Tithes & Offerings
Now that we know what the true church should look like, simply the meeting of people who love the Lord, how do we support it? And what is the purpose of supporting the true church of God? Can we support anyone we like? Do we support those we “feel good” about?
First of all, they will be teaching the "everlasting gospel". The gospel that Jesus taught was not a gospel of Himself, (His birth, life, death and resurrection) but a gospel of our obligations to God. Our obedience. Our need to be perfect, stop sinning and to keep the Ten Commandments in order to "get" our eternal salvation. That is what Jesus taught. That is the eternal, everlasting, gospel.
Therefore, all you have to do is ask your pastor if he teaches those teachings. He will probably say no. If he says anything other than “Yes I do”, leave and find a people that do teach them. If you can’t find a people that teaches them, follow the example of Jesus and begin teaching them. Set up a “home-church” in your home and invite your family, friends and neighbors for Bible study and worship. That is what Jesus did wherever He found Himself.
The reason “churches” of today are growing is simply that they are not practicing or teaching what Jesus told us to do. Instead of setting up entertainment systems, we need to be setting up educational systems. All the pews in our churches should be removed. Tables and chairs should be installed. Good lighting and plenty of rulers, pens, pencils and paper. Today, computers, Ipad, Nooks, laptops and other avenues of research. Get a computer and hook it up to a large screen TV and use the Bible studies on our web site. God will bless you.
As we gather in our “churches”, we then need to learn how to defend the gospel and how to teach it. That is what Jesus said, remember Matthew 28:20? Organized into teams we would then:
Our tithes and offerings are to go to support, not a church, but those who teach the gospel. There are lots of “good” organizations out there doing “great” things like feeding the hungry and clothing the naked and helping the children, etc., but that is not where our tithes and offerings are to go. Let the worldly churches and organizations take care of the world. Jesus said, “let the dead bury the dead”. What did He mean? Unless the people are taught how to stop sinning and live perfectly, they will die eternally. When Jesus said to feed the hungry and clothe the naked, he didn’t mean to drop off a check at an organization. He meant to deprive yourself of your own food and supply the need in someone close to you. But you are not to waste God’s tithes and offerings paying salaries to the pagans. The Catholic Church does the greatest amount of “good” in the world today. But you can’t support it with your tithes and offerings. The organization is not of God.
“With every gift and offering there should be a suitable object before the giver, not to uphold any in idleness, not to be seen of men or to get a great name, but to glorify God by advancing His cause.” 1T 194.
"Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its grapes? Who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk? Do I say this merely from a human point of view? Doesn't the Law say the same thing? For it is written in the Law of Moses: 'Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.' Is it about oxen that God is concerned? Surely he says this for us, doesn't he? Yes, this was written for us, because when the plowman plows and the thresher threshes, they ought to do so in the hope of sharing in the harvest. If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you? If others have this right of support from you, shouldn't we have it all the more? But we did not use this right. On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ. Don't you know that those who work in the temple get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel." 1 Corinthians 9:7-14.
There you have it. “The Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel”. The tithes and offerings are not to go to a “church”, but to people who teach the gospel. They are to be supported so they can continue to teach the truth. If they are not teaching the truth as Jesus taught it, then you are to withdraw your support from them. Truth is not what you think it is. Truth is not what you want it to be. Truth is not what your church teaches. Truth is what Jesus taught. If your church, no matter how righteous it may seem, no matter how much “good” it may do, no matter if God raised it up, if it is no longer teaching the gospel as Jesus taught it, you must withdraw your support. Remember what 2 John 9-11 says? If you continue to welcome those who do not teach the truth as Jesus taught it, you will share in their wickedness.
So how much are we to give to God? Considering we owe our very lives to Him, it is not surprising that we owe Him everything that we have. However, God is a God of love. He loves us and does not want us to be in need. In fact, if we will demonstrate His character of giving, He has promised to provide us with everything we need for this life and the life to come.
Let us take a look at what an average farmer would give to the Lord. What was it that the Lord required for a farmer to give back to God? I suppose that before we ask what God wants, we ought to take a few moments and understand the concept of “giving to God”. How can I give to God when I am down here and He is up there?
The first text is Mark 9:37,
“Whoever welcomes one of these little children in My Name welcomes Me…”. The next text is Matthew 25:35-40. Jesus stated, “For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited Me in, I needed clothes and you clothed Me, I was sick and you looked after Me, I was in prison and you came to visit Me…
“Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You something to drink? When did we see You a stranger and invite You in, or needing clothes and clothe You? When did we see You sick or in prison and go to visit You?’ “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.’”
This sets up the truth that what we do for the worthy poor and needy is what we would do for Jesus. Going to church is what we do for ourselves. Nothing mentioned above about doing for ourselves or going to church. That won’t get you into heaven. It is what you do for others. So now let’s go back to the Bible and see how that concept and principle was implemented.
In Genesis we find the example of that Christian principle displayed in Abraham. When three guests arrived near his home, “he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground.” He said, “Do not pass your servant by. Let a little water be brought, and then you may all wash your feet and rest under this tree. Let me get you something to eat, so you can be refreshed and then go on your way—now that you have come to your servant.” Genesis 18:2-5. If Abraham had not invited the strangers in he would have lost a “Lot”. But Abraham was a true Christian.
Then in Leviticus 19:18 we find where the Lord showed how the people could practically demonstrate His command, “... love your neighbor as yourself”. In Leviticus 19:9 He said, “When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the Lord your God.”
You see, they were to sacrifice some of their crops for the good of those who did not have. Let’s look at this from a practical point of view. If you don’t reap to the edges of your field, and you are following the command with all the generosity that God was implying here, you could leave 5% of your income for the poor. This goes even further. Again, we limit God’s command for our own selfishness. But let’s look at the practical way it was understood in their day. In the book of Ruth, we find where Ruth went into the field of Boaz to “pick up the leftover grain”. Boaz even gave orders to his men, “Even if she gathers among the sheaves, don’t embarrass her. Rather, pull out some stalks for her from the bundles and leave them for her to pick up, and don’t rebuke her.” Ruth 2:1-23.
Here you see the full extent of the implementation of a simple command of God. Not content to just leave the edges, the ones whose hearts were full of love for God even let the poor walk behind the harvesters and pick up the leftovers. All of this could easily be another 5% or more given to God through His poor children.
In Exodus we find where the Lord commanded the people to “Bring the best of the firstfruits of your soil to the house of the Lord your God.” Exodus 34:26. Again, being generous to do the Lord’s will could easily mean bringing another 5% of your harvest to the Lord’s house to feed those who preached the gospel and take care of the worthy poor.
In Leviticus 7 we find where the people were to bring offerings to the Lord. These were voluntary offerings of thanks and praise for all the goodness that God had done for them. “These, then, are the regulations for the burnt offering, the grain offering…”. Leviticus 7:37. These had nothing to do with sin, but thankfulness. Looking at this from the point of view of a person who loved the Lord and wanted to bring thank offerings to the Lord to feed His ministers, he could easily bring another 5% of his flocks or grains, etc. You will find a practical demonstration of these offerings in 1 Kings 8:64.
But the most important gift was the tithe. All the other gifts were more or less freewill offerings and varied in their generosity. But the tithe was a set, mandatory offering that is necessary for God’s ministers who teach the gospel to live by. The other offerings would be what we might call today, “bonuses” and “overtime” pay. But the tithe was sacred to the Lord.
The tithe is 10% of everything that you earn, not what you have left over. The gross of your personal income is to be tithed 10% to support the work of the Lord. You are then to live on what is left, remembering to bring the bonuses and overtime to the Lord’s work also. Do unto the Lord’s work as you want Him to do for you. This does not apply if you own a business. First deduct the amount spent to run your business, then, what is left over is yours to be tithed. Leviticus 27:30 states, “A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord.”
Numbers 18:21, “I give to the Levites all the tithes in Israel as their inheritance in return for the work they do while serving at the Tent of Meeting.”
But the problem is, we have become greedy. That is why so few are going to heaven. We want everything this world has to offer and are not willing to give up but what we “have to”. Even then we give grudgingly. God hates a griper and complainer. He loves those who recognize that they owe Him everything and are happy to give Him what He needs to operate His ministry. “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart…for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7.
In Malachi God said, “‘Will a man rob God?’ Yet you rob Me. But you ask, ‘How do we rob You?’ In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—the whole nation of you—because you are robbing Me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house. Test Me in this, says the Lord Almighty, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.” Malachi 3:8-12.
We are to bring the whole tithes and offerings to God. So let’s add up what God requires in our tithes and offerings.
Leaving the edges of your field, etc.: 5%
Bringing the firstfruits of your occupation: 5%
Bringing other offerings: 5%
Total of all tithes and offerings: 25%
Everybody is running around talking like fools.
They claim that they put God first in their lives. That God means so much to them. Yet, let’s see if God is first in their lives? Do they bring 25% of their gross income to the Lord’s work? No. First they get what they want, and if there is anything left over, they might throw a few pennies at God and claim they are so righteous and deserving of His blessings. What a joke.
But you say, I can’t do that and keep up the life style that I want. That is precisely the point. Jesus says, “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for My sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.” Matthew 19:29.
Who do you love? God or a piece of dirt on some vacant property? Who do you love? God or that big house you live in? Are you willing to downsize so that this ministry, which was called by God, can get the message out to those who are hungering and thirsting for righteousness? Or are you coveting your house, your properties, etc. and just making noises with your mouth in honor of God. That is why Jesus says, “These people honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me.” Mark 7:6. And where are their hearts? On their dirt, their houses and other things that are just going to get burned up.
One day a rich man came to Jesus.
He wanted to know what He had to do to get eternal life. Jesus told him plainly, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me." Matthew 19:21.
You and I cannot follow Jesus until we have given up our property and families and everything we have for Jesus in our hearts. To be ready to sacrifice when God calls for it. If you can’t give 25% of your income to the work of the Lord, then you don’t love the Lord. You can’t go to heaven. You can downsize if you loved the Lord. You can live for a whole lot less. But are you willing to SACRIFICE for Jesus? He did for you. “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps. He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in His mouth.” 1 Peter 2:21, 22.
No wonder so few are going to heaven. Everyone wants what this earth has to offer, and heaven. Can’t be done. Unless we are willing, and show that willingness by actual demonstration, to give up our extra properties, downsize from our big homes and live as simply and as cost effective as possible, we can’t get to heaven. The whole reason for this is to have the funds to support Jesus in reaching His lost children who are dying for the truth. If you can’t do that, you can’t be in heaven with His children.
Any wonder we “Christians” don’t make such a big impression on the worldly people? They don’t see any difference between our wants and wishes compared to theirs. In 1 Peter 2:11, 12, Peter says, “Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us.”
Can that be said of you? Are you giving up your properties, your big houses and toys for God so that when your neighbors see it, you can say, “We are giving all this up for Jesus in order to support His work. We believe He is coming soon, and all of this is just going to be burned up.” Or maybe you don’t believe He is coming soon? Maybe you are asleep and don’t see the signs because your properties and big houses are getting in the way of your sight.
“Jesus has purchased redemption for us. It is ours; but we are placed here on probation to see if we will prove worthy of eternal life. God proves us by trusting us with earthly possessions. If we are faithful to impart freely of what He has lent us, to advance His cause, God can entrust to us the immortal inheritance. ‘Ye cannot serve God and mammon.’ ‘If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.’” 1T 198.
Jesus tells us, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21. Where is your heart? Where is your treasure? Is it some dirt on a vacant lot? Is it a big house you really can’t afford, but it fits the size of your ego? Maybe it is time to look at the cross of Jesus and kneel at the feet of Jesus, below it. Feel the blood as it drops on you. Maybe it is time to give up this world and begin putting your treasure in heaven by way of lives redeemed for Jesus.
There will come a day when you will have to look Jesus in the eye. What will He say to you? Will He commend you for getting such a great sound system? Will He praise you for your great entertainment system? No, I think He has already told us what He will say. “Depart from Me, you who are cursed…”. Matthew 25:41.
Why are you hanging on to the things of this world? Please let go. Please give them up. Please give them to the work of God so others can find eternal life. Then in the kingdom of God many will come up to you and thank you for your sacrifice so they could hear the gospel.
If you don’t, many will come up to you and point the finger and say, “You knew about this heaven and how to get there, but you refused to give up your selfishness so I could learn.” And the two of you will burn side by side.
The question is, do you really believe the Bible? The answer is obvious by your actions. If you are selling and giving your property and monies, even if it hurts, to help the ministry, it shows you believe. If you are hanging on and making excuses for your wicked coveting of God’s gifts, then you don’t believe.
The early disciples of Christ believed. They not only gave up their property and homes so others could hear the truth of the eternal gospel, but they gave of their lives. In order to get to heaven, you must have the same mind in you as they had. Listen to what they thought of “their” property.
“All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.” Acts 4:32-35.
This ministry has great need. So many people are in need of the truth. Yet very few are willing to give to Jesus and His children. Hundreds are dying each month because we do not have the funds to send them these books. What will God say to you? What can you sacrifice so others can have eternal life?
God never said to go on “church raising expeditions”. He never said to go see how many churches you can build. He said that we are to teach people to obey what He has commanded us. Matthew 28:20. That can be done from house to house. Think of the money that could be saved if we would only follow the teachings of Jesus. Think how many people could be reached if we put His money into people instead of into buildings.
Many feel that all churches do is ask and beg for money. That is correct. Since all the “organized” churches are not of God, they must support their organizations. They have salaries to pay, retirements to set aside for, big, expensive houses and buildings to pay for and medical insurance, etc., etc. Then of course, if you are struggling, giving your money to a church, look to see if the pastor is struggling or if he is sending his kids to expensive schools while you can hardly put food on the table. All of that is sin. Such selfishness. Request a case of books from us and begin handing them out to all around you and watch the Lord bless you.
A true ministry, like this one, has none of that. There are no salaries. There are no retirement plans. There are no big expensive houses and buildings to pay for. This true ministry of God is operated from a simple little home and sheds for office and studio. All monies go to the work of God. I have a bed to sleep in and a little food to eat. I own nothing and have nothing. I truly believe that this earth is coming to an end and that Jesus is coming. I believe the Bible. Therefore, when this ministry asks for money, it is not for anyone, but for the work of God. This ministry is like a funnel which receives the funds that are donated by people who love the Lord, and then funnels those funds into books and other materials so inmates and people around the world who are hungering and thirsting for salvation may find salvation. Therefore, it is not a “church” that is asking for your money, it is God asking you to support the giving of His Everlasting Gospel to His children who are in need. Remember, this book was dictated and directed by the Holy Spirit. In essence, it is direct from the throne of God.
The whole purpose of giving is to develop within us a character like Jesus. Jesus could provide all the funds necessary with a snap of His finger. But that would not develop character within us. We have a responsibility to our fellow man, as Jesus had for us. He gave up everything for us. In order to get to heaven, we must demonstrate that same attitude and commitment. This ministry has had to turn away thousands of inmate requests because of lack of funding.
What excuses are you making in order to hang on to this world and the things of this world? I plead with you to give up this world. Lift your eyes to heaven and let the things of this earth go. Whatever the Lord has placed in your hands, show to the Lord that you are a good steward of His property and return it to Him through His ministry so it can be used for the proclamation of the true gospel. That is how we work hand in hand with God. Our hands become His. Our feet become His. Our property becomes His. All that He has given us, we need to give back to Him. The more we give, the more we will receive in return.
Jesus never did away with tithing.
Some have suggested that tithing is no longer required in the New Testament. In fact, Jesus taught it as our obligation, Matthew 23:23. But who are you tithing to? If you are tithing to a Laodicean church, then you are helping the devil. Not one Laodicean church is of God. Is your church rich, increased in wealth? That is not God’s church. Remember, He is standing outside that church and is knocking to be let in. No, the true ministries of Jesus are those that are struggling, and have nothing, as Jesus lived. It was the Pharisees who were rich and thought they were blessed by God. Who was this poor upstart from Galilee: this independent? Who are you supporting? (Remember, it was tithe paying, Sabbath keeping, church going people who put Jesus on the cross. Be very careful.)