Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Withdraw Yourselves!

2 Thessalonians 3:6-15, "Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. 7 For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; 8 Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you: 9 Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us. 10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. 11 For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. 12 Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread. 13 But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing. 14 And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. 15 Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother."

*Note: When the author renders the word 'Church' as seen, he is referring to the Main-Stream, Business Entity, Institutional 'Church' System we are all familiar with in our modern day and age. When he renders the word in all lower case letters, (church) he is referring to Christ's design for the Authentic Home based church, which still exists today.

Notice that I emphasized "ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly." When I first left the Institution, all I was doing was withdrawing myself from brothers who were walking disorderly. If this verse meant that I was to withdraw myself from an unruly brother, who was a member of my local church only, that would be an easy task to fulfill. All I would have to do is walk away from his presence. He would not be counted as an enemy, but a brother in the Lord that needed to be admonished. But let us view these verses in a new light. Let's suppose that this is meant for pastors as well. They are brothers in Christ, so they qualify, am I right? What if they were walking disorderly? As a matter of fact, what if the deacons, trustees and the officers of the 'Church' were following his lead? What then? How do we withdraw ourselves from these disorderly brothers? It's not as easy as the first scenario sounds, is it?

What if this pastor was teaching a heresy, and we as a small group alone knew about it? What if we went to the pastor and shared with him what we found? After explaining what we found, based upon hard Scriptural evidence, he rejected it and continued to teach the heresy anyway? What if he was walking disorderly? What happens when the other leaders of the 'Church' follow his example and back him up? Since you have only a few voices and the pastor has many, how does one withdraw himself from that? That's a good question, isn't it? Well, the answer is right in front of us. Back away. Leave! Withdraw Yourselves!

The Apostle's "tradition" was easy to follow because it lined up perfectly with God's Word, unlike man's tradition, which is a fabrication. The Apostles tradition was the real deal. This tradition said that although Paul had power to command support from the churches, he refused it because he wanted to set an ensample for the others to follow~verse 9. He labored day and night in painful effort to supply the needs for himself and those with him. He charged no one for preaching the gospel of Christ; not the people he ministered to, nor the church~verse 8. Paul brings to their attention that himself and his fellow servants did not walk disorderly among them when they were with the Thessalonians, therefore he had the credibility to offer this admonishment. He reminds them that when he was yet with them, he commanded them that if any didn't work, they shouldn't eat. But what does he find? He finds that there are those who babbled on, without working for their daily bread. Paul then exhorts (thoroughly encourages) these busybodies that they should work and eat their bread quietly. In other words, they should, 'Shut Up!' If they persist, Withdraw Yourselves!

Paul goes on to write, that if any man disobeys his words from that epistle, that he be marked, and we should have no company with him~verse 14. Again, I ask; what if it's the pastor, the deacons, the trustees and various ministers that are walking disorderly among us? What do we do? They're the ones who have control over the microphone. They have the ears of the rest of the flock. We who know better, but have been rejected, are the silent minority. Well, I'm not going to be silent any longer. We want to adhere to God's Word and seek His truth, but the Establishment will not budge one iota on a vital doctrine just so they can maintain their control over the congregation. It isn't a doctrinal issue any longer. It has become a power issue for the leadership of the Establishment. They say, "This little group isn't going to upset our apple cart with their insignificant findings! Tithing MUST remain a steadfast doctrine in our 'Church!" This is the situation almost ALL Institutional 'Churches' are in. Why? Because most parishioners do not realize that pastors aren't missionaries as Paul was.

Paul wasn't a pastor! He was a church planter/missionary/Apostle. He could take sustenance from those he ministered unto, but he even refused that! He worked his fingers to the bone and said that all those within the church, who are able, should do the same if they are to eat. Pastors today think that they have a divine right to receive a paycheck from the congregation. The hard truth is, they don't. Being a pastor isn't a job. It's not a Profession for pay. It's a ministry. They are worthy of their hire when they work at the job they are hired to do. But nowhere does the Bible say that they are supposed to be 'hired' as a pastor. They are stationary and can get a job or create a business on the local economy to support their families. This nonsense of hiring and paying pastors has been going on for too long. But, there is a way to escape it. Withdraw Yourselves!

Think about it for a moment. Jesus didn't charge us for salvation. He paid it all. He never commanded us to build building and go into debt. He told us to take care of our families by working hard. He never commanded a tithe from anyone let alone widows and the poor. He even said that He'd "Give" us pastors."And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding."~ Jeremiah 3:15. Giving doesn't have strings attached. If that's the case, we'd have to pay for our salvation. He didn't say He'd hire pastors for us either. Christ never expected His church to pay for anything, let alone a pastor! Not only that, pastors in the New Covenant church were co-equal and plural! It wasn't the Senior Pastor One Man Show we see today. Christ is the Head of the church, not Pastor Better-Than-You. Pastors never stood out in the New Testament. As a matter of fact, the word 'pastors' shows up only one time in te N.T. (Ephesians 4:11).  Never were they in the forefront of things. They were always in the background guiding their flocks and teaching them. They were recognized as pastors from within the congregation, not hired from without. Hiring Pastors from outside the church started with the Institutional 'Church' Fathers like Ignatius, Augustine and others; not Jesus! If the pastor you have demands a paycheck, he is doing so under false pretenses and gross ignorance. Withdraw Yourselves!

Pastors have created a Profession for themselves by twisting Scripture and persuading the flock that they are owed a living from the support of their brothers and sisters. They use indoctrination, intimidation and extortion to get the tithing dollars rolling in. They say that if the congregant doesn't tithe, we are guilty of Robbing God. He misappropriates Malachi 3:8-10 by telling the assembly that if we do not tithe, we are cursed with a curse. He expects and takes money from widows and the poor, the elderly and the sick to gain a living, instead of working with his own two hands on a job he could get on the economy. He yells from the pulpit and then eats the bread others have Provided. He charges money when he writes a book or makes a preaching tape. He charges money when he teaches or preaches God's Word (His paycheck from the tithe). When he or a college group Produces a Music CD, they charge for that too. And, he is the busy body in everyone's lives. He and others like him are walking disorderly among us. Withdraw Yourselves!

If you'd like to know more on whether pastors should be paid from the congregation, I suggest reading my post, 'Should Pastors Be Paid?' to know more. We are even warned in the O.T. from the LORD Himself about pastors and what they can do to a flock. Jeremiah 2:8, "The priests said not, Where is the LORD? and they that handle the law knew me not: the pastors also transgressed against me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit."

Jeremiah 10:21, "For the pastors are become brutish, and have not sought the LORD: therefore they shall not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered."

Jeremiah 12:10, "Many pastors have destroyed my vineyard, they have trodden my portion under foot, they have made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness."

Jeremiah 22:22, "The wind shall eat up all thy pastors, and thy lovers shall go into captivity: surely then shalt thou be ashamed and confounded for all thy wickedness."

Jeremiah 23:1, "Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD."

Jeremiah 23:2, "Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD."

These types of pastors are the one's that the LORD wants us to avoid. Does your pastor demand tithes from widows and the poor? If so, he is scattering the flock. What should we do? Withdraw Yourselves!

Again, if the 'Church' building, the congregation and those in control, which maintain these false doctrines won't and cannot be moved, then we are to withdraw ourselves from them! This is not that complicated. Now, let's assume that we removed ourselves from this disorderly membership, what then? The normal reaction is to start 'Church' hopping. But, what if we notice the same exact pattern in every 'Church' as we found before? What then? Maybe it is time that we put two and two together and realize that this style of Institutional 'Church' cannot survive without the tithe and we'd just be going around in circles looking for a 'Church' that doesn't teach such heresy. What if we come to the point in our search for a 'Church' that we started searching the Scriptures instead regarding the tithing issue? For most of us, it might be too daunting a task to take on. But for those who wanted the truth about other matters of doctrine, and searched them out, perhaps studying the tithing issue wouldn't be so bad. Too get that brother or sister a jump start, I urge everyone to 'Take The Tithe Test' found to the left and within the list of posts to see for themselves just how much we actually do not know about the practice of tithing. After that, we can repent of it, and Withdraw Yourselves!

Forget about the standard arguments of how much God has blessed us when we began to tithe. If we do not tithe the way God prescribes, we have transgressed His commandments regardless of our perceived "blessings"~ Deuteronomy 26:13. God does bless those who are ignorant, but He doesn't bless those who are willfully ignorant! So, no hiding our heads in the sand, okay? The tithe is not meant for the church! Our pastors, deacons, teachers and trustees are lying to us! They refuse to repent of this! That's walking disorderly! Pastors and elders, deacons and teachers, trustees and music ministers are receiving pay from the flock, based on a pet doctrine created to support an enterprise. Without working a real job to support themselves, they are actually stealing from the members of their 'Church.' That's walking disorderly! What are we to do? Withdraw Ourselves from them! Have no company with them! Let us begin to walk 'orderly' with a fellowship of believers who takes God at His Word. Entreat these malingerers as brothers, for they are saved believers in Christ, as we are. But, also admonish them that they might be ashamed~verse 14. If we believe that tithing is not meant for the 'Church,' but are still entrenched in a Pro-Tithing Institute, why haven't we withdrawn ourselves when we are clearly commanded to do so? I'm crying out to all of the Ostriches out there! Let's scratch our heads for a moment to let that sink in, shall we? This isn't a situation where we have to wait for God to tell us to move. Why? Because in this epistle, He already has! Withdraw Yourselves!

Maybe it's time we look outside the box of the Institute and see what Scripture teaches about the church Jesus builds. Maybe it's time we realize that the house church of Jesus' design isn't a movement, but has been the original and authentic church all along. No tithes are required to maintain this church. No membership rolls are counted. No 'One Man Show' is performed. No Properties have to be kept up. There are no Banks or Government controls to adhere to. We are a body of Believers, not a body of the lost. We are not an alternative church. We ARE the church. We take the gospel to the lost. We do not preach the gospel to the saved. That would be redundant. Pastors do not 'live of the gospel.' Missionaries and evangelists fit that description. Finding a good Baptistic house church is a matter of allowing the Lord to guide us on that journey. If we don't allow Him to work as He see's fit, we are our own worst enemies. Then we'd be the ones walking disorderly by disobeying His leading. Withdraw Yourselves!

Three times Paul uses the word, "command." Why? Because God gave him, and those with him, the authority to set things straight in person and from afar. He says that if someone walks disorderly, have no company with them and withdraw yourself. I don't see any mincing of words here, do you? The clergy of today have wrested the Scriptures and have created their own doctrines, leading their flocks astray. Some do it on purpose, some do it out of ignorance. They fleece the flock of their finances by their own man made doctrines and traditions. They do so without studying for themselves what Scripture has to say about it.

The tithe in Israel was food derived from the seed of the land. It was never money. Only Israeli landowners could tithe. Widows, orphans, the stranger and Levites received tithes. They never paid a tithe. Today we see pastors getting income tithes from widows. This is a disgrace! Not only was the tithe in the Old Testament never money, widows were exempt from tithing. Gentiles were not allowed to tithe either! Are we Gentiles? Guess what? We are Prohibited from tithing also! Three in this  group were disqualified from giving a tithe. Only the Levites gave a tithe of what they received from the Israeli landowners to the priests. Priests never tithed; they only offered up sacrifices from the tithes given to them, and those tithes were always livestock. How many of us drop a lamb chop in the offering plate on Sundays? How about some fruit salad? Money was widely in use as a mode of exchange for hundreds of years before and during the practice of tithing in Israel. Even Abraham bought a burial cave for his wife for 400 pieces of silver. Where was the Jewish nation then? When one tithed food, they had to follow a strict dietary law. Produce, and even fish, were never sacrificed as an offering. That was Cain's logic for sacrificing to God. Why? Because they didn't picture our Saviour. Pastors should know this stuff! If they do and they still command a tithe from our incomes, there is only one thing to do; Withdraw Yourselves!

I just read today a "Articles of Faith" of what a Baptist 'Church' in Missouri believes about tithing. As of this date, it stated that the members are "OBLIGATED to financially support the 'Church' through tithes"~(See www.cbckn.org under the Church tab, Beliefs, Articles of Faith, then Giving). This "Article of Faith" goes along with almost every other 'Articles of Faith' in almost every Institutional 'Church' there is. I am still wondering who imposed this so-called "obligation?" I KNOW it wasn't the Father, Jesus or the Apostles! I Double-Dog DARE & Defy ANYONE to show me that God or the Apostles imposed an obligation for New Covenant Believers or Christ's N.T. church to tithe! They NEVER DID! Yes, I have a chip on my shoulder! Try and knock it off! Go ahead and try to Prove me wrong! If I'm wrong, I want to know about it. I don't want to be a stumbling block to my brothers and sisters in Christ. Tithing is a man-made doctrine, presented in an authoritative sounding way. They cloak it in the perception of 'LOVE' and gentleness. Its a lie, intended as one or not. And lies only come from the father of lies. Withdraw Yourselves!

The flock is also guilty, to a point, for being lazy believers. Most take every word of their pastor as absolute. When they follow an errant pastor or teacher, without cracking open 'the Book,' they are walking disorderly as well. I realize that judgement must start in the local 'Church' or church, wherever that may be. But most don't even know this situation exists right under their own noses. How are we going to know unless someone tells us? Apparently, just like the false doctrine of New Covenant Tithing, this one got by most of the clergy, and therefore, the body is being fed sour milk. What I am doing is offering a way to examine these verses through a new lens. If they refuse to hear the truth of Paul's epistle, we are to have no company with them. In other words; Withdraw Yourselves! Let God guide us to a Christ centered church and not a Tithe centered 'Church.' The Tithe centered 'Church' is not of Christ's design, nor was it His intention for His children to be deceived into paying for a pastor and Properties. That's what businesses do. Christ's church isn't a business. We are a ministry! Withdraw Yourselves!

We have our own families to think of first. After that, others in need can be ministered to, such as poor widows, orphans and the homeless. Give (NOT TITHE) according to what we have, NOT what we have not, and God will bless. If we feel the need to give towards a building and a staff, let us join a country club. They'll gladly take our money. God doesn't need our money. He has plenty. But, if we feel the need to give, search out the poor widow, the in-firmed, the blind, the maimed, the lame, and thou shalt be blessed. This is not the message a pastor would want us to hear. Messages like this tend to cause some of them to comb their hair with their fingers in anxiety. Why? Because they would tell us to pay a tithe first, above all other considerations, including our own families. Paul says that we are to withdraw ourselves from those who do not walk after the tradition he showed us, and which we have received from him. The tradition he is speaking of is within the context of the verses above. That is, those who will not work for their own bread, shouldn't eat someone else's bread unless invited. These are those who try to live off of somebody else's toil and sweat. I'm speaking about most of today's pastors who won't get a job to support themselves and their families. These are those who are walking disorderly. Withdraw Yourselves!

I can hear them now. Most pastors who are reading this will fly to their pulpits to discredit this message in the hope of performing Damage Control. As I said before, I didn't leave my institutional 'Church' because I was upset with my brothers and sisters. I left because the pastor and the rest of the clergy was manipulating the congregation with faulty doctrine and wouldn't change. They were walking disorderly and wouldn't repent of it. Since they had control of that assembly, I had no choice but to withdraw myself from them. They are not my enemies. They only need to be admonished. Be true to God and Paul's epistle and have no company with those who walk disorderly. Again, we don't have to wait for God to move us. He's already commanded it! Don't take my word for it. Take God's Word for it. Read and re-read the verses above, asking the Holy Spirit to show us the truth. Once we realize we have it, Withdraw Yourselves From EVERY BROTHER that Walks DISORDERLY!

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