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Sunday, November 22, 2015 am                                            Perfection 2015 Index

 

GOING ON TO PERFECTION 2015 (36)
The Christian and Public Worship (4)
Giving

 This month we are addressing giving our best in our worship together.   We have talked about excellence and having a proper attitude.  Last week we addressed the Lord’s Supper.  Today, we want to address our attitude in giving.

 I.                    Giving

a.        How is giving an act of worship? 

                                                   i.      Worship is as hallowing God as we render acts devoted to Him.  When we define worship we have noted that it involves an expression of devotion and reverence toward God.  Worship is a sacrificial act (Heb. 13:15-16). 

                                                  ii.      A study of worship to God in scriptures shows that part of that worship involved sacrifices to Him.  A sacrifice by its very nature was GIVING something to God.  And it involved giving Him the best or “off the top” if you will. 
In fact, dealing with sacrifices the term “gift” is used in Numbers 18:11, “This also is yours: the heave offering of their gift, with all the wave offerings of the children of Israel; I have given them to you, and your sons and daughters with you, as an ordinance forever. Everyone who is clean in your house may eat it.

                                                iii.      Philippians 4:18, “Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God.”  This is addressing the church at Philippi supporting Paul, (a legitimate use of moneys received for the Lord’s work), their giving is described as an acceptable sacrifice well pleasing to God. 

                                                iv.      When we give to God, following His instructions, our giving can be an act of worship. 

b.       Partaking “in truth”

                                                   i.      When one understands how authority is established, 1 Corinthians 16:1-2 gives us authority for a treasury. The usage of terms such as “storing up” (as individuals) so that there be “no collections” (a treasury) points toward this. 

                                                  ii.      This text also gives us direction in how and when the collection is to be taken.
This text tells us it is “on the first day of the week” just like the Lord’s Supper.   This is the only time it is taken by approved example.

                                                iii.      Note also vs. 1 where Paul was emphatic about this.  It was not a suggestion, but a command that had been given to other congregations as well.  In fact he said of the Corinthians, “So you MUST do also.”  The word “must” is an imperative which means a command. 

                                                iv.      Free will - this text and every other text that deals with a collection shows that what is raised is a free-will offering, not compulsory (forced), to be used in ways that are scriptural (no fundraising, etc.)

                                                  v.      But at the same time, we are doing this TOGETHER!

                                                vi.      Furthermore, a study of how funds were received in the first century shows it was limited to the collection of the saints.  The church is not in the business of fund-raising, operating businesses, etc.

                                               vii.      Funds received by the Lord’s body can be used for reaching the lost, building up the saved spiritually (i.e. within the assembly, class materials, etc.), and on a limited basis for benevolence (always saints, and temporal in nature).  This is an area where we must respect God’s boundaries. 
Today many churches are engaged in multitudes of activities – good works by every definition – that are simply not the work of the church according to scriptures.  Churches do not have authority for general benevolence (relieving the needs of society), or supporting & sponsoring social activities (even for its members).  It is simply not in the pattern of scripture for her work. 
Often times, churches confuse the responsibilities of individuals with their collective responsibilities.  The result is often budgets that are larger than the contribution of the saints.   This causes them to seek alternative sources of revenue.
Our working together (“fellowship”) is not just about the collection on the first day of the week, but it comes with how we use that which we have contributed to the Lord and His body in this location.

c.        Partaking “in Spirit”

                                                   i.      As far as our worship is concerned, giving is a unique act.  While there are parameters to consider in our giving, as we have seen, the depth of our giving depends on our attitude.  It depends upon our minds being prepared. 
One might ask, how can this giving be commanded yet not compulsory?  The answer lies in our attitude toward giving.  If our heart is right, giving is going to be a joy rather than drudgery.

                                                  ii.      The church of the first century genuinely cared about one another.  They were there and willing to sacrifice on behalf of one another.    It is based upon this attitude, that we find instructions about Christians and giving.

                                                iii.      An example of this is the churches of Macedonia that even in their poverty, with joy they gave abundantly, above and beyond their ability, freely willing – 2 Cor. 8:1-5.  This was because they FIRST gave themselves to the Lord.

                                                iv.      The “spirit” of giving includes –

1.       Laying something aside as you have prospered -1 Cor. 16:1-2.   While the days of “tithing” are over, there is something to be said about our prosperity.

2.       2 Cor. 9:7 – as we have purposed.  A proper attitude is one that has made plans that include God “off the top”.  That accords with spirit of “excellence” we have been discussing.

3.       2 Cor. 9:7 – not grudgingly or of necessity.  Your giving should not be because you have been “quilted” into it.

4.       But with a cheerful (joyful) disposition.

                                                  v.      Don’t brag about it!  Your giving is a private matter.  In Matt. 6:1-4 – don’t do your charitable deeds to be seen of men.  If you are seeking praise from men, your heart is not right!

 II.                  Preparing our minds

a.        We need to train ourselves to give generously – it should not “hurt” to give (as in grudgingly).  Giving is more about an attitude, than it is an amount.
 The Bible makes this clear -
1) The woman with 2 mites – Luke 21:1-4
2) Zacchaeus – Luke 19:8
3) Barnabas – Acts 4:36-37, etc.

b.       Consider what God has given you – His grace, love and mercy.  His only begotten Son.  Etc.

c.        Learn that there is blessing in giving – not the “prosperity gospel” type, but there are blessings that will come with it.  2 Cor. 9:8-11 – God is able to make all grace abound’
Acts 20:35 – Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
1 Timothy 6:17-19 – when “the rich” give, they store up a good foundation…

d.       Consider the church and her needs.  We are discussing doing things excellently, does your contribution help us be our best?

e.       Learn contentment.  1 Timothy 6:6 tells us that godliness with contentment is great gain.  We have to learn to be content – live within our means.  Far too many fail to give as they should because they are trying to hold onto God and the world at the same time (Matt. 6:24). 
What was the problem with the rich, young ruler – Matt. 19:16-22?  He was covetous.  While not stated, do you suppose if Jesus had asked just a small amount of his wealth (say 10 percent)  he would have given that? I believe that is likely – but he was not willing to give up his worldly possessions and status.  The account is a lesson about attitudes, not amounts! 

f.         Don’t limit your giving to the church OR even to financial gifts.  But don’t neglect the body either as we have seen above.

 

In 2 Cor. 8:6-7 Paul commended the brethren for their faith, speech, knowledge, diligence and love.  Concerning their giving on that occasion he said, “See that you abound in this grace also.”

So how is your giving?  Are you giving as you ought to?  That is between you and God.  But know this – God knows!  Think about it.