A Tithe to Remember
May the grace of God our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ bring such comfort and peace, that you with joy commit your spirit into their hands
As this service draws to close, there is something we need to discuss, something I need to encourage you to do, that you might not want to do.
I am here to convince you to tithe.
Is that okay Pastor Rich? You aren’t going to mind if I talk about tithing a little, right?
By the way, by tithing I am not talking about a measly 10 percent of your net, or better 10% of your complete worth.
I am going to talk about a tithe of 100 percent.
The goal is to give it all to God, for that is what Peter is talking about when he tells believers,
“For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps.” 1 Peter 2:21 (NLT)
To tithe, to give it all, to take up your cross,
It is difficult, but not as difficult as you think. For Jesus shows the way, even as He utters these words,
46 Then Jesus shouted, “Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands!” And with those words he breathed his last. Luke 23:46 (NLT)
I entrust my spirit, or as the translation here has, “Into your hands I commit my spirit.”
When we hear Paul say, imitate me, as I imitate Christ, this is the kind of tithe we are talking about.
When we hear Jesus say, take up your cross that too is part of this tithe which we speak
So are you ready to tithe?
II. Christ’s tithe.
To tithe, means to commit, to entrust, to give over.
It is what Jesus does, as He entrusts everything to the Father as he is dying. Not 10 percent, not holding back anything. Theologians will talk discuss whether this is an act of the human part of Jesus, or the divine part, missing the point.
Jesus trusts the Father. They committed themselves to our salvation, before the world was began. You see it during all the work God did with Israel, assuring us of Christ’s presence, His love. And here, in the depth of His pain, as he bears the weight of the sin of the world, as He bears the weight of our sin.
Jesus entrusts Himself to the Father. He tithes.
He endures to the end, trusting in the Father, and the promises the Father made to us.
He entrusts Himself to God the Father, even as we should.
That is tithing,
Trusting, having faith, believing that the Father will keep to His promises.
III Our tithe.
So now, let’s talk about you and I, and how we take up our cross, how we walk in Jesus steps, how we are to tithe, commit, and entrust our Spirit to Christ.
The simple answer is, you already did. Well you didn’t…God took care of that for you. Nevertheless you are committed into His hands. You just need to realize it.
When a pastor poured water over you, or dropped you into a baptism tank, it wasn’t the pastor at work. It was God, taking you into His hands, promising to care for you, body, soul, spirit and mind. He united you to the cross with Christ, nailing your sins there, but promising that by the power that raised Christ from the dead, you would know that resurrection as well.
He committed Himself to holding you in His hands. He tithed you, completely into His hands.
When you hear a pastor forgive your sins, you are reminded, you are not your own, you’ve been bought with a price, the price pain on that cross.
When you are given His Body, when you drink His blood, the promise remains.
He died for you, and you shared in that death.
Even as you hold His body and blood in your hands, He has placed you into His own. He tithed you there.
When He says, Father, into Your hands I commit my Spirit… we are there, the children of God, the sisters and brothers of Christ, united to God through the death of Christ.
Here His words from the apostle John:
19 And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth. John 17:19 (NLT)
All this, the sermons, the music, the service, is here to convince you to persuade you of this, that as Christ tithes, as He commits His Spirit to the hands of the Father, so all in Christ are placed there too.
Secure, saved, redeemed, in Christ. Dead to sin, and alive to Him.
(for the Greek and Hebrew Scholars out there, yes, I know that there is a word in Hebrew that means 10th, and iithemi – or paraTITHEmi is the word in Greek. Yet a tithe in Hebrew is a iving that represents ownership of the whole, by the one the 10th is given to.)
Why Was Jesus Baptized?
Mark 1:4-11, Romans 6:1-11
May the blessing of Christ’s baptism and yours, continue to astound you, as you realize the love of God which bound you to Him, as the water and word made you and God inseparable!
I want you to picture yourself in John the Baptist’s sandals this morning.
You are well aware of the Spirit’s work in your life, you see people coming to repentance in a way not seen in centuries. You know the prophecies, you’ve had to explain them to so many…
“No, I am not the Messiah”
“Yes, he is coming”,
“what will He be like? I cannot even begin to think of it, but His ministry to mankind will be more than you can explain. I can explain this – but the ministry of the Messiah, the Christ? It will be so amazing that I can’t even compare it to a king and his lowest servant….”
You look up from those you are teaching, and He is there. Your soul leaps, as it did the day when your mothers met, and both of you were still in the womb. You know, He knows you do.
Jesus, your cousin, your Lord, your God is here. Asking to get baptized, by you…
As the other gospels describe this, you would tell him, “No, this doesn’t make sense, I should be the one baptized…”
Jesus response, “no this is right. I will be baptized by you.”
John obeys, as I hope each of us would…
But the question remains… why does Jesus need to be baptized?
Why is it… right?
Baptism into Death
You into His
He into ours
When you study baptism throughout the scriptures, it is always connected to death,
We see this clearly in Romans 6 – where Paul tells us that we’ve died with Christ. That in our baptism, we are joined to death on the cross, to his burial. The scriptures that talk of being born again, that talk of those who trust in God are a new creation.
It all happens in this sacrament.
We need to join into His death… if we are to have the hope of being cleansed of sin of being granted repentance, of being able to live this new life. That is what the glorious power of God does to us, as God claims us as His children.
This even is true in the Old Testament, where one separated from God and His people because of sin, was sent out of the camp. They were separated for a time, and prior to rejoining the people of God – had to ceremoniously wash. It was part of their psyche, their community, that the washing was a sign of repentance. Not only washing the person, but also various things that have come into contact with sin… or with blood.
Sin has to be washed away… it has to be dealt with, and in our baptism, it was… once and for all. 12 For when you were baptized, you were buried with Christ, and in baptism you were also raised with Christ through your faith in the active power of God, who raised him from death. 13 You were at one time spiritually dead because of your sins and because you were Gentiles without the Law. But God has now brought you to life with Christ. God forgave us all our sins; Colossians 2:12-13 (TEV)
I will say we need to be reminded of it often…we need to know the promises of baptism…
the removal of sin
the blessing of repentance
the promise of eternal life,
the promise of the Holy Spirit, entering into an intimate fellowship with God
So we get back to the original question… why did Jesus have to be baptized?
If baptism is the joining in the death of someone, then perhaps we find the answer there. In His baptism, Jesus must be baptized into our death, to take on those sins, He must die for us, and His baptism is a picture of His death, his willingness to take our death, so that we can rise.
In his baptism – it is right and necessary, that He join us in our death, so that He can defeat it.
He joins us to bear our death…. We join Him, to be rid of the death, and rise again. He is baptized to take our sin, we are baptized so He could as well.
But there is one thing point in which we share in baptism with Jesus….
With you I am well pleased…. Sound familiar?
As Jesus was baptized, as He joined himself to us, the heavens opened wide, they split open as we heard Isaiah pray for just a few weeks ago….
What happens next to Him, happens to us…
The Spirit descends on Him, Just as the sins are taken/removed – so to the picture of the Spirit’s descent is true. We don’t talk about it much, but in each of you, the Holy Spirit dwells.
The Holy Spirit, who sanctifies us, who keeps us in the presence of God, who testifies to us of God’s love, yes, through word and sacrament, through our being reminded of the promises of baptism, in the feast of the Lord’s Supper, who testifies to us in words of absolution, and in times of prayer, and in those times we serve each other….
God is here…
He calls us His sons, His daughters, His children.
And He says to all those, united to His Son in baptism, you are my beloved child, and you bring me great joy…