Monday, January 31, 2011

God's Training Wheels

Someone has said that tithing is like training wheels. As we learn to ride a bike we have to start somewhere, hence the need for training wheels. This can parallel to the giving of our wealth. The tithe is a biblical mandate that has not ceased being operational in our day. Here are four principles about tithing.

1. Tithing causes us to fear God - Deut 14:23. As we learn to give a portion of our income to God we will either trust Him more knowing that He owns it all anyway or we will not trust Him thinking we can't make it by giving 10% to Him.

2. The tithe is most definitely His, it is holy - Lev. 27:30. Yes, God owns it all and we are stewards, but the tithe MUST be His. This leads easily to the third principle.

3. Not tithing is robbing God - Malachi 3:8-10. We see clearly that to not tithe is to rob Him.

4. Our tithe must be the best, not left-overs - Prov 3:9. God denounced the Israelites for bringing to Him decrepid animals for sacrifices. He wants the best. This teaches us that He knows what we need and will provide it. It teaches us to trust Him and depend upon Him always.

But, isn't tithing a law? Christians are under grace, therefore, we don't have to tithe, we just have to give joyfully whatever we feel like. WRONG!

We aren't to murder, but Jesus raised the bar and told us not to even hate someone. We aren't to commit adultery, but Jesus raised the bar and told us not to even lust after another. If He came to fulfill the Law, Matt. 5:17, then the Law still stands. We are required to tithe, it is our duty.

Yet, as believers, who understand how wretchedly sinful we are and from what we have been saved, to tithe should be a small incidental detail to us. We shouldn't mind obeying His Word. The real obedience takes place when we begin to give beyond the tithe. Just like when we go beyond not murdering to not hating, beyond adultery, to not lusting.

The tithe was God's plan for using earthly resources to empower His Kingdom agenda. The tithe caused the people of Israel to focus all their energy into Him. That hasn't changed today. The church is the HOPE of the world. Our giving supplies the agent which God will use to save men, women, and children from eternal damnation.

Do you tithe? If you don't, I hope you will begin to wrestle with this and ask the Lord to guide you into this biblical truth. We are sanctified by His Word!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Content OR Zealous?

David Bradley spoke at our morning services yesterday at Crosspoint. He is with the Facilitating Ministry of the Southern Baptist Convention. He ministered to us from Revelation 3 in the letter to the Laodicean Church.

This is the hot or cold and gonna vomit you out of My (God's) mouth passage. Jokingly, he told our congregation that I did not suggest this passage!

God's Word through this brother was convictioning to me. Am I content in my relationship with Jesus, or am a stoking the fires of renewal? To make something hot you must add energy, to make something cold you must extract energy, to make something lukewarm you simply do nothing. WOW!

I want to be hot towards my Lord! I must pour into our relationship just as I do with my wife or kids or friends.

I hope you will be zealous, hot for the Lord, too!