Sexual lust and tithing

12 March 2021

Series: Shabbat sermons

Sexual lust and tithing

Some time ago, I heard a well-known preacher telling his audience it is a sin to look at a woman with sexual lust, referring to Matthew 5:28. Matthew 5:28, “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

The Greek word used in this text for a woman is Gynaika which implies a married woman. The word used for lust or lustfully is epythemesai which suggests setting your mind upon something or someone, and the word used for adultery is emocheiesuen which means to be unfaithful to your spouse.

So if we are to read Matthew 5:28 in its original Greek, it would say: But I tell you that anyone who looks at someone’s wife and set their mind upon her has already been unfaithful with her in his heart. So what Jesus is saying here is not do not look at a woman with sexual desire; instead, He is teaching us not to even think about taking another man’s wife.

Is there another scripture in the Bible telling us sexual desire is a sin?

No, the Bible encourages men and women to be sexually attracted to each other. This is how Yehovah made us; He is the one who gave a man and a woman the ability to find each other sexually attractive. So if you are a single or a married man or woman, it is not a sin to be sexually attracted to the opposite sex even if he or she is not your spouse.

When that being said, the Bible says we are responsible for making sure a healthy sexual appetite does not evolve into something sinful. If your sexual attraction to the opposite sex leads to sex outside of marriage or to desiring sex with someone else’s spouse, you have committed the sin of fornication and adultery. So if you are a single man or a single woman, you are responsible for making sure your healthy heterosexual desire will not lead you to commit fornication (sex before marriage.) If you are married, you are responsible for making sure your healthy heterosexual desire will not lead you to commit adultery and not even consider the ideal (sex outside of marriage.)

So even though the Bible does not even condemn sexual fantasies, you are responsible for making sure those fantasies will not lead you into sin, as case in point with Matthew 5:28. The Bible allows you to have sexual fantasies, but sexual fantasies about someone else’s spouse is a sin.

It is often said we should tithe 10% of our income to the ministry. And if we do not tithe, we are robbing God, referring to Malachi 3. The Bible says in Deut 14:22-29 we are only allowed to tithe 10% of our crops in the temple in Jerusalem. And we are only allowed to give 10% to the Levitical priesthood in the temple in Jerusalem. If we are too far away from the temple, the Bible says we are to convert tithe into money and purchase what our heart desires.

It is, therefore, a sin to tithe 10% of your income to a Christian ministry.

The Bible does say in 1.Cor 9; we should support a ministry with our financial gifts. Here in 1.Cor 9, Paul says those who preach the Gospel should be able to live by the Gospel. He then says that if someone ministers the Gospel to you, you are obligated to give something in return as a gift. If you have the opportunity to give a gift in return, but you choose not to, you have sinned. But if you have to choose between meeting your own needs or the needs of your household and giving a gift, your needs have priority. Then it would be a sin for you to give a gift even though a ministry has blessed you.

So choose today to rejoice over your heterosexual desire and appetite, but use it wisely within the limits Yehovah has given us. Allow yourself to be turned on by the sight of a beautiful person of the opposite sex, but never allow yourself to be tempted to commit acts of fornication or adultery.

If a ministry has blessed you, and you have the opportunity to do so, I hope you will choose to give a gift in return to show your appreciation for what Yehovah has done for you.

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