In the area of giving some people have twisted the scriptures in order to make merchandise of others. We are warned of this in the Bible. “But there also arose false prophets among the people, as among you also there will be false teachers, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, denying even the Master who bought them, bringing on themselves swift destruction. Many will follow their immoral ways, and as a result, the way of the truth will be maligned. In covetousness they will exploit you [KJV- make merchandise of you] with deceptive words: whose sentence now from of old doesn’t linger, and their destruction will not slumber.” 2 Peter 2:1-3
“For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ… Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.” Jude 1:4, 11
“And [Jesus] said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.” John 2:16,
Many false prophets twist the scriptures in order to get money from others in order to enrich themselves. Just look for yourself and see who is really getting rich from their doctrine………THEM NOT YOU!
The bible specifically says that “the seed” is the word of God, not money. However, money for the kingdom of God may be included, but is not necessarily, the focus of our giving.
“Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.” Luke 8:11
“Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. “ 1 Peter 1:23
We are called to sow to the Spirit not the flesh, that is the carnal and material world. Those giving money in order to get money are in deception, and may not be true Christians but rather cultists following a false gospel and a false Jesus. If your Jesus is not the Jesus of the Bible, then your Jesus is a false Jesus. For it is not the name “Jesus” that saves, but the person with the name that saves. The person behind the name is the real authority.
“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. “Galatians 6:7–8
What does the bible actually say about giving? It says to give to those who ask of you or begs from you, if it is your power to do so. It also says to help the weak by giving them assistance. This may include money but not necessarily so, depends on the situation.
Scriptures also tell us to give. Those who give to others may get help when they need it from someone. Jesus made it clear that those who were more concerned with spiritual things than the carnal things of life were mature Christians. Those who are always wanting and asking for their own person are babes. In other words, if this life is your focus you are not a spiritual person but rather one who is living for the flesh, and immature.
Another point about giving is that God does not want you to give if you feel compelled to (necessary) nor does he want you to give if your heart is not in it. It is always best to give where you feel joy in giving.
For example, as an evangelist and teacher I don’t like giving to church building. In fact it ticks me off to go to a church that is always building bigger and better facilities. Now that is not to say that God does not call some to give in that area but for me I would be giving begrudgingly. Now, as for giving to minister the gospel- different story. If an organization does not present the gospel with its help to the poor then I will not give. So, as you can see many times our giving is dependent on our calling. It is important to give where you feel the greatest joy, for that is acceptable to the Lord.
“Give to him who keeps on begging from you, and do not turn away from him who would borrow [at interest] from you.”Matthew 5: 42
“Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them.” Proverbs 3:27
“Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone–especially to those in the family of faith.” Galatians 6:10
“In everything I have pointed out to you [by example] that, by working diligently in this manner, we ought to assist the weak, being mindful of the words of the Lord Jesus, how He Himself said, It is more blessed (makes one happier and more to be envied) to give than to receive. “ Acts 20: 35
“Give, and [gifts] will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will they pour into [the pouch formed by] the bosom [of your robe and used as a bag]. For with the measure you deal out [with the measure you use when you confer benefits on others], it will be measured back to you. “Luke 6: 38
Jesus answered him, If you would be perfect [that is, have that spiritual maturity which accompanies self-sacrificing character], go and sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven; and come, be My disciple [side with My party and follow Me]. Matthew 19: 21
“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7
What do scriptures actually tell us about getting from the lord? The Bible says that God will supply all our needs not our greed’s. What we may think is best for us may not be God’s will. For example, I have had to rely on the Lord all my walk with him for 30 years for my sustenance, while others had more than me and a steady pay check. However, I was trained by the Holy Spirit how to live by faith in God, so if I have to be in this earth in hard times I am trained how to stretch a dollar and make soup from practically nothing.
Also, I value spiritual things more than material things because the Lord has led me to seek them rather than this worlds goods and while others have prospered financially I prospered in spiritual things. As scriptures tell us where your treasure is there will your heart be also. So now the lord has shown me that I am in a position to give to others spiritual things because my bank account has been filled in the things of God.
“And my God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4: 19
“He who did not withhold or spare [even] His own Son but gave Him up for us all, will He not also with Him freely and graciously give us all [other] things? “Romans 8: 32
“Happy and fortunate are you who cast your seed upon all waters [when the river overflows its banks; for the seed will sink into the mud and when the waters subside, the plant will spring up; you will find it after many days and reap an abundant harvest], you who safely send forth the ox and the donkey [to range freely]. “ Isaiah 32: 20
“He who gives to the poor will not want, but he who hides his eyes [from their want] will have many a curse.” Proverbs 28: 27
“Consider the ravens: they don’t sow, they don’t reap, they have no warehouse or barn, and God feeds them. How much more valuable are you than birds! Which of you by being anxious can add a cubit to his height? If then you aren’t able to do even the least things, why are you anxious about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow. They don’t toil, neither do they spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if this is how God clothes the grass in the field, which today exists, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith? Don’t seek what you will eat or what you will drink; neither be anxious. For the nations of the world seek after all of these things, but your Father knows that you need these things. But seek God’s Kingdom, and all these things will be added to you. Don’t be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom. Sell that which you have, and give gifts to the needy. Make for yourselves purses which don’t grow old, a treasure in the heavens that doesn’t fail, where no thief approaches, neither moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Luke 12:24-34
“Therefore (because of this) I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor yet for your body, what you shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?” Matthew 6:25
Those in the ministry need to take their example for living from the scriptures. Paul worked for a living, he was not envious of other’s financial prosperity, he gave rather than accumulating, and he endured persecution and hardship. Paul did not take advantage of others or do anything to bring a reproach on the gospel. He also did not charge for preaching the word of God but rather lived humbly, not is a big mansion driving a big car and wearing fancy suits. He was a witness of God’s provision.
“I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel. Yes, you yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me. I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:33-35
“To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless. And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things until now.” 1 Corinthians 4:11-13,
“If others are partakers of this right over you, are we not even more? Nevertheless we have not used this right, but endure all things lest we hinder the gospel of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 9:12,
“What is my reward then? That when I preach the gospel, I may present the gospel of Christ without charge, that I may not abuse my authority in the gospel.” 1 Corinthians 9:18,
“Did I commit sin in humbling myself that you might be exalted, because I preached the gospel of God to you free of charge?” 2 Corinthians 11:7
“For you remember, brethren, our labor and toil; for laboring night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, we preached to you the gospel of God. You are witnesses, and God also, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you who believe.” 1 Thessalonians 2:9, 10,
“For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ.” 2 Corinthians 2:17,
“nor did we eat anyone’s bread free of charge, but worked with labor and toil night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, not because we do not have authority, but to make ourselves an example of how you should follow us. For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread.” 2 Thessalonians 3:8-12
My last point may be challenging to some but it is new testament living. Many especially in the west are so ingrained in the humanist philosophy of individualism, (Tomas Paine, David Humes) that they reject what the Bible teaches.
Scriptures tell us that we are to share with others what we have, to have things in common, to be of one mind, to work together in preaching the gospel. What is mind boggling to me is that churches in the west cry for revival but they won’t pay the price for it.
What price? Prayer, evangelism in communities, selling possessions to win people to Christ. These are prerequisites and if you are not willing to do these things as scriptures reveal which brought a harvest of souls in the book of Acts I suggest you stop preaching on revival because you are wasting your time. The reason that souls are being saved in Africa, Pakistan, China, India, is because they have nothing and desire God more than mammon!
“They continued steadfastly in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and prayer. Fear came on every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. All who believed were together, and had all things in common. They sold their possessions and goods, and distributed them to all, according as anyone had need. Day by day, continuing steadfastly with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread at home, they took their food with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favor with all the people. The Lord added to the assembly day by day those who were being saved.” Acts 2:42-47
“The multitude of those who believed were of one heart and soul. Not one of them claimed that anything of the things which he possessed was his own, but they had all things common.” Acts 4:32
New Testament giving is not dependant on a systematic structure as in the Old Testament but rather based on the attitude of the heart. Each as he has purposes in his heart! If the focus in ones heart is the kingdom of God and not selfish motivation than the giving will be a blessing whether in this life or the next!