Sunday, 20 September 2015

Sermon: Tithing & Donations

I would like to direct my remarks to today to every tithe payer. What I have to say is applicable to all of us. It must be understood that God has held back the angels of destruction for many years, lest they should reap down the wheat with the tares. Today I want to tell you that those angels have left the portals of heaven, and they stand over this people and this nation now, and are hovering over the earth waiting to pour out the judgments of God. We all know that calamities and troubles are increasing in the earth, and there is a meaning to these things. My beloved brothers and sisters, in view of this revealed knowledge and understanding which the Lord has given concerning what is transpiring about us, is it not a glorious thing to have the assurance that if we will be obedient to the laws of God in particular the law of tithing, these destroying angels will pass us by, as they did the children of Israel, and not slay us.
 
The promised blessings for obedience to the law of tithing are innumerable and it is important that we stick to them rigidly. The Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ has been admonished to tithe a tenth of its surplus annually. This direction came down from the Lord in 1838 to the prophet Joseph Smith and so has come down to us today as a standing law unto the church. See Doctrine and Covernants section 119.
 
The prophet has stressed many times that there needs to be recognised amongst the church a difference between a tithe and a donation. The standing law of the church is that our tithing is to be paid annually and is to be a tenth of our interest or surplus, however a donation can be paid at anytime and can be paid in any amount. The church will not accept donations as tithing because it is not a tenth nor is it given annually. A donation given to the church is just that, a donation and as soon as it hits the church bank account it belongs to the church and is the responsibility of the Presiding bishop of the church to see that it is used in accordance with the wishes of the Lord with council from the prophet where needed. Donations given to the church are at the discretion of its members and at the behest of the prophet, no mention of donations is ever made of in a tithing settlement, they are a voluntary act unlike tithing which is expected of the faithful.
 
Tithing is not voluntary in any sense it is expected of all those that serve God, it is a prerequisite of faith and the Lord God expects it to be paid. The amount is unimportant as the Lord stresses in scripture that he only expects a tenth of our surplus allowing us to deal with our lives and dependants first and the what is left belongs to God. God could not be clearer in what he expects and so we have a duty to do what we have been asked of by God, indeed all we have comes from God we are nothing without him we owe him everything and so a tenth of our surplus no matter how small our large is essential in proving our worth unto God.
 
As a church we are firm believers that the Lord opens up the windows of heaven when we do our duty financially and pours out blessings upon us of a spiritual nature, which are of far greater value than temporal things. But I believe He also gives us blessings of a temporal nature as well. In closing let it be clear that without donations the church stands still. Donations should not be given as a status symbol, but given freely to the church and left to the church to use at is discretion. There should be no under the table deals or prerequisites attached to donations or else it becomes sordid and dirty and stops being for the Lord. Tithing is our duty and proves to the lord that we honour his laws and honour his commands.
 
So Let us go forward with renewed vigour to tithe and donate as a people given to God.
 
In The Name of Jesus Christ. Amen
Elder Paul Barber
Presiding Bishop

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