Lesson 11 – The Principle of Liberality

////Lesson 11 – The Principle of Liberality
Lesson 11 – The Principle of Liberality2016-11-27T17:36:59+00:00

Sabbath, December 13, 2008

 

Memory verse
“Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” Luke 6:38.

Objectives
• To be well acquainted with the divine plan for Christian stewardship, which has existed since ancient times.
• To increase our knowledge of the different areas of Christian stewardship.
• To meditate about the promises that God has given the generous steward.

Introduction
“If the hearts of God’s people were filled with love for Christ; if every church member were thoroughly imbued with the Spirit of self-sacrifice; if all manifested thorough earnestness, there would be no lack of funds for home or foreign missions. Our resources would be multiplied; a thousand doors of usefulness would be opened, and we should be invited to enter. Had the pur­pose of God been carried out by His people in giving to the world the message of mercy, Christ would, ere this, have come to the earth, and the saints would have received their welcome into the city of God.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, p. 450.

Acknowledging Gods proprietorship
1. How do the holy Scriptures say of God’s position as Creator, Proprietor, and Ruler of the universe?
1 Chronicles 29:11-14 Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all. Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all. Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name. But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee.
Haggai 2:8
The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the LORD of hosts.
Psalm 24:1, 2
The earth is the LORD’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.

[2] For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods.

“There are many who in their hearts charge God with being a hard master because He claims their possessions and their service. But we can bring to God nothing that is not already His. ‘All things come of Thee,’ said King David; ‘and of Thine own have we given Thee.’ 1 Chronicles 29:14. All things are God’s, not only by creation, but by redemption. All the blessings of this life and of the life to come are delivered to us stamped with the cross of Calvary.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 362.

2. In relation to the tithe, first fruits, and offerings, who are the only ones who acknowledge that everything belongs to God?
Genesis 14:18-20  
And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.
Genesis 18:19 For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.
Genesis 26:5 Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.
Galatians 3:6-9
Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.  Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.  And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.  So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.


“The tithing system reaches back beyond the days of Moses. Men were required to offer to God gifts for religious purposes before the definite sys­tem was given to Moses, even as far back as the days of Adam. In com­plying with God’s requirements, they were to manifest in offerings their appreciation of His mercies and blessings to them. This was continued through successive generations, and was carried out by Abraham, who gave tithes to Melchizedek, the priest of the most high God.” –Counsels on Stewardship, p. 69.

Teaching liberality
3. What was the Levites’ privilege in the Israelite economy?
Numbers 18:20, 21
And the LORD spake unto Aaron, Thou shalt have no inheritance in their land, neither shalt thou have any part among them: I am thy part and thine inheritance among the children of Israel. And, behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle of the congregation.
Nehemiah 10:37
And that we should bring the firstfruits of our dough, and our offerings, and the fruit of all manner of trees, of wine and of oil, unto the priests, to the chambers of the house of our God; and the tithes of our ground unto the Levites, that the same Levites might have the tithes in all the cities of our tillage.


“The appointed ministers of the sanctuary, the Levites received no landed inheritance; they dwelt together in cities set apart for their use, and received their support from the tithes and the gifts and offerings de­voted to God’s service. They were the teachers of the people, guests at all their festivities, and everywhere honored as servants and representatives of God. To the whole nation was given the command: ‘Take heed to thyself that thou forsake not the Levite as long as thou livest upon the earth.’ ‘Levi hath no part nor inheritance with his brethren; the Lord is his inheri­tance.’ Deuteronomy 12:19; 10:9.” –Education, pp. 148, 149.

4. How many different tithes were there in Israel as a nation? What was the purpose of each?
a) First tithe: Leviticus 27:30 And 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 unto the LORD.
This tenth part came from all their possessions. “Concerning the first tithe, the Lord had declared, ‘I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel.’ ” –Review and Herald, September 17, 1889, par. 1.
b) Second tithe: Deuteronomy 14:22-27 Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year. And thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always. And if the way be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it; or if the place be too far from thee, which the LORD thy God shall choose to set his name there, when the LORD thy God hath blessed thee: Then shalt thou turn it into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose: And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household, And the Levite that is within thy gates; thou shalt not forsake him; for he hath no part nor inheritance with thee.

“The consecration to God of a tithe of all increase, whether of the or­chard and harvest field, the flocks and herds, or the labor of brain or hand, the devotion of a second tithe for the relief of the poor and other benevolent uses, tended to keep fresh before the people the truth of God’s ownership of all, and of their opportunity to be channels of His blessings. It was a train­ing adapted to kill out all narrowing selfishness, and to cultivate breadth and nobility of character.” –Education, p. 44.

c) Another tithe: Deuteronomy 14:28, 29 At the end of three years thou shalt bring forth all the tithe of thine increase the same year, and shalt lay it up within thy gates:  And the Levite, (because he hath no part nor inheritance with thee,) and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within thy gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hand which thou doest.
“Every third year, however, this second tithe was to be used at home, in entertaining the Levite and the poor, as Moses said, ‘That they may eat within thy gates, and be filled.’ Deuteronomy 26:12. This tithe would provide a fund for the uses of charity and hospitality.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 530.

The present systemfor preaching the gospel
5. Regarding the tithe, what is God’s purpose for those who are consecrated to the ministry?
1 Corinthians 9:9, 14 For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen?… Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.
1 Timothy 5:18 For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.
Malachi 2:7
For the priest’s lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts.


“It was to this plan for the support of the ministry that Paul referred when he said, ‘Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.’ And later, in writing to Timothy, the apostle said, ‘The laborer is worthy of his reward.’ 1 Timothy 5:18.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 336.
“Let each regularly examine his income, which is all a blessing from God, and set apart the tithe as a separate fund, to be sacredly the Lord’s. This fund should not in any case be devoted to any other use; it is to be devoted solely to support the ministry of the gospel. After the tithe is set apart, let gifts and offerings be apportioned, ‘as God hath prospered’ you.” –(Review and Herald, May 9, 1893) Counsels on Stewardship, p. 81.

6. Besides the tithe, what else belongs to God?
Deuteronomy 26:1-11
And it shall be, when thou art come in unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance, and possessest it, and dwellest therein; That thou shalt take of the first of all the fruit of the earth, which thou shalt bring of thy land that the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt put it in a basket, and shalt go unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose to place his name there. And thou shalt go unto the priest that shall be in those days, and say unto him, I profess this day unto the LORD thy God, that I am come unto the country which the LORD sware unto our fathers for to give us. And the priest shall take the basket out of thine hand, and set it down before the altar of the LORD thy God. And thou shalt speak and say before the LORD thy God, A Syrian ready to perish was my father, and he went down into Egypt, and sojourned there with a few, and became there a nation, great, mighty, and populous: And the Egyptians evil entreated us, and afflicted us, and laid upon us hard bondage: And when we cried unto the LORD God of our fathers, the LORD heard our voice, and looked on our affliction, and our labour, and our oppression: And the LORD brought us forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with great terribleness, and with signs, and with wonders: And he hath brought us into this place, and hath given us this land, even a land that floweth with milk and honey. And now, behold, I have brought the firstfruits of the land, which thou, O LORD, hast given me. And thou shalt set it before the LORD thy God, and worship before the LORD thy God: And thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the LORD thy God hath given unto thee, and unto thine house, thou, and the Levite, and the stranger that is among you.
Exodus 22:29
Thou shalt not delay to offer the first of thy ripe fruits, and of thy liquors: the firstborn of thy sons shalt thou give unto me.
Nehemiah 10:37
And that we should bring the firstfruits of our dough, and our offerings, and the fruit of all manner of trees, of wine and of oil, unto the priests, to the chambers of the house of our God; and the tithes of our ground unto the Levites, that the same Levites might have the tithes in all the cities of our tillage.
Proverbs 3:9
Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase.


“God has laid His hand upon all things, both man and his possessions; for all belong to Him. He says, I am the owner of the world; the universe is Mine, and I require you to consecrate to My service the first fruits of all that I, through My blessing, have caused to come into your hands. God’s word declares, ‘Thou shalt not delay to offer the first of thy ripe fruits.’ ‘Honor the Lord with thy substance, and with the first fruits of all thine in­crease.’ This tribute He demands as a token of our loyalty to Him.” –Coun­sels on Stewardship, p. 72.

7. What part is taken from the tithes and first fruits received by the unions and forwarded to the General Conference for worldwide denominational missionary work?
Numbers 18:26
Thus speak unto the Levites, and say unto them, When ye take of the children of Israel the tithes which I have given you from them for your inheritance, then ye shall offer up an heave offering of it for the LORD, even a tenth part of the tithe.
Nehemiah 10:38
And the priest the son of Aaron shall be with the Levites, when the Levites take tithes: and the Levites shall bring up the tithe of the tithes unto the house of our God, to the chambers, into the treasure house.

Offerings
8. How can God’s plan regarding liberality be implemented? How should the principle of giving be practiced?
2 Chroni­cles 24:10
And all the princes and all the people rejoiced, and brought in, and cast into the chest, until they had made an end.
Psalm 96:8
Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come into his courts.
Malachi 3:8
Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.

“This matter of giving is not left to impulse. God has given us definite instruction in regard to it. He has specified tithes and offerings as the measure of our obligation. And He desires us to give regularly and system­atically. Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, ‘Concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him.’ Let each regularly examine his income, which is all a blessing from God…. After the tithe is set apart, let gifts and offering be apportioned, ‘as God hath prospered’ you.” –Counsels on Sabbath School Work, pp. 129, 130.

9. What other kind of offerings should be considered for the proclamation of the gospel?
Ezra 1:6 And all they that were about them strengthened their hands with vessels of silver, with gold, with goods, and with beasts, and with precious things, beside all that was willingly offered.
1 Chronicles 25:7-9
So the number of them, with their brethren that were instructed in the songs of the LORD, even all that were cunning, was two hundred fourscore and eight. And they cast lots, ward against ward, as well the small as the great, the teacher as the scholar. Now the first lot came forth for Asaph to Joseph: the second to Gedaliah, who with his brethren and sons were twelve:


“God’s work must be sustained by tithes and gifts and offerings.” –The Upward Look, p. 113.
“The responsibility of giving great or small donations is individual.” –Counsels on Stewardship, p. 218.

Experiences with Gods plan
10. What experience can we have if we are faithful?
Proverbs 11:25
The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.
Matthew 6:19-20
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:  But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

“Liberality is one of the directions of the Holy Spirit, and when the professed people of God withhold from the Lord His own in tithes and of­ferings, they meet with spiritual loss. The Lord does not reward a stinted liberality. He calls upon the people to honor Him with their substance, and with the first-fruits of all their increase.…

“The qualities which it is essential for all to possess are those which marked the completeness of Christ’s character–His love, His patience, His unselfishness, and His goodness….” –This Day with God, pp. 97, 272.

11. What blessings has God promised all who are faithful?
Luke 6:38
Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

“All our blessings come from His bountiful hand. In turn, He would have men and women show their gratitude by returning Him a portion in tithes and offerings–in thank offerings, in freewill offerings, in trespass offerings.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 75.

12. Besides being Owner of everything, what great sacrifice did God give for all mankind?
1 John 4:9, 10
In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Romans 4:25; 5:6, 7, 10
Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification… For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die… For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
2 Corinthians 8:9
For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.

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