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God's Not Mad at You
“What if I don’t tithe?”

“What if I don’t tithe?”

NOVEMBER 12, 2021

/ Programs / Key Life / “What if I don’t tithe?”

Steve Brown:
What if I don’t tithe? The answer to that and other questions on Key Life.

Matthew Porter:
This is Key Life dedicated to the message that the only people who get any better are those who know that if they don’t get any better, God will still love them anyway. That teaching raises a lot of questions. So, here’s author and seminary professor, Steve Brown, along with Pete Alwinson from ForgeBibleStudy.com with answers to the Bible that’ll make you free.

Steve Brown:
Thank you Matthew. Hi Pete.

Pete Alwinson:
Hey man. How you doing?

Steve Brown:
I’m doing really good, but I haven’t been out riding my bicycle. And falling off bridges and stuff.

Pete Alwinson:
Oh man, I’m glad I’m alive.

Steve Brown:
For those of who don’t know he’s better today, but he went and bike riding, with a friend.

Pete Alwinson:
It was off-road mountain biking, Steve, in all honesty.

Steve Brown:
So, it was not just like down a nice path.

Pete Alwinson:
Right, right.

Steve Brown:
It was a hard place.

Pete Alwinson:
It was a hard, it was hard and I shouldn’t have been doing it, but there it was.

Steve Brown:
And your son told you, what are you thinking?

Pete Alwinson:
That’s right.

Steve Brown:
Well, I’m glad you’re okay. He really, for those of you in our television audience, you can see the thing he has around his wrist, were you sober?

Pete Alwinson:
Yes.

Steve Brown:
Just checking. Okay?

Pete Alwinson:
Steve.

Steve Brown:
Listen, don’t send this letters. It was a joke. Okay? And by the way, go to ForgeTruth.com for all things Pete Alwinson, and you’ll be glad I told you about it. And if you live in central Florida, you might want to, and you’re a guy. You might want to be a part of Forge. It’s an amazing ministry and lives are being changed radically. And you ought to be a part of it if you can, and you can get an address for one of the different Forge meetings taking place in central Florida. By the way, as you know, Pete comes in on Fridays and we answer questions together and we’ve been doing it for over 25 years. And, we love your questions and man, we’ve answered a lot of them. If you have a question, you can call 1-800-KEY-LIFE, 24 7, and we record your question and sometimes use it on the air. Or you can send your question to

Key Life Network
P.O. Box 5000
Maitland, Florida 32794

In Canada, it’s

Key Life Canada
P.O. Box 28060
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 6J8

Or you can e-mail us at Steve@keylife.org. And if you can help us financially, please do. And if you can’t, we understand, I promise we’ll squeeze every dime for the glory of God, when you can. Pete, lead us in prayer and we’ll get to some of these questions.

Pete Alwinson:
You got it. You got it. Let’s pray. Father, thank you today as we come into your presence at the end of this week. Thank you for yourself. Thank you, that as your deeply beloved daughters and sons, so we can come into your presence, so freely and boldly because of Jesus. Thank you, that it really is because of what he accomplished and not what we have done. And so, we rest in that. We honor you. We praise you Lord, and just thank you for your amazing grace that sets us freer and freer every day. Lord, you know us and you know our needs. There are so many, and we pray that this weekend, even as we gather with your people to worship that you would be with our leaders, our pastors, priests, teachers, worship directors. Lord, all the servants that go to gather to work together, to put together our church services, Lord, that we would worship you and that we would hear your voice and be set free by your grace. Thanks for Steve. Thanks for this ministry. And so many people that are doing great things behind the scenes here. We commit this time of Q&A to you as we pray in Jesus name. Amen.

Steve Brown:
Amen, Pete, this first question is an e-mail. Our family lives on one income and cannot afford to tithe. Although we give, if we were to go to 10%, we would probably have to sell our house. We do not live extravagantly, big vacations, out to dinner, buy new cars and we shop at discount or thrift stores, etc. Are we sinning by not tithing?

Pete Alwinson:
Well, Dr. Brown? I’m throwing that out to you.

Steve Brown:
When we were young and we have a mutual friend, John Montgomery, and I think he was the one that said, but I said, look, we can’t do 10%. That’s a lot of money. So, let’s do it a little bit at a time. This year we’ll give 1% and next year 2%, and eventually we’ll get up to 10% and that worked, by the way. And John said, or somebody, John said, if you’re committing adultery, would I tell you to try to cut back a little bit at a time? Man. I thought good point. So I don’t want to say that, but I think it was a wise practice. You’re not saved by whether or not you tithe.

Pete Alwinson:
Right.

Steve Brown:
And God understands your financial situation. He really does. But tell him that he’s going to have to help you, that you’d really liked the tithe and then raise it a little bit and see what happens. And you might be surprised.

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah. Yeah. I love everything you just said. I think that is so

Steve Brown:
But.

Pete Alwinson:
No, no, I think that’s a great way of approaching it. I think John, you know, you’re absolutely right, you can’t compare that with adultery, you know, go cold turkey on adultury.

Steve Brown:
Right.

Pete Alwinson:
Stealing, go cold turkey.

Steve Brown:
On tithing, it’s okay.

Pete Alwinson:
But on tithing, it does make sense because you have all these other commitments, perhaps outstanding bills. And God does understand. And I think it is a way to strategically discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness.

Steve Brown:
Yeah.

Pete Alwinson:
You can’t out give God. And, I started tithing when I was in seminary, you know, 10% of nothing is nothing. It was, it was easy. And one additional comment here is, teach your kids to do this as they get out on their own. And so, even if you’re not modeling it exactly right yet, Teach your kids that that’s where you’re headed and that they ought to be moving in that direction.

Steve Brown:
And you know, it’s not, God doesn’t need your money. He was doing fine before you went along, that’s what Paul says. And this is for your sake.

Pete Alwinson:
That’s right.

Steve Brown:
And it’s amazing, you know, we’ve been tithing for, and I hate these testimonies that do this, you know, there’s that whole story of a rich man who gave his testimony at church. And he said, I, one time had $2 in my pocket. And they pass the, that’s all I had, and they pass the offering plate and I put the $2 in the offering plate and gave everything that I had. And a little boy on the front row said, I dare you to do it again. Yeah. I’m not big. And you know, if you tithe, God’s going to give you a lot of money and a Cadillac. I hate that kind of thing and it’s not true.

Pete Alwinson:
Right.

Steve Brown:
But with that being said, as we have tithed, every bill has been paid and as we increased the tithe, things got better financially and I realized that they could have gotten worse and it would have been fine. It’s God’s decision. But I do think that you, if you, when you do this kind of thing, it’s really surprising what God does.

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah. It really is. And Jesus talks a lot about money. If you think about it in terms of this whole life, this is a big subject and we gotta move on. But this whole idea that in Christ, he owns us.

Steve Brown:
Yeah.

Pete Alwinson:
And so the 10% is really a great starting point, but it’s not the total. He owns everything.

Steve Brown:
Yeah. He lets us keep 90%, that’s not bad.

Pete Alwinson:
Isn’t it amazing that we get to live on 90%.

Steve Brown:
And you can’t go the legalistic route. And, I’m afraid our questioner has been told, you know, you’re not a real Christian, unless you tithe, that’s not true. God knows.

He knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.

And because he does, he understands your situation. So, see if you could move in that direction, if you can’t, he’ll still love you.

Pete Alwinson:
That’s right. Step out in faith, trust him. That’s great.

Steve Brown:
Let’s go to our phone lines.

Caller 1:
I have understood from a little girl the doctrine of original sin. It’s obvious to me as a kid, that I was a sinner and it was obvious to me that everybody else was too. And the Bible says by Adam’s sin, all human beings were infected with sin. And then the Bible says, but by one man, Jesus Christ, redemption came for the human race, Adam’s sin blanketed everybody automatically. Why can’t Jesus sacrifice on the Cross and that understanding being awakened in every human being who lives? So, everybody got caught up in sin. Why can’t everyone get caught by the net of redemption?

Steve Brown:
That’s two questions. One is the Universalist question, does that mean that everybody saved just the way, everybody was under sin with the first Adam, but it has another question and that is how come we aren’t free from sin, if we’ve been freed from sin by Jesus, the way we became sinners under the first Adam? So, you answer both questions and I’ll say, Amen.

Pete Alwinson:
You’ll clean it up. Oh man. I actually, I thought she articulated the question really well.

Steve Brown:
I did too.

Pete Alwinson:
And, ultimately I would say that we don’t know the answer to that, but I would say, absolutely number one, all of us are caught up in Adamic sin. And we’re born sinners. And she’s absolutely right on that.

Steve Brown:
What about the Universalist thing?

Pete Alwinson:
The Universalists that is everybody saved, no, that’s very clear from New Testament teaching.

Steve Brown:
And we don’t know why God didn’t want to do it. There may be a lot more people in heaven than you think.

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah.

Steve Brown:
I mean, who knows, but you can’t go that route Biblically because some people are not going to be there.

Pete Alwinson:
That right. And so, that Pauline text that says.

In Adam all die, in Christ all shall be made alive.

Makes it sound like a Universalist position, but it’s not. It’s not at all. And those who are in Christ will be born again. But, so what’s your ultimate take on that, other than the sovereignty of God that he set it up that way.

Steve Brown:
And we didn’t get a vote. And I think every Christian who really walks with Jesus wishes universalism could be true. I mean, Universalism is the belief that there will be none lost, that everybody in the end would be saved. And you read a verse like the one you quoted and you think that, but you can’t just take a verse. You got to look at the whole counsel of God. And it’s pretty clear in those areas. You just can’t fiddle around with that sort of thing.

Pete Alwinson:
And it’s true in everyday life. You know, for instance, Proverbs says.

The man who’s stiffens his neck against God continually, eventually it’s going to be broken.

And we do bear the consequences for our rebellion to God.

Steve Brown:
Unless Jesus takes those consequences.

Pete Alwinson:
That’s right.

Steve Brown:
Which he has. That’s a good question. And it’s a good one to put, things really were changed by the second Adam though.

Pete Alwinson:
Absolutely.

Steve Brown:
Eternally and forever we are crucified with Christ. Nevertheless, we live yet not I, but Christ liveth with us.

Pete Alwinson:
And we get to be a part of telling people about that reconciliation. And it is available.

Steve Brown:
And it’s good news.

Pete Alwinson:
It’s good.

Steve Brown:
And it’s available to you. Guys, we’re finished. Put a fork in us. We’re done. But first, Key Life is a listener supported production of Key Life Network.

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