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Copyright 2001
Montgomery Paul Webb
  1. Giving Money as a Spiritual Experience
  2. Tithing Is a Legal Practice
  3. The New Testament Concept of Giving
  4. Spiritual Principles on Prosperity
  1. A proper understanding of the role of money in the life of a Christian begins with accepting the practice of religion as a spiritual experience.
    1. The believer’s relationship with God does not depend on observing legalistic formulas but on assuming a way of life based on love.
      1. Jeremiah 31:31–33: Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant…Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers…I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. (Citations KJV unless indicated)
      2. Micah 6:8: He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
      3. James 1:27: Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

    2. The believer does not purchase anything from God according to a percentage, but giving unto God is always a matter of what freely comes from the heart.
      1. The parable of the Good Samaritan provides an excellent example of the practice of religion as a life style of giving, Luke 10:25–37.
        1. When a lawyer questions Christ on how to obtain eternal life,
        2. his response passes up a perfect opportunity to outline legalistic observances. Instead, Jesus merely emphasizes loving God and neighbor.
        3. Then, the lawyer seeks a legal distinction in order to justify his past, by asking for a definition of neighbor.
        4. Christ responds with a parable, wherein a priest and then a Levite ignore a man in distress, while a Samaritan lovingly gives his time and money to selflessly help him. This contrast between the outward appearance of being religious and a true expression of love is striking, because in biblical times the Jews regarded the Samaritans as heretics.
      2. When the believer is dedicated to helping those who are made in the image of God, a sacrifice is made unto God.
        1. Matthew 25:34-36:…Come…inherit the kingdom…For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat…sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
        2. verse 40:…Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my bethern, ye have done it unto me.
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  2. When leaders of the church focus on legalistic practices to formulate a sense of religion, the tithe is emphasized as God’s mandate for the believer’s finances.
    1. Television preachers will even go so far as to imply that salvation depends on tithing.
      1. First, Malachi 3:8, is quoted, which notes that the Jews who did not pay a tithe were actually robbing God.
      2. Then, a passage such as I Corinthians 6:9,10, is quoted, which states that thieves will not inherit the kingdom of God.
      3. In reviewing such selected Bible verses in isolation, the believer concludes salvation is worked out with a calculator and employer definitions of income.

    2. However, the tithe comes from the Old Testament legal code, and today it serves only as an example of giving for the Christian.
      1. Scripture defines the tithe as one tenth of all produce from seed and cattle which belongs to God, Leviticus 27:30–33.
      2. The tithe was used as an offering to support priests and Levites, Numbers 18:24-28. [Note: the tabernacle and the temple were constructed from a special offering and the king’s treasury. However, the New Testament does not mandate any physical building to serve as a church].
      3. Every third year, the tithe was shared with orphans, widows, and sojourners, Deuteronomy 14:28,29; 26:12, (a requirement always overlooked by ministers who correlate themselves as modern day priests and Levites).

    3. The tithe cannot be imposed on the New Testament by technicalities.
      1. Abraham’s covenant with God was marked by circumcision, in anticipation of the legal code to be given to his descendants 600 years later. He also paid a tithe in foreshadowing this Law, Genesis 14:18–20; 17:10. However, it cannot be concluded that his actions establish circumcision and tithing as universal and timeless principles simply because they precede the Old Testament Law.
      2. New Testament references to the tithe are made only in the context of reviewing actual practice under the Old Testament Law, Matthew 23:23; Luke 11:42; 18:12; Hebrews 7:5–9.
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  3. The New Testament transforms the use of money in serving God from a legalistic burden to a spiritual experience.
    1. II Corinthians 8:7, functions as the key verse from the New Testament on how giving should become a way of life for the believer.
      1. Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.
      2. To rely on faith, to diligently study Scripture, to strive for perfection, or to become more loving, form a spiritual approach to religion, unique for each individual. In the same manner, giving money to spread the Gospel or to help those in need should arise as a natural expression of the believer’s dedication to God.
      3. For the apostle Paul, giving to God at times meant offering the Gospel free of charge, such as he did for the Corinthians, I Cor. 9:18; II Cor. 12:13–18, and the Thessalonians, I Thess. 2:9; II Thess. 3:7–10, though he knew he had a right to their support, I Cor. 9:14. (Thus, it seems evident Paul did not preach the tithe).

    2. The New Testament emphasizes sacrificial giving.
      1. Christ held up for an example the widow, who gave for an offering only two mites, but from her want, as greater than the rich who gave from their abundance, Luke 21:1–4.
      2. The apostle Paul held up the example of the Macedonian Church. II Corinthians 8:2–4: Out of the most severe trail, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. (NIV)
      3. Christ made himself an offering unto God by dying on the cross, which serves as the most mature example of giving. Romans 5:18: Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life, cf. 3:24,25; 5:12–19.
      4. And God’s sacrifice of his only begotten son also demonstrates the ultimate nature of giving. John 3:16: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever beleiveth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

    3. In the New Testament, being a 10% Christian is not enough. God demands a 100% dedication of the believer’s life.
      1. Thus, Christ told the young man with great possessions — If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me, Matthew 19:21.
      2. And thus, the first Christians sold their possessions and gave the money to the apostles for distribution among all, as there was need, Acts 4:32–35.
      3. Once just before Christ was crucified, while he was eating, a woman came and poured a perfume of exorbitant cost over his head. Some observers murmured against her, for the waste of money that could have been given to the poor; but, Christ commended her, knowing she was anointing him for burial. She gave unto God merely as she was moved by her heart through the Holy Spirit, without regard to calculations from her purse, Mark 14:3–9.
      4. [Note: if serving God financially feels like a burden, find a cause that overflows from your heart, that seems so much a part of you, that your complete dedication becomes necessary].
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  4. Financial rewards are reaped as money is sown unto God, but prosperity results from observing many spiritual principles set forth in Scripture.
    1. The Bible clearly indicates that we shall prosper from sowing money in the work of God and spiritual fields of human want.
      1. II Corinthians 9:6-8:…He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give, not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.
      2. Luke 6:38: Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

    2. However, to truly flourish financially, we first must be in the will of God.
      1. Deuteronomy, chp. 28, is the most quoted biblical passage to demonstrate that following the moral order of the universe directly relates to our finances, as well as every aspect of our well being.
      2. Matthew 6:31–33: Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things, But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

    3. In general, success in life springs forth from faith, spiritual growth, perseverance, and dedication to God.
      1. Mark 11:24: Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.
      2. Joshua 1:8: This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein; for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
      3. III John 1:2: Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.
      4. Galatians 6:9,10: And let us not be weary in well doing; for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
      5. Psalm 37:4,5: Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.
      6. Proverbs 3:9,10: Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the first fruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.
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This outline constitutes a chapter from Only The Essentials: Clear and Simple Outlines on Complex Theology. Copyright 2001 by Montgomery Paul Webb. All rights reserved. However, permission is granted solely to private individuals to make ten copies of any disc containing this book, to include whatever other publications are available therein from the Church of the Love of Christ, for distribution to friends and acquaintances, on the conditions — 1. that the entirety of the contents of the disc is copied;— 2. and that absolutely no change, addition, or omission is made.

From printed material, photocopies only of any chapter can be made privately by individuals for distribution to friends and acquaintances, on the conditions — 1. that the entirety of the chapter is copied and distributed, including the pages of the chapter rendering the name The Church of the Love of Christ, the author’s name, and the copyright notice; — 2. and that absolutely no change, addition, or omission is made.

Chapter outlines include — What Is the Bible? | Can God Be Known? | Who Is Jesus Christ? | Who Is the Holy Spirit? | What Is the Trinity? | What Is the Kingdom Of God? | What Is Faith? | What Is Holiness? and What Is the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus? | What Is the Church? | New Testament Giving and Prosperity. | What Is Spiritual Warfare? | Can Anyone Understand Predestination?

Additional chapters include — A Second Call to Reform and the Philosophy of the Church of the Love of Christ. | The Constitution of the Church of the Love of Christ.

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