Every new year the same things happen in churches across the country.
1. Church attendance starts to decline.
Having attended one of the two culturally obligatory days to go to church, people settle back into their normal routine of non-attendance.
Christmas warriors who once loudly sang Silent Night and attended special advent meetings are now quietly sleeping off their holiday hangover at home. They won’t wake up again until Mardi Gras.
2. Weekly offerings decline.
Since all the year-end tax deductible donations were made in December, the weekly offering plate looks as bare as Tiny Tim’s dinner plate.
Bank accounts that once modeled frugality are on life support from festive financial withdrawals.
3. Pastors teach on tithing.
As the church’s financial year closes and year-end budgets do not line up, do not be surprised when the same pastors that proclaimed the gift of God in December, start talking about you paying the church to preach that gift in January.
The perfect storm of lower attendance, lower offerings, and budget meetings happens every year. It is the same story.
Bills are due and people are broke. What’s the result?
Pressure on pastors to compromise grace doctrine and guilt people into giving with a series on the law of tithes and offerings.
The gift of grace is replaced with the requirements of religion.
The Curse and the Cross
Fakes, posers, and impostors will compromise the grace of Christ and show their true religious colors when they must choose between Paul and their parsonage.
Watch how Paul is thrown to the curb in exchange for the Jewish law of tithing and the blessings and curses of Malachi 3.
“…Wherein have we robbed [God]? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me,…” – Malachi 3:8-9
The apostle Paul taught the truth that Christ became a curse for us when he died on the cross (Gal 3:13). This includes any curse associated with the law of tithing under the Old Testament.
“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:” – Galatians 3:13
The cross removed the curse, including the curse that would come from Israel’s failure to tithe. It removed us from the beggarly elements of the law (Gal 4:9).
The Curse is the Enemy of the Cross
The same pastors who traded the cross for the creche in December, will trade the cross for a curse in the new year.
This is the tell-tale sign of religion: anything but the cross and free grace!
They may be preachers of Christ, but they are enemies of the cross. If the Christ they preach does not solve the curse of the coin, then it is not the Christ according to the revelation of the mystery that has made you free from the condemnation of the law.
Weep for them, but you should not be supporting them in their error.
“For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.” – Phil 3:18-19
If your pastor buckles under financial pressure to preach tithing instead of grace, he is not faithful to the preaching of the cross and has sold out. It is time for you to get out.
Any church that turns its back on grace, and goes back under the law to teach tithing deserves to close its doors. The doors only close if hearts purpose to leave, and maintain the integrity of the cross.
This tithe season set your affections on things above, and be followers together of Paul (Phil 3:17-18).
Shut the mouths of those teachers that beg the Body of Christ for money (Titus 1:11).
Provide for your family, preach Christ crucified, give graciously as you purpose in your heart to those that need it, build grace churches, and avoid the religionists who would make merchandise of the cross by begging for your coin.