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Today we will be talking about giving and how it relates to our worship to God. Not only are we going to talk about giving of our finances we will also talk about how we are to give of ourselves and also want to answer the question why doesn't the church of Christ teach people to tithe.
You know a lot of times when people hear a preacher start talking about giving they think oh boy here we go the preacher is just wanting more money. In part I can understand why people think this way because when watch your television and turn over to TBN or one of those other church channel time after time you hear them pleading with you in just about every message how you to give money to them and how you will be blessed to do so. But I want you to know that that is not my intention or purpose this morning. My goal is to simple share with what the Bible teaches about this matter. I am not going to stand up and tell you God going to take me away if you don't give a million dollars by the end of the year. You see it not about me it about what God has to tell us on this matter. Now first thing I want to show is that giving is indeed a part of our worship to God. Notice what Paul says in,
ESV 1 Corinthians 16:1 Now concerning the collection for the saints: as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you also are to do. 2 On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come.
Here the apostle Paul is commanding that each Christian give of on the first day of every week. Now someone might try to say no he was just taking about the church at Galatia and the church at Corinthians. However that is not what Paul is saying here. He is informing the church at Corinth that he wants them to give on the first day of the week just as he has taught the Galatians to do and just as he has taught every church to do. How do I know this well look at what Paul says in,
1 Corinthians 4:17 For this reason I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church.
Notice Paul doesn't teach one thing at one church and another thing at another church no he teaches the same thing at every church therefore his command to give on the first day of the week is command for every Christians for ever church and you can see from our text that it is to be done in the first day of every week. Both the ESV and NASV really capture the true meaning of this passage because the word "every" is there in the Greek but for whatever reason many of the other translations leave this word out. You might remember from my lesson the Lord's Supper that Acts 20:7 has the same grammatical structure and so whenever you give you should also partake of the Lord's Supper.
Now our main passage has more to tell up about giving notice Paul also tells the Corinthians that , each of them is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper. I also want to add what Paul says in,
2 Corinthians 9:7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.
Do you see what Paul is saying here? He is saying that you are to put some thought in to what you are going to give. I am sure most of have budget and in that budget we determine how much money we can spend on various things. We have our house payments, car payments telephone bill and so on. If we want to buy something new we plan for it and then we buy it. Well Paul is telling that we should set aside a set amount that we have determined beforehand that is why specifically says we are to give as we purpose from our heart. So you know what this means? This means that giving is more than just dropping money into the collection plate it is something that we have prepared to give before hand. If we simply come to church and then open our wallets or purse and see what we have left to give then we are not giving as God has commanded instead we are just giving God our leftovers.
This is the same thing that the people did it the OT in Malachi as you read in chapter 1 will see that they started offering God their leftovers. You see they were suppose to give God their best animals for sacrifice but instead they were giving him the sick and the lame. I recommend you read this whole book buts let look at the 2 verse of chapter 1.
Malachi 1:13 You also say, 'Oh, what a weariness!' And you sneer at it," Says the LORD of hosts. "And you bring the stolen, the lame, and the sick; Thus you bring an offering! Should I accept this from your hand?" Says the LORD. 14 "But cursed be the deceiver Who has in his flock a male, And takes a vow, But sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished -- For I am a great King," Says the LORD of hosts, "And My name is to be feared among the nations.
Malachi 1:8 And when you offer the blind as a sacrifice, Is it not evil? And when you offer the lame and sick, Is it not evil? Offer it then to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you favorably?" Says the LORD of hosts.
We can learn from this example not to give God our leftovers but to give him what we have purposed in our hearts or else were not much better than these people in Malachi. Paul add this,
2 Corinthians 9:5 Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren to go to you ahead of time, and prepare your generous gift beforehand, which you had previously promised, that it may be ready as a matter of generosity and not as a grudging obligation. 6 But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
This is teaching us that we reap what we sow. Now I am not saying what so many do on TBN that if you give 100 dollars today that you God will give back to you 100 fold. You see giving to God is not some get rich quick scheme. Now it may be the case that the more you give the more money you may make so that you can give even more. However many times we reap the benefits of giving in many other ways in our life. So sometimes we might reap monetarily while other times we may reap spiritually. We also need to keep in mind what Jesus said in,
Acts 20:35 it is more blessed to give than to receive.' "
Another thing Paul tells in 1Cor. 16 is that we are to give as we prosper. This means the more money we make the more we can give. We can see an example of this in,
Acts 11:29 Then the disciples, each according to his ability, determined to send relief to the brethren dwelling in Judea.
You see each gave according to their ability some could give a little some could give a lot. We can also see how things are evened out between Christians in,
2 Corinthians 8:12 For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have. 13 For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened; 14 but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may supply their lack, that their abundance also may supply your lack -- that there may be equality. 15 As it is written, "He who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack."
God is not asking you to give more than you have. But if you are prospering right now you should give more and latter on if you lose your job or your income changes then you give less. Most likely another Christian will start to prosper and can give what you used to be able to give. It all works out in the end.
Another thing Paul tells us about giving in 2 Cor. 9:7 is not give grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. You see when we give to God we should not have the attitude that we have to give to him or mummer under our breath because of what we are giving instead we are to give cheerfully because God loves a cheerful giver. The word Cheerful comes from the Greek word "Hilaros" which is where we get our English word Hilarious from. So it almost like our giving to the Lord should bring so much cheer to our hearts that we feel like laughing out loud. We have two great examples of this kind of cheerful giving in scripture.
Luke 21:1 And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, 2 and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites. 3 So He said, "Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; 4 "for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had."
You see these rich people were just giving from their abundance and were not really giving from their heart. However this poor widow who only had the 2 small copper coins which would be about equivalent to two pennies gave all she had to the Lord. Now Jesus was watching this and he said that she gave more than these rich people because she gave from her poverty. You can see that she gave from her heart and she did so cheerfully because she did not complain.
Our next example comes from,
2 Corinthians 8:1 Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia: 2 that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality. 3 For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing, 4 imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.
Here we see a church that was giving more than their ability and you don't see anywhere where they were complaining about it because they had the right attitude and were giving from cheerful heart. These are great examples we should use to encourage us to give with a cheerful heart without complaining. Now that we have taken a look at what the Bible teaches us about giving of our money and how it should be done lets now try answer the questions,
How much should we give or what should be our motivation for giving?
Well many in religious world will tell that you must tithe that is to give 10% of your income. They get this concept from OT passages such Deut 26:1ff and Lev. 27:30ff. You see in the OT they would give a tenth of their produce and livestock to the Lord. However it is very interesting that in the NT there is not 1 command for us to tithe. This is another one of those instance where those in religious world try and bring a practice from the OT into the NT and you cannot do this. Now last week I established that our authority for what we do comes from NT and the NT only because Jesus brought about a new covenant and made old one obsolete. So real quickly I will give 2 reason why the church of Christ does not teach people to tithe.
1. We are not commanded tithe in NT.
2. 2 Cor. 9:7 commands us to give what we purpose in our hearts. Now if tithing is something that we are to do today which is 10% then how in the world can give what we purpose in our heart if we are already told to give 10%. That verse just wouldn't make any sense would it? So we don't tithe because God commands us to give what we purpose in our heart.
Well this brings us back to questions how much should give or what should be our motivation for giving. Well first of all I think its important for us to realize that we are simply stewards of what God has given us because none of things we have really belong to us they belong to God.
1 Corinthians 10:26 for "the earth is the LORD's, and all its fullness."
Paul understood this concept and that is why he says this in,
1 Timothy 6:7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.
I believe this is the first step for each of us to determine how much we should give. Now I will say this each person has to make up their own mind on how much they can give and I can not stand up here and tell specifically that you should 10% or 20% but I want to continue on given more scriptures that you should think about as you personal decide the amount you should give.
First let's look at what God gave us.
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Did God give us his leftovers? No he gave us his best his only begotten and though him made it possible for us to salvation because we could not save ourselves. Always think about what Jesus did.
2 Corinthians 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.
Again we can see the great sacrifice that Jesus made for us. He gave up his heavenly home and became poor just so that you and I could become rich. God has blessed us in so many ways. He blesses us physically by giving us the ability to have children and we get the reap all physical benefits from his creation of heaven and earth. But even great than the physical things he has blessed us with spiritual things as well.
Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,
So God has blessed us both physical and spiritual so now the question is what will you give him. Only you can answer that question and determine what you will purpose in your heart to give God. When we think about giving we also need make sure that we are not covetous or greedy with our money. I am afraid that many today put all their worth into how much money they have instead of much spirituality they have. We need to remember what Jesus says in,
Matthew 6:19 " Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 "but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
You might remember the rich young ruler in Mat 19 who came to Jesus wanting to know what he must do. Well Jesus named off several things from the law and rich young ruler said he had done all these things and wanted to know what else must I do. So Jesus said if you want to perfect sell all that you have and give it to the poor and come follow me and you will have treasures in heaven. This made the young man sad because he was very wealthy and he went away. You see his problem was he trusted to much in his riches and sold his soul to the devil because he wasn't willing to put God first in all aspects of his life. That Jesus says,
Luke 16:13 "No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon."
So we need to be extremely carefully that we don't find ourselves serving our money instead using our money to glorify God. In the NT there has always been a concern for those who rich or those who are constantly seeking to be rich. Look at Paul tells Timothy,
1 Timothy 6:17 Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. 18 Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, 19 storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
Not only is this good advice to what we call the rich it also good advice for us today as well.
Another thing I want to point out is that when we give we should not give so that others can see how much we are giving. I have heard people in other denominations brag about how much they give and they make sure everyone know about it. This is no different than the Pharisees in the first century who said long prayers and did many other things so that people would think oh they are so religious. You might remember Jesus informed them that they had already received their reward from man. Our giving should between us and God. Notice this principle is taught by Jesus in,
Matthew 6:1"Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 "Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 3 "But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 "that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.
So don't give just to be seen of men. Now none of things I have said this morning will ever matter unless you are first willing to give yourself to God.
Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Until you are willing to give yourself entirely over to God and put you faith and trust in him you will never become the giver that you should be. You see not only are we to give our money we are give of ourselves. There are several ways we can do this.
We can give of our time. This would include time for prayer time for study and time for teaching bible classes or teaching the lost. We can also help others in need by giving to orphanages or helping our brother or sister who is in need. There are so many ways that we can give of ourselves and I believe it is important that we look for opportunities to do so that we can bring glory and honor to God.
In conclusion the Bible has a lot to say about giving and we as Christians need to pay attention to what it says. We have seen that giving is a command and that we are to give on the first day of every week. We are not commanded to tithe but instead we are told to give what we purpose in our heart and when we give we are to do so cheerfully. We have also learned that we must first give ourselves over to God and then we will truly become the giver that we should be. Finally, not only are we to give of our money we are to give of ourselves.
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