Study text: I Corinthians 16:1-4
1 Cor 16:1-4: Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye.
2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.
3 And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem.
4 And if it be meet that I go also, they shall go with me.
-Do you believe you are doing all you can do as a Christian in the area of giving? What do you think hinders you from doing more? People have various reasons for not being faithful unto God in their giving. Some would say :
* If I had a better job, I’d be able to give more.
* If I could get out of debt, I would give more.
-Actually, what most people need is not more money, but more motivation! I have been praying that God will use this message to provide all of us some new motivation, so that we can improve and grow consistently in our giving in the kingdom of God.
- Our study text I Corinthians 16:1-4 is a strategic stewardship scripture that unfold certain hidden truth about the Christian and his giving life to us. As many that are willing to learn will experience transformation in their giving life.
- Here we can see Paul having the burden to issue a call to the Gentile churches to help the poor saints in the Jerusalem church.
- Rom 15:26-27: For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem.
27 It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things.
- This scriptures indicates it was looked upon as the repaying of a spiritual debt the Gentiles churches owed to the Jerusalem church as the first of all churches.
-In 1 Corinthians 16 there is An Exhortation - a command, a call to get believers involved in giving. Giving is a Christian responsibility and privilege like prayer and worship and fellowship. Those who are serious about their walk with God know generous giving is a truth straight from God’s Word and they give serious attention to it.
-I Corinthians 16:2 is one of those verses that sums up in a few words God’s eternal principles about giving.
1. As God hath prospered you.
-In the reverse standard vision this verse begins with As God. Do you understand that is how all giving on our part begins --- it begins with the presumption that God has blessed our lives!
-God is our ultimate provider - not your education, not your resume, not your company, not your personality - but God.
-And this God that you have come to know through Jesus Christ our Savior is a good and generous God! For in the reverse standard vision it says, "As God hath prospered you..."
CALLS FOR REFLECTION:
-God has given us health, a job, food, clothing, shelter, friends . . . see what God hath done! -This verse doesn’t say our giving starts when we become prosperous. It says our giving should immediately begin because God has prospered us. I Timothy 6:17 declares it is God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy.
-Some people are always "going to, someday, be able to give". I want to announce to you that your someday has arrived and you are able to give based on what God has already done for you.
-You don’t have to wait to give. It says we need to take in inventory of what God has done for us and on that basis give.
CALLS FOR REJOICING [CELEBRATION]:
-Giving is a means of celebrating the goodness and generosity of God. The Bible says in II Corinthians 9:7 that "God loveth a cheerful giver."
-The word "cheerful" there is from the Greek word hilaros which sounds almost like its English counterpart "hilarious." Why does God love a hilarious giver? Because the hilarious giver has figured out his real source (God) and his real status (blessed).
-Since we have been blessed we need to be a blessing. So there is, then, a call for Release.
CALLS FOR RELEASE:
2. Lay by him in store.
-We are to lay aside a percentage amount -10%. This is what everyone can and should give. There is not a person too rich or a person too poor who cannot at least give a tithe - 10% to the Lord.
-And we are to lay aside a proportionate amount - as God has prospered you. No exact amount or percentage is given here. The matter is determined by two things:
(1) The blessings of God upon a person.
(2) The love and obedience of the blessed believer.
-Everyone should give what they can give, that’s the tithe. But those who have experienced a greater material prosperity are expected to participate to a greater extent than those who have less. If you have more, you should want to give more because you are able to give more.
-Some are stuck on a strict 10% and say they cannot give more. Yet they will spend 20,000 Naira on a material thing or eat out regularly, or for relaxation — all at the expense of honoring God by giving more.
-Where do we lay this aside? Where do we lay our giving in store?
* Old Testament... God has only one place - the tabernacle and then the Temple.
* New Testament...God has only one place - His churches.
3. Let every one of you.
CALLS FOR RESPONSIBILITY:
-This message by the Apostle Paul was originally addressed to the church at Corinth. This is to Christians, like ourselves, who had been baptized and joined one of the Lord’s churches. To all of us this scripture says, "Let every one of you..."
-No member is excluded. This is for young and old, rich and poor - all have a responsibility to give to the Lord through the church.
* Our Lord commended the widow’s two mites to teach us that no one could be too poor to give.
* And He also received the wealth of Barnabas to demonstrate that no one could be too rich to sacrifice for God!
-Someone might ask, Am I to give if I don’t feel like it? Well, let me say your life is or would be a mess if you lived it by your feelings. You would not be married if you determined your marriage by your feelings.
-There are three (3) levels of giving.
a. I have to...law.
b. I need to...obligation.
c. I want to...love.
-Meaningful giving comes from the heart, not just the checkbook or pocketbook. Giving is not just an obligation to get God off my back; it is an opportunity to get God in my life.
4. Upon the first day of the week.
CALLS FOR REGULARITY:
- What is behind this phrase, "Upon the first day of the week..." Well, on every Lord’s day you are to gather with the Lord’s people in the Lord’s house to hear the Lord’s Word and bring the Lord’s offering.
-God wants us to take time to look back over the last seven days and record a testimony by our giving that He has provided for us, even causing us to prosper in many ways. On the first day of the week you need to take time to settle your account with God.
*Deuteronomy 16:16 says of those in the Old Testament that "they shall not appear before the Lord empty."
*I Chronicles 16:29 --- "Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before Him: worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness."
-Now you might ask, "Well, what If I am not able to attend on a given Sunday?" Mail your tithes and offerings in if you are not able to gather on a Sunday.
-"Wake up, pray up, sing up, preach up, pay up, and never give up, let up, back up or shut up, until the cause of Christ is built up!".