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- Restoration, Salvation and Rewards for Obedience to God Text: Isaiah 54-56
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Thursday, June 28 2018
Contributor: Dolapo Olaoye
Last week, we learnt what it means to partner with God and ways we can partner with God. We went further into “motives” for serving and giving. We then concluded that, rendering service to God and giving are tried and proven ways to plant seeds for a harvest that will result in our needs being met.
Today we are going to look at four ways in which a church should care for its pastor: respect, financial support, accountability and submission of the congregation to the Word of God.
HOW CAN THE CHURCH CARE FOR A MESSENGER (“PASTOR”)?
God asks us to respect our leaders, including the pastor. 1 Thess. 5:12-13
“But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another”.
Caring also includes honoring the pastor and being at peace with him, as well as the other leaders. Pastors deserve honor and respect because he is the one who ministers to the congregation day-by-day, week-by-week, and month-by-month.
We need to resist the temptation of undervaluing Pastors. Focus on their strengths, pray for their weaknesses, Stop comparisons, Appreciate the “small” stuff.
Paul did not say recognize those who preach great sermons or oversee successful ministries. He said: "respect those who labor among you…..."
2. Financial Support
A church should care for its pastor financially.
Financial support should include a regular salary and benefits. If a pastor isn’t being paid generously, his mind and heart are likely divided. I Timothy 5:17-18:
Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and “the laborer deserves his wages.”
Worrying over finances is a difficult thing many pastors go through and honestly it should not be the case. It also makes them stressed, worn-out etc. and yes I know some will say “sure the Lord will provide”.
Yes, the Lord provides and the Lord provides through His people (you and I). Apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians 9-7 “Let everyone give as his heart tells him, neither grudgingly nor under compulsion, for God loves the man who gives cheerfully. After all, God can give you everything that you need, so that you may always have sufficient both for yourselves and for giving away to other people. As the scripture says: “He has dispersed abroad, he has given to the poor; his righteousness remains forever.”
Not many pastors generally have time for family holidays yet at least every summer we take our family and go even on a weekend holiday. A way of financially supporting pastors will be to provide them with a paid family holiday—perhaps anonymously. Be creative and generous with your financial care.
In a church all the leaders become accountable one to another. They are accountable for their approaches, their spiritual lives, and their behavior. The church can also care for its pastor by holding him accountable for his actions and life as he is not more holy or above everyone.
However we need to be careful because some people have a habit of worshipping their pastor, putting them on a pedestal, and they eventually become ‘pastor-worshippers.’ Remember pastors are human beings too. Value the message not the messenger.
God never intended for any leader to be “beyond rebuke,” It still does not mean we should be finding fault with every of their flaws. Everyone has flaws. The issue however is when we consistently sin in a certain area, then each one of us needs help. God is more concerned about our holiness than our comfort.
Finally, if the church believes that God has called their pastor to preach and teach the Word, then the congregation automatically have a responsibility to listen carefully and submit (unless he teaches error). This encourages the pastor to minister joyfully.
“Obey your leaders, and submit to them; for they keep watch over your souls, as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you”. Hebrews 13:17
It is important to note that giving to pastors should not be only because they are in need. The Bible encourages that we give to them because it is a source of receiving a peculiar blessing from God! Matthew 10:41-42 says” “Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.”
There are many ways to care for our pastors. We have studied 4 different ways today and once we respect, financially support, hold accountable and submit to our pastors, it will go a long way towards their ways of ministering to us. Caring is also an act of giving and remember proverbs 11:24: “Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything” NLT.
Thursday, June 21 2018
Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai
During last week’s study we learnt how with more money we can have more ministry. We saw the important role money plays in sending out ministers to reach the unreached. And more especially learnt about generous grace giving. In today’s study we will be looking at entering into partnership with God.
There are two great privileges that God has given to man. The first is salvation, which is the privilege to come into an intimate and eternal relationship with God, to be unified with Him in love. The second greatest privilege is to serve God with good works, which He performs through us as we allow Him to do so. Both privileges are a result of God’s grace.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:8-10)
WHAT IS PARTNERING WITH GOD?
It is a purposeful relationship with the Almighty where you and Him “pool” resources together (money, time, skills, grace, etc.) all for the sole purpose of advancing His kingdom on earth; bearing in mind I Chronicles 29:14 that says: “But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand. Having said that, God owes no man and will reward you! (Read Matthew 6:33, 19:29, Hebrews 6:10).
WAYS OF PARTNERING WITH GOD
There are several ways we can go into partnership with God and be part of what God is doing in the world today:
Ephesians 6:7 AMP says: “Rendering service readily with goodwill, as to the Lord and not to men,”
To render service readily means to render service enthusiastically, gladly and cheerfully.
And to render it with goodwill refers to rendering service with willingness, concern and kindness.
Luke 8:1-3 tells us of those who gave to the ministry of Jesus
“Soon afterward, Jesus began going around from one city and village to another, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve [disciples] were with Him, 2 and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and diseases: Mary, called Magdalene [from the city of Magdala in Galilee], from whom seven demons had come out, 3 and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household steward, and Susanna, and many others who were contributing to their support out of their private means [as was the custom for a rabbi’s disciples]. AMP Also read Acts 4:32-35
No matter what option we have been given the grace to engage in, our motive and purpose for giving should be pure and unselfish.
The ultimate motive that should drive every one of us is Love (1 Cor.13:1-3)
MOTIVES FOR SERVICE – Watch out for Pitfalls
MOTIVES FOR GIVING
And we should do the same; we should give to God because we love Him.
to the Lord and support His work. In addition to the scriptures we've already examined, there are many others that are unmistakable in their instruction about giving.
These five motives have been listed in an order I believe reflects priorities that are very important. However, it appears these days that undue emphasis is being placed on the last and it is being presented as the major reason for people to give.
Remember, God judges our motives; we can get away with deceiving others but nit Him! He will be definitely inclined towards the one who first loves Him, obeys Him, propagate His work, see His people blessed before they think of receiving from Him than to the one who starts off with receiving from Him first.
Rendering service to God and giving are tried and proven ways to plant seeds for a harvest that will result in our needs being met. The law of sowing and reaping applies in every of life’s situations including personal finances. The Bible is true when it says, " And ye shall serve the LORD your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water;” (Exodus 23:25) and “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. . ." (Luke 6:38). These are good and valid reasons for giving. And I believe they will lead to true prosperity—spirit, soul, and body.
Parts of this study was culled from "The Midas Touch" By Kenneth E Hagin
Wednesday, June 13 2018
Contributor: Leye Olayiwola
Why are preachers and ministries after everybody’s money? This is not the case with all. Again, we must avoid the trap of stereotyping ministers. Obviously, there are operating costs and expenses to maintain any ministry, and there are many Christian organizations which deal with the issue of offerings and fund raising very graciously and admirably. We can empathize with those who may have a negative attitude. It's not surprising why people have become weary with constant appeals for money — we really can't blame them. But at the same time, we must be careful not to become critical and abandon the spreading of the Gospel because of the abuses of some ministries. It is crucial that the message of Jesus Christ be delivered to the world. It is a matter of life or death!
The church or a ministry needs money to operate. Just like you and I need an income to pay electric, water, gas and every other bills, the church needs money to pay its bills too. When you give you are helping your local church care for people in the church and your community, plus you are helping send the Gospel around the world. That's why your church or favorite ministry needs your financial support. When Christians support God's work they are following the command of God to give. Giving is an act of faith and obedience to God. At times you may wonder why you should be giving to a particular church or ministry, because you have questions about how they were spending the money. Although, ultimately God will be the judge of the leadership of that church or ministry, we should also be good stewards (and investors) of God’s resources. God is not a waster!
“Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours. “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. 27 So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.” [Matthew 25:24-28]
However, it is always a privilege to give to God’s work and His Kingdom.
Throughout the Old Testament we commonly see a reference to the tithe. Some people say in the New Testament, under the age of grace, that we should be giving even more than the 10% tithe of the Old Testament. Generous grace giving is the New Testament standard of giving. The real question is, how much do you want to be blessed? Some people give much more because they know God will bless them for their obedience. It's not a give to receive type of arrangement. It is more like, give and trust God to abundantly pour out His blessings on your family. God will bless you in ways that are far more important than money, but we must walk in obedience to enjoy those blessings. Faithfulness is the key in giving.
When you say “grace,” a lot of people, unfortunately, connect it with hang-loose, undisciplined living. But that is not grace! Nor is grace the balance point between legalism and licentiousness. Rather grace (as a system) is totally opposed both to legalism and licentiousness, which are two sides of the same coin.
Legalism and licentiousness both operate on the principle of the flesh. Legalism is an attempt to earn standing with God through human effort and leads to pride or condemnation, depending on how well you do. Licentiousness casts off restraint and lives to gratify the flesh.
But God’s grace is His unmerited favor based on Christ’s sacrifice. The motivating power in grace is the indwelling Spirit of God. The person under grace responds out of love and gratitude to God and depends upon the indwelling Holy Spirit to conform his life to what God requires. With that basic understanding of grace, let us consider what grace giving is not, and what grace giving is.
“How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who [b]preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!” [Romans 10:14-15]
And how can they be sent without money? And how can they get the money except it be given them in God's appointed way, by the gracious and generous giving of God’s people "who have heard the joyful sound?"
Part of this teaching was taken from “THE MIDAS TOUCH” by Kenneth E. Hagin
Thursday, June 07 2018
Contributor: Martins Olubiyi
In our last Bible studies, precisely fortnight ago we examined the purpose of prosperity. Last week we also studied that God’s people must prosper to fulfil the great commission. Today, we are going to study about God’s plan for financing the church and its outreaches via tithing.
Aim: The aim of this study is to examine the purpose of tithing and the blessings it attracts to those who obey this Biblical commandment.
Text: Malachi 3: 10-12. [New International Version (NIV)].
10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be enough room to store it.
11 I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the LORD Almighty.
12 “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the LORD Almighty.
Tithe: What is it?
The concept of tithing was in practice before the old covenant was established. The first person to make a Tithe, which means a tenth (ten percent) of one’s increase was Abram (Genesis 14: 18-20). Abram’s tithe was not under the Law. The Law came more than six hundred years later. It was purely a voluntary act of gratitude to honour “The Most High God, Possessor of heaven and earth”. Abram simply appreciated God’s favour and gave up something of value to honour the One who had helped Him get the victory”. Tithing became a commandment under the Law as we read in our text in Malachi 3 vs 10; “Bring ye all the tithes……. saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”
As we know, there are a lot of debates about the concept of Tithe. The aim of this study is not to delve into opinions of people, but to see from Biblical perspective, the purpose of tithing and the blessing it attracts to those who obey it as a commandment. Jesus said I have not come to abolish the law, ……., but to fulfil. [(Mat 5:17) KJV].
Abram tithed to honour God with his substance.
“An honouring occurs when something that is of value to the one doing the giving is freely or voluntarily giving to someone as a sacrificial gesture of thanksgiving or appreciation. Is God worthy to be highly esteemed for what He Has done and what He still does and what He still does in our lives that we would specially honour Him for it? If it was that way before the Law, how much more should He be esteemed under the New Covenant where we have been given a better covenant with all things in Christ (Hebrew 8: 6).” – Rev. Bill Miller.
Why the Need for tithe?
Tithing is a powerful way to plug in to what God is doing in the world. The combined tithes of a congregation provide the funds to support the outreaches of a church. Hence, we will be getting people saved, building up the body of Christ; Ministering to the poor; Supporting missions; perhaps sponsoring the gospel on radio or television, and helping to provide a living for the pastor and ministry staff – Malachi 3: 10
Where should we Tithe?
As a general principle, it is better to tithe to your local church. The local church is the primary means that God uses to bless people in the earth. The Local church is where the saints are cared for, and it is to be the base for all other outreaches. Various other ministries can and should be supported by offerings and other forms of financial support that comes from individuals and churches. But in most situations, the tithe should go to the local church. Mal 3:10; Heb 13: 17; Phil 4: 15.
Reasons and Purposes of paying Tithe.
Through our tithes, we able to have a part in God’s plan. We partner with God in carrying out His will. This brings great fulfilment and satisfaction- mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Mal 3: 11-12
Obedience to this commandment of Tithing opens the window of Heavens. Note there are three Heavens; one where the birds fly, or our atmosphere; another where the sun, moon and stars are; and the other where God dwells.
God pledges Himself to open the windows of heaven and pour us out the divinest blessings- overflowing blessings, “heaped up, pressed down, shaken together, running over,” that “there shall not be room enough to receive it.” Luke 6: 38.
The Six-Fold Blessings of Tithe:
When we give tithes into our churches for the propagation of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, then we get to be included in their eternal reward. We are the body of Christ. We all have a part to play. “…from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the building up of itself in love.” – Ephesians 4: 16 (NASB). It is not an offence to expect a return from God when we tithe. God emphasis in His word “Test Me”. All we need is an act of faith and to give our tithe with a cheerful hearth not as someone under coercion or duress. God loves a cheerful giver. (Cor 9: 6-7). Above all see tithing as a form of worship and honour to our God. (Prov 3: 9). Then watch out for the deluge of His blessing on your life.