Building up believers and the New Testament church

New Testament Giving

The Assembly

All assemblies should be self-supporting, not looking for others to support them. If an assembly is to be strong spiritually, its members must learn to give to the needs of others and to the work. We cannot excuse ourselves from the life principle of giving on the basis of poor members or poor conditions. We have found too often that when people are poor, they use this as an excuse for not giving. In the life of Christ, we are all to give, because this is the life of love. Those who are poor need to experience the blessedness of giving, in the same way as others who may have more to give. Remember, it is not the amount that you give--it is how you give. Giving is from the heart and by the direction of the Spirit.

The church or assembly that does not exercise this principle of life will be weak, always looking to others for support rather than to God. God knows how to meet needs--let us leave that in His hands--but each member of a local assembly needs to give as the Lord has blessed. If we sow sparingly, we can but reap sparingly. Let us see each body of believers as an expression of the will and life of God. By looking to others for support, many have come under the bondage of others rather than finding purpose in God's will alone. God has never designed one church to be over another, nor has He ever called His children to give with strings attached to the gift. If we give in order to control, we are not moving in the life principle. All giving must be as unto the Lord, born out of love.

There is never any need for the church to gather money. The one purpose of the church, as we have said, is to express the life of Christ. The church has never been called to own buildings or to support the work of God. God supports His own work, and He does it through members of the local assemblies. The reason that we see things not working as they should be is that man has taken the working of the assembly out of God's hands, and undertaken to give expression by commandment rather than life. That is why we see some who are teaching "storehouse tithing." But what purpose would the church have in getting into the finance business if it were simply functioning in the will of God?

The expressions and the principles we see today do not even come close to what Jesus set forth in the Word for support of the work and the workers, and also those in need (the poor). We can never turn the church into the organization that supports these needs. If we are going to move in life, it must be the members of the assembly moving out of love to meet these temporal needs. The grace of giving is always spoken of as being given to individuals (Romans 12:8).

Let me repeat it again. The church, as the body of Christ, is purely spiritual, giving forth a practical expression of the life of Christ. When we make the church into something more than God designed, we depart from His glory and take the working into our own hands. This is always dangerous because of the spiritual blindness it brings. We then cannot see that our efforts are not God's requirements.

As long as we keep to God's pattern of life, God will build His church on the Rock. Only as we start to build in the church by our own efforts do we build on the sand. God is building His church, so let us not settle for second-best or we will miss God's will altogether. Man is afraid to let go of the things he is building, because without his support they will fall. So they should, if they are not being built by God. Without man's natural support, many gatherings would collapse, because God's Spirit has never been in control. Aren't many simply fooling themselves, in their labors and their many religious works around the world? Would it not be better to let them die, so that maybe life could come out of death to the glory of God?