Tithing is 'of the Law' (Continued)
6 "For I am the LORD, I do not change; Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob. 7 Yet from the days of your fathers You have gone away from My ordinances And have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you, "Says the LORD of hosts."But you said, 'In what way shall we return?'
8 "Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, 'In what way have we robbed You?'In tithes and offerings. 9 You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation. 10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, NKJV
Tithes were FOOD and not money, which the SONS OF JACOB were to give to the Levites and priests to EAT!
23 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. NKJV
The Jews (ie scribes and Pharisees) were required as a ‘matter of the LAW’ to give tithes of FOOD.
5 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 NKJV
The Levite priesthood ALONE is to receive tithes and this commandment only exists under or according to the LAW. Tithes were only to come from their brethren, the other tribes of Israel.
The Holy Spirit and apostles in Acts 15 confirmed conclusively that tithing which is a requirement of the Law (according numerous other scriptures) is NOT a REQUIREMENT for Gentile believers.
5 But some of the sect of the Pharisees who believed rose up, saying, "It is necessary to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses."
6 Now the apostles and elders came together to consider this matter. 7 And when there had been much dispute, Peter rose up and said to them:"Men and brethren, you know that a good while ago God chose among us, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. 8 So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us, 9 and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. 10 Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? 11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they."
NOTE that tithing is a BURDEN which is NOT required according to the Holy Spirit. Peter states that those who put the requirements of the Law of New Testament believers are TESTING GOD! (vs 10)
To the brethren who are of the Gentiles in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia:
24 Since we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls, saying, "You must be circumcised and keep the law" — to whom we gave no such commandment — 25 it seemed good to us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who will also report the same things by word of mouth. 28 For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: 29 that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. NKJV
If we are led by the Spirit we will not be ‘tithing’. The Holy Spirit is not going to tell the church in the scriptures that they are not required to keep the Law (including the law of tithing) and then lead members of the body individually to try and do this to the contrary!
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. NKJV
If you believe that you are required to give 10% of your income to the church today and that this constitutes scriptural ‘tithing’ then you FIRST need to go and examine all the scriptures again:-
Tithing was scripturally only ever required of Israel – never of gentiles or of the church
Tithing is scripturally only ever food produce of the Promised Land – never of money earned
Tithing is scripturally always to be given to the Levites and priests – today we are all priests
Tithing was required to be eaten by the giver and his family at feasts and shared with the Levites – never given as income for ministers or to finance churches
Tithing was never scripturally required or ever used to finance the gospel in the New Testament
Abraham’s tithe was a one-off tithe of spoils of war - not of his own possessions (Gen 13:2)
Jacob’s tithe was a one-off tithe given at least 20 years after he was blessed - if it was ever given
When we try to do ‘works of the Law’ we will find ourselves being left feeling condemned. This is because we can never obey all the Law fully and continually as required by God. (Deut 28:15)
For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who does not continue inall things which are written in the book of the law, to do them." NKJV
22 Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. 23 But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin. NKJV
If you still want to give 10% of your income to a ‘local church’ then you should also examine your motivation. God looks at the motivation of our heart and not our works (Heb 4:12-13)
The majority of church members who pay tithes do so because of the fear that God will somehow curse them if they do not ‘tithe’ or withhold His blessing from them. This demonstrates that they are deceived and are NOT operating in FAITH in the completed work of Christ on the cross for them!
Malachi was a prophet under the Law so the curse of Malachi 3 applied to ISRAEL only. (Mal 3:6)
13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree"), 14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. NKJV
Tithing for most today is obeying a Law because they are motivated by FEAR of this curse (Mal 3:9)
Fear prevents you from receiving the BLESSING of Abraham which can only be obtained by FAITH.
Faith is demonstrated when you CEASE from your works.
For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. NKJV
Freedom is found when we get to know the love of God for us and who we are and what we have received in Christ! We then are no longer motivated by FEAR.
32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? NKJV
Gifts and offerings and sacrifices are no longer relevant
9 It was symbolic for the present time in which both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make him who performed the service perfect in regard to the conscience — 10 concerned only with foods and drinks, various washings, and fleshly ordinances imposed until the time of reformation.
11 But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come NKJV
12 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. 14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. NKJV
8 Previously saying, "Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them" (which are offered according to the law), 9 then He said, "Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God." He takes away the first that He may establish the second. 10 By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. NKJV
The scriptures do not require New Testament ‘sacrifices or offerings’. GOD does not desire them! NOR do they please Him!
(Other than praise and giving thanks and doing good works such as sharing with the needy as per Heb 13:15-16. Old Covenant sacrifices were NEVER of silver or gold i.e. money)
Sowing and Reaping in context
This refers principally to sowing SEED which is the WORD of GOD so that people can be saved!
"Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. 4 And it happened, as he sowed, that some seed NKJV
14 The sower sows the word. NKJV
Sowing is also used in the context of giving for the needs of others rather than just being self indulgent. (i.e. not sowing to the flesh)
2 Cor 9:6
But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. NKJV
2 Cor 9:10-12
10 Now may 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, 11 while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God. 12 For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, NKJV
The context is giving for the NEEDS of the starving saints in Jerusalem and not for church finances.
Sowing seed is NOT a ‘get rich quick scheme’. This false teaching has bred the perception that God is a like ‘cosmic slot machine’. God does however bless our love motivated generosity so that we can continue to GIVE to the needy.
7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 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. 9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith. NKJV
1 Cor 16:1-2
Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: 2 On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come. NKJV
Note that this verse refers to a collection for the starving saints in Jerusalem and not for church coffers. This was certainly not referring to ‘tithes’ as some claim today, or even weekly church collections.
We are encouraged to not be self indulgent and to keep working hard so that we will prosper and have the resources not only to provide for our needs but also to enable us to be generous!
13) Covetousness and extortion in the church system and what the scriptures say we are to do?
Is there covetousness in the church today?
When walking into most church fellowships today almost worldwide the experience of many is summed up in this common response, ‘These people really seem to want your money’. Should we not examine and address this concern?
The scriptures not only say that there will be covetousness from the church leaders, the same scriptures also tell believers why it happens and how we are to respond.
Covetousness (def. 'the almost insatiable desire for wealth especially that which belongs to others') is seen when people, who do not have because they have not worked, use ILLEGITIMATE means to get money which others have earned and worked hard for. Is not the worst demonstration of covetousness the distortion of what God has said in His Word in order to DECEIVE God’s children and thereby to EXTORT money from them in His name? (Mat 24:45-51)
5 Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, 7 in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. NKJV
Matt 6:24 "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. NKJV
Those who behave covetously and are pursuing other people’s wealth are NOT SERVING GOD. They are committing IDOLATRY and are actually serving the MAMMON. They are certainly breaking the 10th Commandment and are manifesting ‘the love of money’ which is the root of all evil.
Covetousness and church leadership roles.
1 Tim 3:2-7 (See also 1 Tim 3:1-10)
2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; 3 not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; 4 one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence 5(for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?); 6 not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. 7 Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. NKJV
7 For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, 8 but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled, 9 holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict. NKJV
Greedy and covetous people are disqualified by God’s word from holding church leadership roles.
1 Peter 5:1-4
The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: 2 Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; 3 nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; 4 and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away. NKJV
Shepherding means feeding and looking after i.e. giving to them and not being a burden on them.
The KJV says ‘not for FILTHY LUCRE’ i.e. money deceitfully gained. Look at Paul’s example.
2 Cor 12:14-15
Now for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be burdensome to you; for I do not seek yours, but you. For the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children. NKJV
What are we told to do when covetousness is manifested from leaders in the church?
There are numerous scriptures which command believers to withdraw from and have nothing to do with those who will not work and have made a business out of the ministry.
For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, 11 whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain. NKJV (KJV ‘for filthy LUCRE’ i.e. Mammon)
1 Cor 5:11
11 But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner — not even to eat with such a person. NKJV
15 When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers' money and overturned the tables. 16 And He said to those who sold doves, "Take these things away! Do not make My Father's house a house of merchandise!" NKJV
2 Cor 2:17
17 For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ. NKJV
1 Tim 6:3-5
If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, 4 he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, 5 useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself. NKJV
2 Cor 11:20
20 For you put up with it if one brings you into bondage, if one devours you, if one takes from you, if one exalts himself, if one strikes you on the face. NKJV
We are not to put up with those who teach that we have to obey the law of tithing and thereby put us under bondage, or anyone that devours or takes from us, or anyone that exalts himself (i.e. by giving himself a title) so as to assume the role of the person authorized to receive money from us in the form of tithes or offerings ‘on God’s behalf’ (i.e. that giving your money to them constitutes ‘giving to God’)
5 For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not be partakers with them. NKJV
Are we not being partakers of deception when we continue to financially support false teaching?
2 Thess 3:6-11
But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us. 7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow us, for we were not disorderly among you; 8 nor did we eat anyone's bread free of charge, but worked with labor and toil night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, 9 not because we do not have authority, but to make ourselves an example of how you should follow us.10 For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. NKJV
Paul also warns the elders to CARE for and protect the flock so that they do not get DEVOURED.
28 Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. 29 For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. 31 Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.
32 "So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. 33 I have coveted no one's silver or gold or apparel. 34 Yes, you yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me. 35 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.'" NKJV
The context shows that savage wolves are those ELDERS who speak perverse things (i.e. they teach the ‘law of tithing’) and draw away disciples after themselves who they can then exploit because these leaders will not work as per Paul’s example. The distinguishing feature is the COVETING of money.
The only giving that preachers are entitled to receive scripturally is HOSPITALITY and only when they are ITINERANT (Mat 10:5-11 and Luke 10:1-9)...and that only where they are not able to work (as per Paul’s commands). The ‘wages’ were never to be money paid in the form of an income. Paul in many of his epistles tells believers emphatically that they are not to support those who would not follow his example of WORKING and being self supporting even though he was an apostle himself.
Paul did, when necessary, receive the ‘wages’ of hospitality that Jesus commanded but only when he was travelling and not able to work.
2 Cor 11:7-8
7 Did I commit sin in humbling myself that you might be exalted, because I preached the gospel of God to you free of charge? 8 I robbed other churches, taking wages from them to minister to you.
Peter also warned of those who would teach destructive heresies for money.
2 Peter 2:1-3
But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. 2 And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. 3 By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words NKJV
So we need to allow GOD’s Spirit lead us in our hearts, without being pressured by covetous men, as to where and what else we want to give towards.
2 Cor 9:5
5 Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren to go to you ahead of time, and prepare your generous gift beforehand, which you had previously promised, that it may be ready as a matter of generosity and not as a grudging obligation. NKJV
Generosity is to be encouraged but NEVER demanded or required. If you feel that you are being pressured and manipulated then simply DO NOT GIVE! This passage refers to giving to the POOR.
2 Cor 9:6-8
But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. NKJV
So what about giving to enable ‘church’ premises to be acquired?
There are NO New Testament scriptures that suggest in any way that we should support the cost of purchasing buildings as ‘churches’ or as the ‘house of God’. The physical temple was destroyed in AD70 and God does not live in buildings made of human hands! Calling a church building ‘the house of God’ is unscriptural in the New Covenant because today God dwells in His children. (1 Cor 3:16). We as His children are THE only temple today.
...God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. 25 Nor is He worshiped with men's hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things NKJV
John 18: 36 Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world NKJV
Buildings and corporate organizations are certainly ‘of this world’
The early church met mainly in private residences and freely available public places. Today this may not always be viable if the church fellowship is larger than can readily be accommodated.
· Assisting with the payments for the cost of hired premises for the church to meet in - We are free to choose as long as there is NO compulsion applied.
· Paying for the costs associated with the gospel being preached. - We are free to decide how and where (but let us be sure it is the GOSPEL of grace and not that of works and bondage especially one laced with deception about money)
(This is important because if you cannot trust people to tell you the truth about your money, you cannot trust them to tell the truth about God‘s grace either!)
10 He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. 11 Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful in what is another man's, who will give you what is your own? NKJV
This explains in part why many church organizations always seem to want and need money!
1 Cor 16:1-3
Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: 2 On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come. NKJV
Note again the context of church collections, they were NEVER for buildings but for starving SAINTS!
When they had come to Capernaum, those who received the temple tax came to Peter and said, "Does your Teacher not pay the temple tax ?" 25 He said, "Yes."
And when he had come into the house, Jesus anticipated him, saying, "What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth take customs or taxes, from their sons or from strangers?"
26 Peter said to Him, "From strangers."
Jesus said to him, "Then the sons are free. NKJV
If we are miraculously prosperous in our business or work (Peter was a fisherman), we are also FREE to contribute as God blesses the work of our hands and as WE ourselves purpose in our own hearts.
What about double honor to elders who teach?
1 Tim 5:17-18
Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine. 18 For the Scripture says, "You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain," and, "The laborer is worthy of his wages." NKJV
Honor is not money i.e. we are to honor widows and our parents (1 Tim 5:3) and slaves were to honor their masters (1 Tim 6:1). This certainly did not mean giving money to them and certainly not paying them a salary.
And according to Jesus in Mat 10:10 the wages which the worker is worthy of is only HOSPITALITY!
8 But you, do not be called 'Rabbi'; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. 9 Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. 10 And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ. 11 But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. NKJV
Those who use titles and seek honor from men should not be honored. Ministry is about serving and washing peoples FEET, not exalting ourselves as those entitled to receive money! (Mat 6:24)
And what about 1 Corinthians chapter 9 and the rights to ‘live from the gospel’?
1 Cor 9:14
14 Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel.
The Lord’s command about ‘wages’ of hospitality was given only when the APOSTLES were sent out. In both scriptures where wages are mentioned Jesus defines what these ‘wages’ were that the rights of the apostle apply to. In this chapter the context that Paul addresses is ‘the rights of an itinerant apostle’ and this certainly does not provide any justification for ‘located elders’ to receive payment.
The right spoken of was the right to eat what was freely offered and to stay with people on their travels who freely offered lodgings! There was NO right to receive money in payment for ministry.
1 Cor 9:17-18
18 What is my reward then? That when I preach the gospel, I may present the gospel of Christ without charge, that I may not abuse my authority in the gospel. NKJV
Paul even refers to other itinerant apostles who charged for ministry rather than working and providing for themselves as effectively abusing their authority in the gospel!
Freely you have received, freely give. NKJV
Being paid for ‘ministering’ is NOT FREELY GIVING.
13 "No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon". NKJV
If ministers claim that they should be paid, Jesus is saying that they are then NOT serving God.
Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches. NKJV
Where someone is an itinerant teacher, invite him around for a meal and lodgings if he needs it.
The Didache was a widely accepted mid-late first century early Christian handbook which gives this same advice regarding apostles, and confirms the practice of the early church ministers as not being paid.
“But whoever says in the Spirit, ‘Give me money’, or something else, you shall not listen to him. But if he tells you to give for others' sake who are in need, let no one judge him.
Chapter 12. Reception of Christians. But receive everyone who comes in the name of the Lord, and prove and know him afterward; for you shall have understanding right and left. If he who comes is a wayfarer, assist him as far as you are able; but he shall not remain with you more than two or three days, if need be. But if he wants to stay with you, and is an artisan, let him work and eat. But if he has no trade, according to your understanding, see to it that, as a Christian, he shall not live with you idle. But if he wills not to do, he is a Christ-monger. Watch that you keep away from such”
Honoring the prophet and receiving the prophet’s reward
"He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. 41 He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward. And he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward. 42 And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward." NKJV
The phrase ‘he who receives a prophet’ refers to offering hospitality! It does not refer to paying him.
Look at Elisha who refused to take money and material things from Naaman the Syrian even after having ministered healing to him.
2 Kings 5:15-16
"Indeed, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel; now therefore, please take a gift from your servant."
16 But he said, "As the LORD lives, before whom I stand, I will receive nothing." And he urged him to take it, but he refused. NKJV
(His servant Gehazi took the money and was given the leprosy!
All that the prophets in the Old Testament received was HOSPITALITY and this was ALL Jesus himself ever would have received for ministry! (Luke 8:33, Luke 19:5)
9 Now hear this, You heads of the house of Jacob
And rulers of the house of Israel, ......
11 Her heads judge for a bribe,
Her priests teach for pay,
And her prophets divine for money.
Yet they lean on the LORD, and say,
"Is not the LORD among us? No harm can come upon us." NKJV
18 And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, 19 saying, "Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit."
20 But Peter said to him, "Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! 21 You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God. 22 Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. NKJV
We cannot buy ANY ‘gift of God’ with money. It is received by FAITH ALONE and not by our giving!
So what is ‘the work of God’? And why does it need money?
Many use the expression that we should be giving for ‘the work of God’
28 Then they said to Him, "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?"
29 Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent." NKJV
We are all called to participate in the work of God and preaching the gospel by sharing the truth of Jesus with those we encounter and to encourage fellow believers in their faith. (Rom 14:19-20)
So what about giving money for the gospel to be preached?
2 Cor 11:7-9
7 Did I commit sin in humbling myself that you might be exalted, because I preached the gospel of God to you free of charge? 8 I robbed other churches, taking wages from them to minister to you. 9 And when I was present with you, and in need, I was a burden to no one, for what I lacked the brethren who came from Macedonia supplied. NKJV
The bible encourages us to support ITINERANT preachers of the gospel to reach others with the GOOD NEWS where they are not able to work and support themselves i.e. travelling missionaries.
Where the gospel is preached, it is to be FREE OF CHARGE i.e. NO charges for entry (freewill giving only is allowed).
Is it scriptural to have church ‘membership’ on earth? Can this be tied to requirements for a prescribed level of giving such as tithing?
The scriptures teach only of one membership, that being of Christ’s body, HIS church universal.
18 And He (Christ)is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. NKJV
His church has a heavenly register and not an earthly one.
22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant... NKJV
And those who dwell on the earth will marvel, whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. NKJV
4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. NKJV
1 Cor 12:27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. NKJV
4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
There is only ONE BODY and ONE SPIRIT and ONE LORD and ONE FAITH.
The only rules that apply to ALL of us are God’s Word and not the dictates of men.
It is either the Father’s household or man’s. Pastor, it is either Jesus church or it is yours. (3 John 9-11)
The purpose of assembling together in the scriptures was NEVER to raise money for a local church organization. The New Testament church in the Scriptures only took collections to FEED the needy. (Acts 2:44-45, Acts 6:1, Acts 11:27-30, 1 Cor 12 and 14, 1 Cor 16:1-2)
So does the bible allow us the freedom to give for the support of local church ministers if we wish?
While in many ways it is easy to conclude that the scriptures say NO, my experience as a born again believer for almost 40 years is that we will still have a God given passion and burden to support GODLY ministers.
... those who serve and feed the flock of God and do not burden the flock with the Law (by claiming that not giving tithes or sowing money into their ministries will cause the body to be cursed or that we can only be blessed if we give money to them)
... those who give their lives to preach the TRUTH of the gospel of GRACE to a lost and dying world.
... those who live humbly among us rather than exalting themselves over the brethren.
... and those who are content to receive only that which is freely offered.
We are free to support those who we believe need and deserve our financial support!
And equally we are free to withhold our support if we believe something is not right!
These are the rules governing finance in the Father’s house and Jesus church, according to the scriptures.
If local ministers or elders boards dictate contrary rules then it is not the Father’s house, nor is it Jesus church but theirs. (Acts 20:30, 3 John 9-11) This is not something we as believers should want to support or be a part of.
Ps 127:1 Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it NKJV