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Concerning The Collection

"Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatia, so do you also. On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come. When I arrive, whomever you may approve, I will send them with letters to carry your gift to Jerusalem; and if it is fitting for me to go also, they will go with me."
I Corinthians 16:1-4

Good Morning Beloved,

Welcome to worship, we're so glad you're here.

Thinking about the first letter to the Corinthian church, the fifteenth chapter Paul is so grandiose, it’s so rich, so magnificent; it’s so far beyond anything we could ever imagine. He’s talking about resurrection; he’s talking about glorified bodies. He’s talking about the voice of God calling the dead out of the graves.

Then, as I was studying the sixteenth chapter for today's message, I couldn’t help but think to myself, that the apostle Paul must have had a sense of humor. Because after chapter fifteen, all of a sudden, he brings us right back down to earth, back to reality.

One of the challenges that Christians face is the issue of finances. A matter of financial stewardship. Although stewardship has to do with every facet of life, such as stewardship of the gospel, stewardship of creation, stewardship of work, stewardship of time, and so on. Today, I am going to primarily focus on the stewardship of finances.

Now some of you are saying to yourselves right now, "Oh Lord no! I knew I shouldn’t have come to church today!" Or, "Oh my! Not another sermon on money!" Or perhaps, "I just don’t have any money to spare. So this message is not going to be for me!" Well, I’m sorry about that. However, as I have stated many times before, if its in the Bible, I am called to teach it!

So, that said, allow me to address all you for a moment. If you are a Christian, than this message is primarily for you! Because, if you are not a Christian, you need to know something. God does not want your money; he wants your heart. If you are not yet a Christian, you need to be born again before you can learn to walk the Christian life.

Today's message is intended to help those of you who are already Christians to grow stronger in this vital area of Christian discipleship. I especially want to help those of you who are struggling in this area of Christian discipleship. You may feel a vague twinge of guilt because you are not giving very much—or in some cases, nothing at all—to God.

Some of you may be students, and you think that because you don’t have a "real job", you don’t feel that you have anything to give. While others of you may be frankly embarrassed by your level of giving. Or perhaps you feel like Dennis the Menace’s father. As the family was leaving the church one Sunday, Dennis was shaking the pastor’s hand, he asked, much to the embarrassment of his father, "Pastor, what are you going to do with the quarter my father put in the offering plate this morning?"

I believe that a proper understanding of the biblical stewardship of finances can be truly revolutionizing for you. Armed with a clear understanding of what Scripture teaches on this subject—and by the way, contrary to what many think, Scripture has a great deal to say about finances—you can grow significantly in your walk with God. So, with that in mind, let’s get to it.

Today, we’re going to look specifically at the first four verses of this chapter.

First, let's bow our heads in prayer.

Heavenly Father,

Thank You, for giving us this great opportunity to worship You today. Thank You for fellowship of those who You have gathered with us, both near and far. Thank You for any offering we may receive today, that surely comes from the hearts of Your precious people. So much of it we know Lord, is sacrificial, Father.

Maybe it would be from a widow here who will give her little mites. Or that of a wealthy man who will give much. However, some perhaps who couldn’t give anything because they have such great need. In either case, we thank You, Lord, for whatever will be given, for every heart that has in it a spirit of sacrifice.

Thank You Lord for the great Word, the marvelous truth that we are about to study today from our Lord Jesus who was rich, so rich, however, for our sakes became poor that we, through His poverty, might be made rich.

This we pray in Christs' precious name

Today's Message: Concerning The Collection

Open with me your Bibles to the sixteenth chapter of the book of first Corinthians. 

"Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatia, so do you also. On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come. When I arrive, whomever you may approve, I will send them with letters to carry your gift to Jerusalem; and if it is fitting for me to go also, they will go with me."
Galatians 2:7-10 teaches us, "But on the contrary, seeing that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised (for He who effectually worked for Peter in his apostleship to the circumcised effectually worked for me also to the Gentiles), and recognizing the grace that had been given to me, James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, so that we might go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. They only asked us to remember the poor—the very thing I also was eager to do."

When Paul first began his ministry, he was called by the Lord Jesus. However a little later on, when he visited Jerusalem, and he got sort of an official commission from Peter, James, and John – now I'd like you to note that this James is different than the one in the Gospels; this one being the head of the Jerusalem church, was the half-brother of Jesus Himself.

This was the fifth matter about which the Corinthians had written to Paul. And, you might note, that when responding to each of their questions, Paul uses the phrase, "Now concerning. . . ." In fact, we also see Paul use this expression in chapters 7:1, 7:25, 8:1, 12:1, and now also in 16:1. Here at this point, the apostle Paul is responding to their question about how money is to be collected in the church. Paul’s teaching here is rich, filled with crucial information, for the purpose of giving us principles regarding financial stewardship.

In order to better understand the principles regarding financial stewardship, we should really know some of the background information "concerning the collection."

In those days, poverty was a real issue because a great many people were so poor. Now, though poverty is still an issue in many parts of the world, and to some degree in our country, however, we seldom see that degree of poverty in our country. There are places in the world today where poverty is still very much what it was in biblical times, but our society knows very little of that kind of severe poverty. Poverty was such a serious issue that society itself had taken some steps to deal with it. For example, among the Greeks there were associations known as eranoi. These were associations of people that banded together to provide interest-free loans for people who couldn’t meet their financial needs.

However, in our society, we are quite fortunate I suppose, Because we can wait until the extremity is really an extremity. Why? Because the government does provide, in most cases, for many people who face poverty, and that’s fine, however, where the government cannot or does not provide, or where the extremity goes far beyond that, as Christians we have to be ready, willing and eager to share.

The Jews did the same thing. In the synagogues there were officials who had the responsibility to determine who would receive the funds earmarked for welfare. So it was common among the pagan Greeks, and it was common among the Jews to meet the needs of their poor. And so the church in the first century could certainly do no less, if it was to defend its theology of love and compassion.

This poverty situation resulted in a strong commitment from the apostle Paul. So, now in I Corinthians 16, Paul says that the collection of money was "for the saints." What saints? Well, it was for God’s people in Jerusalem because in verse 3, Paul says, "When I arrive, whomever you may approve, I will send them with letters to carry your gift to Jerusalem;"

Why? Because there were plenty of poor people in Jerusalem. They had a real problem with poverty in Jerusalem, and so Paul was collecting money for the poor people of God in Jerusalem.

In Romans 15:25-27, "but now, I am going to Jerusalem serving the saints. For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem. Yes, they were pleased to do so, and they are indebted to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in their spiritual things, they are indebted to minister to them also in material things."

Why is it that the people of God in Jerusalem were poor? There are several reasons why they were so poor. The first reason why the people of God in Jerusalem were poor is because of the poverty of Jerusalem itself. Jerusalem in the time of Solomon was rich, but in the time of Jesus and Paul it was very poor. It was overpopulated because it had become a religious Mecca. Numerous people came into the city and many of them stayed. Consequently, it caused a certain amount of drain on the city’s resources.

And, to make matters worse, when feast time came, the city was literally overrun with people. As many as two million additional people could arrive in the city at a feast time. So there was always a strain on the resources in Jerusalem.

Another reason, was the persecution of the saints. God in Jerusalem were poor is because of the persecution of the saints. The Christians in Jerusalem were poor because they were persecuted for their faith in Christ. In many cases, they were not even able to get a job. No Jewish businessman wanted to support those who were confessing a crucified, rejected Messiah.

I Thessalonians 2:14, "For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, for you also endured the same sufferings at the hands of your own countrymen, even as they did from the Jews,"

Then another reason, was the explosion of Christians. You might remember, that on the Day of Pentecost, many people became believers in Jesus Christ. No doubt many of the people who received Christ in those early days were pilgrims from other cities, but after they became Christians, they stayed on in Jerusalem. They stayed because that was the location of the new church, and they lived in the homes of other Christians. Something had to be provided for them, so there was an immediate drain upon the resources of the church. Acts 2:44 says that they "And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common." When someone had a need, somebody else was there to meet it.

However, after a while this became difficult, and by the time you come to the end of Acts 4, it becomes quite evident that they had drained their resources to the point that they had to sell their properties. But even this couldn’t go on forever because they would run out of land. So as you see the church moving through the book of Acts, you see a continuing drain on the church’s resources because of the growth of the church.

The people of God in Jerusalem were also poor is because of the paucity of food. They were poor in Jerusalem because there was a famine in the land. In fact, the church at Antioch, which was the first church planted outside of Jerusalem, had earlier sent some gifts with Paul to those who were poor in Jerusalem

Acts 11:27-30 teaches, "Now at this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. One of them named Agabus stood up and began to indicate by the Spirit that there would certainly be a great famine all over the world. And this took place in the reign of Claudius. And in the proportion that any of the disciples had means, each of them determined to send a contribution for the relief of the brethren living in Judea. And this they did, sending it in charge of Barnabas and Saul to the elders."

So these are the primary reasons for the poverty of God’s people in Jerusalem. Now because of the need in Jerusalem, and in response to the instruction of Peter, James, and John to remember the poor, the apostle Paul spent over a year collecting money. He wrote to the Corinthians to ask them to have a part in this collection. Paul gave the Corinthians instructions that have provided principles for the church throughout history as to how the church should best receive its funds. Paul said that he would get the whole collection together and deliver it to the church in Jerusalem. And that’s precisely what he did.

Acts 24:17 says, "Now after several years I came to bring alms to my nation and to present offerings;"

Now, with all of that in mind, let’s begin to look at several principles "concerning the

Today the first principle, I want to examine is: The purpose of giving. In verse 1, Paul says, "Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatia, so do you also."

What was the purpose of giving stated in this passage? It was for the saints in Jerusalem. It’s the same collection that Paul mentioned to the Galatians. Now he tells the Corinthians believers about it.
Paul’s point here is that the church is to make sure that it funds its own needs. The church should not appeal to outside sources for funding. In other words, you give your support to where you are being fed.

I'd like to point out here, that this not one local church funding itself, but one local assembly, in Corinth, caring for the needs of another local assembly in Jerusalem.

Now let’s look closer at the purpose of giving. The Bible indicates that there are basically two financial purposes of giving. Giving is necessary for two basic reasons. The first purpose is, giving is necessary to support the ministry of the Word.

The ministry of the Word of God is the cornerstone ministry of the church. Without the preaching of the Word of God there is no ministry that has any real meaning. All the other ministries in the church flow from the preaching of the Word. And so the chief purpose for giving is to support the ministry of the Word of God. There are several texts of Scripture that indicate the necessity of financial support for the ministry of the Word.

In Philippians 4:15-16, Paul responds to the Philippians by thanking them for the offering they gave him: "You yourselves also know, Philippians, that at the first preaching of the gospel, after I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone; for even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs."

In other words, Paul said that they supported him. And he had every right to that support because he was involved in the ministry of the Word.

And in I Corinthians 9:14 Paul says, "So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel."

In today’s society, churches have erected buildings in which and from which the ministry of the Word of God takes place. Now, it does not mean it has to be that way, but in the case of most churches nowadays, they operate out of a central facility. In addition to a facility, there are ministries that promote the teaching of God’s Word, such as Sunday school, Bible studies, children’s ministries, youth ministries, campus ministries and so on. And, to the extent that these ministries are ministries of the Word of God, they are to be supported by the people of God.

Now, I'd like to make mention that what Paul is doing, is not only sociological, it is also theological. The apostle Paul knows this: there is a basic dichotomy between the Jew and the Gentile. Right? This goes way back. There’s a basic animosity there. A hostility. The Jerusalem church is Jewish. The Gentile church in Asia Minor, Achaia, Macedonia, Galatia, other parts of the world, this is Gentile.
Now, Paul in his heart always has this consuming passion to see the body of Christ become one.

Another purpose of giving is to support the ministry of mercy. As Christians we are to give support to those among us who are financially in need. In other words, we give in order to meet the needs of people, whoever they may be. There are people in the church, who from time to time, who have their needs met because we have been blessed in order to supply what they don’t have.

Paul’s collection from the Corinthians seemed to be primarily to support those in financial need. No doubt by alleviating the financial needs of those who are needing help, other moneys were able to be used to support the ministry of the Word.

In fact, Hebrews 13:16 teaches us, "And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased."

In Acts 20:35, Jesus is quoted as saying, "In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive." In fact, the apostles perceived the content of Paul’s preaching to be the same as that which God had also given to them, differing only in the audience to whom Christ was proclaimed.

In Closing....

It is a basic Christian truth that there is great blessing as we give to support those who have need in the church. But we not only support those in the church. The Scripture teaches us to support those outside the church, because in Galatians 6:10 the apostle Paul says, "So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith." So we are to do good to all people.

Beloved, we see a good example in Luke 10:25-37, the story of the Good Samaritan who went out of his way to minister to a Jew even though he came from a different culture and a different religion. This is indicative that there are times when God wants us to do good, even to those who do not belong to the family of believers!

I have come to understand, that in the scheme of things, we are all pretty insignificant and rather small, so I suppose the best we can hope for is to have made some kind of difference. Leave behind some legacy. What difference have I made? What in this world is a better place because I have been in it? I can't say, all I do know, is that one day, I will leave this earth, maybe in 10 in 20 years, or maybe tomorrow. I suppose it really doesn’t matter. Because once I am gone and anyone who ever knew me is gone, it will be as though I never have existed. What difference has my life made to anyone? I would like to think some, however, perhaps none, at least that I can immediately think of.
However, if the Lord is pleased and even one life has been changed in some small way for the better, it will have been worth it.

Beloved, God has called us to himself. He has given us new life in Jesus Christ. We are the recipients of his amazing grace. He has made a difference in our lives, and He wants us to make a difference in the lives of others. It is with gratitude that we respond to the grace of God in our lives by wanting to make a difference in the lives of other people. One way we do so is to use the financial resources that God has entrusted to us to support the ministry of the Word and the ministry of mercy.

Give that it may help someone in need and give generously that it may make a difference for eternity!

May it be so... 

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name

Copyright © 2019-2020 All Rights Reserved

The Brian Monzon Ministries



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