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The Collection

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Wow, We just finished chapter 15 that deals with resurrections, glorified bodies, dead leaving the graves, transformations, and becoming the direct, exact image of Jesus Christ Himself.
Then we have Paul saying,
1 Corinthians 16:1 KJV 1900
1 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye.
John MacArthur Sermon Archive Concerning the Collection, Part 1

Every glimpse we ever get of future glory is only given to us to encourage us, to a deeper sense of commitment to responsibility here and now.

2 Peter 3:11 KJV 1900
11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,
2 Peter 3:14 KJV 1900
14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
A glimpse into the future lays great responsibility on the present.
And when the spirit of God, in the 15th chapter, shows us the fantastic reality of resurrection day, and the time of transformation, and the incredible things that God has prepared us, it just has tremendous impact on the way we live right now. And even on how we put our money in the collection.
Before really fully understanding what Paul is teaching, we need to understand a little background information.
In the ancient world, Poverty was a real issue.
Poverty has always been a problem but we need to understand poverty in and around the time the Bible was written.
Poverty was such an issue, society, whether Greek or Jew, had taken steps to deal with this phenomenon.
The Greeks formed Associations to provide interest free loans for people who reached the place where they couldn’t provide for themselves. Because of disaster, despair, or destitution, they could apply for these loans.
The Jews did the same thing through their synagogues.
Among the Jews, a needy person could apply to the leadership of the synagogue, out of a fund for welfare, and his needs could be met through those officials making a decision to grant him a certain amount of money for his needs.
Paul after being called by God visited Jerusalem where he was faced with the poverty of Jerusalem and grew a very strong commitment to this problem.
Galatians 2:9 (KJV 1900)
9 And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.
Galatians 2:10 KJV 1900
10 Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do.
Now, when Peter and James, the half-brother of Jesus, a leader of the church, and John, commissioned Paul and Barnabas, they told them, “Remember the poor.” In other words there’s gonna have to be some kind of sociological ministry in your preaching to get a hearing for the gospel, in many cases.
We’re gonna have to reach out to some people who have need. And 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 1 Corinthians, collecting money—notice—for the Saints. What Saints? That’s very clear, the Saints at Jerusalem, the end of verse 3, “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 an offering to take to the poor Saints at Jerusalem.
It took him well over a year to collect it. At the end of his third missionary journey, he was in the city of Corinth making his final collection from the Corinthians. At that time, the end of his third journey, while he was in Corinth, he wrote the Book of Romans. And at the end of the Book of Romans, this is what he said,
Romans 15:25 KJV 1900
25 But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints.
“But now I go on to Jerusalem,” leaving Corinth now, he has now gotten the collection that he’s asking for in 1 Corinthians 16, by the time he writes Romans.
He says, “I now have this collection. I go to Jerusalem to minister to the Saints,
Romans 15:26 KJV 1900
26 For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem.
for it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia”—that would involve Corinth and Thessalonica and Philippi and Berea, some of those cities—“to make a certain contribution for the poor Saints who are at Jerusalem.
Romans 15:27 KJV 1900
27 It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things.
It hath pleased them verily, and their debtors they are.” It isn’t just a matter of pleasure; it’s also a debt they owe.
In other words these Gentile Christians ought to send for the poor Saints. Why? “For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister to them in carnal things.”
In other words, he says, “Look, if the Gentiles have benefited by God’s spiritual work through Israel, the Jews should benefit by God’s giving an abundance to the Gentiles economically.”
Now you say, “What does he mean by that?” Well, what he means simply is this, Jesus said, “Salvation is of the Jews.” Insofar as the whole Old Testament came through the Jews, most of the New Testament came through the Jews. Jesus Christ was a Jew; the whole prophetic office came through Jewish line. The whole message of Messiah came through the Jews and in a sense, we have been made partakers of that, which was given to Jews, and so he says, “If the Jews possession of spiritual things has been dispersed to the Gentiles, then the Gentiles possession of carnal things or money, should be dispersed back in an attitude of thanks.” And so he says, “I’m taking this collection, as a thank offering to the Jews to meet their extreme need”—this point, and so that really was his plan.
So, here he is; he hasn’t gotten to Corinth yet, he hasn’t written the Book of Romans yet, but by time he gets to Corinth and pens it, he collects this stuff to take back to the Jews at Jerusalem. And by the way, he had gathered money from Achaia, Macedonia, as well as Asia Minor, which would be Ephesus and some other cities that he had touched there. So, he had, apparently, a very, very substantial large amount.
So, he’s responding to their questions about what they’re to do in the collection. “How are we to collect this money?” And what Paul really does with that is he gives them instruction that sets out principles for all the church’s history, as to how the church should best be receiving its funds. Now, these are not commands by God, but these are patterns given by Paul, which I think form a very good basis for the church’s giving, even today. So, they knew about it. And it’s another one of the subjects; there’s a clean break in 16, and he moves to this theme about which, no doubt, they had asked questions.
Now, Paul says, “I want you to take this collection and finally, I’m gonna get the whole thing together; I’m gonna take it and I’m gonna deliver it to the Jews in Jerusalem. And that is precisely what he did. “After many years,” he says in
Acts 24:17 KJV 1900
17 Now after many years I came to bring alms to my nation, and offerings.
, “I am now bringing alms to my nation.” Finally, after all these years of collecting it, well over a year, and it could’ve been even more than that, collecting these amounts of money.
Not only sociologically did Paul do this, but I believe theologically as well.
Paul desire was God’s desire!
That Gentiles and Jews would become one.
Ephesians 2:14 KJV 1900
14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
He wants the Jew and the Gentile one. He wants no bond, no free, no male, no female, no Jew, no Gentile, but all are one in Christ to be a reality. And he realizes that maybe there’s one great way that he can do that. And he can in a sense, accomplish two things, in one act. Not only relieve the needs, economically, of the Jerusalem church, but in an overwhelming act of love, this money from the Gentiles will go a long way to solidify union.
You cannot share money without sharing fellowship.
Money has always been a problem
1 Corinthians 16:1 KJV 1900
1 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye.

Purpose of Giving

1 Corinthians 16:1 KJV 1900
1 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye.

Saints in Need

The church’s main responsibility is to fund it own’s needs.
Also notice, that one local church is helping out the needs of another local church in another location, Jerusalem.
God’s ministry and purpose is not just locally but globally. When we understand this, we will be more than excited to help other churches with their needs because they are all God’s needs.
So the offering is to meet needs.

Physical Needs

The Basic Necessities of Life
As a church, we sometimes help individuals with needs.
We use the deacon fund for this.
Sometimes we take special offerings.

Spiritual Needs

Meeting Spiritual Needs by providing classes, facilities, literature, etc. to help you grow spiritually.
The church has responsibilities.

Saints who Lead

We give to support the church, not only its people but its leaders as well.
Not on this occasion but on other occasions, the Apostle Paul received collections for himself. For example, in the Philippians 4, Paul responds to the Philippians by thanking them for the offering they gave him. He says in,
Philippians 4:15 KJV 1900
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.
verse 15, “Now you Philippians know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me as concerning giving and receiving, be ye only.
Philippians 4:16 KJV 1900
16 For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity.
For even in Thessalonica, you sent once and again, to my necessity.”
Remember 1 Cor 9:1
1 Corinthians 9:1 KJV 1900
1 Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord?
1 Corinthians 9:4 KJV 1900
4 Have we not power to eat and to drink?
1 Corinthians 9:5 KJV 1900
5 Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?
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 people that 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?
1 Corinthians 9:7 KJV 1900
7 Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock?
1 Corinthians 9:8–10 KJV 1900
8 Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also? 9 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.
Then he gives the principle in
1 Corinthians 9:11 KJV 1900
11 If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?
1 Corinthians 9:14 KJV 1900
14 Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.
Not only does Paul deal with the Purpose of Giving but also the

Period of Giving

1 Corinthians 16:2 (KJV 1900)
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.
Do you realize that how you handle money and how I handle money is a barometer of my spirituality? It really is. In fact, listen to this. In the Book of Luke in the 16th chapter, and this verse really speaks to my heart.
Luke 16:11 KJV 1900
11 If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?
Verse 11 says, “If therefore you have not been faithful in the unrighteous money, who will commit to your trust the true riches?”
How you handle your money will have a great deal to do with how God uses you with his people.
Luke 16:12 KJV 1900
12 And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own?
Luke 16:13 (KJV 1900)
13 No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
Dealing with Stewardship!
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 a constant basis, I don’t think you’ve really come to grips with what Paul is saying here.
I think what Paul saying is, 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.
We are to face the reality of giving weekly. God doesn’t want us to store it up until some forgotten tomorrow. God wants us to be giving on a constant systematic week by week basis so that we’re always facing the reality of stewardship.

Place of Giving

1 Corinthians 16:2 (KJV 1900)
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.
From the earliest years of the church, and you need to focus on this now and think with me, because this puts a very practical concept into your giving. From the earliest years of the church it was the pattern of giving that the saints would take their monies and they would give them to the church leaders and the church leaders would distribute them. So that giving in a sense was indirect to the need. The church leaders would determine the needs. The church leaders would distribute to meet the needs rather than every individual simply giving money to whatever and whenever, wherever he wanted.
Acts 4:35–37 KJV 1900
35 And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need. 36 And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus, 37 Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
Now, I want to go a step further to show you why I believe this. Not only does it seem that this was the pattern in history, but the phrase here “to lay by him in store” does not necessarily mean in a private fund. To lay by himself simply means that each individual by himself in a very personal and a very private kind of way is to set aside this giving. In other words, the by himself doesn’t mean beside himself in his house. It means that he is to determine this by himself. This is a private personal thing. In other words, nobody’s going to tell you how much to set aside, how much to invest with God, how much to give, that is something you determine by yourself and then you lay it in store.
1 Corinthians 16:2 KJV 1900
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.
Now what does it mean to lay it in store? Well, the Greek word, thesauridso, from which we get Thesaurus, which you might recognize. There’s a book called a Thesaurus which is a treasury of words. The word means treasury. It could mean treasury, it could mean money box, it could mean a chest, it could mean a warehouse, it could mean a chamber. It has a lot of meanings, but it’s where you put treasure. It’s where you put valuables. Well, the thing is the word then doesn’t tell us anything. It doesn’t tell us anything about where this thing is, but if we study history, we learn something very interesting.
Most all temples whether Jewish or Pagan, had safety deposit boxes within the temple where funds would be stored.
Further, I think it’s important for us to note this, at the end of verse 2 he says this, “you do this on the first day of the week so that when I come there be no gatherings when I come.” Now listen to that. “There be no gatherings,” it’s the very same word that’s in verse 1, collections.
Paul is saying here is that this should work out in such a way that when I come I don’t have to take a special offering, because it will already be there available.
So we see the purpose of giving, to meet the needs of the saints.
The period of giving, the first day of the week, and the place of giving, the church.
Fourthly, fourthly, the

Participants in Giving

1 Corinthians 16:2 (KJV 1900)
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.
Every one of you is to take this systematically week in and week out and to place it in the treasury of the church for distribution to the needs of the saints. It’s a matter of stewardship. Every one of you say well, I’m very poor. Well, if you have anything, you have something to give, right? If you have anything, you have something to give.
Widow in Mark 12 gave 100%
The Macedonians
2 Corinthians 8:2 (KJV 1900)
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.
The reason?
2 Corinthians 8:5 KJV 1900
5 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.

Proportion of Giving

1 Corinthians 16:2 (KJV 1900)
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.
We are not talking about a tithe, which had to do with taxation in the OLD Testament.
In Leviticus 27 there is a tithe commanded to go to the priest.
In Deuteronomy 12 they were commanded to give another tithe for the Religious Holidays and Feasts.
and then again in Deuteronomy 12 they were commanded to give a tithe every 3 years to the poor.
So you actually have 10% for government, 10% for Religion, and 1/3 % to welfare.
So actually the tithe of the Old Testament actually came to 20 1/3 percent annually.
Which is kind of close to America’s bases of taxes 20%.
So a tithe was a legal responsibility.
Paul says “as God has prospered you.”
This is the free will giving, an offering in the New Testament.
Proverbs 3:9–10 KJV 1900
9 Honour the Lord with thy substance, And with the firstfruits of all thine increase: 10 So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, And thy presses shall burst out with new wine.
How much were they to give after the required giving? Whatever you want.
Just honor the Lord and give what you want, but remember the more generous you are the better the harvest and the fatter your barn’s going to be.
Proverbs 11:24 KJV 1900
24 There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; And there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty.
You want to lose your money, hoard it. You want to gain, scatter it. “The liberal soul shall be made fat.” That was the principle. In other words, God was saying this, look, you can give whatever you want, give the first fruits, the best you’ve got, give out of your substance and if you hold back, you’ll tend to poverty and if you scatter it, put out a lot, God will make you rich. That was giving.
Let me illustrate.
Look at Exodus 25
Now they were building the tabernacle,
Exodus 25:1 KJV 1900
1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
“and the Lord spoke to Moses and said
Exodus 25:2 (KJV 1900)
2 Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering.
speak to the children of Israel that they bring me an offering.” Now this isn’t the tithe. It’s not the first ten percent, the second percent or the third ten percent, this is something they can do whatever they want. Now notice, “of every man that gives it willingly with his heart you shall take my offering.” What’s the standard then? Whatever you want, whatever’s in your heart, whatever you’re willing to do. A beautiful spirit.
Exodus 35:5 KJV 1900
5 Take ye from among you an offering unto the Lord: whosoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it, an offering of the Lord; gold, and silver, and brass,
Listen, God does not want you to give grudgingly or of, what, necessity. There’s not any prescription beloved. He just wants you to give whatever you want to give. Whatever you’re willing to give, but He says, remember what you give, I will multiply. What you hold you won’t see any multiplication on.
Exodus 35:21 (KJV 1900)
21 And they came, every one whose heart stirred him up, and every one whom his spirit made willing, and they brought the Lord’s offering to the work of the tabernacle of the congregation, and for all his service, and for the holy garments.
Well, you know, how the story ended. They kept bringing so much stuff that finally they had to make an announcement.
Exodus 36:6 (KJV 1900)
6 And Moses gave commandment, and they caused it to be proclaimed throughout the camp, saying, Let neither man nor woman make any more work for the offering of the sanctuary. So the people were restrained from bringing.
The New Testament tells us to do two things with our money, basic two obligations.
Romans 13:6 KJV 1900
6 For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.
“For this cause pay ye tribute [taxes].” That’s right. For the IRS are God’s ministers. That’s what it says here. It doesn’t say IRS, but it means them. “Render therefore to all their dues, pay every last dime, tribute to whom tribute due, custom to whom custom, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.” Now do you see what the New Testament is saying. It’s saying the same thing. You … prior in the time of Egypt, in the time of Egypt was the standard? Pay your 20% taxes to Egypt and give to God what you want. In Moses time, pay your 23 1/3 or whatever it was to Israel and give God whatever you want? Today what is it? Pay your income taxes. The United States government prescribes it, that’s required giving, and give God whatever is in your heart to give. There’s no tenth, there’s no percent involved at all.
Luke 6:38 (KJV 1900)
38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
The only thing you get a return on, is what you give or invest.
2 Corinthians 9:6–10 KJV 1900
6 But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. 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. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: 9 (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever. 10 Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;)
So you will receive the physical bread and the spiritual fruits of righteousness by investing with God. You can’t beat it. It’s the greatest deal there is.
So the amount, what is the proportion? What does Paul say in 1 Corinthians 16:2?
1 Corinthians 16:2 KJV 1900
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.
How much are we to give Paul? “You are to give just exactly what you in your heart determine.” So says Paul, “Let every one of us purpose in his heart what he will give, but be sure it’s not grudging or of necessity but because the Lord loves,” what, “a cheerful giver.” How much are you to give to the Lord? Whatever you want. How often are you to give the Lord? Constantly, dealing with it on a week by week basis. Where are you to give to the Lord? Into the church so that it can be distributed by those who have spiritual oversight. For what reasons are you to give to the church that the church might support its own spiritually and physically and meet their needs.
We should not have to scramble to collect funds for the things God has brought into our lives to meet people both physically and spiritually.
How are you doing as a steward of the physical things that God has provided for you?
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