Especially for Young People – By. Sis. Shannon Shafer
Recently I have been thinking along the lines of Church of God doctrines. Young people, do you know why we do what we do? Do you understand our doctrines beyond “This is what mom and dad told me I should do” or “This is what my pastor preaches” or the standard answer, “We do it because that is what the Bible teaches.”
What exactly does the Bible say about our doctrines? Sisters, if someone should ask why you wear modest clothing, can you give them a scripture? Brothers, if someone should ask why you don’t believe in having long hair, can you give them a scripture?
1 Peter 3:15, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:”
The Bible instructs us to have an answer. I encourage young people to study doctrinal subjects in your devotions. How much more attractive the gospel will be to lost souls when you have a clear and confident answer on why you are living the way that you are!
It is an easy thing for those who have been raised in the Church of God to simply accept what has been taught to them, without having a clear understanding behind their beliefs. Strong, spiritual young people need to know for themselves what the Bible says.
One subject that I have been dwelling on is tithing. Do you know why we tithe?
Malachi 3:8-10n says, “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.”
These scriptures make it clear that we have a duty to pay tithes. By not doing this, we are guilty of robbing God. Paying tithes is a serious thing. A tithe should be accompanied by an offering. Tack a little extra onto the amount that you are giving.
Tithes are to be brought into the storehouse, or the local congregation, to provide for a proper place of worship and also to provide for needs of the local pastor.
Proverbs 3:9-10 says, “Honour 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.”
In both Malachi and Proverbs, God has promised that His blessings would be upon those who faithfully obey his commands and pay tithes. Don’t grudgingly give to God. Let not your mind dwell on all of the things that you could do with that money. That is not an attitude that is pleasing to God. We need to give willingly, knowing that we are pleasing God and doing what He wants us to. 2 Corinthians 9:7 says, “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.”
Proverbs 3:9 says, “…and with the first fruits of all thine increase…” “First fruits” means the first profits of any thing. “Tithe” means the tenth part of any thing. When we pay our tithes, we are to pay a tenth of our first fruits (the gross, not net, amount of our income).
Genesis 4:3-4 says, “And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering:” Long ago, tithing was practiced and Abel brought of the firstlings of his flock and the Lord had respect to Abel and his offering.
Hebrews the 7th chapter is a wonderful place to study about tithing. Here we see that Abraham tithed to Melchisedec, who we know was a biblical “type” of Christ. Verses two and three, “To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; 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 continually.”
Let us remember that when we tithe, we are not following a man-made creed, or just being kind and donating to the cause of Christ, but we are obeying a direct command from God’s Word.
Proverbs 3:9, “Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the first fruits of all thine increase:”
1. Snapp,Kerry L., Things Most Surely Believed, Gospel Truth and Publications
2. Webster, Noah, American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828