Socialism trains people to believe and think that others have an obligation, sometimes even a "Christian" obligation to take care of those that refuse to take care of themselves.
The welfare system God ordained in the nation of Israel is vastly different from the welfare system established in the United States, or any other socialist government.
Exodus 22:25 - If thou lend money to any of my people that is poor by thee, thou shalt not be to him as an usurer, neither shalt thou lay upon him usury.
Note the word "if", not "when".
There is a difference in lending money to the poor and giving it to them.
Giving money to the poor is the same as lending to the Lord.
The welfare system in Israel never involved charity or just giving money or paying bills. The poor person was "purchased" by an individual and they worked for their necessities. Our government is in the welfare business, which is much abused. It would not be so abused if left to local control.
Leviticus 25:35-38 – Individuals (not the government of Israel) is to relieve the poor of Israel.
Leviticus 25:39-46 – The poor will be purchased by those able to purchase them until the year of Jubilee.
Leviticus 25:47-55 – What to do if an Israelite sells himself into the hands of a stranger or sojourner.
The welfare system of the United States is a continual drain upon the economy.
The government pays people (with our tax money) to establish criteria whereby some are judged worthy of public support.
The government pays people (with our tax money) to establish who will work for the government in the welfare system.
The government pays people (with our tax money) to pay out that which other government officials have determined needs to be paid out.
The government pays people (with our tax money) to make sure the right people receive the government dole.
The government pays people (with our tax money) to prosecute those that abuse the system.
The entire system could be much, much simpler if the federal government was left completely out of it all, and only local governments took care of it.
But if all governments was left out of it, and local, individual citizens took care of needy people, there would be far less abuse of the system.
God knew what he was doing when he established in the nation of Israel a welfare system dependent on the people, and not on the government.
Israel did not pay any taxes to the government. Individuals took care of all expenses.
Relate the story of Davy Crockett when he was a representative and the House of Representatives wanted to give some money to a widow of a representative (the man had also been a hero in a war). Davy Crockett objected to giving her help from the general treasury because he said that was not the purpose of the treasury. He told the representatives they could give of their own funds to help the women if they really believed in helping her. He told them how much he was willing to give of his own money, but the representatives did not listen to him, and gave the widow money from the general treasury. It is easier to give that which we have already given. From this small beginning, the welfare system of the United States of America came into being.
The early church helped their own before they helped those outside the church.
Galatians 6:10 states, As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
There is nothing wrong with helping lost people, or those not in the church (this is always a local church, especially the church where we are members).
But if we are going to help anybody, we should help those of the household of faith first.
IBC helped Pastor Darryl Titus with his medical expenses by giving him $1,000.00 out of church funds. Brother Darryl Titus is of the household of faith. It would be impossible and impractical for IBC to help every person who has medical expenses, but it is good if we can help those within the household of faith.
IBC helped Salem Baptist Church help with the medical expenses of their pastor by giving them $1,000.00 out of church funds. I believe we were following Biblical principles by helping those of the household of faith. I do not think we are obligated to help those not in the faith, but if the Lord so leads, it is okay to do so. There is no mandate in scripture for doing so.
Acts 6 – There is much dispute as to exactly who these Grecian widows were, but all commentaries I checked are in agreement they are all members of the first church.
It seems the practice of helping widows was soon stopped, or at least greatly modified.
Why it was stopped or modified is not given, but abuses of any system often cause that system of benefit to be stopped, or modified.
II Timothy 5:3-16 – There were some very strict restrictions made to the church in helping poor widows.
The family is to help them first.
There is no mention made in this passage of helping those widows outside the church.
Acts 11:27-30 – Because of the prophecy of a dearth throughout all the world, the churches of Antioch determined to send relief to the brethren which dwelt in Judea.
The churches of Antioch believed the prophecy, and acted accordingly.
They did not send relief to all the afflicted in Judea, but only to the brethren.
Barnabas and Saul distributed these funds as directed by the churches.
I Corinthians 16:1-4 – Paul would take funds collected throughout Galatia, even to Corinth, and distribute unto Jerusalem.
If we let scripture interpret scripture, Paul will distribute to the brethren at Jerusalem, not to the general public, or to all those that ask for it.
This was printed in the St. Louis Post Dispatch during the summer of 2002, or 2003. Each spring, summer, and fall, there are people camped on the Missouri side of the Mississippi River, in the hills overlooking the Mississippi River. Churches that continually bring them food mostly feed them. They have more food than they need, and often throw away food, know the "good hearted" Christians will bring them more food, some even going so far as to arrange medical care for them.