Statement of Faith Current Teaching Teaching Index
Tithing[1]
Part Two
August
2011

            We at True Light Ministries Int. hope that you enjoyed part one of our teachings on Tithing and will now continue it by looking at:

  1. The Motive in Giving

    1. The example of Christ in Giving

    2.  The Estimate of Christ Respecting Money

    3. The Experience of the Apostles Re­garding Money

  2. The Objects Subscribed to

  3. The Reward of True Giving

            Godfrey Davis, who wrote a biography about the Duke of Wellington, said, “I found an old account ledger that showed how the Duke spent his money. It was a far better clue to what he thought was really important than the reading of his letters or speeches.”

How we handle money reveals much about the depth of our commitment to Christ. That’s why Jesus often talked about money. One-sixth of the gospels, including one out of every three parables, touch on stewardship. Jesus wasn’t a fund raiser. He dealt with money matters because money matters. For some of us, though, it matters too much.

 1.         The Motive in Giving

            No one can read the New Testament without realizing that there were certain deep spiritual motives activating the believ­ers of the first century, motives that car­ried them along like strong currents, thus making their giving so easy and liberal. And possibly there is something for us to learn here. Are we incited to action by spiritual motives, or do we give irrespective of mo­tives? Let us look at three of these im­pelling forces.

            A.        The Example of Christ in Giving

A close study of Paul’s epistles reveals the fact that, in every matter concerning Christian life and service, he sets the back­ground of Christ’s life and example (Ro­mans 15:1-3). Having a burning passion to know Him, and the power of His Res­urrection, and the fellowship of His suf­ferings, he could do nothing else but color his appeals for morality and money with the rich, royal blood of his Lord.

            This is one reason why Paul presents the giving of Christ as the actuating mo­tive of all our giving to Christ. Listen to his appeal – “Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ; that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich” (2nd Corinthians 8:9). Such a message, presenting as it did, the example of Christ, must have caused those Macedonian Chris­tians to see in a new light the motive in their own sacrificial giving. They would see in it the reflection of Calvary, the poured-out sacrifice for them.

            These believers had made the apostle rich through their deep poverty, and in thanking them for their blood-tinted gifts, he bids them remember the poverty of another (Christ), poverty self-imposed that had made them rich, a sacrifice the reception of which had impelled them to give to the Lord’s work as they had.

Who among us can refuse Christ any­thing when we repeat over and over again to our hearts the words of Paul – “Though He was rich, yet for our sakes He became poor,” – and then take them and stretch them right across the glory He had with the Father before the foundation of the world, and then across the manger with its poverty and shame, and then across His earthly life with its hardship and renun­ciations, and then at last His cross of humiliation and anguish,

            “His poverty” – how real it was! He was born in another’s abode; dined at another’s table; depended upon the sustenance of others; was buried in another’s tomb, and left nothing but His dear mother, and the cr

own of thorns encircling His brow. Ah! But through His poverty we are rich – rich whether it is in gold or grace, possessions or pardon, for everything we have, and are, we owe to the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave His all.

            What a motive for giving! Friend, if your hand is tight upon the purse-strings go home and bow in silence before the God who created every penny the world owns, and seek to see Him condescending to live and die as a Pauper for you, as rich yet possessing nothing, and then before rising from your knees sing with a Spirit-filled heart the words of Isaac Watts –

                        Were the whole realm of nature mine,

                        That were an offering far too small;

                        Love so amazing, so divine,

                        Shall have my soul, my life, my all,

            And then give Him, not what you have not got and will never have, namely, the whole realm of nature, but what you have and are, and let such bear the marks of His ownership.

            B.        The Estimate of Christ Respecting Money

            In seeking to train His disciples in the school of humility, our Lord declared that “the servant is not greater than his lord” (John 13:16), therefore, with the question of money we should regard it as Christ did, and be ready to treat it as He did. Says Andrew Murray, - “In all our religion and our Bible study, it is of the greatest con­sequence to find out what the mind of Christ is, to think as He thought, and to feel as He felt. There is not a question that concerns us, not a single matter that ever comes before us, but we find in the words of Christ something for our guidance and help. We want to get at the mind of Christ about money; to know exactly what He thought and act just as He would do.”

            He judges the motive in giving. We have already referred to the Savior’s commendation of the widow for the mite she gave. But let us pause to mark the position of Christ in that portion Mark gives us about this incident – “Jesus sat over against the treasury and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury” (Mark 12:41). What a piercing thought! Jesus sits and watches the collection plate; and “as He does so He weighs each gift in the balance of God, and puts His value upon it. In heaven He does this still. Not a gift for any part of God’s work, great or small, but He notices it, and puts its value on it for the blessing, if any, that it is to bring in time or eternity. And He is willing, even here on earth, in the waiting heart to let us know what He thinks of our giving.”

            But how different is our standard. We ask how much a man gives; Christ asks how much he keeps. We look at the gift; Christ asks whether the gift was a sacrifice. Shall we then say to our hearts – My Lord sees all, knows all, nothing is hid from His lov­ing glance, therefore willingly I lay every­thing at His feet, and trust Him to lead me in the right use of what I possess.

            He taught its spiritual value. The spir­itual value of money is emphasized by our Lord in the Parable of the Talents, as well as elsewhere. Notice in passing the phrase we are apt to forget when we read this parable in Matthew 25:– “Thou ought therefore to have put my money to the ex­changers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury” (verse 27). My money! Mine own! – And yet our handling of money suggests that it is ours. But it is His, all His, and no one else’s, not even yours. Therefore, we should allow Him to trade with it, and use it for spir­itual purposes.

            It has been said that all men adopt as their motto – “Win gold,” but men are distinguished from each other by the practical ending of that motto.

                        The vain man adds,” and wears it.”

                        The generous man adds,” and shares it.”

                        The miser adds, “and spares it.”

                        The prodigal adds, “and spends it.”

                        The lender adds, “and lends it.”

                        The fool adds, “and ends it.”

                        The gambler adds, “and loses it.”

            But the wise man adds, “and uses it.” – And if we would be wise then let us use our means, not as our own, but His. If, on the other hand, we are denied this world’s goods, and feel the pinch of things in these hard days, let us surrender our poverty to Him, and trust Him to deal with it, because as all money is His, He will meet our needs, even as He made the fish produce the necessary tax money both for Himself and His followers, who had left all to be with Him.

He taught its dangers. Again and again He warned His disciples about the alluring power of money by bringing before them, and before the rich who were attracted to Him, several danger signals like Matthew 6:19-21; and Luke 18:25.

            Doubtless there are other aspects of Christ’s teaching regarding money that one can adduce, but enough has been shown to prove that “the Christ who sat over against the treasury, is my Christ, He watches my gifts. What is given in the spirit of whole­hearted devotion and love He accepts?  He teaches His disciples to judge as He judges. He will teach us how to give, how much, how lovingly, how truthfully.”

             C.        The Experience of the Apostles Re­garding Money

            In conclusion, let us glance through the Acts and see how these men who were with Christ and had flooded their souls with His Spirit, es­pecially in regard to money, acted. And how, in their attitude toward it, the churches they founded were guided and inspired in their use and treatment of it.

            They consecrated their possessions. It is apparent to the most casual reader of the Acts that with the descent of the Holy Spirit, the apostles allowed Him to assume the charge and control of their whole life; and that in respect to money matters they recognized the claim of the Spirit to guide and judge them in the use and disposal of what they had.  In Acts 2:44,45; 4:34, we have not only ideal Christian socialism, but the utter abandonment of all possessions to the Lord – possessions yielded to Him for His work, without any express command or instruc­tions to surrender them, but yielded spon­taneously to Him as the result of the filling of the Holy Spirit. And let it be said, noth­ing will help a believer to treat this ques­tion of money as he should unless he is responsive to the Spirit in allowing Him to rule and govern the life in every particular.  Today the Church is languishing for the want of money, needing money is her Gospel, and her only remedy lies in the pouring forth of God’s Spirit upon her, for with re­vivals there is always an outburst of liber­ality in respect to His work.

            But along with such an entrancing story of dedication there is placed the sad account of deception, a story proving to the whole Church of God that, like our Lord, the Holy Spirit has the power to test the value of our giving and gifts. Ananias and Sap­phira we are told kept back part of the price and brought but a certain portion to the apostles, an action that resulted in sudden death for them both. Andrew Murray asks – “What can have made the gift such a crime? He was a deceitful giver. He kept back part of the price. He professed to give all and did not. He gave with half a heart and unwillingly and yet would have the credit of having given all” (Acts 5:1-11). This sin of Ananias is spoken of as a sin against God the Holy Ghost. “And what was the sin? Simply this: he did not give all he professed. This sin, not in its great­est form, but in its spirit and more subtle manifestations, is far more common than we think. Are there not many who say they have given their all to God, and yet prove false to it in the use of their money?”  Do we not need to pray that we may be kept from deceptive as well as defective consecration? 0r, the peril of false appear­ances in our Christian life and service!

            There is nothing that “can save us from this danger, but the holy fear of ourselves, the very full and honest surrender of all our opinions and arguments, about how much we possess, and how much we may give, to the testing and the searching of the Holy Spirit. Our giving must be in the light, if it is to be in the joy of the Holy Ghost.”

            They had power, although they were poor. There is a wonderful contrast be­tween this thought and the last. The Church of Pentecost needs money for the work, and the Spirit of Pentecost provided it by con­straining those who formed the Church to give their all. But in Acts 3:6, we find that the apostles had evidently dispensed with money, proving that the Holy Ghost can work without it, as well as with it, and that poverty is no hindrance to a life of useful­ness. To the man begging for alms at the gate of the Temple, Peter answered his re­quest for money thus: “Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have, give I thee.” “Silver and gold have I none” – this points us back to the poverty enjoined and exemplified by Christ, and also to the fact that the inner circle of His disciples had caught His Spirit and were following in the foot­steps of His poverty, and like Him proving to the outside world that the possession of power and of heavenly riches is independ­ent of earthly goods; And further, can we not trace the rapid increase of the Early Church to its poverty? Was it not its poverty that drove her back upon God, thus bringing to Him, the op­portunity of displaying His power? “The history of the Church tells us a sad story of the increase of wealth and worldly power, and the proportionate loss of the heavenly gift with which she had been en­trusted, and which could alone bless the nations. The contrast to the apostolic state is set in the clearest light by a story that is told of one of the Popes.

            When Thomas Aquinas first visited Rome, and expressed his amazement at all the wealth he saw, the Pope said, “We can no longer say, ‘Silver and gold have I none.” “No, indeed,” was the answer, “nor can we say, ‘What I have that give I thee. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.” The earthly poverty and the heavenly power had been closely allied, with the one the other had gone.

            Poverty and power are often closely al­lied, and what God joins together let no man put asunder. The great sin-sick world has many needs, and its greatest is not the possession of material things, but the conse­crated lives of men and women through whom God can say to the multitudes – “Rise up and walk.” And this, after all, is the most blessed gift we can bestow upon’ crippled souls. Had Peter thrown that beg­gar a penny, and left him there, he would have required another gift when the apostle came that way to pray; but by healing him, Peter made it possible for the man to walk and worship and work, and thus earn his own bread, and be independent of all.

            While charitable institutions are necessary and worthy of our support, let us realize that the deeper need of this life is not for loaves and fishes, but the power to walk for God, and it is our imperative duty to meet this need first of all.

            They deliberately refused money – There is yet another lesson to learn from Peter regarding money. In Acts 8:9 we find the Holy Ghost using him for the spiritual quickening of the Samaritans, and how Simon, the sorcerer, who witnessed the dis­play of the power of the Spirit through Peter, desired the Apostle to sell him the same. “Simon offered, them money saying, Give me also this power . . . . But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou has thought to obtain the gift of God with money” (Acts 8:19, 20).

            Peter had no love of money in his soul; he loved his Lord too much to allow gold to capture his affections., He knew that his Master would meet his every need without condescension to a dishonorable way of ob­taining such as Simon suggested, for was it not he who had caught the fish with its silver piece. “Get’ the fish,” said Jesus and, “you’ll find the money,” and Peter believed this especially in dealing with souls. Ah! But is it not true that many like Simon think that power or influence in the Church can be gained by money; that the rich can acquire the place or position denied to a poorer man? Are there not others who think that they can merit heaven by the use of their check-books? To all such the Spirit, says – “Their heart is not right with God.”

            So, as we take this last glimpse of Peter, let: us seek like him to hate money as bribery for any blessing, and not to love it for itself, but only regard it as something that can be used for the glory of God. It is said that the Pope’s ambassador came to Martin Luther offering him bribes for his return to the bosom of a corrupt Church, but upon the Reformer’s refusal, he ex­claimed with disappointment – “That Ger­man beast does not care for gold!” And Luther’s example is surely worth following in this respect. Thus we have seen that the actuating motives of the ‘Early Church re­garding money were the witness of its apostles and the words and ways of its Founder, and such are still sufficient to guide and shape our attitude toward money and its uses.

 2.         The Objects Subscribed to

            While it is true that all the apostles gave was given to the Lord, nevertheless money was designated for specific purposes; and as our money is His we have no right to use it for anything that has not His sanc­tion. It will be seen that these early be­lievers gave:

            A.        For the support of the ministry (1st Corinthians 9:4-14; Galatians 6:6; 1st Timothy 5:18;                              Philippians 4:15, 16).

            B.        For missionary purposes (Acts 24:17; 1st Corinthians 16:1).

            C.        For the poor among believers (Acts 20:35; 11:29; 6:1; 4:35; 2:45; Ro­mans 15:25, 26;                                  Galatians 2:10).

            D.        For other expenses of maintaining the church organization, and gifts for special objects. But                     as now, so then, many church members shirked their responsibility for Paul is found speak­ing                   about “no church communicating with me as concerning giving and receiving” (Philippians                       4:15).

 3.         The Reward of True Giving

            Although the true Christian does not give to get, yet Scripture is not silent regarding the rewards of blessings attached to right giving. There is truth and instruction in the inscription on the Italian tombstone – What I gave away I saved, “What I spent I used, what I kept I lost.”

            A.        Bountiful giving brings a bountiful reward (2nd Corinthians 9:6).

            B.        It brings glory to God, by the thanks­giving of those we bless (2nd Corin­thians 9:11- 13).

            C.        Our giving reminds of God’s giving and calls to thanks for His gift (2nd Corinthians 9:15).

            D.        Treasures in heaven will be ours (Matthew 6:20). “Giving to the Lord,” says one, “is but                            transporting our goods to a higher floor.”

            E.         Liberality prompts the love and good pleasure of God (2nd Corinthians 9:7), “God loves,”                         “God is well pleased” (Hebrews 13:16). “I will pour you out a blessing” (Malachi 3:10).

            Dr. Barrow said that – “The liberal man will ever be rich, for God’s providence is his estate, God’s wisdom and power his defense, God’s love and favor his reward, and God’s word his security.”



[1][1] All the Doctrines of the Bible – Dr. Herbert Lockyer – Page 247-254

 

Part One Back to Top

If you desire any more information or instruction on your new life in Christ or further teachings that will aid you in your spiritual growth please contact us.

Home | Statement of Faith | Teaching's Index | Kenya Missions | Contact Us

Copyright © 2007 True Light Ministries. All rights reserved.
Printable Version