Are Tithes still required under the New Covenant? Should pastors get paid? What should New Testament giving look like? These are the questions that are answered from the Bible as we look at tithes and offerings in the Bible.
LEVITICUS 27: TITHES & OFFERINGS
We’ve made it to the final chapter in Leviticus, Chapter 27!
… And the 1st part of Leviticus 27 deals with vowing yourself or your possessions to the service of the Lord …
But the main part I’d like to focus on is towards the end of the chapter, where the tithe is mentioned.
LEVITICUS 27:30, 32
And so I’d like to spend today’s sermon focused on tithes & offerings …
& I want to answer the question … Whether TITHING is still required under the NEW COVENANT …
Or whether TITHES were a part of the LEVITICAL priesthood, which has now been fulfilled in Christ.
So much like everything else that we covered in LEVITICUS, we saw that everything in the LAW foreshadowed Christ Himself …
… from the BLOOD SACRIFICES to the HOLY VESSELS in the tabernacle, to the FEASTS OF THE LORD and so on.
AND I’m going to prove today, that while FREE WILL OFFERINGS are a vital part of NEW TESTAMENT CHURCHES …
… the compulsory TITHE was only intended for the LEVITES & has been done away with …
& that TITHING is BONDAGE to the LAW:
Romans 7:6: “But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.”
• And so why would it be any different with the TITHE?
Now, most pastors won’t normally tell you that, because their income depends on you tithing consistently as a church body …
They might even use verses like Malachi 3:8 and say: “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.”
But, again, this was a part of the Levitical Priesthood, & an admonishment for Israel.
Now, The first thing I want to mention is the OFFERING PLATE.
In this church, you’ve noticed, we do not pass around an offering plate.
• SHOW ME where THAT IS in the Bible!
• The Bible says not to let your left hand know what your right hand is doing …
1Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
2Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
3But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:
4That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
& the OFFERING PLATE is VERY PUBLIC & it thrives on peer pressure.
How is that done in secret?
And it doesn’t look good to outsiders & to non-believers.
• And there are preachers today that will even take your credit card and put you on an automatic monthly payment plan.
Just go to Rick Warren’s website …
This guy is not only pushing ecumenicalism, with his push to unite with the Pope and all the religions of the world …
…. but he’ll put you into credit card debt and USURY at the same time in order steal valuable, earned money from you & your family!
In LUKE 21, we have a picture of a widow casting in all she had into what the Bible calls “THE TREASURY”:
Which would have been like a sort of chest that was in one of the outer courts of the temple …
… where people would go and cast in their coins or gold or silver ..
1 And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury.
2 And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites.
3 And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all:
4 For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.
This is one of the few times that Jesus actually talks about offerings, about giving money.
• The ONLY OTHER TIME Jesus mentions the TITHE is again in a negative way in LUKE 16 where a PHARISEE says: “I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.”
& Jesus compares him to the publican who would not look up to heaven, but says: “God be merciful to me a sinner.”
And Jesus praises the publican, but condemns the self-righteous Pharisee.
• When JOSHUA captured Jericho, he told the Isrealites to put all the silver and gold into the TREASURY:
JOSHUA 6:19: “But all the silver, and gold, and vessels of brass and iron, are consecrated unto the LORD: they shall come into the treasury of the LORD.”
When JUDAS, after betraying Jesus, cast down the thirty pieces of silver on the ground, realizing the horrific mistake that he had made …
The PHARISEES said about this incident in MATT. 27:6-8:
6 And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood.
And the story of the poor widow is repeated in MARK 12, where it says:
“And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.”
And he goes on to praise the widow who cast in little, but had cast in all she had.
The POOR WIDOW is a PERFECT PICTURE of what NEW TESTAMENT GIVING should look like!
#1. It’s FREE & VOLUNTARY. It’s not compulsory.
2 Corinthians 9:7: “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
• Now, look, if you are invested in a church, you should give generously when able to the local church you attend.
But it should never be compulsory.
#2. New Testament giving should be generous.
The widow put in ALL she had, though she had very little!
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.”
#3 NT giving should be done from the heart.
1 Timothy 1:5: “Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:”
• But the TITHE was an OLD TESTAMENT LAW, based on the LEVITICAL Priesthood.
When JOSHUA conquered the PROMISED LAND, the TRIBE OF LEVI was given no land or inheritance ….
… THEIR PORTION was to do the service of the LORD …
and the other tribes would care for them by giving both TITHES & OFFERINGS.
We see the Levitical Tithe best explained in NUMBERS 18:
20 And the LORD spake unto Aaron, Thou shalt have no inheritance in their land, neither shalt thou have any part among them: I am thy part and thine inheritance among the children of Israel.
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 the service of the tabernacle of the congregation.
26 Thus speak unto the Levites, and say unto them, When ye take of the children of Israel the tithes which I have given you from them for your inheritance, then ye shall offer up an heave offering of it for the LORD, even a tenth part of the tithe.
Nehemiah 10:37 is another OT passage on tithing, which mentions the LEVITES:
“And [that] we should bring the firstfruits of our dough, and our offerings, and the fruit of all manner of trees, of wine and of oil, unto the priests, to the chambers of the house of our God; and the tithes of our ground unto the Levites, that the same Levites might have the tithes in all the cities of our tillage.”
• So, clearly, the TITHE was for the LEVITICAL PRIESTHOOD.
• THE LEVITICAL PRIESTHOOD IS GONE!
• JESUS is now our NEW HIGH PRIEST.
We see in Hebrews 5:6: “ … Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.”
Meaning that the New Covenant is no longer rooted in the priesthood of Aaron, the Levitical Priesthood …
… but after the priesthood of Jesus Christ Himself, which the LEVITICAL PRIESTHOOD merely represented.
So when we give … we give to JESUS CHRIST …
And some pastors will say, well, we’re supposed to tithe, because Abraham gave A TENTH of all to Melchizedek …
& that Melchizedek was a pre-Christ figure in GENESIS 14.
But Abraham didn’t give of any of his OWN possessions to Melchizedek …
Abraham gave a 10th of the spoils which he had recovered in battle for the King of Sodom.
Hebrews 7:4: “Now consider how great this manwas, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.”
Abraham gave a 10th to Melchizedek of the SPOILS & returned to the rest to the King of Sodom …
… keeping nothing of it for himself … save what his men used …
* And so, THE QUESTION IS: Do we even see any mention of the TITHE in the NT?
* First of all, let’s ask some questions that will help frame this debate:
• Does Jesus ever tell anyone to TITHE?
• Are there any Bible passages where Jesus Himself talked about tithing or encouraged anyone to give a tithe?
Jesus is our final example …
So did Jesus ever mention the tithe?
• In fact, He did, but it was in a negative context.
MATTHEW 23:23: “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.”
So this is very important: Jesus was REBUKING the PHARISEES for TITHING small things commanded by the Law.
He mentioned MINT: that does one of the things that the Pharisees tithed …
(think about mint) … it grows abundantly … So it’s not a big sacrifice to tithe mint …
ANISE: small flower used as a spice …
CUMMIN: cummin is a SEED that grows from a small plant
• They were tithing seeds, small flowers, and mint, the smallest of all things that you could possibly tithe.
So the Pharisees were extremely religious about tithing the smallest things …
But they neglected the weightier matters of the LAW, such as judgement (which is JUSTICE), mercy, and faith.
• And so Jesus, when mentioning the TITHE, only did so to rebuke the wicked religious Pharisees ….
• That’s hardly an endorsement for the TITHE continuing to be a part of the NEW COVENANT!
This is repeated in LUKE 11:42, where Jesus says: “But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.”
And this went back to 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.”
And so they were following THE LAW to the LETTER, but their hearts were FAR from God …
& so while Jesus never once mentioned TITHES in the NEW TESTAMENT positively …
He did emphasize the giving of alms: helping & caring for the poor …
And this is something that’s hugely neglected among most New Testament churches today.
In LUKE 12, Jesus said:
32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
33 Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.
34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
So we see – straight out of the mouth of Jesus – that a part of NEW TESTAMENT giving is giving alms to the poor.
• PAUL makes this VERY CLEAR in 2 Corinthians 9, where he talks about giving cheerfully …
& when Paul talked about giving in this chapter, it wasn’t even for the clergy or for the building …
… it was to be distributed among the CHURCH to minister to the needs of the SAINTS …
• 2 CORINTHIANS 9:1
& READ THE WHOLE CONTEXT: V. 5-9, & 12
We see the same thing in ACTS 4:32-35 when the members of the church sold everything they had and laid it at the apostles feet.
Talk about NEW TESTAMENT GIVING!
We’re supposed to dedicate all of ourselves to God.
And that not only includes our MONEY, but our TIME, our SKILLS, our SERVICES, our HEARTS, MINDS, & BODIES ….
1 Corinthians 6:20: “For ye are bought with a price …”
He purchased us with His blood & we live because of Him …
…. & we should dedicate ourselves to God as good stewards of all that He gives us …
The principle here is that we are to CARE FOR ONE ANOTHER as a CHURCH FAMILY.
NOW ANOTHER QUESTION that often comes up is whether pastors & leaders of the church should be paid …
THERE ARE TWO KEY PASSAGES that I want to look at …
1 Corinthians 9 & ACTS 20.
• READ 1 CORINTHIANS 9:7-15, 18
• But even though Paul establishes that it is permissible for pastors to be paid …
… in ACTS 20, Paul admonishes the ELDERS and OVERSEERS of the church to work with their own hands to minister unto the needy among them.
In other words, even though they had a RIGHT to get paid, Paul gives them the IDEAL, with HIMSELF as the EXAMPLE ….
& admonishes them to work with their own hands, as he did
… in order not to be a burden on the church and not hinder the Gospel from going forward …
LOOK AT ACTS 20 where Paul gathers the ELDERS of the church and tells them to labor with their hands to support the weak.
READ ACTS 20:17, 28, 33-35
And so Paul sets up an example of how elders, pastors, overseers of churches SHOULD live.
• And, as NT givers, we should be generous, as the widow was:
• God will bless us when we give to Him
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.”
• James 2 exemplifies what our attitude should be in giving & tending to the physical needs of our brothers & sisters.
James 2:14-17 14 What [doth it] profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be [ye] warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what [doth it] profit?
17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
Again, in ACTS 11:29, the Bible says that church members EACH GAVE according to their ABILITY:
29 Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea:
30 Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.
9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.
10Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
11Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;
12Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
13Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.
25 But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints.
26 For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem.
1 Corinthians 16:1-2:
1 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye.
2Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.
(1) THE TITHE HAS BEEN DONE AWAY WITH under the New Covenant.
(2) OFFERINGS are to be done cheerfully and from the heart, without compulsion.
(3) It is LAWFUL for pastors and those who preach the Gospel full time to be paid … but it is better if they work with their own hands to support the weaker & not be a burden on the church.
You also have to be dynamic in determining the practical necessities for your church!
• What, ultimately, is the best approach to advance the Kingdom of Heaven, win souls, and edify the Saints?
• Can you afford to pay the pastor?
• Can you afford to rent or purchase a building?
• Are you tending the needs of EVERY MEMBER of the church, especially the poor and needy among you?
I personally don’t get paid money for preaching the Gospel today.
My reward is from the Lord …
And I pray that He continues to support me & my family & this church physically, spiritually, financially …
I don’t want to hear Micah 3:7 spoken over me:
The heads thereof judge for reward, and the priests thereof teach for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for money: yet will they lean upon the LORD, and say, Is not the LORD among us? none evil can come upon us.
I wanted to be counted with the Apostle Paul, who said in 1 Corinthians 9:18:
“What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.”
So LET’S END TODAY’S SERMON … with the final verse in LEVITICUS ….
AND OFFICIALLY CLOSE THE BOOK OF LEVITICUS … as we look forward to new books of the Bible.
READ LEVITICUS 23:34