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September 19, 2010

Giving in Jesus

 Carry Your Gift Today

“When I arrive, whomever you may approve, I will send them with letters to carry your gift to Jerusalem;”

1 Corinthians 16:3, page 1803

         If you truly believe that God prospers you financially, so that you may bless others with His money and you may share in the same way God has blessed you, then why not be careful how you distribute your prosperity?  I see so many people give money or share their prosperity without thinking about the many needs before them.  We need to seek the leading of the Lord Jesus Christ regarding who to give to, how much to give to them, and when not to give to a particular project.

Principle of Giving:

Entrust Your Giving to Believers

Approved by Your Local Congregation

       In 1 Corinthians 16:3, page 1803, Paul looked forward to his arrival in Corinth.  He spoke about the mechanics of sending the gift to Jerusalem.  So, he described a two-part process.  First, the local congregation would entrust the gift to “approved” (“δοκιμάσητε“) members of the congregation. Therefore, we see that the local congregation had a duty to select men who could be entrusted to deliver money.  They had to be honest and diligent men to be sure the money got where it was supposed to go.

       Second, let us go to another level of this principle.  Your giving should not be to support some false teacher.  Likewise, you should avoid giving your prosperity from God to be used by the devil.  Each time you spend money, or distribute your prosperity from God, you need to ask yourself: Is this spending or giving the best use of God’s money?  You can be more sure of giving to the right need, if you are giving to a cause approved by the leadership in your local church.  Does that mean you can only give to a cause approved by your local church? No, the passage does not say that.  Can you give to anyone?  No, you should only give as the Lord leads you to give, in harmony with the principles of giving in His word.

Principle of Giving:

Give to Projects Approved by

Your Local Congregation

      Do not misunderstand.  While you should generally give to projects approved by the local assembly, you do not have to give ONLY to projects approved by your local assembly.  When you give to a project approved by the local assembly, you know that spiritual men have reviewed the need and approved the project for giving.  In this case, the saints in Jerusalem really needed financial assistance, and the churches should help them.  Notice this approval carries with it the further assurance of Paul that the money will be used for the intended purpose of helping the saints in Jerusalem, particularly the poor.

Principle of Giving

Send Letters from Your Congregation

with Your Gift

       Paul said he would send letters from himself along with the gift from the Corinthians carried by the approved men.  Those letters related directly to the gift, and the local assembly in Corinth.  Remember that giving will be blessing to both the giver and the recipient.  A letter from the local congregation, or in this case Paul, came with the gift and gave God the glory.  When your local assembly makes gifts, the letters really matter and should be approved by the congregation.    The givers should know how the gift will be used, and send the gift with spiritual encouragement in the form of letters.


Principle of Giving:

Establish a Habit of World-Wide Giving

     Paul also encouraged the Corinthians to think and live beyond their own geographical and ethnic boundaries.  Instead of viewing themselves as only Corinthians or Greeks, they saw themselves and brothers and sisters of every believer on earth.  So when they heard of their family members in Jerusalem doing badly, they looked beyond their own borders and were eager to help.  We need to look beyond our own national and cultural borders to help believers in need wherever we find them.

        ●   So, we learn some more about giving in Christ.

        ●  We learn that giving starts with entrusting God’s money, put aside and saved by us, to men who will deliver the gifts to the intended recipient.

        ●  We learn to give better by giving to projects approved by the local assembly, as part of a world-wide plan of giving.

       ●  We hinder our giving when do not look beyond our own lives, or our own local assembly.  Every brother and sister on earth deserves our faithful care and support.

Application for Today

        Today, I want to follow a plan of world-wide giving, as part of the ministry of my local assembly.  As part of your local assembly’s program of world-wide ministry, are you giving today?



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