NEW TESTAMENT GIVING
There has been a lot of teaching lately, all over
the world, about tithing being unlawful, because we are no longer under
the law. And the tithes have also been used for the upkeep of buildings
and all sorts of other things, which are not mentioned in the scriptures
at all. And of course the favorite scripture of many pastors has been Malachi
3: 8-10 and they have used it to curse their own people with it, as I wrote
earlier in "Putting
Our House in Order". I do not want to talk about that now, but I think
it is necessary to go back to the word and find out what God expects from
us as NT believers, in the area of giving. If we do not pay tithes anymore
as NT believers, what should we do then? The fact is, that money is needed
to do the work of God just as much as it is needed in the world, to do
The first question we need to ask ourselves is, WHAT
is the work of God?
What is the storehouse? What is it that feeds us,
when we go to church?
My Bible tells me that God gives us everything we
need, when we know Him. To be going about the Father’s business, is to
help others to see God and to get to know Him, because in Him all our needs
Grace and peace be multiplied
unto you through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, according
as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life
and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory
and virtue. (2 Peter 1:2-3 KJ21)
So the work of God is to introduce people to God
through Jesus and then help them to get to know Him and have an initmate
relationship with Him.
God has given to the church certain ministries. They
are given not to rule over the other believers, but to be part of the temple
of living stones which Jesus is building and to equip the saints and bring
them to maturity. Just like God expected His people to take care of His
priests and Levites, so He expects from us today that we take care of those
that labour amongst us. 1 Tim 5:17
John wrote about that in his third letter:
Beloved, thou doest faithfully
whatsoever thou doest to the brethren and to strangers, who have borne
witness of thy charity before the church. If thou send them forward on
their journey in a godly manner, thou shalt do well, because for His name's
sake they went forth, taking nothing from the Gentiles. We therefore ought
to receive such, that we might be fellow helpers to the truth. (3 John
The Bible says in 1 Pet 2:5
ye also as living stones are
built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices
acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:5 KJ21)
We are living stones and together we are built into
a spiritual house. This spiritual house, this temple, the corporate Body
of Christ , has a storehouse. Jesus spoke about that store house. He said:
He that believeth in Me, as
the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water."
(John 7:38 KJ21)
When we come together as believers we are fed and
nourished by the living waters that flow out of the belly of our brethren.
Can you see that? I come along and you come along and our living waters
are flowing and our thirst is quenched.
I understand now what it means when Paul says :
….but God hath tempered the
body together, having given more abundant honor to that part which lacked,
that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should
have the same care one for another. And whenever one member suffer, all
the members suffer with it; or when one member is honored, all the members
rejoice with it.
(1 Corinthians 12:24-26 KJ21)
When one member suffers all the members suffer with
it. When we are together and the river of one of us is blocked, we all
suffer. There is insufficient food in the storehouse at that time. So NT
giving is about taking care of our brother so that his river can flow freely.
Our river can be blocked by worries, pain and sin.
When our brother has a need, we are told to meet
that need and not send him away emptyhanded.
This has to do with loving God with all your heart
and loving your neighbour as you love yourself. A good example was given
to us in the NT by the believers in Jerusalem which shared everything they
had so that everyone had enough and the believers from Macedonia, which
gathered money and sent it to help the believers in Jerusalem when there
was a drought. (Acts 2,4/ 2 Cor: 8,9)
The book of proverbs was given to us to teach us
the fear of the Lord and to give us wisdom and understanding. In it we
read that we should give our firstfruits to the Lord and He will bless
us with abundance.
Honor the LORD with thy substance
and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: so shall thy barns be filled
with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine. (Proverbs 3:9-10
What are those firstfruits I believe that as NT believers
we should know that all our money belongs to God and He will tell us where
to give and what to do with it. That is what tithes was all about in the
OT. It says in the Bible that tithes were there to teach us to put God
first in our lives.
How do we put God first in our lives as NT believers?
When we get our wages, we need to go to God and ask
Him where and when we should give and how much. This can be different each
month. God expects us to be good stewards and He gives us certain guidelines
in His word.
Give to every man that asketh
of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods, ask them not back. (Luke
And as ye would that men should
do to you, do ye also to them likewise. (Luke 6:31 KJ21)
But love ye your enemies, and
do good and lend, hoping for nothing in return; 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. (Luke 6:35 KJ21)
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,
therewith it shall be measured to you again." (Luke 6:38 KJ21)
We all know the verse about the good measure we will
receive when we give. But do we realise what Jesus is speaking about? The
conditions are told in verse 30,31 and 35.
Another example of this is found in Phil. 4.
Now ye Philippians know also
that in the beginning of the Gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no
church communicated with me concerning giving and receiving, but ye only.
For even in Thessalonica, ye sent time and again unto my needs. Not that
I desire a gift, but I desire the fruit that may abound to your account.
But I have all, and abound; I am full, having received from Epaphroditus
the things which were sent from you, a sweet fragrance, a sacrifice acceptable,
well-pleasing to God. But my God shall supply all your need, according
to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:15-19 KJ21)
We know the promise, but do we know the conditions?
Those people looked well after Paul and therefore, God would supply all
their needs in return
We are also told to take care of the poor, the orphans
and the widows. Psalm 112 tells us about a special blessing for those who
take care of the poor.
We are not talking about charity here. Charity is
something the world gives, it is humiliating to the receiver. We have to
take care of those that belong to our heavenly family. See to it that their
rivers can also freely flow so that we all may be blessed by it.
It was a way of living for the NT believers. They
took good care of one another.
So this is what giving in the NT is all about.
Eibrink-Jansen. 4th August 2000.
De Luchtbrug/Airlift Ministries, Netherlands
Home Page at: http://www.wordgirl.00freehost.com/
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