The Privilege to Give
The biblical principles of giving to God are some of the most misunderstood and misused topics within the church. To help us at Grace Bible Church to be informed about this biblical issue, so that we are giving from an informed mind and heart, I would like to hit several high points about giving. Obviously, we cannot discuss all the Bible teaches about giving in this format, but I am sure we can cover some good ground.
First, the Bible encourages us to give to God. Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, in Matthew 6:19, states, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy,” Here Jesus is calling us to invest our gifts and possessions for eternal purposes. In comparison, Jesus is calling us not to hoard our wealth and possession on this earth, but rather, to use those blessings for eternal purposes. The church at Philippi was praised by Paul for their investment in eternal matters. Just listen, “Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account.” Paul here is referring to their giving to him so that he might carry on in the ministry of the gospel, which for the church at Philippi giving meant adding to their treasures in heaven. This encouragement, to give back to God all He has given to us, is to store up eternal blessings.
Secondly, the Bible never places a price tag on the gospel. All the New Testament teaches that the gospel is free to all whom will believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. We do not give to God to gain favor or to purchase for ourselves eternal life. The rich young ruler in Matthew 19:16 asked, “Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?” This misunderstanding spans every generation. Sinners have a built-in desire to earn God’s favor. We cannot earn God’s favor through giving money to the church. God cannot be bribed. God is too holy, and we are too sinful to purchase our way into heaven. Acceptance by God is only obtained through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.
Thirdly, when we give to the church, we are giving to God’s means of building His kingdom. I am not talking about brick and mortar kingdoms, but His rule in the hearts of the saints. The church is not a building; it is people who have been saved by grace and brought into the kingdom of God (Col. 1:13). We give to the church to support the ministries of the local church: preaching, discipleship, missions, equipping, outreach, counseling and much more. It is through these ministries sinners are saved, saints are matured, and the church is strengthened for the glory of God.
God desires His people to see their giving as an act of worship and a privilege. Such knowledge about giving helps us worship God in truth, thus moving us to obedience from the heart and not under compulsion that is motivated by guilt and selfishness.