Tax-Exemption, Favors, and Incorporation
With that being the case, every member of an unincorporated church must be willing to count the cost. The grace of God would definitely be needed to sustain such a church at every step of the way. But such a church is not only depicted in the Bible, but also what the remnant church will eventually look like.
“And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.” –Acts 4:32.
“And all that believed were together, and had all things common; and sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.” –Acts 2:44, 45.
“We read that on the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples, no man said that aught that he possessed was his own. All they owned was held for the advance of the wonderful reformation. And thousands were converted in a day. When the same spirit actuates believers today, and they give back to God of His own with the same liberality, a wide and far-reaching work will be accomplished.” –EGW, Manuscript 95, 1907.
Actually, if you are inclined to give a contribution with the intent of receiving back a percentage of your donation from the IRS, you would be defeating the true motive of giving and displaying a lack of faith in God. And not only that, but your “giving” would, in reality, be “loaning.” Notice the following Biblical counsels concerning giving:
“And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. … and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest.” –Luke 6:34, 35.
“Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. … But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.” –Matt. 6:1, 3, 4.
“Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.” –Matt. 22:21.
“But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” –2 Corinthians 9:6, 7.
As we continue to study, God will reveal more light to us. In the meantime, we must learn the essential knowledge of what it means to cultivate the faith of Jesus. Now is the time to do so, before it is too late. I will leave you with these words of encouragement.
“Often the follower of Christ is brought where he cannot serve God and carry forward his worldly enterprises. Perhaps it appears that obedience to some plain requirement of God will cut off his means of support. Satan would make him believe that he must sacrifice his conscientious convictions. But the only thing in our world upon which we can rely is the word of God. … In the last great conflict of the controversy with Satan those who are loyal to God will see every earthly support cut off. Because they refuse to break His law in obedience to earthly powers, they will be forbidden to buy or sell. It will finally be decreed that they shall be put to death. See Revelation 13:11-17. But to the obedient is given the promise, ‘He shall dwell on high: his place of defense shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure.’ Isaiah 33:16. By this promise the children of God will live. When the earth shall be wasted with famine, they shall be fed. ‘They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.’ Psalm 37:19.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 121.