Summary: This sermon examines the last three of eight principles "concerning the collection."
We continue our study in The First Letter of Paul to the Corinthians in a series I am calling Challenges Christians Face.
One of the challenges that Christians face is the issue of finances. Four weeks ago I began a section Concerning the Collection. My intention is to preach four messages on the biblical principles of financial stewardship with respect to giving to the Lord.
I would like to reiterate that these messages are intended to help Christians grow in this vital area of discipleship. I have no desire to lay guilt trips on you. I want to motivate you on the basis of God’s Word to obedience in this area of your Christian life.
As I mentioned previously, the material for this series of messages comes from John MacArthur, whose teaching on the subject I have found particularly helpful.
So, with that in mind, let’s read 1 Corinthians 16:1-4. In this text Paul gives us eight principles regarding financial stewardship:
1 Now concerning the collection for the saints: as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you also are to do. 2 On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come. 3 And when I arrive, I will send those whom you accredit by letter to carry your gift to Jerusalem. 4 If it seems advisable that I should go also, they will accompany me. (1 Corinthians 16:1-4)
A. Money Can Be a Curse
The Bible contains a number of warnings about money. Perhaps they are best summarized in a statement by the apostle Paul: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils” (1 Timothy 6:10a).
Our Lord put it bluntly when he said, “You cannot serve God and money” (Matthew 6:24c).
Money, or rather, the love of money, you see, can be a curse.
Let me remind you of what the love of money can do to people. For the love of money, Achan brought defeat on the armies of Israel and death upon himself (Joshua 7).
For the love of money, Balaam sinned against God and tried to curse God’s people (Numbers 22:5-35).
For the love of money, Delilah betrayed Samson to the Philistines (Judges 16).
For the love of money, Gehazi lied to Naaman and Elisha, and became a leper (2 Kings 5:20-27).
For the love of money, Ananias and Sapphira became the first hypocrites in the first-century church, and they died on the spot (Acts 5:1-11).
For the love of money, Judas betrayed the Son of God and damned his own soul (Matthew 26:14-16, 47-50; 27:3-10).
For the love of money, many people have been cursed. In fact, the apostle Paul said, “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction” (1 Timothy 6:9).
So, you see, the love of money can be a tremendous curse.
B. Money Can Be a Blessing
But while the love of money can be a curse, the Bible also teaches us that money can be a great blessing.
Proverbs 22:9 (NASB95) says that “he who is generous will be blessed.”
Proverbs 11:25 (NIV) says, “A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.”
Deuteronomy 15:7-11 says: “If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be. Take care lest there be an unworthy thought in your heart and you say, ‘The seventh year, the year of release is near,’ and your eye look grudgingly on your poor brother, and you give him nothing, and he cry to the Lord against you, and you be guilty of sin. You shall give to him freely, and your heart shall not be grudging when you give to him, because for this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake. For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’”
So money can be a curse, or it can be a blessing. It all depends on the attitude we have toward money. If we have an attitude of sharing, an attitude of giving, we will be blessed. Remember, it was Jesus himself who said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).