This morning, I'm preaching on the subject of tithing. A lot of people, when they hear that, automatically bristle and say, "Aw man!" I remember when I was living in Roseville, California as a young person, probably a teenager, I got an advertisement in the mail from one of these liberal mega-church fun centers. It said on it, "Our guarantee ..." It's telling you why you should want to come to this church, "Our guarantee ... Number one, the preaching will be relevant. Number two, the music will be contemporary. Number three, we will never mention money." I remember my thought was, as I held that in my hand, that basically they're guaranteeing that they're not going to preach part of the Bible, is what that guarantee means.
This isn't something that I preach about very often because money has never been an emphasis of our ministry. It's never been an emphasis in my preaching. It's not going to start being an emphasis. In fact, I look and the last time I preached a sermon on tithing is actually in the year 2014 ... That I preached on it, so I felt that it's time to preach on this subject. I think if you see what the Bible has to say about this subject, you'll see that this is a biblical doctrine of tithing. Although there are many people out there today who are attacking this and saying that it's a fraud, it's not biblical, and so forth.
Let's look at what the Bible has to say this morning. Look at Malachi 3:6. It says, "For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. 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? Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. 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. 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. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts."
Before we move on to a lot of other scripture, let me just point out a few things from this passage. First of all, according to this passage, the tithe was something that belonged to the Lord. The Bible is saying that if you did not give the tithe, then a man would be robbing God by withholding from the Lord that which rightfully belongs unto him.
The Bible says here, that they were cursed with a curse because they had not been paying their tithes, and because they had been robbing from God that which belonged to him. The other thing I want to point out here is that he says, "Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in my house." The storehouse is God's house, according to this scripture. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, so that there will be meat or food in my house. He says if you do that, "I will open the windows of Heaven and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive."
He says, "I'll rebuke the devourer for your sake." What does that mean? What he's saying is that, people who would not give the tithe would have bad things happen to them to where it would end up costing them more money than it would've cost to just give the ten percent of the Lord that he wanted. By the way, that's what tithe means. If you study the Bible, the word tithe and tenth are used interchangeably. Tithe simply means ten percent. God expected man to give 10% of his increase, his income, what comes into his hand, unto the Lord. He's saying here in verse eleven, "I'll 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." What God is saying here is that, he's able to make them prosper. He's able to make their crops grow better, and so forth; or he can allow these things to be cursed, dried out, and withered. What he's teaching here is that you're going to live better on ninety percent than you're going to live on 100 percent. That's what's being taught.
If you, in your own wisdom, think to yourself, "Well, I just can't afford to pay the tithe. I need all the money that I can get, to live off of." What God's saying is that, he can stretch your money further. He can bless you ... Pour out a blessing and give you abundance, whereas ... If you rob God and withhold the tithe, the opposite will be true. You can have unexpected expenses come up where you'll end up even worse off, financially.
The reason why people will balk at the preaching ... Even though, the Bible is real clear. It's right in front of us in Malachi 3. Anybody can see that that's what the Bible says ... Is that there's a lot of false teachers out there. The televangelist crowd, the 'name it, claim it' prosperity preachers that are living in multi-million dollar homes ... They've got gold rings on their fingers. They're telling everybody, "Hey. If you give us money, God's going to bless you, and God ... You give a hundred dollars, you're going to get a thousand. If you give a thousand, you're going to get ten thousand." Obviously, these people are liars, frauds, and charlatans. The problem is that then, people throw out the baby with the bathwater.
For example, there are all kinds of phony Benny Hinns and Todd Bentleys, that are doing all these fake healings, fake miracles, and lying signs and wonders. People throw out the baby with the bathwater to the point that they believe that, God can't perform a miracle or, ... That God can't heal someone, or that God can't do those things, because there are the liars, the frauds, and the charlatans. That's not what this is about. Just because somebody takes a portion of scripture, twists it, and abuses it for the love of money ... For filthy luker sake does not mean that this biblical teaching and principle just goes out the window, and we completely disregard it and throw it out.
What prosperity preaching teaches is that, if you obey the Lord and serve him, everything's going to go well in your life; God's going to bless you financially, he's going to bless you with health. This is often been known as the 'health and wealth gospel.' You're probably all familiar with it. The fact that you're going to be rich, you're going to be healthy, and you're going to live to be 100, all because you're serving the Lord. The Bible teaches quite the opposite. It teaches that all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. The Bible teaches that not only is it God's will that we believe on him, but also that we suffer for his sake. We know that, "Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but out of them all the Lord delivereth him."
At the same time, we don't want to go to far in the other wrong direction, and not understand that God does bless you when you obey him. It's a fact. If you obey God, he blesses you. This is one subject where that's true. In other subjects it's also true. Any time you're keeping God's commandments and doing the right thing, God's going to bless you. Where the prosperity crowd gets it wrong is, they don't tell you about all the trials, tribulations, and persecutions, and that you will possibly go through bad health. Look at Job, he's covered in sores from head to toe, and he was the most righteous man on the earth at that time. What was the latter end of Job? In the end, everything works out. In the end, he's blessed.
I know, for a fact, that if I serve the Lord that all things will work together for good in my life; In the end, I can ... Like Joseph, look back over my life and say, "God had a plan! God was at work! You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good." Does that mean Joseph didn't go through trials? Joseph was in prison. Joseph was falsely accused. Joseph was hated of his brethren, beaten up, sold into slavery. Joseph went through trials, but in the end ... God majorly blessed him, same thing with Job. We've got to understand that the Bible is not just saying, "Oh, health and wealth! Gospel! God's going to make you rich, and whatever." It's also not saying that our actions have nothing to do with how well we do in life.
Again, this isn't about being rich. I've never taught that because I don't believe in that. I believe that it's a sin to desire to be rich. The Bible specifically says, "Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom." The Bible clearly say, "They that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows." The problem is that people see a bad example of something, and then they just react to far in the other direction and throw out the baby with the bathwater. It reminds me of how ...
I was out soul-winning yesterday. I was giving the gospel to this Roman Catholic. I was really patiently explaining things to him, and I was being very polite to him. He was listening really well ... He was arguing with everything I said. You know, it was just a civil discussion. I was trying to get through to this guy, giving this guy a few chances, and giving him some scriptures. I wanted him to be saved, but he was steeped in Roman Catholicism. He's telling me about the importance of how the Bible's not enough. You know, "We've got to follow the church councils" ... "The church is infallible," he told me. "The Roman Catholic church is infallible. It can do no wrong." He's pointing me to these different councils. I said to him, "What about Vatican II in the 1960's?" He said, "Yeah. That's one of them." He's saying, "That's authoritative." I said, "Well, what about where Vatican II said that the Jews didn't kill Jesus?" I said, "Is that what the Bible teaches?" For thousands of years, everybody's been reading the Bible and it says right there ...
For example, in 1 Thessalonians 2, "The Jews who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets ..." I mean, all throughout the Book of Acts they're saying to the Jews, "You crucified Jesus. You took him with wicked hands and slew him," and so forth. He said, "Well, yeah. Are we going to be anti-Semitic though?" Here's the thing ... To this guy, I guess just preaching what the Bible says makes you some kind of a racist or anti-Semitic, which is foolish. Are there people who take their stance of being against the Jews too far ... To where they hate Jews? Of course there are people who go overboard, and they hate Jews.
Look, there are people who hate Black people. There are people who hate White people. There are people who hate Chinese people. Japanese hate Chinese. Chinese hate ... There are all kinds of people who hate each other in this world because of a nationality, an ethnicity, or because of a religion. That isn't right. I don't hate Muslims. I don't hate Catholics. I love Catholics, that's why I'm pleading with this guy to be saved. I don't hate Jews. I just told the guy, "There's no difference between the Jew and the Greek." We're all one in Christ Jesus, if we believe in Jesus. We're all of one blood. This guy says, "Well, because this person over here is going overboard anti-Jew ... I guess we'll just change what the Bible teaches, and say, 'Hey everybody, the Jews didn't kill Jesus.'" That's not what the Bible says. The Bible says that they did. Even though it was a Roman solider that's nailing him, it was the Jews who screamed "Crucify him" and said, "His blood be on us, and on our children." That's why over and over again, the New Testament blames them.
Again, it has nothing to do with race. It's an ideology that put Jesus on the cross, and that's why we should have no fellowship with it ... Just like, we shouldn't have any fellowship with Islam, or Catholicism, or Hinduism, or anything else. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." I bring that up to further illustrate this throwing out of the baby with the bathwater. Like, "Hey, let's just never preach on tithing. Let's just never preach on giving or being generous because of the fact that, the televangelists have ruined it by abusing it and living in million dollar homes," or, "Hey, let's just never go door-to-door preaching the gospel because the Mormons have ruined it, or the Jehovah's Witnesses have ruined it." No, that's a throwing out of the baby with the bathwater. It doesn't make any sense.
The Bible is teaching, here in Malachi, chapter three ... He's speaking to these people saying, "You've robbed God. You have not brought the tithes, and therefore there's a curse associated with that. If you would bring the tithes, God would bless you and multiply your fruits, and so forth." He says that they're to bring the tithes into the storehouse ... He says, which is my house. I'm going to apply this to the New Testament. I'm going to show you, from the Bible, that it legitimately applies to the New Testament.
Flip over to Proverbs 3. While you're turning there, I'm going to read for you. From 1 Timothy 3:15. In 1 Timothy 3:15 the Bible reads, "But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth." In the New Testament, God's house is not a brick and mortar building. It is not a temple made with hands. God's house is the church. A lot of individuals will claim that because their body is the temple of the Holy Ghost ... They'll say, "Well, I'm the church; I'm God's house." That's not true. In fact, the word church means assembly, congregation. You personally are not a church. We, collectively as we're gathered her, make up a congregation, a body of people, and assembly. When we go our separate ways, we don't individually represent the church by ourselves. We make a church by assembling because that's what the church means. It means a congregation. The bible's real clear that the house of God is the church of the living God, and that is the pillar and ground of the truth.
When God said, "Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so that there may be meat in my house." ... In the Old Testament, they were bringing that to the physical temple in Jerusalem. Before that, they're bringing that to the physical tabernacle in the wilderness or where that thing was pitched ... In the land of Israel, Bethel, or wherever. In the New Testament, the house of God is now the local New Testament Church.
Proverbs, chapter three ... The reason that I want to point this out is that ... Proverbs is a book that transcends Old Testament, New Testament. It's not a book that's real heavy on telling you about the Mosaic law, or talking about priests and Levites, and talking about animal sacrifices. It's a book that is just a general book of wisdom ... Timeless wisdom for all ages, which is why ... When you get a lot of New Testaments, they'll even tack on a Psalms and Proverbs onto the back of that New Testament sometimes. This is a book of universal principles for life.
The Bible says in Proverbs 3:9, "Honor the Lord with thy substance, and with the first fruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine." Here's a principle here that says, if you honor the Lord with the first fruits of your substance, God is going to bless you. Your barns will be filled with plenty, and the presses shall burst out with new wine.
Flip over to Hebrews chapter number seven, in the New Testament. Hebrews chapter seven is a New Testament passage that refers back to the Old Testament. It talks about the tithe. It specifically goes back to Abraham, which is the first explicit mention of the tithe in the bible ... Abraham. What a lot of people teach today is, "Well, tithing was only part of the Old Testament law. It no longer applies today. God does not expect us, today, to give ten percent unto the Lord. He doesn't expect us, today, to honor him with our substance and with the first fruits of all of our increase ... To give unto the Lord the first of the fruits of our labors. They say, "No, no, no. That was only for the first testament. It was only for the tribe of Levi. It was specifically for that time."
I'm going to address that from the New Testament and show why that's false. What we have to understand is that, before there ever was a Levi this principle of give the Lord the first fruits ... Giving the tenth unto the Lord is already present in scripture, long before there ever was a nation of Israel, a law of Moses, or a tribe of Levi. In fact, you can find this principle all the way back to the beginning of time.
The first time it's explicitly brought out is in Genesis 14, where Abraham gives unto Melchizedek tithes of all. It's funny because people will try to say, "Well the tithes was never money in the Old Testament, it was only stuff." You can point to multiple scriptures where he says, "a tenth of all. Tithes of all." All means all, and that's all all means. All is saying whatever the stuff was, whether it was gold, silver, cattle, plants, whatever. The point is, most people back then ... Their wealth was primarily in cattle. Their wealth was primarily in land, crops, and things of that nature.
Even today, I've been reading a lot of books about Africa. I borrowed a great book from Brother [inaudible 00:19:15] about a boy who has grown up in Kenya. Even though Kenya is pretty far from Botswana, there are a lot of similarities about how the wealth is measured in cows. They're not using any money or anything, it's just how many cattle do you have. That's the wealth right there. Even today, there are people who live that way. Back then, that was a big part of their ... Did they have money back then? Sure, they did. Money has always been around.
The bible talks about them giving tithes of all, all that I posses. Obviously, that would include money, so that's a weird argument to make. The bible says here ... Before I get into Hebrews 7, let me just say this. This goes all the way back. Abraham gives a tenth unto Melchizedek, which we're going to see in Hebrews chapter seven was the Lord Jesus Christ in a pre-incarnate form. Not only that, but later on in Genesis ... Jacob sets up a pillar where he receives a vision of the angels of the Lord. He calls the place Bethel, which means 'house of God.' Beth means house. El means God. He calls it Bethel, and he promises to give unto the Lord one tenth. He said, "I'll give the tenth part unto the Lord," in Genesis 28. "If God brings me safely back to this place, I'm going to call this place God's house. Bethel. That's symbolic, of course.
You can even go back even further and find this principle, even if you go back to Cain and Abel, believe it or not. If you read in Genesis chapter four, it doesn't just say that Abel brought a lamb for a sacrifice, which is what he did. The reason why was that, the blood of the lamb pictured the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. The big difference between Cain's offering and Abel's offering was that Abel brought the blood. Abel brought the lamb. Abel brought the sacrifice that represented Christ's sacrifice for us. Cain brought fruits and vegetable, which represented his own works. There's a teaching there that we're not saved by our own works, and God won't accept that offering. Rather, we're saved by the blood of the lamb. Another thing that a lot of people could miss when they read over that passage is that it says that, Abel brought the firstlings of the flock. If you study the Old Testament, 'firstlings,' 'first fruits,' and 'tithes' are all used interchangeably.
This goes all the way back to the very beginning. Even with Cain and Abel, where Abel is bringing the firstlings. Abraham is giving the tenth part unto ... Where did he get that idea? Jacob, where did he get the idea, "Hey, I'm going to give ten percent?" Obviously, it's a principle that goes all the way back. Even in the Garden of Eden ... Even though there's no mention of ten percent, or tithing, or anything like that, there's a principle of one thing that belonged to God that they weren't supposed to touch, that they were supposed to stay away from. They tampered with that, that which was sacred. Even in the book of Joshua, there were ten major battles that the children of Israel fought when they entered the Promised Land. The first battle, the Battle of Jericho, they were told, "Don't take any of the spoil, all that spoil goes to the Lord." Achan took the cursed thing; he brought a curse on the who nation because he stole it from the Lord. The other nine battles, they were allowed to take the spoil. That first battle, they were supposed to dedicate that unto the Lord. Why is that? Here's why ...
Because of the fact that the tribe of Levi did not receive an inheritance, this is why in the times of Joshua and going forward ... The tithe was given unto the Levites because of the fact that they served the Lord full-time. They didn't have land. They didn't have crops. They didn't have cattle. How are they going to survive? How are they going to subsist? Since there are twelve tribes of Israel, if everyone gave about a tenth and most people are doing it, then that tenth would take care of the tribe that doesn't own any land or have another means of income. The Levites lived off of the tithes because they served the Lord full-time.
Look at Hebrews 7:5. The Bible says, "And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood ..." Now keep in mind, Hebrews is being written in the New Testament. He talks a lot, in the book of Hebrews, about what they're doing over in the temple. This before the temple is destroyed. He talks about what they're doing in the temple, how the priests do it, and how the Levites do it. He's getting him away from that. He's explaining to them how there's a change now; we're in the New Testament now. He's trying to get them off that and to understand. We don't need animal sacrifice anymore, Christ is the lamb that was slain. That's what the book of Hebrews is about. It's about relating the Old Testament to the New Testament. It's about changing over from the Levitical priesthood and the animal sacrifices, over to biblical New Testament Christianity.
He's pointing out the fact that the sons of Levi are still, that time, taking tithes of the people according to the law. It said, "Verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham: but he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham ..." They're talking about Melchizedek who it says is the son of God, who is Jesus in the Old Testament, "Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest ..."
It says, "But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises," referring to Genesis 14. "And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better. And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth. And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham. For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him. If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?
"For the priesthood being changed," This is a key verse; watch this. "For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law." Notice what he doesn't say, "Hey, we're going to throw out the law." No, no, no. There's a change of the law. There are a lot of people today who want to completely throw out the whole Old Testament, just throw it out. Whenever you try to teach them anything from the Old Testament, not just tithing ... If you just try to teach them anything from the Old Testament ... You'll try to show them that a man shouldn't put on women's clothing, they'll say, "Oh, that's Old Testament. Show me that in the New Testament." What in the world? If the Old Testament said a man shouldn't put on woman's clothing ... If the Old Testament said a woman shouldn't put on that which pertains to a man, why does God have to say it again in the New Testament? If nothing changed, nothing changed.
Has there been a change to the law? The Bible says right here, "there is of necessity a change made to the law because the priesthood has changed. Did he say, "We're changing everything?" Did he say, "We're throwing out the law?" No. The Bible says in Romans 3, "Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law." The apostle Paul, in the book of Romans, said we establish the law. That's I carry a Bible, right here, that has the New Testament and the Old Testament. I believe all of this is God's word. I believe it's all profitable for doctrine. It's all given by inspiration of God. It's all true. It's all perfect, from Genesis to Revelation.
Other people will sometimes go to the other extreme, where they want to practice old covenant things that had to do with the Levites and so forth; there has been a change. We need acknowledge the change in the law, but let's not throw out the law. Here's a hint, the changes in the law didn't have anything to do with a dude dressing up like a woman. Jesus didn't say, "Hey. I'm here to die on the cross and rise from the dead, so I can bring in a new covenant where cross-dressing is suddenly fine." ... "'Cause we're free in Christ. Whoa! Are you trying to bring me back under bondage? Trying to bring me back under the law?" This foolishness that throws out the teachings of the Old Testament ...
If you carried it to its logical conclusion, you would basically say, "Well, you can marry your sister then. The Old Testament said not to marry your close relatives, but that's old covenant, brother. You trying to bring us back under the law?" The Old Testament says that you can't see your grandma naked, "Don't uncover the nakedness your ..." Lists all these family members, don't look at their nakedness. In the New Testament, right? You want to bring that in? It's foolishness! It's madness and folly to just throw out thirty-nine books that came straight from the mouth of God, and say, "Hey, we don't need any of this stuff." Yeah, we do. Now, some of it has changed.
Here's a good rule of thumb, this subject isn't really that hard to understand. Here's a rule of thumb: if God didn't change it in the New Testament, it's the same. Think about it. If God says all these things in the Old Testament, "Hey, do this. Don't do that." If it hasn't been specifically changed ... If you can't point me to the New Testament where he says, "Hey, this is done away. This is changed," then obviously we should still be following it. Until you hear differently from God, keep doing what God told you to do back there. That's why the New Testament teaches that we should sing the book of Psalms. If Psalms was meant to be thrown out, why are we taught in the new testament to sing those 150 Psalms?
This is a weird teaching that throws out the Old Testament, "Nope. There's been a change to the law though." You'll try to some people ... You talk to Seventh Day Adventists, and they'll tell you, "God's law never changes." You show them the change in the law, and they're like, "Whoa. What are you talking about?" It's like well, "What is he talking about? It says it right here."
It says that, "the priesthood being changed ..." It doesn't say the priesthood has been eliminated, does it? It says the priesthood has been changed. "There is made of necessity a change also of the law. For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Judah; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood." What we see if we study this whole chapter ... It's really clear. Instead of the tribe of Levi receiving the tithes, in the New Testament we're tithing to Jesus and Christ's church. We're not tithing unto the Levitical priesthood. You don't bring your tithes to a bunch of Jews that are offering animal sacrifices that don't believe in Jesus. You're going to bring you tithes unto Christ, just like Abraham tithed to Melchizedek ... Just like Jacob brought it to the house of God ... That place over in Jerusalem was no longer the house of God. The church of the living God is the house of God.
It's not that tithing is eliminated, thrown out, or rejected. I'm going to prove it to you unequivocally. Look at 1 Corinthians 9. It's just that there's been a change to the law, because the Levitical priesthood is no longer in place. What people will say ... That believe that tithing is only for the Old Testament ... They'll say, "No Levites, no tithe." Forgetting the fact that there was tithing before the Levites ever existed. What they're basically saying is, "That was only for the Levites. That was only for the Levitical priesthood. Since there's no more Levites and no more priests, then we don't need it anymore."
Let me explain to you the difference between the Levites and the priests. A lot of people will mix these two. The Levites and the priests are not the same things. The Levites are a whole tribe. The priests were a much smaller group in the Old Testament that descended from Aaron. One guy, his descents ... In the days of Aaron ... These are people like Ithamar, Kohath, Merari, [inaudible 00:32:15]. These guys are the sons of Aaron, who are the priests. There's a whole group of priests; what's the difference? The priests were the people who were intercessors with God. They would offer sacrifices for the people. They were an elite group. The high priest was the only one who could go into the Holy of Holies, and so forth.
The Levites, on the other hand, are something totally different. The Levites were full-time workers in the house of God. They weren't necessarily priests. These guys were just sweeping the floor, building the tent, and taking it down again. Many of them were involved in music, singing, playing instruments, writing songs, and so forth full time. These are just the full-time workers that did the work of the Lord's house. They didn't do the specialized work that the priest did, but they did preach and teach the Bible. They taught singing. They taught other things. They did the menial: sweeping the floor, making the coffee, and the whatever for the priests and everybody else. That's what the Levites were.
The New Testament, how does this apply in the New Testament? In the New Testament, the priesthood is no longer just for the sons of Aaron. Now our high priest is Jesus, and every single believer is a priest. We believe in what's called the priesthood of the believer. God has made all of us, through the power of his blood, kings and priests. That's why we don't need an intercessor. The bible says there's one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus. Not only that, but we can actually go directly to the Father. The bible says we can just ask the Father in Jesus name. We don't have to pray Jesus that he'll go the the father for us. No. We actually can just go directly to the Father, and come boldly to the throne of grace.
We, in the New Testament, are all priests. We're not all full-time staff of the house of God; We're not all full-time Christian workers. What these people are teaching is that in the New Testament, there's no Levites. Obviously in Christ, there's no Jew or Gentile. They are teaching that there's no full-time worker in the house of God, therefore no tithing. Is everybody following their logic? No Levi, no tithing because the tithing was to support these people.
Look what the bible says in 1 Corinthians 9:13. It says, "Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel." Right here, the Bible uses an Old Testament illustration. It says, "Look. The people that work at the altar, the people who work in the tabernacle, the people that do that work full-time, they live off of what's brought there: the sacrifices, the offerings, the tithes. That's what the Levites live off of. He says, "Even so ..." Now that we're in the New Testament, he's saying, "Has God ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel." Does the bible say here that it's God will that the full-time workers of the church, the preaches, the pastors, the deacons ... Does the Bible say, "Hey, they all need to have an outside job. They all need to go to work, and gather straw by night, and make straw by day. They need to work a full-time job and pastor the church." No, he says they that preach the gospel should live of the gospel. That's what it says, and I'm going to prove that to you right here in this passage.
The thing that's so foolish about this is that one of the greatest men of God in the New Testament that we know was a pastor. He called himself a pastor. He called himself a bishop ... Is Peter, the apostle Peter. Right? Peter, we know, was married despite what the Catholic church might tell you. One of Jesus' miracles was he healed Peter's wife's mother. Nobody has a mother-in-law without having a wife, that just wouldn't make any sense. Talk about the worst of both worlds. If Jesus is healing Peter's wife's mother, he has a wife, people. Right? Pretty simple. Matthew, chapter nine I believe. Matthew 8, I'm sorry.
Peter's married. Guess what people have when they're married? They have kids. Peter had kids, okay. Not only was Peter married with children, but also out of all of the apostles that the Lord ordained ... We know there were at least eighty-two, not including the apostle Paul. First he ordained twelve, then he ordained seventy others. That's eighty-two. We know Barnabas was not one of the twelve. He was an apostle, and so forth. We know that they were all married, except for Paul and Barnabas. Everybody else was married, because look what the bible says.
Look down at your bible, 1 Corinthians 9:1, "Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord? If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: ... If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord. Mine answer to them that examine me is this, Have we not power to eat and to drink? Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?"
Cephas is Peter. He's saying, "Look, the other apostles are married. Cephas is married. Jesus' brother are married ..." You know, Judas, James, Joses, and so forth. "They're all married. Don't I have the power to get married? Don't I have the power to eat and to drink? Don't I have the power?" He says, "I only and Barnabas, have not we power to forbear working?" What does forebear mean? It means to not do it. He says ... "Only Paul and Barnabas, we're the only ones that have to work a full-time job." He's saying, "No, we have the power to eat and drink. There's nothing wrong with somebody who works full-time getting paid full-time, nothing wrong with it." Somebody works hard. They get paid. Whether that's an electrician, a plumber, pastor, missionary, deacon, whatever ... If you're doing the work, you have a right to eat and drink. Not only that, you have a right to have a wife. Don't care what these bunch of Catholic perverts and their monasteries think ... Their celibate clergy, bunch of [inaudible 00:39:15] is what they are.
Anyway ... Yeah the celibate clergy or whatever. We have the right to be married and raise children. We have the right to eat food and drink water, and for our children to eat food and drink water. It's like, "Ah, you're this money-grabbing preacher. You're this filthy, luker-seeking hireling. Who here gets a paycheck from their job? Put up you hand. If you work a job where you're paid ... You're all hirelings! Here's the thing ... When Jesus rebuked hirelings, why don't you get the context of that passage and understand what he's talking ... He's not saying it's wrong to get hired, work, and get paid.
Only a communist would think that there's something wrong with being a hireling. It's so funny because they say, "Oh, you're running the church like a business. Oh!" Look, you've been going to too many of these liberal rallies or something, because only a dirty hippie or a communist thinks that business is a bad word. "Oh business. Ah!" Yeah, we're running it like a business! You know what the first four letters of business are? Busy! Busy-ness, cause we're not sitting on our butt somewhere! We're out working full-time. We're getting up in the morning. We're going to work, and we're working 'til late at night. We're doing something big for God! We're staying busy for God! Yeah, it's business. That's why Jesus said, "I must be about my father's ..."
"I got to be about my father's commune. I got to be about my father's bible study. I got to be about my father's cell group. I got to be about my father's home-study." No. He said, "I got to be about my father's business." You know, Jesus had a guy that was a full-time what ... Treasurer. Hello? Is anybody home? "Oh no. They never took any money or anything." Oh, that's why they had a full-time guy handling the money. Hello? Has anybody ever read the New Testament before? I mean, look do you remember ... "Oh no! These pastors, they all need to go get a job and whatever." Okay, then why did Jesus tell Peter, tell John, tell James, and tell Andrew to forsake the net, forsake fishing, forsake the ship, forsake their father ... He said, "From henceforth you're going to catch men. You're done fishing." When Peter gets [inaudible 00:41:41] and goes to fishing, he's rebuked by Jesus personally and told, "Hey do you love me? Or do you love these fish? What are you doing here, Peter? What dost thou Simon? Lovest thou me more than these?" Peter was not supposed to work an outside job. Peter was specifically told to give that up and to be in the ministry full-time. All of Jesus' disciples ... They had to, to even follow him.
I'm not saying that it's wrong for a pastor or a missionary to work an outside job. I don't think it's anything wrong with it at all. I've known many pastors who enjoyed working a part-time job on the side. They wanted to just make a little extra money, and maybe they could do something for their family. Maybe just ... They could just get out in the world a little bit and keep their feet on the ground of what normal life is like for average people going to work. I think that's great. I went to a church where my pastor had a newspaper route. He delivered newspapers every morning. Great, he's being humble. Good job.
When I started the church here, Faithful Word Baptist Church, for the first four and a half years I didn't get paid at all. I just worked full-time. I worked my full-time job, but it's a little easier to pastor a church that's small than as it bets bigger. Honestly, I thought at the time that I could sustain this for the rest of my life. I was like, "I can sustain this. No problem. I'll provide for my family of umpteen. I can work my job, and I'm just going to do this for the rest of my life." Honestly looking back, it wasn't really sustainable. I was burning the candle at both ends. For the first four and a half years, I worked a full-time job. I worked in the ministry full-time. Back then, people used to criticize me for that. "You don't have enough faith to give up your job and go full-time." It's like, I'm just trying to put bread and butter on the table for my family. There wasn't enough people in the church; I was starting the church from scratch.
I wasn't getting any outside financial support. The offerings are low, because it's a small church. For a while, I did both. I did half church paycheck, and half business. Thank God, a few years ago I was able to transition to being a pastor full-time. I'm not some money-grabbing guy. Come to my house and tell me how wealthy I am; I dare you. I have eleven people in my family, and my house is 1,540 square feet ... After I added on to it to make bigger. I live in a 1500 square foot house with eleven people. My wife and I share a vehicle. You'll often see me walking up and down the street or riding a bike. I'm not exactly having an air-conditioned doghouse. I'm not exactly Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker.
I do believe that I have the power to eat and drink, and to lead about a sister, a wife ... Sister in Christ, mind you. Obviously, I have the right to do this. Look what the Bible says. He says, "I only and Barnabas, have not we power to forbear working?" What, "Everybody else quits their secular job. Peter, James, Andrew, but we ... No, no, no. We have to do it all ourselves, and work, and do it." Look what he says in verse seven, "Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock? Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also?" He's saying, "Look, this isn't just my human logic and human reasoning. This is Bible."
"For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope. If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ."
Then, he goes into the thing, "Look, the people who work at the altar live at of altar. God has ordained that those who preach the gospel live of the gospel." What's he saying here? Paul and Barnabas, they did work. Here's the thing, they're single. They're single dudes, so it's easier for a couple of single dudes to travel around the world evangelizing and doing missions. By the way, neither of these guys are pastor of a church. Peter was a pastor. They're bis- ... You can't be a pastor unless you're married. The bishop must be the husband of a wife. Paul was no pastor; he's an evangelist. He's a missionary.
It was Peter, John, guys like that that are married with children, pastoring churches. John calls himself an elder. He called himself bishop, elder, which are synonymous with pastor. When you look at the scripture ... By the way, I'm not complaining about my house. I love my house. I don't want you to misunderstand; I love my house. Even if someone just handed me hundreds or thousands of dollars, I'd probably stay in that house. I love living in this part of town. I'm never going to move into a fancy house, ever in my life, because my kids would destroy it number one. Number two, my neighbors would all hate me. I have to live in a neighborhood that's a little rough, because my kids are a little ... My kids are really well-behaved; don't get me wrong. They're kids. They're loud. They're riding their bike, and they knock over a mailbox. Sometimes I have to go to the, "Hey we're sorry. We knocked over your mailbox. We're going to fix it. We're going to make it right." Whatever, that's just how it is when you have a big family.
I don't want some HOA telling me that my grass is a half inch too tall. My kids have trashed the front yard, the HOA ... I'd be like the HOA's worst enemy, public enemy number one. I'm not ... I love what God's given me. I'm totally happy with it, totally content with it. I didn't want you to misunderstand that. I believe that it's right for pastors to be a full-time guy. If they can't afford it and they have to work a job, oh well. I think God has ordained that they that preach the gospel should live of the gospel. Not just pastors, also deacons, also missionaries should be paid.
Anybody who thinks it's wrong to get paid decent money, good money ... You know what, they're just a dirty liberal and a communist. There I said it. They are! [inaudible 00:48:50] Shut up. Why don't you get some skills, and you can go out and make some money too, buddy. I'm a skilled laborer up here. The people who are in the ministry all over America are skilled laborers, otherwise it wouldn't be so hard to find a good pastor or good preacher. My buddies in the ministry and people who are not my buddies in the ministry are skilled laborers. The bottom line is, the bible teaches this. Okay.
God didn't say, "Now we're doing away with the tithe. We're doing away with giving the first fruits unto the Lord ..." Even though it goes all the way back to the beginning of time: giving of the first fruits, giving your first unto the Lord, honoring the Lord with your substance and with the first fruits of all your increase. No, he didn't say, "Well, in the New Testament that doesn't exist." No. There's no verse that eliminates tithing in the New Testament. You can't find a verse that eliminates it. Show me a verse that eliminates it; it isn't there.
What you do see is a change from, "Hey, it's not the Levites. It's those who preach the gospel, they're in the ministry full-time. Whether that's Peter, James, John, Andrew, and any other apostles ... Bishops, deacons ... Look, the deacons were to give themselves full-time unto the ministry. How can they do that without getting paid? You got these young single punks who sit around like, "Well, why do you need that? Why do you need to get paid for?" It's like, "Hey idiot, you can hardly support yourself. Have you tried leading about a wife? Have tried raising children? It costs money to put food on the table."
Look, feeding my family is crazy. It's crazy. You think to yourself, "Ah, they're little kids." Let me tell you something, children come on up here. Come on up here kids. Come on up here kids. I want Anna and up to come up here, okay. Anna come on up here, all right. I'm not bringing all of the kids up here. I'm just bringing ... This is not ... This is all spontaneous. It's not planned.
You're not going to believe this, but I'm telling the truth. You can ask my wife. You can ask [inaudible 00:50:57] who comes to our house a lot. You can ask other people that come over. Look, this child and up ... I have other smaller children. This child and up eat as much as I do, at a meal. I'm not kidding. Look at her. I'm not kidding. Am I telling the truth? This child eats as much as I do. This child eats as much as I do. This child eats as much as I do. When you get into these three guys, they exceed what I eat. Am I telling the truth? Go sit down. I know it sounds weird, but people who have kids, they know it's true.
I remember my brother-in-law ... My sister's quite a bit older than me. No, she's not that much older than me. I'm sorry Ronnie. She's only ... My sister's nine years older than me. I remember her husband telling me, "Hey. You know, they get to a certain point where they start eating a whole pizza each." I'm like, "Whoa." He's right. They do start eating an entire pizza each. I thought it started when they were teenagers. No, see that little, sweet, little girl up here? Yeah. She's putting away the same amount of food that I'm putting away.
The communists and the liberals ... They don't want to hear about getting paid, business, or working, or paychecks, or anything. They live in a land of unicorns and rainbows, and four-leaf clovers. They say, "Man, we got to get out of the institutional church model. We got to get out of this corporate church, man. We got to get back like the Book of Acts where we're just breaking bread from house to house, man. Everybody wants to gets up and preaches. There's no pastor, man. It's just a bunch of elders, man." Even though they got saved eight months ago and they're one of the elders ... "No man, it's multiple elders. None of them are paid man. They're all just ... There's no such thing as a layman man. We're all being used by God, man." Here's what it is ... It's naïve. It's Utopian.
It's like you're listening to communists, or like you're listening to singles. They talk about, "Oh man, marriage is so easy." And they've never been married. "I don't get what's so complicated about marriage. I don't know why people struggle. I mean, it's real simple when I read Ephesians 5. It's like, "Come see me in five years. We'll see how you're doing, buddy." Hello. Can I get a witness? You know, "Child rearing? Easy." Nope. They have no kids, or they have one kid. "Oh yeah. Spank? I'm not going to spank my kids. As long as you just show them a lot of love, they're going to be real good." Right? Come back to me when you have nine kids. You got to run a tight ship, man, with nine kids.
Here's the thing, yeah. There are all these goofball, stupid, crazy parenting methods. These people have one kid, where they devote hours a day explaining to their three year old why it's wrong ... Reasoning with a three year old for two hours. It's like, I have nine kids. I can't spend two hours reasoning with them. I'm going to spend a few minutes at a spanking paddle later ... A few seconds at a spanking paddle later, and it's going to be resolved. I can move on with my life.
It's exact same thing with this subject. These people who go out in the woods with their camcorder and make videos about, "Hey, tithing's unscriptural. Hey, we need to get out of the institutional church. Hey, we need to get out of these buildings." Here's the thing, it's just them. It's an us-four-no-more mentality. Yeah, that works great when you got five people sitting in your living room. When you have a church like ours, of two hundred fifty people, guess what? It takes some full-time staff.
They say, "Well, what do you need tithes for? What, are you going to get a building?" It's like, well ... They're like, "We need to meet in houses." Okay, I'm willing to switch to meeting in a house. Who's got a house that can hold two hundred fifty people? We're going to meet at your house. No, come on. Stand up, we'll meet at your house next Sunday. My house isn't going to work. My house is 1540 square feet, and it has eleven people living in it. I don't think our church is going to be meeting there next Sunday. Does anybody have a house? "Well, meet in the garage! Get rid of the church bill and meet ..." I don't have a garage. I don't even have a one-car garage. My car's parked in the driveway, man. Who here has a garage big enough to put two hundred fifty people in it? "Ah, you're in a building. Ah. Ah, you're in a building."
Yeah, we're in a building, people. Who's enjoying the air conditioner this morning? Oh, well you don't care? Come talk to me in August. What if we're in North Dakota or something, in the winter? Or Phoenix, Arizona in the summer? You have to have a building to survive. If we were outside having church ... If we just had church outside in the sun every week in the summer, people would die. I'm not kidding! People would literally die. The elderly, the infants, the infirms would be dropping like flies. It's like, "Ah, you're in a building!" Yeah, and guess what? This building cost money, you dirty commie. This building costs money! Somebody's got to pay for it. "Oh, it's so carnal!" Go take your spirit world, rainbow, unicorn thing and shove it. It doesn't make any sense, folks. It's retarded.
Look, this building ... I'll just tell you how much it costs to rent this building, 5,400 dollars every month. That's a really good deal. I love it here; this is great. That's less than a dollar a square foot, and we use every square inch of this place. Very efficient with it, everything's piled up on big shelves. We use everything, "Ah, you're running it like a business." Yeah, but guess what we're doing? Having thousands of people saved every year. Guess what we're doing? Going all over the country, sparking soul-winning movements all all over this country, and sending out pastors to start churches. Look, we're starting two more churches this fall. We're training up leaders. We're winning souls. The tree is known by his fruit; this ministry is producing good fruit, working hard, and getting things done for the Lord. You're going to go listen to some bozo on youtube, us-four-no-more, sitting around looking at each other when we could be reaching ...
These non-tithing, house church, multiple elder, nobody gets paid, commie ministries ... You know what? They're just like the Book of Acts, except there's one big thing missing. Multitudes of saved men and women, that's what's missing. The multitudes saved, both men and women. You know what? You'll find it here. You'll find the multitudes saved. You'll find a church that is one of the fastest growing, independent, Baptist churches in Arizona. It's one ... If not America. Our church has grown really fast. Verity Baptist Church in Sacramento is growing faster than our church ... Just started six years ago, growing by leaps and bounds. Why? It's good fruit from a good tree. It's not, "Joel Osteen has a big church." Yeah, but they're not saved. They don't believe in the Bible. They're not soul-winning. This is really good fruit. Come inspect the fruit.
Look around. Talk to the people in this building. Talk to the fruit here, the fruits and nuts. No, I'm just kidding. I'm saying, "Look. You inspect the fruit here and you'll see that what we're doing is legitimate." The do-nothings and the be-nothings, they have all these Utopian ideas: "nobody's going to have to work. We're all going to get free college. We're going to get free welfare and free healthcare. Our pastor's going to preach to us. He's going to run the whole church, and it's all going to be free!" It's dumb. It makes no sense.
I got to hurry up. I'm out of time, and I got so much more to teach on this. I want to make one more important point. I'm going to have to skip a key point in the sermon. You look it up later in your own time. Nehemiah 13:10-14, If you want to make a note to do a little study later. This is where the Levites, the people are not tithing ... All the Levites have fled, every man to his field. They're all working a secular job now. Nehemiah comes in and says, "Hey. Why aren't you giving the [inaudible 01:00:30]?" He brings them back out and he says, "Quit plowing the field, and serve God full-time like you're supposed to." He brings in the tithes and he fixes everything. That's Nehemiah 13:10-14.
Go to Deuteronomy 14, if you would. I wish I had more time, because there's so much to say about the subject. As you're turning to Deuteronomy 14, let me just give you a quick review. Throughout the Bible, there's a concept of giving to the Lord ... Giving unto the Lord, giving him the best, giving him that which is first. The first fruits, the firstlings ... That in all things he might have the preeminence, giving the tithe unto the Lord.
The Bible says the tithe is the Lord's, meaning it belongs to him already. If you don't give the tithe unto the Lord, he says you're robbing me. I'm not going to bless you. In fact, I'll curse you. I'll bless you when you obey and give unto the Lord's work. Who received the tithe in the Old Testament? Early on, it was Melchizedek who received the tithe. One example we see ... We see an example where the tithe was brought to Bethel, which means the house of God. In days of the Mosaic law, the tithes was brought unto the Levites. They were the ones who received tithes of the people.
In the New Testament, it's those who preach the gospel that live of the gospel. We don't give unto the Levites anymore. That system is over and done. We still have a house of God to go to. We still have church, and we still have full-time servants that should not be paid extravagantly but should be paid ... So that they can eat and drink, have a normal family, and exist. The Bible's real clear in 1 Corinthians 9, yet people just get these crazy ideas of, "Well, they shouldn't be paid." Even though 1 Corinthians 9 explicitly says, "We have the right to forbear working." Even though Peter is specifically told, "Don't fish." He's not telling him, "Don't fish, but do plumbing. Don't fish, be an electrician." He said, "Don't fish. Be a fisher of men." Not only that, but the apostles said, "It's not meant for us to leave the word of God and wait tables."
They'll tell you, "Go wait tables." As a pastor ... I'm not going to wait tables. From the time I get up to the time I go to bed, you know what I'm doing? I'm working my butt off to get God's word all around this area, and all around the world ... To train men, to train preachers, to train leaders, and to win souls unto Jesus Christ, to get the gospel of the Kingdom and the word of God all throughout the world to all kindred and tongues. Both in Jerusalem and Judea, and Samarina the other most part of the earth. You know what? That's what I'm going to do.
I'm going to get paid doing it, because I have the right to eat and to drink. I have the right ... My wife doesn't have to work. She's going to sit at home and make babies, raise those babies, home-school them, and bring them up in the nurture and ammunition of the Lord. She's going to run my household, cook my meals, and serve God as a godly wife and mother. That's the lifestyle that we're going to live. I don't care what single bozo or newly married bozo thinks about it.
You say, "Which particular bozo are you talking about?" They're everywhere! It's like, "Sit down, and I'll give you a list." I had a whole bunch of scriptures that I wanted to show you on this point. I promised our visitor that I'd be done by noon, so I got one minute. I'm always done by noon anyway.
Deuteronomy 14:22 says, "Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year. And thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always."
The thing I want to point out here, is that the tithe is brought to the place that the Lord shall choose. Not the place you choose, the place the Lord chooses. He chose Shiloh. He chose Bethel. Eventually, he chose Jerusalem as a place to put his name there or the house of God. In the New Testament, the place that he choose is the local church, the house of God.
You say, "I'm just going to give my money, my tithe, to people that I think need help." Wrong. You bring it to the storehouse. You bring it to the house of God. "Hey, I'm just going to give it to the place that I choose." No, you give it to the place that the Lord shall choose. Here's the big point I want to make about that ... Every church is not a biblical church. Giving money to a church doesn't necessarily mean your money is going to the Lord. If you wanted to put money in my bank account, you're going to have to go to Wells Fargo. That's where I personally bank. I bank at Wells Fargo. If you want to wire me money or deposit money in my account, you can't go to Chase bank and say, "Hey, I'm here to deposit money into Steven Anderson's account." They're going to say, "Hey, he doesn't have an account here."
God does not have an account down at the United Methodist Church. God does not have an account down at the Roman Catholic Church. God does not have an account at a church that's preaching out of some perverted version of his word. God does not have an account down at the church that's preaching a false gospel. You can't say, "Well I gave my money unto the Lord." You gave it to the devil. Think about it.
You better figure out where God's banking. Get your rear end to a biblical church where God is banking. That's where you put your tithe. Not just, "Oh, I'm just giving to this. Give it to that." It better be going unto the Lord. Look, we are good stewards here. Anybody ... Ten years of ministry, we're over ten years into this thing. We've never had any debt. We've never borrowed a dime, never. We are 100 percent debt-free. Always have been, always will be. We don't borrow any money; we never will. Never.
Not only that, all the CDs, the DVDs, the Bibles, the New Testaments ... All that stuff on the back shelf is free. Come in with a grocery bag and fill it, and take it out of here. It's free. The song books on the chairs? Grab on and take it home with you. It's free. It's all yours. When we serve food ... When we serve ice cream, it's all free. Take as much as you like. It's free. Don't take as much as you like on that ice cream thing, because it's one per person. I misspoke for a second. I forgot about the rule on that one. We're just looking out for you, okay. Some of you are over-doing it.
We have church activities. They're free. It's always free. Everything's free. "Hey want to go soul-winning with us? Hey, who goeth to warfare at his own charge?" We'll buy you breakfast. We'll buy you lunch. We'll get you a hotel room, if you want to come soul-winning in the L.A. soul-winning marathon. Looks like we're being pretty good stewards of the money, since we got a great building. We got three full-time staff members. We got everything free. We give away more free stuff than any church on this planet, I think. That's my opinion. If you find one, let met know. We give away stuff. It's crazy how much stuff we give away. People think we're nuts, yet we never have had a fundraiser. Never ... Never asked people to give beyond the tithe.
I've never said, "Hey, the tithe's a starting point." I've heard that before. I don't teach that. I've never said, "Hey, we're a little low on the budget. We need some money." Never said it. Never done it. Never been a thermometer up here saying, "Hey we're raising money." I'm not even saying that that would be evil or wrong. We've never done it, and we're never going to do it. We don't do it, yet we always have plenty of money! We've never run out of money. We've never gone into debt. Why? Because give and it shall be given unto you. Our church is generous, and God gives unto us. We're good stewards. The money that we get, we use it to get people saved to the tune of tens of thousands of people. Through door-knocking, through missions, through pastors that we send out we are shaking things up in this state, nation, and even the world. You choose what you believe.
At the end of the day people believe what they want to believe. If somebody doesn't want to believe in tithing, they're not going to believe in it. I've been tithing since I was a little kid. My mom's here, she'll tell you. I tithed when I made thirty cents a week. I put three cents in the plate every week. That was when I started tithing. I've believed in this my whole life. I believe that I've been blessed by God.
Let's have a word of prayer. Father, we thank you so much Lord for all of the blessings you've given us Lord. I was just laying in bed last night actually, thinking about how safe it is here in Phoenix compared to other parts of the world, Lord. How we can lay in bed at night and go to sleep, and we don't have to worry about somebody breaking in all the time ... Trying to murder us or rob us. How relative to the rest of the world, Lord ... How safe we are here. I was just so thankful Lord, thinking about what safety we live in Lord. We all have a nice safe dwelling place. We have food, and we have drink. We have so many conveniences Lord. We have air-conditioning. I just want to thank you, Lord for everything that you've given us, Lord. I thank you that our church has always had enough money and we've never had to raise money, Lord. I pray that the people who hear this sermon, Lord, would understand the truth of your word and that they would not walk away and lie, slander and say, "Hey, the church is trying to steal from us." Of course we're not, Lord. We thank you so much for everything. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.