Vol. 30, No. 4 April, 2006
On Stewardship IS THE TITHE THE LORD’S?
By Pastor George Mills
“Let a man so account as of the ministers of Christ and STEWARDS of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in STEWARDS that man be found faithful.” (1Cor 4:1-2).
I am well aware of the fact that if you lined me up with 99 other preachers, most of the ninety and nine will not agree with this message. It matters not one way or another if one agrees with me, what does matter is, what does the BIBLE (KJV) say? A look back into the history of any church and you will find that somewhere in the statement of Faith, by-laws, etc, something like; “We believe that TITHES and offerings are to be brought into the general treasury of the church.” This is established church doctrine. But what does the BIBLE (KJV) say about TITHING? Let me ask the question, On which side of the Cross do you stand? Is your belief established on the other side of the Cross in the dispensation of LAW? Or, is your faith established on this side of the Cross, in the dispensation of GRACE? In the dispensation of LAW, the Jews were commanded to bring a tenth (Tithe) to the Temple to support the Levites, who were to take care of the Temple, worship services, and the things established in the Law for them to do. Of course the High Priests were from the sons of Aaron. You may want to take time and read the Book of Leviticus, which is a handbook of the Priests. Recently, I was looking through a question and answer book, written by a well-known Author. That Author, in answering a question about eating certain meats, gave the answer, “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us. And took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.” (Col 3:14) Please read all of that passage through v23. Along with that scripture, also mentioned were 1Timothy 4:3-4, Acts 10:15. The writer was clearly stating that Christ fulfilled all of the Law in Himself on the Cross. (Amen). We are NOT under the Old Testament Law. In fact, we gentiles were NEVER under the Old Testament Law of Moses; “He showed His Word unto Jacob, His Statutes and His judgments unto Israel. He hath NOT dealt so with any nation. And as for His Judgments, they have not known them.” (Ps 147:19-20). The author clearly stated in the book I was reading, that we are not under the LAW.
But, in that same book, the author was asked a question about TITHING. The writer then referred to Books of the Law; Leviticus 27:30, and of course Malachi 3:10. In one instance, he says we are NOT under the Law, and in another instance, he says we ARE under the Law. Which one? It can’t be both. Now, when we speak about giving to Christ’s Work on earth, in this dispensation of Grace, We always go back to the Law, or to the passage in Malachi. I do not believe that in the age of the Church, that is, since Christ died on the Cross in full payment for our sin, I do not believe that you can find the word “TITHE” mentioned from the cross of Christ all the way to the very end in Rev. 22:21. I am aware of the fact that TITHE is mentioned in Hebrews Ch. 7, where Abram gave tithes to Melchizedek in Genesis 14:17-24. This was before Abram was saved in Genesis 15:6, and his name changed from Abram to Abraham,(See also Romans 4:1-4, James 2:23). I see nothing in the Scripture that would take us back into that dispensation. Jacob vowed to give God a Tenth “IF” God would keep him safe, give him food and clothes. (Gen 28:20-22). I see no law that required Jacob to make such a statement concerning the tenth, and there is no record that Jacob ever did that, and if he did, to whom did he give the tenth? Jacob later, after his stay with Laban, wrestled with an angel and his name was changed from Jacob to Israel. (Gen 32:24-32). Again, there is no Biblical teaching that we, who are of this dispensation, the New Testament Church age, should adopt any practice of giving from the Law, or before the Law. Now, I know, I can hear some say, “Now this is the New Testament age, and they tithed in Jesus’ day.” The Pharisee stood and prayed with himself and said, “I give Tithes of all I possess.” (Lk 18:12). But note that this is still under the Old Testament Law of Moses. Jesus said in Mt 23:23, “Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, Hypocrites, for ye pay tithes of mint these ought ye to have done.” (Lk 11:42) Please note that this also is still under the Old Testament Law and economy. IF WE ARE GOING TO PLACE OURSELVES UNDER SOME OF THE LAW, WE MUST PLACE OURSELVES UNDER ALL THE LAW. Usually, when we preach or teach about giving, we just naturally refer to Malachi 3:10, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith 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.” Again, IS THE TITHE THE LORD’S? Now, please do not misunderstand the message. I am NOT telling you something new. I am disturbed about these religious charlatans who are continually asking for the tithe to be sent to them. If you have prayed about your giving, and you have decided that you will give a tenth part of your income to your CHURCH, I have no problem with that. That is wonderful. Now, let us go to the Cross…
Some Glorious things happened on the Cross of Calvary. Let me share just a few. On that Cross, Jesus cried out. “IT IS FINISHED.” (Jn 19:30) “The veil of the Temple was rent in twain from top to bottom.” (Mt 27:51) When Christ died on the cross, the Old Covenant of Law ended. A NEW and Living way to God was opened. “For where a Testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the Testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead, otherwise it is of no strength while the testator liveth.” (Heb 9:16-17). After Christ died, His Will and Testament came into effect. We are under a covenant of GRACE, and not LAW. Christ’s death opened the way to God. “IT IS FINISHED” He cried. What was finished? The Law was finished, the types were finished, the sacrifices were finished, the Levitical priesthood was finished. All the shadows were finished. We are now in the time of His Glorious revelation called the Church, hidden in ages past, (Eph 3:1-6)
Jesus told His Disciples to take His Gospel to all nations of the world. This is the greatest task ever given to man. And He left us with no financial plan to complete such a task. How will the job be completed? The only financial plan that I can find is found in John 21:15-17. Jesus said. “LOVEST THOU ME MORE THAN THESE?” More than these included his friends, his income, his career. The LAW was demanding. GRACE demands so much more. The LAW demanded 10%, GRACE demands all. Everything is conditioned on, “LOVEST THOU ME?” You cannot separate LOVING from GIVING…
“For God so LOVED the world that He GAVE His only Begotten Son..”
The Old Testament believer was a SERVANT. The Law said that he must give a tithe. That’s all. 10%. The old Testament believer served the Law, and the Law was a hard taskmaster. I do not believe that we want to take that route.
The New Testament believer is pictured as a STEWARD. “As good STEWARDS of the manifold Grace of God.” (1Pet 4:10). “STEWARDS of the Mysteries of God.” (1Cor 4:1). Now, the believer, as a STEWARD has a degree of freedom and responsibility. Now, lets look at New Testament giving.
1. NEW TESTAMENT GIVING IS TO BE HEART GIVING. The Old Testament believer gave because the LAW said that he had to give. The New Testament believer gives because he wants to give. There is a vast difference here. When we think of Calvary. When we think of the pain and suffering. When we think of the price He paid for our sin. When we see His unselfish heart. “He who was rich, became poor for us, that through His poverty might be rich.” When these truths touch us, as they should, our reply should be, “Lord, here it is, my wallet, my check book, my bank account, from my HEART Lord Jesus, it is yours!” Paul called this kind of giving, GRACE GIVING, and since it is GRACE GIVING, and NOT LAW GIVING, from our heart of Gratitude, New Testament giving is ALL giving.
2. NEW TESTAMENT GIVING IS TO BE HONEST GIVING. “Upon the first day of the week let everyone of you lay by him in store, AS GOD HAS PROSPERED HIM that there be no gatherings when I come.” (1Cor 16:2).
In this text, Paul was receiving an offering for the poor saints in Jerusalem. Churches were receiving this offering to give to Paul for the Church. Paul uses the generosity of the churches of Macedonia for their example,(2Cor 8:1-6). Notice that New Testament giving is CHURCH GIVING. Paul addresses the Churches of Macedonia, of Corinth, of Galatia, etc. There is nothing about some religious headquarters, or some hierarchy, or some denominational program. He is addressing local New Testament assemblies. The Local Church is God’s only avenue for evangelism, instruction, and world missionary outreach program. Our HEART should be in our local New Testament Church, and our giving should be to that local Church. The offerings are to be handled and distributed HONESTLY and accounted for. You are NOT obligated to send your money to some Radio preacher, or to some Television ministry that may be in financial trouble. You are not obligated to “bail out” some high spending ministry. I am appalled at the calls for money, and the fortunes that are being sent to many of these so-called “ministries.” Nobody holds them into account. And though their prophecies fail, and miserably fail, they are still not held to account, and still the money keeps coming in. God holds each of us responsible as STEWARDS over our money. I believe that God holds the believer accountable as to what “ministry” we support. This is why we should be part of a good local Bible believing Church and place our offerings in that Church. And if or when that Church strays away from the Fundamentals of the Faith, find a Church that is true to the Faith and invest your money there. We must take care to place our money in a Bible Believing, God Loving, Soul Winning, Local, New Testament Church.
3. NEW TESTAMENT GIVING IS TO BE HILARIOUS GIVING. “Every man according as he purposeth IN HIS HEART, so let him give, not grudgingly, or of necessity, for God loveth A CHEERFUL GIVER,” (2Cor 9:7). Grace giving, Heart giving, Love giving, Gratitude giving, Glad giving, Giving because you want to give, and not because you have to give all add up to HILARIOUS GIVING.
4. NEW TESTAMENT IS TO BE HOLY GIVING. Under the Law, the Tithe was Holy. “All the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s, it is HOLY unto the Lord.” (Lev. 27:30) Under the LAW the tithe was Holy, “Devoted entirely to Deity.: Under the LAW, 10% of whatever a man has was devoted to God. Under GRACE, which is so much more demanding, everything we have should be devoted to God…not just 10%. Many who are reading this could give to God MUCH MUCH more than the tithe.
Now, I am running out of space for this message. There is much more we could study. The question at the beginning was, “IS THE TITHE THE LORD’S?” My answer, If you are a born again believer, EVERYTHING belongs to Christ; your TIME, TALENT, everything is His. Again, if you have prayed, and sought the will of God about your giving, and you have concluded that you will give 10% to His CHURCH, I have no argument against that. 10% is “bargain basement” mentality of giving. Consider the Gift of Christ, “For ye know the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye, through His poverty might be rich.” (2Cor 8:9). As Paul was writing this section, (2Cor 8-9) about giving, he used words like, “liberality” “grace” “bounty” and “they first gave their own selves.” Paul was so overcome with all of this, there came from his heart a resounding, “Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift.” (2Cor 9:15). Let your Love for Christ, and your Gratitude for His Gift to you determine what your Gift to Him will be. If you will do that honestly and sincerely, I guarantee that your gift will be more than 10%. God Bless.
HAPPY RESURRECTION CELEBRATION EVERYONE. EASTER SUNDAY THIS YEAR IS APRIL 16. MAY EACH OF YOU ENJOY THE WORSHIP AND PRAISE THAT THIS DAY MEANS TO THE BELIEVER.
IT’S GETTING’ UP TIME
By Pastor George Mills
“Come on son, it’s gettin’ up time.”
Said a father to his son.
We must work, and we must toil,
Before this day is done.
There’s fields to plow, there’s wood to cut,
Before the heat of the mid-day sun.
“Come on son, it’s gettin’ up time,
Our work is never done.”
“Come on Son, it’s gettin’ up time.”
Said the Father to the Son.
“No more pain and no more tears,
The battle has been won.
“Come on Son, it’s gettin’ up time,
To be alone no more,
Come on Son, it’s gettin’ up time,
The Work is finally o’er.
Soon we’ll hear that Glorious call,
When graves will open wide.
“Come on son, it’s gettin’ up time,
Up here with Me abide.
Come on son, it’s gettin’ up time,
Safe on Heaven’s shore,
Come on son, it’s gettin’ up time,
At Home, forever more.
“Like it or not, you will have to live somewhere forever, so you had better learn how to live.” (Bob Jones, Sr)
THE POWER OF HIS RESURRECTION
By Pastor George Mills
“That I may know Him, and THE POWER OF HIS RESURRECTION, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death.” (Phil 3:10).
The greatest power the world has ever known is the POWER OF HIS RESURRECTION. I know that the power of the atomic bomb that hit Japan in 1945 was a great power. Since that time scientists have developed Nuclear power, and perhaps more. But nothing will ever so affect mankind as did the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus.
1.HIS RESURRECTION IS THE SIGN OF HIS DEITY. “Master, we would see a sign from thee. An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign, and there shall be no sign given to it but the sign of the prophet Jonas. For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly, so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” ( Mt 12:39-40). “What sign showest Thou us seeing that Thou doest these things” Jesus answered and said unto them, “destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up again.” “He spake of the Temple of His Body.” (Jn 2:18-19, 21). While on earth, Christ did many things, and anyone of these could have been sufficient to prove who He was. But He said that the ultimate proof of His deity is the Resurrection. And we praise the Living Christ that He did come forth from the grave, victorious. If Satan can find some way to disprove this fact, he would be victorious. But, CHRIST AROSE! He said, “I am He that liveth, who was dead, and behold I am alive for evermore.” (Rev 1:18)
2. HIS RESURRECTION IS HIS SENTENCE OVER SATAN. Satan tried since the Garden of Eden to “cut off” the promised seed of the Messiah. He tried to kill Him at His birth. Many times during the life and Ministry of Christ, Satan tried to kill Him. And finally, on that last week, he had the mob so stirred up that nothing could stop them from crucifying the Christ. And finally, after history’s mockery trial, Christ was nailed to the Cross where He died. He was taken down from the Cross, and sealed in a borrowed tomb. I am sure that if God had lifted the scales from their eyes they would have seen the satanic forces dancing with glee. “Finally, at last, the victory is ours, Christ is dead for evermore.” But the Bible (KJV) says, “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory. Which none of the princes of this world knew, for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory.” (1Cor 2:7-8) The Resurrection of Christ was from before the foundation of the world in the plan of God. Satan could not have kept Him in the tomb. He is Alive, and Satan has been sentenced. (Rev 20:1-3).
3. HIS RESURRECTION IS OUR STRENGTH FOR DAILY LIVING. His Cross is our Victory over the PENALTY of sin. His Resurrected Life is our source of strength for victory over the POWER of sin. “For if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, MUCH MORE being reconciled, we shall be saved by His Life.” (Ro 5:10) Paul said, “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but CHRIST LIVETH IN ME, and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” (Gal 2:20). We are to “Lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. Looking unto Jesus, the Author and finisher of our faith…and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb 12:1-2) Christ lives as our Eternal High priest. We can run to Him for help in time of need, (Heb 4:14-16) and we know that He took on human nature, (not fallen nature) in order that He might know personally every grief we bear. “He is able to succour (comfort) them that are tempted.” (Heb 2:16-18).
4. HIS RESURRECTION SECURES OUR DESTINATION. “Yet a little while, and the world seeth Me no more. But ye shall see Me, because I live, ye shall live also.” (Jn 14:19) “And If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto Myself, that where I am, ye may be also.” (Jn 14:3). Our destination, as a Christian is SEALED, SAFE, SURE, AND SECURE. All because of His Life, His Death, His Burial, His RESURRECTION, His ascension into Heaven as our Eternal High Priest, and His Imminent Return For His Church.
And how about YOU, my dear friend? Have you been told from the Scriptures that YOU are a sinner before God?(Ro 3:10). That You are a sinner by birth, by choice, and by nature?(Ro 5:12). That there is an awful price to pay for sin? (Ro 6:23). That Jesus Christ paid the price for your sin by His Death and Resurrection? (Ro 5:6-10) And that YOU must ask Him into your life to be your Saviour?(Ro 10:13). Christ is waiting for you to turn to Him, in Faith, believing. Call upon Him today. He is there, where you are, in the Presence of the Holy Spirit. He will never knock down the barriers in your heart and life, and come in unbidden. He will come in at your invitation. Do that Now. Tell Him that you receive Him. “But as many as received Him to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name.” (Jn 1:12).
“Ask, and ye shall receive.” You can begin TODAY to live FOREVER! You can rejoice in the POWER OF HIS RESURRECTION.
THINK ABOUT IT… Since He BORE the Cross , and He BARE our sin, and He BROKE death’s hold, isn’t He worthy of our praise and dedication? Shouldn’t He occupy the throne of our hearts?
THINK ABOUT IT…Compared to the great mountains of the world, Calvary is just a small hill. Many great things happened on mountaintops. But nothing will ever top what happened on Mount Calvary where Jesus paid the price for our sins.
FROM MY HEART
By Mildred Mills
THE MISSING PIECE
Our Grandkids love to put puzzles together, so we keep puzzles on the low shelf in the den where they are available when they come over to visit. The puzzles are for their age level and they enjoy them very much. However, if you want to see an upset kid, just let them get the puzzle put together down to the last piece, and lo, and behold, there is a missing piece! You can watch them work so hard to figure out where all the pieces go and with each piece they get a little more excited and proud of themselves. “Look Mimi, look Mimi, I’m doing it all by myself.” Then just one piece to go and you see them begin to look around and search for that last piece. “Is it under the chair? Is it under the couch? Maybe the missing piece is under the rug.? The disappointment is there as they fret and fuss, and begin to blame one another for their misfortune. Just one more piece and the puzzle would be complete. I watched the kids with their puzzles and thought of different ones in the world today trying to make it work. Trying to put the puzzle of life together, but there is a missing piece, and that One missing is the Lord Jesus. Without the missing piece there is no PEACE! I watch young couples start out in life working so hard to achieve their goals. They work two or three jobs to save for that beautiful home, or new car, or maybe two cars, and they seem to be doing quite well, but late night sleep won’t come because of the emptiness about them. “What’s missing?” We have worked so hard. We have all the things we labored for, but something is missing. We have a missing piece to our puzzle of life. Not only young couples but older ones alike have worked hard and accomplished much in this life. But they have a missing piece in their lives also. You may not hear them talk about it, but they know in their hearts and minds they need to go back to the place where they misplaced or set aside the missing piece in their lives; The Lord Jesus. Place Him in His rightful position in your life and be complete, in Him. What joy to find the missing piece. Their little faces beam with happiness when they find their puzzle piece on the shelf, right where they left it. Have you left the Lord Jesus on the back burner somewhere, or have you put Him on a shelf while you try to put the puzzle of your life together? You will never be complete, or satisfied without Him. Go back to the place where you left Him. He is right there, not far away at all. Jesus is the missing “peace” in your life. Won’t you give Him His rightful place in your life today, so you can be complete in Him.?
“I am the vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit, for without me ye can do nothing.” (Wilderness, 11/99)
SO YOU THINK YOU’RE NOT SO BAD?But what does God say about that?
God says, “There is none good, no not one.”
“There is none righteous, no not one. “(Ro 3:10)
“For all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God.”(Ro 3:23)
“But we are ALL as an unclean thing, and ALL our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.”(Isa 64:6)
“Now we know that what things soever the Law saith, it saith to them that are under the Law, that every mouth may be stopped, and ALL THE WORLD MAY BECOME GUILTY BEFORE GOD.”(Ro 3:19)
These verses from God’s Word tell us that NONE are good! WE ARE SINNERS. The Message of the Gospel is this; God will freely give you Christ’s Righteousness, and make you as though you had never sinned..Just consider these things…
1.Realize that you are NOT good. “There is none that doeth good, no not one.”(Ro 3:12)
2. Recognize that you cannot save yourself. “For by Grace are ye saved through faith and that NOT of yourselves.” (Eph 2:8-9)
3. Receive the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour. (Jn 1:12) How do you receive Him? The Bible says, “ask, and ye shall receive.” God will hear the cry of the repentant heart. Trust Christ TODAY!