The Principle Of Tithing

  1. Introduction To Tithing.

The Hebrew word for “tithe” is “masar”, which means a tenth. So when you tithe to God, you are giving Him a tenth, or 10 per cent, of your income.

You might ask, “God is so rich. Why does He need my 10 per cent?”

 

  1. Tithe to Acknowledge That God Is Your Senior Partner.

The truth is that God does not need your 10 per cent! You have learned that He has cut a covenant with you, and you have a covenant relationship with Him. In this covenant relationship, or partnership, who is the senior partner? Who is the greater and richer party? God is!

Now, in a normal business partnership, how much does the senior partner get?

Definitely not 10 per cent! The senior partner gets at least 51 per cent of the profits. Yet, God, as the senior partner of the covenant relationship, only asks for 10 per cent. That’s how gracious He is.

So when you tithe, you are saying to God, “Father, I am putting my faith in You to be in control of my finances. Father, I am putting my faith in You to be the One who causes me to prosper in all that I do.”

 

  1. Your Tithe Sanctifies The Rest Of Your Income

So God wants us to tithe for our own sakes. He wants us to tithe for our own benefit. In fact, when we tithe, it sanctifies the rest of our income.

Rom 11:16  For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; …

Now, you have learned that the words “holiness” and “sanctification” have the same meaning, that is, “separate”, “set apart” or “stand out from”. When you tithe your one-tenth, it represents the firstfruit of your income. When that one tenth is holy, the rest of the 90 per cent that you keep will also be holy or sanctified. In other words, the rest of your income, like the first 10 per cent, will also be separate or set apart.

You might ask, “So what good is it if my money is holy?”

You need to know that this earth is under a curse. The system of the world is under a curse. You need to strive hard in order to make it to the top. That is why, after Adam sinned, God said this to him: “In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread …” (Genesis3:19)

The system of the world is natural, but God’s system is supernatural. Do you know that He has hidden the secret to prosperity and good success in the Hebrew language? Now, you have learned that the Hebrew word for “tithe” is masar. Do you know what the Hebrew word for “rich” or “wealthy” is? It is the word : asar !

What does that tell you? It tells you that your prosperity is in your tithe! God’s system of prosperity is wrapped up in the tithe!

So whatever is under the curse, the devil can touch anytime. But once you tithe, you make holy the rest of your income, and the devil cannot touch what is holy. When you tithe, your money is set apart from the earth’s curse, and the devil cannot steal from you.

 

  1. Tithe Because You Are Already Blessed

Now, let’s look at the first time the tithe is mentioned in the Bible.

Gen 14:18-20  Then Melchizedek King of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High.  And he blessed him and said: “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” And he gave him a tithe of all.

The first time the tithe is mentioned in the Bible is in this account, when Abraham (then known as Abram) returned with the spoils of war from his battle with four kings. He gave a tithe of all that he had gained to the King-Priest, Melchizedek. Melchizedek was the King of Salem and also the Priest of God Most High.

Look at what Melchizedek said in verses 19-20:
Blessed be Abram of God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand.”

So Abram tithed to Melchizedek because he was already blessed. Abram tithed to Melchizedek out of the spoils of war that God had given him. Do you know the size of Abram’s “army”? He defeated the armies of four kings with only 318 servants! Have you ever heard of any army that has gone out with such small numbers and won? That would take God! And it did!

So Abram tithed out of the blessings that God had given to him by grace. He tithed because he was already blessed.

Today, there are Christians who tithe in order to be blessed. They tithe to twist God’s arm so that He will bless them. That’s the wrong attitude toward tithing. God wants you to tithe in the knowledge that you are already blessed.

You might say, “But I am not walking in the blessings of God! My salary is so low! My bank account is dwindling! How can I be blessed?”

Well. you have Jesus! You have the grace of God – the unmerited, undeserved favor of God! This means that you are very blessed. Because when you have the favor of God, you are very rich! When you have Jesus, you have everything!

When you have a revelation of Jesus’ prosperity on the inside of you, and you tithe out of that revelation, it will affect your outward circumstances, and you will walk in your inheritance.

 

  1. Your Tithe Testifies That Christ Is Alive

The interesting thing is that Melchizedek doesn’t appear again in any other account in the Old Testament. But the writer of Hebrews writes about him in chapter 7.

Hebrews 7:1-10  For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all, first being translated “King of Righteousness,” and then also king of Salem, meaning “King of Peace,” without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually.  Now consider how great this man was, to whom even the patriarch Abraham gave a tenth of the spoils. And indeed those who are of the sons of Levi, who receive the priesthood, have a commandment to receive tithes from the people according to the law, that is, from their brethren, though they have come from the loins of Abraham; but he whose genealogy is not derived from them received tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises.  Now beyond all contradiction the lesser is blessed by the better.  Here mortal men receive tithes, but there he receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives.  Even Levi, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, so to speak, for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him.

Do you know that the Christ is referred to as a “Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek“? (Psalm 110:4, Hebrews 5:6).  In fact, He is the High Priest according the order of Melchizedek! (Hebrews5:10, 6:20)

Notice that Melchizedek‘s name means “King of Righteousness” and he’s the King of Salem, meaning “King of Peace“. Notice also that he brought bread and winethe elements of the Holy Communion – to Abram. He is a picture of Jesus Christ! So when Abram tithed to him, He was actually tithing to Christ!

The bread and wine – the broken body and blood of Christ – testify to the death of Christ. But the tithe testifies to Christ’s resurrection! The tithe testifies that He is alive today! (Hebrews 7:8)

Today, when you tithe, you are tithing to Christ. But more importantly, you are testifying that Christ is alive in your life! You are testifying that your heavenly Melchizedek is alive in your life!

Do you know what it means to have Christ alive in your life today? It means that He will come into your negative circumstance and turn it around for your benefit!  Above all, it means that there will be tokens, signs and witnesses in your life that Jesus Christ is alive in your life. People will look at you, your life and your family, and they will say, “You are blessed!” Jesus Christ will show Himself to be alive in your life in a very real and practical way. He will show Himself to be alive in your life when you walk in your inheritance – In all the blessings that He died to give you!

 

What You Have Discovered?

  1. A tithe is one-tenth of your income.
  2. When you tithe, you acknowledge that God is the senior partner in your covenant relationship with Him.
  3. Your tithe sanctifies the remaining 90 per cent of your income.
  4. You tithe not to get blessed, but because you are already blessed. You are blessed today because you have Jesus and the favor of God.
  5. Your tithe testifies that Christ is alive today. When Christ is alive in your life, He will come into your negative circumstance and turn it around for your benefit.

 

Your Thoughts:

Do you find it difficult to tithe to God? If so, what are the hindrances?
Now that you have learned about the principle and significance of tithing, do you have a greater desire to tithe to God?
What are your expectations when you tithe?

Tithe

Taken from: GRACE DISCOVERY – by Pastor Joseph Prince.

 

Sowing and Reaping

The Bible HOPE:

The Bible HOPE is different from the world’s hope. The world’s meaning of hope is merely a probable expectation. It may or may not happen. While the Bible HOPE is a Certain Definite Confidence expectation that it will surely happen. Thus, the Bible wants us to put on the Helmet of Hope as in :

1Thess 5:8-9  But let us who are of the day be SOBER, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a HELMET THE HOPE OF SALVATION.  For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,

The Lord wants us to be assured in our Salvation (1 John 5:13) it is written so that we may know and be assured that we have ETERNAL LIFE. Eternal life is not Eternal life, if you think you may lose it tomorrow. Eternal means once saved forever saved. And, God the Father wants you to have that peace of mind, because you are saved not by the Blood of bulls and goats, but by the Blood of His only begotten Son, and because of the Quality of that precious blood of God, we should not have any doubts about our salvation in Christ. Thus, the bible HOPE means a CERTAIN POSITIVE CONFIDENT EXPECTATION of good that accompanies salvation in your future. It will SURELY happen, no doubts about your salvation anymore!

The true meaning of Salvation in Greek refers not only to being saved into Heaven when you die, but we should also enjoy a blessed life on planet earth, having peace, joy, and wholeness in body, soul and spirit.

In this world you will constantly be bombarded with negative fearful expectation. When you hear the TV news is bleak / no good, like five out of ten Singaporeans will experience this illness by certain age, you have to know that your future is bright! You do not belong to the world. Even when things are not looking good, because (Psalm 23:4) though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.  We will not STAY in the valley but going through the valley and coming out alive on the other side, for the Lord is with us.

Put on the Helmet of Hope daily, even when you are sleeping, and if, in the middle of night you wake up the devils can put thoughts in you. But you need to know that bad things will not happen to you, only good things will happen to you in the future, because you are the righteousness of God in Christ. Trials of life come to everybody. It does not mean Christians will not go through trials, but trials we go through are to make us stronger and better person. Especially, those who serve full time like the ministers of the Gospel, worship leaders, those who are serving the Lord; there are some things that they went through, they do not need to go through, but they went through because of the ministry. This experience of trials ENRICHES them in certain areas, and they can now share their riches to others too, they can give more after they’ve gone through “the valley of the shadow of death”.

Like Paul said in (Php 1:12) “everything that has happened to me, is for the furtherance of the Gospel”. For example, he was captured / after he was bound in chain, then a Roman soldier got saved. When they replaced the soldier with another new one, that one also got saved. That was the testimony that Paul getting the Roman soldiers saved. He was in chains because of Christ.

 

Problem in having Bible HOPE:

However, one of the biggest problem that we have in having this bible hope that knocks us off our Helmet of Salvation, is because we heard so much teaching and preaching on “Sowing and reaping”. You were concerned and sometimes so haunted that whether the ‘bad seeds’ you sowed last time, is coming to fruition / harvest of evil waiting for you. ?

How can you have positive expectation of good, when you believe in “what you sow – you will reap”? You may ask: “but that is in the bible!”, yes it is in the bible! , and I have seen instances not just in the bible, where this principle did happen in the world.

For example: on the last day of Hitler, he went into hiding, trapped just like what he did to the Jews. His ending is even worst than the Jews. Also, AD70, Roman Emperor ordered his son, General Titus, to lead the army in the assault on Jerusalem. He led the force to exterminate the Jews, and burnt down the temple, and just a few years after that we know the tragedy of Pompeii happened. Volcano erupted, burnt down the entire city. The Reaping is always worst than the Sowing!

Also, Example in the bible: Hamman (in the story of Esther) the evil conspirator, who hated the Jews, who planned for the extermination of the Jews people, he was the ancient Hitler, and how he hated Mordecai (Esther’s uncle), so he erected about 75 feet tall gallows to hang  Mordecai, but at the end of the story, he himself was hung on that same gallows he built. Yes, that is Reaping what he Sowed.

What you sow is what you reap – Hosea: (Hosea 8:7 NKJV) “They sow the wind, And reap the whirlwind. …”

David sowed adultery with Bathsheba Uriah’s wife (in secret), then his sons committed adultery with one David’s wife (openly in public). David had Uriah killed in a battle, and David’s favorite son was also killed, in a battle. “What you sow is what you reap.”

But you may argue, David was a man of God not like Hamman an evil man. But your see, all the above illustrations are from the Old Testament. And, all the illustrations are still happening in the world till now. Because the Principle of “What you sow is what you reap” is for the People without Christ who will get “what they sowed is what they will be reaping, and it comes in greater volume.”

This saying that “The rooster will come home to roost”; it is true for the world!. But, for us in Christ, the Rooster was fried at the cross. Because, Jesus Christ on the cross had fried that chicken. We are not going to reap the bad things. Because Jesus took all the bad things we deserved on the cross, and in exchange He gave us all the good things we do not deserve. So now, we are going to reap only the good things that Jesus sowed at the cross.

If you agree Jesus took all your sins & shame on the cross, this is only half finished! ; You must also agree that you now carry His Glory & Blessings too, so that it’s now complete and finished.

 

The difference of Reaping and Consequence:

But, that does not mean, there is no consequence. Consequence and reaping is two different things.

Eg: if you are smoking all the time, and you have lung disease, that is not the reaping but is the consequence. If you are inconsiderate of people, if you treat them with disdain, people will shun you and you will not have good friends, this is the consequence. If you go to visit prostitution, you will get syphilis. You need not ask, “why God did not protect me?”. Because it is the consequence.

Reaping is this idea: “you do not know when the harvest will come”. What you sow is you will not reap immediately. While consequence is almost immediate or certain, you can be sure it will come, sometime in just a few days you will already know. Example: If you visit a prostitute, it is almost immediate and certain you would feel in a few days’ time something was wrong with your body, or at least you will get worried sick in your mind and heart, you will lose the peace of mind. This is consequence!

Consequence is almost immediate but you don’t know WHEN your reaping comes from what you sowed. There is this fearful of the harvest of evil in the future. Some Christians are worried too, of what they did evil in the past that “the rooster may come home to roost”. There is this fearful expectation of evil in the future”. If this is what you believe, then how can you have the bible Hope (wear the helmet of salvation)?

 

Sowing and Reaping in the new testament:

You may argue that this principle is mentioned a few times in the New Testament? Yes: But read the context, they specifically referring to 3 main areas only:

A) Sowing and Reaping on money / on finances – How rich you want, you decide.

But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.  8And 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. (2Cor 9:6-8  NKJV)

The whole context is on FINANCES. The verses before this was: “Jesus was made poor, so that you through His poverty, will be made rich”. The whole context is about MONEY.  And God actually said: “How rich you want?, you decide!. If you sow sparingly, you will reap sparingly too. If you sow bountifully, you will also reap bountifully”. Stingy Christians do not prosper. And, there are people in the world, who are sinners, but they are generous, and they prosper!  Why?  Because this is the principle applicable for the whole world, the principle of Finances: “what you sow is what you reap.”

B) Sowing the word of God

And He said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? The sower sows the word. (Mark 4:13-14 NKJV)

The verse is self-explaining, it is about sowing THE WORD.  Just like right now, I am sowing the word into your life, and I am believing God for a bountiful harvest in your life, for great good in your future. Because, I am sowing the word of God in you.

C) Sowing on body – (Rapture).

When Christ comes again, we will have a new body. But notice the body in harvest is different from the body sown?

So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. (I Cor 15:42-44 NKJV)

 

Consequences to certain sins:

Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.” (John 5:14 NKJV)

This verse is talking about Consequence of certain sin/s on the body causing certain illness: There is a person who was unable to walk for 38 years, and Jesus healed him.

The word Sin no more: Sin here in Greek is ‘Hamartano’ (= a verb, not the noun of ‘Hamartia’) which means there is a certain act of sin that Jesus is telling him not to do it again. We do not know why this person could not walk, the bible did not specify clearly. But, we know that certain illness can cause inability to move the limbs. for eg: Syphilis / STD can cause a man to lose mobility in limb. There are consequences to sins, and here Jesus was trying to warn this man the same.

Likewise: Somebody smokes and had lung cancer. You prayed for him and he was healed. So now you are telling him: “since now you have been made well, don’t smoke again.” Is smoking a sin? You don’t need to argue with me, because I think Smoking is ugly not cool, and is a form of sin. God created us to walk on grass and not to have “grass” walk all over us. And, if you ask me: “Will a believer get to heaven if he keeps on smoking?” The answer is: Yes, he will get to heaven faster!

There are also consequences to the earth. The whole creation is groaning in travail as the result of Adam’s fall. We are living in the fallen world. You will see the increase in earth quakes. This is not God’s doing. There is a certain vibration that earth is responding to man’s wickedness. Look at South Korea and North Korea. The same continent of Korean atmosphere and weather, yet the North is struggling to feed the people, while the South is prosperous. Also, Russia, there was once a wheat basket, but now is importing wheat. A lot of blood has been shed in these nations. And the blood of the innocents is crying from the ground and anyway the ground is cursed after Adam’s original sin. Yes, Jesus’ perfect work on the Cross has taken up the curse, but the curse is not lifted from the world, it is lifted only from the children of God. Earthquakes and tsunami, are the sign of earth rebelling.  Animals used to talk in the beginning. Now they just groan. The whole earth has fallen.  Because the King of Creation (Adam) that God had created to rule over everything, had fallen. When Adam fell, they all fell. This is the consequence!

 

God is not mocked (frequent misquote / misinterpreted Gal 6):

The context is actually about Money / Finances, but this verse has been misinterpreted as sowing sins.

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. (Gal 6:7 NKJV)

If you do not see the context, this verse on the surface sounds like referring to moral sins for the Christians. But you must read the verses before and after.

The book of Galatia, in context, is about the people who are living in mixing Grace and Law. Note, Apostle Paul never called any Galatians as holy, not even once; while he did call the carnal people of Corinth as holy / sanctified, calling them as Saints. Why? Because Paul was radically teaching the Galatians GRACE, and yet they tried to introduce the LAW again, they were trying to be perfected by the law instead of walking radically in the Grace of God. In fact, Paul in Gal chp.1 was pronouncing double curses to anyone who preached any other than Grace. Paul said: “They had been deceived.” Paul used the word “bewitched” like casting evil spell on you, and you were deceived.

See the context of Gal 6:

Gal 6:6  Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches.
(NLT) Those who are taught the word of God should provide for their teachers, sharing all good things with them.  

Teaches here is referring to teaching Grace, by the teachers of Grace in Galatia. There were other false teachers teaching Judaism (the Law) to the people. And people are giving them money. They are teaching motivated by money. Paul is saying “guys you must share money only with those who teach Grace, don’t give to the teachers of Law.”

Then comes the verse :
Gal 6:7  Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.

Gal 6:8  For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.
Gal 6:9  And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
Gal 6:10  Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.

If you just take one verse Gal 6:7 , it will sound like applying generally to everything. But the context is specifically referring to: They were sowing to their fleshly effort. And they were trying their best by their effort to produce sudo-holiness (holiness by outside appearance only). And Paul said if you do that, you will reap corruption.

He who sow to the flesh = someone stingy. Sowing in the spirit = someone generous / graceful.

We know that: Everlasting life is a gift and cannot be bought by money, so what is this verse Gal 6:8 talking?
(…but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.)

Let’s go to 1Tim 6:17  Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. (NKJV)

Indeed, God is so good, when you enjoy, God is glorified.

1Ti 6:18  Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share,
1Ti 6:19  storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.

The key word is… that they may lay hold on eternal life (Greek: ‘Ionos Zoe’). (I Tim 6:19 NKJV)

Eternal life is what Christ has done freely for us at the cross. Eternal life is already in you and you reap the joy from blessing people. That is laying hold on eternal life.

Eg: someone in need and you bless him, the person did not even know you bless him. You see him from a distance, he is smiling happy, sharing testimony; while all the while you are the secret giver. Are you robed from the joy? No but instead, there is a feeling of life (‘Zoe’) = you are reaping in your emotion; you are laying hold of eternal life.

So going back: Gal 6:8  …, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” So reap from where here? From within you! You are experiencing life in your emotion. Even in your body. Jesus once said: “if you are generous – your eye is single.” Hebraism: Single eye is found in proverb “he who has …eye is generous” if you are single eyes = you are generous, your whole body is so much full of life. Generous people are healthy.

 

One sows and another reaps:

There is no evil harvest in your future! Jesus reaped what we sowed. Did you see the 3 hour darkness and whirlwind at the cross? He was wounded for your evil sowing. So that we can reap what Jesus has sowed. For in this the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps.’ (John 4:37 NKJV)

This verse many Christians missed it. Jesus is the one who said this.

I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors.” (John 4:36-38 NKJV)

Jesus is the light of the world. Don’t care what you have done in the past, today is a brand new day for you. Believe in Jesus and you will have a crop that is incorruptible. Jesus became a captive to set us free.

Those who sow in tears Shall reap in joy. (Psalms 126:5 NKJV)

Psalms 126:3  The LORD has done great things for us, And we are glad. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, And our tongue with singing. Then they said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.” (Psalms 126:1-2 NKJV)

sowing-reaping

(Taken from the sermon of Ps. Joseph Prince on Sunday, 12 July 2015.)

Prosperity Gospel

There is no Prosperity Gospel, but we have the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it is the Good News that when we embrace the Gospel, and believe in it, then it will produce prosperity in every areas of our life, like peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, Health, and including material blessings of money. Thus, The Gospel always produces Prosperity in your life.

I am against selfish prosperity teaching being preached, that is prosperity being used to enrich the preacher alone and let other people be deprived. I am against telling people that if you give this amount then God will give you 100 times more…etc. This is wrong and not in line with the Gospel. But I am for telling the truth about the Good News of Jesus Christ, I want the people who hear the Gospel enjoy the fruits of overall prosperity in life. And as the people prosper, so will the church be. This should be the mission of every Pastor and Preacher of the New Covenant of Grace.

Jesus has done it all on the cross, He took all the bad so that we can receive all His good. ALL for us to receive without any conditions attached, while we were still sinners in our sins, while we were still grudging, selfish,and NOT a generous giver; He has given us first His Grace. Look at this verse:

2Cor 8:9  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.

No way can this be spiritualized, this is not spiritual blessing, but the whole context of 2 Corinthians chapter 8 & 9 are about money / material blessings / about giving.

The only time Jesus became poor was at the cross. He was born in the poor family, but even as a baby He had so much Grace that He attracted Gold & Silver, and frankincense, and myrrh that many wise men brought to baby Jesus, which was very expensive in those days in the Middle East.

Gold and silver (value system) comes to someone with Grace. Strip a person like Joseph and sell him only with his underwear in the slave market, and all he had was Grace (Gen 39:2  The LORD was with Joseph, and he was A SUCCESSFUL MAN…) and when he has Grace he has Favor, and everything else would come to him and before you knew it, he became the second most powerful man in Egypt. Yet his heart was not with all these material prosperity, but was in blessing of his brothers, was with saving the mankind.

Even you have nothing, it all starts with Grace, and Grace will bring you everything.

Those disputing prosperity teaching; Gospel is not about prosperity teaching, but these are true bible teachings. This Joseph story is not a fiction story, but indeed it did happen in the bible. God is the same God, Yesterday today and in the times to come, If He did it to Joseph, He can do it to you too. The Lord delights in the Prosperity of His people (Psalm 35:27) God loves to see you prosper! What you need is just believe! and you shall have what you believe.

The Lord delight in the prosperity of His people

God loves a cheerful Giver?

2Cor 9:7  So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; FOR GOD LOVES A CHEERFUL GIVER.
2Cor 9:8  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.

(Amplified bible Translation) GRACE is translated as (EVERY FAVOR and EARTHLY BLESSING) come to you IN ABUNDANCE so that you may ALWAYS and under all circumstances and whatever the need be self-sufficient. [Possessing enough to require no aid or support and furnished in abundance for every good work and charitable donation].

ALWAYS means: good time, bad time, famine time, harvest time, whatever time in the world with the banking system up or down does not affect you.

The context of these verse is about material giving, and when reading (2Cor 9:7-8) we tend to have the Wrong impression that there is a condition that IF we do this THEN God will do this: “IF you are a cheerful giver, THEN God will release all Grace toward you.” Am I right to say this?

This is wrong: because it will mean, Grace is dependent on your giving cheerfully. While we know that God’s Grace is unearned / unmerited favor, which is not dependent on your deeds of goodness, nor on your obedience of keeping the Law; but Grace is totally the Free Gift & Goodness of God.

So how do we interpret these verses?

Firstly, Rich does not make you a generous giver. Many rich people are having stingy spirit, not generous giver. By now you should know that having a lot of money does not make you a generous giver. Sow bountifully is a generous spirit, so is Sowing sparingly is also a small spirit (2Cor 9:6). And Grace will make you a generous spirit of giving bountifully. Grace will make you a generous giver, a cheerful giver, a liberal giver.

Zacchaeus the Tax Collector (Luke 19:1-10) ; Jesus gave him Grace first, Jesus treated him with respect and honor although he did not deserve it. Zacchaeus was a traitor in the eyes of Jews, because as a Jews he helped the Roman Government to suppress people with tax, collecting on Roman’s behalf. People hated him, and yet Jesus came to look for him, calling him ‘Zacchaeus’ which in Hebrew means “Not Guilty”, as if Jesus was pronouncing him as ‘Not Guilty’, and came to eat together at his house. Because of this Grace, Zacchaeus became a generous giver.

Ps Joseph Prince knows what is it like to put people under Grace and what Grace has done to people’s heart. Based on the historical record of New Creation Church (NCC) Singapore; the highest attendance was recorded on the 3 Sunday services where people were pre-informed, dedicated for the giving of building fund (Miracle seeds) for the new Church building ‘the Star’. People from unknown places, happened to come to give money. This is extraordinary! People loves to give willingly and cheerfully to NCC church which is a Grace Church.

Back to this verse:
2Cor 9:7-8  So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; FOR GOD LOVES A CHEERFUL GIVER.  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.

Look at the underlined sentence, if you read in the English translation, you would have the wrong impression on the word “IS ABLE TO” , which sounds like a FUTURE TENSE, a Potential ability: “God is able to”; a conditional sentence: as if that: “IF you are a cheerful giver, THEN God is able to make all grace abound toward you”.

But is this NOT so in the Greek original language: (look at the actual TENSE in Greek and the word ‘Dunamis’ is more than just ABLE, but it is the POWERFUL ENABLING FORCE, like Dynamite-Power in English.

Incorporating the Greek translation:
2Cor 9:8  And God is continuously able to ENABLING / EMPOWERING (Greek: DUNAMIS “English: ‘dynamite’) (in the present active indicative tense) make all grace abound toward you,..

God is Not is going to do it, God did not just do it one time in the past, but He is continuously doing it; a present continuous action that God has started in the past, and presently continuously doing it and will continue to do it endlessly until undefined future – forever!

Even now as I speak right now, He is enabling and He is empowering ALL GRACE. When you know this, then the verse before this says: God loves a cheerful giver, you are the cheerful giver, Why? Because you know God is always suppling you, always multiplying favor to you, and you are so full always having all sufficiency in all things, and always have an abundance for every good work, and this automatically makes you a cheerful giver.

His Grace comes first, Grace opens your heart, Grace makes you a generous giver.

god-loves-cheerful-giver

Have No Confidence in the flesh

If you trace back every sin of adultery, it all started with confidence in the flesh that “I can handle this”, “It is okay nothing will happen”. While Apostle Paul said in (Php 3:3) “we, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and yet we should have NO CONFIDENCE in the flesh”.

Although, Paul should have every reason to be confidence in his own flesh, as he said in the next verses (Php 3:4) If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I’d have more so, because:

(Php 3:5) I was circumcised at the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee;
(Php 3:6) concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

Therefore, brothers and sisters, you may think you are strong in Christ, and you worship God in the spirit daily, yet do not think for one second that you can handle your flesh, for if Paul cannot certainly nor can you?. Take advance precautions to avoid the temptations. The moment you have the confidence, you are already halfway falling in there.

NO confidence in flesh

The way to know God – (Jeremiah 9:23-24)

What are you looking for in Life? Are you still running around pursuing things that do not give you true happiness? How old are you now? Life is short on earth my friend. Do you build your life around material happiness? Or have you built the Relationship of Love in your circle of family and friends? Don’t live life just making money, many things you can do with your family and children without money. I witnessed kids in the poor village who were happy playing in the mud, they were all laughing without sophisticated toys, like: iPad Air 2 nor iPhone 6+. What are we teaching our children? Are we raising a bunch of materialistic generation?

I cannot give you advice but God can advise you. God never makes mistakes. He knows better than all of human race put together, for He lives before you and will still live, long after you are gone. Thus, He is the best person to give us advice.

Jer 9:23  Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom (1), Let not the mighty man glory in his might (2), Nor let the rich man glory in his riches (3);

God advise against man having glory in: (1) Knowledge / man-wisdom; (2) Might / Strength ; (3) Riches.

  • Knowledge: Some people feel the urge to know everything that is going around them, they read many articles, they must know everything & everyone famous, what can this knowledge done to you? It is only stealing your time, time is your life, and your life is too precious! World information does you nothing good, but putting fear and weary in your heart.
  • Mighty man: Some people are going to Gym building their body with extremity. You can train your body for being fit, but still Strength and Health must come from the Lord. Fit people can still suffer sudden death.
  • Riches: Many rich people build on their happiness on pursuing The pseudo-happiness of “If I can earn one more million then I will be happy”. Is he really happy? His promise “One day I will spend time with my kids and wife”, and before he knew it everyone has aged, his children grew up and he did not even have the chance to watch them grow up. He had no more chances to play together, as age has gotten hold of and the loss of the precious moments together. What are you raising the next generation for? Materialistic society?

The next verse tells us, God advises us to have glory in knowing Him deeper, to know that He is the Lord of Grace:

Jer 9:24  But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, That I am the LORD, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,” says the LORD.

How do we go from here to Know God? The New Covenant of Grace tells us how:

Heb 8:8  …: “BEHOLD, THE DAYS ARE COMING, SAYS THE LORD, WHEN I WILL MAKE A NEW COVENANT:

What is the Covenant about? It is about God will do for us instead of we do for Him, Notice the term of the new covenant is all about “I WILL”. The terms of New Covenant:

Heb 8:10  FOR THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD: (1) I WILL PUT MY LAWS IN THEIR MIND AND (2) I WILL WRITE THEM ON THEIR HEARTS; AND (3) I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND (4) THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.

Heb 8:11  NONE OF THEM SHALL TEACH HIS NEIGHBOR, AND NONE HIS BROTHER, SAYING, (a) ‘KNOW THE LORD,’ (b) FOR ALL SHALL KNOW ME, FROM THE LEAST OF THEM TO THE GREATEST OF THEM. None shall teach to (a) know the Lord, All shall (b) know me

The first know (a) in Greek is “Gynosco” = know by effort / experience.

The second Know (b) here is a different know in Greek, which is “Aida” = inward revelation, know from inside.

It is the same “knowing” in the story of a certain woman who had an issue with a flow of blood for twelve years, when she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment. And, immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction. The woman, was in awe, knowing what had happened to her, because she was healed. Knowing here in Greek = “Aida”, a inner revelation she knew inside her of what happened in her. (Not Knowing by effort nor by experience).

Isn’t this what we want happening in our people, in our church?. That they will KNOW God by Revelation? Because this is the true knowledge of the Lord. How do we have the True Knowledge of God for our church? The next verse of (Heb 8:12) tells us:

Heb 8:12  FOR I WILL BE (1) MERCIFUL TO THEIR UNRIGHTEOUSNESS, AND (2) THEIR SINS AND THEIR LAWLESS DEEDS I WILL REMEMBER NO MORE.

Pastors and Leaders, if only we preach these two items continuously to our church, (1) MERCIFUL TO THEIR UNRIGHTEOUSNESS, AND (2) THEIR SINS AND THEIR LAWLESS DEEDS GOD WILL REMEMBER NO MORE which are actually the Gospel of GRACE.  Then we shall have the true knowledge (“Aida”) of the Lord, a revelation of the Lord happening in our people. And where there is Revelation of the Lord, miracles and blessings come upon the people. That is where the powerful promises of the new covenant in (Heb 8:10) … I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE will be happening. If He is your God then illnesses, bad habits, and evils shall be gone, no enemies shall defeat you, and no poverty can come near you. If God is for you then no one can be against you. You are always a victor, and with Him you shall Reign in life. Hallelujah.

knowing-god-my-lifes-ultimate-pursuit

The Unfinished work of Christ – the Justification by Faith

Grace preachers preach a lot about The Finished work of Christ on the cross. Indeed, the Cross is the finished work that no one can add to and no one can take away from. It is completely complete, and perfectly perfect. It lays the solid foundation for man’s salvation. But, there is also the unfinished work of Christ. The book of Act defined one of these that Christ has begun and the Disciples shall continue the ministry on earth.

Act 1:1-2 (NLT) In my first book I told you, Theophilus, about everything Jesus BEGAN TO DO AND TEACH (to preach the Gospel)  until the day He was taken up to heaven after giving His chosen apostles further instructions through the Holy Spirit.

Luke who also wrote his first book of Luke, told another disciple, Theophilus, that Jesus’ Finished work is just a BEGINNING, they will have to continue the doing and preaching of the Gospel. This is the part of Jesus’ ministry that is still on going on this earth and it shall be executed by His body, i.e. the Church / the followers of Jesus, i.e. we – you & I, in this present days, until we meet face to face again with Him.

Jesus gave them this specific instruction on the last 40-day after His resurrection, the day before He was taken up into a cloud and into Heaven and sit at the right hand of Father God:

Act 1:8 (NLT)  “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be My WITNESSES, telling people about Me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Witnesses do not necessarily preach the Gospel, but more of the doer of the Gospel; when you believe in the Gospel, your actions in every day’s life will also reflect the Gospel. Believing Right produces Living Right. People can see you supernaturally different from others, there is something special about you, and they want to be like you, because they can see Jesus living in you.

This is the work that is unfinished to be continued by the disciples of Jesus, and there is also unfinished work on the part of Lord Jesus as well, that you are unaware, because it is invisible. We are normally aware only to what God has done. But do you know God is still continuously doing and working for you? (Php 2:13), God is still working in you, and around you. Even as you are reading this, God is still doing. Before you are reading this, God is already doing, and after you read this, God will still be doing. What God is doing, is based on the done. Based on the finished work of Christ. For instance, if God is healing you right now, is based on the HEALED (past tense) that “by His Stripe you were healed”.

Being aware of this fact will result in the positive Confident expectation of good be it right now (= Faith) or in the future (= Bible Hope). This hope is the helmet of Salvation which covers our thought / mind from being attacked by the Devils. Bible hope is not like the “hope” of the world, because bible hope never disappoints (Rom 5:5), it will certainly happen. And, when we know what God is continuously doing in the invisible realm, we will have this helmet of salvation / bible hope to protect us from the bad news and evils surrounding us. We shall not be afraid nor fear anymore! We shall have both: bold faith and bible hope. All because we have been Justified.

JUSTIFIED:

Rom 5:1 (NKJV)  Therefore, having been JUSTIFIED by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

Firstly, the word JUSTIFIED, means “just if I have never sinned” / Righteousness by Faith. Being justified does not mean I will never sin again, but it really means God will NEVER IMPUTE sins in my life, God sees me righteous even though at times I may fall into sins.
Q: How can God still sees me righteous even when I sinned?
A: The same way, even though God saw no sins in Jesus who is perfectly holy and righteous, yet God imputed all our sins to Jesus on the Cross. This is the greatest marvel that no human mind can understand  how God could do so. We just need to learn to accept this truth, and receive the fact by faith that we are righteous no matter what come may.

Justified also only refers and applicable only to imperfect people with sins. Perfect people no need to be justified anymore. Therefore, the main condition for you to be justified by God is you are being the imperfect people. Jesus is the savior for imperfect people. Jesus said: “Those who are well have no need of a doctor, but those who are sick. I have come for the sinners not the Righteous”. Well, this is “tongue in cheek” expression, there is deeper meaning, because Jesus was talking to the Scribes and the Pharisees who rejected Him and were complaining against His disciples. Certainly NO ONE on planet earth is righteous except Jesus Christ alone, thus everyone has sins and need a Savior. But, if you think you do not need a Savior, then Jesus will not force His Salvation on you, He will not save you if you reject Him.

Rom 3:24 (NKJV)  being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,

Justification is also FREE no conditions whatsoever, and to be justified freely, you can only possess it by His GRACE, and not try to earn it by following the Law (10th Commandments). You cannot have it by any other ways but His Grace.

God also cannot just presumptuously make a sinner righteous without a solid foundation, and the Righteous Foundation is the Cross of Jesus Christ where He took all our sins. And If you believe this, you will have activated the New Covenant that God has sworn to give. If I can put it in blunt word: God is now divinely obliged by the New Covenant sealed in Jesus’ blood, to impute Righteousness to you.

Now, we will be learning the original Greek Language. God chose the Greek Language at the right time for His New Testament because it is an amazing language, not only it is rich in word vocabulary, but also different tenses to reflect richly its meaning imperatively, indicatively, expressing the mood and the voice whether it is active voice or passive voice.

Rom 5:1 (NKJV)  Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

TENSES of JUSTIFIED:

  • An Aorist (ˈeɪ.ərɨst) tense which is to express happening in the past event.
  • It is also a PRESENT PASSIVE PARTICIPLE: You are not the one doing it, but God is CONTINUOUSLY imputing Righteousness to you; continuously before you fail, when you fail, and after you fail.

The redemption is done, perfect and complete, but look on our part as the recipient, in the subsequent verses:

Rom 5:17 (NKJV)  For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who RECEIVE abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

TENSES of RECEIVE:
PRESENT ACTIVE PARTICIPLE / you need to always be aware of it, always conscious of it, especially when you fail, continuously keep on receiving.

Therefore, there is not a time that you are not righteous, because God is continuously & unceasingly justifying you at any moment without ending, forever. It is indeed a point in time in the past you have received Jesus, and in your daily walk when you failed God or fell into sins, and the devils put the accusation in your mind “I’m not righteous anymore”. What shall you do when you do not feel Righteous?

My friend, when you do not feel righteous, it is not you, but merely your FEELING only. Treat your Feeling like when you’re on a journey in a car or bus, and you are looking out the window. Sometimes, you will see nice good scenery, and sometimes bad ones. Treat your Feeling like you’re a Spectator. Just watching your feeling passes by, enjoy it, Do not withhold your feeling for it may explode, but don’t let your feeling define you / overtake you either. Just enjoy it! And, believe in this Truth that God is still treating you as righteous and you are still getting blessed by Him. God never stops imputing righteousness to you and never stop blessing you. And you have to also continuously believe it by receiving it again and again, especially WHEN you fail Him. Now, knowing and believing this truth will not cause you a careless living, but will make you fall in love with Him even more, and will empower you to walk more in holiness.

Gift of Righteousness