December 2018   
SMTWTFS
      1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031   
Bible Search
CHRISTIAN LIFE - FINANCIAL STEWARDSHIP - Romans 14:10-12; 2 Corinthians 8:9; 2 Corinthians 9:7

FINANCIAL STEWARDSHIP

The Christian’s responsibility in financial stewardship has three phases: earning money, possessing money, and giving money. Money is a vital factor in both spiritual and material progress. Christians must face their responsibility as stewards, for they will be judged on this at the judgment seat of Christ. (Romans 14:10-12)

Too often money is acquired, held, or given by the child of God without due recognition of the fundamental steward relationship.

1. Earning money for a Christian must be worthy of the Christian’s relationship to God (1 Corinthians 10:31). All will toil including Christians. (Genesis 3:19; 2 Thessalonians 3:10), However, to the  believer, labor is more than merely earning a living. It is doing the will of God. Every employment should be accepted as a specific appointment from God to be done for Him or else not done at all.

God, in infinite love, is committed to the care of His children, and this without reference to their earning power (Philippians 4:19; Hebrews 13:5). God is pleased to give His children food and clothing through their daily labor. The saying “God provides for only those who cannot provide for themselves” is untrue. He cares for His own at all times. All they have is from Him (1 Samuel 2:7).

Relationships among humans require agreements and salaries (Luke 10:7). In relation to his Father, the Christian’s highest ideal is that whatever he does he does at the appointment of his Father, for His sake, and as an expression of devotion to Him. Whatever is received is not earned but is the expression of the Father’s loving care. Such an attitude is not sentimental or impractical. It is the only basis on which believers can sanctify their toil by doing it for the glory of God or be able to “rejoice evermore” (1 Thessalonians 5:16).

2. Possessing money becomes a great responsibility for any sincere Christian. In view of the appalling need everywhere and the unmeasured good that money may accomplish, every Christian must face the practical question relative to retaining property. The yielded Christian will hold property only as God directs, and should be subject to His control. The motives which drive people--the desire to be rich (Philippians 4:11; 1 Timothy 6:8-9, 17-18; Hebrews 13:5; James 1:11), the desire to provide against a day of need (Matthew 6:25-34), and the desire to provide for others--are commendable only as they fulfill the specifically revealed will of God in each individual’s life.

3. Giving money which a Christian has earned becomes an important aspect of any believer’s service for God. Self and money are alike in roots of evil. Christians are expected to be in a grace relationship with God which assumes that they have first given themselves to God in unqualified dedication (2 Corinthians 8:5) of everything (1 Corinthians 6:20-7:23; 1 Peter 1:18-19)--life, time, strength, ability, ideals, and property.

The grace principle involves the believer’s recognition of God’s sovereign authority over all a Christian is and has, in contrast with the Old Testament legal system of tithing which was part of the Law until the Law was fulfilled (John 1:16-17; Romans 6:14-7:16; 2 Corinthians 3:1-18; Galatians 3:19-25; 5:18; Ephesians 2:15; Colossians 2:14). Tithing, like sabbath observance, is never imposed on the believer in this dispensation. The Lord’s Day superseded the legal sabbath and is adapted to the principles of grace as the sabbath could not be, and tithing has been superseded by a new system of giving which is adapted to the teachings of grace as tithing could not be. 2 Corinthians 8:1-9:15 summarizes Christian giving under grace.  In this passage, we discover that
•    Christ Himself was the pattern (2 Corinthians 8:9). The Lord gave Himself. He did not give a tenth. He gave all.
•    Their giving was out of great poverty. A striking combination of phrases describe the Corinthians' experience in giving (2 Corinthians 8:2): “most severe trial” “overflowing joy” “extreme poverty” “rich generosity.” Their giving was not by commandment, nor of necessity. Under the Law, a tenth was commanded, and its payment was a necessity. Under grace, no law is imposed, and no proportion to be given is stipulated because God is not seeking the gift but an expression of devotion from the giver. God works in the yielded heart both to will and to do His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13), He finds pleasure only in that gift which is given cheerfully, or, more literally, hilariously (2 Corinthians 9:7).

If a law existed stipulating the amount to be given, some would fulfill it, even against their own wishes. Thus the gift would be made “grudgingly” and “of necessity.” To support the work of the Gospel, we must have money whether given hilariously or not. It is not the amount which is given, but rather the divine blessing upon the gift that accomplishes the desired end.
•    Acceptable giving begins with a complete giving of oneself. (2 Corinthians 8:5). God only imposed tithing on the nation of Israel, and Christian giving is limited to believers.
•    Christians under grace in the early church gave systematically like in tithing (1 Corinthians 16:2). This injunction is addressed to every Christian and thus excuses no one. Giving is to be from that which is already “in store.”
•    God will sustain a believer’s grace-giving with limitless temporal resources (2 Corinthians 9:8-10; Luke 6:38). Since a believer can have no relation to the Law (Galatians 5:1), prosperity is the fulfillment of promise under grace, not fulfillment of promises under the Law. No blessings are dependent on exact tithing. No opportunity exists for designing people to become rich. Giving must be from the heart, and God’s response will be according to His perfect will for His child. He may respond by bestowing spiritual riches or temporal blessings as He chooses.
•    True riches are from God. The Corinthian Christians were made rich with heavenly riches. There is such a thing as being rich in this world’s goods and yet not rich toward God (Luke 12:21). It is possible to be rich in faith (James 2:5) and rich in good works (1 Timothy 6:18). Through the absolute poverty of Christ in His death, all may be made rich (2 Corinthians 8:9). In Christ Jesus, the believer receives the riches of His grace (Ephesians 1:7) and the riches of His glory (Ephesians 3:16).

THE INVITATION
★    You can't depend on your own goodness to get to Heaven. We've all sinned  (Romans 3:23). Jesus paid the penalty for your sins with His death on the cross and His resurrection (John 3:16).
★    To be forgiven and be guaranteed a place in Heaven, you need to repent of sin, confess that you are a sinner, and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ in your heart (Acts 2:21).
★    You can use the following prayer or your own words, but you must actually believe in your heart that your prayer is real:
              Lord Jesus, I believe You are the Son of God. I confess that I have sinned against You in thought, word, and deed. Please forgive all my wrongdoing and let me live in relationship with You from now on.
              I receive You as my Savior and recognize that the work You accomplished once and for all on the cross was done on my behalf.
              Thank You for saving me. Help me to live a life that is pleasing to You.
                     In Your name I pray, Amen.

 

    Dr. Nicholas J. Gray, Pastor   Broadway Baptist Church   Sedalia, Missouri   September 13, 2015