In this sermon, I will try my best through the Holy Spirit to help you understand the purpose of tithes and offerings in Christendom.
Tithes and offering, most especially tithes, is one of the issues that has created so much controversy in Christendom.
Most of the religious leaders in Christianity have been enriched so much by way of tithes and offerings.
And in order to maintain this status, they preach to their congregation about the need to pay tithes and offerings; which they claim will help them receive so many blessings from God.
In other words, most Christians have been brainwashed to believe that if only they could pay their tithes and offerings to their pastor, they are going to become very rich.
But if you read this sermon to the end, you will get to understand the following facts:
- Offerings are for general overseers while tithes are supposed to be paid to the pastors who are under them.
- Aside from the pastors, tithes can also be paid to orphans, widows, and strangers.
- Anyone who receives tithes must not have an inheritance, that is, land, house, etc.
Now let’s move on to see the purpose of tithes and offerings.
The original purpose of tithes and offerings.
The original purpose of tithes and offerings was to provide food, meat, and wine for the Levites who were serving in the temple and Aaron who was the high priest presiding over the affairs of the temple.
Now, if you carefully study Deuteronomy 14:22-29 you will see how the scripture uses the phrase “eat it” which goes to prove that the origin purpose of tithes and offerings in the bible is to provide what human beings must eat like food, meat, wine, etc.
The 2 points to note about offerings and tithes in Judaism.
Before we proceed there are two points we must note very well from the above scripture and they are:
- The general occupation in Judaism.
- Years of tithing.
1. The general occupation in Judaism.
During those times, the general occupation was farming, and because of that tithing used to be done yearly. And that was when the things that were planted in the farmlands were harvested.
As the above text helps us to further understand; tithes used to be taken from the yearly farm produce which consisted of things that were eaten or drank i.e. corn, wine, olive oil, firstborn of cattle and sheep, etc.
That is why it shows us that even if these things are exchanged for money; in the case where people live far away from the temple and have to travel a long distance to get there. They should use the money to buy the same things once they reach the temple.
And it is also important to note that these yearly tithes were taken to and eaten in the temple by every household. And they were also expected to share whatever they eat with the Levites, who used to live in the temple all the days of their lives.
2. Years of tithing.
The second point is that after every three years tithes were to be given to the Levites, strangers, orphans, and widows as Deuteronomy 26:12 confirms:
But in this our own time; since farming is not the only occupation around and nearly all of us that engage in one occupation or the other are receiving monthly payments.
It is therefore necessary that we ensure the paying of tithes as we receive our monthly pay, and that means we should pay our tithes every month.
The origin of tithes and offerings.
According to the Bible, the origin of tithes begin with the encounter Abraham had with Melchizedek; as we can see in (Genesis 14:17-20). While that of offerings traces itself back to the wilderness; where the children of Israel wanted to build a tabernacle for God, as we can see in (Exodus 35:21-29).
What are tithes and offerings in Hebrew?
For tithes in Hebrew read (Numbers 18:21-24) and for offerings in Hebrew read (Numbers 18:8-20).
As evidenced by the scriptures above; you will get to realize that offerings were meant for the priest while tithes were meant for the Levites.
Now let us quickly examine the next scriptures to uncover the duties of the priests and Levites:
Duties of the Priests in the bible and Role of Levites in Worship. (Numbers 18:1-7).
Now the understanding we can gather from the above passage, about the duties of the priest and Levites is that; the priest were the ones to perform the sacred duties of mediating between God and the Israelites.
And this was done by means of sacrifices on whatever kind of offerings, for example, grain offerings, fellowship offerings, offerings for unintentional sins, repayment offerings, sin offerings, etc.
While the Levites were to act as servants to the priest and his sons, for instance cleaning the places before and after the sacrifices, etc. as we can see from the next 2 texts: Numbers 3:5-13, Numbers 8:13-26)
Substituting the priest and Levites for General overseers and pastors.
Before we continue this sermon let us substitute the priests and Levites as seen in Judaism for Christendom.
In substituting the priest and Levites in Judaism for Christianity; we will have the pope of the Roman Catholic, founders, and general overseers of our diverse denominations acting as priests.
While the cardinals, bishops, reverend fathers, pastors, evangelist, apostles, etc. acts as the Levites.
And at this point, we can all come to the understanding that; the pope, founders, and general overseers in Christianity are entitled to offerings.
While their cardinals, bishops, reverend fathers, pastors, evangelists, apostles, etc. are entitled to tithes.
But in Numbers 18:25-32 we see that the latter must pay a tenth of this tithe they received to the former
What is the correct way to tithe?
As evidenced from the scripture above, the correct way to tithe is using ten percent of our monthly salaries to buy whatever our heart desires; go to the church where we can then eat and drink them in the presence of our family members and the clergies.
And with this knowledge, we can quickly establish the fact that tithes are for food, whether eaten or drunk, as Malachi 3:10 confirms.
What are the rules of tithes and offerings?
Now when you check in Deuteronomy 14:29, you will discover that the rules of tithes and offerings are that the Priests and Levites who receive them must not get the inheritance.
Now the reason why the priest and Levites were forbidden to have inheritance was that they were required to administer in the temple every twenty hours.
Since as we all know, people back then were not allowed to enter the temple and pray as we do today.
Rather they were guided by the priest and Levites; who would ensure that the proper sacrifices are offered for the worshipper.
Before he or she is taken into the temple to consult God the priest and Levites act as the mediators.
Therefore, if the priest and Levite should have land or a house somewhere, they won’t be able to stay in the temple as required since their mind will always reach out to those inheritances.
We can still see an example of what I’m trying to explain among today’s Roman Catholic priests; and many other denominational clergies; who move from one parish or station to another.
And after completion of each tenure, where they live in the houses built by the church to accommodate them; either on the church premises or somewhere.
That is also how it was with the priests and Levites as we will see in (Numbers 35:2-8)
Purpose of tithes and offerings in Christendom.
From the last text above we can all come to the perfect understanding that the church members of today – (substituted for the Israelites of those days) must through their offerings and tithes, provide a dwelling place, food, and other necessities for all their clergies, who in turn will never own land and house.
But whatever other things they possess (relating to cattle, herds, and animals) shall stay with them wherever the church gives them a home.
And the clergies must make sure they perform their Christian duty which is praying, and preaching the good news of Christ to save more souls; while nurturing the ones already saved with the word of faith and making sure there is harmony and co-existence among them.
We must note also that the church members must never forget to also pay their tithes to strangers, fatherless, and widows.
What is the history of offerings in church?
Now let us go back to the days of the early church and see how offerings were given.
Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common.
And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all.
Nor was there any one among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands and houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need. (Acts 4:32-35)
As we can all witness from the above text; offerings that were brought into the early church were being shared equally among the early believers.
But it is however sad that some people have tried to give reasons for this including the fact that those early believers were mostly poor and helpless people.
And in contrast, it is with today when charismatic leaders take the offerings away; they say that we have better to do believers in our churches than it used to in those days and there is no way they will bring their wealth into the church and share it among other believers.
But when I took a survey of the many churches we have around; I still discover more poor and helpless people who do not have but will go to the extent of selling their properties; and bringing the money, as offering and tithes which the pastors and founders covert.
And someone might ask at this point;
How did such a doctrine of sharing offerings among believers in the early church days end and that of taking it away by the charismatic begin?
Permit me therefore to guide you into the truth.
The doctrine of offering in the early church.
It all began through the prophecy given by Agabus about the famine; which was to come over the earth as recorded in (Acts 11:27-30).
As Paul and Barnabas were the ones entrusted with delivering the offerings to the church in Judea.
Paul, Himself will further reveal this truth in his epistles to the Corinthians; urging them to also tender their offerings as other churches he mentions in the next texts were also doing as we can see in (2 Corinthians 9:1-14) and (1 Corinthians 16:1-8)
Paul will be passing through Macedonia and tarrying at Ephesus; he will also receive offerings from those churches and together with that of the Corinthians gather them all to Judea.
When you carefully study the above passages; you will discover some of the words our false teachers misquote to make merchandise for those who want to be deceived, as the gospel said it would be.
Related sermon: 10 Tithe And Offering Messages Ideas For All Occasion.
How offerings were used in the early church.
To this end, one of our great North African theologians, Tertullian, shows us how these offerings (gifts) were being used in chapter 39 of his apology:
These gifts…are not taken and spent on feasts, and drinking bouts and eating houses, but to support and bury poor people, to supply the wants of boys and girls who have no means and parents and of old persons confined now to the house; such, too, as have suffered shipwreck; and if there happen to be any in the mines, or banished to the Islands, or shut up in prisons, for nothing but their faithfulness to the cause of God’s church they are cared for by the Christians.
It is mainly the deeds of love so noble that lead many to put a brand on us, “see,’ they say, “how they love one another.” (Apology, ch. XXXIX)
The purpose of tithes and offerings in the Bible.
At this point, we can, through the revelation in this sermon, come to the understanding that the purpose of offerings in the Bible was:
- To erect and maintain a place of worship, as the Israelites did in the wilderness.
- For the general upkeep of the priests substituted for our today’s pope and general overseers of diverse denominations.
While the purpose of tithes in the Bible was for:
- The general upkeep of the Levites substituted for our today’s cardinals, bishops, Rev. Fathers, pastors, evangelists, etc.
- To provide a means of livelihood for the less privileged which includes the poor, orphans, widows and strangers, etc.
Is it OK to tithe to a ministry?
I want to inform those who criticize the giving of offerings and tithes to our ministers and clergies; that it is not wrong to do so.
Because even in the New Testament we can see instances where the believers contributed to the well-being of their apostles.
We can see an example in the letter Paul wrote to the Philippians; thanking them for being of help to him while he was in need Philippians 4:10-20.
What do you say before tithes and offerings?
But we should take note from this sermon and ensure that those ministers and clergies; we are giving our offerings and tithes to; are not out to make merchandise of us.
That is to say, they are the kinds who learn to be contented with whatever the worshippers willingly give to them, and above all know the necessity of being in lack at some times and having abundance at other times.
Moreover, we must ensure that they do not own any inheritance amongst us as this sermon has clearly revealed.
And never also forget that; it is not only the ministers or clergies that we should give our offerings and tithes to.
Because as this sermon has revealed to us, we must also give them to orphans, widows, and strangers.
What did Jesus say about tithes and offerings?
Now for those who might have thought that Christ had abolished the idea of tithes and offerings; let us examine the next text to see what Jesus said about tithes and offerings.
Woe to you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. (Mathew 23:23)
And as we can see He urged the Scribes and Pharisees; to add justice and mercy to their paying of tithes.
And this He did because.
He knew that tithes were meant to supply the wants and needs; of the less privileged Christians we will always have in our churches.
Also, we should see offerings as conscientious giving; whatever you feel you should give God go ahead and do it.
How do I give God my best?
The best way to give to God is everything that you have, take an example from this bible passage:
Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites.
Which made it quadrans. So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, “assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; “for they all put out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.” (Mark 12:41-44)
But if you can’t give God all you have; make sure that what you give Him is not burdensome to you, but rather:
Let each one give according as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:7)
This means those who have much must give much and those who have little must give little; as God instructed the Israelites to do with the Levites in this phrase:
from the larger tribe you shall give many, from the smaller you shall give few.
While tithe is ten percent of whatever we earn or gain.
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