18. Mastering A Plan for Formal Time Together—Giving
IA. A Bible Study on Giving
1B. The Foundation for Giving
1C. 1 Chronicles 29:11-12
29:10 David praised the Lord before the entire assembly: “O Lord God of our father Israel, you deserve praise forevermore! 29:11 O Lord, you are great, mighty, majestic, magnificent, glorious, and sovereign over all the sky and earth! You have dominion and exalt yourself as the ruler of all. 29:12 You are the source of wealth and honor; you rule over all. You possess strength and might to magnify and give strength to all. 29:13 Now, our God, we give thanks to you and praise your majestic name. 29:14 “But who am I and who are my people, that we should be in a position to contribute this much? Indeed, everything comes from you, and we have simply given back to you what is yours.
2C. Matthew 7:7-12
7:7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened for you. 7:8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks the door will be opened. 7:9 Is there anyone among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 7:10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 7:11 If you then, although you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 7:12 In everything, treat others as you would want them to treat you, for this fulfills the law and the prophets.
3C. Luke 11:13
11:13 If you then, although you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
4C. John 1:16
1:14 Now the Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We saw his glory—the glory of the one and only, full of grace and truth, who came from the Father. 1:15 John testified about him and cried out, “This one was the one about whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is greater than I am, because he existed before me.’” 1:16 For we have all received from his fullness one gracious gift after another. 1:17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came about through Jesus Christ. 1:18 No one has ever seen God. The only one, himself God, who is in the presence of the Father, has made God known.
5C. 1 Corinthians 4:7 (Matthew 10:8)
4:6 I have applied these things to myself and Apollos because of you, brothers and sisters, so that through us you may learn “not to go beyond what is written,” so that none of you will be puffed up in favor of the one against the other. 4:7 For who concedes you any superiority? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you received it, why do you boast as though you did not? 4:8 Already you are satisfied! Already you are rich! You have become kings without us! I wish you had become kings so that we could reign with you!
6C. 2 Corinthians 9:8
9:8 And God is able to make all grace overflow to you so that because you have enough of everything in every way at all times, you will overflow in every good work.
7C. Questions for Thought
1. What was David asking the people for in 1 Chronicles 29:5? What kind of response did he get from the leaders and the people? Why do you think it’s important to give freely and spontaneously? According to 1 Chronicles 29:11-13 where does wealth ultimately come from? When God does provide for us, what should our response be? Do you praise God for his gifts to you? Do you seek to use them to advance his purposes in the world, akin to what David did in the building of the temple?
2. In Matthew 7:7 Jesus says to “ask, seek, and knock.” What reasons are given in Matthew 7:8-11? What do you suppose Matthew 7:12 means in this context? Why is it here?
3. In the previous verses we have seen that the foundation of all giving is God’s graciousness to us. According to Luke 11:13, what is the most precious gift he has ever given us and how does this relate to all other giving? Read John 1:14-18 also. Again, what is the foundation of all our desires and acts of giving? Based on Luke 11:13 and John 1:14-18, can anyone ever “out-give” God?
4. Read 1 Corinthians 4:7. What mistake had the Corinthians made regarding the gifts they had received? Has this happened to you in your life? What should you do about it?
5. How does 2 Corinthians 9:8 nicely summarize the foundation of all Christian giving? Why do we give? Are we trying to earn favor with God? Are we working for grace or from grace?
2B. The Blessing of Giving
1C. Malachi 3:6-12
3:6 “Since, I, the Lord, do not go back on my promises, you, sons of Jacob, have not perished. 3:7 From the days of your ancestors you have ignored my commandments and have not kept them! Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the sovereign Lord. “But you say, ‘How should we return?’ 3:8 Can a person rob God? You indeed are robbing me, but you say, ‘How are we robbing you?’ In tithes and contributions! 3:9 You are bound for judgment because you are robbing me—this whole nation is guilty. 3:10 “Bring the entire tithe into the storehouse so that there may be food in my temple. Test me in this matter,” says the sovereign Lord, “to see if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until there is no room for it all. 3:11 Then I will stop the plague from ruining your crops; the vine will not lose its fruit before harvest,” says the sovereign Lord. 3:12 “All nations will call you happy, for you indeed will live in a delightful land,” says the sovereign Lord.
2C. Galatians 6:9-10
So we must not grow weary in doing good, for in due time we will reap, if we do not give up. 6:10 So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who belong to the family of faith.
3C. 2 Corinthians 9:10-15
9:10 Now God who provides seed for the sower and bread for food will provide and multiply your supply of seed and will cause the harvest of your righteousness to grow. 9:11 You will be enriched in every way so that you may be generous on every occasion, which is producing through us thanksgiving to God, 9:12 because the service of this ministry is not only providing for the needs of the saints but is also overflowing with many thanks to God. 9:13 Through the evidence of this service they will glorify God because of your obedience to your confession in the gospel of Christ and the generosity of your sharing with them and with everyone. 9:14 And in their prayers on your behalf they long for you because of the extraordinary grace God has shown to you. 9:15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift.
4C. Questions for Thought
1. According to Malachi 3:6-12 the nation of Israel were guilty of not bringing the entire tithe into the storehouse and God was reprimanding them for it. What blessings, however, did he promise if they would respond in faith and give generously to him? What principle can we learn from this? Compare 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 and Galatians 6:9-10.
2. Summarize at least three principles that are taught in Galatians 6:9-10.
3. Both Galatians 6:9-10 and 2 Corinthians 9:10-15 make a connection between giving material goods and reaping a spiritual harvest of righteousness. Explain this connection in your own words. What blessings are related to giving in 2 Corinthians 9:10-15? Think on both a personal and corporate level.
3B. The Practice and Attitude of Giving
1C. Proverbs 3:9-10
3:9 Honor the Lord from your wealth and from the first fruits of all your crops; 3:10 then your barns will be filled completely, and your vats will overflow with new wine.
2C. Proverbs 11:24-25
11:24 One person is generous and yet grows more wealthy, but another withholds more than he ought and comes to poverty. 11:25 A generous person will be enriched, and the one who provides water for others will himself be satisfied.
3C. Matthew 6:2-4
6:2 Thus whenever you do charitable giving, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in synagogues and on streets so that people will praise them. I tell you the truth, they have their reward. 6:3 But when you do your giving, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 6:4 so that your gift may be in secret. And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you.
4C. Mark 12:41-44
12:41 Then he sat down opposite the offering box, and watched the crowd putting coins into it. Many rich people were throwing in large amounts. 12:42 And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, worth less than a penny. 12:43 He called his disciples and said to them, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the offering box than all the others. 12:44 For they all gave out of their wealth. But she, out of her poverty, put in what she had to live on, everything she had.”
5C. Luke 6:32-38
6:32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 6:33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 6:34 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to be repaid, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, so that they may be repaid in full. 6:35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to ungrateful and evil people. 6:36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. 6:37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven. 6:38 Give, and it will be given to you: a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be poured into your lap. For the measure you use will be the measure you receive.”
6C. Acts 2:42-47
2:42 They were devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 2:43 Reverential awe came on everyone, and many wonders and miraculous signs came about by the apostles. 2:44 All who believed were together and held everything in common, 2:45 and they began selling their property and possessions and distributing the proceeds to everyone, as anyone had need. 2:46 Every day they continued to gather together by common consent in the temple courts, breaking bread from house to house, sharing their food with glad and humble hearts, 2:47 praising God and having the good will of all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number every day those who were being saved.
7C. 2 Corinthians 8:5
8:5 And they did this not just as we had hoped, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and to us by the will of God.
8C. 2 Corinthians 8:1-4; 9:6-7
8:1 Now we make known to you, brothers and sisters, the grace of God given to the churches of Macedonia, 8:2 that during a severe ordeal of suffering, their abundant joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in the wealth of their generosity. 8:3 For I testify, they gave according to their means and beyond their means. They did so voluntarily, 8:4 begging us with great earnestness for the blessing and fellowship of helping the saints…9:6 My point is this: the person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sows generously will also reap generously. 9:7 Each one of you should give just as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, because God loves a cheerful giver.
9C. Questions for Thought
1. What practice does Proverbs 3:9-10 outline for us? How could you implement it in your own life? Why might it be important to give of the first of our earnings to God?
2. Summarize the principle in Proverbs 11:24-25. Have you ever seen instances of God working in this way?
3. In Matthew 6:2-4 Jesus explains how God will deal with people who give in a hypocritical fashion. How will they be treated by God? Why? What untruth do they probably believe about God that underlies their hypocritical desires?
4. Read Mark 11:45-12:44. The scene is in the temple and the religious authorities are questioning Jesus about the source of his authority. But they do so in antagonistic ways, attempting to trap him in his words. They are leaders without faith in God and without love for others. Why, then, at the end of this section does Mark show Jesus drawing his disciples’ attention to the women in 12:41-44? What does she teach us about true faith and giving?
5. Why is Luke 6:38 in a section dealing with love for enemies? What is the principle Jesus is teaching in v. 38? Again, make sure you relate it to the context in 6:32-38.
6. What does Acts 2:45 teach us about giving freely?
7. What example do the Macedonian churches set for other churches (and us) by the manner in which they went about giving? What does it mean to give yourself to the Lord first and then to people?
8. From 2 Corinthians 8-9 draw out as many principles on “giving” as you can. Relate each principle to others in 2 Corinthians 8-9 and to others in the Bible (consider the principles you’ve already learned in this study). Try to develop an outline from 2 Corinthians 8-9 that you could share with others.
4B. The Need to Give Wisely
1C. Proverbs 19:6
19:6 Many people entreat the favor of a generous person, and everyone is the friend of the one who gives gifts.
2C. Proverbs 27:23-24
27:23 Pay careful attention to the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds, 27:24 for riches do not last forever, nor does a crown last from generation to generation.
3C. Questions for Thought
1. What caution does Proverbs 19:6 bring to mind? Have you ever seen this happen?
2. How do Proverbs 27:23-24 relate to giving and possessing wealth in general?
5B. Hindrances to Giving
1C. Matthew 6:24
6:24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.
2C. Luke 14:33
14:33 In the same way therefore not one of you can be my disciple if he does not renounce all his own possessions.
3C. James 4:1-4
4:1 Where do the conflicts and where do the quarrels among you come from? Is it not from this, from your passions that battle inside you? 4:2 You desire and you do not have; you murder and envy and you cannot obtain; you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask; 4:3 you ask and do not receive because you ask wrongly, so you can spend it on your passions. 4:4 Adulterers, do you not know that friendship with the world means hostility towards God? So whoever decides to be the world’s friend makes himself God’s enemy.
4C. 1 John 2:15-17
2:15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him, 2:16 because all that is in the world (the desire of the flesh and the desire of the eyes and the arrogance produced by material possessions) is not from the Father, but is from the world. 2:17 And the world is passing away with all its desires, but the person who does the will of God remains forever.
5C. Questions for Thought
1. In Matthew 6:24 Jesus says there is no middle ground between loving God and loving money; a person is either serving one or the other. How does this relate to giving regularly and generously?
2. In Luke 14:33 what do you think it means to renounce all your possessions? If Jesus said in Matthew 6:25-34 that God knows all our needs and provides for us, “renounce” cannot mean to simply give them all away. After all, it would seem that, for argument’s sake, anyway, that they’re from God (cf. 1 Tim 6:17). What then does Jesus mean? Is he speaking hyperbolically (cf. Matthew 5:29)? If so, what is his point?
3. Though James 4:1-4 does not relate directly to giving, it does talk about the condition of our heart and our desires for wealth. Can the person James describes give generously to others? Why not? How is selfishness both ugly (on God’s people) and a serious hindrance to the grace of giving?
4. How does 1 John 2:15-17 straighten us out regarding how we are to view the world and its riches? A wrong view of the world can have disastrous consequences for Christians. NOTE: Here, John portrays the world from the point of view of its anti-God stance and sinfulness. He, of course, is not referring to the world in the sense of God’s creation and its goodness, but the world in its fallenness and rebellion. Relate 1 John 2:15-17 to the idea of giving.
IIA. Synthesis, Practical Applications, and Training
1C. Ongoing Applications
1D. World Vision Children
2D. Church Giving
4D. Constantly Looking for Needs
2C. Special Applications
1D. Attending Fund Raising Functions
2D. Special Projects
3D. People with Immediate Needs
3C. Training Objectives and Activities
Objective: The disciple of Christ will develop the virtue of abundant generosity and the wise giving of time, resources, and money. They will develop a consistent pattern of giving to the ongoing needs of the church and of looking to meet needs in other special situations.