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THE BLESSING OF TITHING

by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Evening, May 3, 2015

“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house” (Malachi 3:10).


Tonight I’m going to speak on money. Dr. Hymers never preaches on this subject. In fact he makes a point of telling newer people not to put any money in the plate until they have been in our church more than a year. He says that virtually every time he takes up an offering. Why does he say that in every service? He says that for two reasons.

The first reason is because so many preachers today put a lot of emphasis on money. They do it so much that most lost people, especially our Chinese people, but almost everyone whatever their ethnic background, think the churches are just out to get your money. He learned that simple truth from his long-time pastor, Dr. Timothy Lin. Dr. Lin said,

Some pastors will ask for monetary donations as soon as they are in the pulpit...Since some churches have such a covetousness towards God’s holy offering how can unbelievers not draw the conclusion that Christians are greedy?...In short, “The love of money is the root of all sorts of evil” (I Timothy 6:10). This warning is not only for individuals but also for the church as well (Timothy Lin, Ph.D., The Secret of Church Growth, FCBC, 1992, pp. 52, 53).

The wisdom of this truth did not cause his church to lose money. It soon had one of the largest offerings of any Southern Baptist church in California! To this day, his church gives more money to the Southern Baptist Cooperative Program than even the huge Saddleback Church, pastored by Rick Warren! That is the first reason we never “beg” for money in our services.

The second reason Dr. Hymers doesn’t emphasize giving money is because he wants our converts to love God above all else. Sometimes you have heard Dr. Hymers say, “God doesn’t just want your money. He wants you!” Dr. Lin said that some people give large sums of money to a church because they feel that this will make God overlook their sins. He said we must not “bribe” God this way. He said, “God does not want our bribe, but desires our confession of sins! He has promised us, ‘If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness’ (I John 1:9). Praise the Lord!” (ibid., p. 51). God wants our hearts, not our money, given as a bribe. That’s why we often sing that old hymn, “Give Me Thy Heart,” which Mr. Griffith just sang.

“Give Me thy heart,” says the Father above,
No gift so precious to Him as our love;
Softly He whispers, wherever thou art,
“Gratefully trust Me, and give Me thy heart.”
“Give Me thy heart, give Me thy heart,”
Hear the soft whisper, wherever thou art:
From this dark world He would draw thee apart;
Speaking so tenderly, “Give Me thy heart.”
   (“Give Me Thy Heart” by Eliza E. Hewitt, 1851-1920).

“No gift so precious to Him as our love.” What a great old song!

“Give Me thy heart, give Me thy heart,”
Hear the soft whisper, wherever thou art:
From this dark world He would draw thee apart;
Speaking so tenderly, “Give Me thy heart.”

Sing that chorus with me!

“Give Me thy heart, give Me thy heart,”
Hear the soft whisper, wherever thou art:
From this dark world He would draw thee apart;
Speaking so tenderly, “Give Me thy heart.”

That’s what God wants from you! Then you will give money to God, not because you have to do it! No! You will give to God’s work out of love for Him! The Bible says, “God loveth a cheerful giver” (II Corinthians 9:7).

Now we go back to our text,

“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house” (Malachi 3:10).

The word “tithe” means “tenth.” So God told them to bring a tenth of their income to the Lord. In the Old Testament they brought it into the “storehouse” of the temple. God said to them that the temple was “mine house.” In the New Testament the house of God is the local church. “The house of God, which is the church of the living God” (I Timothy 3:15).

Does the New Testament teach tithing? Yes, it certainly does! Jesus told the Pharisees that they were right to give a tithe. It is recorded in Matthew 23:23 and Luke 11:42. That’s in the New Testament. Christ Himself said giving a tenth was the right thing to do! I have been giving a tenth of my income to this church for over thirty years. I have never tried to find a way to give less than ten percent of what I earn to the church. I have great joy in giving that money to God for the work of the church! And I always give even more than ten percent. I always have given an “offering’ over and above the tithe of ten percent! I love doing it! And I believe that is one reason God has been so good to me and my family. The Bible says, “God loveth a cheerful giver” (II Corinthians 9:7).

Sometimes we have seen young people come to church and not even want to pay for the food we eat here. Some time ago a young person came here for many months without paying for the food. We never ask people to pay for their own food until they have been here every Sunday for a long time. The person I am thinking of ate here for free for many months. More than that, someone in our church let this person live with them and eat all their meals at his house free of charge for several months. But one Sunday it came time for that person to give a few dollars to pay for the two meals we serve every Sunday in our church. Guess what happened? This person left our church that very day and never came back! That person was just looking for a free handout. We never asked that person to tithe, or even give an offering. But as soon as we asked that person to give a few dollars to pay for the delicious meals we serve in church, that person left our church forever! May God have mercy on that person’s soul! No wonder he was never converted!

“Give Me thy heart, give Me thy heart,”
Hear the soft whisper, wherever thou art:
From this dark world He would draw thee apart;
Speaking so tenderly, “Give Me thy heart.”

“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house” (Malachi 3:10).

Everything really belongs to God. So returning to God ten percent of what is already His is a very small thing. We must be concerned about God’s business in the local church. Every successful business requires money. The same is true with the business of the church in making disciples, preaching the Gospel, and winning souls. It costs money to maintain our church building. It’s an old building, and there are many expenses. There is the cost of electricity, heating, air conditioning, repairs, and property taxes. Then there is the cost for copying, phone bills from our phone bank, and many other things. How do we finance God’s business in the local church – through our tithes and offerings!

You think a lot about your friends in school, what college you will attend, and your future. You think a lot about your appearance and whether people find you attractive. Some of you think a lot about money and how much wealth you can store up for the future. But you think very little about God. May God help you to be more conscious of Him and less conscious of yourself and others. And that’s really the problem with those of you who have been in church for more than a year, and still don’t give a complete tithe. You have very little God consciousness. So you hold on tightly to your money, and you won’t let go. For some of you letting go of your money by giving a tithe will help you think more of God and your eternal soul.

God speaking through the Prophet Malachi said,

“Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me” (Malachi 3:8-9).

There may be some people here who would rob a bank if they could get away with it. They would love to have all that money that is there. But they don’t because they fear getting caught. They fear what people would think of them. They especially fear going to prison. But they have no fear of robbing God. So they withhold their tithe. That’s because God is not real to them. But other men and the fear of jail are real to them. And so they are influenced by men but not by God. And regardless of whether they are aware of it or not God has placed a curse on them. And this curse is just as certain as jail would be to the robber of a bank. How will God’s curse come? I don’t know, but I certainly wouldn’t want to be under God’s curse.

Some give an offering but not a full tithe. You pass in your tithing envelope to be seen of men, but you are not concerned that God sees what you are really giving. He knows you are not giving a full ten percent. By turning in your tithing envelope you are saying you are giving a tithe, but you are not really giving ten percent. That was the sin of Ananias and Sapphira. And God judged them with death for lying to Him. Make sure you don’t do that. I’m not trying to scare you into giving a full tithe. But I am saying you can’t expect God to bless you very much unless you repent.

I recall the story of a young man who lived with our pastor’s mother, Cecelia. Cecelia loved that young man, and she took care of him as if he was her own son. She fed him his meals, gave him a sack lunch, and even gave him spending money. But was he grateful to her for all the love and care that he had received? No, not at all. For there came a day when this young man left our church. And when he left, he took with him Cecelia’s precious silverware, which she received as a wedding gift. He left Cecelia in tears. You say that man was terrible, and he was. But what about you? God has only been kind and loving to you. He gave His only begotten Son to suffer, die on the Cross, and shed His Blood for your sins. He provided you with a wonderful church. You have a good education. You have a good job or a good business. And how do you thank God? You steal from Him by not giving Him His tithe. You rob God. You rob God, just like that young man robbed Dr. Hymers’ mother by stealing her precious wedding gift!

But there is more in our text. Please stand and read it.

“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” (Malachi 3:10).

You may be seated. Oh, our God is a gracious and loving God! And He wants to prove to you how good He really is. He said, “prove me now.” Give God the tithes and offerings that are His. And He promises to open the windows of Heaven and pour out His blessing to you. God is not mainly talking about material wealth. That’s where those prosperity preachers go so wrong. They say you’ll get rich if you send them money! That’s not true! It’s a lie! The Apostle Paul wrote that God

“hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3).

It is spiritual blessings we should desire, seek, and labor for. Material blessings are the “meat that perishes.” They will come and go. But spiritual blessings will endure forever. They will do your soul good. Let us gladly give our tithe and offerings. And God will bless you richly.

The great evangelist John Wesley preached a sermon in 1744 titled, “The Use of Money.” In that sermon he told people, “Earn all you can, save all you can, and give all you can.” I remember when I first came to church Dr. Hymers quoted John Wesley, “Earn all you can, save all can, and give all you can.” Those wise words stuck with me all these years. It seemed like heavenly advice. It seemed like the attitude of someone who loved Christ and walked by faith. How I wanted to be blessed by God the way that John Wesley was. And how I wanted his motto about earning, saving, and giving to be my motto, too. That is also true of all my brothers and sisters of the “39.” The “39” are the men and women who gave sacrificially to save our church building. We were happy to give above a tithe and offerings for many years. That’s how by God’s grace we were able to pay off the church building two years ago! It didn’t hurt us to give far more than a tithe! No, not at all. And how God has blessed us with great spiritual blessings! We have more than we need or want. And we are a happy and blessed people! Give your tithe and offerings to God and you too will be happy and blessed!

At the end of his life John Wesley did not have much money to boast of. But he had something much more valuable than money. He had the many souls won to Christ from his evangelism. He had the many fearless preachers that would continue to preach the Gospel when he was gone. And shortly before he died Wesley said, "The best of all is, God is with us.” When you have God and His Son Jesus Christ, you have all that you could ever want. Oh, dear people, don’t do as little as you can for God. Do the most that you can for Him. Our tithe and offerings are just the beginning of what we should give to God. Let us give our hearts and lives also to God through His Son Jesus Christ.

Have you given your heart to Jesus? He suffered and died to pay the penalty for your sin. He has risen bodily from the grave to give you life! He is praying for you in Heaven, beside God the Father. What does Jesus ask of you? He asks you to love Him! Trust Him and love Him. When you trust Him and love Him it will be a joy to bring your tithes and offerings to Him! Please stand and sing the last hymn on the song sheet, as Dr. Hymers comes to lead it. Amen.

“Give me thy heart,” says the Father above,
   No gift so precious to Him as our love;
Softly He whispers, wherever thou art,
   “Gratefully trust Me, and give me thy heart.”
“Give Me thy heart, give Me thy heart,”
   Hear the soft whisper, wherever thou art:
From this dark world He would draw thee apart;
   Speaking so tenderly, “Give Me thy heart.”

“Give Me thy heart,” says the Saviour of men,
   Calling in mercy again and again;
“Turn now from sin, and from evil depart,
   Have I not died for thee? Give Me thy heart.”
“Give Me thy heart, give Me thy heart,”
   Hear the soft whisper, wherever thou art:
From this dark world He would draw thee apart;
   Speaking so tenderly, “Give Me thy heart.”

“Give Me thy heart,” says the Spirit divine;
   “All that thou hast, to My keeping resign;
Grace more abounding is Mine to impart,
   Make full surrender and give Me thy heart.”
“Give Me thy heart, give Me thy heart,”
   Hear the soft whisper, wherever thou art:
From this dark world He would draw thee apart;
   Speaking so tenderly, “Give Me thy heart.”
(“Give Me Thy Heart” by Eliza E. Hewitt, 1851-1920).

(END OF SERMON)
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Malachi 3:8-10.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Give Me Thy Heart” (by Eliza E. Hewitt, 1851-1920).