Monday, February 15, 2010

Giving..."I Have to Get This In"

First of all, I would like to reiterate that if you are going to leave a comment, you must leave a name with it. No anonymous comments will be posted. If one does not have the backbone to put their name behind their comment, then the comment is untrustworthy at best. For example, I received the following anonymous post this week:
Why don't you try it for a month. No specials, Women keep silent which will leave just men signing the hymms in unison. Before you know it, you will have the men wearing beards and them funny round brim hats and the women folk wearing thos funny head coverings (since that is a commandment to!).
Aren't you glad your saved by Grace. Its all a heart issue anyway. If a man loves God, he will keep his commandments, abstain from what he calls abominitions and do what he says makes him happy ( God loves a cheerful giver, every preacher that calls himself baptist gets that in every sermon he preaches). You look at the service thru eyes of proper biblical eticic, God looks on the heart of the believer.

First of all, if you are going to comment, please first study grammar and spelling fundamentals. While perfection is not demanded, a simple understanding of basic principles is appreciated; or if this is not the case, please ask your daddy or mommy's permission before posting a comment next time please.
I will address these thoughts though because it leads into my thought for today.
1. I am praying about trying it for a month at church.
2. We are not going to have any specials, just congregational singing.
3. Women are not commanded to keep silent in all things, but not to usurp authority over the man, not to teach a man, but to be in silence in these matters and to learn in silence in all subjection (1 Tim. 2:11-12)
4. According to 1 Cor. 11 a woman's covering is her hair. And yes, I believe women should have hair. By 'funny head coverings' I assume you refer to bonnets? If so, you have taken 1 Cor. 11 out of context.
5. I am glad I am saved by grace.
6. You then confuse say a 'man that loves God will keep His commandment' but then criticize me for wanting to follow the Bible? Aren't those God's commandments? You speak on behalf of most of the evangelical world I suppose. Very typical. "God loves me, I love Him. I will keep His commandments, unless I don't feel like it, but that really doesn't matter because God sees my heart and He knows I love Him." Well my grammatically challenged or child friend, the Bible teaches we are saved by grace in Eph. 2, and says
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them
You see we have His Word to teach us how to live and act and behave-including in the house of God. (1 Tim. 3:15). After salvation we are to be His workmanship...unto good works...we should walk in them. So yes, "biblical eticic" is of great importance.
7. You also lead me into today's thought in your side thought "God loves a cheerful giver, every preacher that calls himself baptist gets that in every sermon he preaches" Thus our title for today, "Giving...I have to get this in." (Don't blame me...Anonymous told me too!)
Simple thought for today. We know there was giving for the New Testament church. In the first church our Lord started, there was a treasurer, Judas. (John 13:29). We again cannot use Temple/Synagogue practices for giving as THE MODEL for the New Testament church; rather we look to Scripture in how the church gave.
And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need. Acts 4:35
Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles' feet. Acts 4:37
And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles' feet.
Acts 5:2

We know there was giving in all the churches on the first day of the week.
Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come. 1 Cor. 16:1-2
Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren, that they would go before unto you, and make up beforehand your bounty, whereof ye had notice before, that the same might be ready, as a matter of bounty, and not as of covetousness.
But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver
2 Cor. 5:9-7

So we know offerings were given, on the first day of the week, as God hath prospered they were to give, and the offerings were laid at the apostle's feet.
When did "passing the plate" begin?
Now, I feel this is a good time to say this: "Just because the Bible is silent on a subject does not make it wrong." But having said that, if the action is contrary to Biblical principle, then it is most definitely wrong. So my question for today is, "Is passing the plate contrary to Biblical principle?
Again, let me state, our church does pass the plate. I am not looking to debate someone, just seeking other's counsel (not sarcasm). What principles could be contradicted in passing the plate?
First and foremost is the principle of accountability. By 'leaving the offering at the apostle's feet' the giver was seen by the church as a giver. What was given was a matter between them and the Holy Ghost. This being exampled in Acts 5 with Ananias and Sapphira. The people were aware that they had given. There was accountability in this way. Today a 'non giver and robber of God' can hide in his pew by just passing the plate. Then, a non giver was noticed in that they never gave. Now what they gave was a matter between them and the Holy Ghost. Peter says in that passage about their offering, "Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost...thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God." A church that did have the members give at the apostle's feet would be a much more accountable church.
Second, is the principle of greed and a lack of faith in God. The best I can figure, we pass the plate because we know we will 'get more money.' We know that those who are just giving a $5 or a $10 probably would not make the effort to get up and give it, so we come to them. And, we might be able to squeeze a few bucks out of the lazy who would otherwise not make the effort to move. Are we displaying a covetous spirit and robbing people of the privilege of worshipping God in their giving?
Again, just thoughts....let me know what you think.


Phil said...

Hi Pastor Burke,

I just have a question. If you are not following anything in the old testament how can you preach tithing because there is no explicit command that says thou shalt give thy tithe to church?Since there are no aposles these days should the members come and lay it at the pastor,s feet? Does that mean pastors have some type of apostolic succsesion?I soory I do not have any historical data to say when "passing the plate" began. By the way I do tithe. I left you an anonymous comment on The post "Send the Rain!" on where in the Bible does it say that Adam and Eve were clothed with the glory of God? Did you not answer because it was anonymous?

Phil said...

Oops. When I talked about your post send the rain in the previous comment I meant in your sermon on salvation you said Adam and Eve were clothed with the children of God. If you were to not follow pass the plate and have your church members put their offerings at the front/in some type off offering box at the fronht/lay it at your feet/- how do you think you could prevent it from turning into some type of pharisaical thing like it did with the pharisees in account of the woman with the mite? Some may cast there money in but their hearts might not be right.

Travis Burke said...

Thanks for your comments. Yes, I did not publish or answer your adam and Eve question because it was anonymous, but I will now...sorry about that, but I get alot of 'anonymous' responses and have to draw a line somewhere.

In response, first, I am not settled on the issue and have no ulteriour motive, thus I am very appreciative for your feedback. I would never say that I "do not follow anything in the Old Testament" for it is God's Word. I just hesitate in using the Old Testament as a model for the New Testament Church. Having said that though, I do not preach tithing to our church as many do. I preach Stewardship. I preached an entire message on this that can be listened to here:
A quick summary, Israel was commanded to give 10%, we are commanded to be stewards. 10% is the platform on which we start. We have a commission Israel did not have---a great commission, that demands a much greater sacrifice. We purpose in our heart and give give below 10% would be a blasphemy to our Lord, but to only give 10% is at best weak.
I agree there are no apostles in these days, but that word means messenger. I do believe the apostles were the first elders of the early church there in Jerusalem (1 Cor. 12:28), and that in context the offering was laid at the apostles (pastors) feet. (obviously not for the pastor-but for distrubition under the direction of the pastor and with the authority of the church-entire other lesson).
I don't have any historical data either, but looking. SHould I or you find some, please share.
Lastly, concerning Adam and Eve clothed in the glory of God. I do not refer to an actual physical clothing, but rather a spiritual clothing. There is no reference in Genesis, and should you feel that I am attacking some doctrine or in any way hurting the cause of Christ, I would back down from that statement immediately. My thinking is as follows:
Adam and Eve were both created by God and were "naked and were not ashamed."(Ge. 2:25) Upon partaking of the forbidden fruit, their eyes were opened and they knew they were naked. (Gen. 3:7). Rom. 5:12 reads, "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:" Rom. 6:23 then reads, "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." They were naked and not ashamed before sin, but after sin knew they were naked. What was lost between those two times? Sin results in our coming short of the glory of God. Reading Isaiah 61:10 and Psalm 93:1 just gives a picture of being clothed in righteousness. When Christ died upon the cross He became sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Cor. 5:21. I suppose it is a principle that illustrates what God has done for us. When I was saved, His righteousness was placed upon me..I was clothed in the glory of God. Before that, I was a sinner and come short of the glory of God....thus Adam and Eve before sin are pictured that way in my mind. If it were an issue that would cause breaking of fellowship with someone, I would say, "You are right and I am wrong," but I believe it allows a picture in the mind of what salvation is and what sin resulted in there in the garden and in lives today. Hope that makes some sense.

Travis Burke said...

Bro. Phil,
I suppose it could be done in that wrong attitude...but I think the key is that in the account of the widow giving her mite and the rich giving their much was the attitude in which it was given. The Lord was teaching against those that made a show of themselves and their good deeds. That can be done while passing the plate too. Having grown up in church, those that gave alot and wanted people to know, still know how to do that today just as they did when Jesus taught this lesson.
Perhaps as they leave they could walk by and place their offering in a plate that is left in a designated place, or as part of an invitation, or when they arrive at church.
I definitely don't want the attitude of "lay it at my feet". One of the problems in churches today in the area of giving is that many do not understand that you are not giving to 'the pastor' but to the Lord. I believe the apostles feet just spoke of the designated place where the offering was given, for the Bible is clear that the church has the authority to decide where monies are spent.
I seriously doubt (sadly) that many pastors right now are worried about hearts as they give their offering, as long as their giving. Perhaps this way would make this more evident and could be addressed and result in a more pure church?
At least were thinking....Phil, if I was convinced one way, I would tell you...I just want to do things the way our Lord wants us too. If no change need be made, Amen! But I do believe it is our duty to search the Scriptures and desire to do right. Thanks for your counsel!

Phil said...

THis a little late. Sorry, I was not trying to say that you ignore or do not follow the OT. I was just trying to say that if your relying on THe NT alone for your worship practice/methods than that would probably negate tithing. My church does not just tithe.The church also gives to Faith Promise Missions. We support a pretty big number of missionaries.Besides Faith Promise,when there is a special need for our missionaries we give. I think our church cosiders itself a missions minded church. When I visit your site I am the one from Little Rock,AR. Our church has been in the process of looking for a pastor. A man whose ministry you endorse came as a candidate and your name was on his reference list on the pastoral application. We did not vote him in as pastor. We are voting on our long time associate now interum pastor this Sunday.

Travis Burke said...

I did not take your remark as accusation, I have greatly enjoyed our dialogue.
Thank you for commenting and feel free to always do so.
I have been praying for your church and the Lord's direction, and will continue to do so.