As we discuss 'Mercy Ministries'
as an outward expression of the body of Christ to the world, the word
'ministries' can almost make this discussion seem too clinical. After all
what we are in fact discussing is the heart and character of our Father in
Genesis 1:26 -
Then God said, “Let Us make
man in Our image, according to Our likeness.
So then the original blueprint, or spiritual DNA for
mankind was to walk in the likeness or attributes of the Father.
Exodus 34:6-7 says "And
the LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and
gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for
thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing
the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the
children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.”
Every aspect of the vision for Shilohouse concerning operation of the
five-fold ministry and the restructuring of the church into
based ministry is for the purpose of liberating the body of Christ to
corporately walk in the likeness of the Father.
As I have through fasting and prayer come into a greater
awareness of the lateness of the hour we are living in; I can tell you that
bearing one another's burdens will become critical for the Gospel of Jesus
Christ to go forward in the midst of the gathering storm. We are members
of one another, and as such every unanswered need is the result of disobedience
to the Lord in the area of giving or tragically in today's church; many times
unmet needs are the result of misplaced giving.
What do I mean by this? Every financial resource that is
through the institutional framework of the modern church needs to be refocused
upon the desire of the King for His love and mercy to shine through the body of
The Words of the King
It was the Lord Jesus who taught "But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your
reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to
the unthankful and evil.
Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful." (Luke
said "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain
It was the Lord
who set the example; going out amongst the lost sheep of Israel: "Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold,
many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples.
And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, “Why does your
Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” When Jesus heard that, He
said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a
physician, but those who are sick.But
go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy
and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to
call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” (Matt 9:10-13)
He knew His
Father's will: "For I
desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt
offerings." (Hosea 6:6)
The Heart of the Father
Sing to God, sing praises to His
Extol Him who rides on the clouds,
By His name Yah,
And rejoice before Him. A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows,
Is God in His holy habitation. (Psalm 68:4-5)
God has always had a higher purpose for
kingdom finances than what is currently being practiced in the modern church.
He will Himself administer justice... "For
the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and
awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe. He administers justice for
the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger,
giving him food and clothing. Therefore love the stranger, for you were
strangers in the land of Egypt."
His eye has always been towards the downtrodden...
shall not pervert justicedue the stranger or the fatherless, nor
take a widow’s garment as a pledge. But you shall remember that you were a slave
in Egypt, and the LORD your God redeemed you from there; therefore I command you
to do this thing. “When you reap your harvest in your field, and forget a sheaf
in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the stranger, the
fatherless, and the widow, that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work
of your hands. When you beat your olive trees, you shall not go over the boughs
again; it shall be for the stranger, the fatherless, and the
widow. When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not glean it
afterward; it shall be for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow."
To summarize up to this point...
He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the LORD require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?
Perhaps our Lord Jesus had the words of Micah in
mind when He spoke this rebuke: "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you
pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have neglected the weightier
matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have
done, without leaving the others undone. (Matt 23:23)
The Purpose of the Tithe
For further clarification concerning tithing and
it's relationship to genuine mercy within the body of Christ:
Tying into the discussion on defining lawful use of
Kingdom resources we need to consider the following scriptures
the end of every third year you shall bring out the tithe of your produce
of that year and store it up within your gates. And the Levite,
because he has no portion nor inheritance with you, and the stranger and
the fatherless and the widow who arewithin your gates,
may come and eat and be satisfied, that the LORD your God may bless you in all
the work of your hand which you do." (Deuteronomy 14:28-29)
you have finished laying aside all the tithe of your increase in the third
year—the year of tithing—and have given it to the Levite, the
stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, so that they may eat
within your gates and be filled, then you shall say before the LORD your God: ‘I
have removed the holy tithe from my house, and also have given
them to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, according to
all Your commandments which You have commanded me; I have not transgressed Your
commandments, nor have I forgotten them."(Deuteronomy 26:12-13)
Working with these two scriptures and others later in this discussion I believe
a strong case can be made for saying that most if not all of the tithe should be
set aside for " the Levite, the stranger,
the fatherless, and the widow... who
are within your gates."
better understand how this works in a "New Testament
church", lets see if these definitions bear witness:
Within your gates
- The realm of responsibility and authority in a
local congregation (Not membership in a religious system)
Preferential treatment to those "within your gates"
is encouraged by Paul in Galatians 6:9-10 "And let us not
grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose
heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all,
especially to those who are of the household of faith." NOTE:
of faith" speaks of a realm of responsibility far beyond our local
congregations, it is critical to remember the orderand strategy for advancing the Kingdom of
God when the Lord Jesus said Jerusalem... Judea... Samaria
and then to the end of the earth. While
we need to hear and obey the leading of the Holy Spirit by allowing our
priorities to be altered as He wills; typically Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria
and then to the end of the earth means
our spiritual authority and responsibility begins in our immediate circle of
influence and expands as we are faithful to where we are planted.
- every believer as defined by
1 Peter 2:4-l0. Remember what was said in the tithing section
though "Paul in writing to Timothy said "And
I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me
faithful, putting me into the ministry." Paul was counted faithful through the working of the
Holy Spirit... and having been called, he was later separated into the
ministry This course again is open to any that God has called into five
fold ministry. (This is a vastly larger number than most
within the institutional church are willing to acknowledge).
The separation, and the inclusion of this 'levite'
in the "daily distribution" does not automatically
happen just because someone has a seminary degree, but rather their needs should
be met only after truly being counted faithful as a bond servant who meets the
criteria of THE FIVE FOLD MINISTER - "If anyone desires to
come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me"
It is time to admit to ourselves that we have missed the
mark on this and as a result many hirelings have crept into the congregations of
the Lord unawares. A final thought for anyone who considers
themselves a five fold minister. While Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians
9:11-12: "If we have sown spiritual things for you,
is it a great thing if we reap your material things? If others are partakers of
this right over you, are we not even more?" Yes... as a five fold
minister you have a "right" to reap material
things, however I believe Paul put forth a more perfect way when he taught in 1
Corinthians 12:14 that - "...the children ought not to lay
up for the parents, but the parents for the children."
- the Hebrew word for this indicates a sojourner or a
guest, the root word meaning one who has turned aside. My thoughts in this
lead me to believe that to the Body of Christ; a stranger might be someone
who has turned aside from their walk through life, seeking rest or lodging and
having a need.
Financial assistance for those in this grouping should be led by the Holy Spirit
as these situations require much discernment. The reason for being more
careful in these situations, is that unless they are believers that have come;
having been sent from another congregation, they may not be under the authority
of Christ; being more prone to take advantage of a favorable situation.
This truth however should never change our
willingness to help someone in need. Scripture says "Do
not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly
entertained angels" (Hebrews 13:2). In this we are reminded
not only of the potential of those we might receive, but Romans 12:9-12 speaks
to us of the need to practice hospitality: "Let love
be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly
affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to
one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;
rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer;
distributing(the daily distribution?)
to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality." Scripture
also says in 1 Timothy 3:2 that hospitality is to be practiced by those whose
maturity places them in a place of greater responsibility: "A
bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded,
of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach..."
- Includes those who lack a spiritual and/or
paternal father. In the Hebrew tongue there are two meanings to this word; the first is to be an orphan,
and the second speaks of the spiritual psychological damage of being orphaned -
nothing or notexist; a non-entity.
The Greekmeaning of this word is comfortless. Obviously
the deep wounds of being fatherless can only be healed by genuine relationship
with Our Father in heaven, and by the indwelling comfort of the Holy Spirit.
I believe though that many practical challenges in the natural exist as a result
of being fatherless. Jesus has given us to be His hands and feet in these
Many give up hope at an age when most feel that they
should be doing their part to contribute to society and are judged as slackers
or lazy. However the condition of being fatherless also results in many
within the church lacking life skills and job skills necessary. Does this
give them a life long excuse? Obviously not! However we as the body of
Christ cannot just turn our backs on these situations. We need to be make
disciples and teach and bless and serve those who are fatherless.
Sometimes they will have financial needs as a result of lacking wisdom in some
areas because they were never taught the life skills that would help them meet
these financial challenges.
Also there are many younger women who have fallen
into sin; becoming single mothers, and came to a saving knowledge of Jesus as a
result of the challenges of being a single mom. These women and their
children most definitely would fall into the category of fatherless.
Turning to the church needing help:
Isaiah 58:5-8 says
Is it a fast that I have chosen,
A day for a man to afflict his soul?
Is it to bow down his head like a bulrush,
And to spread out sackcloth and ashes?
Would you call this a fast,
And an acceptable day to the LORD?
“Is this not the fast that I have chosen:
To loose the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the heavy burdens,
To let the oppressed go free,
And that you break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out;
When you see the naked, that you cover him,
And not hide yourself from your own flesh?
Then your light shall break forth
like the morning,
Your healing shall spring forth speedily,
And your righteousness shall go before you;
The glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
Remember it is not only our calling to walk in His
likeness, since defending the poor is the essence of who the Lord is as
Psalm 10:14says: Our God is "...the
helper of the fatherless"
In verse 8 (and much of the rest of Isaiah 58) there is tremendous promise of renewal ,and refreshing for the body of
Christ as we walk in obedience to what God has called us to.
- The name implies someone who has lost their
spouse, and in most references implies that this person is female (although not
implication in the name is that she has lost her husband through as a result of
his death; not a divorce. This being said though there are many older
believing women who have been divorced by their husbands, this problem being
more and more common today as many men have forsaken the wife of their youth.
We need the Holy Spirit to guide our decisions in these situations.
though made very clear that there were those who were "widows
indeed" (having no believing family to help them). These widows
definitely would be recipients of the "daily distribution." According to 1Timothy 5:9-10 "Do
not let a widow under sixty years old be taken into the number, and not unless
she has been the wife of one man, well reported for good works: if she has
brought up children, if she has lodged strangers, if she has washed the saints’
feet, if she has relieved the afflicted, if she has diligently followed every
Try to remember though; these guidelines which Paul
gave to Timothy are not for the purpose of limiting expressions of mercy in the
body of Christ, but they are given to clearly communicate a level of
responsibility to the body of Christ as to when a widow should always receive
help if needed.
Remember that Psalm 89:13-14 declare of God:
have a mighty arm;
Strong is Your hand, and high is Your right hand. Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne;
Mercy and truth go before Your face."
The LORD GOD requires these
in the midst of His people. Lawful use
of the kingdom resources is absolutely essential in establishing "righteousness
and justice in His Courts."
Remember only AFTER we have properly dispensed
through chosen - called out deacons can we say to the Lord "I have not transgressed Your
commandments, nor have I forgotten them."
- (Deuteronomy 26:-13b)
will ask... What about the building? To those asking this; I respond
that both the tabernacle in the desert, and the temple in Jerusalem were
built without using the holy tithe. The tabernacle was built with the
spoils of Egypt, and the temple was built from the treasury of King David.
We should set this concern aside and instead as was stated in the tithe article
'we should give our best gifts
to the true church – God's people'
Let us use kingdom resources supplied through the
cheerful giving of God's people as the Word of God directs and
remember this is not about being cursed, rather it is about the motivation of
our hearts as our Lord said: “If you love Me, keep My
commandments." (John 14:15) and also: "If you keep
My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s
commandments and abide in His love." (1 John 15:10)
This is not about being placed under the law again; but instead it is
about appropriating the Grace we all need to pick up our Cross and follow Him.
While there are many examples, it is clear through these next three scriptures
that this was Apostolic doctrine in the 1st Century church as well:
"Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is
this: to visit orphans(fatherless)
and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world."
(James 1:27) In other words if we are not showing forth His mercy to the
fatherless and widows, somehow our corporate expression is impure and defiled
before Almighty God.
"What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says
he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or
sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them,
“Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things
which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by
itself, if it does not have works, is dead." (James 2:14-17)
Saving faith is alive and causes us to be doers of His word and not just self
By this we know love, because
He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the
brethren. But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and
shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little
children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth..
(1John 3:16-18) If we are not reaching out to a hurting world then how
does His love abide in us?
Remember this is about being
restored to the likeness of Our