A Thought For Your Christian Journey:
The Hand Of Our Heavenly Father
I recently received a forwarded email from a concerned Church
member about tithing and benevolence.
This dear member stated that if a person or family has a need, especially
medical and financial, that we should help them whether they have been tithing
or not. Certainly, financial and
medical needs, when combined, are especially hard and trying.
These trying situations cause the worst kind of anxiety in us all.
Most of us have been in these situations in the past and remember what
they have been like. I must say
from personal experience that they seemed at the time to be the worst of times.
It is clear from our benevolence policy that our Ministry Team
is tasked with discerning whether members in need have been faithfully tithing
or not. Some folks will think that
this is an inappropriate violation of the privacy of members of our Church.
However, there is a clear and distinct biblical reason for this
determination. As a matter of fact the financial stewardship of individual
Church members should be considered for service in a number of Church leadership
positions, as clearly directed by the Bible.
Let me say that as the pastor of our Church I do not seek to
know from week to week who does or does not give their tithes and offerings.
This is information that I merely choose not to study.
So why should the Ministry Team (and other teams) be even
remotely concerned about tithes and offerings?
The Bible teaches that there are a number of reasons why God
might bring chastisement into a Christian’s life.
The most obvious and presumed reason is for
1 It is reported commonly
that there is fornication among
you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that
one should have his father's wife. 2
And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done
this deed might be taken away from among you. 3
For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged
already, as though I were present,
concerning him that hath so done this deed,
4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus
5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the
flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
6 Your glorying
is not good. Know ye not that a
little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?
This scripture clearly reveals that a child of God who resists
their Heavenly Father’s correction can be brought to death for their continuous
and presumptuous sin. This is what
John wrote about when he said:
1 John 5:16
If any man see his brother sin a sin
which is not unto death, he
shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is
a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.
There is no sin that needs to bring a child of God to the
point of death. All that a child of
God needs to do with their sin in confess it and turn from it and God will
forgive it and restore them.
1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us
our sins, and to cleanse us
from all unrighteousness.
One sin that is particularly addressed in
scripture is the failure to obey God in the tithe.
Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine
ordinances, and have not kept them.
Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye
said, Wherein shall we return? 8
Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed
thee? In tithes and offerings.
are cursed with a curse: for ye
have robbed me, even this whole
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.
11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not
destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before
the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts.
12 And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a
delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts.
Haggai, when speaking
of the neglect of God’s house and the selfishness of God people wrote:
Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.
6 Ye have sown much, and bring in
little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with
drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm;
and he that earneth wages earneth wages
to put it into a bag with
holes. 7 Thus saith the LORD of
hosts; Consider your ways.
Clearly, from these scriptures and others we discover that
there are consequences, clearly revealed in scripture, for failing to be
obedient in our tithes and offerings.
God’s people will be found putting their money into bags with holes in
them if they neglect God’s clear direction in the area of tithes and offerings.
Hence the often heard statement of Godly Preachers from past years, but
rarely in our day, “You Can’t Afford Not
To Tithe” becomes exceedingly clear.
A Child of God who, for whatever reason, fails to tithe will
find themselves devoured, the fruit of their ground destroyed, despised of all
nations, and destitute; all of which are just the opposite of the blessings
found for obedience in tithing in Malachi’s revelation.
Failing to tithe will bring the clearly revealed discipline of God into
an individual’s life and family.
The problem in our contemporary culture is that God’s people would rather listen
to the philosophies of deceiving men and women, rather than be obedient to the
written Word of God.
God Chastises His Children – Clearly the Bible
reveals that when we accept the Lord Jesus Christ we become the children of God
(John 1.12, Praise be to God). Our
Heavenly Father loves us enough to take us just as we are, but loves us too much
to leave us as we are. Hence, as
any loving father would do, our heavenly father begins to nurture and grow us.
He uses all the usual methods to mature us, including chastisement.
The Bible reveals:
Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.
5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation
which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the
chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:
6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth,
and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7
If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for
what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 8
But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then
are ye bastards, and not sons. 9
Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected
us, and we gave
them reverence: shall we not
much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?
10 For they verily for a few days
chastened us after their own
pleasure; but he for our
profit, that we might be
partakers of his holiness. 11 Now
no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless
afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are
exercised thereby. 12 Wherefore
lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees;
13 And make straight paths for your
feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be
Our heavenly Father does not seek to correct us with
chastisement because He hates us, instead He corrects us because He loves us.
Hence, when we are being disobedient we must expect that God is going to
correct us. It is a very real expression
of His love for us. Christians must
resist the tendency to ignorantly deny those truths clearly revealed in God’s
Word. One of the things a teenager
or child will do to try and avoid chastisement is fain ignorance.
They will hang on to little perceived loop holes in their parent’s
directions to try and get away with not doing what they know was their parent’s
clear intension all along. This is
what I find Christians trying to do with the sin in their life, and failing to
tithe is clearly disobedience to God.
But it will never work, God knows what He has already revealed, and
immature expressions will not defer His chastisement.
The mature thing to do is just to obey God’s revealed written
All trials are not a form of chastisement.
We know that not every financial, physical or emotional trial is a
judgment or chastisement from God.
If you experience a trial, examine yourself and your life.
If you do not discover a clear sin, then you can rest in the confidence
of knowing that your Heavenly Father is molding you or molding someone else
through you. You can rest, even in
the midst of your trial in knowing that:
. . all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the
called according to his
You are merely being used to fulfill the perfect, good, and
acceptable will of God (Rom 12.1-2).
Even in the midst of your pain, suffering, and trials you can rest and
know a supernatural joy because you have kept your integrity in the sight of God
and you are being used gloriously by Him.
The problem with many Christians in our day is that they fail
to examine themselves. They want to
claim the glorious usage of God, but refuse to honestly examine themselves for
rebelliousness in their lives.
Hence, many are living under chastisement, and walking in the dark regions of
willful ignorance because of their failure to repent and reconcile themselves
with God and His revealed will, as found written in the Bible.
How this applies to the Church.
When the Church has members that are walking in the midst of financial
and physical hardship the Church is called upon to examine each situation under
the light of the revealed Word of God.
If a Church member is living in rebellious and open sin, then
the Church is called upon to correct that Church member (1 Cor 5; Matt
18.15-20). Part of the Churches
role in the lives of its members is correction in holiness and righteousness:
1 Timothy 5:20
20 Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.
2 Timothy 4:2 2 Preach the
word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all
longsuffering and doctrine.
When we as a Church
just blindly give to relieve the financial distress of our members that are
living in rebellion toward God’s clear direction concerning tithes and
offerings, then we will find ourselves wrestling with the supernatural hand and
influence of our Heavenly Father.
We can not just ignore what God has clearly reveled in His written Word.
Hence, our Ministry Team, in good stewardship, must carefully examine
what we clearly know about a Church member’s life and how it compares to God’s
revealed Word. It seems hard and
some may even think it’s a cold policy, but in respect to Scripture is it deeply
spiritual and even required.
This does not mean
that we just ignore the hurts and needs of these members.
Our policy recognizes that it takes time to make these deeply maturing
adjustments, and therefore we have provided in our policy to still help our
members in need, but to help them in a structured and nurturing way.
Yes, we want to help
our members, our dear brothers and sisters in Christ.
But at the same time we must be careful to help them in a way that does
not try to wrestle against the work that our Heavenly Father is doing in their
life. We must hear what God told us
through James when he penned:
James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve
tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting. 2
My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
this, that the trying of your
faith worketh patience. 4
But let patience have
her perfect work, that ye may
be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
Allowing patience to have her perfect work, allowing God to
correct His children is possibly one of the hardest things for the people of His
Church to do. We often just want to
bail people out. With our actions
and choices there come rewards and repercussions.
We love the rewards, and often resist the repercussions.
We in the Church need to let God do His work in the lives of His people.
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