By Edwin Christiaan | February 6, 2013 | www.instituteoflove.net

“They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth.” Acts 17:11 NLT

This passage from the Bible speaks about the open-minded people of the city of Berea, who thoroughly examined the Scriptures to verify whether the apostles Paul and Silas were teaching the truth. Isn’t that what we are all supposed to do?

On one of our ministry trips this year as we were traveling back to New York, we made a stop in a city where a famous prophet/Bible teacher has his church, bible school, and headquarters. We arrived right in time for the Sunday morning service and were delighted to find out that this well-known minister was scheduled to preach that morning. After the worship service and announcements, he came up and started talking about the subject of tithing, meaning giving 10% of your gross income to the church. As he was teaching, my wife and I looked at each other in amazement at how this man was twisting Old Testament Law scriptures meant for the Israelite’s, and deceptively applying it to the New Covenant believers. This minister was pressuring the congregation by saying that God demands from them to tithe their money into his ministry in order to receive God’s blessings in return. Basically, you are buying your blessing from God. Then, to top it off, this minister shamelessly continued with fear propaganda, saying that he will never allow anybody in his ministry who does not tithe!!! WOW!!!

Nowhere in the New Testament of the Bible does it teach followers of Jesus Christ to tithe! Nowhere!!! Jesus did not teach the disciples to tithe, and the disciples did not teach anybody to tithe!!!

As a matter of fact, this is what the apostles were teaching the believers:

“You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. As the Scriptures say, “They share freely and give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will be remembered forever.” 2. Corinthians 9:7-9 NLT

“On the first day of each week, you should each put aside a portion of the money you have earned.” 1. Corinthians 16:2 NLT

“Give in proportion to what you have. Whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly. And give according to what you have, not what you don’t have. Of course, I don’t mean your giving should make life easy for others and hard for yourselves. I only mean that there should be some equality. Right now you have plenty and can help those who are in need. Later, they will have plenty and can share with you when you need it. In this way, things will be equal.” 2. Corinthians 8:11-15 NLT

After the service, we walked around the impressive ministry complex, that included among other things, a huge store selling all sorts of merchandise like books, CD’s, DVD’s, instruments and much more, and also a café/restaurant selling from a variety of menus. What a marketplace in the church, we thought to ourselves.

This is exactly what Jesus had a problem with when the people were doing business in the Temple, which is supposed to be a house of prayer.

“When they arrived back in Jerusalem, Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out the people buying and selling animals for sacrifices. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves, and he stopped everyone from using the Temple as a marketplace. He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves.'” Mark 11:15-17 NLT

What happened to the scriptures; “Go and announce to them that the Kingdom of Heaven is near. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons. Give as freely as you have received!” Matthew 10:7-8 NLT

“You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’“ Acts 20:35 NLT

And, what happened to the scriptures about the example of the first church in the book of Acts, how they took care of the need of one another through their giving?

“All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had. The apostles testified powerfully to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and God’s great blessing was upon them all. There were no needy people among them, because those who owned land or houses would sell them and bring the money to the apostles to give to those in need.” Acts 4:32-35 NLT

Instead of preaching the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ and teaching sound doctrine, the church is busy pressuring the people to tithe and sow financial seeds in order to receive personal money harvests and healings. They’re talking about revelations of the so-called “angel of finance” and the coming “great wealth transfer,” giving formulas on how to prosper and get wealthy, prophesying over people who first give money in exchange, selling their so-called divinely received revelations from God through their books, CD’s and DVDs to name a few.

They tell you that everybody is supposed to get rich, and yet the Bible says that the apostle Paul, who wasn’t rich himself, taught Timothy to teach those who are rich in this world, (“those” means it was not everybody) the following:

“Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life.” 1. Timothy 6:17-19 NLT

The reason many of those preachers and televangelist are wealthy is because the people are giving money to them, and then end up struggling financially. They promise you that when you give your tithes and gifts, the windows of heaven will open up and pour out blessings upon you that you cannot contain. Why is it then that they don’t sow a financial seed in you, so they will be receiving a blessing from heaven for themselves? But instead, they keep on begging and pressuring you to give. We have to remember that their motive is all for them to get the security of a projected income. They put their trust in your giving, instead of in God, who says in His Word;

“Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content. But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction.” 1. Timothy 6:6-9 NLT

They tell you that the Gospel costs money, and yet Jesus instructed His twelve apostles when He sent them out:

“Don’t take any money in your money belts—no gold, silver, or even copper coins. Don’t carry a traveler’s bag with a change of clothes and sandals or even a walking stick. Don’t hesitate to accept hospitality, because those who work deserve to be fed.” Matthew 10:9-10 NLT

They tell you that if don’t support them financially they cannot continue with the ministry, and yet the Bible says:

“Unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted.” Psalm 127:1 NLT

In other words, a ministry is not depended on whether people support it financially or not, it is whether God is the one who builds it. And if so, you can trust God that He will take care of His ministry!

As we continued our trip back to New York, we heard a well-known female televangelist on the car radio preaching about…well, you might have guessed it…tithing. But this time, it was with a different twist. She said that she knows that tithing is not taught in the New Testament of the Bible, but regardless, she still does it, and the crowd cheered and applauded her. And yet the Bible says:

“Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.” James 4:17 NLT

Recently, we returned from a two-month ministry trip to the Scandinavian countries of Denmark, Sweden and Norway where have been tremendously blessed and encouraged by the believers there. They demonstrated how to unselfishly and lovingly take care of traveling teachers as being portrayed in 3. John 5-8 NLT:

“Dear friend, you are being faithful to God when you care for the traveling teachers who pass through, even though they are strangers to you. They have told the church here of your loving friendship. Please continue providing for such teachers in a manner that pleases God. For they are traveling for the Lord, and they accept nothing from people who are not believers. So we ourselves should support them so that we can be their partners as they teach the truth.”

God is sounding the alarm bell for the Church to wake up and repent from embracing wrong, evil doctrines instead of rising up to tell others the unadulterated Good News:

“For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths.

But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.”
2. Timothy 4:3-5 NLT

The apostle Paul said it really well:

“You see, we are not like the many hucksters who preach for personal profit. We preach the word of God with sincerity and with Christ’s authority, knowing that God is watching us.” 2. Corinthians 2:17 NLT