Pastor J is not concerned with Charlottesville, per se…

Why not? Because the issue pre exists, and is much larger than Charlottesville or MAGA hats…

I have been seeing for a long time, a growing tribalism that has permeated this culture in a way that was/is surprising to some, but certainly not unexpected. Personally, I don’t see why this is surprising to anyone; especially to anyone who calls themselves a Christian. The ‘values’ that seem to be in the lead in this culture are: Individualism, Diversity, Pride and Acceptance and all of those things are antithetical to The Gospel. If you do not espouse any and all of these things, declaring yourself to be an ‘ally’ of any and every group and expression, you are an enemy. This thinking transgresses all the lines of division, be they ethnicity, class, language, origin, sexuality or religion. It’s all the same issue.

The problem is, that this is a recipe for anarchy, and this is what we are seeing. Every tribe is lashing out in their various milieus, be it the board room, the class room, the neighborhood, or the street. It’s all the same thing. Every tribe wants to assert its rights, declare the supremacy of their ideology, and values, and give no quarter to the other.

Tribalism is the root issue, and the other things grow out from it as ‘values’. As such, one’s interpretation of each of those so-called ‘values’ will flow out of their given tribe’s definition. So at its root, ‘diversity’ is really division.

This is a divisive, angry selfish culture in America today, and the only cure is The Gospel, the very thing that the culture seeks to silence. We are raising a generation of self-absorbed, self-important bratty beasts who are now attending our Colleges and Universities, and being told that the culture should cater to them. Speech is violence, debate is aggression, and opposing points of view are ‘hatred’ that must be silenced. This to me, should concern us much more than it does.

Personally, I am not afraid or anxious, I am more disappointed than anything else. Why? Because I can’t see how people who claim The Gospel did not see/anticipate this. I am not clairvoyant, so it has to have been obvious to more than just me. Those who did/do, and fail to speak on it, for whatever sinful selfish reason, should be beaten with many stripes.

As one who went to a KKK rally near my college in CT. in 1981, lived through my neighborhood (Crown Heights) blowing up in 1991, stood less than a mile from the WTC and watched planes hit in 2001, losing friends and colleagues in the aftermath, (to mention just a few things), Charlottesville means little as a specific event. It is merely a symptom of the never-ending, heart-rooted issues that exist in all human cultures, and have since Cain and Abel.

We are tribal creatures, and we seek to find ways to a) find belonging and acceptance, and b) believe that there is something special about us.

The answer here is in the hands, hearts, minds and mouths of people like you and I, brethren. We are those with what the Bible calls, ‘beautiful feet’.
How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the herald, who proclaims peace, who brings news of good things, who proclaims salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”  – Isaiah 52:7

SDG

There is Rest in Release

From the Repairer’s Fellowship Service Notes from 2011, seems pertinent right now:

One of the reasons that the people of His day missed/couldn’t receive Jesus was that they didn’t know where the Battlefield was, or who the real enemy was.  They were looking at Rome, they were looking at their freedom from Rome as true liberation.

Much like today, people are looking for whatever nonsense is forefront in the media, when the real battlefield is elsewhere.

But we know where the real battlefield is:

Ephesians 6:10-18 – Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; (Eph 6:10-18)

A Jewish colleague of mine asked me this week, how it could be that the people of Israel for the most part stayed together during the Exodus. I explained the concept of the ‘galvanizing them’ or ‘galvanizing other’

Often what unites a people is having a common enemy, a ‘them’. One of the reasons that our country is in such turmoil is that there is no galvanizing ‘them’. The pressure exerted from without, forces the compressed to become stronger, closer, more resilient, and unified. We see this in the natural with diamonds, in the Flesh with wars. We see this played out in our various arenas, (sports, politics, religion, family)

What do we understand? We have a ‘galvanizing them’.

I – Satan

1 Peter 5:6-11 – Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Revelation 12: 10-11 – And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. (The blood is the substitutionary atonement, which makes us not guilty in the eyes of the Father, the sacrificial love, and word of our testimony is what identifies to one another and to the world)

(see John 13:34-35, Acts 2:42-47, etc)

II – Sin – Romans 7 (whole Chapter)

How do we overcome?

  1. The blood of the Lamb
  2. The word of our testimony
  3. The whole armor of God
  4. Putting the things of God above the things that we prize the most.

But the Bible is full of paradoxes like this:

*lose to gain*

Luke 9:18-27 – And it came to pass, as he was alone praying, his disciples were with him: and he asked them, saying, Whom say the people that I am? They answering said, John the Baptist; but some say, Elias; and others say, that one of the old prophets is risen again. He said unto them, But whom say ye that I am? Peter answering said, The Christ of God. And he straitly charged them, and commanded them to tell no man that thing; Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day. And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels. But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.

*I live, yet not I *

1st Corinthians 15: 9-10 –  For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.  (10)  But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

Galatians 2:19-21 – For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.  (20)  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.  (21)  I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

*The things which we do, which we believe are for the bettering of our lives,, often in actuality, are a waste of time and energy, and are spending our lives…

Luke 12:16-34

*When pain can’t be released it is shared and if it is not shared, it is spread.*

Romans 15:1-2 – We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.  Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.

*We are to share (bear one another’s burdens)*

Galatians 6:1-10 –  Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.  (2)  Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.  (3)  For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.  (4)  But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.  (5)  For every man shall bear his own burden.  (6)  Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.  (7)  Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.  (8)  For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.  (9)  And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.  (10)  As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

This is after all, the example of Christ

Isaiah 53:4-6 – Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.  (5)  But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.  (6)  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

We have to let go, if we’re going to grow – and we cannot be the body of Christ until we are ready/willing to let go…

Fulfillment in life comes from the letting go, not the grabbing. 

In Closing, this:

Matthew 6:19-34

19 “Don’t store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. So if the light within you is darkness, how deep is that darkness!

24 “No one can serve two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

The Cure for Anxiety

25 “Therefore I tell you: Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Consider the birds of the sky: They don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they? 27 Can any of you add one moment to his life-span by worrying? 28 And why do you worry about clothes? Observe how the wildflowers of the field grow: They don’t labor or spin thread. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these. 30 If that’s how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, won’t he do much more for you—you of little faith? 31 So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. 34 Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Jesus The Christ

The Tithe: For Christians or not?

Blessings to you dear reader.

Thank you for taking the time to read the following. It is my prayer that it will edify, and bring clarity, and provoke thought and a closer walk with our Savior. Please note that wherever scripture is quoted, it is taken from the American Standard Version (ASV)

In His service,

Pastor.ctj

 

A debated doctrine:

One of the most heavily debated doctrines of the modern church is the doctrine of the tithe.

Many Christians generally accept that the Jewish law, (as part of the Old Covenant) was abolished upon Jesus’ crucifixion, when he fulfilled it. As such, for the most part, Christians do not follow Jewish community laws such as the extensive dietary restrictions in the Old Testament, for example, and tithing was part of that group of laws.

Others believe that because Jesus spoke about tithing, he was instructing his followers to continue the practice, and for many, not only is the tithe still an active doctrine, it is proof of one’s commitment to God.

What is ‘Tithing’?

The doctrine is a simple one: The believer is required to give 1/10th of their earnings/wages to their home church. The word ‘tithe’ means simply ‘a tenth’.

The doctrine is based on the following passages of scripture:

 

The first is Malachi 3: 8-11 which states:

Will a man rob God? yet ye rob me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with the curse; for ye rob me, even this whole nation. Bring ye the whole tithe into the store-house, that there may be food in my house, and prove me now herewith, saith Jehovah 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. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast its fruit before the time in the field, saith Jehovah of hosts. – (Malachi 3:8-11 ASV)

 

The second is found in Genesis 14, specifically verses 14-20:

And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he led forth his trained men, born in his house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued as far as Dan. And he divided himself against them by night, he and his servants, and smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus. And he brought back all the goods, and also brought back his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people. And the king of Sodom went out to meet him, after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer and the kings that were with him, at the vale of Shaveh (the same is the King’s Vale). And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was priest of God Most High. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth: and blessed be God Most High, who hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him a tenth of all. – (Genesis 14:14-20 ASV)

 

While these passages are indeed admonition and example, two questions must be asked;

1) For whom? And

2) Do these passages constitute a doctrine that should be in effect for the church?

 

Specific Points re: the tithe

There are different tithes mentioned in the Bible, let’s take a look at a couple of them:

Section a: Abraham’s tithe

While Genesis 14, (and its reference in Hebrews 7) is commonly used to bolster the claim that we (Christians) should tithe, I think that we should take a closer look:

Please take a moment to read the ENTIRE 14th Chapter of Genesis… After you’ve read it, please consider the following:

  1. That Abraham’s tithe was a ONE TIME event. (There is no other Biblical record of Abram/Abraham EVER tithing again)
  2. Abraham’s tithe WAS NOT on his personal possessions; rather it was only on the war plunder that resulted from his rescue mission for Lot, his nephew. . (Note: In Numbers 31:31-41, God only required 1% of spoils of war.)
  3. There is NO evidence that Abraham tithed on his personal possessions to anyone at any time. 4. As it was from the spoils of war, and pre-dated the law, Abram’s gift was NOT a holy tithe from God’s holy land gathered by God’s holy people under God’s holy Old Covenant. For this reason alone, this example should not be used in conjunction of Malachi 3.
  4. Abraham kept nothing for himself; he gave everything back. Genesis 14, verse 21-23, is the key text.
  5. Abraham’s tithe is not quoted anywhere in the Bible to endorse tithing to Israel or to the church. If Abraham is an example for Christians to give 10% to God, then he should also be an example for Christians to give the other 90% to Satan, or to the king of Sodom! (Thanks to Russell E. Kelly PhD for that one)

(Please note that I am purposefully not dealing with the identity of Melchizedek. That discussion is for another time, and will only serve as a distraction from our central theme)

Section b: Malachi 3, and the Mosaic Law

  1. The Mosaic tithes were always edible and came from the crops and flocks.

Malachi 3 says to  “bring all the tithes into the storehouse that there may be Meat/Food in my house.” Meat/Food is a very specific thing, in that it means something edible. In the Hebrew, the word is: טרף ṭereph (teh’-ref)

Meaning: From H2963; something torn, that is, a fragment, for example a fresh leaf, prey, food: – leaf, meat, prey, spoil.

  1. The teaching which states that everybody in the Old Testament was required to begin their giving to God at the ten per cent level is false.

The poor were not required to tithe at all! Neither did the tithe come from the results of man’s craft, hands and skill. Only farmers and herdsmen gathered what God produced as tithe increase.

Note: Please note the implication here, beloved: Jesus was a carpenter; Paul was a tentmaker and Peter was a fisherman. None of these occupations qualified as tithe-payers because they did not farm or herd animals for a living. It is, therefore, incorrect to teach that everybody paid a required minimum of a tithe and, therefore, incorrect to teach that in keeping with the law, New Covenant Christians should be required to at least begin at the same minimum as Old Covenant Israelites.

This common false assumption is very often repeated and completely ignores the very plain definition of tithe as food gathered from farm increase or herd increase. The easy argument to make here, is that being that we are no longer in a primarily agricultural society, we give money instead of food, but if we are honest with the text, how do we decide who is to tithe?

  1. There are three Different Tithes Described in the Bible.

The first religious tithe, called the “Levitical tithe,” had two parts. Again, the whole first tithe was given to the Levites who were only servants to the priests (Numbers 18:21-24; Nehemiah10:37). The Levites, in turn, gave one tenth of the whole tithe to the priests (Numbers 18:25-28; Nehemiah10:38]. According to Deuteronomy 12 and 14,

The second religious tithe, called the “feast tithe,” was eaten by worshipers in the streets of Jerusalem during the three yearly festivals (Deut. 12:1-19; 14:22-26).

The third tithe, according to Deuteronomy 14 and 26, called the “poor tithe,” was kept in the homes every third year to feed the poor (Deut. 14:28, 29; 26:12, 13).

 

Here is some more info re: the tithes discussed in Deut 14:

Occasionally, the discussion of Deut 14:22 comes up. This verse is often taken out of context, because if one reads verses 22-29 in context, the passage puts the tithing doctrine to bed once and for all: Here is it (continuing in the ASV)

22 Thou shalt surely tithe all the increase of thy seed, that which cometh forth from the field year by year.

23 And thou shalt eat before Jehovah thy God, in the place which he shall choose, to cause his name to dwell there, the tithe of thy grain, of thy new wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herd and of thy flock; that thou mayest learn to fear Jehovah thy God always.

24 And if the way be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it, because the place is too far from thee, which Jehovah thy God shall choose, to set his name there, when Jehovah thy God shall bless thee;

25 then shalt thou turn it into money, and bind up the money in thy hand, and shalt go unto the place which Jehovah thy God shall choose:

26 and thou shalt bestow the money for whatsoever thy soul desireth, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul asketh of thee; and thou shalt eat there before Jehovah thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou and thy household.

27 And the Levite that is within thy gates, thou shalt not forsake him; for he hath no portion nor inheritance with thee.

28 At the end of every three years thou shalt bring forth all the tithe of thine increase in the same year, and shalt lay it up within thy gates:

29 and the Levite, because he hath no portion nor inheritance with thee, and the sojourner, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are within thy gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; that Jehovah thy God may bless thee in all the work of thy hand which thou doest.

So, in short:

— Here’s One Tithe—

v.25 exchange your livestock and/or crops for money if you have to travel too far,

v.26 Spend the money however you see fit

v.27 Don’t forget the Levites, because THEY CAN OWN NOTHING (Some of you who attend traditional or megachurches may wish to ask your Pastor about that one)

 

—And another Tithe—-

v.28 Bring the tithe every three years

v.29 so that the Levites (who could not own anything) , the travelers, the orphans and the widows may have food. THAT was the reason for the tithe… Clearly, this is NOT a New Covenant practice or doctrine…

Also, according to First Samuel 8:14-17, the ruler collected the first and best ten per cent for political use. During Jesus’ time Rome collected the first ten per cent (10%) of most food and twenty per cent (20%) of fruit crops as its spoils of war.

Conclusion: The current tithe teaching ignores all other tithes and focuses on an incorrect interpretation of the first religious tithe.

 

  1. What does the phrase ‘windows of heaven’ mean in context?

No other Scripture has had greater mileage than Malachi 3:10

“Bring ye the whole tithe into the store-house, that there may be food in my house, and prove me now herewith, saith Jehovah 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.

Malachi 3 has been greatly misused for God’s blessing to come to his people.

A closer look of this verse in the context shows that it has nothing to do with wealth or material blessings. The term ‘windows of heaven occurs 3 times in the scriptures: We first find this same term used by God back in Genesis 7:11 the windows of heaven were open and rain contributed to the flood, as the fountains of the deep were broken open.

In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights. (Genesis 7:11-12)

In Genesis 8:2 it says the windows of heaven were stopped and the rain from heaven was restrained.

And God remembered Noah, and all the beasts, and all the cattle that were with him in the ark: and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters assuaged; the fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained; and the waters returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of a hundred and fifty days the waters decreased. (Genesis 8:1-3)

 

Clearly this phrase is consistently used for water. In Genesis it was a judgment. In Malachi 3 it was to be a blessing on their crops. The nation lived by their agriculture (Husbandry) and depended upon the rain. God’s blessing had to do with his provision of water; no rain and they would starve. If they did not give God their tithes which was part of the blessing in the Mosaic covenant God would bring a curse on them, the ground would not yield food because he would not allow it to rain.

 

The Jew vs The Christian

Let’s take a side by side look at the life of the Mosaic Law abiding Jew, and the Christian:

The Jew:

God’s Mt. Sinai legislation regarding tithing is spelled out in the books of Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. As we discussed earlier, there are as many as three separate tithes that can be distinguished:

1) The annual tithe for the support of the Levites, the tabernacle/temple workers Leviticus 27:30-33; Numbers 18:21-24). This was the only visible means of support for them, since they inherited no land when Canaan was conquered under Joshua. The Levites, in turn, passed along a tithe of this tithe to the priests, the highest echelon of worship leaders (Numbers 18:26).

2) An annual feast tithe, which apparently went for the support of the house of God and its services (Deut 14:22-27).

3) A “social ministry” or ‘poor’ tithe, received every third year, for helping the poor and needy (Deut 14:28; 26:12).

4) A further examination of point 1: According to Deuteronomy 18, and Numbers 18, the priests and Levites were not allowed to own anything. Please consider that carefully, beloved. The priests and Levites could not own anything.

The priests, the Levites, all the tribe of Levi, shall have no part nor inheritance with Israel. They shall eat the offerings of Jehovah made by fire, and His inheritance. Therefore they shall have no inheritance among their brothers. Jehovah is their inheritance, as He has said to them. (Deuteronomy 18:1-2 ASV)

And Jehovah said to Aaron, You shall have no inheritance in their land, neither shall you have any part among them. I am your part and your inheritance among the sons of Israel. And behold, I have given the sons of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, the service of the tabernacle of the congregation. (Numbers 18:20-21 ASV)

5) Also remember that the Old Testament tithing code specified the bare minimum amount to be contributed; it commanded the starting point for giving, not a goal toward which the worshipper should strive. The tithing code presupposed an agricultural existence, targeting the offering of grain, wine, oil, and livestock.

The Christian:

1) Keeping in mind that several things happened After Christ died on the cross for our sins:

  1. He rose from death on the third day,
  2. Ascended into heaven to rule all things, and
  3. He sent his Spirit on all flesh.

As a result, the New Testament church is under a new (and better) covenant, of which Jesus is the surety of, and the Old Testament had been fulfilled. This means that the ceremonial laws which pointed to Christ have served their purpose, and are now no longer in effect. From the day of Pentecost onward the rite of circumcision, the temple sacrifices, and other observances have lost their Spiritual importance. Clearly, the early church knew this, which is why the practice of tithing seems to have fallen by the wayside in those days. The Jewish historian Josephus states that all three tithes listed above were firmly in place in first century A.D. Judaism, but nevertheless tithing is never mentioned in the New Testament’s description of the first century church.

If tithing was to be practiced by and in the church, I would think that it would have been mentioned in the Epistles, especially to the church at Galatia, because they were primarily a gentile congregation.

2) All three tithes became obsolete.

  1. The tithe for the Levites became unnecessary when the Levites were replaced by the apostolic ministry. Concerning the material support of ministers of the Gospel, all the New Testament says is that they should eat what is set before them (Matt. 10:10) and that the church should take care of them (Gal 6:6).
  2. Secondly, the tithe for the support of the temple services outlived its usefulness: the sacrifices of the temple, soon to be leveled in AD. 70, gave place to the one Sacrifice for all sin.
  3. Thirdly, the “social ministry” tithe was no longer needed because Christian brothers and sisters helped one another by way of special collections, as was the case with the famine-stricken Christians in Jerusalem (1 Cor 16). While giving for the Lord’s work obviously continued in the church, no amounts or percentages are prescribed in the New Testament. All that is said is that early Christians had everything in common (Acts 2:44 – this is not a tithe, it is 100%!), that they gave sacrificially (2 Cor 8:1-3), and that they gave as God had prospered them (1 Cor 16:2)

 

3) Jesus’ comments in Matt 23:23 were directed at those still under the Mosaic Covenant.

Clearly this is so, and the proofs of this are many, so I will not go into detail… Additionally, many things Jesus did and commanded would be sinful to bind on Christians.

– Jesus commanded animal sacrifice, in accordance with the Law. Once HE, the perfect sacrifice was given, there was no longer any need for animal sacrifice (Matt 8:4)

– Jesus observed the Sabbath (Luke 4:16) although he rejected their man made up regulations concerning the Sabbath.

– Jesus observed the Passover (Matt 26:18)

– Jesus commanded JEWS (Matt 23:23) to tithe their crops and flocks to support the Levitical priests, but such would not work well as the support system for the work of the Church.

 

4) The early church DID NOT TITHE!

According to the Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of The Bible, P. 758

“For several centuries in the early Church there was no support of the clergy by a systematic giving of a tithe…rather freedom in Christian giving was emphasized.”

Conclusion:

So what then do we say dear reader? Is tithing for the church? For the believer?

No, but GIVING is! Give freely, abundantly, and with Joy!

May God richly bless you!

Pastor.ctj

 

Sources and Resources:

 

Pastor George Greene – In Your Bible Ministries

http://www.inyourbible.com/video.html

 

Dr. Russell Earl Kelly – Should the Church teach tithing?

http://www.tithing-russkelly.com/

 

Gary Amirault  – The tithe is illegal

http://www.tentmaker.org/books/TheTitheisIllegal.html

 

The ‘Let us reason’ website – Are you giving to God with a Cheerful Heart, or Tithing by law to Benefit Yourself?

http://www.letusreason.org/Wf34.htm

 

Dr. James Bollhagen – Tithing: The 10% Rule and the Church: A Topical Summary for “Issues, Etc.”

http://www.mtio.com/articles/bissar56.htm

 

Pastor CT Jermin – The Repairer’s Fellowship

http://www.rfbconline.wordpress.com

https://www.facebook.com/TheRepFel/

 

Tools For The Trial

An transcription of an Old sermon of mine. May it Bless you today:

Abide & Abound, or; Tools for the trial – 05/27/06

1 Corinthians 15:57-58 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

That is easy to read, but Hard to do, isn’t it.

Why? Because:

We have misunderstood the reality of our connection to the church. It is an internal connection not external, and because we fail to understand this, we become anchored to, and enslaved by, the buildings and organizations that we tether ourselves to. Instead of being attached, we become entrenched. Jesus made it plain that:

  • Worship is not tied to a locality, and the Church is not a building.
     – John 4:19-24.
    Paul echoed the sentiment, in that it is not about created things, and God is nigh thee

Acts 17:19-34

People going to church for feelings. Feel Good religion, non-confrontational Gospel.

You know, the all things work, etc. positive confessions, etc.. Focus on Praise. Corporate, modern, sophisticated, church

But the Spirit of the Lord let Paul that this would happen 2000 years ago

 

2 Timothy 4:1-5 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

Recently I shared about the Barna Group website. George Barna has written one of the most startling books of the past five years: Revolution. Reading that book caused me to want to find out more about what he does, so I went to his website.  While on his site, I came across a page dealing with Statistics that his research group gathered re: the Faith of African Americans. I was intrigued, and a bit upset, to say the least, because according to the Barna group’s findings:

Although 75% of us believe that God is the all-powerful, all-knowing, perfect creator who rules the world today, and 83% of us say our religious faith is very important in their lives….

  • Only 10% of us believe moral truth is absolute.

This goes right back to what I keep screaming. Until we teach God’s people to WORSHIP, Until the People of God have an Isaiah 6 experience, Until we as ministers, worship leaders, and whatever else we call ourselves, model Worship in our day to day living, until we teach foundational Bible truth, and Stress the importance and NECESSITY for Worship and Holiness, Our churches will be full of people who believe that:

  1. A) Sin is relative B) Holiness is optional C) Righteousness is tentative

D) Holiness is conceptual at best E) Righteous Ethical living is situational

People MUST know, that charismatic preachers, slammin’ choirs and a Shout and dance DO NOT get you anywhere near the LORD! No matter how many tongues folk speak in.

You want the formula? The Lord says:

Humble yourself and pray, seek my face and turn from your wicked ways. Draw night unto me and I will draw night unto you, but you must clean your hands, and purify your hearts.

– 2 Chron 7:14 – , James 4:8)

Humble yourself in my sight, and I will lift you up, for a broken spirit and contrite heart I will not despise.,  – James 4:10, Psalm 51:17

Study to shew thyself approved, for I need knowledgable workmen that can go forth without fear, because they know me, and my Word. – 2 Timothy 2:15  

Because the hour comes, in fact, it now is, when the true worshippers will Worship me in Spirit and in truth, for I am a Spirit, and I seek these to Worship me.  – John 4:23-24

 

Everybody’s got drama, it is part of life, as Solomon so aptly put it in Ecclesiastes 9:11

 I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

  • 3 Types of people, many types of Praise. There are only 3 types of people:
    1. Those facing a trial or valley,
    2. Those in the midst of a trial or valley,
    3. Those who are on the way to the next one.

Those of you who are facing or in the midst are probably finding it harder to Praise and Worship. Here’s some perspective for you:

Life is peaks and valleys, but we want to go mountain to mountain. Glory to glory

Why? Because Goliath is in the valley and the Philistines are on the other side.

 

Worship causes you to KNOW your God, and KNOW yourself. Knowing God allows you to have David’s perspective when facing your Goliath. As Daniel put it

Daniel 11:32b  – But the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.1

But how do you get through the valley?

1 Thessalonians 5:16 -18 Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

But how can you do that?

Dr. Roy Blizzard in his book Let Judah Go Up First. Recounts the following story:

In the book of Judges, chapter 1, verses 1-12, Israel is preparing for battle and they inquire of the Lord, Who will be the first to go up and fight for us against the Canaanites? The Lord tells them …Judah is to go. Later, in Judges 20:18 we find, …who of us shall go first to fight against the Benjamites? The Lord replied, Judah shall go first.

There were twelve tribes of Israel. Why should Judah be called upon to go up first? The Hebrew word translated as Judah is used many times in English as PRAISE. So the scripture could be translated as, LET PRAISE GO UP FIRST. This is good advice for us when facing struggles or battles. Let us first praise. This is both an act of faith and submission. Praise God before the battle is entered; anyone can praise when the battle is over and won. Only by faith can we praise at the start.

 

We want to praise and praise accurately. To help us understand what this is about, we will look into some of the Hebrew words translated as praise.

 

  • For us to let Judah go up first is to recognize that our battles are spiritual and must be fought in the spirit. When we let Judah go up first, we confess the attributes of God

2 Corinthians 10:4-5  (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

  • Here are some tools to use, straight from the Word…
  • At all times

GADAL (Gah Dahl) – Often translated “magnify,” it is used as a synonym of praise. In Psalms 34:4 and 69:31, it literally means “to cause to become great.” Gadal calls the worshipper to ascribe greatness to the Lord and His name.

  • As you face the valley

TOWDAH – (To-Daw) -To give worship by the extension of the hand in adoration or agreeing with what has been done or will be. This word is commonly found in connection with sacrifice-applying the giving of thanks or praise as a sacrifice before reception or manifestation. Thanking God for something that I don’t have in the natural. Agreeing with His Word – faith in His Word. This form of praise goes in operation just because His Word is true. “Father, I thank YOU that YOUR WORD is TRUE. As we raise our hearts and hands in praise to the Lord, it involves a sacrifice, especially if one is very sick in body. The carnal mind would fight and ridicule this particular action, but there is great faith in TOWDAH as praise. The lifting of the hand symbolizes agreement. The right hand symbolizes my covenant with my

Father. As I go through the scriptures, God is seen extending His Right Hand to me. That’s the covenant. When He extends His right hand to me, He’s saying to me – ALL THAT I AM IS YOURS, and when I extend my right hand to Him, I am saying “All that I am is yours and I agree with what You’re saying. It is the sacrifice that God honors by His performing of miracles.

 

The ATTITUDE for TOWDAH is: I’m thanking God. I’m agreeing with God that it is as He says. I don’t care what it looks like. I’m agreeing with what His Word says. Example: Father, I thank You that I am healed. Scripture: Psalm 42:4, 50:23, Jer. 17:26

  • In the midst of the valley:

YADAH  (Yaw-Daw) – To worship with the extended hand. The giving of oneself in worship and adoration. To lift your hands unto the Lord. It carries the meaning of absoulute surrender as a young child does to a parent – “pick me up, I’m all yours”.  Scriptures: Gen. 29:35, 2 Chron. 7:6, 20:21, Psalms 9:1, 28:7, Psalms 33:2, 42:5,11, 49:18,

Isaiah 12:1

Yadah in practice – Lift my hands to Him and say how I am surrendering myself to Him. List the ways that I am surrendering to Him. Be diligent. Be disciplined. Be specific. Take the discipline and SAY to the Lord how I am surrendering to Him. With my hands uplifted – surrender unto my God – spirit, soul & body. Totally commit myself to my father.

 

  • The victory cry!

SHABACH – (Shaw-Bakh) – to address in a loud tone, a loud adoration, a shout! Proclaim with a loud voice, unashamed, the GLORY, TRIUMPH, POWER, MERCY, LOVE OF GOD. This word implies that testimony is praise. The phrase “shout unto the Lord” can be understood as the action of SHABACH. It is not just being loud. You should have the attitude of putting your whole being into it, an attitude of being totally uninhibited. Scripture: Psalm 117:1, 63:3-4

 

  • Elder Pointer ministered last week about testing and chastisement, how God sends or allows both, but they are different things for different purposes. I was thinking about that, and there it was, the reason for the valleys…

 

Romans 12:1-3 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

Could the trials, the valleys, could they be to remind us of the one on whom we rely

The one in whom we live and move and have our being? This is why we need to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.

You see when you change your mind, you change yourself! That’s the experience Isaiah had, and the woman at the well had…

I dare you to step back and take a LONG look, a LONG look at your circumstances,

And figure out what you need to change. Then you know what you got to do…

Change Your MIND!

Now I see some of you sisters looking over at your husbands, and some of you brothers looking at your wives. That’s not what I’m talking about.. Amen? Amen!

You’re asking: “How am I supposed to renew my mind?”

Well here’s a simple start. Turn the TV off, and Open your Bible!

Call your cable company, and cancel that playboy channel, start watching the WORD network!

Put down the knife and fork, and pick up your Bible!

Turn off the 50cent, and turn on Fred Hammond!

Hmmm. It’s awful quiet in here… But that’s good. Work Holy Ghost, have your way…

For those that are thinking, None of that applied to me, I’m all right now, why would I wanna change my mind? Well brothers and sisters, the answer is in the next sentence of Romans 12:2

that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God

“Prove it to who Pastor Cyril?”

Well Jesus answered that one in Matthew 5: 13-16

No need to turn to it, just write it down…

Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven

You see there is a responsibility in serving God. God has certain expectations of us.

They’ve got to see your good works, yes, WORKS!

You and me, we are employees, you see.

Of Jesus, Inc.  And the boss expects productivity!

Some of us are very productive, out in the vineyard, working. Doing the work, fighting the good fight, pressing on towards the mark of the high calling in Christ Jesus!

Praise the Lord! Others of us got hired, worked for a while, then went on break! I ain’t callin you out, you know who you are. You’ve been in the break room so long that you forgot what your desk looks like! But I’m here to tell you today, I’ve got to pass this message on from the boss:

Break Time is Over! Look at somebody and say Break Time is Over!

Look around you! There is work to be done!

Look at your neighbor and say… “There is work to be done.”

Some of you are on vacation. That’s all right… For a time.

He understands that we get weary, and need to rest…

But some of you are thinking about not coming back to work. Things have gotten too hard. Situations have made you weary…

Like them that’s on leave, but I got a Word for you BENEFITS!

Say Benefits!

Psalms 68:19  Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.

Psalms 103:2  Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:

Psalms 116:12  What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me?

 

David said this in Psalm 139
1 O LORD , you have searched me and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD .
5 You hem me in-behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?

 

  • He knows, and he understands. You might be discouraged, you might be beat down, might not want to go on, but remember the benefits, brothers and sisters. Remember the benefits!

Psalm 91
1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. 3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. 4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.5 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;6 Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. 7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. 8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. 9 Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; 10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.
11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.

You see, if you stay close, you will abide. You will Abide

Y’all didn’t hear me! You will abide!  Glory to God!

Ok, let me break it down… Help me Holy Ghost….

  • To abide means to:  Remain in a place. To continue to be sure or firm; To endure.

Think about it. If you dwell in the secret place of the Most high God,

You will remain under the shadow of the Almighty!

That’s peace!

You will continue to be sure under the shadow of the Almighty!

That’s confidence!

You will continue to be firm, under the shadow of the Almighty!

That’s security!

You will Endure under the shadow of the Almighty!

That’s power!

When you Abide, Surely he shall deliver thee!

He shall cover thee! under his wings shalt thou trust!

When you Abide, His truth shall be thy shield and buckler!

Thou shalt not be afraid of anything!

 

When you Abide,

A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee!

When you Abide,

Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee!

For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways

You’re gonna abide! Oh somebody Praise Him!! Hallelujah


It’s in your mouth, let it out

For those of you who don’t think it takes all of this:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.  –  John 1:1-3,

If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, and if thou turn unto the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul. For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.  – Deuteronomy 30:10-14

Sing for joy to God our strength; shout aloud to the God of Jacob! – Psalm 81:1

Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.

Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.

For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods.  – Psalm 95:1-3

In that day you will say: “I will praise you, O LORD.  Although you were angry with me, your anger has turned away and you have comforted me. Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.” With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. In that day you will say:”Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted. Sing to the LORD, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world. Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.” – Isaiah12: 1-6

And it came to pass at the seventh time, when the priests blew with the trumpets, Joshua said unto the people, Shout; for the LORD hath given you the city.  – Joshua 6:16  

But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee. – Psalms 5:11  

Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart. – Psalms 32:11  

Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant. – Psalms 35:27  

O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph. – Psalms 47:1

AMEN!

 

Thoughts on recent events II

I am coming to understand that many people’s blind trust in the police narrative of any incident is not totally rooted in unfeeling arrogance, but in a basic primal need to trust. (I mean they MUST have deserved it, right? See, he had a rap sheet! I knew it!)
They view Police Officers as benevolent peace keepers, entrusted with the safety and care, protection and service of the citizenry. (Thankfully, most police officers are exactly that.)

It is a need to trust that is rooted in a (correct) innate sense that order is essential to well-being and the survival of their understanding of community. (Everybody wants to feel/be safe in their homes and communities)

The problem is that this environment has long been disordered, the system long broken, the weights imbalanced to prefer a certain segment, and contain another, and it is only now that the ubiquitous recording devices, internet and social media bring the every day lives of many in our culture live and in living color to their computers, phones and TV’s, that their fragile-as-tissue paper sensibilities are being assaulted…

But this is some people’s every day, and for those people, they are APPALLED and OUTRAGED that there are people who did NOT know… (How could you not know? Seriously, how could you NOT KNOW)
These people have no reason to trust the narrative, due to what they have experienced, so the narrative is almost always suspect, and for them, the peace keepers are actually a militarized force.
It is difficult to reach across the divide of experience, to come to a place of mutual understanding, forbearance and trust, but we must try.
We Must…