Tithe


Tithe.

I thought about this yesterday on a long drive to the middle of somewhere. There is a growing segment of IFB Christians who still maintain, despite a verse in the New Testament spoken by Jesus Christ, claim we are not bound by tithe today.

Whenever anyone talks about tithe, the cynical Christian immediately thinks, “He needs money.”

Well, you can’t pay tithes to me. And I don’t accept offerings. Do not send me money.

If you have extra cash lying around and want to make an offering, I suggest instead doing almsgiving. Go and donate money to a needy family, and just think my name as you’re doing it. If there’s any rewards from it, maybe the Lord will bless me for your good works.

Let’s get the command from Jesus Christ out of the way first.

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” (Matthew 23:23, KJV)

Let’s look instead at spiritual principles.

Why is there a tithe?

Yes, it was an agrarian society. We’re no longer in one.

The Levites had absolutely no land inheritance at all. They could not farm. They had six cities where they lived – that was it.

“But the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer as an heave offering unto the LORD, I have given to the Levites to inherit: therefore I have said unto them, Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance.” (Numbers 18:24, KJV)

The tithe was instituted so that the Levites could dedicate themselves to the ministry of God.

We, as Christians don’t have Levites any more.

We have Pastors.

If you pay your Pastor less than a McDonald’s worker, it means he has to work a day job. And that means he’s going to have little time for dedicating himself to the Ministry of God.

The tithe today serves to take care of the costs of the church building, and those that dedicate themselves to the ministry of God. And if the Pastor preaches well, the biblical command is that you pay them twice as much.

“Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.” (1 Timothy 5:17, KJV)

The word honour is τιμῆς in the Greek, times (Tee mess). That means “Price” or “Worth”. The reference in Matthew 27:6 & 9 about what to do with Judas’s coins that he threw on the floor is literally this same word. In Acts 4, same word.

Look up the average pay for a Baptist pastor in your area. In mine, that’s $65,000 a year.

If they preach well, then the command is you double that – $130,000 a year.

If tithe is not for today, how are they to dedicate themselves to the labor of the ministry?

Offerings?

People tend not to pay offerings to a point that equals tithe. They say “I can pay MORE offerings than tithe.”

I bet you don’t.

The Lord CLEARLY says in Matthew 23 that the Pharisees and Scribes should have indeed paid tithes. The Biblical model is that the tithe was instituted to ensure that the priests (today pastors) could dedicate themselves to the ministry without having to work. And if the Lord commands something and you won’t do it, then clearly, when it;s up to you, you’re not going to do it either.

That’s why we have the tithe.

“Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, Even this whole nation.” (Malachi 3:8–9, KJV)

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:” (Matthew 6:19–20, KJV)

I know there’s a couple of readers I have who don’t believe in tithe. I’m just going to say, that’s not a me issue. that’s a you issue, between you and God.

I said my piece – see ye to it.

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Herod and James


Very long and complicated article today.

I read recently where a “scholar” claimed they had no proof that Herod killed James the brother of John.

“Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. And he killed James the brother of John with the sword.” (Acts 12:1–2, KJV)

Proof found!

You can sleep easy tonight.

The Meaning of ‘Doctrine’


What does the word doctrine mean?

διδασκαλίας is the word used in Mark 7:7. It comes from διδασκω, to teach.

Doctrine literally means teaching.

A lot of modern Christians rebel against Doctrine automatically. If I say we’re going over doctrine today, the standard reaction is rebellion.

If I say we’re going to be discussing sound teaching, then everyone’s interested.

Lesson of the day – be excited to learn sound doctrine!

An Argument in favor of Expository Preaching


I was discussing the concepts of preaching with my son in the faith yesterday. I literally opened my Bible to Matthew 1:1-17 and told him to write two sermons based upon the text.

This is expository preaching. You expound what is in the Bible text. I have always preferred Expository preaching, but most pastors today don’t do it.

Now, there’s some rules about expository preaching. We’ll get to those another time. Why should a pastor preach expositorally?

Reason One – be instant in and out of season. If you preach topically, you may end up accidentally skipping topics that God has placed in Scripture. Ever preach on greed or adultery? Many pastors today have entered the ministry, preached 20-24 years and retired never having preached on certain topics. If you’re always searching for a text to write, you run the risk of preaching on all the topics that interest you, and skipping ones that the congregation often needs to hear!

Reason Two – Keeping your job. Pastors today are being fired simply because they’ve preached on a topic the deacon board was offended by. This is an absolute abrogation of Pastoral authority that cannot be found in Scripture. Alas, we have it, and it will take far more influence than I have to ever abolish that unScriptural entity of a deacon board. If you’re preaching expositorally, then it’s really hard to argue when Matthew 5:27 comes right after Matthew 5:26. And now you can really start asking the deacon board if they have a problem with the inerrancy and inspiration of Scripture! A pastor cannot be fired for preaching on separationism, the Bible issue, idolatry, tithing, greed or adultery if they’re preaching expositorally.

Reason Three – you have to become a better preacher. If you resolve you’re going to preach through the New Testament, then sooner or later you’re going to run across a passage or verse you don’t understand. I guarantee that. So now you have to roll up your sleeves and dig into the text, opening your Textus Receptus and your Vine’s. You will end up knowing a LOT more about the Bible than you did before! And the congregation does as well.

Reason Four – your congregation will grow and mature as Christians. It’s hard to stay an unmatured Christian when the congregation is being fed meat instead of milk. Sermonettes make Christianettes or marionettes. Feeding your congregation baby food leaves you with a congregation of babies. But dig into the text and start explaining what the Bible means, and now people are adding to their understanding and beliefs about the Bible. Christians, according to John MacArthur, operate out of their beliefs. They forget what you exhort them to do, but they will always act according to their beliefs. By feeding them pure meat, you shape their beliefs, and the congregation grows spiritually.

Reason Five – The congregation now will accept the validity of the Pastor’s study time. If you’re preaching about how this word can only be found five times in the Bible, the congregation undergoes a change. They will begin to accept – even insist on – the need of the pastor to spend hours a day in study. Why? They’re getting FED! If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you’ve caught onto certain Greek and Hebrew words. If I were your pastor, you’d expect this kind of teaching every Sunday – and you’d become so accustomed to it that the lack of it would make you start insisting I get study time. And love of study of the Bible is one of the hallmarks of the calling of a Pastor.

Expository preaching is often viewed as boring – the problem is, most preachers who preach expository are boring. It’s not the method of the preaching, but rather, the preacher with the method. If the Bible does not excite you, why are you in the pulpit? It’s not an easy job or an easy income – you want that, there’s jobs out there that ARE easy. The Bible should be your obsession if you’re called to preach or teach! I am often fascinated by the minutae present in Bible passages. I love reading a passage and realizing that what I just read in this book is echoed in this other book!

Preach expository. Your congregation is demanding it. They deserve it.

A Quick Thought for Pastors


There’s a few pastors who have followed my blog. So here’s a thought.

Your sermon must tell, educate and explain more about the passage than the congregation can determine from just READING it.

You had to learn Greek and Hebrew to graduate seminary.

Use it.

Is there a repeated word? Is this word rarely used in the sermon?

The Bible is written in Greek and Hebrew. The congregation doesn’t care that much about Greek tenses – but they’re interested in what words mean.

Dig deeper. Just looking in Holman’s Bible Handbook and writing a sermon in one hour will not feed them.

Cut back on visiting prayer groups. Cut back on all the excess stuff. The Pastor’s primary job is to preach. The job writing the sermon should be Tuesday morning, not Friday or Sunday at 6 AM.

Evernote for Ministry Research


I’m always on the lookout for anything that can assist me in cataloging and storing resources. When I first started this blog, I wanted to give appropriate references. What I needed was a reference manager, and I couldn’t find one. Now I have Zotero, but for a while there, all my research was lost. If that ever happens to you, I wrote an article on how to get it back. It takes like 21 steps.

I also have been looking for a way to save webpages. I’ve done it in Zotero, and I’ve saved to PDF. But often I’m in a hurry, and the endless “save to” “Save as” process of saving a web page to PDF was truly irritating.

And it left you with no real way to catalog what you saved. So to write an article sometimes took hours, if not days. The worst was when I saw an article on an official Seventh Day Adventist website where they credited the man who influenced Charles Taze Russell’s corrupt theology as being “A genuine Seventh Day Adventist.”

It created a hoo-rah of controversy when I published the post, and the SDA website pulled the quote from the article.

Enter Evernote. If I’d had Evernote, I could have saved it as an article, added keywords, and then clipped the address to Zotero. No kidding. Real quick to do.

If you’re involved in Christian ministry, Evernote is a tool you need. I think the best bet is to get the Plus membership, at $32 a year. I’ve gone a year with it at the free level, but some months I’m pretty much stopped cold by the 10th day because I’m almost at my free limit. I’m either going to get the Business level (which is on sale) or the plus level.

Get into the habit of clipping things. Have a default category, then plan out an admin day every month where you go through all your clippings and categorize them into the correct notebooks, and add appropriate tags, like “quote later” “Heretic”, etc.

The Atonement


27 Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD. 28 And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God. 29 For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people. 30 And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people. 31 Ye shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. 32 It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath. Leviticus 23:27-32 (KJV)

1 And thou shalt make an altar to burn incense upon: of shittim wood shalt thou make it. 2 A cubit shall be the length thereof, and a cubit the breadth thereof; foursquare shall it be: and two cubits shall be the height thereof: the horns thereof shall be of the same. 3 And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, the top thereof, and the sides thereof round about, and the horns thereof; and thou shalt make unto it a crown of gold round about. 4 And two golden rings shalt thou make to it under the crown of it, by the two corners thereof, upon the two sides of it shalt thou make it; and they shall be for places for the staves to bear it withal. 5 And thou shalt make the staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold. 6 And thou shalt put it before the vail that is by the ark of the testimony, before the mercy seat that is over the testimony, where I will meet with thee. 7 And Aaron shall burn thereon sweet incense every morning: when he dresseth the lamps, he shall burn incense upon it. 8 And when Aaron lighteth the lamps at even, he shall burn incense upon it, a perpetual incense before the LORD throughout your generations. 9 Ye shall offer no strange incense thereon, nor burnt sacrifice, nor meat offering; neither shall ye pour drink offering thereon. 10 And Aaron shall make an atonement upon the horns of it once in a year with the blood of the sin offering of atonements: once in the year shall he make atonement upon it throughout your generations: it is most holy unto the LORD. Exodus 30:1-10 (KJV)

During this time of year, as Christians approach Ressurection Sunday, we begin to dwell upon our sin. The catchphrases that seem so trite during the year gain meaning during the Spring. “We owe a debt we cannot pay, He paid a debt He did not owe.”

This is your fault. This is my fault. We cannot blame Adam and Eve for this, as the Bible says

23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Romans 3:23 (KJV)

You deserve to pay the price – not on the Cross, for that is the role of the sinless, perfect offering.

Dave Hunt uses the illustration of the Judge and the Criminal. The Criminal says, “If you give me a second chance, I’ll never break the aw again!”

The Judge responds, “That was the bare minimum of your duty, to keep the law and not break it. You get no extra points for doing what was required.”

Keeping the law was your duty. You get no rewards for that. If you never broke the law ever, you would have made it into Heaven only by the skin of your teeth.

But all we like sheep have gone astray. There is none righteous, no not one. All have sinned, and fallen short of the glory of God. Let God be true, and all men liars.

So the Lord went and died on the Cross for us.

11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: 12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. 14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. 15 Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, 16 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; 17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Hebrews 10:11-17 (KJV)

The Lord performed one sacrifice. One. It was effecacious, in that it atoned for all sins for all time, past, present, future. There is no need for a re-offering of the Mass. The Roman Catholic mass is performed all over the world, every day. It tells Roman Catholics that the death of Jesus was no different from the death of any Passover lamb.

But that’s a different Jesus, not the Jesus Christ of the Bible. The Jesus Christ of the Bible offered Himself once for all. He atoned for the sins of those who accept it.

The problem with today is we have a lot of people who stand there and say, “Yes… i’ll accept it. I want it. Lord thank you for your sacrifice!”

And they never reach out and TAKE it!

If you are not 100% sure you are saved, please make that sure today. Don’t put it off. Don’t wait.