Family Bible Study lesson for May 18: Giving Unselfishly to God's Work
May 2 2003 by Crate Jones , Acts 4:32-5:11

Family Bible Study lesson for May 18: Giving Unselfishly to God's Work | Friday, May 2, 2003

Friday, May 2, 2003

Family Bible Study lesson for May 18: Giving Unselfishly to God's Work

By Crate Jones Acts 4:32-5:11

"The touchiest nerve in the body is the one that runs from the brain to the pocketbook."

In my first church out of seminary, I saw two opposing views about giving. A lady member advised me to let up talking so much about tithing; it was upsetting some of the people.

In contrast, a tithing young man said, "When he preaches on tithing, I just sit back and grin."

Give voluntarily Acts 4:32-37 "Let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver" (2 Cor. 9:7).

The early church experienced what happens when believers respond to the leading of the Holy Spirit. The spirit was exemplified through them.

They did not claim ownership of their possessions, but voluntarily "laid them at the apostle's feet" to be used for the good of all, according to the need.

God was blessing them: "With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all" (v.33). God's love was at work.

I heard of a man who trusted Christ as his Savior. When baptized, he kept his wallet in his pocket. He said: "I want it to be baptized, too."

Compare that with the man who, by mistake, dropped his car keys instead of coins in the Lottie Moon offering. He went post-haste to the counting room to retrieve them.

Give without duplicity Acts 5:1-4 Duplicity means, "secretly acting one way and publicly another." Jesus used a clearer word: hypocrisy.

Barnabas sold a field he owned and gave the whole amount to the church.

Ananis and his wife, Sapphira, sold a piece of property. With his wife's approval, he took his cut off the top and gave the reminder to the church. As a family, they sought to appear more generous than they really were - pretense.

I once had a church member who always complained about the church meeting the budget. He gave the impression of being a large contributor. One day I asked him: "Are you doing your part?" He dropped his head and replied, "I'm going to do better."

The account of Ananis and Sapphira is a tragedy with serious consequences. Satan filled Ananis' heart and he lied to the Holy Spirit. God knew what he had done, and Peter confronted him with his sin. It was a deliberate choice. He thought he was just lying to men; but in reality he was lying to God (v.4).

God is neither deaf, dumb nor blind. To say, "I'm not hurting anybody but myself" is as false as saying pewter is silver. All sin is against God.

Give out of reverence to God Acts 5:5-11 God's judgment fell on Ananis. When he realized he had sinned against God, he fell down and died. Sapphira suffered the same fate. Divine judgment on sin is a reality.

Jesus became sin for us on the cross that through Him, our sins can be forgiven. It's wise to take our sins to Him.

Tithing can be a duty, a habit or an act of worship. Only the latter expresses the attitude of the soul in the presence of God.

In the early 1960s, Harriett and I were Spirit-impressed to elevate our mode of giving.

A conviction began to rise in our hearts. God was saying, "Pray each payday over the money I lend you." With regularity, paydays became times of receiving from the Father's hand and relinquishing ownership to Him.

The tithe was dedicated to Him; guidance was asked on the use of the remainder. But within six months, unexpected hospital bills topped a thousand dollars; we had no insurance.

We were faithful to the commitment, believing "God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:19). In a short while, the debts were paid; God was faithful. And our children know the joy of tithing.

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5/2/2003 12:00:00 AM by Crate Jones , Acts 4:32-5:11 | with 0 comments
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