Stewardship or Sales? The Means of Ministry
The Scriptures forbid charging for ministry (worship, preaching and teaching of God's Word, evangelism, fellowship of the church, psalms/hymns or spiritual songs, discipleship, etc. in any circumstance or situation. It is that black and white. Here are some important Scriptures to ponder in this matter (all verse quotations taken from the ESV):
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The Ministry of the Twelve
5 These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go onto the road of the Gentiles or enter
any town of the Samaritans. 6Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. 7 'The kingdom of heaven has come near.'
8 "Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers,[a] cast out demons. You received without paying; give without
pay. 9 Acquire no gold nor silver nor copper for your belts" Matthew 10:8-9
1 Corinthians 9:7-18, "Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard without eating any of its fruit? Or who tends a flock without getting some of the milk? 8Do I say these things on human authority? Does not the Law say the same? 9For it is written in the Law of Moses, "You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain." Is it for oxen that God is concerned? 10Does he not speak entirely for our sake? It was written for our sake, because the plowman should plow in hope and the thresher thresh in hope of sharing in the crop. 11If we have sown spiritual things among you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? 12If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we even more? Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ. 13Do you not know that those who are employed in the temple service get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in the sacrificial offerings? 14In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel. 15But I have made no use of any of these rights, nor am I writing these things to secure any such provision. For I would rather die than have anyone deprive me of my ground for boasting. 16For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! 17For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward, but not of my own will, I am still entrusted with a stewardship. 18What then is my reward? That in my preaching I may present the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel" (emphasis added).
2 Corinthians 2:15-17, "For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, 16to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? 17For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God's word,but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ."
3 John 5-8, "Beloved, it is a faithful thing you do in all your efforts for these brothers, strangers as they are, 6who testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God. 7For they have gone out for the sake of the name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles [nonbelievers]. 8Therefore we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth" (emphasis added).
God's people through faithful giving are to supply the financial support for ministry.
Ministry being: 64. Ministry is defined as service to God and His creatures as we employ our Spirit-given giftedness, according to the instruction of Scripture as good stewards of the manifold grace of God for the advancement of His kingdom; that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 4:10-12)
65. God has designed genuine ministry to be inseparable from the life and leadership of the local church. Any ministry that does not strengthen one's commitment to the local church is inconsistent with the purposes of Christ. (Acts 2:42-47; Hebrews 10:23-25) (source: from the 107 Theses by Steve Camp, part five, #'s 64-65).
All genuine ministry for the Lord cannot have an advanced price tag to pay before the ministry is given. Why? Because then it is no longer ministry, but commerce, employ, trade or entertainment.
With ministry being defined above as service to God and His creatures; and with Christ as our example, we are to give all that we are for all that He is. I used to charge honorariums and tickets to my concerts. It was wrong and I have repented. The Lord deeply convicted me after studying His Word that there ws no justification for every charging for the work of the gospel. Think of what I was doing: charging people to pay a ticket to come to a church or civic venue to hear the gospel and worship the Lord. I was ashamed. How grateful I am to the Lord for His severe mercy and restorative grace over my sin of charging tickets for that which is eternal.
Modern day Tithing is a fraud – it was ONLY agricultural, based on increase not “principal” and given only to the Levitical priesthood which came to a spiritual end with the Messiah as our only High Priest and a physical end with the destruction of the records of the Temple in 70 AD. Those who charge to attend and listen to their fallacious and heretical interpretations of the Bible and/or solicit donations, sell books, CD’s, DVD’s, etc. ARE NOT MEN OF GOD BECAUSE THEY DO NOT KNOW NOR FOLLOW THE WORD OF GOD.
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