x367.....WE Pay--Do They Obey?
42* ¶ And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and
fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43* And fear
came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. 44* And all that believed were together, and had all
things common; 45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. 46* And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, 47* Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. (Acts 2: 42-47)
32* ¶ And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. 33* And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. 34* Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, 35* And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need. (Acts 4: 32-35)
The early church which is described in the Bible had a unique result--"
Neither was there any among them that lacked: " None of them
lacked anything. They had perfect prosperity--and they had it immediately--by a simple system that is described here.
"....neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common."
They had as simple system of giving--and it was not the tithe--It was something which is and was much more powerful--Spirit-lead giving. they shared what they had--they did not consider their possessions to be their own--but rather gave to one another--so that whoever had the need, could be immediately taken care of.
Now, initially, they gave directly to one another--as the Spirit of God lead them to do. But later on, they began to take the money from he goods that the Spirit lead them to sell, and lay them down at the apostles feet.
((I have heard it preached this way--"You are lucky--we only are asking you for a tithe---in the early church--they sold everything they had and gave it to the pastors of the church."--this is very incorrect---in some obvious ways--it was apostles--not pastors who received this offering---it does not say that they sold everything they possessed, but rather sold what the Spirit lead them to--and they gave to the needy directly at first--but later on they did something that may have been incorrect--but it still makes our system of tithing look ridiculous and disobedient!!)
The money was laid at the apostles feet--but the obedience that he apostles
did was to distribute the money to the people who had the
need within he church.
This money was not their own--they did not take it as a paycheck--and they did not use it to build a church building. they distributed it to the people within the church who had needs--so that everyone had the prosperity that God desires for all Christians, and everyone could freely operate in the minsitry the Lord was directing them to. This was how the church was added to on a daily basis. To put it another way, they added to the church daily, by BEING the church daily.
think about this in practical terms. If, within our churches, we stopped the Old Testament concept of tithing--and we taught and encouraged and prayed for the Spirit to lead us in our giving as individuals which are lead of the Spirit. It would immediately result in in no one in he church haveing any lack--no one having to be without the basic needs in life. It would not take much for us to do this--to support our brothers and sisters in Christ who have needs. And we would receive the blessing of giving in he New Testament Godly way.
(I am sure that most of us as Christians have done Spirit-lead giving--and have received the blessing and prosperity that it returns to us--if we were free of the tithe concept, it would flourish in our churches--it would make our churches attractive to the unsaved and the newly saved--instead of keeping people away who are afraid of having to pay a tithe--or hear the message of tithing over and over again)
the prosperity message is very popular in our churches today. This is
simply because the economy is good in our country today (low
jobless rate and good pay for most), and it is relatively easy to be prosperous. However, the prosperity message is most often taught
in this way--"Tithe to this church and God will prosper you". (ask any pastor--it is tough to get people to tithe--it is law that rubs us the wrong way and goes against the Spirit-lead way of living).
But the question is this--if the tithe is the same idea as the giving
described in the NT bible church--are our leader obedient to use the
money that they are given in the way the the Bible demonstrates for us in these chapters? Are our leaders distributing the money that they receive amongst the people? Are they using the giving of the people to do away with the lack of the people?
The goal they were achieving was to do away with the lack of the people
within he church--thus enabling them to function in their ministry--to
enable them to pray in their homes every day--to study the apostles doctrine in their homes every day--to evangelize the people around
them--to spread the Gospel every day and in every way they could---(this was Jesus' apostolic method which He lived by and demonstrated to them in His ministry) the prosperity of the people within he church was of the utmost importance, when you recognize the ministry that is within every member of the body of Christ.