The Church and its Money

Text: 1 Corinthians 16:1-2

Each first day of the week we take up a collection. This money is then used by the church. The method of collecting funds in our text is the only way we find that is authorized in the New Testament. However, instead of focusing on that point in this lesson, we’re going to focus on how to handle the money after it has been collected.

The Need to Establish Authority

  • As with every question about what we can/should do, we must see what has been authorized (Colossians 3:17) – the context of this verse refers specifically to individuals
  • However, the church must also do all things “in the name of the Lord” – the church is the bride of Christ and must be subject to Him (Ephesians 5:22-24)

Money for the Universal or Local Church?

  • The NT speaks of the church in two ways – the universal church (body of all the saved – Ephesians 5:23; only one – Matthew 16:18) & the local church (congregation made up of those in the one body; many – Romans 16:16)
  • What is necessary for a church to have/use money? … a way to collect money (1 Corinthians 16:1-2); a way to manage the money (1 Peter 5:2); a way to spend the money (2 Corinthians 11:8)
  • The universal church has no organizational structure to be able to collect, manage, or spend money – local churches do
  • Local churches are autonomous, so one church will not be managing the money of other churches

The Work Given to the Church

  • If we’re to determine what the church can spend its money on, we need to know what the church is to do – evangelism (1 Timothy 3:15), edification (Ephesians 4:11-16), limited benevolence (Acts 4:32-35)
  • No other work has been given to the church – principle of silence (Hebrews 7:14)

Difference Between the Individual and the Church

  • There are certain things that are authorized for an individual to do, but unauthorized for the church – ongoing care of certain widows (1 Timothy 5:16), hosting social meals (1 Corinthians 11:20-22, 33-34)
  • These two examples show us that something may be right & good for individuals to do, but not for the church – even if the members agree, that doesn’t change what the Lord authorizes

Unauthorized Uses of the Church’s Money

  • Two ways in which these are unauthorized – not a good work as defined in Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16-17), or not a work that has been given to the church [previous point]
  • Benevolence to non-Christians – individuals can help anyone (Galatians 6:10), but church benevolence is limited to saints (1 Corinthians 16:1 & others)
  • Supporting a college – the church is the pillar & support of divine truth (1 Timothy 3:15), not secular education
  • Funding a camp (or any form of recreation) – the church has a different focus (Hebrews 13:17)
  • Building “fellowship” halls – the church has no authority to provide for social activities (1 Corinthians 11:22, 34)
  • Question everything when it comes to the church’s money – Is it a good work according to the definition found in the Scriptures? … Is it a work that has been given to the church?

Listen to this lesson: The Church and its Money

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