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Concerning the Collection, Part 1

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
September 28, 2021 4:00 am

Concerning the Collection, Part 1

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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September 28, 2021 4:00 am

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To see how you handle your money. What a great deal to do with how God uses you with his people, and then he goes on to say you can't serve God and what money so there are a lot of Christians who need to realize that maybe the reason that they're not having great spiritual ministries because they haven't really dealt with the financial area of the evangelist George Whitfield as Whitfield concluded his sermon he called for a collection to support an orphanage.

Franklin resolved to give the orphanage nothing but as the preacher made his case. Franklin thought he could part with a few pennies and by the time Whitfield left the pulpit, Franklin was so impressed by Whitfield's oratory and so moved emotionally then he emptied his pockets wholly into the collectors dish gold and all. Well, where supporting the work of the church is concerned an important question is this what role should your emotions play in that. What's the connection between how you feel and how much or how little you should give keep those questions in mind as you listen to John MacArthur's lesson today on grace to you.

Here he is to continue his series on God's plan for giving it will take your Bible and let's look at first Corinthians chapter 16 in the ancient world poverty was a realistic many people were poor. When I say poor I mean poor like we don't see poverty in our particular country. If you visited Tijuana, you see poverty for visited like I have places like Cairo Egypt, you see poverty. There are places in the world where poverty would be somewhat like in biblical times. Our society knows very little of that kind of poverty. I want you to understand this poverty situation had brought to bear on Paul's ministry, a very strong commitment. When Paul first began his ministry. He was called by the Lord Jesus. But later on he visited Jerusalem and he got sort of an official commission from Peter James and John. This James being different than the one in the Gospels, this one being the head of the Jerusalem church, the half-brother of Jesus himself, but these three men, according to Galatians chapter 2 in verse nine. Met with Paul when he was to be sent out with Barnabas and they said we commission you to go to the Gentiles and then they said this in Galatians 210, only that we should remember the poor the same which I also was diligent to do now when Peter leader of Peter and James, a leader of the church and John commission. Paul and Barnabas. They told him remember the poor so they were instructed from the very beginning before they ever took their first missionary journey to remember the poor and Paul said I did this and it's true.

Here he is in the 16th chapter of first Corinthians collecting money. Notice for the saints what saints is very clear the saints in Jerusalem the end of verse three. I will send to bring your liberality to Jerusalem and why because there was an abundance of poor Christians in Jerusalem. There was a real poverty problem. There and so Paul is collecting and offering to take to the poor saints at Jerusalem and he is now writing the Corinthians to ask them to have a part in this collection. This is not the first time they've heard about it, it's evident to me that they had even asked him about it.

That's why he begins by saying now concerning the collection first Corinthians is written in response to a letter from the Corinthians asking about a lot of these issues and so is responding to their questions about what they're doing. The collection how we collect this money and what Paul really does with that is he gives them instruction that sets out principles for all the churches history as to how the church should best be receiving. It's fun. Let's begin to look at the principles outlined here for receiving the collection number one is the purpose of giving up, I was going to outline for us some basic directives for Christian giving. They go way beyond this occasion in Corinth and I think that's why the Holy Spirit put them here because they have such an impact on what is the purpose for giving verse one now concerning the collection here comes the purpose for the saints, and even then he adds, it's the same collection that I have given order to the churches in Galatia. This is what I want you to do. In other words, the same collection that's going to go to the saints in Jerusalem, the one that I told the Galatians about I told the Macedonians about I told you cans about those in Asia minor know about it and I want you to get in on.

But notice the purpose for the saints. Now, I am convinced that this is not only the purpose for this collection. But as you study the New Testament you will find again and again and that the primary purpose of all collections was to come back to the church from acts chapter 2. They shared everything and they held in common in acts chapter 4 they shared again and they held in common. They were very involved in meeting their own needs. In acts chapter 6 they were distributing food to the widows. Among those in the church could not support themselves so that the church gives to support itself. The church is to invest in its own life and in its own people know I am not saying that we are to have nothing to do with people outside the church. In Galatians, to be apostle Paul says that we are to do good unto all men, especially those that are of the household of faith.

But where to do good to all men, and the story of Luke chapter 10 the story of the good Samaritan who went out of his way to to minister to a Jew who was in a different culture and a different religion in a completely different set of circumstances is indicative to me that there are times when God wants us to do good to those who are not of the household of faith.

God wants us to do good to those in her bleeding on the highway. Whoever they are. But Paul's point here is that the church's primary responsibility is to make sure that it finds its own needs. That's basic now.

Notice also that it is not one local church funding only that local church but one local assembly here in Corinth, caring for the needs of another local assembly in Jerusalem, so that the church when it really is the church and when it understands what it is universally will meet its needs anywhere, not just selfishly pouring it on it. It's local point of existence, but the church is to meet its own needs. Let me share with you two things we are to give to support those among us who are poor and needy. That's number one. In other words, we give for the people for the congregation's needs, whatever they are. There are people in our church who from time to time have their needs met. As we get as we give money to the as we supply what they don't have. This is a primary thing the church and that they in fact had a great advantage over us. They didn't have to do things the way we do.

Building things and all of the kind of complexities that we have today. We believe God has led in his church.

Today, the way it is. But in that day. The monies would be directly poured back into the lives of the people that meet their physical needs to meet their spiritual needs. Just as Paul's offering was not only us an active sociological welfare with economics in mind, but it was an act of binding together a unity in an will and a love so we are to give money that can be used not just to meet physical needs, but to meet spiritual ones as well.

That's a primary area of the church has responsibility to cover real sharing in real unity will come to the place where it finally resolves itself in the giving of money in 13 of Hebrews in the 16th verse that says do good and share for was such sacrifice, God's will. Please. And Jesus said in acts 2035. It is recorded that Jesus said it is better to what give than to receive a basic Christian truth. We are to give to support those who have need in the church now that that's just basic. Whatever you have should be available to anybody else who has need of. Let me take you to a second thought of this first point we give to support the church not only its people but it's leaders as well. Not on this occasion, but on other occasions. The apostle Paul received collections for himself.

For example, in the fourth chapter of Philippians, Paul response to the Philippians by thanking them for the offering. They gave him. He says in verse 15. Now you Philippians know that in the beginning of the gospel.

When I departed from Macedonia. No church shared with me is concerning giving and receiving. But ye only for even in Thessalonica you sent once and again to my necessity. In other words, Paul says you gave me money you supported me and he had every right to that as a leader in the church look with me at first Corinthians chapter 9 for a moment. I don't really feel self-conscious preaching about this because it's right here in the Scripture, and I want you to understand what the principle is about supporting those who are in leadership in the church, by the way, I don't have any ulterior motive.

I want you to know that the church already gives me too much at one time I asked an older wide to give me too much and they said because you're always talking about stewardship so we want to watch how you do it so I guess that's fair enough. Chapter 9 verse one says am I not an apostle. Am I not free. Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord, are not you my work in the Lord and look he says I'm an apostle and if I'm an apostle then look at verse four.

Have we know right to eat and drink to have a right to eat and drink that we know right to lead about a sister life as well as other apostles. In other words, do I have the right to eat and drink, do I have the right to have a wife do I have the right to have a little coterie of people to go around with me and minister with me.

Do I have a right Barnabas and I to stop working so that we can do this job because if I have a right as an apostle to eat and drink and have a family if if God so designs and if I have a right to have a group of people to go along with interdependent on me and if I have a right to stop working to preach, then somebody's going to have to pay.

He says in verse seven, who goes toward his own expense you known. He sold it out to raise his own money to fight government pays who plants a vineyard and doesn't eat its fruit who feeds a flak doesn't drink the milk of the flock, and even Moses said in the law should muzzle the ox while he treads the grain you want the ox to really tread the grain letting me little as he goes. And so what he saying years is a basic principle. Verse 11. If we have sown to you spiritual things is it such a big deal if we reap carnal thing. In other words, if we give you spiritual food, then you need to provide for us and return so that the church that has two responsibilities. It has a responsibility to give in order to meet the needs of its people and its leadership. Look at another verse.

First Timothy 517. This is most interesting. It says let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor. Specially, they labor in the word and doctrine. I hear you have another verse that deals with it the financing of the ministry. Let the elders an elder is a synonym for pastor or elder bishop or presbyter any of those terms. Leaders of the church. Those who are the teachers and the leaders who rule it says let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor.

Specially, they labor in the word and doctrine. I noticed something there are elders in the church. Some of them rule well, which means that there may be differences in how effectively they minister and some of those who rule well labor in the word and doctrine especially hard and those who rule well and those who labor in the word and doctrine with great diligence are worthy of double pay.

The Greek said so not only is the church to support its leadership, but it is the poor support its leadership, not necessarily on an equivalent basis but dependent upon how diligently its leadership works, and that's a basic principle so the church then is called upon to support its people and its leaders.

And that's the interchange in the share and you know where the great joys of that of the pastor or the great joys of receiving from the church is the joy of giving back not only the spiritual thing, but giving back into God's church. Some of what God's church is given financial she so were just sharing it all just sharing now when anyone of us gets off in a corner start piling up his own closet, then I don't know that were always being honest and faithful with the whole picture.

So we need understand that I'm not saying God wants us all poor and barefooted. If God made Abraham and Job rich than God wants to make some of us rich, that's fine. It just says in first Timothy six charge them. The rich they don't hoard it, but that they be willing to share. So the church is to give to its people and its leaders that space that is the purpose of giving secondly this is all will talk about just briefly the period of giving.

He even discusses here when we are to give verse two upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in stores God has prospered him that there be no collections when I come at collection word. There is the same as the word in the first verse lobby. It means something opposed to attacks, something opposed to a prescribed amount.

I don't want any of those collections when I come because it all to be taken care of. On the first day of the week of the normal day for the church to meet was the first day you know that it always has been. In John chapter 20 is where it all started people so how do we ever get away from the Sabbath and how do we ever get on Sunday. Well, here it is in John 2019 it says the same day at evening. This is resurrection day when Jesus rose being the first day of the week when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews came Jesus and stood in the midst.

The first post resurrection service was held on resurrection day Sunday first day the week while that became such a great day such a glorious day, resurrection day that that became the standard day and you move over to the same chapter 26 verse and eight days later.

Again, the disciples inside eight days later would be the next Sunday. Thomas Witham then came Jesus, the second service.

They ever had. After resurrection was also on a Sunday and that became the pattern and so later on as you move into the book of acts you see them gathering on that day over in acts chapter 20.

For example, it says and we sailed away from Philippi we came to Truax as an on the first day of the week when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached to them. So by the time you're in acts 20 it's the pattern of the church to meet on the first day of the week and by the time you get the Revelation 110 that day has a name. It's called the Lord's day the Lord's day. You might also be interested to know that the day of Pentecost in which the church was born was a Sunday first day of the week. You might also be interested to know that the church never did celebrate the Sabbath as such in Colossians 216 Paul says don't let anybody bind you to a Sabbath in Romans 14 says the same thing and it is the only one of the 10 Commandments not repeated in the New Testament so the Sabbath was set aside in favor of resurrection day in the church was to come together on the first day and that's why he says what he says here on the first day of the week but every one of you lay by him and store they say will why why on the first day of the week because that's the day of worship and how you handle money is inextricably tied with the depth of your worship. I will say well you know I do it I would landed here in December I figure out my whole thing to write a big check. That's not what God wants. That's that's really disobedient to this principle because you see.

Then you're only dealing with the stewardship of your money once a year. And God wants you to deal with it.

How often every week. You realize that how you handle money and how I handle money as a barometer of my spirituality. It really is, in fact, listen to this in the book of Luke in the 16th chapter in this verse really speaks to my heart. Verse 11 says if therefore you have not been faithful in the unrighteous money who will commit to your trust the true riches what what a verse in other words, he says MacArthur if you're not faithful how you handle money I'm never going to give you people on it would stress to you the true riches souls.

If you can handle dollars to see how you handle your money. What a great deal to do with how God uses you with his people, and then he goes on to say you can't serve God and what money so there are a lot of Christians who need to realize that maybe the reason that they're not having great spiritual ministry is because they haven't really dealt with the financial area of their life.

I know guys out of the ministry totally out of the ministry for no other reason than that he could preach with the best of he could lead with the best on fantastic personality, great, beloved man is out of the ministry because of that reason and that reason alone, but handle money and he had no credibility and God wasn't about to entrust to him the true riches, beloved God wants to use you in marvelous ways. But until you're dealing every day every week with the reality of the fact that every dollar in your pocket every dime you have, every dollar in your bank account is a stewardship entrusted to you by God until you're dealing with that on and on a constant basis. I don't think you really come to grips with what Paul saying why is it that we are give each week. Why is it that we are to give week by week by week rather than sporadically or hit and miss her whenever we feel like it is because God wants us to deal with the reality of stewardship of money constantly, moment by moment. Now you say why we get paid every month. Does that mean I have to put a check in every every week and so to spread it out. No, I don't want you to be legalistic about. I don't think that's what it's saying I think he's not saying on every single first day of every single week.

Make sure buddy. You drop some millionaire known what he saying is that, let there be a consciousness that when you come to worship God. You can only worship God and break bread at his table and fellowship with his people.

When you have dealt with how you handle your stewardship of money that's the issue. So you need to deal with.

If you're paid every two weeks and you only place that gift in every two weeks. You still need to be sensitive on that off week. Who knows what the Spirit of God might say you you know there's somebody somebody who has a real need maybe are going to meet them today, and they're gonna need $50 and you are to be ready with $50 and you have available to give to that person if they needed. In other words, you need to be ready to deal with that thing every week.

You may say, while I can get my check once a month or once every two weeks, but the stewardship is still there for the rest of those weeks to if God so speaks right.

That's why Patricia and I have been able to the years to keep a little fun just kind of a little fun that's in the background.

We don't mess with until was a need and we have a little draw out so we can be available to God at all, once it will ruin our little fun. You know, but those are things that you have to deal with on a constant basis.

And you have to be ready, even on the week you're not giving more than the time you're not putting that check in the offering to be sensitive to what God's Spirit is saying and to be dealing with that issue. If nothing more than to say God. This was one week when my stewardship would speak well of my commitment. You know you see it isn't just the money you give, it's the rest of the money to that has to be entrusted as a stewardship that the purpose of giving Ennis to support the church the people in the leaders and then beyond that to reach out to anybody you see on the road is bleeding and is and has a need. Weather is a Christian or not, and in the.

Forgiving is the first day of the week. That's the only time we take on offering here on Wednesdays are other times less would be some special missionary need or some need at the moment, but the regular giving is on the Lord say because that's what they did. They saw that when a need comes along. We got to get up and holler at you I get you all emotionally traumatized and safe and get you all worked up so you give emotionally. We want you learn to deal systematically week by week with stewardship so that when needs come there's money available because you been faithful and you've given out of love to God, not of some emotional stimulation.

Thank you father for the great truths we learn from our Lord Jesus was rich, but for our sakes became poor, that we through his poverty might be made rich and we know that the most of all, the thing he gave us salvation. He gave himself on the cross he gave everything he gave his life for us. Help us to be willing to do the thing that expresses love in the supreme way. Greater love hath no man than this, and that a man lay down his life for his friend or father teach us that we can't look upon our brother and close up our compassion and really say we love you so help us to love you love the fellowship. Love the body even to love the ungodly enough to reach out give you meet the need and know full well it will never out give you as you pour on us abundant bliss.

This is grace to you with John MacArthur thanks for tuning in today. John has been grace to use featured speakers since 1969. He's also Chancellor of the Masters University and seminary in the Los Angeles area and his current studies showing you God's plan for giving well today's lesson and the rest of John's messages this week come from first Corinthians 16 John is kind of amazing how the trends and issues facing the first century church in Corinth are the same issues. The church today faces the spiritual problems that Christians deal with span not only cultures but even time itself yeah and that speaks to the very reason that grace you exists, this isn't Dr. Phil, we are trying to help people with current problems with current insights right and were not dealing with the wisdom of sociology or psychology or or whatever to help people that the uniqueness of the ministry of grace to you in any biblical ministries because problems are always the same because people are always the same. We deal with contemporary problems. Current problems with an ancient book would we deal with the head of the issues of life by going back 2000 years to the New Testament 4000 more years.

Back to the Old Testament because this is the living and abiding word of God that never ever grows old and is never out of relevance so the ministry of grace to you brings to bear the living word of God on the issues of every culture and every time. That is the timeless reality of Scripture and in the case.

For example, of talking about first Corinthians 16 in our series on giving. I would just remind you that I've written a commentary on first Corinthians that deals with the entire book. Every verse, every phrase, in many cases, every word that you'll find this gives you a deep and comprehensive grasp on the book that you're looking at in this case. First Corinthians, by the way also written a commentary on every book of the New Testament. The composite is the MacArthur New Testament commentary series. If you not read commentaries you need to start doing it. You could start with the one on first Corinthians.

It's about 500 pages of clear explanation of everything in the text like speaking in tongues Christian liberty, singleness, marriage, spiritual gifts, the resurrection love so many things, as well as this section on giving. I think if you if you've not tried going through a commentary you will find that this will be an experience the likes of which you haven't had in the past is not a devotional it's in-depth, I would encourage you start with one of the commentaries maybe first Corinthians, or any other favorite book you have and begin to get more. In fact, the entire New Testament commentary series is available 34 of all humans and all add to your commentary collection. If you already have them, or order one today or even order the whole set.

Yes send these commentaries are not just for pastors or theologians, the MacArthur New Testament commentary series explains even the toughest Bible passages so that anyone can better understand God's word and apply it to their lives to get the first Corinthians volume or the entire MacArthur New Testament commentary series. Contact us today. The first Corinthians volume as well as any individual volume in the MacArthur New Testament commentary series costs $19 and shipping is free to order, call 855 grace or visit our website. GT why God or keep in mind you'll enjoy a substantial discount if over the entire 34 volume set which includes a helpful index for the entire series again to order John's commentary on first Corinthians for his entire commentary series, call 855 or shop and remember there are thousands of free resources

If you are looking to grow in your love for God and his word or if you wondering what Scripture says about how to be a better parent or if you want to know how to interpret a particular passage likely find a sermon or blog article or a devotional that will meet your need that website again now for John MacArthur and the entire grace to you staff, I'm Phil Johnson. Thanks for making this broadcast part of your day and make sure you're here tomorrow when John continues his study on God's plan for giving. Don't miss the next 30 minutes of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time on grace to you

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