|Messages By Ovid Need|
Christian Giving, Part Two : Matt. 6:24
I would like to complete the message which we started last Sunday.
As our Lord mentioned here in Mat. 6:24, there are basically two gods in this world, the Lord God and money. When we try to serve the god of money, we are serving other gods. As we mentioned, Paul clearly warns us in 1 Tim 6:10, For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
It is the number one reason why Christians depart from the faith and stop doing what they should do. It is the god of this world and will create the most hostility when attacked.
The way we use our money will show who our god is, the Lord God or money.
We also gave these three reasons that the Lord has the right to tell us how to use our wealth.
1. Palms 24:1, It all belongs to Him. 2. Ezekiel 18:4.All souls are His. 3. Deuteronomy 8:18, He is the one who gives the power to gain wealth.
We are looking at the first of the three tithes which are mentioned in Deuteronomy 14:22-29, the tithe on all the increase, v. 22.
There are four things about this tithe, three of which we have already covered.
I. It comes off the top. It signifies that we realize that it all belongs to Him. It is a tax to the King of the whole earth. It is rent or payments to the One who owns all the land.
Prosperity leads to forgetting that our prosperity is not a result of our hard work, but it is a result of the Lord's blessings upon our hard work. If He did not see fit to bless our efforts, our hard work would fail.
When people, as well as nations, start thinking that they prospered by their own power and might, and they fail to pay what the Lord's tax, He, as the King and owner of the land, will cast them off the land.
II. The tithe was not a gift to the Lord, but was His tax on the increase of land that belongs to Him, Exodus 9:29.
One of the chief causes of oppressive Civil Government is Christians not paying their tax to the Lord. They either willingly pay it to the Lord, or He will raise up a civil government which will force it from them at the point of a gun. As the taxpayer faithfully pays his tax to his Landlord, the oppressive state will release their grip.
Since the tithe is the Lord's tax, He alone is the tax collector. There is no human agency that has the God-given authority to enforce this law. The Lord leaves it up to the individual and Himself.
III. This tax is on the increase. The law of God knows no tax on the initial investment, rather it is on the increase of that investment. Nor is there a tax on a gift. It was/is a tax on the labour of an individual which produced an increase. It is the Lord's tax is on the strength & abilities which He gave the individual to prosper with.
IV. Now, we come to the PURPOSE of these taxes, or the tithe.
We will not go into the different tithes which were required of God's people, but the total amount required was probably close to a sixth of a persons income. As a result of refusing to pay this the Lord, we now pay close to 60% to an ungodly civil government.
There were several things that came out of this required tax, making it obvious that all of these things are religious functions.
The first thing we see here is that the tithe went to the Levities, Numbers 18:20-.
Paul clearly referred to this law, 1 Cor. 9:1-17. In doing this, he gave this income to the teachers of God's word within the church.
Some things from Numbers 18:20--
Vs. 21, The tithe which was paid to the Lord by the people was considered the Levite's personal income, the same as the increase of a crop is considered the personal income of the farmer. The tenth of the increase, and the firstfruits (the best), and the first-born of man and beast, all went to the Levite.
V. 22, the Levite could use the tithe as his personal income, but the people could not. If the people used it, death would result.
V. 23, 24, it was the Levite's pay for their service to the Lord.
Vs. 26-28, they had to tithe from their income also. Their tithe went to the priest.
Vs. 29, 30, they had to give the best of what they received from the people to the Lord, the same as the people had to give the best to the Lord.
Vs. 31, 32, at least 5 times in this passage the Lord has said that the tithe was their personal income. They can use it as they please, to fulfill their responsibilities before God, and they will bear no iniquity.
There were 12 tribes in Israel, who paid the tithe to the one tribe of Levi. This meant that when God's people were faithful to the Lord, the tribe of Levi was given a 20% better income by the Lord, than He gave to the other 12 tribes.
Paul referres to this in 1 Timothy 5:17, Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.
Although the Levities were not of the kingly tribe of Judah, they were given the basic governing function in the congregation of the Lord. The tithe enabled them to fulfill their particular responsibility (20% more responsibility) before the Lord. When the people fell into apostasy, the Levite was left with no income to do this. This lack of income turned the tribe which was to represent the Lord into little more than a hired laborer, Judges 17.
Now as we mentioned, the Levite had tremendous responsibility before the Lord. The tithe which came in enabled him to fulfill these many responsibilities. These responsibilities included these things which we are familiar with:
1. ministering before the Lord, 1 Chr 16:4
2. care of and administration of the tithes and other offerings, 1 Chr. 9:26
3. overseeing the building and maintenance of the temple, 1 Chronicles 23:4. As you trace the tabernacle in the wilderness and latter the temple in the land, you will find that the funds for their construction and upkeep came from the people, SEPARATE FROM THE TITHE.
4. teaching the law throughout the congregation of the Lord, Deuteronomy 33:10 & 2 Chronicles 17:8-10
5. causing the people of God to understand the law of God, Nehemiah 8:7-9 .. the Levites, caused the people to understand the law: and the people stood in their place. So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading. And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto the LORD your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law.
How many teachers are doing this today? How many of God's people have a desire to understand God's law? Their attendance and giving proves where the heart is.
6. delivering the message of the Lord of hosts, Malachi 2:7
There were many more responsibilities other than what we would consider these 'spiritual' requirements. This means that these are religious functions, under the authority of the word and teachers of God's word, and supported by the tithe.
7. Teaching and education of all kinds. No doubt this is the most important religious function of all, Deuteronomy 33:10. They shall teach Jacob thy judgments, and Israel thy law: they shall put incense before thee, and whole burnt sacrifice upon thine altar.
Not only were they responsible to instruct the peopple in the commandments and their application, but they were to teach the good knowledge of the Lord, 2 Chronicles 30:22. All truth is God's truth, and their responsibility was to teach all truth. This would include the three R's, as well as the arts and sciences; all areas of instruction.
Clearly, all education is a religious function. The education system of a society teaches its future generations how to please the god of that society. If that god is man, then the education system will teach how to please man. If that God is Jehovah God, then the education system will teach how to please Him. The attitude of a nation toward other gods is clearly seen in the classroom, particularly in the curriculum.
8. Music was a function of the tithe, 1 Chronicles 23:5. Because Christians do not recognize this today, look at what is happening to the music.
9. All media functions: If all education and music is religious in nature, then all media, electronic and print, would also be a religious function. All media will reflect a world-view, either Christian or pagan. When Christians in the media loose sight of the fact that their primary goal is to glorify God, paganism takes over.
10. Righteous judgments. According to Deuteronomy 17:9-13, the rendering of just decisions in the courts of law is a religious function. Our Lord applied this as a function of the church, Matthew 8:15-20 (which also shows that the church was already in existence when Christ came). Paul fussed at the church at Corinth in his first letter, over their failure to judge righteously, chapters 5 and 6.
Because it was to be a responsibility of the Levite to render a just decision according the law of the Lord, any refusal to follow their decision was rebellion against God. It was identified by the Lord as presumption.
Paul also gives civil government the function of providing justice as defined by the law of God, Romans 13. The only time a covenant member is to be turned over to the state is when he refuses to listen to the church.
11. The supervising of weights and measures was a religious function. The Levite was in charge of all manner of measure and size, 1 Chronicles 23:29. Because this was a religious function supported by the tithe, it prevented the state from inflating the monetary supply. This is seen in the hard money requirement in our Constitution.
12. The charity for the poor, stranger, fatherless and widow, was not a function of this tithe on the increase. Rathte, it was a function of the poor tithe which was paid every three years, Deut 14:28, 29. There were other provisions made for the poor, which is another study.
13. As we pointed out, a tithe of the tithe went to the priest. One of the functions of the priestly line was to muster the army and accompany Israel to battle, Joshua 17:16. Thus, the tithe provided the chaplains for the army, Deuteronomy 20:1-4. Leviticus 10:1-10; 2 Chronicles 26:11
It was their job to muster, instruct, encourage and assure of victory; all based in the law of God. If these teachers failed, there would be no army left to fight the Lord's battles.
Because the chaplains were financed by the tithe, their allegiance would be to the Lord and not to the state. This would also keep the allegiance of the army to the Lord and not to the state, thus holding in check the military might of the state. If these teachers were faithful in their responsibility, they would not muster the army for ungodly causes, nor would the army obey ungodly commands by the state.
Because the chaplains of the armed forces of our day are military officers, their, and thus the army's allegiance is to the state. Their job is to strengthen the state.
I find it interesting that when we were in LA, the chaplin of the local VA hospital was supported by the Home Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. This freed him from the bureaucracy of the VA hospital, and he told me many times how thankful he was of this.
14. According to 1 Chronicles 24:6, the Levites kept the records of the nation. Therefore, we see that History was another function of the tithe. This would prevent the state from misusing (rewriting) history for their own purpose, to strengthen their hold over society.
15. Historically, health care has been a function of the tithe. There are still many hospitals which bear the name of the religious organization which financed them through the tithes and gifts of God's people. As health-care has lost its religious nature, its cost has skyrocketed.
Let us consider a few points in closing this section.
First, obviously this is a very incomplete examination of the tithe and its function.
Second, it is useless to hope for any kind of return to a godly civil order without the reinstitution of the tithe. Money is power. With no money the church has no power to influence society. The basic power is given to the family, but when they do not give the work of the Lord power to carry on tht work of kingdom of God on earth, the state will take that power by force.
As we look at this list of action which were identified as religious functions, supported by the tithe, we see that these areas are the first to be usurped by the state, with very little if any, objection from the church. The result is that as the state takes these areas over, it gains unlimited power, as well as requires unlimited amounts of money for support.
Godly government must start in the individual, and with the tithe. Only a society of self-governed, tithing individuals will result in good civil government. As we see, the Levities were the ones responsible to produce godly self-governed individuals. Godly self-government then goes into every area of society and is reflected in national civil government.
It is impossible to have godly civil government without godly self-government. Therefore, the Levities had the basic governing function even though they were not the kingly tribe of Judah. This separation of powers kept the state from gaining too much power.
Therefore, one of the primary means which God established to keep the state from becoming totalitarian is the tithe. The tithe leaves the basic government in the hands of the faithful tithing Christian, as that tithe is used to support faithful kingdom work in all its facets.
The more God's people misuse this money, the more power the state will gain. The misuses could be on the part of the 'Levite,' or on the part of the child of God. This misuse will result in the flow of power to the state as they increase control over the funds which they give out to replace what the church should be doing in these areas.
Third, the tax belonged to God, but the godly man was responsible to see that it went to further the Kingdom work. This left the power in the hands of the godly family.
Fourth, failure to pay this tax to God requires the state to take over these areas of society.
Fifth, failure to pay this tax is identified as forgetting God and serving other gods, as well as thieft. It holds a sure promise, ye shall surely perish, Deuteronomy 8:19.
We are certainly seeing the death of a social order as Christians refuse to pay this tax to the Lord. The loss of the tithe to Christian ministries is the loss of Christian influence in society. This cannot be avoided.
Took this out of support for the poor. will need to go under the poor tithe.In other words, the welfare system was established by the law of God as a religious function, centered in the tabernacle. As His system was followed, poverty was controlled.
Provision for the poor also included the gleaning of the fields at harvest time, Leviticus 19:9, 10; 23:22; Deuteronomy 24:19-22, and the sabbath rest of the land. At this time the poor and needy could gather for their own use what grew of itself, Exodus 23:11.
Paul places the primary responsibility for a family member upon the family itself, 1 Timothy 5. This welfare law was clearly passed on to the church, Acts 6; Ephesians 4:28; James 1 & 2.
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