February 17, 2010

First Fruits of the Resurrection - Part II: Tithing

The idea of First Fruits for the Christian believer not only carried over to the New Testament in the form of Christ dying for our sins and being resurrected but Paul also alludes to a secondary example:

1 Corinthians 16:2 On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made. Then, when I arrive, I will give letters of introduction to the men you approve and send them with your gift to Jerusalem.

He is referring to giving back to the church or to God directly through the church. Not being under Old Testament ceremonial law Christians are under no obligation to "part with their money" nowadays. Interestingly, it should be recognized that...your money isn't your money. It is the Lord's and you are only a steward of the money. Being stingy only ends up corrupting your soul anyway. It turns into a coveting of cash or accumulation of money which is an end in itself that has little or nothing to do with God, grace, mercy or charity.

God knows if you are being tightfisted and miserly. If you are prospering it is because He is prospering you. You should be filled with gratitude and reciprocate in kind by giving back with a smile on your face. If it wasn't for Him you would be destitute...or perhaps you are destitute? Spiritually destitute? Bankrupt.

The Old Testament said ~ Proverbs 11:24 There is one who scatters, and yet increases all the more, and there is one who withholds what is justly due, and yet it results only in want.

Jesus said ~ Luke 6:38 "Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure--pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return."

Paul the Apostle said ~ 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

You only need to ask yourself one question: Can a man rob God? Said another way: Can a man take what is God's and keep it for himself?

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