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Friday, October 26 2018
Contributor: Leye Olayiwola
Introduction: The message on the transfer of wealth from the sinner to the church is not new. It’s been around (and is still is) for quite a while and has become one of the popular theme in the prosperity gospel messages. Will there really be an end-time wealth transfer? This is what we will be looking at from the perspective of the scriptures.
“A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, And the wealth of the sinner is stored up for [the hands of] the righteous.”
“because they went forth for His name’s sake, taking nothing from the Gentiles.”
[3 John 7]
Other translations of this verse emphasize the point:
"... accepting nothing from the heathen" (Goodspeed)
". . . taking nothing from the people of the world" (Beck)
".. . and declined to take anything from pagans" (Moffatt)
"... and they accept no help from non-Christians" (Phillips)
Our job is not to try to get the wealth of the world. Our job is to faithfully use the wealth we already have through faithful giving to the cause of the gospel) to get the Gospel out. Statistics indicate that twenty percent of church members provide eighty percent of church revenue and that the average American Christian gives only six percent of his income to the Lord's work. Imagine where we would be if those percentages were where they ought to be!
The Bible does teach that when the Church returns with Jesus after the Tribulation and He sets up His Millennial Kingdom on earth, we will be inheriting all of the wealth of the sinners at that time. There is nowhere in the New Testament where we are supposed to be focused on getting their money now. Instead, we should be concentrating on seeking the hearts of the unsaved and faithfully using the finances we already have.
Part of this teaching was taken from “THE MIDAS TOUCH” by Kenneth E. Hagin
Friday, October 19 2018
Contributor: Dolapo Olaoye
Last week, we looked at receiving to give as a twist to the norm of giving to receive that we are usually used to. We learnt that God gives us much so that we can give away much! (2 Cor.9:11a) and that we receive because we need to give. We don’t give because we want to receive!
This week we will continue to look at giving; and this time, more specifically giving to the poor/needy.
1. THOSE IN NEED - JESUS IN DISGUISE
Mathews 25:34-40 says:
Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’
Notice here that Jesus said He was represented by the poor!
Also, in First Corinthians 10:31, the Apostle Paul wrote,
"Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."
So, when you give to the poor, do it as unto the Lord. Goodwill bless that. When you tithe and give offerings to your church, do it as unto the Lord. God will bless that. When you give an offering personally to a minister or to anyone else, do it as unto the Lord. God will bless that.
2. THE BIBLE TEACHES US THAT GOD HAS HUGE CONCERN FOR THE POOR
The Bible is filled with verses clearly showing that God loves the poor and is offended when His children neglect them. See Proverbs 17:5; 19:17; 22:2, 9, 16, 22–23; 28:8; 29:7; 31:8–9
God's Word gives us insight into His heart for the poor and instructions on how we are to care for them. If we truly have faith in God, we must also share His concern for the poor.
3. BE IMITATORS OF CHRIST – DEALING WITH SELFISHNESS
Think about it. We have money to buy our favourite sweets, to go to movies, to spend on things, but when it comes to someone other than ourselves it becomes a problem. When it comes to others, selfishness kicks in. We are told to be imitators of Christ. Was Christ thinking only about Himself when He died on the cross?
If you were in need wouldn’t you want someone to help you? Instead of judging, ask yourself that question whenever you see the needy.
4. BENEFITS THE LORD’S PROMISE FOR CONSIDERING THE POOR
Psalm 41:1-3 (KJV) says:
“Blessed is he that considereth the poor: The Lord will deliver him in time of trouble. The Lord will preserve him and keep him alive; and he shall be blessed upon the earth: and thou wilt not deliver him unto the will of his enemies. The Lord will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing: thou wilt make all his bed in his sickness.
In conclusion, in all our giving; whether in church or outside the church; we don't have to respond to some sensationalized, goose-bump-raising offering or appeal to give productively and effectively into the Body of Christ or any other cause for that matter! Paul instructed us to give as we purpose in our hearts.
Sure, there may be occasions when we are led by the Spirit of God to support an individual or cause. We should obey the Spirit of God. But most of the time, we should be systematic in our giving.
We should support our local churches on purpose with our tithes. We should find ministries that are producing good results and purpose to sow faithfully into those ministries as well as support those we know who are less privileged.
Any giving may be profitable to the giver, and any giving may as well be unprofitable to the giver. What counts is that the giver does it as unto the Lord.
Parts of this study was culled from The Midas Touch by Kenneth E. Hagin
Thursday, October 11 2018
Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai
INTRODUCTION: In last week’s study, we looked at First fruits; the origin of this practice in the old testament and its application in the new testament for present day believers. We learnt that the First fruit offering is a recognition of God as our source. It illustrates giving to God from a grateful heart, and it sets a pattern of giving back to Him the first (and the best) of what He has given us. Finally, we acknowledged that not being under the Old Testament Law, the Christian is under no further obligation than to give cheerfully and liberally as we see in 2 Corinthians 9:6-7. In Today’s study, we shall be considering an interesting twist to giving . . . Receive and Give.
GOD’S ULTIMATE EXPECTATION
The reality here is that it is a cycle of giving. God is a just God, so He will not ask you to give what you don’t have. So, He gives us; as we see in 2 Cor.9:10-11a (NLT)
“10 For God, who gives seed to the farmer to plant, and later on good crops to harvest and eat, will give you more and more seed to plant and will make it grow so that you can give away more and more fruit from your harvest. 11 Yes, God will give you much so that you can give away much, and when we take your gifts to those who need them they will break out into thanksgiving and praise to God for your help.”
Emphasis on Verse 11a - God will give you much so that you can give away much!
In Genesis 12:2; when God was assuring Abraham of the blessings ahead of him, He spelt out the purpose when He said: "I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. The CEV says: “I will bless you and make your descendants into a great nation. You will become famous and be a blessing to others.”
In other words, the reason you are receiving from me is so that you will give to others!
THE IMPORTANCE OF UNDERSTANDING
One of the most interesting passages in the Old Testament describes how the Israelites who had been carried captive into Babylon finally were allowed to return home to Jerusalem. They gathered together inside the walls, Ezra the priest read to them from the Law of Moses, and the Levites explained it to them.
Let's read the account in Nehemiah chapter 8.
So they read from the Book of the Law of God, explaining it and giving insight, so that the people could understand what was being read. 9Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who were instructing the people said to all of them, “This day is holy to the LORD your God. Do not mourn or weep.” For all the people were weeping as they heard the words of the Law. 10Then Nehemiah told them, “Go and eat what is rich, drink what is sweet, and send out portions to those who have nothing prepared, since today is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength. And the Levites calmed all the people, saying, “Be still, since today is holy. Do not grieve.” 12Then all the people began to eat and drink, to send out portions, and to rejoice greatly, because they understood the words that had been made known to them.
Notice what happened. After the people heard the Word of God, Nehemiah told them to celebrate with joy. They ate. They drank. They shared with those who had nothing. Because they understood the words that have been made known to them!
In the New Testament, Jesus shared this same understanding with His disciples in Matt. 10:8 "... freely ye have received, freely give".
This is the biblical pattern. This is what Christianity is all about. You receive, and then you give. We are channels/conduits of God’s blessings to the world!
We receive because we need to give. We don’t give because we want to receive!
Once we have received, God expects us to give to others. And once we do, Luke 6:38 becomes real to us
“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."
There are many other promises of the benefits of giving that also become real to us, but we should give cheerfully and generously. 2 Corinthians 9:6 LB says:
“But remember this—if you give little, you will get little. A farmer who plants just a few seeds will get only a small crop, but if he plants much, he will reap much. Everyone must make up his own mind as to how much he should give. Don’t force anyone to give more than he really wants to, for cheerful givers are the ones God prizes.”
Proverbs 11:24 (NIV) says:
“One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.
Giving money is a great way of showing our love to God and seeing how He uses us to bless others. This also helps in enhancing our relationship with Him because, it teaches us to find our security in God and to rely on Him for all our needs. As we give, our attitude is transformed. Rather than asking, “How much of my money should I give to God?” we ask, “How much of God’s money should I keep for myself?”
We must give with a glad and generous heart because the very act of letting go of money does something within us. It destroys the demon greed and allows generosity to grow.
“God does not prosper us for the purpose of raising our standard of living.
He prospers us so that we can raise our standard of giving” - Harold Herring
Parts of this study was culled from “The Midas Touch” by Kenneth E. Hagin
Thursday, October 04 2018
Contributor: Alex Alajiki
In our last lesson, we considered if giving to the poor is a good investment. The word of God is very clear about the consequences of neglecting the poor in Prov.21:13 “If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered”. God’s blessing is also attached to helping the poor in
Prov. 19:17: “He who is gracious and lends a hand to the poor lends to the LORD, And the LORD will repay him for his good deed.”
We also must not make the mistake of thinking giving to the poor brings less blessing unlike giving to the work of the ministry. Every God instructed giving goes with specific blessing.
We shall be studying about firstfruit today. The origin of this practice in the old testament and it application in the new testament for present day believers.
1. FirstFruit in the old testament; Exo. 23:19a, Lev.23:9-14
“The first of the firstfruits of your land you shall bring into the house of the Lord your God.”
“And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 10 “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you come into the land which I give to you, and reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest. 11 He shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted on your behalf; on the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it. 12 And you shall offer on that day, when you wave the sheaf, a male lamb of the first year, without blemish, as a burnt offering to the Lord. 13 Its grain offering shall be two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, an offering made by fire to the Lord, for a [b]sweet aroma; and its drink offering shall be of wine, one-fourth of a hin. 14 You shall eat neither bread nor parched grain nor fresh grain until the same day that you have brought an offering to your God; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.”
Firstfruits was a Jewish feast held in the early spring at the beginning of the grain harvest. Firstfruits was a time of thanksgiving for God’s provision. It was a divine instruction from God to Moses.
Every time we obey God’s instructions there are always blessings attached to obedience.
Prov.3:9-10 “Honour the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase; 10 So your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.”
God not wanting to appear to man as a Dictator, grants man the freewill to enjoy virtually endless benefits ONLY on the condition of total obedience, to the giver of these benefits -The Almighty GOD.
a) FIRSTFRUIT OFFERING must be taken to God’s house (Exodus 23:19; 34:26);
b) FIRSTFRUIT OFFERING must be delivered to the Priest of the Nation (Lev.23:10; Numbers 18:42) otherwise known as the High Priest as at then in Israel (Numbers 3:32);
c) FIRSTFRUIT OFFERING shall apply to all a man engages in for livelihood (Deuteronomy 18:4);
d) FIRSTFRUIT OFFERING must be accompanied with worship (Deuteronomy 26:10);
It must be offered once and during each cycle of harvest, which was yearly in biblical time (Nehemiah 10:35). It must however be noted that in situations of multiple planting seasons within one year,
e) FIRSTFRUIT OFFERING becomes due after each harvest exercise;
“Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia to Christ.”
“I urge you, brethren you know the household of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves to the ministry of the saints.”
Paul here, was writing to believers who understood the meaning and significance of the firstfruit offering according to the old testament law.
In the New Testament, the firstfruits offering is mentioned seven times, always symbolically. Paul calls Epaenetus and the household of Stephanas “the firstfruits of Achaia” (Rom. 16:5; 1 Corin. 16:15).
His meaning is that, just as the firstfruits offering was the first portion of a larger harvest, these individuals were the first of many converts in that region.
James calls believers “a kind of firstfruits of His creatures” (Jam. 1:18). Just like the sheaf of grain was set apart for the Lord, so are believers set apart for God’s glory.
The concept of firstfruits is not used in the New Testament in reference to financial giving.
1 Cor.15:20 refers to our resurrected Christ has firstfruits; “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.”
The final mention of firstfruits in the Bible is in Rev.14:4;
“These are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were [c]redeemed from among men, being firstfruits to God and to the Lamb.”
This is referring to the 144,000 Jewish witnesses who will spread the Gospel during the Tribulation. They will have a special role in Heaven and are claimed by God and Jesus as special representatives of those who are saved.
However, just like there are no specific teachings on tithing in the new testament, but the reference of Jesus to it in Matt.23:23, believers who obey the practice of tithing will continue to harvest the benefits.
So also is the practice of firstfruits offering, When we honour the Lord with the firstfruits of our increase, the blessing attached will follow our obedience. Prov. 3:9-10;
“Honour the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase; 10 So your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.”
Firstfruits can be our first income in the beginning of the year, the difference between our old and new income during a raise. It can also be a portion we are willing to honour God with during a windfall, sudden increase or multiplication.
In summary, firstfruit offering is a recognition of God as our source. It illustrates giving to God from a grateful heart, and it sets a pattern of giving back to Him the first (and the best) of what He has given us. Not being under the Old Testament Law, the Christian is under no further obligation than to give cheerfully and liberally (2 Corinthians 9:6-7).