x410........No Accountability In Leadership With Regard To Money!
"....... And laid them down at the apostles' feet:......"(Acts 4:35A)
"Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles' feet.Ó (acts 4: 37)
"They laid their money at the Apostle's feet."
In the early church--the people sold what they had, and brought the money and laid it at the apostle's feet.
this is a very commonly taught doctrine in many of our churches to this day. It is supposed to be a New Testament example of paying tithe--it is supposed to be a Holy Ghost inspired way of operating the church. In fact it has often been taught hat we are actually "lucky" that today our pastors only ask us for a tithe (1/10 of our income)--because supposedly in he early church after the days of Pentecost, the people sold all that they had and gave it all to the "pastor".
Then, it is often taught (by the method of teaching the Bible in "half-verses"
instead of in context) that in this early church, if you did
not give your "tithe" as the Holy spirit was leading, you might get killed. This is taught again, out of context--by fast forwarding to the next chapter where Annanias and Saphiria hold back part of what the Spirit of God had lead them to give, and they are struck dead. This teaching is used to threaten tithing to many people. It has been taught that if we do not pay what "God requires" He might strike us dead--or maybe "we are spiritually dead unless we tithe".
But what if we were to read these verses in the context that God set them in?--
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. 36* And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus, 37 Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles' feet. (Acts 4:32-37)
Misconception #1--Did the people in the early church "sell everything
they had" and give it to the leadership? --NO, absolutely not.
They were each instructed individually by the Holy spirit to sell certain things which they possessed. Those who owned land (which
certainly was not everyone) sold some of what they possessed--as the Spirit of God lead them--not by the command of the apostles.
Misconception #2---They were paying a tithe when they laid their money at the apostle's feet---fact---the word "tithe" is no where to be found. The word tithe is not found one time in the book of Acts. (in fact every New Testament reference to tithing refers tot he Old Testament--there is not one command in the NT for anyone in the church to collect or give a tithe--it was strictly the 1/10 of the grain and herd which was considered holy for sin sacrifice--for Israel--a sacrifice which the blood of Jesus Christ clearly does away with--unless you sacrifice animals in your church?)
Misconception #3---The apostles used the money which was laid at their feet the same way as our "pastors" do today.
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.
The apostles, under the direct guidance of the Holy spirit--and as recorded
forever in the word of God (a "pastor" receiving a tithe,
and building a church building--is simply not to be found recorded in the Bible anywhere!) The word of God --which is supposed to be our example--records that the apostles took the money which was laid at their feet, and distributed it to those who had need within the church.
The apostles did not take the money which was laid at their feet and
send their kids to college. They did into use the money to improve
the sanctuary (since they did not own or operate a large church building). they did into buy carpet for the church or install air-conditioning (so that we will get a bigger turn-out in the summer and collect more tithe). They did not not use the money to buy themselves 3-piece suits and gold cuff-links--or do anything which made them "look good" toward the world. Rather they were doing true ministry--laying down what they had to the poor. They were following the example that Jesus had set them, as in His ministry, He fed the poor in large numbers.
No, the apostles, recorded forever as our example of New Covenant leadership,
used 100% of the money which they collected, to take
care of the needs of the people within the church. They took the money which God was giving them, and made absolutely sure that no one had needs--no one had any "lack" within the church. they fed the poor which were among themselves.
These same apostles passed the word of this type of giving to Paul later on--
9* And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived
the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and
Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision. 10* Only they would that
we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do. (Galatians 2: 9-10)
And also Paul wrote of this collection to the churches which formed later--
1Co 16:1* Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye.
Of course they got the idea from Jesus Himself--
34* Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed
of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from
the foundation of the world: 35* For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and
ye took me in: 36* Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37* Then shall the
righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38 When saw we thee
a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40* And the
King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye
have done it unto me. (Matthew 25: 34-40)
When we read and study the example set by the apostolic leadership in
the Bible we can clearly see that our concept of leadership within the
church today falls far short. It is simply not accountable to this example
from the word of God. Yet at the same time, much of leadership holds the
people accountable to their giving from these same verse in the Bible!
What would it be like to give in a church in which you knew that all of
what you gave would go to support all the others within the church?! to
see the poor fed right within the church--with the money which you had
given! NO wonder that many people were selling their possessions in order
to give! They were seeing and participating in the ministry of feeding
the poor--right in their own home--they were meeting the needs of those
lack--right within the church---it certainly must have been an incredibly powerful church--filled with the Spirit of God and the spirit of giving--and filled with ministry--direct service toward one another.
the tradition which most leadership follows after says that leaders
have the right to do basically whatever they want to with money that is
collected. No wonder most churches have a tough time even collecting a tithe! The "law collection" of tithe eliminates the leading of the Holy Spirit in giving--and the disobedience and lack of accountiblity with regard to what is done with the money collected, and further hinders the will and the move of God within the church.
I have heard some leaders teach and wonder why God does not strike dead
some people who do not "tithe"--as (they erroneously
believe) was the case with Annanias and Saphiria. But we are so far off with what we teach and do with regard to giving and "distribution" that certainly God could not hold accountable someone who does not give to a corrupt system. The system illustrated in the Bible in the book of Acts is so incredibly Godly (God the Holy spirit is involved in every aspect of it!) it is no wonder why Annanias and Saphira were struck dead! they were so close to God at the time that the slightest disobedience brought about their destruction!
Case in point:---Do you know of anyone who was struck dead because they did not pay tithe to their pastor? Of course not!--When we tithe we confine our giving to the Old Testament law--and when those receiving our giving are not at all held accountable to the word of God, and are not distributing what they receive to the saints within the church and to the poor--but rather are using what they receive in a large part to support themselves--how could we expect God to care about our disobedient way of giving?