So, the big question is not, ‘How much of my money should I give to support the Kingdom of God?’ But rather, ‘How much of God’s money that He has made me steward over should I keep (to support me and my family)?’” Pg. 1, 2, 4, 5.
The reality is that in the New Testament Christians now usually give much more than just ten percent to support the kingdom of God, the Bride of Christ. But, that does not necessarily mean supporting only the local church. If the pastors who do not realize this truth would only teach truth instead of taking Scriptures out of context to make a pretext, then their church would be blessed with even more money, not less, as God will cause even more people to be drawn to a local church where the pastor truly supports His Bride and not control it to build a local kingdom instead of God’s kingdom. If you want to join a church and in the membership class they teach that you have to make a covenant with that church to pay your tithes, do not join that church! You are supposed to make a covenant with Jesus to support His Bride; not with a local church to control His Bride!
“Giving is an Act of Worship. In Phil 4:18-19 Paul states: ‘But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to God. But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.’
When Paul says that the gifts that they sent are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God, he is using Old Testament Temple terminology. He is comparing the gifts that they had given to him (to Paul) to the worship of the Old Testament people when they gave sacrifices to God in the Temple worship. So, when we give to the work of God, we are worshipping God. Isn’t that amazing? God gives us everything. Then, we in turn give only a portion of it back to Him, and God is happy about that! So, giving your finances to the Lord’s work is more than simply a duty or obligation; it is an act of worship. And, Jesus says that we are to worship God with our whole being (Mark 12:30). There are some people who have given a tenth of their income to their church for years who have never given a dime to God! For many people tithing is a have-to law. Some of the Pharisees of Jesus’ day were doing that, and Jesus called them hypocrites.” Neckar, Pg. 5, 6.
A person can give a tithe to a local church, yet be a hypocrite.
Tithing does not make a person a Christian. Jesus made the point clear to the Pharisees that paying tithes does not change the heart or transform the mind, values or goals of a person. It does not alter a person’s personality into the fruits of the Holy Spirit where compassion, sensitivity and love for another person become the true test of salvation. Many times a Pharisee’s teaching in a local church on tithing causes people to become insensitive and judgmental of their fellow brethren instead of merciful and gentle toward them. Instead of seeing the needs of the poor, widows and orphans in their church and around the world, they ignore what Jesus would attend to and concentrate on “white elephants”. Tithing used to construct buildings is not what extending the Bride of Christ is all about. I am not saying a pastor cannot use a portion of giving for construction, but I am saying that it should not interfere with building God’s kingdom and ministering to God’s Bride (people) at the expense of erecting a personal ego-fulfilling monument.
The people attending our church/fellowship should be totally in love with Jesus and concerned over the needs of people around them. There should not be a spirit of competition, but of cooperation for another fellowship, ministry or servant of Jesus Christ. Jesus will surely judge many pastors today for telling their people not to give their finances to the ones the Holy Spirit is asking them to support. I would never command people to give all their tithes to the ministry I lead, nor would I tell the members of the church that I pastor to give all their tithes to the church. I tell them to pray about it and ask God where He wants them to give His money. I know that every Christian ought to support his own local church in some amount. Depending on how faithfully that church does the work of God, the Holy Spirit will prompt the person to give. But, to tell them to give all is sin. Likewise, to tell them not to give to another person’s ministry or to minister where the Holy Spirit is urging them to be faithful in giving is sin. I have no problems with people giving 10%, 20%, or more to the local assembly they attend. But, let’s make sure it is out of a willing heart as the Holy Spirit directs.
TO BE CONTINUED
World Ministries International (WMI) is The Church Without Walls.
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