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CHURCH COLLECTIONS AND CHRISTIAN GIVING IN APOSTOLIC TIMES

The Gospel Truth is that Christians are those saved through faith by GOD’S GIFTS of His Son, His Grace and His Spirit: therefore GIVING is a Blessed Virtue among Christians. Since Christians have received God’s freely given Salvation, they are sent on the mission to freely give and freely preach to all.
Matthew 10:7-8
7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: FREELY YE HAVE RECEIVED, FREELY GIVE.

1Corinthians 9:16-18
16 For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!
17 For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.
18 What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may MAKE THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST WITHOUT CHARGE, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.

GIVING and GENEROSITY from what we have earned (not from what we have borrowed), when done as show of KINDNESS to humanity and GRATITUDE to God, are Christian virtues all of which produce more GODLY BLESSEDNESS and lead to more DIVINE BLESSINGS in this life and the life to come. *To be BLESSED of the Lord is to be object of Divine Pleasure or Divine Approval, Divine Benediction or Divine Reward.*
Luke 14:12-14
12 And he said to him also that had bidden him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, nor thy kinsmen, nor rich neighbors; lest haply they also bid thee again, and a recompense be made thee.
13 But when thou makest a feast, bid the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind:
14 and THOU SHALT BE BLESSED; because they have not wherewith to recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed in the resurrection of the just.

Acts 20:35
In every way I showed you that by working hard like this we should help the weak and remember the words that the Lord Jesus himself said, ‘It is MORE BLESSED TO GIVE THAN TO RECEIVE.'”

Hebrews 13:16
Do not neglect to do good and to be generous, for GOD IS PLEASED WITH SUCH SACRIFICES.

2Corinthians 9:6-8
(6) Remember this: The person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sows generously will also reap generously.
(7) Each of you must give what you have decided in your heart, not with regret or under compulsion, SINCE GOD LOVES A CHEERFUL GIVER.
(8) BESIDES, GOD IS ABLE TO MAKE EVERY BLESSING OF YOURS OVERFLOW FOR YOU, SO THAT IN EVERY SITUATION YOU WILL ALWAYS HAVE ALL YOU NEED FOR ANY GOOD WORK.

1Timothy 6:17-19
(17) TELL THOSE WHO ARE RICH IN THE PRESENT WORLD not to be arrogant and not to place their confidence in anything as uncertain as riches. Instead, let them place their confidence in God, who lavishly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.
(18) THEY ARE TO DO GOOD, TO BE RICH IN GOOD WORKS, TO BE GENEROUS, AND TO SHARE.
(19) By doing this they STORE UP A TREASURE for themselves that is a GOOD FOUNDATION for the future, so that they can take hold of the life that is real.

Godly generosity and goodness is when you are merciful to enemies, when you bless those who curse you, when you give to those who deprive you or demand from you, when you give those who cannot or would not give you back. GODLY GIVING is done in various forms or occasions of Christian CHARITY (alms and helps) to others and Christian DEVOTION (commitment and gratitude) to God and His work. For Giving to be godly and blessed, it should therefore *NEVER BE DONE AS BARGAIN whether with humanity or Divinity,* but as sacrifice to God or as expression of love, gratitude and service to God or neighbour.
Luke 6:30-36
30 Give to every one that asketh thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again.
31 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.
32 And if ye love them that love you, what thank have ye? for even sinners love those that love them.
33 And if ye do good to them that do good to you, what thank have ye? for even sinners do the same.
34 And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? even sinners lend to sinners, to receive again as much.
35 But love your enemies, and do them good, and lend, never despairing; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be sons of the Most High: for he is kind toward the unthankful and evil.
36 Be ye merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

It is important to notice that contributing money into a Congregational Treasury for COMMON PURPOSES of the Church is not the same as giving money into a Private Purse for PERSONAL PURPOSE of a Minister. In democracy, personal interest of the leaders must not be confused to mean the same as the common National interest; so also in ecclesiology, personal funds of the pastors must never be confused to mean the same as the common Church funds.

In the Apostolic times, the Apostles instituted that Churches should collect and keep custody of their funds as congregational commonwealth and dispense such funds as commonly agreed through their own treasurers. The Apostles did not mix their personal honorariums and earnings with the Church’s common funds, but rather showed transparent integrity by their insistence on not getting these issues mixed up or shrouded.
1Cointhians 16:1-4
(1) Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do you.
(2) Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God has prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.
(3) AND WHEN I COME, WHOMSOEVER YOU SHALL APPROVE BY YOUR LETTERS, THEM WILL I SEND TO BRING YOUR LIBERALITY UNTO JERUSALEM.
(4) AND IF IT BE FITTING THAT I GO ALSO, THEY SHALL GO WITH ME.

Acts 6:2-5
(2) And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the WORD of God to serve TABLES.
(3) THEREFORE, BROTHERS, PICK OUT FROM AMONG YOU SEVEN MEN OF GOOD REPUTE, FULL OF THE SPIRIT AND OF WISDOM, WHOM WE WILL APPOINT TO THIS DUTY.
(4) But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”
(5) And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch.

2Corinthians 8:16-22
(16) But thanks be to God, who placed in the heart of Titus the same dedication to you that I have.
(17) He welcomed my request and eagerly went to visit you by his own free will.
(18) With him we have sent the brother who is praised in all the churches for spreading the gospel.
(19) More than that, HE HAS ALSO BEEN SELECTED BY THE CHURCHES TO TRAVEL WITH US WHILE WE ARE ADMINISTERING THIS WORK OF KINDNESS for the glory of the Lord and as evidence of our eagerness to help.
(20) WE ARE TRYING TO AVOID ANY CRITICISM OF THE WAY WE ARE ADMINISTERING THIS GREAT UNDERTAKING.
(21) We intend to do what is right, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of people.
(22) We have also sent with them our brother whom we have often tested in many ways and found to be dedicated. At present he is more dedicated than ever because he has so much confidence in you.

*CHRISTIAN GIVING (i.e. ALMSGIVING for the needy, COLLECTIONS for Church’s common projects/programmes/property, and WAGES/HONORARIUMS for Gospel ministers) is not a bargain with God but a gratitude to God.* Every Christian should show gratitude to God by giving proportionately – whether as tithes or offerings or donations – according as God has prospered him or her with whatever we have (Act 11:29; 1Cor 16:1-3; 2Cor 8:12). Those who are faithful in stewarding the little they have shall be made stewards of the greater (Matt 25:21; Luk 16:10; 19:17; 2Cor 9:10-11).

However, the tangential unidirectional twist of “Prosperity theology” or Prosperity “Gospel” *(that we can only procure our anointed prosperity by only giving to anointed prosperity preachers)* is not “GOSPEL” for any spiritual salvation, but JINGLE for selfish exploitation (1Tim 6:5; 2Pet 2:3, 15).

The distortions and deceptions by prosperity theology thrive on controversy, confusion and contention. But a thorough study of the Scriptures would bring forth the comprehensive Truth about generosity and blessedness.

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