SERMON SERIES ON “LAYING BY IN STORE” AS ONE OF THE FIVE ACTS OF

WORSHIP OF THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH. OUTLINE BY THOMAS C. HICKEY

   TEXTS:   “For the earth is the Lord’s, and everything that is in it” (I Corinthians 10:26).
  “Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down
  from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow”(James 1:17).  

Introduction to the series: “What is Stewardship?”

    I.    The concept of stewardship is this: we are all creatures of God and everything that we
    have was given to us by God either directly or indirectly (James 1:17).

    II.   By definition, a steward is one who holds something in trust for someone else, being
    responsible for its use according to the instructions which are given.given to us by God
  either directly or indirectly (James 1:17).

  III.   Paul taught that the basic requirement for stewardship is faithfulness (I Cor. 4:2).

    IV.   Over the years, I have been reluctant to preach on giving, and rarely do so. I feel that:
  A. Those who are committed to Christ will give liberally (II Corinthians 8:1-5).
  B. Those who are not committed will probably not give no matter what you say.
  C. When I do preach on giving, I usually make the coverage extensive.
  D. The objective in preaching on giving is to improve the Christians’s overall attitude
  toward giving, and to increase his level of commitment.

  V.   I begin this series of lessons because:
  A. Members sometimes request that I teach lessons on this subject.
  B. With Paul, I want to have preached the “whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27).
  C. That those who are eager to serve God may have a scripturally founded
  understanding of what God expects from them.
  D. That those who perform poorly in this respect may at least have heard a discussion
  of their responsibility so that they man not plead ignorance of their duty.
  E. That all who hear (including even those who are not Christians) may have a better
  understanding of God’s plan for financing the work of the church.
  F. In focusing upon the theme of personal stewardship, we note that those funds which
  have been contributed into the treasury of the church, have been given to God, and
  those who are involved in spending such funds will ultimately give an account to
  God for their stewardship in handling money which they have held in trust for Him.
  Misuse of funds which are being held in trust is called “Commingling of funds” or
    “Conversion.” Under civil law, these are felonies.

  VI. Some general observations about giving:
  A. Americans, by world standards, are highly prosperous people. Even those who live
  below the so-called poverty line are wealthy by world standards. In all the world,
  perhaps only the Swiss and Swedish people and, perhaps Germany enjoy a standard
  of living comparable to ours.
  B. Since our wealth of resources makes us five-talent people in this respect, we must
  remember to perform in the service of God like five-talent people.
  C. Inasmuch as new testament churches do not compete with other non-profit
  organizations by becoming involved in business activity and fund-raising schemes,
  we should remember that our level of giving is the sole determining factor as to how
  much collective work the church can do in preaching the gospel.
  D. In typical congregations, the bulk of the contribution is usually given by a small
  minority of people who are interested in the work of the church. Attendance will rise
  and fall according to the whims of indifferent and part-time church members, but
  there will not be a corresponding fluctuation in the contribution. It would be a safe
  guess to estimate that 25% of the congregation will contribute 75% of the money.
  1. Nor is financial standing the big factor in accounting for the difference!
  2. If all possible contributing factors were stripped away one by one, it would
  be seen that the largest single factor accounting for the different levels of
  giving would be personal interest and commitment to the Lord’s work!
  E. In addition to the fact that giving to God is a divinely imposed obligation, members
  of the local church who are mature and responsible should see themselves as a
  functioning part of a local team whose responsibility is to “get the job done” in
  reference to conducting local worship, preaching the gospel locally and abroad, etc.
  If we do not “carry the ball”, who will do it?
  F. Paul actually encouraged a certain amount of congregational pride respecting selfsufficiency
  and helping the less fortunate:
  1. In I Corinthians 9:1-14, Paul argued his right to be supported for the
  preaching the gospel saying, “Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which
  preach the gospel should live of the gospel.”
  2. He later shamed the Corinthians for not assuming this responsibility saying,
  “I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service”
  (II Corinthians 11:8).
  3. Paul also shamed the Corinthians by holding up before them the example of
  the Macedonians’ liberality in helping the needy of other places at a time
  when they themselves were in “deep poverty” (II Corinthians 8:1-15).
     G. In our study of “Christian Stewardship,” it shall be our purpose to take note of God's
  laws concerning giving in all ages of Bible History.

A Study of “Giving” in the Patriarchal Age (Romans 15:4)
 
    I.   GOD REQUIRED AN OFFERING WHICH RELATED TO PROSPERITY.
    A. Abel offered a sacrifice “by faith” (Hebrews 11:4; Genesis 4:1-5).
  B. Cain offered an offering which was not acceptable to Jehovah.
  C. Noah offered burnt sacrifices unto Jehovah which were according to God’s
  instructions concerning clean animals (Genesis 8:20)

 
   II. TITHING WAS INTRODUCED DURING THE PATRIARCHAL DISPENSATION.
  A. Jacob vowed a tithe to Jehovah. By definition, a tithe (Greek, dekatos) was a gift,
  offering or donation of 10% of one’s prosperity. (Genesis 28:10-22).
  1. How or to whom was Jacob’s tithe paid?
  2. What practical value did the gift have apart from the benefit to the giver?
  3. Did the gift take the form of burnt sacrifices from Jacob’s flocks and herds,
  or of alms to the poor?
  B. Abraham paid tithes to God through Melchizedek after God had given him victory
  in battle (Genesis 14:17-20; Cf. also Hebrews 7:9-10).

      III. IN THE ABOVE CASES, THERE WAS A CLEAR OR IMPLIED RELATIONSHIP
  BETWEEN GOD’S BLESSINGS AND MAN’S OFFERINGS.
  A. A practical benefit in this was man’s acknowledgement of his dependency upon God.
  1. A similar benefit is realized in prayer.

    IV. THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE RELATED IN THE PATRIARCHAL AGE WAS
  GOD’S DEMAND OF ABRAHAM THAT HE OFFER HIS SON ISAAC AS A BURN
  SACRIFICE (GENESIS 22:1-18).

 A Study of “Giving” in the Mosaic Age

    I. A LOOK AT WHAT THE JEWS GAVE TO GOD:

  A.   Tithing – Leviticus 27:30-33
  B. Seventh-Day Sabbath – Exodus 20:8
  C. Seventh-Year Sabbath – Leviticus 25:1-7
  D. Jubilee Year – Leviticus 25:8-12
  E. Annual Feast Weeks celebrated by the Jews:
  1. Feast of the Passover – Deuteronomy 16:1-8
  2. Feast of the Pentecost (Weeks) – Deuteronomy 16:9-12
  3. Feast of Tabernacles – Deuteronomy 16:13-15
  4. Feast of Trumpets – Leviticus 23:24-25
  5. Feast of Purim – Esther 9:20-26
  6. Day of Atonement – Leviticus 23:27-28
  F.   Special Offerings
  1. Building of the Tabernacle - Exodus 25:1-9
  G. Animal Sacrifices:
  1. Burnt offerings
  2. Sin offerings
  3. Special Offerings of Sacrifices
  H. All the firstborn belonged to God – Exodus 13:1-2
  1. Unclean firstborn of the Beasts redeemed by adding 1/5 part thereto!
  I. Freewill Offerings Three Times Yearly – Deuteronomy 16:16-17
  1. Feast of Unleavened Bread
  2. Feast of Weeks
  3. Feast of Tabernacles

   II. WHAT WERE THE MOTIVES FOR GIVING?
  A. Because God commanded it (Leviticus 27:34).
  B. Because they were willing-hearted (Exodus 35:21-22).
  C. Because they wanted to build the tabernacle (Exodus 35:29).
  D. They gave in consideration of special favors to them (Special Offerings).
  E. They gave because the firstfruits of the womb belonged to God.
  F. They gave because the tithe belonged to God.

  III. WHAT WARNINGS WERE GIVEN FOR FAILURE TO GIVE?
  A. They were cursed for robbing God (Malachi 3:8-9).

    IV. WHAT BLESSINGS WERE PROMISED FOR LIBERAL GIVING?
  A. The windows of heaven to be opened (Malachi 3:10-12).
  B. The barns to be filled with plenty (Proverbs 3:9-10

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