Volume. XXVII, No. 43
Sunday, 21 April 2013

Blibical Principles for Giving

Very often people ask or wonder, “What are the basic Biblical principles for Christian giving?” Bear in mind that only those who have been united with Christ and His church by personal faith in Jesus Christ should give to the people of God and for the work of God. In the Bible, every command or exhortation to give is addressed to believers. Thus, if you are a non-Christian reading this article, you are not required to give when you come to church. In fact, taking funds from unbelievers is prohibited (3 John 7; see also 2 Corinthians 6:14-18). So, what are the principles for giving? Let us seek to answer that question as we contemplate our own giving to the Lord’s Church in response to the clear teaching of His Word.

1. God expects and requires us to give

Jesus said to His disciples, “when thou doest thine alms” not “if thou givest” (Matthew 6:2)! Hence, Christian giving is not optional, but rather essential. We often hear folks say: “In the Old Testament they had to give, but not in the New -- now we only give if we want to.” This is clearly not Jesus’ teaching. He expected all His followers to be givers. Christians will give.

2. The Lord Jesus wants us to give for the right reasons

Jesus warned His disciples not to give for the sake of being admired by men. “Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them”(Matthew 6:1). When we give, we must be careful to examine our motives. We ought to give for the glory of God and the good of His people. We must desire His approval of our giving, rather than the praise and admiration of people.

3. The Lord Jesus wants us to practice benevolent or charitable giving

Jesus said “When thou doest thine alms [give to the poor] …” (Matthew 6:2). The word alms literally means “pity” or “mercy”. Giving of alms, therefore, means giving to the poor or benevolent offerings for the needy.

4. The Lord Jesus reminds us that our giving is ultimately to the all-seeing heavenly Father

Jesus said “When thou doest thine alms… thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly” (Matthew 6:3-4). When we give, we are not simply adding to the Church budget, we are giving up a thank offering to the Father Himself. Thus, we must all give “as unto the Lord”. Our ultimate goal in giving is to please Him.

5. The Bible teaches that Christian giving is an act of worship

The Old Testament saints could only approach God in worship with a sacrifice, and this sacrifice was a contribution, whether whole or in part. In the New Testament, contributions were also described as sacrifices offered up in worship (see Hebrews 9:1-10; 10:1-25; 13:10-16). This is another reason why unbelievers should not be asked to give.

In New Testament, we see this truth stressed in another way in Paul’s words “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” (1 Corinthians 16:2). Paul here teaches the Corinthians that their taking up of the collection is an act of worship which is to be a part of their regular Lord’s Day worship. When we put our money in the plate, we are worshiping the Almighty God in accordance with His Word. Note well, Paul is speaking here of a “collection for the saints” – this is giving by the Church to the Church for the Church.
6. The Bible teaches that Christian giving should be done in light of the incarnation

Many Christians argue about whether the tithe (10% of our income) is still the standard for our giving to the Church. Paul scuttles the whole debate in one verse. He says: “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” (2 Corinthians 8:9). Christ’s self-giving is now the standard for our giving! We begin from the base of the tithe and aim for emulation of His self-sacrifice. Our giving is to be inspired and instructed by Christ’s inexpressible gift. In light of such a challenge, who could possibly satisfy himself with asking “how little a percentage is acceptable for me to give”?

7. The Bible teaches that Christian giving should be done in accordance with our means

Paul is quite clear on this: “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” (2 Corinthians 8:12). Put another way Paul is saying that you should give in proportion to what God has given you. He said it this way in 1 Corinthians 16:2, “let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him”. This means at least two things: (1) since we are all supposed to give proportionately, those who have more money are expected to give more [we who are particularly blessed materially must remember this], and (2) the Lord never asks us to give what we do not have, or contribute beyond our means.
8. The Bible teaches that the liberality of God’s blessings to us is connected to the liberality of our Christian giving

Though it may seem strange, both Jesus and Paul emphasize that there is a relation between our giving to the Lord and the Lord’s giving to us. As Paul says in 2 Corinthians 9:6 “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.” About this matter J.A. Beet once said: “They who in giving think, not how little they can give, as they would if self-enrichment were the aim, but of benefits to be conferred, will receive back on the same principle. As they do to others, so God will act to them.” Jesus reminds us of this in Matthew 6:4, where He teaches that our reward in giving comes from our heavenly Father. As someone once said:  “That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly”.

9. The Bible teaches that Christian giving must be willing giving, free giving

We learn this in 2 Corinthians 9:7 “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly”. The word translated grudgingly also means “reluctantly or sorrowfully”. What does that mean? God does not want one penny from you if you would rather keep it for yourself. But doesn’t this contradict what we learned under the first principle, that Christian giving is not optional? The answer is, of course, no. True Christian giving is both mandatory and voluntary. It is required by God, but always willingly given by the believer. Not only does it say God does not want you to give if you give grudgingly, neither does He want you to give "of necessity". He doesn\'t want you to give at all unless you are giving willingly and gladly.

10. The Bible teaches that Christian giving ought to be cheerful giving

As Paul says, “for God loveth a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7b). This is a truly amazing assertion. Paul assures us here that the Lord takes a special delight in those who are joyful, energetic, merry givers.

Question: Is there joy in our heart as we give? Can we truly be characterized as a “cheerful givers?”

In response to the ten biblical principles, here are ten questions which we may ask ourselves: 1) Are we giving? 2) Are we giving for God’s praise or man’s? 3) Do we give amply enough to the Church that she can be generous in benevolent giving?  4) Are we conscious of the fact that our giving is to the Lord and seen by the Lord? 5) Did we realize that giving is a part of worship? Is our worship in this area abundant or inhibited? 6) Is giving to the Church a priority with us? 7) Do we try to get by with giving as little as possible to the Lord, or do we give in view of the Lord’s costly sacrifice? 8) Are we really giving in proportion to the material blessings that the Lord has given us? 9) Do we realize that the Lord has given us much, so that we can give much? 10) Is our giving to the Church something we do wholeheartedly, or indifferently, or grudgingly? Won’t you pray that we will give as we ought, that we will give for the right motives, that we will give joyously, and that we will give extravagantly? May God help us!

Pastor David Weng

More Lively Hope



*Kitchen Roster: Today’s Team Leader: Bro Raphael Ng. Next Lord’s Day: Bro Simon Yeo.
*Hope Bookstore: Open today: 12:30 - 1:45 pm.
*Please note: All those who are involved in Welcoming & Ushering are to meet at side sanctuary immediately after Worship Service.
*Church picnic: please assemble at flying fox site first; & bring food & drinks for sharing. If transportation is required please let Session members know.
*All worshippers are encouraged to join a Neighbourhood Bible Study Group. For details, please see any Session member.
*Next week’s Fellowship Lunch is catered.

Praise & Thanksgiving
Journey mercies: Rev Edward & Mrs Lehia Paauwe (Adl/Per); Dn Tony & Sis Sally Law (Syd); Bro Joseph & Sis Chrisanthi Selvanayagam & family (Mt Gambier/Melb); Bro Raphael Ng (Barossa/Per); Bro Houston Li (Barossa/Adl); Sis Xandrea Cai’s parents (Adl); & others who have arrived safely.
Church Activities, in the past week.  
Recovery from eye surgery: Dn Yaw Chiew Tan
God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.
Visitors & new worshippers.

Prayer Items
Health & God’s healing - Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (S’pore); Rev George van Buuren; Rev Edward & Sis Lehia Paauwe; Rev & Mrs James White; Dn Yaw Chiew Tan; Bro Colin & Sis Kathleen Creaser; Bro Len & Sis Margaret Pearson (Nursing Home); Preacher Zhang (Sihanoukville); Grandpa Ki (S’pore); Bros Elton Law & Kang Fun Tan (S’pore); Sisters Margaret Hooper, Lai Kheng Chiong (KL), Choon Fong Lee (KL), Susan Varadi (Nursing Home); Mr Swee Liang Ng (Bro Raphael’s father); Mr Mang Soo Ong (Sis Gillian Ong’s father); Mr Wong (Dn Wai Kin Wong’s father); Mrs Maggie D’Mello (Dn Edwin’s mother in Mumbai) & Mrs Chuilin Yap (Malacca); Mr Tony Zhang; & others in affliction.
Special Prayer: Healing & strength: Pastor Ki.
Cambodia Missions - Rev Stephen Choi & Ministry; Bro Sun Sokha & Ministry (Phnom Penh)
Ministry in New Life BPC (London) & God’s guidance: Ps & Sis Ki.
Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions: Rev Keith Coleman, Board members & missionaries.
Presbyterian Missionary Union: Board & missionaries.
Batam Missions - Sis Ang Liang Phoa & Ministry.
iSketch&Tell Studio, YouTube Ministry & preparation for ordination - Pr HS Lim  (Melb, Vic).
Ministry in Hope BPC - Ps & Sis Weng .  
Journey mercies: Dn Tony & Sis Sally Law; Bro Joseph & Sis Chrisanthi Selvanayagam & family (Adl); Bro Raphael (Adl/Barossa) & Sis Bernadette Ng & family (Barossa/Adl); Bro John & Sis Josephine Wong & family (Adl); Bro Houston Li (Barossa/Adl); Sis Helen Heah (S’pore); & others who are travelling.  
Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.
Full-time Job - Sisters Felicia Tan & Corinne Teng; & others looking for  stable jobs.
Unity in doctrine & fellowship of all B-P Churches
Australian work & PR visas - Sisters Clara Sim, Felicia Tan & Sharon Ying.
Australia - God’s wisdom for our nation’s leaders & people; salvation of souls.
Believers under persecution in Islamic & Communist countries (especially in North Korea).
God’s over-rule/restrain of the situation in the Korean Peninsula.
Ministry & journey mercies in Australia: Bro Charles Scott-Pearson
Comfort: survivals & those who lost loved ones at Boston bombing. For salvation of bombers & victims.



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