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Finances

by Dave Everett on June 17, 2011

I have been around long enough to know that once a pastor announces that he is going to be talking about “finances” everyone’s heart has an opinion and reaction on the subject. I also realize that for many well-meaning people this can be a very sensitive topic. Many hearts have been offended by various abuses that have caused them to fear and avoid the topic.

Yes, there are abuses in the Body of Christ regarding finances, but I encourage you not to miss out on benefitting from the Truth in the Word of God about finances just because some people are abusing the topic. I encourage you to set aside any past upsets of offenses you might have suffered and allow the Word of God to reveal finances to you from a biblical, New Testament perspective.

There is an “anti-prosperity teaching” attitude in the church today, and yet most of the people with that attitude want to prosper. There are reasons this attitude is so prevalent. Some prosperity teachers live lifestyles that accommodate criticism. I understand that. But faith comes by hearing God’s Word (Rom. 10:17), and faith for prosperity (salvation) comes by hearing teaching on prosperity. We need to know what the Scripture says about prosperity.

“Both riches and honor come of You, and You reign over all. In Your hand is power and might; in Your hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all.” (1 Chr. 29:12)

The Lord tells us that those who trust in Him will lack no good thing (Ps. 34:10). Trusting in yourself or this world’s economic system is foolish. The Word of God says, it is not in man to direct his own steps (Jer. 10:23).

“And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He Who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.” (Deut. 8:18)

God is the One Who gives us power, or ability, to get wealth so that, He may establish His covenant. Whether you realize it or not, God is the Source of your prosperity. Financial prosperity is not God giving you money; He gives you an anointing, that enables you to prosper. The real asset is not the money—not the house, not the car, not the physical tangible things—it is the anointing from God to produce wealth and prosperity. The real asset is the favor of God, His amazing unmerited grace. Money is not prosperity; money is a byproduct of prosperity. Unfortunately, many Christians fall into the trap of measuring prosperity by the amount of things they possess.

Being prosperous is relying on God as your True and Only Source.

Yes, there are people who prosper without trusting God, but it usually destroys their lives (1 Tim. 6:9). They have hardship, stress, marital problems, burnout and so on (1 Tim. 6:10). They might be rich, but it cost them in other areas. If you prosper God’s way, the blessing of the Lord will make you rich, and no sorrow will be added to it (Prov. 10:22).

I believe the first step to true prosperity is recognizing that we are a simply stewards of God’s finances.

This requires a major shift in our thinking from the way the wisdom of the world views money. The wisdom of the world encourages you to be an owner of your possessions and not a steward of God’s. However, Scripture teaches us that it is not up to us to decide what we will do with our finances. We must understand, God is the One Who has given us finances so that we will trust Him with what is His. Then as we trust Him as our Source, God will cause us to prosper knowing we will allow Him to direct us in how we are to use His finances we are stewarding.

God has an amazing plan and destiny for your life. If you will start from a mental position of stewardship, and allow God to be the Owner. You will be blessed to be a blessing to all of the families of the earth (Gen. 12:2).

When God is your True and Only Source, He will supply all of your needs, according to His riches, not according to this world’s economy, with all its depressions and recessions. God will supply your needs according to His economy. That is powerful!

“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Phi. 4:19)

Now when you study the Scripture, you will see that Jesus taught on finances more than any other subject. Therefore, finances are a very important topic from God’s perspective. Why is that so?

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Mt. 6:21)

So then, contrary to what many people believe and also teach, God is not after your money. He is after your heart. Finances (treasures) will always reveal the true condition of your heart.

So let’s be honest with ourselves. Is the treasure of our hearts truly after the Kingdom of God or ourselves? Do we have the prosperous purpose of being a blessing to others (Gen. 12:2; Eph. 4:28)? In our hearts are we truly trusting God in regard to financial matters?

God’s eternal destiny for each of His children is for their entire lives to be completely whole and fruitful (Ps. 1:3). God desires above all things that we prosper (3 John 2) and true prosperity is a life that is completely whole: spirit, soul and body. However, we cannot truly prosper beyond the wholeness of our mental attitudes (our soul, our hearts; 3 John 2). This includes our attitude towards finances (the very least thing, according to Jesus). Our attitude towards finances will reveal the true treasures of our hearts.

Now, when people tithe, many of them feel that they are giving from what they have earned. After all they believe, “they are the ones who put in the work to get a paycheck.”

But everything would change for them if they saw themselves as handling God’s resources, not theirs.

Stewards are ones who see themselves as accountable for what God has entrusted to them. Trusting God in the area of finances is the baby step of faith. And if you can’t trust Him with that which is least, then according to what Jesus said in Luke 16, He can’t trust you with true, heavenly riches:

“He who is faithful in what which is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?” (Luke 16:10-11)

If you understand financial stewardship properly, it will enable you to be a blessing to others.

“And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.” (2 Cor. 9:8)

The reason God makes grace abound toward you is so you will abound—give—to every good work. The real motive behind finances should not be to get—it should be to give. This is a critical point.

Many people who reject teaching on biblical prosperity do so because they see it as selfish or greedy. They say, “I’ve got enough. I may not be rich, but I have a roof over my head and my basic needs are taken care of. I don’t want or need anymore.” But in all truth, that is a very selfish attitude.

If you have all you need, trust God for more so you can help others. The thinking that says “I’ve got enough—forget everyone else” is truly a very selfish (self-centered) attitude. We need to prosper, not so we can have more, but so we can be a bigger blessing to others.

The Lord told Abram that He would bless him and make him a blessing to all of the families of the earth (Gen. 12:2). You can’t give away what you don’t have. Abram couldn’t be a blessing to others until he himself had been blessed first.

Likewise, you and I cannot fulfill God’s purposes for our lives without receiving His prosperity. God’s kingdom cannot advance without God’s people prospering. We need this revelation. We need to know how to prosper according to the Word of God and God’s economy.

“Let them shout for joy and be glad, who favor My righteous cause; and let them say continually, ‘Let the Lord be magnified, Who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant.” (Ps. 35:27)

Now like the church in Galatia, many Christians today haven’t renounced Jesus as being their Messiah, but many legalistic Christians are convinced that they cannot be right with God by believing in only what Jesus had done. They also believe that we have to keep the Old Testament Law in order for God to accept us.

In Paul’s day, the issue was circumcision. Today, the same legalistic message is being preached using things like prayer, church attendance, and other actions of holiness such as tithing as necessary actions for God to love and accept us. Therefore, please understand faith in what Christ did for us is enough. It is not what Jesus did for us plus our actions of holiness. Jesus plus anything equals nothing. Jesus plus nothing equals everything.

No one argues that we shouldn’t pray, go to church, tithe, etc., but any time it is proclaimed that God is angry with us if we fail to do these things, it is not the true Gospel. That type of teaching puts the burden of salvation on us and opens us to the condemnation of the devil. This is what Paul called a perversion of the Gospel in Galatians 1:7. Then in verse 8, Paul made one of the strongest statements he ever made,

“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

The Galatians must have been shocked! How could Paul say such a thing? He must not have meant what it looks like he meant. Therefore, just in case anyone missed it the first time, Paul repeats his radical statement:

“As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:9).

In our politically correct world today, you don’t hear many absolute statements like these. How could anyone be so sure of themselves? There was no room for compromise in the Gospel. In Galatians 3, Paul calls the Galatians foolish for leaving the grace of Christ and going back to relating to God based on their performance (Law). He also said they had been bewitched (Gal. 3:1). He reminds them how they had originally put faith in Christ Alone and received all that God had for them through faith. Why had they gone back into legalism?

Paul then shows them the real purpose of the Law. It wasn’t to help us live a holier life; it was to point out our sin to us and bring condemnation so we would never come into the deception that we could relate to God based on our own performance (Law). Amazingly, the average Christian today has totally missed this same fact and, instead, embraces the Law as a good thing. The Law would be good if we could keep it, but Paul reveals that a failure to do the tiniest detail of the Law makes us guilty of all of it. Instead of receiving the blessing for obedience, one small failure brings the curse instead. The only way out of the curse is through faith in Christ Alone. Christ bore our curse for us (Gal. 3:13).

Therefore, many sincere Christians today believe we do not have to tithe because we are no longer under the Law (Old Testament) we are now under Grace (New Testament). I agree we don’t have to tithe. I believe we get to tithe under a New Covenant and Priesthood: Jesus Christ.

In Hebrews 7 of the New Testament, the writer of the book of Hebrews expounded on the Truth He was speaking of in Hebrews 5 about Jesus being a Priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. The emphasis is on Jesus being a High Priest FOREVER!

On His own free-will Abraham tithed to Melchizedek who was a king and a priest, a type of Christ, for under the Levitical Law it was not possible for one to be both a king and a priest (Heb. 7:1-3). Melchizedek lived over 100 years before Levi was ever born and hundreds of years before the Levitical priesthood and law was ever established.

Therefore, since Jesus is a priest after the order of Melchizedek then Jesus’ priesthood supersedes the Levitical priesthood. The Melchizedek priesthood is superior to the Levitical priesthood both in sequence and in substance. (Heb. 7:4) This instance where Abraham tithed to Melchizedek is the first-time tithing is mentioned in Scripture.

Abraham, the father of faith tithe to Melchizedek and Melchizedek blessed Abraham. These things showed the Hebrews that Melchizedek was greater than Abraham. Nonetheless, God chose Abraham to bring His covenant to the earth. It is not our greatness but our faith in His grace that releases the blessing of the Lord (Eph. 2:8).

The person you pay tithe to has greater authority than you. You see the argument is being set: Melchizedek is greater than Abraham. What is more, since Jesus is a priest after the order of Melchizedek, Jesus is greater than Abraham. Therefore, the Priesthood of Jesus is greater than the Levitical priesthood that was still in Abraham’s loins when Abraham paid tithe to Melchizedek. Levi was still in Abraham’s loins (Heb. 7:5).

Melchizedek blessed Abraham, therefore Melchizedek blessed Levi. In the Levitical Law Israel was commanded to tithe to the Levitical priesthood. Israel gave to the Levites; the Levites gave to the priesthood and the priesthood gave to the poor.

Everyone gave something.

Melchizedek was not a descendent of Levi therefore Melchizedek predated the Levitical priesthood. Melchizedek was superior to the Levitical priesthood. Melchizedek blessed Abraham who already received the Promise (Heb. 7:6). The lesser is blessed by the greater (Heb. 7:7). The one who has the power to give a blessing is greater than the one who is blessed. Jesus our High Priest has already blessed us by His grace. Therefore, we are not trying to manipulate God to bless us.

We are tithing from the blessing we have already received. We honor, worship and thank Him with a tenth (10%) of our blessing by faith in His grace.

The Levitical priests who took tithes from men by the Law were men who died (Heb. 7:8). The Melchizedek priesthood is greater because He lives. Jesus our Great High Priest lives forever! Jesus is our High Priest forever! Therefore, we are not tithing to men who die.

We are tithing to Christ our High Priest Who lives forever! We are tithing to a greater priesthood. We are tithing willfully like Abraham under a Greater Covenant.

Through Abraham’s loins, Levi tithed to Melchizedek (Heb. 7:9-10). The free-will tithe of Abraham to the Melchizedek priesthood began before the Levitical Law and priesthood ever existed.  The free-will tithe to the Priesthood of Christ proceeds and supersedes the Levitical Law and priesthood (Heb. 7:11).

The Levitical Law and priesthood pointed out our sin and need of a Savior: the Eternal Priesthood of Christ our Savior. Therefore, the change of priesthoods means a change of Law. A new priesthood means change of covenants. Jesus is the new High Priest of a New Covenant (Heb. 7:12). The New Covenant is greater than the old covenant (Heb. 7:13-14)

Under the Levitical Law no one could be a priest and a king. Jesus our Great High Priest came from the Tribe of Judah not Levi. The tribe of Judah is the lineage of David. The lineage of David and Judah suited Jesus to be King not a Levitical priest. Jesus is our King and our Priest because His Priesthood descended from Melchizedek not Levi.

The writer of Hebrews called the Levitical Law a “carnal commandment” (Heb. 7:15-16). That terminology would have greatly offended the Hebrews. The endless life of Christ surpasses the carnal commandment that made carnal men priests after the order of Levi. The New Covenant is not an extension or amplification of the Old Covenant. The New Covenant is a completely New Covenant and Priesthood.

Jesus did not just lessen or deal with our sins partially. By the Blood of the New Covenant our sins are completely annulled. Likewise the Levitical Law was not lessened or changed partially it was completely annulled. Jesus is our High Priest after the order of Melchizedek (Heb. 7:17-19, Ps. 110:4).

The Levitical Law showed what perfection looked like, but it could not perfect anything. The Levitical Law forced people to turn for themselves to God for salvation. The New Covenant of Grace makes people righteous by new birth. Our born-again spirits are perfect allowing us to approach God under a New and Perfect Priesthood. Jesus is the firstborn of many brethren. Everything we have received we have received by His grace. We tithe to our King and our Priest with a heart that is consumed with honor, worship and thankfulness. We tithe out of the blessing we have already received like Abraham and like Melchizedek blessed Abraham. Jesus our High Priest blesses our Seed so that we can be a blessing to all of the families of the earth (Gen. 12:3; 2 Cor. 8:9; 9:6-8)

Therefore in our local church, I never want anyone to ever give from their heart as a debt that they owe, but as seed that they sow, in faith!

You see, in the natural: a single seed that is sown (tithe) will always produce many more seeds (harvest). Every seed is destined by God’s Word to be fruitful and multiply. And a wise farmer will reap his harvest and reserve a portion of his harvest to be sown again while lives off the increase.

Therefore, under the New Covenant Priesthood of Jesus: although the spiritual law of sowing and reaping is in existence, we do not tithe from a greedy heart to get. We tithe out of a heart of worship and thanksgiving because we have already received a blessing like Abraham gave a tenth to Melchizedek out of his bounty.

What is more, the blessing of God toward Abraham greatly superseded the promised blessing of obeying the Law (Deut. 28:1-13). Therefore, like Abraham we are blessed, through the righteousness of God by faith, for the fruitful and eternal purpose of being a blessing to others (Gen. 12:2-3; Eph. 4:28; Rom. 4:13-15)

Moreover, God is not after your 10% (seed). Whereby if we do not tithe we are cursed. No! God is after blessing and multiplying our 90% (harvest) (Mal. 3:10-12).

Beloved, Christ has already redeemed us from the curse of the Law that the blessings of Abraham might be ours by faith! (Gal. 3:13-14)

The Kingdom principle of the tithe is indeed holy unto the Lord, but under a New Priesthood that supersedes the Law.

You see, instead of trusting God’s economy of Grace with our hearts, we are easily tempted to trust in our own economy of earthly treasures. Therefore God is not cursing us with a curse that He redeemed us from, in Christ! Never!

When we exchange our trust in God’s economy by trusting in the world’s economy that was already cursed (Mal. 3:9) through Adam’s sin, we are removing ourselves from the umbrella of God’s economy of endless grace and stepping into the cursed economy of the world that is already cursed by the devourer who destroys the fruit of the ground (Mal. 3:9-11).

We are robbing God from blessing our seed of faith like Abraham: a Promised harvest that is already destined to be ours as we put our faith in His grace: honoring the Lord in faith with our first-fruits (our tithe, our seed) that is destined by His Word to multiply, testifying to the nations: we are blessed in a delightful land (Mal. 3:12).

The Kingdom principle of tithing goes way beyond money. Isaac was the firstborn (Gen. 22:2, 12, 16), the Promised Seed of the father of many nations. Jericho was a tithe (Jos. 6:17-19) so Israel could reap all the spoils of all the other conquests in the Promised Land (Jos. 8:2, 27). The nation of Israel is God’s firstborn (Jer. 2:3; Ex. 4:22-23), a tithe so God could reap the nations.

Jesus was the ultimate tithe, the Firstborn, so God could reap the entire world, including you!

What is more, the Tabernacle of Moses (Ex. 35:5, 21) and the Temple of Solomon (1 Chr. 29:2-9) were never built from the required tithe of the Law.

They were both built from the free-will offerings of the people. God’s Presence, His Grace will only rest on what we freely give from a heart of faith.

In each case the people gave because they wanted to not because they had to and they gave until they gave too much (Ex. 36:4-7).

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