Sowing and Reaping
Many believers often ask the same question: “Do we have to give tithes in the New Covenant?” This is a popular topic that is often discussed among believers. This issue is relevant especially now, when the gospel of grace has gained its popularity and many believers have started to live in freedom for which suffered our amazing and wonderful Savor.
The tithe points to Christ
–Brother, have you read in Malachi what the Lord of hosts-said? “Bring all the tithes into the House of God, and I will open the windows of Heaven.” That is why you have to bring your tithe to the church.
–Listen brother. Tithe is Jesus. The Lord simply says: “Bring Jesus into the temple of your body and the Heavens will always be open above you.”
If the tithe is as significant in the New Covenant as some try to portray it, then the apostles would have mentioned it at least once in their epistles to the church. They would specifically have pointed out that believers need to bring tithes. In retrospect, tithe is only mentioned in the epistle to Hebrews where the author speaks about Melchizedek, who is a type of Christ.
Why wasn’t tithe mentioned by the apostle Paul in his epistles to the churches? It was because Paul’s epistles were part of the Old Covenant. They pointed out the coming of the Messiah and His finished work on the cross, as did the rest of the Old Testament.
Some people say: “Abraham gave tithe to Melchizedek for many years before the Law was given through Moses. Abraham lived under grace and gave tithe, so we need to follow his example!” Actually, Abraham didn’t live in the Spirit and under grace, as we do today. Jesus hadn’t died on the cross and shed His blood at that time, and the New Covenant hadn’t started yet.
Everything that Abraham did and had was the foreshadow of good things to come. This can be applied to everything in the Old Testament including the times before Moses. Today, we live in the reality and not in the foreshadow. Apostle Peter wrote in his epistle: “Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace [that would come] to you, searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.” (1 Pet 1:10-11) Abraham also was a prophet, ad Jesus testified: “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw [it] and was glad.” (John 8:56)
Yes, we do live in the New Covenant, but we don’t discard the Old Testament. Also, we don’t try to understand it according to the flesh. In the story of Abraham, the sacrifice of Abraham’s son Isaac, we can see how our Heavenly Father didn’t spare His beloved and only Begotten Son and gave him for the ransom of us all. In the same manner in the story of Abraham meeting Melchizedek, we can see what happened between God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. In this story, Abraham- whose name means exalted father, is a type of God the Father and Melchizedek is a type of Jesus. The King of Kings and the Great High Priest who is our Lord Jesus Christ brought His body and His precious blood (bread and wine) to God and Father and blessed Him, who lives forever and ever. The Father in response gave Him “power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing” – the tithe –of all that He received by defeating His enemies. (Rev.5:12) And the tithe represents them all.
We already blessed
Often times believes get scared that if they don’t bring their tithes to the church, God won’t open Heavens and they will live in poverty. Beloved, if somebody gives you requirements and forcing you to do something or if they say to you: “Bring tithe and then God will bless you”, then it is the teaching of the Law. Old Covenant of the Law based on the principle: “First you need to do something for God and be obedient and then He will bless you.” No, my friends! We don’t live in the Old Covenant anymore. The Law of Moses has no power over us today.
In the New Covenant of grace Paul writes, that God already blessed us with all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 1:3) In the very moment when you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior and He started to live in your heart by Holy Spirit – the spirit of Grace and truth – in that moment you received all God’s blessings. They are already inside of you. You already received them by grace through faith.
Someone might ask: “I am a believer for fifteen years and been baptized in the Holy Ghost, but I live in poverty, how come?” Christ, living in us by Holy Spirit, moves and manifests in our lives when we live by faith and under grace. His power effectually works in us and through us when we live in Christ obedience to the Father and not ours. It works when we fully trust in His finished work on the cross and on His righteousness.
Paul wrote very specifically: “For if those who are of the law [are] heirs, faith is made void and the promise made of no effect” (Romans 4:14) The promise is the Holy Spirit which our Father graciously lavished on us. In other word the Holy Spirit or Spirit of Christ doesn’t do anything when we try to be obedient to God by our performance. The same thing he wrote to foolish Galatians: “Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing.” (Galatians 5:2) The phrase “become circumcised” means trust in your own flesh and in your righteousness rather than the righteousness of God, which we receive by faith. Paul said about those uncircumcised who are keeping the law: “…if an uncircumcised man keeps the righteous requirements of the law, will not his uncircumcision be counted as circumcision?” (Romans 2:26)
More blessed to give
Does it mean that we don’t give offerings knowing that we don’t have to do anything to get God’s blessings? Of course not! If financially blessed believer spends everything on himself, it means that he has mentality of the Old Covenant fleshly man. Actually he lives under law rather than under grace. The Corinthians were exactly those kind. There were financially blessed, but they refused to share with others.
Beloved, we don’t offer and we don’t bless others in order to get rich or to make God bless us. Paul said: “I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” (Acts 20:35)
Why it is more blessed to give? Just because person is truly blessed, when he blesses somebody. Its is not when he buys himself something new. Maybe this new toy or gadget brings momentary joy, but it is all temporal and very soon this thing will be in the trash. On the other hand, when we supporting the weak that person giving glory to God on our account. On top of that the Spirit of God overflows our heart with joy and love of Christ.
Why do you thing the Lord loves to give and why He is called Blessed? It is written of Him: “He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.” (2 Corinthians 9:9) The Lord God is already eternally blessed. Why does He need to give something out? Because He experiences even greater blessing. Love manifests in giving – God gave His Beloved Son. When the love is manifested then God’s heart overflows. That is how love of God works through us also.
Sharing with teachers
I heard often believers ask: “Why is that preacher sells his books and messages? Apostle Paul didn’t sell his epistles.” Paul wrote in his epistle to Corinthian church: “…Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel, but I have used none of these things…” (1 Corinthians 9:14-15)
The Lord has purposed and commanded that preachers get financial support from the preaching of the good news. To the same Corinthians Paul writes: “Whoever goes to war at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its fruit? Or who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk of the flock?” (1 Corinthians 9:7) Paul on the other hand decided not to use his right in the gospel with Corinthians and worked with his own hands. He did this that there will be no hindrance for the gospel of Christ. Other churches graciously supported him such as in Macedonia or Philippi.
We are not surprised when we plant potatoes or grapes and expect the harvest. When we work we also expect something in return for our labor. The same is written about preachers and teachers: “…he who plows should plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope.” (1 Corinthians 9:10)
How is the preacher get his portion? Paul continues: “If we have sown spiritual things for you, [is it] a great thing if we reap your material things?” (1 Corinthians 9:11) In other words preacher teaches and edifies believer in God’s grace. When the believer becomes financially blessed he shares his financial blessings with the one, from whom he received spiritual seeds.
That is why Paul writes Galatians: “Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches.” (Galatians 6:6) The amazing is that it doesn’t end with it. The Lord made everything so great with His wisdom. When the one who is taught shares finances with the teacher, he also sows. The harvest also coming his way. Paul writes to Corinthians: “He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have [sown] and increase the fruits of your righteousness.” (2 Corinthians 9:10) Gods righteousness multiplies the sowing and brings spiritual as well as material harvest.
Sowing under grace
In the book of Genesis, we can read a wonderful story about Isaac sowing in the land of Gerar and reaping hundredfold in the same year. (Genesis 26:12-14) In this story is hidden spiritual truth about our Lord Jesus Christ. The Isaac is the type of Christ. As we learned earlier our Lord loves to give freely and generously. That is why Jesus compared Son of Man to the sower. In His parables. Now Christ lives in us and He continues sowing into others spiritual as well material seeds through us. So we can draw some precious truths from this story.
Isaac was the son of Sarah and Paul compared Sarah to grace and Heavenly Jerusalem. He also called Sarah our mother, because all believers were born of grace and not of works. (Galatians 4:24-26) It is Isaac who got hundredfold harvest. Hebrew legalists could hardly convert someone into Judaism, but when Paul and Barnabas preached about the grace of God in Antiochus the whole city came to listen and many got saved. Does it look like hundredfold harvest?
In Hebrew the name Gerar means drag out or to bring up the cud. That is the place where Isaac sowed. Bible often compares oxen that chew the cud with preachers and teachers. They bring up God’s truths from the Word of God and feed the flock. Paul also compares preachers with oxen, when he quotes the Scriptures: “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.” So, the name Gerar tells us that it is better to sow in the place where we get spiritual food.
When spiritual and material seeds are sown into the ground of grace, (the ministry that preaches and teaches about God’s grace, His righteousness, and finished work of the cross) a plentiful harvest will be reaped. It will come about even during in the time of famine or financial crisis as it was during the time of Isaac.
Beloved, remember that your heavenly Daddy loves you very much. He did not spare His Beloved Son and it is all for you. He already took care of everything and already blessed you with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Live in the abundance of grace, gift of righteousness and obedience of our Lord Jesus Christ and you will reign in life. The Spirit of God, Spirit of Grace that lives in you will manifest the Kingdom of God, which is righteousness, peace and joy. He will also manifest everything that you heavenly Daddy graciously bestowed upon you in Christ Jesus. “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9)