Wrapping Things Up
1 Corinthians 16
I. THE ORDER OF THE OFFERING. (1-3)
This is when Christ arose, not the Sabbath. This is when the church met to worship, so to our 7th Day friends I say that after you worship on Saturday, come back the next day for THIS act of worship called Christian giving.
It’s about priorities. God’s day is the first day, not Monday like most of us think of it. And it’s all God’s money, but He requires the firstfruits from us. If you give Him the first, it helps the rest of it to last. If you wait ‘til the end of your budget it’ll never happen. We all have too much month left at the end of the money!
When it comes to giving many Christians stop...at nothing!
He’s talking to believers. So if not saved, this does not apply to you. If you ARE saved…He’s talking to you! Why do some feel like they are the exception to God’s rule? Or like they can have some sort of side arrangement with God. Some feel they make too little, but in God’s perfectly fair plan they don’t have to return much to Him. Some feel they make too much, and that it’s not fair to them to carry so much of the load at church. [Please join me in giving that person a wedgie!] How about being thankful for the way God has prospered you!
You really should have a budget. Being a good steward doesn’t just happen naturally…you must make it happen on purpose. Too many live haphazardly, in survival mode all the time, just trying to figure out today and this week. We need a plan, and God loves it when His plan comes together…that’s when we see Him work miraculously and see His higher plan is much better than anything we could imagine!
God always comes thru for us when we put Him first. We see His hand of provision in our family every single week it seems. You’d think we would never worry anymore as much as He has proven Himself, but we still do many times. We have faith that He will provide, but when we have doubts, it just serves to give Him more glory when HIS plan comes together in the end even better than we could plan.
Mal. 3 calls the church the storehouse. It’s God’s house, but it is to be the store house out of which many are fed. A central clearing house, and not for food primarily, but spiritual bread and water and meat. “That there may be meat in mine house.”
It’s a key part of God’s plan. Yes, the water of life flows freely here to anyone who wants to partake, but let’s remember that the plumbing costs money! There will always be some along for the free ride, and they are welcome, but real maturity comes [Jesus says] when we start carrying our share of the load. “Where your heart is…your treasure is.” In other words, God knows He has your heart when He has your wallet!
We’ll never force the tithe or offerings. It is for you to give, not for us to take.
Ill.—many churches have gone to a bank draft system-but is that giving or the church taking? Hmmm…
God’s plan is fair, and it’s not about the amount, it’s about the faith to return a portion…an equal portion for each one. How much can God trust you with? If He can trust you to give out of little, perhaps He can trust you to give if you have more. Maybe He will decide to prosper you more? He has me! This is my testimony, and many others I believe. It’s not a magic lamp to rub, and this is not prosperity preaching.
Ill.—tithing doesn’t automatically fix your finances, past, present, or future. Being a faithful steward means ‘of the other 90%’ as well! If you choose to live in a prison of debt God will let you.
Most people who tithe are also faithful w/ the other 90%, if they are doing it right they are giving God ownership of it all, not just the tenth, and the proof that you are doing it right is in God’s blessing and continued provision.
Do your givin' while you're livin'...then you'll be knowin' where it's goin'!
There would never be a problem if everyone carried their share of the load. No collection notices! That’s right, the church would have plenty to do everything imaginable. We wouldn’t have to have bake sales and car washes, and make pleas for extra donations from those who are already sacrificially giving.
The truth that 80% of the money around here comes from 20% of the people is made all the more powerful when you realize that they are not necessarily the ones you think they are. You think they are the wealthy but not necessarily so. So much is being done by so few that I’m excited to see what we can do when everyone is on board!
The church would not have to do any gathering if all the people were giving as they should.
In another sense it is God who wrote this, not Paul, and God has to do some gathering sometimes too! You see, God will get HIS! You can give it, or He can take it. Not because He needs it, but because you DON’T! Not in His perfect plan you don’t. He wants you to progress, and He wants to then help you progress. Tithing and giving demonstrate progress.
Tithing is not God's method of raising money...it's His method of raising Christians!
God gets His, because He demands it. He gives us the option of giving it, but if not, He takes it.
Ill.—our government isn’t fair. Washington is quickly moving in the direction more than ever of taking from the rich to feed the poor…the Robin Hood method. This encourages the ‘entitlement mindset’ and makes the poor want only a handout and makes the rich want to rest from their work since it is taken away anyway. “Why should I continue in this country?”
Why share this illustration? Because it shows how unfair humans can be. It’s not right for some to shoulder the entire load. I guarantee you that if it were a flat percentage, the same for everyone, that everyone would prosper more. The rich would prosper more, and would hire more and put more money into the capitalistic system. But what about the poor? Many of them would owe more money to the government than they do now. As a matter of fact, a very high percentage pays no taxes at all. So how would this help them? I’ll tell you:
First of all, it would motivate many who have no incentive to work, work hard, and better themselves.
Secondly, it would mean more money would be collected to help those who have sincere special needs, disabilities, etc.
This is not a ‘dis’ on all poor people. Many work very hard and need and deserve more help than their government gives them. But many more just lack incentive and character and spend their time and money on empty trivial things and fleeting entertainment, when they could be investing time into becoming something better and investing their money into more important things. People today make the same mistake their country is making...putting it all on credit. Try this: Give God the chance to provide something before you just go buy it!
And if they are a Christian, then they could claim the miraculous promises God makes to us!
By the way, this passage is talking about the church being the storehouse that doles out helps to the needy, not the government. This was God’s ideal welfare program, not the mess we have today!
That was the OFFERING and ORDER…
II. OPPORTUNITY AND OPPOSITION. (V9)
A Spirit world is all around us, though unseen to the naked eye, it is very real. God is still at work in the world, and very much in HIS true church. But the devil is working overtime.
There is so much opportunity. The darker this world gets the brighter our light can shine, but in America today there is much opposition!
God is working in this church, but just like anyplace, there is opposition. There is a big bull’s-eye atop this place, and the devil wants to bring it down. Sadly, it can happen. It has happened, here and many places, and it will happen again, though we hope not here. Anytime you do great things there will be some who try to throw cold water on it. Some from without, and some from within.
Satan wants problems to arise, and there are many adversaries. We have many enemies around the world by way of the web. I have told you about our hate mail, and recently my sermon site was hacked and is still not working. I don’t know that it is because of our message, but I know it doesn’t help. In today’s world if you take a stand for the right many will rise against you.
And the devil doesn’t just try to take us down from the outside, but from the inside. He actually specializes in this! He wants cliques to form, attitudes to spread, people to be offended and leave. He wants people to follow man, play favorites, have respect of persons, and be pitted against one another in competition. He seeks to divide and conquer. He wants disloyalty to leadership. He wants people to want their own way and be resistant to change…to look for things wrong rather than celebrate what is right! He wants pastors and leaders to fall in their testimony and take many with them.
I’m so glad that God is greater than the devil and stronger than all the enemies of the earth. But we must draw close to Him and rely on Him. In these last days there will be huge opportunities and huge obstacles.
order of the offering, opposition and opportunity...
III. OBSERVATION AND OUTCOME. (V13, 14)
1. ALWAYS BE ON GUARD. "WATCH YE"
2. BE STEADY. "STAND FIRM IN THE FAITH"
3. BE GROWN UP & MATURE. "QUIT YE LIKE MEN"
4. BE STRONG. "DO NOT RELY UPON SELF"
5. LET LOVE RULE. "WITH CHARITY"
v. 15 "Addicted themselves to the ministry..."
1. ALCOHOLIC - WORK-A-HOLIC - SERVE-A-HOLIC
2. WILLINGNESS TO GO BEYOND THE CALL OF DUTY.
3. WHOLE HEART, BODY & SOUL.
IV. OUTCAST OF THE OFFENSIVE. (V22)
Anathema = accursed
Maranatha = the Lord is coming
This church came a long way thru many grievous sins which were tearing it apart. Now they had something worth protecting. The purity of the church is at stake, so ongoing church discipline would be necessary so they could keep making the most of opportunities...they had to overcome the obstacles.
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