ARTICLE 13 | STEWARDSHIP
God is the source of all blessings, temporal and spiritual; all that we have and are we owe to Him. Christians have a spiritual debtorship to the whole world, a holy trusteeship in the gospel, and a binding stewardship in their possessions. They are therefore under obligation to serve Him with their time, talents, and material possessions; and should recognize all these as entrusted to them to use for the glory of God and for helping others. According to the Scriptures, Christians should contribute of their means cheerfully, regularly, systematically, proportionately, and liberally for the advancement of the Redeemer’s cause on earth.
- Genesis 14:20 >> As a recognition of God’s gracious blessings, Abram gave a tenth of all that he had in an offering of worship.
- Leviticus 27:30-32 >> The tithe was an offering to the Lord that was considered holy, or separate. It was devoted to the Lord as an act of worshipful dependence.
- Deuteronomy 8:18 >> Because our very lives are dependent upon the Lord, we recognize that He gives us all that we have, from the breath in our lungs to the money in our checking accounts.
- Malachi 3:8-12; Acts 5:1-11 >> God equates not giving a tithe of your income in worship as robbing Him. Some withhold their tithe thinking that they can’t afford to give. However, God offers a different perspective that, since He gives us all we have, to freely & sacrificially use our wealth as an instrument to declare the depth of trust & worship unto His glory.
- Matthew 6:1-4 >> Our giving is meant to be an account of private devotion, not a public declaration of how sacrificial we are. As we give with a right heart, we receive a reward from God.
- Matthew 6:19-21 >> Jesus tells us to spend our money in light of eternity as a declaration of where your treasure is located. With our lives we declare whether the things we value are on earth or in eternity.
- Matthew 19:21 >> Because money has a tendency to be such a stronghold on us as individuals, Jesus tells us to gauge our love for Him & dependence upon Him by our level of giving.
- Matthew 23:23 >> Tithing is useless apart from heart obedience.
- Matthew 25:14-29 >> If we have be entrusted with resources, it is so that we can be faithfully devoted to our Master’s priorities & purposes.
- Luke 12:16-21 >> To devote yourself to money & earthly possessions without concern for eternity is foolish, for in a moment’s time death could strip us away from it all.
- Acts 2:44-47 >> The early church recognized that, since they were one body in Christ, if a brother or sister had a need & others had resources, they would hold their possessions in common to meet that need.
- Acts 17:24-25 >> God does not need anything we have, for we receive from Him everything we have.
- Acts 20:35 >> In God’s Kingdom, He looks favorably upon those who give & returns their sacrifice with His blessing.
- Romans 6:6-22 >> The members of our body & all areas of our lives are meant to experience the fullness of the Spirit & the rejuvenation of the new birth. The Spirit is meant to impact even our checkbooks.
- Romans 12:1-2 >> When you consider the mercies of God, offering your entire life to Him as an act of worship is the only reasonable response.
- 1 Corinthians 4:1-2 >> We are stewards of all that God has given us & we will be judged for how faithful we were with those resources.
- 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 >> Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit & we are to take captive every area for His glory.
- 1 Corinthians 12 >> In addition to monetary resources, God has given us spiritual gifts that we should be faithful with.
- 1 Corinthians 16:1-4 >> Paul admonished the church in Corinth & Galatia to set aside funds at the beginning of each week to be used for the Lord’s work.
- 2 Corinthians 8-9 >> A marvelous work of God’s grace typically precedes faithful, sacrificial giving. That is what God wants: cheerful givers.
- 2 Corinthians 12:15 >> Paul saw it as a joy to spend himself for the glory of God & the good of the church.
- Philippians 4:10-19 >> While Paul lived in a variety of circumstances, he learned the secret of contentment: trusting Christ with everything. Many had provided for him & he commended them for it, not because he wanted to get rich, but because he wanted to see their reward increased & because he knew that God was going to supply everything he needed & they needed.
- 1 Peter 1:18-19 >> Nothing we possess is more precious that what was offered to purchase us from death: the priceless blood of Jesus Christ.
ARTICLE 14 | COOPERATION
Christ’s people should, as occasion requires, organize such associations and conventions as may best secure cooperation for the great objects of the Kingdom of God. Such organizations have no authority over one another or over the churches. They are voluntary and advisory bodies designed to elicit, combine, and direct the energies of our people in the most effective manner. Members of New Testament churches should cooperate with one another in carrying forward the missionary, educational, and benevolent ministries for the extension of Christ’s Kingdom. Christian unity in the New Testament sense is spiritual harmony and voluntary cooperation for common ends by various groups of Christ’s people. Cooperation is desirable between the various Christian denominations, when the end to be attained is itself justified, and when such cooperation involves no violation of conscience or compromise of loyalty to Christ and His Word as revealed in the New Testament.
- Exodus 17:12 >> In order to accomplish the purposes God had for Israel, Moses play a vital role, but had to be unified with & supported by other leaders & the nation as a whole.
- Exodus 18:17 >> As a leader, Moses had to learn that delegation & a plurality of leaders was necessary for him & for the entire nation.
- Judges 7:21 >> While fleshly intuition says that there is strength in numbers, what is more important is that the few be united in the truth of God’s revealed purposes.
- Ezra 1:3-4 >> Each person that was called by God to work was to be aided by the resources of others who had a cooperative interest.
- Ezra 2:68-69 >> In response to the necessity of the work, God’s people gave freely of their resources to achieve the corporate purpose God had put before them.
- Nehemiah 4 >> God called the people under Nehemiah’s leadership to be prepared to build & defend their work concurrently under the power of His Spirit.
- Nehemiah 8:1-5 >> As the people had been gathered under the purposes of God, they now gathered to worship God & renew their devotion to His Kingdom.
- Matthew 10:5-15; Luke 10:1 >> The twelve apostles were sent out & admonished to discover people friendly to their purposes who would take part in their work & provide for them.
- Matthew 20:1-16 >> God calls laborers into His harvest field at different times & different seasons, but all with the same task which unites them.
- Matthew 22:1-10; 28:19-20 >> As servants of the King, we are sent to gather those who are willing to come.
- Mark 2:3 >> By God’s design, it a number of individuals working together that accomplish the purposes of God.
- Acts 1:13-14; 2:1 >> After Jesus’ ascension, the apostles stayed together, practicing the unity Jesus had taught them.
- Acts 4:31-37; 13:2-3; 15:1-35 >> God continued to affirm the unity of the apostles by revealing His will through the Holy Spirit to them.
- 1 Corinthians 1:10-17; 3:5-15 >> It is God’s will for His people to be united. Unnecessary division hurts the Kingdom of God.
- 1 Corinthians 12 >> The varied gifts of the Spirit are made to bring unity rather than promote division.
- 2 Corinthians 8-9 >> The early churches in different cities felt God call them to provide for other churches who had needs.
- Galatians 1:6-10; Ephesians 4:1-16 >> Teaching is important for unity, but false teaching should be confronted for the division it causes.
- Philippians 1:15-18 >> While some people may have different motivations for preaching the Gospel, if they are not altering its content we should embrace the fact that the Gospel is going forth through them.