Family Bible Study lesson for Feb. 22: Disciplined Giving : Saturday, Feb. 7, 2004
February 7 2004 by Claude Frazier

Family Bible Study lesson for Feb. 22: Disciplined Giving : Saturday, Feb. 7, 2004
Saturday, Feb. 7, 2004

Family Bible Study lesson for Feb. 22: Disciplined Giving

By Claude Frazier
Focal passage: Malachi 3:6-12; 1 Corinthians 16:1-4

God is Owner

Malachi 3:6-9

Malachi felt a need to confront the post-exilic Israelites in Jerusalem. The people had grown indifferent in their spiritual living, and were turning away from God's statutes. Malachi declared that God had remained faithful but Israel had proven faithless. Malachi accused the people of robbing God and they questioned, "how?" Malachi stated it was because they had strayed from their respect for, devotion to and love of God. Their failure to tithe illustrated this. And in turn, the people were not receiving the blessings they would be entitled to if they were obedient.

Because of the people's straying from God, their crops had failed year after year and they felt that God had deserted them.

When a person tithes, they recognize that God is the Creator and giver of life. In giving, God's people acknowledge that everything belongs to God and that which we have, we receive from God's gracious, loving hand.

Tithing is the Biblical Standard

Malachi 3:10-12

Malachi offered the people hope. If they would demonstrate devotion to God by fulfilling the law, obeying God and paying their debt in full, He would give them rain for their land and keep the locusts from devouring their crops. Then the fields would bring forth their crops abundantly and without fail.

Tithing is a biblical command for the stewardship of Godgiven possessions. It is an act of obedience to God but ultimately for the believer's good. Giving of the first and best of our possessions is a biblical model that should not be changed or judged by another standard. Compromising biblical standards is not and will not be acceptable and pleasing to God. We are stewards and trustees of His good gifts - money, talents, time and other aspects of life.

Our gifts and offerings should always be given in love, not given out of necessity or for man's praise or for selfish reasons.

Tithing is not always easy. Financial issues are a frequent cause of family discord, and lead to many divorces. Many people cannot manage their finances, and think they cannot afford to give. They not only need discipline in their spending of money; they need to get their priorities in order.

Many believers say they believe in tithing, but are so undisciplined they only give intermittently or meagerly to the church.

Those who give regularly and by God's standard are promised blessings so plentiful they can be poured out and still overflow. God also promised to rebuke the devourer of the fruits so the crops would not be destroyed, to bless Israel in such a way that other nations would call the people blessed.

Regular Giving is Part of Worship

1 Corinthians 16:-4

Collections for the poor saints at Jerusalem were near and dear to Paul's heart. The offerings provided a way of demonstrating the unity of the church and of teaching the scattered Christians that they had obligations and responsibilities to each other.

It also put into effect the practical teaching of Christianity. Paul instructed the Christians in Corinth to participate in a relief offering for the Christians in Jerusalem by setting money aside each week for this collection. This taught a regular, disciplined schedule of giving in accordance with one's income. It also teaches that often our money can go where we cannot go.

Money is important in spreading the gospel and can be thought of as a sacrifice, especially when it is given to a worthy cause. The best sacrifice to God is the kindness shown to one of His children in a time of need and a time of trouble.
2/7/2004 12:00:00 AM by Claude Frazier | with 0 comments

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