Sermon delivered December 7, 1996

by Donald J. Gettys

McDonald Road SDA Church, McDonald, TN

Don't Pay Tithe

My sermon to day is entitled: Don't Pay Tithe. You're right. After this sermon it my desire that none of you will ever pay tithe again. I have been a tither since I was a boy. As a boy I received an allowance of 10 cents per week. That was pretty big in those days. When we went to church I put in my two cents worth. One penny for the offering and one for the tithe. My Uncle John Boyles was the church treasurer and I have often wondered how he felt about such a small amount coming in every week. But he would issue receipts.

I was taught not to pay tithe. At an early age I was taught that God owns everything. I Corinthians 10:26--"The earth is the Lord's and everything in it" God created everything. He owns all the cattle , the minerals, trees, everything. God gives us money to manage but 1/10th of that money is not ours, it belongs to Him. So when I put God's share of the profit in the tithe envelope, I am returning what is His. The tithe is His money. It's not mine. I appreciate that. I appreciate My heavenly Father making me a steward, a manager. And I pray that I will be a good manager. That I will never abuse my stewardship. So when I put His profit into the tithe envelope, I am returning what is His. The Tithe is His money. All I do is return it. God puts the money in our hand and we find it. And one tenth of it is His. So we need to return it. Make sure that He gets it back.

Today I hope that you will see how you can Tithe with someone else's money. Wouldn't that be neat? I get the income tax deduction for the Tithe and do not even use one penny of my hard earned money to do it! I Put someone else's money into the tithe envelope! I never use one penny of my hard-earned money to tithe. I put somebody else's money in the tithe envelope. Never use your own money to tithe.

Does that make sense? The tithe belongs to Who? To God. Every time you get it, simply return it to God. It's sort of a trust element. If you want to give Him personally, then you have to give an offering. Use YOUR money for the offering and GOD's money for the Tithe.

Remember Adam and Eve? They had a bad problem. Right in the middle of their Eden paradise was this tree. It looked normal like any other tree but that tree just happened to be the Gateway to Death. There was one way you could die. That was to go near that tree and partake of the fruit of that tree. God warned the couple- Genesis 2:16-17. "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die."

The tree of knowledge was a daily visible test of their trust and dependance on God. Both Eve and Adam fell because they ate its forbidden fruit. They were excommunicated from paradise. They started to die the moment they bit into the apple.

It seems strange that our first parents had to contend with a tree like that. And we don't. I mean, is that fair that they have a tree like that that they had to put up with. We don't have put up with anything like that. We don't contend with the tree of knowledge of good and evil today, do we? YES we do! There is the equivalent of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. It is still in existence. It is still here on this earth. Do you know what it is? I believe sincerely it is the tithe. Now think about this. I believe that Adam and Eve's fall happened because they did not trust Him. And I believe that God still has a visible test point for His people. It is something real, and we come nearby it every day, as near as your back pocket or your purse. It is something just like Eve Robbed God by taking that apple that belonged to Him and He told her she could not have. She took it and used it for herself. I believe we can rob God by taking His TITHE and using it for our own purposes. Eve took God's apple.

The tree of knowledge of good and evil is the equivalent to tithe money. Today God uses tithe and offerings as the tangible demonstration of loyalty to Him. Today God says of all your possessions I reserve a tenth for Myself, besides gifts and offerings.

Back in Eve's time the devil worked hard to deceive her into thinking that, what God held back for Himself should be taken away from Him. Just so in the last days the devil will also work hard to deceive if possible the very elect in regard to the tithe which is man's present visible tangible test.

The old snake is in the tree again. He says God really did not mean that you have to return your tithe into His storehouse. You just keep it for yourself or send it wherever you think it will do the most good. Would that be wrong? Let's go to the Bible.

In Genesis 14 Abraham returned a full 10% as God's tithe to the priest of the most high God. He returned a tenth of all he had acquired. He did it freely and willingly. And notice what God did for Abraham. Immediately after this experience God came to Abram in a vision and said "Do not be afraid, Abram, I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward."-- Genesis 15:1 God immediately started pouring out a blessing on his faithful servant.

JACOB'S PLEDGE---- Genesis 28 Jacob had to flee because of Esau. He dreamed of a staircase extending from heaven to earth. The next morning he was a born again creature. Right there he made a vow. "Of all thou shalt give me, I will surely give the tenth unto thee." That's Jacob's pledge.

* Deuteronomy 12:10-12 God again stated the law of the tithe and the central storehouse. Notice very carefully how specific God's statement is : You will cross the Jordan and enter the promised land. 12:11--"Then to the place the Lord your God will choose as a dwelling for his Name (the portable church or tabernacle) ------THERE you are to bring everything I have commanded you (How much?) your burnt offerings your sacrifices, your tithes and special offerings." (Where?) They were to bring every tenth animal, every offering where God told them which was the local house of God.

God WARNS THEM: verse 13-"Be careful not to sacrifice (or offer) your burnt offerings ANYWHERE YOU PLEASE." 14-"Offer them only at the place the Lord will choose..." (Not my choice--but at the place He chooses) I don't think we have the right to send our tithe money wherever WE choose. Whenever we bring our tithe, it is NOT to be sent to a place wherever we think it might do the most good but to the place He selects according to His word. It's not my choice of places but God's choice according to His word. Whenever we return the tithe, it is not to go where we think it will do the most good.

Why does God have the right to tell you where to return His tithe? Because it is His. Why does the Electric Power Board tell me to send my payment to Broad Street in Chattanooga? Because it is their money. If I don't sen the money where the Electric Power Board wants me to send it, my power will get cut off. The Tithe is God's. Don't tamper with God's money.

Here is something very interesting. It was written by Mrs. EG White right down near the end of her service. One of the last things that was ever written by her. Whatever happened in her life, this is one of the last things she ever wrote. "Those who meddle with (the tithe) will be punished with the loss of their heavenly treasure... God has not changed; the tithe is still to be used for the support of the ministry."--- 9T249-250 (EG White).

"Let none feel at liberty to retain their tithe, to use according to their own judgment. They are not to use it for themselves in an emergency, not to APPLY it as they see fit, even in what they may regard as the Lord's work." ibid. p.247. That's pretty clear, isn't it. died.

Do you know why Eve ate the forbidden fruit? Was the sin just because she was eating between meals? What was Eve's sin? Was the apple poisonous? The sin was not appetite; she didn't trust God. Eve took matters into her own hands. God said very clearly, "Don't do this." Eve said, "I think that I know a little better. I think it's okay." So she took matters into her own hands. She distrusted God. Unbelief of God's word. Rejection of His authority. (see Education p. 25.) Eve's sin was thinking she could take what God told her was His personal property and use it as she saw fit.

Today I return my tithe and give my offerings to God because I love Him. Any other motive is the wrong motive. I love His son Jesus Christ. I want to do all I can for those I love.

Leviticus 27:30 "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 to the Lord". In other words, don't you touch it. Uzzah touched the ark. Don't use it as you see fit. Use it as He tells you.

Deut. 14:22-- You shall truly tithe all the INCREASE of your grain that the field produces year by year." So we should tithe the increase. Some people call me on the phone and ask, "Should I pay tithe on this?" I say, "First, let's return the tithe, first of all. Secondly, was it an increase to you? If it was an increase, then you should return the tithe."

Let's come over the Malachi. This is very familiar, but I want to go through a few verses with you.

It seems to me that an Honest Tithe is the WHOLE TITHE, in the RIGHT PLACE, returned to God from the RIGHT MOTIVES--- from a heart full of love and gratitude. Bring the whole tithe into THE storehouse.

God rewards those who are faithful to these words of His. When John S. Huyler started out in the candy business he took Jacob's pledge: "Of all thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee". Every week he went to the bank and deposited a large percent of his profit into an account marked "M. P." When asked what the strange label meant, he said MP= MY PARTNER. From that account he would return his tithe and give offerings. His candy industry grew fast. He said: That money isn't mine, it belongs to my Lord.

II Corinthians 9:6---"Remember this: (There are several places in the Bible that say remember this: the fourth commandment: Remember the Sabbath..." Now her's something worth remembering.) Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7---Each man should give what he has decided in his HEART to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 10---"He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and INCREASE your store of seed and will ENLARGE the harvest of your righteousness. 11---"YOU WILL BE MADE RICH IN EVERY WAY so that you can be generous...."

God will make RICH those who give cheerfully so they can be even more generous. Return God's tithe and give offerings to support His cause. God will bless you.

I don't want to hitchhike to Heaven. Have you ever seen a hitchhiker standing along the road with his thumb out? His thumb signal is giving a message loud and clear: "If you will furnish the car, the gasoline, the time and the air conditioning and if you will do the driving, I'll ride with you, but you are crazy if you think I am going to chip in with any gas money. And by the way, if you have an accident and I am injured, be sure that I will sue you for everything else you have.

In just about every congregation you will find church hitchhikers. They say, in one way or another, "If you supply an attractive, clean, well-lit building and heat and air conditioning so that I will be comfortable as I listen to the preacher. I'll ride along with you for awhile. But you are crazy if you think that I am going to chip in with any real financial support. And by the way if anything happens that irritates me, you will hear from me real quick!"

People "who are the most systematic and liberal in sustaining the cause of God are the most prosperous spiritually."--- 3T405 (EG White) I want my hands and my money busy in sustaining the Lord's work. Because I love God. Treasure in Heaven is laid up only as treasure on this earth is laid down.

The motivation for all giving is Love. John 3:16: "For God so loved the world that He gave...." Give from a full and happy heart. Too many church offering gifts, are given to ease the conscience. Giving a $20 bill could be a nice way of "Paying off" the Lord while the whole time our heart is set on the concubines of sin. If you love Jesus you will naturally want to give everything you can to Him.

My pay check barely reaching round,
in fact, it's sometimes short;
Takes all that I can rake and scrape 
to keep up this old fort.  
      The doctor bills for aches and ills
      The automobile repair is due,
      This credit card bill must be paid;
      The plumber says he will sue.
I am paying great devourers,
whom God says He'll rebuke,
Just hold Him to His promise
In six, thirty-eight of Luke.
    Right when the hour is darkest
    Is time to start this test,
    For God can then best show us
    How far Nine-tenths will go, when blest. 

Do your tithing with somebody else's money. Give generously to God with your offerings. He will bless you. You can't out-give God. I shovel out and God shovels in.

I love God. I want to be faithful to Him. I want to be responsive to Him.

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