good works and tithing

The church’s leadership and lead pastor have responsibility to their congregation, their flock if you will.  What happens in most seeker driven churches is the main message being preached is to serve in some capacity, as a sign of good works, and to tithe 10% of your gross income if possible, or to tithe something and strive to reach the 10% threshold.  It seems that the message is all about performing good works for the sake of Jesus, which is fine.  The problem is that the message is delivered in a manipulative and guilt-laden manner.  People are essentially told they must be doing good works and tithing because we are commanded to do so.  But I see no such command anywhere in the New Testament.

Good works and tithing are aspects of worship.  They are a part of the living sacrifice that is Paul’s summary conclusion in Romans 12.  A living sacrifice which means good works and tithing are an outflow of our salvation and sanctification.  God would never force, manipulate, coerce or otherwise make us do something that we would not freely do in gratitude to Him in this dispensation of grace.  Jesus did not engage in discussion with the Gerasenes, argue with them about why they should let Him preach to them.  He commissioned the man whom He had removed the legion of demons to tell everyone what had been done for Him.  Did Jesus command the man to go?  No, the man wanted to follow Jesus but Jesus knew it would be more profitable for the Kingdom if the healed man shared what the gospel had done for him.

The same techniques are used to get people to increase their giving.  The leaders appeal to the Levitical tax of 10% in the Old Testament.  The Levites did not have an inheritance.  Their inheritance was to be in service of the temple and performing the duties therein, and to serve God fulltime.  The 10% tithe was a tax on the other tribes so as to support the Levites.  This has been brought into today’s teaching.  We are to give 10% of the gross because it is the right Christian thing to do if we are to be obedient to God.  It is somehow bordering on being considered blasphemous if a person is not giving more, and the guilt that is laid on because of these sermons is a heavy burden.

We are not under the Law of Moses.  We give as we feel God leads us to give, without compulsion or manipulation because God loves a cheerful giver.  People are reverting back to the Law and demanding obedience to the decrees made in their sermons.  What is ironic is that these same preachers will mock those who preach expositional sermons as those who are laying burdens on their hearers and pronouncing judgment.  It is quite the opposite in reality.

The church’s purpose, those of the elders and pastor, is to equip the saints for service and for the defense of the gospel.  To encourage and edify the saints as they refuel before they head back into a fallen world and face a bombardment of contending philosophies that are meant to lead them away from their Savior.

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