CHRISTIAN GIVING OR TITHING?

FINANCING THE LORD'S WORK

I) INTRODUCTION

[Dr. John Danish, Pastor-Teacher, Berean Memorial Church, Irving, Texas; Tape #BD33, side 1]

"THE CHRISTIAN'S USE OF HIS MONEY"

"...People are urged to give for a variety of wrong reasons... Some give so that God will give them what they want. They're making deals with God and in effect they're merely lending their money to God so that He will come through for them. Some give so that God won't take the remainder away from them. This is what's known as paying for protection... 'If I don't give it to God... He'll have some character run right into my new volkswagen'... It's insurance money.... Some give to relieve a guilt complex... Some give because [of an emotional appeal] through clever words and through... calculating mental images... Some give to avoid embarrassment... Some churches actually keep a record of what everybody actually gives and once a month they

publish it... Now what is not given in God's way is lost as far as reward... [is concerned]... If you go up to that offering box and you give in a way that violates the principal of grace giving, you've lost your reward... Misuse of money is widely condemned in the Word of God.... There are repeated warnings given against covetousness. And in Colossians 3:5, covetousness is equated with the horrendous sin of idolatry...

I Timothy 6:10 tells us that "the love of money is the root of all sorts of evil."....

[I Tim 6:10]:

"For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs."

[Dr. Danish, op. cit., side 2]:

"In this verse, God the Holy Spirit says that an emotional attachment to one's money... is the root of all kinds of evil. The... [expression which is translated] 'love of money' comes from that Greek Word 'philarguria'. The first part of that word 'phila' comes from the Greek word 'philos' which is the Greek word for love that connotes an emotional attachment. So an emotional zealous attachment for money, God says, is the root of all kinds of evil...

It neutralizes our love for God. In Matthew chapter 6 verse 24...

[Compare Mt 6:24]:

"No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money ."

"You cannot serve God and money." =

Now that's a basic principle of life. And when we have this emotional attachment toward money it is the beginning of every kind of imaginable evil in our thinking, in our feelings, in our expressions and our conduct....

How often do we fail to live for the day that is before us - for the opportunity of service before us - for the investment of our funds - that is today. Instead, the pattern proves to be the purchasing of things without rhyme or reason relative to our needs, or to the use of the things. We see it, so we buy it. Somebody else has it, so we have to have it...

[On the other hand the proper attitude is stated in Mt 6:33-34]:

(v. 33) "But seek first His kingdom, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.

(v. 34) Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

[Compare Luke chapter 12 and verse 15...

[Lk 12:15]:

"And He said to them, 'Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.' "

..And yet we constantly act as if our lives consist of what we own, what we possess and what our money will secure for us. And coveteousness is the result when you have an emotional attachment for money. This in turn, I Timothy says, causes us to err from the faith... That is, we begin to deviate from God's thinking - from what Bible doctrine has to teach us... Many a faithful Christian warrior has slipped away from God's plan because of some temporary thing that he possessed, that he coveted, that he became deeply attached to... He became resentful of any suggestions that maybe this is not the best thing in the world to have and pursue and then [he] gritted his teeth... bit in hard and hung on. And the result was neutralizing himself in the Lord's service. For what? For a temporary thing that he is going soon [to] leave behind to somebody else to take anyhow...

[Compare Mt 6:19-20]:

(v. 19) "Do not lay up for ourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.

(v. 20) "but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal;

(v. 21) for where your treasure is there will your heart be also."

If something that our money can buy or money itself is [your] treasure, that's where [your] heart is going to be. And your treasure will be with that thing that is precious to you and it will not be the Lord's service or the sacrifices or the demands or the inconveniences or anything else that's involved in serving the Lord. The ultimate consequences of this attachment to money at the end of verse 10 [of] Ist Timothy 6 is personal grief:

[1 Tim 6:10 NIV]:

"For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs."

We have three great illusions about money that we need to get over...

(1) We have the delusion that money is essential to happiness. But a Christian's happiness is built here on... spiritual maturity... in the soul and his relationship through that to the Lord Jesus Christ...

[Luke 12:23]:

"For life is more than food, and the body [is more] than clothing."

[Eccl 5:10]:

(v. 10) "He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves abundance with its income. This too is vanity.

(v. 11) When good things increase, those who consume them increase. [i.e., the more there is to consume, the more there are around you who end up doing the consuming] So what is the advantage to their owners except to look on?

(v. 12) The sleep of the working man is pleasant, whether he eats little or much. But the full stomach of the rich man [who loves money, v. 10] does not allow him to sleep.

(v. 13) There is a grievous evil which I have seen under the sun: riches being hoarded by their owner to his hurt.

And there are griefs which come to us as we become wealthy but it does not mean happiness. The rich man has sorrows, and concerns and problems that the man with less never faces. Your money will not give you happiness.

(2) Another illusion we have is [that] money provides security But it is the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ that provides security. When that woman walked up to that Temple treasury and she put in all that she had - all of her possessions financially in those two mites... [Do] you think she was destitute when she walked away? Do you think she went home and went without supper that night?... Because what she still had left was her orientation to the grace of God. And because she had grace [Mt 6:33], she had the provision and the care of God and she was not destitute... Money does not provide security, but the grace of God does.

This was the rich fools mistake...

[Lk 12:16-19]:

(v. 16) "And He told them a parable, saying, 'The land of a certain rich man was very productive.'

(v. 17) And he began reasoning to himself, saying, 'What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?

(v. 18) And he said, 'This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.

The old barn building technique. The old 'adding another segment to the structure device that we love to follow in order to justify keeping what we have rather than giving out of the wide end of the cornucopia what has long since passed what we need to '''keep the blood flowing in our veins and the breath in our bodies, and our bodies clothed and sheltered.'''' '

[(v. 19) 'And I [the rich man] will say to my soul, '''Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.''' '

(v. 20) 'But God said to him, '''You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared.

(v. 21) So is the man who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.' "

If you are rich in things and money and not rich toward God [i.e., not giving of one's abundance as directed by God's sovereign leading and working of circumstances in one's life] then you are in a bad way...

[3] And a third illusion is that money buys whatever we want. It will not buy you salvation, it will not buy you someone's love. It will not secure peace for you nor make stability in your life... And it will not secure rewards for you in heaven just because you have money with which to buy it.

Now that's a very important revelation in I Timothy 6:10... .see where that emotional attachment for money will lead you... to piercing yourself through with many sorrows. Sorrows perhaps which you've experienced, that you can never undo again, that you would have been happy now... to have laid aside that love for the money in return for... what should have held your affections that would have brought happiness instead of the grief..."

[On the other hand, Dr. Danish, op. cit., side 1]:

Giving in the church age... is a very highly specialized spiritual activity. And when it is performed on a proper doctrinal ground, it results in great personal joy, great personal blessing, great satisfaction and great eternal rewards..."

II) TITHING

[Dr. John Danish, Pastor-Teacher, Berean Memorial Church, Irving, Texas; Tape #BD33, side 1]

"Tithe means ten per cent... One of the outstanding defenses [of tithing] is that when you have a church where people tithe, there are ample funds to cover the expenses... generally that is true.... However, we have already learned that we do not judge what God approves [of] on the basis of experience... God's divine viewpoint is not proven to us on the basis of experience; it may be confirmed [but] it is established and proven on the basis of doctrine. So this is not an overwhelming argument that if you have a church where people tithe the bills are paid. Tithing works... in a church where most people do it for the simple fact that it does not cost very much to operate a local church... So this is why it seems that tithing is a good system. It does cover the cost because church costs aren't very great...

[And during this period of time, God's grace, blessings and needs are provided for outside the realm of an individual's giving habits, for we are under the grace of God not under any kind of law-rewards system:

[Ro 6:14]:

"For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace."

[Eph 1:2-3]:

(v. 3) "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.."

[So you can get people to tithe] even though God says [in His Word], 'I can't reward you for doing this', yet the money will be there for you to function.' Now this is unfair to believers to let them have this idea that because they're paying their bills they're functioning under God's blessing and God's reward 'cause that's not true...

Another group of people who love the tithe system are Christians who have an expanding income... because.... their take home income is constantly increasing relative to what they are giving to the Lord's work... [They continue to keep their giving at the 10 percent level as their take home increases]

Wouldn't you be happy to have a law passed to change the Federal Income Tax to ten per cent straight across the board for everybody?.....

[Danish, op. cit., side 2]:

"The problem... [with tithing in the church age] is that you may fall into the trap of thinking that after you have given God ten per cent of your income you have nine tenths to do with as you please. But tithing from an expanding income is generally an indication that you are withholding God's money from Him... If you have been tithing over the years and God has expanded your income and you're still tithing then you're probably out of line with what God expects you to do. [If you are thinking of] your income as an expanding cornucopia with the wide end just overflowing with God's increasing blessings, what you're trying to do is to justify [what you are] increasingly enjoying and using what comes out of the wide end of that cornucopia of blessing while giving God a simple ten per cent [out of the narrow end], which becomes less and less in comparison to what you yourself keep...

We are not forever to justify using the abundance of the wide end of the cornucopia of our financial blessing... by buying more things, making more investments, by securing the things we think we'd like to have.... and [in this way justifying] that we have these expenses to pay for.

People who prosper feel that the tithe is still a big bite in their income because people who prosper look at like this: They say, 'I used to give 500 dollars now I give a thousand dollars a year. I've doubled it.' And it looks to them like a terrible big bite. A thousand dollars is a big bite in itself. But you see there's a God in heaven and when He looks down at this big bite of a thousand dollars... [He sees that which was provided in order to give but was kept instead]

Understand that God looks at what you keep as well as what you give. And He evaluates what you give in reference to what [you] keep...

..The idea that... [tithing] is God's way [for today] results from the fact that people open the Bible and they indiscriminately gather together everything the Bible has to say about giving. And they ignore the dispensational aspects of the Scriptures... The Bible... records more than one way of life or dispensation because it deals with three major groups of people. The Bible deals with information to Jews, it deals with information to Gentiles, and it deals with information to Christians. And each of these groups is an entity in itself. Each of these groups has a beginning, has a program and has an end. When you get out into eternity, you'll discover that out at the very end of time there are still Jews and Gentiles and Christians. They do not... intermix. And consequently, what God says to one group you cannot... indiscriminately apply to another group. You have to read the Bible with dispensational orientation. You have to ask yourself, 'To whom is God speaking when He gives this directive and leave it there, and not.... attach it to somebody else to whom it was never given...

Now the tithe was part of the Mosaic Law. It meant ten per cent. And it was a law which was definitively commanded [exclusively] for the Jew....

[Lev 27:30-33 NAS]:

(v. 30) " 'Thus all the tithe of the land, of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD'S; it is holy to the LORD.

(V. 31) If, therefore, a man wishes to redeem part of his tithe, he shall add to it one-fifth of it.

(v. 32) And for every tenth part of herd or flock, whatever passes under the rod, the tenth one shall be holy to the LORD.

(v. 33) He is not to be concerned whether it is good or bad, nor shall he exchange it; or if he does exchange it, then both it and its substitute shall become holy. It shall not be redeemed.' "

You [as a Jew] simply passed your cattle by - your animals - whatever you had. And as [they] came by, every tenth one was put off on the side, [and] no matter what the condition that animal was [in]... it was God's. [So] ten per cent across the board was part of the Mosaic system...

Now there actually were, in the Old Testament, three distinct tithes, and it is important that you distinguish and realize just what was involved in tithing. [There] was more than just one tithe... First of all.... the Levites' tithe...

[Numbers 18:21, 24 KJV]:

(v. 21) "And, behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, even [i.e., which is to say] the service of the tabernacle of the congregation.

(v. 24) But the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer as an heave [i.e., heavenly] offering unto the LORD I have given to the Levites to inherit; therefore I have said unto them. 'Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance.'

The Levites, the priestly tribe, had no portion in the Land [given to the Jews by God]. So they had to depend upon the tithes for their livelihood. The Temple expenses also were met out of this tithe. There is no such system of priest, temple or ritual for us in the church age. And we have nothing of this nature to collect the tithe to finance. There is a distinct difference between the Old and New Testament saints in their character and their destiny... [within the kingdom of heaven]

There was also a second tithe. And this is called the festival tithe. This was taken once a year as was the Levites' tithe...

[So this now adds up to 20% not just 10%!]

[Compare Dt 14:22-27]:

(v. 22) "You shall surely tithe all the produce from what you sow, which comes out of the field every year.

(v. 23) And you shall eat in the presence of the LORD your God, at the place where He chooses to establish His name [i.e., the Temple at Jerusalem], the tithe of your grain, your new wine, your oil, and the firstborn of your herd and your flock, in order that you may learn to fear the LORD your God always.

(v. 24) And if the distance is so great for you that you are not able to bring the tithe, since the place where the LORD your God chooses to set His name is too far away from you when the LORD your God blesses you,

(v. 25) then you shall exchange it for money, and bind the money in your hand and go to the place which the LORD your God chooses.

(v. 26) And you may spend the money for whatever your heart desires, for oxen, or sheep, or wine, or strong drink, or whatever your heart desires; and there you shall eat in the presence of the LORD your God and rejoice, you and your household.

(v. 27) Also you shall not neglect the Levite who is in your town, for he has no portion or inheritance among you."

So here is the description of taking this particular tenth of the produce of the farmer and to convert it if necessary into cash, to take it to Jerusalem and there to celebrate the Jewish feasts.

And then once every third year there was third tithe. And this was the poor tithe... This was for the poor of the land...

[So this now averages out to 23 1/3% per year]

[Dt 14:28-29]:

(v. 28) "At the end of every third year you shall bring out all the tithe of your produce in that year, and shall deposit it in your town.

(v. 29) And the Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance among you, and the alien, the orphan and the widow who are in your town, shall come and eat and be satisfied, in order that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do."

So here in the Old Testament, if you're going to deal with the tithing system, the first thing to learn is that there [were] three tithes. God expects you to give ten per cent of your income as a Jew to the Levite for the support of the priestly ministry and the temple operation. He expects you to give ten per cent for observing the festivals and the feasts. And ten per cent every third year for providing and supplying the needs of the poor.

[So] the Mosaic tithe, therefore, was not an offering... It was... [more than one] ten per cent religious income tax because this tithe or tax was imposed upon every Jew, believer or unbeliever alike...

[Notice that this differs markedly from Christian/church age giving which is a non-obligatory free will operation limited to believers only]

Now the functioning and the handling and the attitude toward this tithe, this religious income tax, is given to us in the last book of the Old Testament, in the book of Malachi...

[Mal 3:8-10]:

(v. 8 ) "Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, 'How have we robbed Thee?' in tithes and offerings."

If a Jew [did] not bring these tithes to God he was stealing from God just as when you and I do not bring our federal income tax to the United States government we are stealing; and that's what this verse means. These people were skipping their income tax payments that God had ordained should be provided through these Jewish people. And consequently God was being robbed by them...

(v. 9 ) "You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you."

Notice that the giving of tithes is limited to a nation -the nation of Israel - and not to the church: which is a body of believers from ALL nations.

Instead, this is what they [Israel] should have done:

[Mal 3:8-10, cont.]:

(v. 10) "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,' says the LORD of hosts, 'if I will not open for you the windows of heaven, and pour out for you a blessing until there is no more need."

The blessings upon the Jew for [the] faithful bringing of this income tax was a material blessing. This verse... [cannot] be applied to Christians who are never promised material blessings but only great spiritual blessings [Eph 1:2-3]...

If God blesses you materially, it's His grace...[and not as a result of paying a tithe]

[i.e., If God blesses you materially He has provided for you without anything having to be done for it - even though you do not deserve it - and no matter what your giving record. So material blessings in this age are not a fulfillment of the Mosaic tithing law]

And [furthermore, God's blessings are also] His trusting of you with what He has that He has placed in your care. [There] ...is no reward for something you have done as was the case with the Jew who faithfully brought his religious income tax.

[Mal 3:8-10 cont.]:

(v. 8) "Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, 'How have we robbed Thee?' In tithes and offerings.

(v. 9) "You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you.

(v. 10) "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,' says the LORD of hosts, 'if I will not open for you the windows of heaven, and pour out for you a blessing until there is no more need."

Now, you will notice that the word storehouse is used here... The storehouse [is often misinterpreted as] the local church treasury. However, that is not what it says. Because, in the Hebrew, what it says... is... 'house of treasure' It is the treasury.

So this word should actually read, 'Bring your tithe into the treasury - into the treasury building.'... This has nothing to do with church. You cannot convert 'storehouse' or 'treasury' into church...

[As a matter of fact, if one were to falsely say that the word which is translated "storehouse' (singular), means church (singular), then since church is defined in God's Word as the body of believers in Christ, (Col 1:24-27; Eph chapter 3; 1 Cor 12:12-27; Gal 1:13; Eph 1:22), then the tithe is to be brought not into a building but to be divided amongst the believers themselves. But this is not the case in practice today]

The Old Testament actually did provide for the giving of gifts along with tithes. For you will notice that in verse 8 of Malachi 3:8, God says, 'In tithes and offerings.' And it is true that you could give an offering. And how did you give it in the Old Testament? Just like we do today: out of the free will grace response of our individual hearts...

So... a Jew paid his... religious income tax... and then he had opportunity to bring the offerings.... The two were distinctively different. The principal of these offerings [for the Mosaic Law period] is expressed in one place in the Book of Proverbs...

[Pr 11:24-25]:

(v. 24) "There is one who scatters, yet increases all the more,

And there is one who withholds what is justly due, but it results only in want."

(v. 25) The generous man will be prosperous, And he who waters will himself be watered."

Here again is Old Testament offering promises [of material blessings relative to how one gives offerings]... The Mosaic Law was a unique system delivered to the Jewish people. The Law provided an Israelite with all the regulations he needed for every circumstance of life as a member of the Jewish nation. This rule of life is never applied to Gentile nations nor to Christians. The Law was actually a merit system. It offered rewards for obedience and penalties for failure. Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer used to sum this up by saying, 'The Law system said, '''Be good and I'll bless you,''' but grace says, '''Be good because I have blessed you with all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus in heavenly places.''' '

So the Law was a merit system. It rewarded obedience and it had penalties for failures. But legalism is in the nature of the case, therefore, the very opposite of grace. There is no way that you can combine this legal system with the grace life of the believer in the age of the church...

[Compare Ro 11:6]:

"But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace."

[Compare Ro 6:14]:

"For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace."

The two systems are mutually exclusive. The Bible says that the Law system is no longer in operation in any of its parts today...

[Eph 2:13-15]:

(v. 13) "But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

(v. 14) For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall,

(v. 15) by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances..."

[Compare Gal 3:19-25]:

(v. 19) "Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed should come to whom the promise had been made.

(v. 20) Now a mediator is not for one party only; whereas God is only one.

(v. 21) Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? May it never be? For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law.

(v. 22) But the Scripture has shut up all men under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

(v. 23) But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed.

(v. 24) Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, that we may be justified by faith.

(v. 25) But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor [i.e., the Law."

Ephesians 2:15, Romans 6:14: Galatians 3:19-25 all fully declare we are not under Law today, we are under grace...

Now some people like to claim, 'Well, that's true. But only certain features of the Law system, it is claimed, were canceled, not all.'...

There are certain features that people want to keep. They want to keep the Ten Commandments as a system of laws to be imposed upon believers. They want to keep the tithing factors... But in 2 Corinthians chapter 3, beginning at verse 7, notice what it says...

[2 Cor 3:7-NAS]:

(v. 7) "Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, [i.e., the Mosaic Law incl. the Ten Commandments] came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it was,

(v. 8) will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious?

(v. 9) If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness?

(v. 10) For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory.

(v. 11) And if what was fading away came with glory, [i.e., if the Mosaic Law was fading away:] how much greater is the glory of that which lasts! [i.e., the age of the glory of the grace of God]

(v. 12) Having therefore such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech,

(v. 13) and are not as Moses, who used to put a veil over his face that the sons of Israel might not look intently at the end of what was fading away. [i.e., look intently at the END of the Mosaic Law system which was fading away]

[So] that glorious system... [of the Mosaic Law] as great as it was, has been abolished. And when it says it has been abolished that means everything... That includes the tithing system. So you cannot claim that only certain parts of it have been done

away [with]... The entire system is gone... It is very unlikely... that the very heart of the law system, the Ten Commandments which were written on these tablets of stone... should have been done away [with] and that some minor feature like tithing is still in operation. Christians today are under a restraint from evil and moral guidelines that are provided in the grace way of life... [via the filling, i.e., the leading, of the Holy Spirit, (ref. Eph chapter 5 especially verse 26]

The Ten Commandments... are just one expression of the righteousness of God, and this was designed for certain people in a certain age - the Jewish people in the age of the Law. We Christians have also a relationship to the righteousness of God....

[1 Cor 9:21]:

"To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law [of grace via the filling of the Spirit]), so as to win those not having the law."

First Corinthians 9:21 says that we are... [under the law of Christ]. And that means... that we are under the rule of grace, which is a powerful motivation and control element for righteousness that achieves everything that the Ten Commandments... [would call] upon us to do [and more!]. So the tithe is not part of the grace rule [either]. The tithe was compulsory... [i.e., obligatory like the Ten Commandments and the rest of the Mosaic Law] and grace never compels. The tithe was a debt payable to God and grace cancels all debts to God. The tithe was part of the Law and grace has abolished Law. So a Christian who feels obliged to tithe should keep all the other features of the Mosaic Law in order to be consistent, because tithing was just part of a

larger system. If you want to claim that tithing is God's way of giving in this age of grace, then you should also not be... worshipping on Sunday. You should find yourself someplace where you can go to church on Saturday and observe the Sabbath Day and don't do any work on Saturday. You should offer the prescribed animal sacrifices at the appointed places. If you are a male, you should be circumcised and you should avoid all ceremonial defilements by [not] touching certain foods - lay off the shrimp and

[and pork and foods] like that that are ceremonially defiled. And... [do not touch] anything dead. But the problem is that you cannot find a Levite priest to pay your tithes to... [and thereby faithfully follow all of the directions that God has given to individuals to follow under the Law including tithing for people who live in this age - the church age] There is no way you can observe [all of] this [without twisting the true meaning of observing tithing and the Law as it appears in God's Word - the Bible. And don't forget that there are THREE tithes plus additional offerings, not just a single 10% tax. And every seventh year a Sabbath rest for the land, and every 50 years one was to release the indebtedness of others to them, (Lev chapter 25). Can any of this be applied under the grace age of God?]

But [objectors] remind us that the tithe has antedated the Mosaic era... [They say] that it is to be found in human society before the Law of Moses made it an obligation upon the Jewish people. There are two places in the Bible that... [refer] to tithing before the Law of Moses. The first is in Genesis 14 beginning at verse 17 when Abraham was returning from the battle with Chedorlaomer and he met God's Priest, a priest in the pre-Mosaic era, a priest like unto the Priesthood of the Lord Jesus Christ, the high priest, Melchizedek...

[Gen 14:17-20]:

(v. 17) "Then after his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the valley of Shaveh (that is, the King's valley).

(v. 18) "And Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought out bread and wine; now he was a priest of God Most High.

(v. 19) And he blessed him and said,

'Blessed be Abram of God Most High,

Possessor of heaven and earth;

(v. 20) And blessed be God Most High,

Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.'

And he gave him a tenth [i.e., "tithes"] of all." [of the spoils of the battle]

This act of Melchizedek is referred to in the Book of Hebrews:

[Heb 7:4]:

"Now observe how great this man was to whom Abraham, the patriarch, gave a tenth [i.e., "a tithe"] of the choicest spoils."

This is the first record we have in the Scripture of the tithing system. However, we may not infer [from this] that it was a new practice on that occasion. As a matter of fact tithing was an ancient practice in the ancient world, even among heathen people. In the Dallas Seminary's publication, [Biblio Theca Sacra], in volume 427, there is a quotation... in a [study] on patriarchal Palestine that says, 'This offering of tithes is no new thing. In his Babylonian home, Abraham must have been familiar with the practice. The cuneiform inscription[s]... contain frequent reference to [tithing]. It went back to the pre-Semitic age of Chaldea... The great temples of Babylonia were largely supported by... tithes.... levied upon prince and peasant alike.

That the gods should receive a tenth of the good things which it was believed [they] had bestowed upon mankind was not considered to be asking too much. There are many tablets in the British Museum which are receipts for the payment of the tithe... in the time of Nebuchadnezzar and his successors...'

So tithing was an ancient practice. Abraham knew it from just heathen society in general. But on this basis the attempt is made to claim that tithing was a universal practice and responsibility. We have no indication in this Scripture... that Abraham was under obligation to pay this tithe to Melchizedek... It was purely a voluntary act in gratitude to the victory that God had given him. [Furthermore] the tithe for Melchizedek was from the spoils of war, not from what God had prospered and blessed Abraham with. There is no indication that Abraham was in the habit of giving tithes to the priest...

[Objectors also have the following viewpoint]:

Abraham is viewed [by objectors] as a type of a Christian under grace. And on this basis the claim is sometimes made that because he gave tithes so should we the Christians who are the antetype: He represented us... What he did, we should do. But this is not true. Abraham was only a representative of the Christian in the fact that he was saved by grace and not by works. (Ref. Ro 4:1-13)

And this is true of everybody in the Old Testament... [who was saved: before and after Abraham]

Abraham was not part of the church body... He was not part of the body of Christ, so what he does is not an obligation on or binding upon us as Christians.

The only other place you have tithing before the Law of Moses is the case of Jacob in Genesis 28:20-22. Now Jacob at this time is a fugitive. He is clinging for his life. He is facing the imminent contact with his brother Esau. And so he proceeds in his own inimitable fashion to try to make a deal with God...

[Gen 28:20-22]:

(v. 20) "Then Jacob made a vow, saying, 'If God will be with me and will keep me on this journey that I take, and will give me food to eat and garments to wear,

(v. 21) and I return to my father's house in safety, then the LORD will be my God.

(v. 22) And this stone, which I have set up as a pillar, will be God's house; and of all that Thou dost give me I will surely give a tenth to Thee."

Jacob is a fugitive. He's seeking to make a deal with God... for God's protection and blessing. And this is a vow so it is a voluntary act. He could decide to give... [to] God or not to give. We don't know if he ever kept this vow.

Jacob.. like Abraham is not part of the Church age, so what he does is no indication of what is God's way for us in this age. Tithing was not a regular practice probably with Jacob either...

[Otherwise, why did he make a special vow which would indicate that he hadn't been 'tithing' beforehand. And he made it in such a way that it indicated that tithing was NOT something expected of him in the first place!]

So there is no case that can be made for universal tithing as an obligation on the basis of... [the fact] that it existed before the time of Moses...

[Compare what Henry M. Morris stated in his book 'The Genesis Record', Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1976, pp. 452-453]:

"Jacob's vow, therefore, was given in appreciation of God's promise, not because of legal compulsion or as a means of assuring God's blessings. God's promise had been unconditional and hence did not require the payment of tithes to keep it in force. It is legitimate, in the Hebrew, to read Jacob's statement in this way: '''Since [instead of 'if'] God will be with me, and will keep me... then shall Jehovah be my God... and of all that thou givest me I will surely give the tenth to thee.'''

Later, tithing would become a definite obligation of the Mosaic Law (Leviticus 27:30; Numbers 18:21, 24; etc.), and it actually was a political law among many ancient kingdoms (a form of taxation, that is). But so far as both Abraham and Jacob were concerned, it was purely voluntary, as an expression of their thanksgiving to God.

This motive, of course, should be that which constrains Christians today to tithe their possessions and incomes. There is no law requiring tithing as a condition of salvation, or even of God's blessing in material things. Tithing is to be rather an expression of love and concern for the Lord and His service. Neither is there a legalistic specification of exactly one-tenth to be set aside for God. It is convenient to think in decimal fractions, and the principle of proportionate giving is taught in the New Testament (1 Corinthians 16:2). The Christian can conveniently think in terms of 'tithes.' That is, now many tithes can he return to the Lord in gratitude for God's blessings [and not in order to receive them] - one tithe, two tithes, 1? tithes, or whatever? Many have been able to follow the practice of 'double tithing,' for example, with real joy. Everything Jacob received (and everything a believer receives today) is by the Lord's grace, and it is the Christian's privilege to seek to utilize as much as possible for the Lord's work. Jacob voluntarily (with much less knowledge and with much less blessing than we have today) undertook to give one tithe to the Lord. It is likely that , in by far the majority of cases, a present-day Christian can and should give much more. 'But it should be done cheerfully and gratefully, not grudgingly or of necessity (2 Corinthians 9:7)."]

In the New Testament the tithe is mentioned only occasionally and then it's just part of the Jewish way of life.

III) GRACE GIVING

A) INTRODUCTION

[Dr. John Danish, Pastor-Teacher, Berean Memorial Church, Irving, Texas; Tape #BD33, side 1]

"There is a way of giving under grace...

And we have principles which explain this giving. And this giving under grace does not depend upon the hypnotic power of a professional pleader... [It is common practice to make an emotional appeal to all individuals, believers and unbelievers alike, in order to enhance the amount given]

This is not grace giving...

Here are some observations on Christian financial stewardship...

(1) A Christian doesn't own what he possesses. He is simply acting as God's agent in using God's money as per God's direction. The Lord is the original and final owner of all things. Each believer, thus, must one day account for how he has used what is not his but was entrusted to his care:

[Compare Luke 12:42]:

"And the Lord said, 'Who then is the faithful and sensible steward, whom his master will put in charge of his servants, to give them their rations at the proper time."

[Compare Luke 16:1-2]:

(v. 1) "Now He was also saying to the disciples, 'There was a certain rich man who had a steward, and this steward was reported to him as squandering his possessions.

(v. 2) And he called him and said to him, 'What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.' "

(2) God's money entrusted to us is to be used in such a way as to make more money. It should be placed for the best interest return:

[Compare Mt 25:27]:

"Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest."

(3) Money is to be subordinated to our love for God:

[Compare Mt 19:26]:

(v. 23) "And Jesus said to His disciples, 'Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven."

[Compare Mt 6:24 N.I.V.]:

" 'No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve Both God and Money."

[Compare Mt 22:37]:

"Jesus replied: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul with all your mind.' '[All ? excludes shared love with money, etc.

(4) God makes money available to us to finance His work on earth. The technique for getting from God is to live modestly and give liberally because it's his money...

[Luke 6:38]:

"Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap. For whatever measure you deal out to others, it will be dealt to you in return."

(5) There is a much greater return of blessing in giving than in receiving. What we get benefits us for the present in a small way. But what we give to God blesses a wide circle and thus magnifies our future eternal rewards in heaven:

[Compare Acts 20:35]:

"In every thing I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.' "

(6) God reckons the value of our money gifts by comparison with what we keep of all He has entrusted to us. Not all giving is to be richly rewarded in heaven because often the keeping hides [i.e., cancels out] the giving in God's sight:

[Compare Mk 12:41-44]:

(v. 41) "And He sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the multitude were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums.

(v. 42) and a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent.

(v. 43) And calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, 'Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury;

(v. 44) for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to love on.' "

(7) False giving expects something in return. Much giving... [by] Christians is merely lending, exchanging or... 'honor buying'.

True giving only has another's good in view and delights to give what cannot be repaid or to [give to] those who cannot reciprocate:

[Compare Lk 6:35]:

"But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men."

(8) Our money is dignified and made sacred by the causes of the Lord to which we give:

[Compare Mt 23:19]:

" You blind men, which is more important, the offering or the altar that sanctifies the offering?"

(9) Our money is to be converted into spiritual wealth stored in heaven:

[Lk 16:9]:

"I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves [And not hoard it to secure power or spend it to procure possessions] so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings." [because the money was used for the purposes of God and not for enhancing one's own worldly position]

[Dr. John Danish, Pastor-Teacher, Berean Memorial Church, Irving, Texas; Tape #BD33, side 2]

"It is crucial that we as believers in the Church Age thoroughly understand the grace principle of stewardship. Human viewpoint giving will degrade us. Divine viewpoint giving will ennoble us. Giving under grace is a very specialized kind of activity and it does not come to us naturally. It is something that we have to learn on the basis again of the revelation of the Word of God. Out of the Bible we find the principles by which we are to function in this just as we find the principles by which we are to function in all the other areas of our Christian life. But giving is essential to our understanding because it is part of the exercise of our Christian priesthood. We never fully enter into the fact that we are independently ourselves the priest of God until we learn how to give by the grace technique..."

[Dr. John Danish, tape #76PH-87, side 2]:

"The most critical element, however, for human happiness is the knowledge of Bible doctrine... Of all the things that would make people happy, this is the key: the knowledge of what God thinks. No matter what else you have in life on a material plane or

on a psychological level, until you possess, the full mind of Christ, you will never really be happy. You'll have... up and down, fleeting, momentary period[s] from time to time of personal satisfaction. But that deep seated, inner happiness of which the Scripture speaks will be completely foreign to you. So without the divine viewpoint of God's Word guiding the minds of people, there can be no happiness for humanity. And yet the communicating of the Word of God is what receives the least finances of everything that the human race spends its money on. Now you and I know that as Christians we have been made responsible by the 'Great Commission' [Mt 28:19-20] for communicating God's viewpoint to humanity through the teaching of Bible doctrine. Believers, therefore, must provide the money to fulfill this mission...

The thing that is least financed in the lives of believers is the communicating of the Word of God...

I think it's very significant that here's a book [Philippians] written to tell us [believers] how to be happy. Now we're coming down to the end of it. This is the last thought we're going to have, when we leave this book... And what do we have: a major emphasis on our material possessions, a major emphasis upon our money. Now there must be some connection between money and happiness...

[Phil 4:14]:

"So the word 'However' at the beginning of this verse means, 'I do want to make it clear that you have done the right thing when you sent this gift... that they did share...

'sugkoinoneo'... Paul said, 'You did the right thing, you did well when you shared your money with me to enable me to communicate divine viewpoint here in Rome.'... When you have in the Greek grammar this aorist tense in the participle form... it tells you something about the order of action: That is the main verb says that they did well, but this aorist participle tells us that before God could say, 'Well done thou good and faithful servant,' they had to do this. They had to share. It was because they were ready to share with Paul in the ministry of the Word of God in Rome that they did well... [So] You do not share in the Word of God until you have forked over your money... That God is not going to come to you and say, 'Well done thou good and faithful servant when you hung on to the money that He gave you as a steward... as a temporary channel... for conveying funds to His work...

[Those who find] great delight... that they have finances to give to God's work... [who are that eager to give] is a sign of the supergrace level in the Christian life... Now it is possible that a person can be at supergrace and have a mind to give, and that's what God blesses, and yet not have the funds to give. You may be as Paul sometimes was: in a poverty state. But [it is] the willingness, the attitude of readiness to give. You'll find that what God says He blessed is the willing attitude

of mind to give, whether you've got the money or not... Then if you follow through with the funds - if you have [them] - it's monumental blessing forever in heaven. If you don't follow through with what He's given you to give, then it is monumental loss..."

III GRACE GIVING, (cont.)

B) 2 CORINTHIANS CHAPTER 8

[2 Cor 8:1]:

"Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia,"

[Dr. John Danish, op. cit., side 2]:

" [Paul, here] ...uses the word 'brethren' because he is instructing Christians. And giving under grace applies only to Christians. Giving in the Church Age... ....is part of our priesthood...

[Compare Heb 13:16]:

"And do not neglect doing good and sharing; for with such sacrifices God is pleased."

.....It is pleasing to God that you walk up to that offering box... [giving as you are]...guided by Him in the distribution of your funds... "

....And it is viewed as a sacrifice of your priesthood... So, only a Christian can give to the Lord's work. It's an expression of worship and unbelievers cannot worship God. A local church should never seek funds from unbelievers.... "

[Nor should they put pressure on believers to give via such activities as passing an offering plate]:

...Some of you have gone to churches and have come out of denominations where everybody had to give... It was unthinkable that the plate should come by and you should not put something into it...

Now Paul is writing to the Corinthian Christians here in this book. And the Corinthian Christians were pretty well off financially. Corinth was a great commercial center... Whereas the Macedonians of whom Paul speaks here were comparatively poverty [stricken] ..at this time - three churches [in particular]... the church at Phillipi, the church at Thessalonica and that splendid church at Berea...

[2 Cor 8:1 cont.]:

"Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia,"

Now Paul says to these [Macedonian] people, 'You who are Christians... my brethren, to you I make known... present tense... [i.e.,] I continually am stressing the fact [wherever I go] of what God has done with the Macedonian poverty [stricken] Christians relative to the matter of Christian stewardship...

[Compare Ro 15:25-27:

(v. 25) "But now, I am going to Jerusalem serving the saints.

(v. 26) For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem.

(v. 27) Yes, they were pleased to do so, and they are indebted to them. [the Jerusalem saints] For if the Gentiles have shared in their spiritual things, they are indebted to minister to them also in material things."

Paul said [re: the above passage], 'This is a good thing what the Macedonian Christians were doing in their giving to relieve the persecution and the famine and... [the poor conditions that] the Jerusalem Christians were living under...

"Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God" =

[This grace which is spoken of above] is the [dynamic] of Christian giving. It is this facet of our spiritual maturity... we call grace orientation... It is recognizing that everything we have is from God... We don't deserve anything of His kindness...

It is recognizing that what we accomplish is the result of the power of God within us. That's grace. It enables us to give to the Lord without strings... When God treats you and me in grace, we don't deserve it, we can't pay for it, and we don't owe Him anything after He's given it to us... Grace doesn't add up what it gives in order to prove a point of merit. Unless it is giving without strings there's no reward for you for what you've given... Big contributors... tend to think in terms of strings that they have a right to pull because they are the big givers. And if you cut the strings, the giving stops... But nobody has any money except what God has provided by grace...

[Dr. Danish goes on to say that circumstances, individual talents and gifts, and successful outcomes and blessings, etc., have all been decreed by an omnipotent God before the foundation of the universe, regardless of merit]

[2 Cor 8:1 cont.]:

"Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia,"

"has been given" = "dedouenen"

This verb "has been given" is in the perfect, passive participle form:

Perfect = means that the grace of God began working through the Macedonians in the past with its effects continuing on to this very day benefiting individuals

And to this very day we are delighted to read about [and benefit by] these Macedonian Christians and all that God has been doing through them. What these believers did in Paul's day resulted in great blessing... blessing for those impoverished Jerusalem saints [and blessing in the form of a] great inspiration... [with] lasting effects upon us today...

[Passive = means that God moved the Macedonians to do the giving.

Participle = means that it is a law of God

[2 Cor 8:2 cont.]:

"That in a great trial of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality."

"that in a great trial of affliction" =

What God did with the Macedonian Christians was a seeming contradiction. Notice how that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy in their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. It seems that these people were poor and

yet giving liberally.

"a great trial" = "trial" = "dokime"

That means in the midst of great trial... It means a testing to show that they were approved. A testing to show the merit and the value of these grace oriented Christians. And they were tested when they were under poverty to show what kind of grace orientation they really had. And these people were tested by a trial of great affliction...

"trial" = "Thlipseos" =

This word... means pressure. Here the thought is pressure by their circumstances. The idea is something [a testing] which burdens a person from without... [a tribulation]

And at this time, the historians tell us that the Roman army had devastated all of Macedonia. And these churches [which were] found within this Roman province had gone through a considerable economic disaster and that's why they were so poor... And now they hear about what's happening to people way over in Jerusalem, their fellow believers who are starving. And they say, 'We have to do something about this.'...

[2 Cor 8:2 cont.]:

"that in a great trial of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality."

"their abundance of joy" =

In the midst of their severe pressures, of all things, they're happy...

"abundance" =

This word abundance means super abundance. These Macedonian Christians were overloaded with happiness, and that is an inner happiness... What is inner happiness built on? It's built on the Lord. It's not built on people, it's not built on possessions, it's not built on circumstances...

"joy" = "charas" =

Means happiness. Now this is a happiness that is based on Bible doctrine in our human spirit which God the Holy Spirit has taught our human spirit so that from within us wells up this happiness:

[Compare Jn 15:7, 11]:

(v. 7) "If you abide in Me, and My words [= words of instruction from God, i.e., the same thing as Bible doctrine for the church age believer] abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you.

(v. 11) "These things I have spoken to you, [i.e., Bible doctrine] that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full."

[Compare Jer 15:16a]:

"Thy words were found and I ate them,

And Thy words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart..."

Now, if you want happiness, it starts with knowing the truth of the Word of God. And you will never be happy without it...

This happiness is not effected by external circumstances: you're happy if you have money; you're happy if you don't have money.... You cannot build your happiness on a person, on a thing or an event...

[Compare Heb 13:5-6]:

(v. 5) "Let your way of life be free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, 'I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,'

(v. 6) so that we confidently say,

'The Lord is my Helper, I will not be afraid.

What shall man do to Me?' "

[2 Cor 8:2 cont.]:

"that in a great trial of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality."

"overflowed" = superabounded = " epereisseusen" =

It means an exceeding measure above the ordinary. It's to be abundantly furnished.

It's aorist... [in verb tense, indicating] the specific occasion of their giving to the Jerusalem saints... It's active which means they generously chose to do it. And they were happy to choose to do it.

"wealth" = "plouton" = the riches

And it resulted... [from] the riches of their liberality. The result of their grace orientation was wealth...

[2 Cor 8:2 cont.]:

"That in a great trial of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality."

"their liberality" = "haplotetos" =

A word that means simplicity in the sense of a purity of mind or as we have been saying a 'no strings attached' mentality... It was [a] mental attitude [of] grace expressed in generous unselfish giving.

So Paul says that in the midst of much testing of pressure because of the circumstances outwardly surrounding them, the superabundance of their happiness which was an inner happiness based upon doctrine and spiritual maturity in their souls and not in a person or thing or situation; and their deep down poverty superabounded to a wealth of generous giving...

So... the basic factor in grace giving is your mental attitude. The mind of the soul has to be oriented to grace. The mind of the legalist is [however] oriented to tithing. It is more important to be oriented to grace - to have the right attitude of mind - than the amount that you give. The first concern [for] believers is not [whether one has enough or any] money to give, [nor having an] obligation to give, but being oriented to the grace of God, so that we can give in the right way. What good does it do to have money to give when you can't give in the way that God can honor, prosper and bless?"

[2 Cor 8:3]:

"For I testify that according to their ability and beyond their ability they gave of their own accord, "

"according to their ability" =

[Dr. John Danish states, audio tape #72BD-34, side 1]:

"The extent of the Macedonian giving was "to their ability". ["ability" = "dunamin" = which] simply means 'ability'. They gave to the limits of their ability....

What we have to determine is what our economic ability level is. And our ability level may rise and fall over the years. But it is up to us before God to determine what our real ability level is. It is not determined..... by some standard percentage such as the tithe... Your ability level is determined by the overall extent of your income, your possessions relative to your needs for survival and from then on it's service for the Lord...

God supplied to these Macedonian Christians the money... [and] a soul condition for grace giving...

"For I testify" = "marturo" = "testify", bear witness =

= a solemn testimony as under oath... Now this is in the present tense in the Greek which means that Paul is constantly going about and able to give this testimony about the Macedonian Christians and their giving... He's describing how a certain group of churches... how these Christians gave on the particular occasion of a collection which was being taken to relieve the poverty that had overtaken the saints in Jerusalem... He is describing how the Macedonian Christians reacted to this... What they did was grace giving... So we learn a great deal by reading through these two chapters... [8 & 9 ] and seeing what these people did and what Paul had to say about it... So constantly he is using them as an example. And he chose to do this - it's in the active voice... because he had been a witness...

[2 Cor 8:3 cont.]:

"For I testify that according to their ability and beyond their ability they gave of their own accord, "

"and beyond their ability" =

And again [this verse] uses the same word... ["ability" = "dunamin" =]

[This means] that they came up to their economic level of giving - giving what they economically were really able to give and still sustain the necessities of life. But... they passed beyond what they could do to what required giving up something. That's what's known as sacrificial giving...

["They gave of their own accord." (NAS) ? (KJV): "willing of themselves" = "authairetoi" =

Here is a second principle for grace giving: willingness... The latter part of verse three: their attitude in this giving up to their ability and beyond their ability is described as "willing of themselves"... [which] ...means self-chosen or voluntarily. And what it implies is that this decision to give to the ability level and beyond was a decision that each of these believers made on his own. Nobody got up and gave an emotional pitch-plea. Nobody got up and berated them. Nobody got up and envisioned how the poor saints were dropping in the streets in Jerusalem out of starvation. They gave... voluntarily on the basis of an understanding of doctrine so that they knew what God expected of them...

Grace giving demands freedom of choice and that's the point of this verse... And when you have that freedom to give by grace, [you'll] be in a position to give and to give even beyond to a sacrificial level.

So here are some factors to note [relative to grace giving]:

1) All giving by Christians in the church age must be voluntary. It cannot be under human pressure in appeal or [other] technique.

2) It cannot be on the basis of competition.

3) To impose the tithe as an obligation upon all believers is not voluntary giving.

4) There is no place for pride...

5) Grace giving is a part of a Christian's priesthood... And therefore it must be done in privacy... [So] what you give therefore is between you and the Lord...

[Mt 6:1-4]:

(v. 1) "Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father Who is in heaven.

(v. 2) When therefore you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be honored by Me. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.

(v. 3) But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing;

(v. 4) that your alms may be in secret; and your Father Who sees in secret will repay you."

6) Christians... are not to pass on from giving according to ability to sacrificial giving beyond their ability as a result of emotional appeals... Sacrificial giving is also to be a matter of free will as it was with the Macedonian Christians...

7) Alerting believers as to the needs of the Lord's work is [nevertheless] legitimate. But hitting up the emotions is using coercion, and that is not [legitimate]. Grace giving is spontaneous, [and] it's inspired by [Bible] doctrine...

[2 Cor 8:3-4]:

(v. 2) "That in a great trial of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality.

(v. 3) begging us with much entreaty for the favor of and the partnership in the service of the saints."

"begging" = beseeching =

Here's a group of church members that are begging a spiritual leader to receive their offerings... to use [them] to help [the] situation in Jerusalem...

And [the verb "begging" is in the] present tense which means [that] they were doing it all the time. They... kept on asking for an opportunity to give.

And it's in the middle voice which means that the begging that they themselves did... was going to be a benefit and a blessing to them... They were begging that they themselves personally should be permitted to share in this...

"with much entreaty" =

" 'with much entreaty': that is [with] strong appeals to Paul... to be permitted to have a part in this contribution... In the Greek this expression comes first because that's the thing the Holy Spirit is stressing. He's emphasizing that they asked earnestly...

"for the favor" =

They were asking that Paul would do them the favor of taking their money and letting them share in the offering...

[So an opportunity to give to the Lord's work is a grace operation - grace meaning favor, unmerited favor. It is an undeserved favor that God is giving to a believer when He gives him an opportunity to give]

"and the partnership in" = "koinonian" =

fellowship with the idea of taking part in or a partnership...

[Christian giving is a partnership operation between God and the giver and the receiver: the receiver experiencing the grace of God by being blessed with what another provides for him; the giver experiencing the grace of God by being blessed with an opportunity to give and the substance with which to give; both giver and receiver consequently receiving future rewards in heaven depending upon their attitude when they respectively give and receive; and God being glorified throughout the whole process for bestowing His grace.]

"in the service of" = "diakonias" =

Refers to the particular priestly service: as Christian priests, the service of the sacrifice of substance...

So [Paul said the Macedonian believers were], 'with much imploring, begging us for the favor and partnership of ministering to the saints'.

Now there are some factors to note here.

1) Christian giving is a privilege which we will eagerly pursue. If we do not eagerly pursue Christian giving, it is a sign that there's trouble in the soul.

2) There's a great eternal reward for sharing financially in ministries to spiritual and physical needs of believers...

3) Pressure methods of giving are incompatible with the joy of free will service.

4) Christian giving.... is a favor... and a priestly service....

[2 Cor. 8:5]:

"and this [they did] , not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God."

We have seen first of all, at the beginning of chapter 8, the principle of giving by grace orientation and inner happiness. We secondly have found... the principle of willingness in giving... A third principle... is the principle of soul giving [as explained in verse 5]...

"and this [they did] , not as we had expected [i.e., hoped]" =

Here was something beyond expectation. The words, "and this not as we hoped" [KJV] should be, 'not even as we hoped'. The Macedonian Christians not only insisted on sending a gift out of their poverty, but they did it in a way that Paul had not anticipated. He says, 'we hoped' and the word 'hoped' here means to expect...

"had expected" = "elpisamen" =

Paul says, 'There was a certain point when I went to receive the collection that I expected something. And I found that they had given their money and given it generously; but then I discovered that they gave something much more than just that... First [they] gave themselves. And the word 'first' emphasizes the person rather than the gift. Literally, it says, 'Themselves they gave first.'... The pronoun, 'themselves' precedes the verb, usually in Greek it follows. But the reason it precedes here is to emphasize... the person. The person is the thing that God is first concerned about in giving, not the gift. The first step in grace giving is to give your soul to the Lord... Any unbeliever can give money to the Lord's work; but an unbeliever cannot give himself - he cannot give his soul to God [until he becomes a believer]. And if soul giving does not precede money giving, it's not grace giving. That's the principle... They committed themselves to whatever God's plan was for their lives.... Now this prior giving of themselves resulted in their money gift. Because they had given their souls, the money followed easily. Now, Paul expected the money; but he rejoiced most of all when he discovered how these people in the Macedonian Churches had given their souls to the Lord. The money and the amount in grace giving is really of secondary importance. The gift of the soul is the primary thing. So this explains why the Macedonian's were generous. They gave their souls to the Lord. Now, what does that mean?...

There are several facets to your soul... If you're going to give your soul to the Lord it means that the parts of your soul are going to have some relationship to the Lord...

[First: preoccupation with the Lord] First of all, self-awareness... If you give your soul to the Lord, you are preoccupied with Christ. You're not preoccupied with securing praise or giving your money to achieve some human good [as opposed to giving to achieve divine good as directed by God]...

[Second: have your mind guided by the mind of Christ] You have your mind. Your mind will be filled with [the mind of Christ, i.e., Bible] doctrine so that you will be guided to worthy investments of the Lord's money. The only true giving is giving that comes by right motivation. The only true motivation is [via] God's principles of [Bible] doctrine. And when your mind is filled with that, and your mind is running your soul, then you will be giving in a way that is pleasing to the Lord...

[Third: Have your emotions guided by the Lord] You have emotions in your soul. If your emotions are given to the Lord, you will rejoice to respond to money that your mind directs you to give [and not your emotions]... You won't be... [responding to] appeals for funds made on some false motivation [of] your emotions... No... spiritual leader ever has the right to do anything but to approach you [through] your mind relative to doctrine [and NOT through your emotions] when it comes to giving... [And] God is not going to reward what you give in response to... emotion...

[Fourth: Have your will guided by the Lord] And then in your soul you also have your will. And if you have given your will to the Lord, you are positive toward the objects toward which God wants you to give your money. The objects that He wants you to help finance. Those are the things to which your will will say yes to...

[Dr. John Danish states, Audio Tape #72BD34, side 2]

[Summary thus far]:

[FIRST]

"Grace giving is first of all a mental attitude of orientation to grace. Consequently, the amount of money you give is not the primary thing. It is the orientation of your soul to the grace concept of this age which is the critical feature. Once your soul is oriented to grace, you'll be able to move in the direction of grace giving. And it doesn't matter how much money you give, how frequently, how regularly you give - if you are not oriented to the grace of God, you are not giving under grace. And your giving is not meriting reward for you at the Judgment Seat of Christ. But when you are oriented to grace, you'll be able to give even in your poverty; and you will do it with happiness.

[SECOND]

The second principle we have learned is that grace giving must be an expression of free will, apart from any human coercion. It must be entirely voluntary. Now, you and I are not used to being able to exercise our free will with our material things even in the ordinary realms of life. We are surrounded by a society and an advertising system that places great pressures upon us from merchants. So we have these 'days' that are converted into practical religious holidays: Mothers' Day so you can give mother a gift.

Fathers' Day so you can give father a gift and thereby give a 'gift' to the merchant.

And you have Christmas so that you can give everybody a gift.

And we have birthdays and anniversaries - all of which are carefully calculated by our society to put [pressure] on you to draw your money out for some gift purposes. You're used to have pressures put upon you to draw your money out of you. These are attacks on your personal freedom and they are motivated by Satan and they create a great deal of conflict [amongst] people. It is very difficult for people who are legalistically oriented to the pressures of special days to be able to associate with a person who is very relaxed and disassociated from the merchants' pressures. Now the true giving of which we are capable will function anytime and anyplace apart from human reason. As Christian priests our giving must be private and it must be free of any pressures, any gimmicks - which includes emotional appeals. Grace giving is eager giving because it is viewed as an honor...

[THIRD]

Principle number three is [as follows]: Grace giving requires soul giving to the Lord first... You can never give by grace until you have first given your soul - and all the facets of that soul. And how do you do that? You do that by your positive response to Bible doctrine which brings the facets of your soul into divine viewpoint. When your soul [i.e., your thinking, your words, and your deeds] is in tune with God, [then] you have given your soul to God... It is the word of truth that phases our emotions, and our wills and our minds into God's - all the way down the line...

The financial backing of the local church by God's people is a key feature of the angelic warfare which surrounds you and me. God's method for financing His work on earth is to bring the church to completion and to maturity. And when this happens, project footstool will be executed upon Satan. You'll remember that God told Satan by telling Jesus Christ to sit at His right hand until His enemies, the unbelievers, had been made His footstool. And when that happens, Jesus Christ returns to this earth to rule in His Millennial kingdom. And when He comes back to rule, Satan and his demons are locked up and removed from the sphere of open operation which they now enjoy. And Satan is doing everything he can to avoid that. Now do you realize that your giving is the means by which God is going to bring this about... Money is the key feature in the destiny of Satan and project footstool and you as believers are the key. So Satan is attacking this in order to delay it. He promotes false motivations... false appeals.... false objects for your giving... He suppresses all the teaching and learning of Bible doctrine he can because this will prepare your soul for grace giving. And he substitutes all kinds of false methods of giving in order to restrict... the amount of gift... One of the smartest moves that Satan ever made was to get Christian churches to promote tithing as God's method of giving, because tithing automatically insures a low level of giving - enough to sustain the operation. But it holds [one to a] low level of giving because it never touches the expanding incomes of people as... [they] get larger... ...over the years...

[2 Cor 8:6]:

"Consequently we urged Titus that as he had previously made a beginning, so he would also complete in you this gracious work as well."

This verse is a transitional verse. Paul... [switches] from talking about what the Macedonian churches did and the example that they were of the principles of grace giving... [to dealing with] the Corinthian church, to whom he is writing, [and] the [their] problem of giving... You'll remember [that the Corinthian church] was a wealthy church... So we have in verse 6 the appeal...

What [Paul] has been talking about relative to the Macedonian giving has now led him say something to the Corinthians about their giving... Paul now is encouraged by the performance of the Macedonians to urge the same upon the Corinthians... [through Titus]

"as he had previously made a beginning" =

They [the Corinthians] had begun to collect this offering, then something happened a year ago... Now, the spiritual condition [amongst these Corinthians] has been revived... [Compare 2 Cor. 7:13-16. And Titus, who had worked successfully with the Corinthians previously, would endeavor to finish the collection]

[2 Cor 8:7]:

"But just as you abound in everything, in faith and utterance and knowledge and in all earnestness and in the love we inspired in you, see that you abound in this gracious work also."

Now the point of this verse is that this superabundance [of wealth that the Corinthians were blessed with] is stated as a cause for their liberal and willing giving. Paul outlines for us the major things in which they superabounded. And these things enabled them to give liberally under grace. Here are the elements:

He says, 'As you have superabounded in the sphere of faith.'... This is more than the faith in Christ unto salvation. That's not what's in view here. This is [the] faith which is a factor in making [operational] that... grace system by which you perceive spiritual things. Here's how it works. Here is your mind.... You have one side of your mind which is the perceptive side where you learn things. You have another side which is the directive side that gives directions and from which you make decisions [to act upon that knowledge]. Now what faith does is to take doctrine... [and via] the filling of the Holy Spirit [i.e., being under the direction and control of the Holy Spirit, Compare Eph 5:17-18 with Jn 14:26, 16:13].... you are able to learn [that] doctrine. And that doctrine which you learn comes under the examination of your faith... Now when you take what you have learned from the Word of God and you have understood it as a believer... then you react to... [what you have learned] with your will. And if you act in a positive response, that means an act of faith...

Now [Paul] also says... they... were abundant in the Word. Now the word here is the Greek word [= "logo"]. And this is a reference to the Word [of God] as doctrine. This [word "logo"] stresses the substance, the content of the Word of God... They were responding to the Word in an abundant way with their faith....

Now there was a third thing that they [abounded in]... they had an abundance of knowledge...

[They knew the content of the Word of God and when they believed this content to be true - an act of faith - then that content became knowledge to them, stored in their human spirits]

[So "logo"] or doctrine in the Bible is transferred to the perceptive mind as knowledge; and it is converted by faith... into 'full knowledge'... in the human spirit...

[2 Cor 8:7 cont.]:

"But just as you abound in everything, in faith and utterance and knowledge and in all earnestness and in the love we inspired in you, see that you abound in this gracious work also."

"earnestness" =

Connotes an eagerness, a vigor. It describes the way the Corinthians applied themselves to the word and the things of the Lord... They were eager in their response [to the Word of God] which reflected that they were building up 'full knowledge' in their spirits.

["and in the love we inspired in you' = The Corinthians were abounding in "agape" = agape love - a godly love - which is the result of obedience to God's commands. Compare Jn 14:15, 23-24. These commands are to be understood only from the study of God's commands as they are laid out in the Bible]

"see that you abound in this gracious work also." =

And now here's the application [of this verse: "that you abound in this gracious work also"]

Christian giving stems from the believer who is functioning daily under this system of learning doctrine... This is a grace system of perception... [It] has nothing to do with your I.Q.; [but it has everything to do with] your willingness to receive the Word. So Christian giving stems from a believer's functioning under a daily contact with learning the Word of God...

[2 Cor 8:8]:

"I am not speaking this as a command, but as proving through the earnestness of others the sincerity of your love also."

[In verse 7, Paul says to the Corinthians]: 'Now as God has prospered you spiritually, why don't you go on in the matter of grace giving and complete that offering?' But [Paul] wants to qualify something... And he qualifies this in verse eight by saying,

[K.J.V.]

'I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the earnestness of others and to prove the sincerity of your love."...

Paul says, 'I am not issuing you an order... though he had apostolic authority and he could have commanded them... [but] grace giving can never stem from a dictatorial order...

"but as proving through the earnestness of others" =

[Paul is asking the Corinthians to consider giving in the same way the Macedonian Christians gave]

Some things in the Christian life are done in obedience to a command. But giving is an expression of love not a command...

[2 Cor 8:8]:

"I am not speaking this as a command, but as proving through the earnestness of others the sincerity of your love also."

So he says, 'I don't speak in the nature of a command but by the instrumentality of the earnestness of others - the diligent application of the Macedonians - and to prove the sincerity of your love.'...

So Paul is going to test the Corinthians to show the genuineness of their love through their giving...

[The Corinthians have recently demonstrated this new found Christian agape love as evidenced by their changed behavior since the time that 1 Corinthians was written. This was in fact the main reason for the writing of 2 Corinthians]"

So as God as prospered the believer so he is to give accordingly:

[1 Cor 16:1-2]:

(v. 1) "Now about the collection for God's people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do.

(v. 2) On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made."