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GOD COMMANDS YOU TO TITHE

A lesson by Dr. C. L. Cagan
given at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Afternoon, March 4, 2018

“And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord's: it is holy unto the Lord...And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the Lord” (Leviticus 27:30, 32).


God told Israel that the tithe of the crops and the fruit that grew in their land belonged to Him. God said that the tithe of the animals in their herds and flocks belonged to Him. “The tithe...is the Lord’s” (Leviticus 27:30). God commanded them to give their tithes to Him. Today I want to bring out several points about tithing.

I. First, what a tithe is.

A tithe is a tenth. Our text makes that clear,

“And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the Lord” (Leviticus 27:32) .

God gave the word “tithe” and the word “tenth” in the same verse. The two words speak of the same thing. A tithe is a tenth.

This is clear from the words themselves. The word “tithe” is related to the word “ten.” If you divide something into four parts, each part is a fourth of the whole. If you divide it into five parts, each part is a fifth of the whole. If you divide it into ten parts, each part is a tenth – a tithe – of the whole. That’s not only true in English. It’s true in other languages. The Spanish word for “tithe” is “diezmo,” which comes from the word “diez,” which means “ten.” The French word for “tithe” is “dime” which comes from the word “dix,” which means “ten.” Our “dime” comes from that word. Ten dimes make a dollar. A dime is a tenth – a tithe – of a dollar. A tithe is a tenth. A tithe of your income is a tenth of your income. The tithe belongs to God.

II. Second, tithing in the Old Testament.

Before the Law of Moses was given, those who trusted the God of Israel practiced tithing. Abraham went to Melchizedek king of Salem, “priest of the most high God” (Genesis 14:18). And Abraham “gave him tithes of all” (Genesis 14:20).

In the time of Moses, God commanded Israel to give their tithes to Him. “The tithe...is the Lord’s.” How did they do that? Abraham brought his tithe to Melchizedek, “priest of the most high God.” The Israelites brought their tithes to the Levites, the people who God chose to be in charge of the Tabernacle. God said,

“But the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer... unto the Lord, I have given to the Levites” (Numbers 18:24).

Then God told the Levites to tithe. He told them to give Him a tenth of what they received. The Bible says,

“When ye take of the children of Israel the tithes which I have given you...then ye shall offer up...for the Lord, even a tenth part of the tithe” (Numbers 18:26).

The Levites were told to give a tenth of what they received – a tithe of the tithes.

Refusing to tithe is a great sin. Not tithing is called “robbing God” – stealing from God. The Bible says,

“Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein [how] have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings” (Malachi 3:8).

That sin brought the curse of God upon the people. The Bible says,

“Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation” (Malachi 3:9).

The only way to bring back God’s blessing was to obey Him and tithe. God said,

“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me [test 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).

God cursed people who refused to tithe. And He promised a blessing for those who tithed. I’m not teaching prosperity theology. I never said you’ll get rich if you tithe. But I do say that God promised a blessing to those who tithe.

Where did they bring their tithes? In the time of Moses, they brought their tithes to the Tabernacle, the place where God accepted the worship and sacrifices of His people. In the time of Malachi, the storehouse of God was the Temple in Jerusalem. That was where people brought their tithes.

III. Third, tithing in the New Testament.

Some people say that that tithing was only for the Old Testament. They say Christians don’t have to tithe today. But they are wrong. In the New Testament, Jesus Himself told people to tithe. Christ said to the Pharisees,

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone” (Matthew 23:23).

Christ said the Pharisees had not practiced “judgment, mercy and faith.” But He also told them “not to leave the other [tithing!] undone.” The New Testament teaches us “not to leave the other undone” – not to give up tithing.

Where should we bring our tithes? In the church age the house of God is the local church. The Bible speaks of “the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (I Timothy 3:15). The Book of Ephesians describes the church as a house, “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord” (Ephesians 2:20, 21). Bring your tithes into the local church!

IV. Fourth, who should tithe?

Every disciple of Christ is commanded to tithe – even if you are not yet converted. The Apostles followed Christ before they were converted. They were Disciples of Jesus before they were saved. The Bible says of them,

“These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying...preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils” (Matthew 10:5-8).

Christ sent them out to do ministry before they were converted – even the traitor Judas. Jesus said to the Disciples, “one of you is a devil” (John 6:70), speaking of Judas. And the “devil” Judas went out to evangelism and ministry.

After all, should you stay away from church before you are saved? Should you say, “I’ll stay home. I’ll wait until I have a conversion, and then I’ll come to church”? Of course not! Come to church right away, and keep coming until you are saved. Then you will come because you are saved. Should you refuse to invite people to church until after you are saved? Of course not! Should you wait to tithe until after you are born again and become a member of the church? Of course not! Become a disciple now, before you are converted. Come to church. Do evangelism. And tithe!

Someone says, “We tell the visitors not to give money. So I won’t.” Yes, we ask the visitors not to give money. Some of them may think the church only wants their money. We want them to think about Christ and the church, so we ask them not to give.

When you start coming to the church, you are visiting. You are our guest. We ask you not to put any money in the offering plate. But if you are a baptized member of the church, or if you are studying to become a baptized member, or if you have been attending for a year or more, tithe! Give one tenth of your income to the church. It’s the right thing to do!

V. Fifth, whether you tithe shows where your heart is.

What you do with your money shows where your heart is. That’s as simple as can be. Do your fancy words show where your heart is? No, what you do with your money shows where your heart is! It’s as simple as that. Who said so? Jesus said so! He said,

“Where your treasure [your money] is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21).

What you do with your money shows where your heart is. If you obey God with your money, that shows something about your heart. If you disobey God with your money, that shows your heart too. Again, Christ said,

“Ye cannot serve God and [money]” (Matthew 6:24).

What you do with your money shows whether you love and obey Christ. If money is your god, you can’t serve the real God.

Someone may say, “Money can’t buy salvation. So I’ll wait until I’m saved before I tithe.” Giving a tithe can’t buy your salvation. Nobody in our church said it would. But will refusing to tithe help you get saved? No, it will be an obstacle. If you refuse to come to church, it won’t help you to be saved; it will keep you from being saved. If you refuse to do evangelism, it won’t help you to be saved. And if you refuse to tithe, that selfish refusal can keep you from being saved, because it shows a selfish refusal and rebellion in your heart.

I have a saying: “Money is the language that everybody understands.” Not everyone understands English. Some people speak Spanish and not English. Some people speak Chinese and not English. But everyone knows what money is.

Money is a test of whether you love and obey God. Some people say beautiful words. They say they love Jesus. But when you ask them to tithe, they make an excuse. These people don’t love God at all. They make a fancy talk. But when you speak to them in the language of money – the one everybody understands – they make excuses and slip away. This shows what kind of people they are. Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Where is your heart?

VI. Sixth, how should you tithe?

It’s simple. The Bible says, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse” (Malachi 3:10). Each week, set aside one tenth of the money you receive (your income). Bring it to the storehouse – the church – and put it into the basket when we take up the tithes. If you get paid every two weeks or once a month, divide up the tithe so you can give the same amount each week. If you are a student and your income is small, give a tithe of what you do get. If you receive ten dollars a week, your tithe is one dollar a week. You may say, “I’ll wait until I’m making more money.” But Jesus said, “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much” (Luke 16:10). If you are faithful in tithing when you are young and your income is small, then later when you have a job and you make more money, you will be faithful then as well. You’ll be used to it.

And one more thing. Don’t just give a tithe, give offerings! God said the people had robbed Him “in tithes and offerings” (Malachi 3:8).

What is an offering? An offering is a gift above the tithe for a special purpose, like missions. In our church, we take up an offering for missions once a month. We take up offerings for other purposes. Yes, start with the tithe. Never take away from the tithe. But then, give offerings above the tithe.

Whether you obey God shows where your heart is. What you do with your money shows where your heart is. A Bible Christian gives tithes and offerings to his local church. May God bless you as you do it. Amen.


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(END OF SERMON)
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THE OUTLINE OF

GOD COMMANDS YOU TO TITHE

by Dr. C. L. Cagan

“And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord's: it is holy unto the Lord...And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the Lord” (Leviticus 27:30, 32).

I.    First, what a tithe is, Leviticus 27:32.

II.   Second, tithing in the Old Testament, Genesis 14:18, 20;
Numbers 18:24, 26; Malachi 3:8-10.

III.  Third, tithing in the New Testament, Matthew 23:23; I Timothy 3:15;
Ephesians 2:20, 21.

IV.  Fourth, who should tithe? Matthew 10:5-8; John 6:70.

V.   Fifth, whether you tithe shows where your heart is, Matthew 6:21, 24.

VI.  Sixth, how should you tithe? Malachi 3:10; Luke 16:10; Malachi 3:8.