Sunday, February 10, 2013

The New Testament Principles of Giving


Second Corinthians 8-9

Giving in the New Testament is not like tithing in the Old Testament and the principles are very different.

First, let us look at the New Testament view of possessions. Jesus taught that the believer is not to trust in possessions nor consider material things as treasures Matthew 6:19-33. The manager in Jesus’ parables was considered shrewd because he used worldly wealth to prepare for his future (Luke 16:9) No one can serve two masters; we either love God and reject money as the focus of our lives, or we will love money and God will take second place (verse 13). The believer should then give God first place and use money to serve Him. The love of God will be reflected in sharing what we have. (First John 3:17-18; First Timothy 6:17-19) While it is not wrong to be wealthy, and while material riches can be used to help others, the love of money is a problem, a root of all evil (verse 10)

Worldly riches are not in themselves evil, the issue is one of how they affect our values and choices. If we put God first, and respond lovingly to the needs of others, we can use our possessions to prepare for eternity. But if we put money first we will fall short in our commitment to God and fall short in our obligation to love others.

Giving in the New Testament is sharing to meet specific needs in the body of Christ and it focuses on people. In First Corinthians 8:1-9: - Paul discusses two examples – the Macedonian Christians and also the example of Christ.

The Principles of Giving

1.   We give despite our poverty. It is a privilege to give and this privilege is not limited to the rich

2.   We give our all – ourselves first to God. Jesus gave His all as an example for us – verse 8

3.   We give willingly (verses 8, 10-12) according to your means. God will not expect you to give what you do not have. God is concerned about our willingness (Luke  21:1-4)

4.   God created us to make for equality. He wants to use the wealth of the rich to supply the needs of the poor and uses the services of the poor to meet the needs of the rich.

In Chapter 9:6-11: Paul sees giving as sowing. Sharing with others is like sowing and what you sow that you will reap. God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. The conviction that God is able to supply our needs is intended to free us to give generously, without fear that we will deprive ourselves or our family by responding to meet the needs of others.

In this context, Paul says each man should give what he had intended in his heart to give not reluctantly or under compulsion, or grudgingly, for God loves a cheerful giver.

The Results of Giving

a) It supplies the needs of other God’s people

b) It overflows in expression of thanks to God and stimulates praise.

c) It demonstrates obedience (commitment) that is appropriate to our profession of faith

d) It generates prayers for the giver by the one who receives

e) It permits us to experience the faithfulness of God who is able, and does supply our needs as we use our material possessions to help our brothers and sisters in need.

The Implications

i. We should present our needs

ii. We would encourage our people to evaluate our own needs in view of the resources and against the needs of their brothers

iii.    God does not set a fixed amount that Christians are to give, but He does call on us to evaluate what we have (and need) and to look honestly at what others have and need. We are then to give what we can and what we wish to, but not what we cannot spare or are unwilling to share.

iv.     We would reject manipulations

v.    We should teach freely truths and reject bondage to material possessions. The person, who gives sparingly, will reap sparingly. 

God bless you all.

No comments:

Post a Comment