Giving (Part 3)By Pastor Boffey on Sunday, October 4, 2009.
Giving (Part 3) GIVING I. The way a Christian conducts his affairs in the area of finances says much about his character. LUK 16:10-12. II. Everything that we possess should be viewed as ultimately belonging to God, Who created wealth and the ability to acquire it. PSA 24:1; ACT 17:24-25; JOB 1:21; DEU 8:17-18. A. As such, God reserves the right to regulate the use of His resources which He has entrusted to His creatures. B. Giving for righteous causes should be looked upon as a return of property to its rightful owner. 1CH 29:11-16. C. The ability to give may be rightfully looked upon as a grace. 2CO 8:1, 6-7, 19; 9:8, 14. III. Giving is a common ministry in which all saints participate. 2CO 8:4; 9:1. A. Under the law, a specific amount was COMMANDED to be set aside for God. 1. There was a tithe each year for the Levite. NUM 18:21. 2. There was also an annual tithe for feasts of worship. DEU 14:22-27. 3. There was also a tithe every third year for the Levite and the poor. DEU 14:28-29. 4. Israel was obliged to give about 23-1/3% annually in “tithes.” 5. Above the tithes were soul offerings, freewill offerings, sacrifices, vows, etc. 6. God considered delinquency in tithes or offerings as robbery of Himself. MAL 3:8. B. Under the N.T., a different principle applies. ACT 11:28-29; 1CO 16:1-2; 2CO 9:6-7. 1. A personal fund instead of a central treasury is best (“...lay by him...”). 2. “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart...” as opposed to an amount mandated by law or a corporate policy. 3. “Every man according to his ability...” for God honors sincere limited efforts. MAR 12:41-44; 14:8; ACT 3:6. C. Our giving rests upon the foundation of Christ's gift. 2CO 8:9. IV. Our setting aside of funds should not be done flippantly, but with a definite plan and purpose. 2CO 9:7. A. Funds should be laid aside in advance of a potential need. This militates against spastic, undisciplined or last-minute efforts to scrape change together just to ease your conscience. 1CO 16:2; 2CO 9:2; 1TI 6:18. B. Giving should then be done as worthwhile opportunity is presented. GAL 6:10; PHIL 4:10. C. Giving should come from the firstfruits, not the leftovers or discards. GEN 4:4; PRO 3:9; NUM 18:29 c/w MAL 1:13-14. D. Giving should come from the INCREASE. PRO 3:9; 1CO 16:2. 1. If a person has his own business and his expenses exceed his income, there is no increase. 2. Be cautious in this area. Imaginative or reckless business management and accounting could make an apparent continual loss. 3. As your income increases, your giving should be proportionate to the increase. Do not expect God's blessing upon your labors if you do not honor Him with the firstfruits of ALL your increase. PRO 3:9 c/w 1SAM 2:30. 4. Personal and living expense should be covered with "after-God" funds since God Giving 9-13-09 Page 1 gets the firstfruits. 5. Poverty is not an excuse for giving nothing. EXO 30:15; 2CO 8:1-2; LUK 2:24; 21:1-4; 12:33; 1KI 17:11-13. 6. Retirement savings which were laid aside from "after-God" funds should not necessarily be "tithed" upon withdrawal. The growth of the funds should be considered increase, though. V. Christians are to give for the support of: A. The ministry. GAL 6:6 c/w PHIL 4:14-17. 1. Giving to a minister is designed to facilitate his devotion to the work to which God has called him. 1CO 9:7-14 ct/w NEH 13:10. a. Those who reap spiritual things have a duty to minister carnal things to those who sow unto them. 1CO 9:11 c/w ROM 15:27. b. The apostles recognized the importance of not being distracted from their ministry of prayer and the word. ACT 6:1-4. c. Ministers must be cautious to not become entangled with the affairs of life. 2TI 2:4. 2. The support of the ministry should be an incentive for the minister in his duties. 2CH 31:4 c/w 1CO 9:9-10 ct/w TIT 1:7, 11. 3. Special consideration should be given to astute elders whose life's work is the word and doctrine. 1TI 5:17-18. 4. The criteria for determining how much you should give for the support of the ministry should be: a. according to one's purpose of heart. 2CO 9:7. b. proportionate to income. Of your personal increase, a particular percentage at least should be dedicated to ministerial support. c. without envy, jealousy, bitterness, covetousness, regret or any other wicked reservation that invites God's judgment upon oneself. d. without regard to the minister's fortunes. Would you work for someone who scaled back your wage if he saw you getting ahead in the stuff of life? 5. Under certain circumstances, a minister may voluntarily forego financial remuneration. 1TH 2:6; 1CO 9:15; 2CO 11:7-9. 6. However, a church which is exempted from this duty misses out on a blessing. 2CO 12:13. 7. Churches which do not have resident pastors should be setting aside something in anticipation of the day when they will have one. B. The poor, especially poor saints. GAL 2:10; 6:10; ROM 15:26-27. 1. Giving to the poor is to be regulated according to NEED. DEU 15:7-8; ROM 12:13; ACT 2:45; 4:35; EPH 4:28; 1JO 3:17; JAM 2:15-16. a. A less wealthy brother might desire a more luxurious car, but does he need it? b. A less wealthy stranger might desire a better computer, but does he need it? c. The Biblical characteristics of genuine NEED which constitutes an obligation for a saint to give relief are the basics of our body. JAM 2:15-16; MAT 6:11, 31; 1TI 6:8. (1) The idea of an obligatory cushiness is foreign to Scripture. (2) Our obligation is limited to those things which are needful to the body. Giving 9-13-09 Page 2 (3) This does not mean that giving for more than the needs of the body should never be done but such is optional, not obligatory and should be taken from YOUR account, not God's. And such optional giving: AA. should not subsidize folly nor condone ungodliness. BB. should not be a substitute for something that God has ordained to be supported by your giving, such as the genuinely needy or His minister. CC. should not consume your resources and time so much that you cannot do the things that God has definitely told you to do. (4) Do not heap unnecessary burdens upon your conscience which God has not given you. MAT 11:28-30 ct/w MAT 23:4. (5) God has not made us responsible to be the savior of EVERY cause and He contrarily warns against such an attitude. AA. Scripture denounces busybodies. 2TH 3:11. BB. Busybody: “An officious or meddlesome person; one who is improperly busy in other people's affairs.” CC. Officious: “Unduly forward in proffering services or taking business upon oneself; doing, or prone to do, more than is asked or required; interfering with what is not one's concern; pragmatical, meddlesome.” DD. Where is the example of Christ relieving every one of their poverty or supporting every cause? EE. Where is the apostolic example or directive for doing this? FF. NOTE: Charitable causes are sometimes a convenient mask for ulterior motives. JOH 12:4-6. 2. Giving to the poor is NOT designed to exempt them from working diligently if they can do so. We have no business subsidizing laziness or lack of diligence and prudence. PRO 6:6-11; 20:4; ROM 12:11; 2TH 3:10; TIT 3:14. 3. Welfare was seen in Scripture, but not like today's ethic. It was workfare. LEV 19:9-10; DEU 24:19-21. 4. We ought to work with the intent of not only supplying our need, but to help others also. EPH 4:28. 5. God takes such charity personally. PRO 19:17; MAT 25:34-36. VI. Be careful to not invest your alms (charitable relief of the poor) indiscriminately, especially when such giving runs contrary to Scriptural commands or principles. God's “fund” should be used for God's purposes. A. The account of the Good Samaritan sets forth principles of godly relief of someone in need. LUK 10:30-37. 1. The Samaritan had compassion on the man who had been attacked. He didn't try to “victim-ize” the perpetrators so as to justify their act and stir up sympathies for their unfortunate plight. 2. He didn't allow partisan politics or partisan religion to get in the way of providing this emergency relief. 3. The Samaritan opened his own hand; he didn't assume that such relief was only a corporate church responsibility. 4. The Samaritan rendered immediate help for the needs of the body; he didn't give Giving 9-13-09 Page 3 him money for building a house, buying a car or celebrating Christmas. 5. The man was in genuine need; it wasn't a pretense to get booze or drugs, etc. 6. The Samaritan obliged himself to help the man until the man was able to help himself. But, he didn't subsidize him for the rest of his life. 7. He wasn't using his fellow-citizens' tax dollars, but his own money. 8. He didn't lobby for universal health care to cover everyone's misfortunes. 9. There is nothing to indicate that he had an eye to a tax deduction nor to any other benefit for himself. What he did was discreet and unselfish. MAT 6:1-4 c/w 1CO 13:3. 10. He had the funds “by him” (1CO 16:2). He hadn't given all his “tithe” to the “Mt. Gerizim Church” (JOH 4:20 c/w DEU 27:12). 11. He obviously wasn't out looking for charity cases world-wide, but did right when an opportunity presented itself. GAL 6:9-10. 12. In having compassion upon the wounded man, he loved his neighbor as himself. ROM 13:9. VII. Christian charity begins at home. Our support of God's work, His ministry or the poor is subordinate to the needy of the family. 1TI 5:4, 8, 16; JOH 19:26-27 c/w MAR 7:9-13. A. Parents also ought to lay up for THEIR children. PRO 13:22; 2CO 12:14. B. Jesus said, “It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs” (MAT 15:26). VIII. Christian charity is second to poor saints in the local church, your church. A. Before relief is given to poor saints in other churches, your own body should be relieved. 1CO 12:25-27; HEB 13:3. B. Biblical churches provide full support for their own qualified widows. ACT 6:1-6; 1TI 5:3-16. C. Every member and their attendant need is in the church by God's choice. 1CO 12:18. D. Remember, it is the things needful for the body that should provoke intra-church charity. JAM 2:15-16; 1JO 3:17. IX. Christian charity is third to poor saints in other churches. GAL 6:10. A. Other churches sent relief to the poor saints of the Jerusalem church. ROM 15:25-26. B. The apostolic objective for fund-raising was for the relief of poor saints in other churches. C. Even the wicked will be held accountable for not giving relief to God's saints in general. MAT 25:40-46. XI. Christian charity is fourth to genuine need which is providentially put in your path. A. This was the lesson of the Good Samaritan. LUK 10:25-37. B. Job spoke of responsibility to relieve need within his sight. JOB 31:16-22. C. This is the opportunity of GAL 6:10. XII. What about charity in general for those who are not of the household of faith? A. The early churches raised money only for poor saints! B. The early church was very charitable toward each other. ACT 2:44-45; 4:32-37. C. Paul was dedicated to true charity and to church fund-raising for charitable purposes but it was always for the poor saints. ROM 12:13; 15:25-27; 1CO 16:1-3; 2CO 8:4; 9:1-2, 12; GAL 2:9-10; PHM 1:7; HEB 6:10. D. Other apostles likewise emphasized relief of saints. JAM 2:15-17; 1JO 3:17. Giving 9-13-09 Page 4 E. The churches raised money and sent it abroad to poor saints. There is no mention of them doing so for every orphanage, hospital, jail or hostel in their own cities or those along the route. F. The bag carried by Christ's apostles (JOH 12:6; 13:29) would have been for the poor in Israel (the O.T. church) since Christ's ministry was only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, not to other nations. MAT 15:24 c/w MAT 10:5-6. G. Tabitha appears to have been full of almsdeeds for the saints. ACT 9:36-43. H. The house of Stephanus was addicted to the ministry of the saints. 1CO 16:15. I. Giving specifically rewarded by God is charity to saints/believers. MAT 10:40-42; 25:40; MAR 9:41; HEB 6:10. J. The true measure of Christian love is giving to brethren. 1JO 3:16-19. XIII. What about charity for disaster victims in general who are not of the household of faith? A. When God warned of a widespread famine, disciples “...determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judea” (ACT 11:27-30). Evidently, Judea was going to be especially hit by the famine. 1. Note first that God warned the disciples, not the unbelieving world. 2. Determine: “To put an end or limit to; to come to an end.” 3. They limited their efforts to the relief of brethren in Judea. 4. Money was here sourced in Syria to help saints in Judea to the disregard of unbelieving Syrians! 5. Money was here raised in Syria to help saints in Judea to the disregard of unbelieving Jews! 6. Jerusalem was many miles to the south of Antioch which meant that a lot of “opportunities” might have been presented to them. a. However, to have relieved all the opportunities along the way would have defeated their determination to send relief to the saints at Jerusalem. b. Paul and Barnabas fulfilled their ministry as given. ACT 11:29-30 c/w ACT 12:25. B. Similarly, money was sourced in Greece for Jerusalem saints, ignoring the Greeks. ROM 15:25-28; 1CO 16:3. C. Similarly, money was sourced in Galatia for Jerusalem saints, ignoring the Galatians. 1CO 16:1-3. D. Paul brought the alms unto his OWN nation (ACT 24:17), not all the nations in between. And the alms were pegged for the saints! E. How many heart-rending charity cases did Paul pass over on the way to Jerusalem?!! F. One of the great lessons in life is not spreading good so indiscriminately that it depletes you and your resources, so diminishing your ability to help the very things that God tells you to help. G. Modern technology has made it possible to hear of natural disasters everywhere in the world which would have gone unreported to Christians in ages past. 1. Do not let the novel awareness of far-away disasters to unbelievers burden your heart with a non-God-given guilt trip! 2. Remember that the same media which rushes news of far-away disasters to you with appeals for relief also has a tendency to ignore the plight of aborted babies, suffering saints and their ministers, etc. while crying about spotted owls or whales. 3. Yet true Christians would be first in line to help a stranger in genuine need whom God has placed in his path. Giving 9-13-09 Page 5 H. If you are bent on sending charity to diverse places and recipients indiscriminately, consider taking it out of your account, NOT the one that you have set aside for God. XIV. Giving should not be done for show or for personal advantage (the John D. Rockefeller principle of “scientific giving”). If your giving is pegged to the benefit of a tax deduction, reassess your motive. MAT 6:1-4; LUK 14:12-14. XV. Christian giving bears the following characteristics: A. It proceeds from a WILLING mind. 2CO 8:12; 1CH 29:9; PHM 1:14. 1. The Macedonians were willing to do “...beyond their power...” (2CO 8:3). 2. We must not only be willing to give, but we must “...perform the doing of it.” 2CO 8:11; PHIL 2:13; ISA 1:19. 3. God will accept willingness without performance when performance is not possible. 1KI 8:17-19; 2CO 8:12; MAR 14:8. B. Giving should be characterized by forwardness (readiness, promptness, eagerness). 2CO 8:8, 10; 9:2. 1. The forwardness of the Macedonians resulted in their begging to give rather than being begged to give. 2CO 8:4, 8. 2. The forwardness of the Corinthians resulted in their being prepared in advance to give. 2CO 9:2-3. 3. This is one addiction which God allows. 1CO 16:15. C. Giving should be a matter of bounty (gracious liberality), not of covetousness. 2CO 9:5. 1. Funds should not be raised through begging or coercion. 2CO 9:7 c/w PSA 32:9. 2. Christian work is to be supported out of funds that believers HAVE and are forward to give. LUK 11:41; 12:42; 2CO 8:11-12; 1CO 16:2. a. This militates against the idea of borrowing oneself into favor with God and against churches borrowing to carry out their work. b. Better that a project or charity should await funding than to make its funders into servants of lenders. PRO 22:7. 3. God's building programs in the O.T. were supported from ready contributions out of what the people had. D. Giving should be a matter of joy. 2CO 8:2; 9:7; DEU 15:10. E. Giving should be bountiful, not sparing. 2CO 9:6, 13. 1. We are to ABOUND in this grace of giving (2CO 8:7), which means to be plentiful in giving, to possess this grace to a marked extent, so as to be characterized by it. 2. If we give sparingly, we shall also reap sparingly. 2CO 9:6; HAG 1:2-11; PRO 11:24. 3. May God bless his people to have the attitude and resources to experience this: EXO 36:5-7. F. Giving should be according to judgment, not sentimentality. PSA 112:5; PHIL 1:9-10. G. In summary, Christian giving should be done as unto God: 1. according to one's purpose of heart. 2. objectively, not emotionally or indiscriminately. 3. proportionate to income/increase. 4. systematically. 5. willingly. 6. cheerfully. 7. liberally. Giving 9-13-09 Page 6 8. from the firstfruits. 9. discreetly, not for show. 10. in the fear of God. ECC 5:4-6. XVI. Church charity (in a corporate sense) is to be overseen by God's ministers to insure appropriate qualification, regulation and distribution. ACT 4:32-37; 6:1-6; 11:30; 1TI 5:3-16. A. God's ministers are stewards. TIT 1:7. B. Steward: “An official who controls the domestic affairs of a household, supervising the service of his master's table, directing the domestics, and regulating household expenditure; a major-domo.” C. The administration of church funds should be done in such a way as to avoid all appearance of evil. 2CO 8:16-21. XVII. Here are some other thoughts about Christian giving. A. Giving should even include relief of enemies; it is not restricted only to those who like us, support us or do us good. ROM 12:19-20. B. Orphans unable to support themselves or without extended family support should be relieved by Christian charity. JAM 1:27. C. Giving is not designed to subsidize the poor so as to relieve them from responsibility. 1. It is designed to help them to be able to bear their own responsibility, which is to do their own business, work with their own hands and eat their own bread. 1TH 4:11-12; 2TH 3:10-12. 2. Even the widows indeed who qualify for church support were expected to work. a. They continue “...in supplications and prayers night and day” (1TI 5:5). b. They are not supported so that they may be idle. 3. Christ twice fed the hungry multitudes but He did not do so indefinitely. And He definitely did NOT feed them again when they came to Him seeking more food. JOH 6:26-27. D. Christian charity is not designed to create an artificial equality of income or wealth as Communism affirms. 1. The rich are allowed to remain rich. 1TI 6:17-19. 2. Rights of private property and its disposal are upheld. ACT 5:4; MAT 20:15. XVIII. Note the beneficial results of Christian giving. A. It proves the sincerity of our love. 2CO 8:8, 24; 1CH 29:3. B. It declares that we have a ready mind. 2CO 8:19. C. It shows our subjection to the gospel. 2CO 9:13. D. It supplies the need for which it was given. 2CO 9:12; PHIL 4:16, 18. E. It results in God being glorified. 2CO 8:19; 9:12-13. F. God remembers the act and recompenses the gift, further enabling us to give more. HEB 6:10 c/w MAL 3:10; 2CO 9:8-11; PRO 3:9-10; LUK 6:38. G. What is not recompensed materially in this life will be recompensed satisfactorily at the resurrection. LUK 14:13-14. H. Giving is a means to personal happiness. PRO 14:21; ACT 20:35. XIX. Giving of our substance is a sacrifice which pleases and honors God. PHIL 4:18; HEB 13:15-16. XX. (2 Corinthians 9:15) Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.