We continue our series today and consider the biblical mandate and instruction pertaining to the believers obligation in giving to the treasuries of the Church. However, giving, as an act of worship, must be according to the guidelines set forth in scripture. Anything less than this results in serious error. Let us, therefore, give attention to the divine pattern relative to giving, as expressed in our text today, setting out both the instruction and in principle. When Paul wrote, the 16th chapter of Corinthians with the instruction: “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I gave order to the churches of Galatia, so also do ye.” Proposed very basic instruction to Christian stewardship:
The Sacred Obligation: First, there is the term diatasso, rendered “order.” The word is employed some sixteen times in the New Testament. It presupposes a subordinate relationship of one who is commanded to do something (cf. Acts 18:2; cf. Luke 17:7-10). Second, the verb “do” reflects, in the original text, a command which rather summarizes the obligation of both the Galatian churches and the Corinthian congregation. . While the immediate context pertained to a specific need (relief for the churches in Judaea), the text provides a precedent for determining how any and all churches are authorized to meet their financial needs.
The Specified Time: The Christian is not limited as to when he may give for the benefit of others. For example, the poor we have with us always, and whenever we will, we may do them good (Mark 14:7; cf. Galatians 6:10). Be that as it may, Paul's injunction is that each Christian contribute upon “the first day of every week.” The Greek expression is kata mian sabbatou, literally “every first [day] of the week” (cf. NASB, NIV). The preposition kata is used distributively, indicating a succession, e.g. every city (Acts 15:21), every year (Luke 2:41), and, in the present instance, every first [day] of the week Individual Obligation.
The responsibility to worship in giving rests upon every child of God. The apostle charges that “each of you” is to contribute to the Lord's work.. Every Christian with an income must express his devotion to God in the grace of giving (cf. 2 Corinthians 8:1, 4, 6-7).As the antitype of the temple, the church also has a “treasury” to facilitate its financial operations. Paul says the Christian is to “lay by him (or by itself) instore.” The word thesaurizoon, rendered “in store” is literally, “put into the treasury.. Proportionate Giving: The Scriptures are eminently fair in imposing an obligation upon each saint to give into the treasury every Sunday. In connection with the amount, there are biblical principles to guide the conscientious child of God. Giving, as an act of worship takes a certain priority in terms of one's income.
Reflect upon the following precedents. Each Christian is to give “as he may prosper,” or “according to his ability'” (Acts 11:29). This is proportional giving. Amazingly, some in the early church gave even beyond their ability (2 Corinthians 8:3), and they were commended for it. Those who have more should give more (both in amount and percentage). When the more prosperous generously give of their abundance, to compensate for the deficit of the poorer folk, the type of “equality” that God desires among his people will prevail (see 2 Corinthians 8:12-15).
The least God ever stipulated for his people in the support of his work was 10% (cf. Genesis 14:20; 28:22; Numbers 18:21-24); the most he has accepted is 100% (Mark 12:41-44) — which, of course, is not required. But surely, somewhere between these two examples, the child of God can find his appropriate level of giving. The Generous Disposition: In his letter to the Romans, Paul exhorts that those who give should do so with “liberality” (12:8 ASV). And to the Corinthians, in urging these saints to fulfill their commitment to needy brethren, the apostle promises that God would “enrich” them unto “all liberality” (2 Corinthians 9:11 ASV).
What have we learned in this survey? As an act of affection and devotion, motivated by the love of Jesus himself, each Christian must contribute into the church treasury each Sunday. Acknowledging that he is but a manager of vast blessings that God has placed at his disposal, the Lord's disciple must contribute generously and cheerfully, confessing that he is the recipient of more than he can ever repay. It is the responsibility of elders to counsel the flock of God in fundamental principles of biblical giving. Gospel preachers must never refrain from teaching on this vital theme. Our prayer should be that the Lord will help us to grow in “this grace also” (2 Corinthians 8:6-7).