1 Corinthians #29: an exposition of 1 Corinthians 16:1-4. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, August 21, 2011.
It’s a good way to start an argument. If things are quiet and a little boring, it is a good way to liven things up. Just bring up the subject of money and the church. Immediately folks will have story after story of corruption and abuse. There will be accusations of misconduct, greed and manipulation by unscrupulous pastors living high on the hog while others struggle to get by and that’s just in the deacons meeting! I’m kidding but it is almost that bad if you spend even a few minutes reading blogs on the internet. I’m the first to admit that there are unscrupulous pastors who excellence in “fleecing the flock,” while not a few church members sooth their conscience by convincing themselves they really don’t need to give because they do not want to support such abuse. The problem is we do not have the luxury of deciding what to do about giving based on real or perceived abuses. As with all things we must ask, “What do the Scriptures say?” Not surprisingly the Scriptures have much to say about our giving. Our text this evening is found in 1 Corinthians chapter 16 beginning with verse 1.
Text: 1 Corinthians 16:1-4
Paul has just concluded a lengthy section on the doctrine of the resurrection. Having pointed us to the future glory that awaits us, he returns to the mundane business of the here and now. In Scripture we are not to separate the doctrinal from the practical. Doctrine impacts how we live. Because life survives the grave, because we will stand before God and given an account, because this life is preparation for the life to come…how we live matters. What we do today impacts tomorrow.
Paul ends his letter to the Corinthians believers with some practical, housekeeping matters.
The first has to do with our giving and he speaks in reference to questions they have raised.
“Now concerning the collection…”
He’s already made reference to their letter to him – 7:1.
So, it appears they asked about the collection Paul had mentioned to them earlier.
Paul had requested that the Gentile believers give an offering to relieve Jews Christians in Jerusalem. This offering is mentioned in Romans 15:25-28 and in 2 Corinthians 8 & 9. This offering was to serve 3 purposes: 1) It served as a reminder that the Gentile churches owed a spiritual debt to the church in Jerusalem. 2) It would be a demonstration of the genuineness of the Gentiles’ faith. 3) It would serve to bond the two groups (Jews and Gentiles) together.
Let’s just walk through this text and make some observations.
- The occasion for this offering. (16:1)
- The method of giving. (16:2)
From this verse we find several principles of giving.
- Our giving is to be a regular part of our worship.
- All are expected to give.
- Our giving is to be through the church.
- Our giving is to be proportional.
We, as a church, are to be wise and faithful stewards of that which is entrusted. (16:3)
We, individually, have a responsibility to give regularly, faithfully through the church for the work of the church, for the care of members of the church, for the spreading of the Gospel and the care of others.
While we are not obligated to legalistically give 10% of our income, we are to give as the Lord prosper, with great joy out of the love, gratitude and devotion to Christ.
As a church we are to strive to be faithful stewards of what is entrusted to us by establishing sound principles of financial responsibility and committing oversight to godly people who take their responsibility seriously.