New Testament Worship: The Contribution
Text: 1 Cor. 16.1,2; 2 Cor. 9.6,7
Thesis: To note the reasons why Christians are to give and to consider how much one is to give.
(1) The contribution is another act of worship that is to be carried out according to the divine formula of “in spirit and in truth” (John 4.24).
(2) The contribution is probably one of the acts of worship where very little thought is given to it by those engaging in the act.
(3) Let us note 4 questions pertaining to the act so that we may have a better idea of what is involved in the act:
I. To whom are we to give?
A. We are not giving to:
1. The eldership, deacons, preacher, etc.
2. Missionary work, building fund, etc.
3. While these things may be supported, they are not that to which we are primarily giving.
B. We are giving to God Almighty!
1. It is His money already.
2. He has appointed elders to oversee how that money is to be best used.
II. Why are we to give?
A. We are commanded (1 Cor. 16.1).
B. We are indebted (2 Cor. 9.15).
C. It is God’s money anyway (Gen. 1.1), and we are mere stewards of it (cf. Matt. 25 – Parable of the Talents).
D. We will reap bountifully (2 Cor. 9.6).
1. Paul reiterates that thought in Gal. 6.7.
2. Malachi encourages us to try this: “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this," says the LORD of hosts, "if I will not open for you the windows of heaven, and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows” (Mal. 3.10).
E. It is the nature of Christianity (Jesus gave; God gave – John 3.16).
III. When/Where are we to give?
A. 1 Cor. 16.1-2:
1. Upon every first day of the week
2. Already gathered together for the Lord’s Supper
B. Still, one may give individually at any time – Gal. 6.10
IV. How are we to give?
A. The Amount –
1. Jesus does not refer necessarily to the contribution in Matt. 5.20 (except your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees).
2. Consider: Luke 21:1-4
And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury. 2 And He
saw a certain poor widow putting in two small copper coins. 3 And He said,
"Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all of them; 4 for they all
out of their surplus put into the offering; but she out of her poverty put in all that
she had to live on. "
3. “According to your ability” (1 Cor. 16.1-2).
4. The key is to give from the heart (2 Cor. 9.7).
5. Ask yourself: “Am I seeking first the kingdom of God?” (cf. Matt. 6.33).
B. The Attitude –
1. “Purposed in your heart” (2 Cor. 9.7)
a. You’ve given careful thought to what you will give.
b. You take away from other things before you take away from the Lord.
c. You are honest and sincere.
2. Remember Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5) who lied about the amount. They were not condemned because of the amount, they were condemned because of the attitude.
3. God loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor. 9.7b).
(1) The Macedonian Christians taught us that if we are going to give and be acceptable to the Lord, then we must first give ourselves to Him (2 Cor. 8.5).
(2) Jesus taught us that we cannot present our gift at the alter unless we have first been reconciled (cf. Matt. 5.23-24).
(3) God gave everything to us, what are we giving to Him?
(4) Have you given God your life?