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Building up believers and the New Testament church

New Testament Giving

"...He that giveth, let him do it with simplicity..." (Romans 12:8). Giving is a gift of grace, a working of God in the heart of the believer. The nature of God is love. Love gives, gives, and gives again. Love serves others, meets others' needs. Jesus came, not to receive, but to give. God gave His best when He sent His Son to earth to die that we might live.

God did not establish the Kingdom with riches of this world. In fact, Jesus told His disciples to go sell what they had, give to the poor, and make for themselves purses which would not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven. Jesus had no money when He was here on earth, nor did He ask for money. The Scripture reveals exactly the opposite: that He had no place to lay His head. The church was born out of divine love and exists because of His presence. It does not owe its existence to anything in this world or of this world. If we were to remove all money matters from the church, it should still exist. The church is first heavenly, and then expressed here on earth. It is the body of Christ, expressing the nature and authority of God. The church exists by faith in the lives of all its members, and the Lord knows what we have need of, before we ask.

Jesus became poor that we might become rich. He did not tell us to give a percentage or a set amount, but gave us His life so that His life in us would be the principle of our giving. This is the principle of love, which characterizes the expression of the believer and the church. We see this life principle working in the early church (Acts 2:44-45). The believers "sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need." To understand the New Testament pattern of giving, we must allow the Spirit to remove giving from the realm of set amounts, and see that Christians give because of the life they possess. Even our work in God's great plan and purpose cannot be for money or for what we can get. All ministry of God's life must come forth from our relationship with God, and from the life of God which is love.

Man's programs will have man's means of support, or even use God's pattern from the old order, but men usually miss the new principle of giving that God has set forth in His Word. The church must know this new principle of giving, that of the Spirit and not of the letter. The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life, even in the area of our giving. If we give only because we are expected to or because we have been commanded to, we will never enter into the joy of giving. We do not give because we have to; we give because we have His life. We give because we see a need, and because the life we possess is love, which urges us to meet that need.

The sons of God are those who are led by the Spirit and give an expression of His life in their daily walk. We can't separate our new life in Christ from our money and substance. God's Word tells us that the love of money is the root of all evil. We cannot love money or what it can purchase for us. We must move to a higher principle if we are going to please God, and our direction in this grace must come from the Holy Spirit.