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Scripture

Saturday Study

1 Corinthians 16 & Nehemiah 1-4 (11.19.22)

In 1 Corinthians 16, we read Paul’s clear instruction to the Church for how regularly they should be giving to the work of the local church and ongoing gospel ministry.

1 Corinthians 16:2a (TLB) On every Lord’s Day each of you should put aside something from what you have earned during the week, and use it for this offering.

God is clear to not only save us from our sin but to commission us to be faithful managers of all that He entrusts to us for His glory and others’ good. This is what it means to be a good steward. A steward is a manager of another’s things. All that we are and all that we have is from the Lord, and so it is right that, in Christ, we manage what He has entrusted to us in such a way that it is for His glory and is in accordance with His instruction for our lives. It is essential that we are faithful in all these things, so we can honor Him and even be entrusted with more to do for Him in this short time we are here.

In Luke 16:10 (TLB) Jesus said, “… unless you are honest in small matters, you won’t be in large ones. If you cheat even a little, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.”

2 Corinthians 9:6 (NIV) Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.

If we hoard what we are given, we can only handle so much, but if we continue to give generously and faithfully, we are able to be entrusted by God with more. God is honored in this and the gospel is advanced.

So, today we get to do some simple business with the topic of financial stewardship. How are you doing in being faithful and generous and regular in giving of your first fruits of what God has entrusted to you to His Church and the advancement of the gospel?

In 1 and 2 Corinthians, Paul tells the New Testament Church about how we are to be faithful in our giving what God has entrusted to us. It is a very specific counsel to how you and I are to be great stewards of the money and stuff we have! It is in this span of counsel that we get to his words in 1 Corinthians 16. But let’s see them in order and take some personal inventory today for how we are doing in this area. My prayer is that God brings great conviction and obedience to us all, so we are good and faithful stewards of all that He has entrusted to us in this time.

2 Corinthians 9:7 Each one must give what he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

This is Paul’s way of saying we should give joyfully. To reluctantly give means, “I really do not want to, but oh, I better.” The word “cheerful” in the Greek is “hilarion.” It’s where we get our word “hilarious” from. God loves a hilarious giver.

Now, we need to understand what God is trying to teach us about the amazing flow of kingdom living: when we live an open-handed life, it should bring us an immense amount of joy and God an immense amount of glory.

1 Corinthians 16:1-2 (TLB) Now here are the directions about the money you are collecting to send to the Christians in Jerusalem; (and, by the way, these are the same directions I gave to the churches in Galatia). On every Lord’s Day each of you should put aside something from what you have earned during the week, and use it for this offering. The amount depends on how much the Lord has helped you earn. Don’t wait until I get there and then try to collect it all at once.

This is Paul’s way of saying we should give regularly. I believe your faithfulness in giving is more important than the amount you are able to give. The Christians in Jerusalem were suffering from poverty and famine, so Paul was collecting money for them. He suggested that believers set aside a certain amount each week and give it to the church until he arrived to take it on to Jerusalem.

Are you to only give to the church you belong to? No. But the Bible says here and in other places to bring your regular commitment to God to support the ministry and ministers that you are partnering with in life and ministry. So, we give our first fruits of our income to our home church, and then extra giving to other causes or people.

2 Corinthians 8:2-3 (NLT) They are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity. For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford, but far more. And they did it of their own free will.

This is Paul’s way of saying we should give generously. What is generous living? Let’s look at Jesus: He gave sacrificially. How do I know I am giving sacrificially? Generous giving changes your lifestyle. It means you feel it! If you are trying to figure out a minimum number required to give, your giving is already from a heart that is more about how much you can keep for you and less about how much you can give others in the name of the One to whom it belongs—Jesus!

I love the statement that God will do way more with what you have left than you can ever do with the full amount.

Finally, see Paul’s last instruction about how we are to give:

1 Corinthians 16:2a (TLB) On every Lord’s Day each of you should put aside something from what you have earned during the week, and use it for this offering.

This is Paul’s way of saying we should give proportionally. There is not a required percentage as to how much one should give after the cross. The requirement is a Christ-like life—one that is consumed by Him and overflowing with His character. This can only equal a sacrificial steward.

The key to our being good stewards of the money and stuff that God has entrusted to us is to first know that it is all His. And that it is our utter privilege to be entrusted with this life and the gifts and the abilities that He has given us. Our kingdom mindset is to be open-handed with His stuff and His money to be faithful to bless others and continue the kingdom work that is happening in our local church and ministries of which we are a part.

I pray that if you have been negligent in faithfully managing what He has entrusted to you that you repent and begin to give joyfully, regularly, generously, and proportionally. May you let your good deeds shine bright and let God work through you, as you steward well in all He has entrusted to you. For His glory we live!

By His grace and for His glory,

Pastor Joshua Kirstine

Disciples Church