Question #182

How is money to be used in the church?

I appreciate your comments on the subject of how the money is to be used in the church. Especially the 3 areas you stated: Benevolence, Edification & Evangelism. I have come to notice in the Church where some members have been regarding the church as a bank institution. For example, when they have fallen behind in certain financial obligation as paying their utility bill. They expected the church to pay it for them, instead of learning to be good steward over what God has blessed them with. It has gotten to the point this has become more of a dependency and more frequently. ( most often the same members)I do believe that the church need more teaching and lessons on this subject; and I also believe in helping others, but I also see where one need to help themselves by being a good steward. The very ones that come to the church asking for help( There's nothing wrong with theses things, but they are not putting them in the prospective order)has t.v' in every room, latest fashions, computers, DVD's and several cars that is drivable and they are not making any efforts or sacrifices to give up certain things(stuff) why would the church be obligated to help? According to what I have studied in Deuteronomy 15:8 we are to help a person where there is a sufficient need and not greed. If you have any more materials on this, please forward them on to me. I would like to start teaching this with the ladies in our Tues. evening bible class.

The Answer:

Thanks for your comment. There is no more information available on the website related directly to the issues that you raise. You will find some information related to the subject of giving at the following locations: 1) Class: The Lord’s Church, Lesson 7; 2) Class: 1 Corinthians, Lesson 24; 3) Class: 2 Corinthians, Lesson 16 and Lesson 17.

The issues you raise or not issues that can be answered in advance of the investigation of specific situations. Some general guidelines may be suggested based upon scripture. For example, in 2 Thessalonians 3:10 Paul commanded, “If any will not work, neither let him eat.” However, the single fact that one is not working does not resolve the matter. Is he not working because he “will not” work, because he has been injured and cannot work, or because, even though he wills to work and has not been injured, after good faith effort to find work he has not been hired. Again, in 1 Timothy 5:8 Paul wrote, “8 But if any provideth not for his own, and specially his own household, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever.” The one who, after good faith effort, cannot find work, is clearly unable to provide for his own. However, Paul surely did not mean that one who was disabled physically or socially and therefore unable to provide for his own, fell under his interdiction. But what if a person cannot provide for his own in the sense of being a spendthrift on himself or on “things” that even his family may enjoy? If the things are paid for (no debt against them or they are worth more than is owed), can they not be sold to make provision rather than depending on the brethren? Even if the conclusion is reached after investigation that the derelict brother is worse than an unbeliever, are his wife and children to fall under the same condemnation. Does the fact that one does not provide for his family because of either negligence or disability mean that no one else has a responsibility to provide for the wife and children? Assuming that after careful investigation it is determined that a family that has enjoyed the “good times” has fallen on “hard times” through no fault of its own, should the “good times” not return should that family replenish the treasury so that those funds would again be available to help those who are in need? Understandably, it was not a “loan” required to be repaid, but it was a gift based upon a need that no longer exists. Surely such a person would feel an obligation and a privilege to make provision for others who were now struggling under the same conditions.

Many other questions could be asked, but this is sufficient to demonstrate that there are no easy answers to these circumstances. Clearly, the treasury of the church (sometimes called “the Lord’s money,” but all money is the Lord’s) should not be used unwisely or contrary to these scriptures. Each case requires special consideration and investigation. The easy road of giving one five dollars or fifty dollars to “get them down the road,” (also known as “getting rid of them”) is a dereliction of duty.

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)