On Mother's Day, 5/12/2013, Kevin DeYoung preached a sermon titled “Our Neglected Stewardship” at University Reformed Church in East Lansing, Michigan. DeYoung's sermon was almost exactly 1 hour long. In this single sermon, he covered:
-The reason his church needs to hear this message
-The state of giving in the American church
-Jesus' teaching on tithing in Matthew 23:23
-Pre-Mosaic Law passages on tithing (both Genesis 14 and 28)
-The introduction to tithing in the Mosaic Law: Leviticus 27
-The Three Mosaic Law Tithes in Numbers 18 and Deuteronomy 14
-The importance of firstfruits
-Israelite freewill offerings
-Paul's teachings on giving (1 Corinthians 9:13-14; 2 Corinthians 8:12; 2 Corinthians 9:1-5; 9:6; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2)
-Acts 4: offerings laid at the feet of the apostles
-The relationship between the Old Covenant and New Covenant and how Christians should approach the Old Covenant laws (biblical theology)
-Tithing in Church History: Apostolic Constitutions, Irenaeus, Augustine
-7 Applications for his congregation
This is an INCREDIBLE amount of material to cover. Seriously! The man touched upon EVERY major passage of Scripture that discusses tithing in BOTH testaments, did some biblical theology on the relationship between the covenants, traced the topic (briefly) in church history, and applied his teaching in extremely practical ways. That sounds like a ten part series, not a single sermon. DeYoung is a great communicator and he has an exceptional grasp of Scripture. As much as I disagree with his conclusions in THIS sermon, listening to it made me desire to listen to more of his preaching.
Let me give a few comments on where I agree with DeYoung:
-I am also embarrassed that the American church is giving about 2-3% of its income
-I am disappointed that only 12% of Protestants tithe to their church
-We agree that the best reading of tithing in the Mosaic Law is that there were three distinct tithes: Levitical, Festival, and Charity
-We agree that Israelite tithing equaled about 23% yearly (not including the Sabbatical year in the calculations)
-We are both repulsed by the prosperity gospel
-I love this thought: “If you want to be stingy towards God, God can be stingy towards you. And if you want to be bountiful toward God, He has at His disposal the means to be bountiful toward you.”
-He says: “How you view tithing has a lot to do with how you view the Old Testament.” I think that is very insightful and raises why this can be an important topic.
-He emphasizes giving to the local church first; I think that is entirely in line with what I gather from the New Testament
-Stewardship should be an important aspect of discipleship
-He says: “Use your wallet to test and to shape your heart.” Brilliant thought!
-His last application point is: “Excel in the grace of giving because of God's grace to you.” I absolutely adore the idea of giving in response to God's grace in our lives.
I don't get the sense that DeYoung has thought lightly about giving, but that he has truly meditated on the importance of giving in the life of a Christian.