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Giving: What are the basics on giving?

Gary Googe Mar 05

As with all of life, God’s Word is to be our guide in giving.

Isaiah 55:8-9

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

We are to give in accordance with those principles God has given us as members of the Body of Christ in the Dispensation of the Grace of God.

Ephesians 3:1-3

1 For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,

If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:

How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,

A major part of this kind of giving is learning and applying principles associated with what is known as the right division of Scripture.

II Timothy 2:15

15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

In following the Bible’s teaching, right division is understanding that while all the Bible is for us, it is not all to us.

Example #1:

There was a time when God’s people were told to give tithes.

Malachi 3:10

10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse [the temple treasury], that there may be meat in mine house [the temple], and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. [Emphasis added]

There were three tithes. Two of these were collected annually and one was collected every third year. One tithe is 10% of one’s income.

One tithe was for the maintenance of the tribe of Levi [Numbers 18:20-29].

The Levites were the official priests of the land, but they also served as teachers, judges, physicians, musicians, and in other civil capacities.

A second tithe [another 10%] was for the national feasts and sacrifices [Deuteronomy 14:22-29; 26:12].

This tithe was given to celebrate the material provision of God.

A third tithe [one more 10%] was for the poor of the land [Deuteronomy 14:27-29].

This tithe was given every third and sixth year on a seven-year cycle.

The tithes were to be of the best the giver had. The Levite ministers received these benefits, not because they were poor, but because of their work and because of the importance of their work. The idea of keeping ministers “middle-class” or in an average income is foreign to all that is written in Scripture [I Corinthians 9:7, 9-17; II Corinthians 11:7-9; Philippians 4:10-14; I Timothy 5:17-18]. Because of the extreme importance of their work, they are to enjoy the best of everything. How people are supportive of those who feed them God’s Word always serves as a reflection of their level of appreciation for the teaching that is provided.

Example #2:

There was a time when God’s people were commanded to sell all their possessions and to have all things in common [Luke 12:22- 34; Luke 18:18; Acts 2:44-45; 4:34-37].  People usually think it strange that Jesus told “the rich young ruler” to sell all that he had and to give the proceeds to the poor.  But this was a new policy that was to coincide with the coming Kingdom on Earth that Christ so often mentioned in His earthly ministry.  Those who failed to comply were severely disciplined, as in the case of Ananias and Sapphira [Acts 5:1-11]. Because Israel rejected the risen and ascended Christ, this program was later interrupted for the time of which we are a part of today known as the Dispensation of Grace. This coming Kingdom program will be continued and completely carried out in the time of the coming seven-year period of Tribulation that occurs after the Rapture of the Body of Christ Church and before the Second Coming of Christ.

Example #3:

The Bible teaches that God’s people living in the present Dispensation of Grace are not to base their giving on the tithing principle.  In the present Dispensation of Grace, believers are to give gladly and simply in accordance with how God has prospered them. There is no specific percentage given. The basic standard for giving today is simply stated.

II Corinthians 9:7

Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. [Emphasis added]

Here in this one verse is the basic principle given for us today on giving. You will notice that no percentage of income is given here or in any other place in Paul’s thirteen epistles. Furthermore, tithing is also not mentioned anywhere in Paul’s writings as a standard for giving.

Only Example #3 below is to be carried out today. It is impossible to carry out the other two as they are presented.

Example #1:

Today, there is no temple treasury storehouse, there are no Levites to support, and there are no national feasts or sacrifices to observe.

Example #2:

Today, the principle of pure communism, having all things common, is an impossible system to implement because Satan is still in the world and Christ is not present to rule the world, as He will be in the coming prophesied thousand-year kingdom on earth where this program will be fully and successfully implemented.

Example #3:

The Bible also teaches that God’s people are not to tithe, but to gladly give as God has prospered them. In all the revelation on this given in all thirteen of the Apostle Paul’s writings, there is not one word about tithing or having all things in common as a part of God’s program (II Corinthians 8-9). Every sermon you ever heard promoting tithing came from writings outside the Apostle Paul’s. One example of giving for our time is found here where Paul was collecting an offering for the poor saints in Jerusalem.

I Corinthians 16:2

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. [Emphasis added]

Today we are not under the command to tithe or to have all things in common, but we are a part of a program where no specific percentage is given as a standard.

II Corinthians 9:7

Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. [Emphasis added]

God’s program for giving in our time is linked to what is called the gospel of the grace of God that was given to us through the Apostle Paul.

Acts 20:24

24 But none of these things move me [Paul], neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. [Emphasis added]

There are also some other terms Paul uses as names or titles that reflect on the nature of our time [Galatians 1:6-7; 2:7-8].

In the revelation given to us through Paul, spiritual giving is by no means confined to a local church or some other form of formal “ministry” (II Corinthians 8-9; I Timothy 5:9-10 cf. 5:16). Even though believers today are responsible for giving in their local church or assembly of believers, giving can be expressed in other ways. One of many examples of this would be the support of certain widows in need.

I Timothy 5:8-10

But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man.

10 Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints’ feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work.

I Timothy 5:16

16 If any man or woman that believeth have widows, let them relieve them, and let not the church be charged; that it may relieve them that are widows indeed.

Giving is a responsibility all believers share. It is not optional!

II Corinthians 9:7

Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. [Emphasis added]

The basic standard that is to guide our giving is seen in the manner in which God has given to us. Because we are recipients of God’s giving, we are to give in accordance with the example He has set to us.

1) We are to give lovingly.

John 3:16

16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. [Emphasis added]

II Corinthians 8:8-9 (also v.24)

I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love.

For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich. [Emphasis added]

2) We are to give graciously, generously, and bountifully.

II Corinthians 8:7

Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also. [Emphasis added]

II Corinthians 9:6

But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. [Emphasis added]

Philippians 4:18

18 But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God. [Emphasis added]

3) We are to give discreetly.

Matthew 6:1-4

1 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.

Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:

That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly. [Emphasis added]

4) We are to give selflessly and sacrificially.

II Corinthians 8:5,9,13-14

And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.

For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.

13 For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened:

14 But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality: [Emphasis added]

A wonderful illustration of this type giving is seen in King Saul’s son, Jonathan’s relationship with King David.

I Samuel 18:1-4

1 And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.

And Saul took him that day, and would let him go no more home to his father’s house.

Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul.

And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his garments, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle. [Emphasis added]

5) We are to give worshipfully.

Philippians 4:10-18

10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.

11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

14 Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction.

15 Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only.

16 For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity.

17 Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.

18 But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing to God. [Emphasis added]

6) We are to give willingly.

The issue in giving is to do with our will, not what is given. If the thinking or attitude is right, the gift will be right.

II Corinthians 8:12

12 For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not. [Emphasis added]

7) We are to give purposefully and happily.

This means our giving is to be of our own free will, not because of the thinking or pressure of others.

II Corinthians 9:7

Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

[Emphasis added]

II Corinthians 8:2

How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. [Emphasis added]

8) We are to give responsibly.

I Timothy 5:17-18

17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.

18 For the scripture saith, thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward. [Emphasis added]

I Corinthians 9:9-11

For it is written in the law of Moses, thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen?

10 Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope.

11 If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? [Emphasis added]

II Corinthians 11:7-9

Have I committed an offence in abasing myself that ye might be exalted, because I have preached to you the gospel of God freely?

I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service.

And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself. [Emphasis added]

9) We are to give humbly.

Philippians 2:8

And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. [Emphasis added]

10) We are to give zealously.

II Corinthians 9:2

For I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal hath provoked very many. [Emphasis added]

11) We are to give frequently.

Philippians 4:15-17

15 Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only.

16 For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity.

17 Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account. [Emphasis added]

12) We are to give systematically.

I Corinthians 16:2

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. [Emphasis added]

13) We are to give as Christ has given.

We are to serve as His representatives, drawing people to Him.

II Corinthians 5:20

20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. [Emphasis added]

Because the most important people in your life will be those who serve to lead you to know Christ and His Word, you should be generous in your support of them in every way.

I Timothy 5:17

17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. [Emphasis added]

I Corinthians 9:9-14

For it is written in the law of Moses, thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen?

10 Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope.

11 If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?

12 If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ.

13 Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar?

14 Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel. [Emphasis added]

The amount given should be proportionate to what one has received by which to give.

I Corinthians 16:1-2

1 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye.

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. [Emphasis added]

Those who receive gifts for their service should be thankful for those who provide those gifts of support.

Philippians 4:10-18

10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.

11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

14 Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction.

15 Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only.

16 For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity.

17 Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.

18 But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God.

Spiritual giving is never a loss to the one giving because God is faithful to supply the needs of those who fulfill His principles on spiritual giving.

Philippians 4:19

19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Eternal rewards await those who are faithful in spiritual giving, as in other areas of life.

II Corinthians 5:10

10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

Galatians 6:9-10

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. [Emphasis added]

 

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