Prosperity and Tithing in the Bible

money

God is so great that he only wants the very best for us.  He wants to see prosperity and blessings fill our lives. It’s not fun when we experience lack in a category of life, and it’s never God’s will for that to happen.  God is all about meeting our needs above and beyond what we can ask or think as noted in Ephesians:

Ephesians 3:20-21

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen

In this teaching, we will see how God meets our physical, financial, and material needs, and how He goes above and beyond to really bless his kids.  Tithing is primarily in the context of the physical “things” in the 5-senses, although not limited to just money or things.  It can also apply to our time. 

It is an inward recognition of God’s providence by our actions of giving.  God allows us to appropriate these blessings via “the law of giving and receiving.” As we give, we are bound to receive.  Let’s read God’s will for us in 3 John 2:

III John 2
Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth

God’s will above all things is prosperity and health for his children.  (Prosperity and health go hand in hand because what good is prosperity if you do not have the health to enjoy it?)

God is our source of abundance.  We can attempt to do it all on our own, but it is not until we trust Him that things fall into place.

Have you ever noticed that if you have not been successful in accomplishing something, how soon it is accomplished once you ask for God’s help? – Why not ask for it first?

Matthew 6:33-34

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow [tomorrow]: for [tomorrow] shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

There are a lot of truths in these two short verses.  First we note that God wants us to look to Him first in all our dealings.  The result is that he will “add unto us” all the blessings that His Word promises.  Next we learn the importance of taking things one day at a time.  This day in which you and I are in right now is the only day that we can do anything about.  The past is gone and the future isn’t here yet.  There is a lot of wisdom in this concept.

II Corinthians 9:8

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

This verse clearly states that God is able, and willing to be our sufficiency.  We can have needs met in every category by trusting what His Word says regarding our giving.

God instituted the principle of the “tithe” which simply means “tenth” in the ancient languages.  It refers to the principle of giving at least 10 percent of your income, time, energy, and self to the ministry and the work of God.  Anything over 10 percent is considered “abundant sharing” or an additional offering.  So while the tithe is the minimum that God requires in order to activate this spiritual principle, it is certainly not the maximum. By following this principle, God will multiply your gift back to you many times over.  If you give of your time, God will make your time more effective.  If you give of your money, God meets your material and monetary needs.  It works every time!

“Throughout the bible material prosperity always hinges upon tithing….[it is] God’s basic law of prosperity…[and it has] never been improved upon except by increasing the proportion.” -VP Weirwille

The first tithe ever recorded was In Genesis 14.  This section of scripture shows the record of Abraham and a man named Melchisadek who was a Priest of the most high God.  After winning a great battle and taking a great amount of wealth from the enemies, Abraham freely gave of this abundance to Melchisadek for the work of the ministry, and when he did so he asked God’s blessing on his offering.  It is interesting to note that this was before the law of Moses was given – which required people to tithe. It was not a routine process for Abraham, it was a gift from the heart – as tithing should be. We also ask for God’s blessing on our tithes and offerings so that they may have a great impact on God’s work.  When we go to God first, our future is ensured.

In Acts 20:35, Jesus Christ says “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”  Jesus Christ understood what it meant to be a servant.  He freely gave to those around him who were in need, and in turn, God met his every need.  His gifts were certainly not only physical either; he gave gifts that we can not put a price tag on.  He gave of himself in loving service to God, as well as giving his life at Calvary to be resurrected and exalted to the right hand of God, enabling salvation and access to God for us. We now get the benefit of eternal life, perfect health, and the ability to manifest holy spirit in our lives, just to name a few.

“No one is ever poorer for giving, but richer” – VP Weirwille

2 Corinthians 9:6

But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully 

This principle applies to all of life. You get what you give.  Plant good seeds and you will reap a great harvest.

“You may only expect God’s best when you have shared your best” – VP Weirwille 

Malachi has a great section of scripture dealing with the principle of tithes and offerings.

Malachi 3:10-12

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. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts.

God challenges us to prove this principle for ourselves.  He promises that as we tithe or abundantly share, our life will be prosperous.

Tithing opens up the valve to God’s abundance like a fire hose. It is the absolute minimum requirement in this category in order for the promise of God to come to pass for us.  We owe at least the tithe to God for all that he has done for us. 

What it all boils down to is our “believing.”  It takes full confidence and trust that God is our sufficiency in all things in order for us to be able to give the tithe or more. It contradicts human understanding that we can have more for giving something away. The reason it works however, is because it is a spiritual principle.

II Corinthians 9:6-7

But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. 7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. (Also see verses 9-15)

God loves a cheerful giver.  That is a powerful statement!  Giving should be a joy to our heart, never a burden or a routine action that we take on Sundays.  As we give we should expect God to return our gift back to us many times over.

We are focusing on the material realm, but this concept also flows into other categories as well.  Giving is a spiritual concept, and we certainly grow spiritually by our giving actions. We also get a great feeling emotionally because we know that our gift goes to benefit others.  You get that “warm fuzzy” feeling all over when you are able to bless another person or group with your gift.

Luke 6:38
Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and 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.

Give and it shall be given unto you.  This principle is noted all over the Bible.  As we give, we receive.

Leviticus 27:30

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.

God is the creator of the heavens and the earth and everything we have is truly His anyway.  By tithing we are acknowledging this and giving Him the praise for His blessings.

In the book of Acts, the evidence and result of their cheerful giving is noted.

Acts 4:32-35

And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.

These individuals freely gave of their finances, property, and their lives for the furtherance of the Gospel. As a result, each person had their needs met abundantly while operating this principle. It’s important to note that the disciples in the book of Acts did not sell everything they owned and become “paupers for Christ”  They sold the things that they did not need, they gave away or sold extra land, animals, goods, etc. as well as giving a 10th (tithe) of their assets to the work of the early Church.  “Neither was there any among them that lacked” is a powerful statement!

In Matthew, Jesus Christ reminds the Pharisees that there is more to the tithe than just money:

Matthew 23:23 NLT

“What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore the more important aspects of the law–justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things.

Omitting the more important or “weightier matters” as noted in KJV was a very legalistic way of thinking on the part of the Pharisees.  They were going through the motions and performing the outward act of giving, but their hearts were not doing it for the right reasons and they were missing the point. God wants us to acknowledge Him as our sufficiency in all categories of life, not just financially. And when we give we should do it with a cheerful heart, giving God the glory and honor.

It does not matter what it is that we give; It only matters THAT we give.

As we walk in the steps of Jesus Christ and give of our time, money, energy, and talent, we will surely see great abundance in every category of life.  God’s potential is endless!

God Bless You!

From a February 2007 Teaching
[brackets] indicate my comments
Original Post: http://robsteachings.blogspot.com/2013/12/prosperity-tithing.html

Witnessing in Christ’s time and today

BibleWe will look at what Jesus Christ did to win people to God, and what we can do today to witness in our culture.

Jesus Christ was a servant. He was not influenced by the worldly appearance of people. He loved unconditionally and looked past character flaws to find those who would believe. Let’s take a look at the record of the Samaritan woman at the well

John 4:5-14
Then cometh he [Jesus Christ] to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour.

There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.) Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, [Judean] askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews [Judeans] have no dealings with the Samaritans. 

This is an honest question.  The difference between their two cultures was very evident. The Samaritans were looked down upon as dogs by the Judeans and would have been considered a lower class of people.  This is the reason this record and the following verses are significant.  let’s read on:

Verse 10: Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

She was surprised that Jesus talked to her at all, even for a drink of water. He looked past that cultural prejudice and saw believing in her heart.  He spoke of eternal life using an analogy of the well water.  This would have been an example she clearly understood.  Once you had a drink from this well, you never went thirsty again.  Spiritually that is what salvation is like, we are no longer incomplete, searching for spirituality.  God makes us whole and gives us life everlasting.

She eventually brought back more people from the city to meet him.  Breaking through cultural barriers, Jesus Christ won over the hearts of people who were searching for God.  This serves as a good example for us today.

Here are a few practical points in our day and time to win the hearts of people:

  • Before you go witnessing, pray for open doors of utterance and to reach people who are searching. God first!
  • People are won by love, understanding, compassion and a listening ear…not necessarily by argument or preaching to them about God
  • Make it a point to talk to people throughout your day, whether about the Word of God or not
  • People who are believers already are usually happy to find that someone else is a “Christian” just like them.  Bringing up the subject of God and salvation finds common ground and makes new friends.
  • Expect that God will give you open doors to speak, that is what his Word promises in Colossians 4:3
  • Seek the opportunity to meet a need, not necessarily just to invite them to a gathering
  • Develop conversation skills as you go if you aren’t the “outgoing type.”  People aren’t won by fancy words and extensive knowledge of the Bible…just love.
  • Have a plan.  Set goals for your life and the life of others.
  • Respect people’s time.
  • Assume that most people are going to be interested in talking with you about God because they ARE.  Rude people are not as common as we think they are.
  • We all have a great knowledge of the word through the Ministry we are a part of – we can give answers as God gives the inspiration
  • Why do we witness?   We do it because it is what God wants
  • The only thing scarier than knocking on a door, or starting a conversation with someone…is what will happen to the person if you DON’T do it!  You can change their life.
  • Remember to follow up.  I have heard countless stories of people who were pursued for long periods of time until finally checking out a bible fellowship or church and now they are strong believers!  Those people that I have talked with on this subject are very thankful someone took the time to stay in touch with them.

Here are the 6 “styles” of Witnessing:

Confrontational

Unfortunately, many stereotypes have developed from the abuses of this style.  We don’t like to be grabbed by the collar and asked, “Are you saved?”  Yet, this style is strongly evident throughout Scripture. Peter uses it in Acts 2, when he addresses the crowd after Pentecost. “What must we do to be saved?”  many asked, after Peter confronts and challenges them. “Repent and be baptized,” demands Peter.

Intellectual

This style is logical, rational and loves to deal with questions and ideas.  “What do you think?” is often the opening question. In Acts 17, Paul uses this style with the Athenians, at the center of the intellectual civilization, as he debates with these learned men of Greece.

Testimonial

This style is perhaps the most familiar to us.  In John 9 the blind man who was healed by Jesus refuses to argue with the authorities as to whether Jesus is a good man or bad.  “All I know is this,” he says. “I was blind, and now I can see.”  We too, have personal experiences of Jesus to share like this blind man.

Relational

This style is probably the easiest for us to use. Levi, in Luke 5, was a hated pariah, a tax-collector, yet he followed Jesus.  His evangelism style was to throw a great bean-feast and invite his tax-collector buddies to come and meet Jesus. He used his relationships to bring others to Christ.

Invitational

Many feel comfortable with this style. In John 4, the Samaritan woman runs back to town and invites her friends to “come and see” Jesus. Who does not like to be invited to meet someone?

Service

Tabitha is described in Acts 9 as filling her days with acts of kindness and charity. Often this style melts the hearts of non-believers because it demonstrates love over a long period of time.

No one style fits everyone’s personality—or every situation.
6 Styles of Witnessing, Source: Mark Mittelberg and Lee Strobel “Discovering Your Evangelism Style

Here are some further verses on the subject.

Acts 10:43  To him give all the Prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him [Jesus Christ] shall receive remission of sins.

God provides remission, or forgiveness of sins when we are born again.  Likewise after we are born again all we need to do is thank him for forgiveness and he willingly gives it.  There are no outward works we need to do or actions to perform.  God’s grace is a gift – and gifts cannot be earned, they are always given freely.

Romans 5:1  Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our lord Jesus Christ:

One of our rights as a child of God is justification.  We are forgiven and acquitted of all charges spiritually.  We can stand before God righteous without any sense of sin or guilt in our hearts.  That is what we are sharing when we reach out to people.

2 Corinthians 5:17-20  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature [new creation] old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.  And all things are of God who hath reconciled himself to us through Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.  

The Ministry of Reconciliation is our opportunity to “reconcile” people back to God.  It is another name for outreach or witnessing.  In the beginning God created us complete with body, soul, and spirit.  When Adam and Eve sinned and lost their spiritual connection with God we all became incomplete humans and separated from God spiritually.  We are born into this world with only body and soul, no spirit.  Jesus Christ came so that we can be reconciled back to God through the creation of holy spirit within us at the time of salvation.  That is where this term “reconciliation” comes from.  let’s read on in verse 19:

To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.  For he [God] hath made him [Christ] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him [Christ].

We are ambassadors for Christ, showing people God’s love and offering not only salvation and eternal life, but an even greater knowledge of the truth that follows as noted in I Timothy 2:4

Matthew 5:16  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your father which is in heaven.

The  Word says that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.  We can shine with God’s light in this world of darkness.

1 Peter 3:15  But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear [respect, awe].

God will work in us to provide an answer to anyone who ask us the reason for the hope that is in us.  We can’t help but share all that God has done for us!

We speak with the same boldness that Jesus Christ spoke, we can do his works and even greater.  We look past cultural or worldly appearances to see believing.  We can give an answer to every one that asks us where our hope lies.  

We are the light of the world.

God Bless You!

From a January 2007 Teaching
[brackets] indicate my comments
Original Post: http://robsteachings.blogspot.com/2013/12/witnessing-in-christs-time-and-ours.html

This is my Beloved Son

In the Bible, the phrase “this is my beloved son” is used multiple times.  In each instance, it is God showing approval for the lifestyle and decisions of his son, Jesus Christ.  The Word of God records that Christ gave his life for the remission of sins and eternal life for all who believe. (John 3:16)  While he was on the earth, the works that Christ did were marvelous.  It was during this time that this statement was written in the Bible.

In this teaching we will discuss:
-What does it mean to be called beloved?
-What Did Jesus Christ do to become God’s beloved son in whom he was well pleased?
-What can we do to become God’s beloved children?

In the bible, a person would call someone their beloved only if they truly cared about them. It was a word of the highest honor and endearment.  For a person to say this about you would be a great blessing and would mean a lot.

Beloved is defined as “greatly loved; dear to the heart.”

The phrase; “This is My Beloved Son” is found in numerous verses in the bible:

Jesus Christ was greatly beloved by God as seen in Matthew 3:17

And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

And in Matthew 17:5

While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.

And in Mark 1:11

And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

And in Mark 9:7

And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.

And in Luke 3:22

And the Holy Ghost [Holy Spirit] descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.

And in Luke 9:35:

And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.

And was also referenced in II Peter 1:17

For he [Jesus Christ] received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. 18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.

Why was God saying this about Jesus Christ?

If you read the previous few chapters of Luke for instance, you will find that Jesus healed a woman with the issue of blood (thought to be uncontrolled menstrual bleeding) of 12 years, raised a child from the dead, cast out unclean spirits, rebuked the wind to save his disciples’ ship from sinking, taught and shared the Word of God with boldness, healed people of leprosy, miraculously fed a multitude of over 5000 people with just 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish, and performed many other signs, miracles, and wonders.

I would be well pleased with him too!

He was able to do this because of what John 4:34 says:

John 4:34

Jesus saith unto them, My meat [substance, purpose, calling] is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.

Jesus Christ’s “meat” or purpose was to serve God and obey His Word.

We can follow that example and do the works of Christ and greater as stated in John 14:12:

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

We have great power in Christ!  We can do the things he did and greater!  We have the gift of Holy Spirit which was not available until the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-47) after Christ was resurrected and ascended into heaven.

On the subject of “Beloved” let’s go to I John 4 where the same word refers to you and I as believers.

I John 4:4, 7-12

Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

Verse 7: Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.  He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.  In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.  Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son [to be] the propitiation for our sins.  Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

“People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”  (-attributed to various authors)

We have the ability to work signs, miracles, and wonders just as Jesus Christ did in order to bring God’s grace to others.  Let’s apply the word, and shine as lights out in the world.  Jesus Christ sets a great example of how to live the Word.  By his accomplishments, it was made it available for us to be born again of incorruptible seed.  Just as Jesus Christ was God’s beloved son, we are God’s beloved children, from the day we are born again – into eternity.

God Bless You!

 

From a November 2006 teaching 
[brackets mine]
All Scriptures from KJV unless otherwise noted
Original post: http://robsteachings.blogspot.com/2013/12/this-is-my-beloved-son.html