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Biblical Giving I

Biblical Giving

Jan 7, 2018


by: Jack Lash Series: Biblical Giving | Category: Giving | Scripture: 1 Corinthians 9:7–9:14

I. Introduction
 A. The deacons have requested that I preach on giving.
  1. So, for the second time in 35 years, I’m going to preach on this.
  2. Most sincere pastors are reluctant to preach on this subject. And for good reasons.
   a. Nowhere in the Bible does any church leader ask his people for money.
   b. There are so many self-seeking, manipulative pastors who use ministry to build their own little kingdom. Most pastors don’t want to be thought of like that.
  3. And yet the Bible talks about giving to the church & a pastor’s job is to teach what the Bible says.
 B. After the deacons asked me to preach on this giving, I got thinking about it and I remembered that I once preached a sermon in this over 25 years ago. And I remembered that after that sermon, one man left the church never to come back. I went to him to find out what bothered him, and his response surprised me. He was not disturbed that I had preached on money or on giving. He was disturbed that I had been so timid and apologetic in my sermon. As I looked back on that as I prepared these sermons, that experience was a good lesson for me.
  1. So, today and next week, I am going to try, by God’s grace, to tell you what the word of God says, and not let my own fears or preferences hold sway.
  2. Obviously, there are things we’d like to do as a church which we can’t do with our present budget.
  3. But this sermon is not about getting more, it’s about each of us understanding what God’s word teaches us about giving to the local church so that we might honor the Lord in the area of giving, and so that this church and every church any of us is in in the future will be adequately supplied.
 C. There are those sitting here who give faithfully, who the Lord has used to keep this church moving forward, who have stored up much treasure in heaven for themselves by their quiet generosity.
  1. And instead of being challenged or taught this morning, they deserve to be hugged & thanked.
  2. I don’t receive reports about how much anyone gives to the church, so I don’t know who gives.
II. There are no other explicit instructions about giving to the church in the NT. Nevertheless, I would like to try to show you that God commands us in the NT to give to our local church.
 A. Much of what the Bible says it does not say explicitly. 
 B. There’s a duty clearly & repeatedly stated in the NT which IMPLIES a duty to give to your church. That is the duty to pay those who spend their lives teaching and shepherding you.
  1. Gal.6:6 “Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches.”
  2. 1Tim. 5:17 “The elders who rule well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.”
   a. The “honor” here means pay. We know this for two reasons:
    (1) In the verses before this, where Paul uses the same word to talk about financially supporting widows in the church, it clearly means pay.
    (2) In the verse which follows (1Tim.5:18), you can tell Paul has pay in mind when he gives the basis for telling them that elders who rule well are worthy of double honor: “For the Scripture says, 'Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain,' {Deut. 25:4} and 'The worker deserves his wages.'”{Luke 10:7}
  3. The most extensive passage on this subject in the NT is in 1Cor.9:7ff., where Paul, as a gospel minister, discusses the right of gospel ministers to be paid by the people to whom they preach the gospel. 1Cor.9:7–14 Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard without eating any of its fruit? Or who tends a flock without getting some of the milk? 8 Do I say these things on human authority? Does not the Law say the same? 9 For it is written in the Law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain.” Is it for oxen that God is concerned? 10 Does he not certainly speak for our sake? It was written for our sake, because the plowman should plow in hope and the thresher thresh in hope of sharing in the crop. 11 If we have sown spiritual things among you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? 12 If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we even more? Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ. 13 Do you not know that those who are employed in the temple service get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in the sacrificial offerings? 14 In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.
   a. In this passage Paul makes a number of arguments to prove his point that those who proclaim the gospel should make their living doing so.
   b. He begins with three questions from every day life:
    (1) Who serves as a soldier at his own expense?
    (2) Who plants a vineyard without eating any of its fruit?
    (3) Who tends a flock without getting some of the milk?
   c. Then he reasons with them from the law of Moses: Do I say these things on human authority? Does not the Law say the same? 9 For it is written in the Law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain.” {Deut. 25:4} Is it for oxen that God is concerned? 10 Does he not certainly speak for our sake? It was written for our sake, because the plowman should plow in hope and the thresher thresh in hope of sharing in the crop.
   d. Then he concludes: 11 If we have sown spiritual things among you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? 12 If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we even more? ...
   e. Then in v.13 he gives one more argument why those who preach the gospel have the right to be paid: “Don’t you know that those who are employed in the temple service get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in the sacrificial offerings?”
   f. He concludes in v.14, “In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.”
   g. In v.12b & 15, Paul goes on to explain why in Corinth he & Barnabas did not take advantage of this right.
  4. The Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.
   a. There is a duty for the church to pay those who spend their lives preaching the Word and shepherding the church.
   b. As Jesus said, “The worker is worthy of his wages.” (Luke 10:7; 1Tim.5:18)
 C. It’s not just an institutional duty. Every person in the church shares in that duty.
  1. Gal.6:6 “Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches.”
  2. It’s not just the church as a group. Each one bears a responsibility.
 D. This is part of a broader principle in the Bible that it is our responsibility to take care of those who take care of us.
  1. Let me draw your attention to a verse which expresses this broader principle:
   a. In Romans 15:27 Paul is telling the Roman Christians about the collection he is gathering for the poor Jewish believers in the church of Jerusalem, and about how generously the Gentile churches in Macedonia and Achaia donated to it. Here’s what he says:
   b. “For they were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have come to share in their (Jewish) spiritual blessings, they (the Gentiles) ought also to be of service to them (the Jews) in material blessings.”
   c. Here Paul says the Gentiles have a duty to share their material blessings with the Jewish Christians since it was from the Jews that their salvation came (because Jesus was a Jew) and through whom the gospel was preached to them.
  2. We also find this principle in the fifth commandment: the command to honor our parents.
   a. Maybe your parents are well-off. Maybe they are famous and gets lots of attention & support.
   b. Maybe it seems like your parents don’t really need to be honored and there are lots of other people who need to be honored much more.
   c. But that doesn’t matter. God says “Honor your parents.” It’s great to honor others as well. It’s great to provide for the needy. But you can’t withhold honor from your parents to do so.
   d. First we must provide for those who provide for us.
III. Application
 A. How else can the church function unless the people of the church contribute their part?
  1. According to the Bible, a church is not a business looking for customers, but a body the parts of which care for and provide for each other.
  2. The church has expenses. Electricity, equipment, workers, missions. These are all important ingredients to what we’re all about. And each person who receives the benefit of something ought to feel responsible to pay his/her part.
 B. I understand that it’s not very sexy to donate money to your local church.
  1. There may be a lot of more enjoyable things to do with your money. There may be a lot of more exotic places to donate your money.
  2. Just like there are a lot of more exciting places to serve than to serve the people in your own household. But that’s where the rubber meets the road.
  3. The Bible calls us to give cheerfully (2Cor.9:5, 7). Ultimately, giving to the church is not about giving to the church. It’s about giving to the Lord. It’s about cheerfully yielding yourself and everything you have to Him. It’s about trusting Him with your life and entrusting Him with everything in your life.
  4. It’s about walking in the way of Jesus. “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.” – 2Corinthians 8:9
 C. For some of you, this notion incites fear in your heart. Financially-speaking you are living on the edge as it is, or maybe over the edge living in deep debt. Hearing about your responsibility to give to the church has a similar effect to when you receive an unexpected big bill in the mail.
  1. I understand. And financial situations are usually very complicated. But part of what you’re dealing with is a battle of faith.
  2. And so let me remind you of a few truths from God’s word:
   a. Prov. 3:9 "Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine."
   b. 2Corinthians 9:6 “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.”
   c. 2Corinthians 9:8 God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.
   d. 2Corinthians 9:10 He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.
   e. 2Corinthians 9:11 You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way.
   f. Prov. 11:24-25 "One man gives freely, yet gains even more; And there is one who withholds what is justly due, but it results only in poverty."
   g. Luke 6:38 "Give and it shall be given to you; good measure, pressed down shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap. For whatever measure you deal out, it will be dealt to you in return."
  3. There are so many verses like this. These aren’t here for no reason. Over and over again God says that He takes care of His people if they put their trust in Him. He also promises to supply them with enough for them to meet their needs and to be able to give. God doesn’t just lay burdens on His children. He comes alongside them and helps them. Jesus taught us not to worry and fret about our earthly needs because our Father knows what we need before we even ask. “Seek first the kingdom, and His righteousness, and all of these things will be added to you.” (Matt.6:33)
 D. There are also a lot of verses in the Bible about how dangerous money is.
  1. In fact, it seems to me that the main thing the NT tells us about money is that it’s a dangerous, potential idol.
  2. For most people, money is far too important. It’s such a big deal to us! And Jesus wants to help us learn to let go of it and put it in perspective and treasure the big things.
  3. Luke 16:10-11 "He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much, and whoever is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much. If therefore you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous mammon, who will entrust the true riches to you?"
 E. We haven’t even mentioned tithing or talked about how to decide HOW MUCH should be given to the church. We’ll talk about that next week.