Why our Churches lack
Acts 5:8 -
And Peter answered to her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much.
If you ever want to get into bad books of any Pastor just disagree with him about tithing and from that day onwards the shepherd will no longer treat you as a sheep but as a wolf. If you commit any other sin they will hold hands with you and pray with you but if you do the sin of speaking against tithing, they will lay their hands over you and try to caste the demon out of you.
Firstly I am not against tithing and consider it very important and personally encourage people to tithe. But it baffles people when I tell them the Church lacks also due to people tithing. Let me explain.
If you read Matthew 23:23 or Luke 11:42 Jesus called the Pharisees who tithed as hypocrites for they did not do the main purpose but did the traditions of tithing. Yes I call it tradition reason they tithed not only their income but also mint (garden mint), anise (plant used as a spice and for medicine) and cumin (seeds that have a bitter warm taste and an aromatic flavour). Note all were not farmers to grow mint, anise and cumin; also Jesus did not tell them not to tithe them but said there was more than doing just that.
One needs to know everything that the Lord asks of us has a purpose and they are part of the instructions for our salvation, which means becoming Sons of God by overcoming the sin nature.
Firstly tithe is not a law but a statute. Statute is something the Lord advised us for the betterment of our walk in Him. So it was something that is a stage for our growth in Him. That means once we pass that stage we are not complied to do it. If we continue doing it even after we have received its understanding then we make it a tradition and bondage, and bondages only destroy.
Let me take as an example another statute which the Jews did not understand like tithe and that was washing. God said if a person (priest) entered the Sanctuary without washing his hands and feet he would die. So the Pharisees fearing death and also due to their lack of understanding made the statute of washing into a law and thus made washing their hands and feet a must not only when entering the Sanctuary but even when eating or entering a house. They made extravagant vessels for washing. Jesus hated their traditions therefore at times He and His disciples did not wash their hands and feet. Jesus was called a Rabbi (Teacher / Noble man) since as a Jew He had done temple studies of scriptures this gave Him permission to preach at synagogues. So as a Rabbi He was expected to do the traditions of the Pharisees.
Washing of hands and feet are symbolic to asking forgiveness for the sins one did knowingly and sins done unknowingly. Breaking of bread at the Last Supper was symbolic in many ways. It was a sacrifice of gilt that means forgiveness of sins one did unknowingly that is why Paul says to eat it in a worthy manner (after reconciling with those against whom we sinned). It requires us to ask forgiveness for sins we know before taking part of the sacrifice and not mock it by trying to receive forgiveness for sins unknown while ignoring the known.
The reason Jesus washed their feet before they ate the bread was because the bread symbolized the Showbread (which was kept in the Holy place) which in turn symbolized Him - Jesus Christ, like the Candle Stand symbolized the Holy Spirit. So when we eat the bread we declare ourselves as priest and walk into the Sanctuary into the Holy place and eat of the Showbread (Jesus Christ), as well as consider it a Sacrifice of Gilt for the forgives of our unaware sins.
Coming back to tithing, if we look at the first incident of tithing that was by Abraham, we see Abraham gave Melchizedek (God did not tell him to do that but was led by the Spirit of God) a tenth of all the loot which he had in his procession. But then the ninety percent, Abraham did not keep for himself; he also gave from it whatever remained, after his people ate.
We Christians are called to live as sober people in this world, people who live by needs not the desires of the flesh. We are called to be rich in Spirit but sober in the flesh. If we read in Acts they shared whatever they had, such that none lacked. All those who had extra gave that extra to the common pool which the Apostles managed. The Apostles did not instruct them how much that extra was, it was the Spirit of God who did that and that is why we see such a harsh punishment was delivered by the Lord (Holy Spirit) to Ananias and his wife Sapphira for trying to lie to the Holy Spirit.
We Christians are called to tithe but as we grow in Spirit and have communication with the Spirit of God we are called to stop tithing and grow to the stage of Giving unto the Lord like the people in Acts. Also tithing does not mean only giving tenth of our money but also a tenth of our service (not social service but serving the community), worship (time) and prayers (that is praying for others). We understand more of tithe when study the sacrifices of Moses of which the Lord asked to give a tenth of (that is why the Jews gave tenth of mint, anise and cumin along with a tenth of their money for they symbolized worship, service and prayers).
Our Churches lacks because Christians do not tithe properly and more over they do not grow over tithing and learn Giving.
I know of a Catholic in Mumbai who claims to have converted to a Believer (Protestant) and then returned back to the Catholic Church and now goes about proclaiming the Catholic Church is the true Church. When I cross questioned him, it came out of his own mouth what really happened.
Firstly no one can become a Believer by conversion, he or she needs to have a revelation of God and of the Word of God (that is why we confess the repentance prayer to bring a person in the fold) and this man had none. He started attending Service for social reasons because someone took him there. Later when he realized he had to tithe, it pinched his flesh hard so he returned back to the Catholic Church, which does not enforce tithing.
The Lord challenged the sons of Jacob (not sons of Israel - whenever they were low in spirit or did not walk in the Lord they were called sons of Jacob and when they walked according to the Lord they were called Israel) to tithe and He would cause the vessels to be filled fully (shaken, pressed down) and flowing over. That means we who are growing in the Lord will not lack in any area and we will flow over, which does not mean we will have more for ourselves but means the extra we have is to give to those around us who are in need. But the problem comes Christians are busy expanding their vessels bigger and bigger to store more and gives only a tenth.
It is a hard truth - a true Christian is not a Christian in need for God is his provider, neither a rich Christian for he does not tithe but Gives unto the Lord, even if he has more he does not use it for himself but uses it for others like Abraham did to the people with him. Remember Jesus said it is almost impossible for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God. Christianity is all about overcoming our carnal nature like Christ did.
[ Prayer Starter ]
Lord, we pray your people learn why You asked us to start tithing so that they overcome the spirit of greed which bough down even a greatly anointed Cherub like Lucifer. Lord, we pray the little ones learn to truly tithe and the others grow in spirit to move from tithing unto Giving unto You. You Lord are a giver and You do not require our giving for You can provide yourself to those in need but You made us as vessels to give so that we overcome own carnal flesh, Help us Lord to understand we give more because we need to and not because the other person needs what we give...
This prayer we make in Jesus' Name, Amen.
[ Reference ]
Matthew 23:23 - Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought you to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
Luke 11:42 - But woe to you, Pharisees! for you tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought you to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
16 And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people.
17 And the king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king's dale.
18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.
19 And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:
20 And blessed be the most high God, which has delivered your enemies into your hand. And he gave him tithes of all.
21 And the king of Sodom said to Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to yourself.
22 And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up my hand to the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth,
23 That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is yours, lest you should say, I have made Abram rich:
24 Save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion.
Luke 6:38 - Give, and it shall be given to you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that you mete with it shall be measured to you again.
Malachi 3:6-12 (to the sons of Jacob not sons of Israel - whenever they were low in spirit they were called sons of Jacob and when they walked according to the Lord they were called Israel)
6 For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore you sons of Jacob are not consumed.
7 Even from the days of your fathers you are gone away from my ordinances, and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, said the LORD of hosts. But you said, Wherein shall we return?
8 Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed me. But you say, Wherein 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 you all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in my house, and prove me now herewith, said the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, said the LORD of hosts.
12 And all nations shall call you blessed: for you shall be a delightsome land, said the LORD of hosts.
Matthew 19:23 - Then said Jesus to his disciples, Truly I say to you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.
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