28.The Bible Plan for
1. WHAT SHOULD BE OUR FIRST GIFT TO GOD?
1SW 2 Cor. 8:1-5 Our first gift to God should be our complete surrender of ourselves and all that we have. All other gifts will follow.
2. WHERE DOES THE ENERGY COME FROM WITH WHICH WE SUPPORT OURSELVES?
2SW Deut. 8:11-18 God reminded the Israelites that He had brought them out of Egypt and kept them alive in the wildernessand He didn't want them to forget it. When they get to Canaan, He said, they needed to remember that it is God Who supplied the energy they/we use to support them/ourselves.
3. HOW DID JACOB'S EXAMPLE TEACH US TO EXPRESS OUR DEPENDENCE UPON GOD?
3SW Gen. 28:20-22 God supplies all of our needs so, like Jacob, we should also return the tithe to Him.
4. WHAT DOES THE BIBLE TEACH US ABOUT THE NATURE OF THE TITHE?
4SW Lev. 27:30-32 The tithe is holy; it belongs to God. "Tithe" means "one-tenth". (The word "tenth" in Heb. 7:2 is the same root word as the word "tithe" in Matthew 23.23)
5. WHAT PART OF OUR MONEY SHOULD WE TITHE?
5SW Deut. 14:22 The Lord asked them to set aside a tenth of their crops (the "increase" KJV) for Him. New, baby farm animals were counted when they passed under the rod: these were the lambs, the increase. The tithe is figured only on the increase. We receive salaries or hourly pay, so the tithe would be figured on the entire income, not just the take-home pay. A business, however, should deduct the expenses of running the business, because business expenses are not really an increase. In this case, the owner should tithe only the profits.
6. WHY SHOULD WE RETURN THE TITHE TO GOD?
6SW Ps. 24:1 God owns everything
7. HOW DOES GOD WANT HIS PEOPLE TO USE THE TITHE?
7SW Num. 18:20, 21 The tithe belongs to God, so He has the right to determine how it should be used. He decided that the tithe should be used to support the ministers who worked at His temple (church). We have no right to use it in any other way. All charitable gifts, including all those to help build and support the local church, should come from our 9/10ths.
8. HOW SHOULD THIS OLD TESTAMENT INSTRUCTION ABOUT TITHE BE UNDERSTOOD BY THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH?
8SW 1 Cor. 9:13, 14 Paul said that the Christian church should also use the tithes to support its ministers. Pastors evangelists, and other full or part time workers for God are hired either by the local church or by a central mission or conference. The organization which pays the minister's salary should receive the tithes and use it for this purpose.
9. HOW DID JESUS FEEL ABOUT THE TITHING PRACTICES OF PEOPLE IN HIS DAY?
9SW Matt. 23:23 Jesus condemned the Pharisee's for their lack of justice, mercy, and faith, but He commended them for their faithful tithing. His instruction in this regards is still true today.
10. SINCE THE TITHE ACTUALLY BELONGS TO GOD, THEN HOW CAN WE PERSONALLY EXPRESS OUR LOVE FOR ALL HIS GOODNESS TO US?
10SW Deut. 16:17 In addition to returning the tithe to God as that which belongs to Him, He asks us to bring freewill gifts as well—according to the way God has blessed us. We call these gifts "offerings" today.
11. WHEN SHOULD WE GIVE OUR TITHES AND OFFERINGS TO GOD?
11SW Prov. 3:9, 10 Our tithes and love offerings should be taken out of our incomes before we care for any of our own needs. This is based upon the principle that God should be first in everything we do: Cf. Ex. 20:3; Matt. 6:31-33.
12. WHAT TERRIBLE SIN DO WE COMMIT IF WE REFUSE TO RETURN THE TITHE AND OFFERINGS TO GOD, AND WHAT BLESSINGS DO WE RECEIVE IF WE ARE FAITHFUL?
12SW Mal. 3:8-10 Refusing to return the tithes or to give of our love offerings constitutes theft, and no unrepentant thief can be saved, Cf. 1 Cor. 6:9, 10.
But God promises measureless blessings if we are
faithful in our tithes and offerings. What is left for our use after we
return our tithes will go further with His blessing than all of it would
without His blessing. For two reasons:
13. HOW WILL FAITHFULNESS IN EARTHLY MATTERS REFLECT UPON OUR ETERNAL REWARD?
13SW Luke 16:10-12 If we are faithful in dealing with God's possessions in this world, He will reward us with greater possessions and honors in the world to come.
Even though we've dealt in this lesson primarily with the stewardship of tithes and offerings, this is not the entire picture. As we have seen above, God owns everything we have. So when we use any of His things we should consider how He would want us to use them. Stewardship includes not only our use of God's money, but also the use of time, talents, and everything we do with those things we use that belong to God.