One of the great things we see in Paul was that he chose to make the gospel free to all those to whom he preached. He did not put any burdens upon any of the early churches because he did not want to burden them in any way. His aim always was to ensure there was no cost associated with preaching the gospel so that no-one could accuse him of feathering his own nest or lining his own pockets.
Clearly this was not the case with some of the other teachers and preachers of Paul’s day. He specifically refers in this section to some “superlative” apostles or, in some translations, “super” apostles who were going into the churches and preaching for profit.
And as much as I hate to say it, how many of the churches today, especially the big televangelist organisations, are doing the very thing Paul was preaching against? Too many!
How should the church be financed? What is the means by which the church should receive it’s funding?
Even though we know that money is not a priority in the Lord, there is a basic financial need in the church for it to operate. We need to pay for premises, whether rented or bought, we need money for songbooks, equipment, and wages for those who do the ministry. But what is the right way of raising these funds so that firstly, we are acting in accord with the gospel, and secondly, that greed and the love of money do not raise their ugly heads.
This is an important issue and it is done badly in many churches because they do not understand the processes that were established by the Lord to nesure this function is in harmony with the gospel. In fact it is so important that the wrong methodology can be devastating to a church, even when or if it appears to coincide with what the bible states! Continue reading “Church Financing”
In this world, position means everything. Position is power and people seek the power of positions to further their own goals, whether that is to gain money, credibility, authority or to help others.
In this world it is all about position. But in Christ, it’s not about position, as Paul spoke of in these few verses. He said,
“11 Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men; but what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience. 12 We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you cause to be proud of us, so that you may be able to answer those who pride themselves on a man’s position and not on his heart.”
Do you like to get things for free? No cost, no charge and no payment? I know I do, especially when those things have some value, and even more when they are of great value.
Well, there is no greater gift we can receive for free than to receive the knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ which leads us to eternal life in Him and with Him. It does not have to cost you a penny for the free gift from God is eternal life through Jesus Christ.
But unfortunately there are some who twist scripture and take advantage of scripture to their own gain and do not make the gospel free. In fact they make it frightfully expensive and the worst part when they do so, is that the gospel they preach is not the free gospel of Jesus Christ but a tainted version to suit their own ends rather than the will of God.
Paul was concerned about this and so he addressed the matter in this section of scripture.
The apostle Paul had been imprisoned and had already stood before several tribunals to give an account of himself and after being moved to Caesarea was brought before the council once again.
This time he was to be examined before the Roman governor of the region, Felix. Five days after Paul had been brought down to Felix by night with a very strong force of soldiers to guard him against forty Jewish assassins who had sworn to kill him, he was brought before the governor.
The high priest of the Jews came down with an entourage to voice their accusations against Paul before Felix. However we see this time they employ the tactic of flattery to attempt to get their way by bringing a spokesman named Tertullus who used this tactic to attempt to sway the governor. So let us look at what took place.
Too often we hear it said that money is the root of all evil, but this is not what the Bible tells us. When Paul wrote to Timothy it was quitter clear that he said in 1 Timothy 6:10 that it is “The love of money” that is the issue.
Money in and of itself is of no real consequence. It is neither a positive or a negative thing in the sight of God. But when man falls in love with money or the things that money can buy, he is open to different forms of evil.
It is the love of money that drives passions like greed, covetousness, idolatry and the like. The love of money is highly destructive to people and The Lord made many statements about the destructive nature of the love of money. In this section of Acts 19 we see how the love of money caused great confusion, disruption and rioting when a select few men distorted and twisted matters to gain their own advantage.
My website is called “freegiftfromgod.com” for a reason. It is based upon the approach that Paul took to the preaching and teaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ where Paul chose to work to meet his living expenses while he travelled and taught the word to many people, rather than place a financial burden on the people to support him.
We see in this short section of scripture that Paul was a tentmaker. When he left Athens and came into Corinth we see him meet up with Aquila and Priscilla and it says in verse 3, “…and because he was of the same trade he stayed with them and worked, for they were tentmakers by trade.”
Paul worked to earn his living. He did not take a wage or salary from preaching the gospel but he sewed cloth and repaired tents to earn what he needed to sustain himself, and he preached the word during and after his work. On the sabbaths he went to the synagogues and argued from the scriptures showing the Jesus was the Christ, but during the week he worked to earn a living.
Why? It was written in the scripture that he was permitted to earn his keep from preaching the word but he chose not to. The answer to why is important for all who teach Gods word, and it helps us today at a number of levels.
Imagine a market place at the time of Christ. The sounds of animals intermingled with the shouts of vendors selling their wares and the clink and rattle of money as it exchanges hands. An intoxicating combination of sounds, sights and smells attacking all of your senses.
Well that’s all fine in a market place, but these were some of the things that confronted Jesus as he entered the temple. And he was NOT impressed.
This piece of scripture contains many insights, especially into the nature of money and the kingdom of God. So often in many modern churches we hear the message that God wants you to be rich. This is the thrust of the wealth ministries that plague the Christian church today. And many Christians fall away or stumble when they don’t achieve the financial success these ministers promise. But that is not the promise of the Lord and we can see part of His reasoning in this section of scripture.
There has been a lot of discussion in recent times about the separation of church and state. It comes up in all kinds of places and we see those opposing the church in general focussing to remove any mention of Jesus or God from schools and public places. Well the situation in this section of scripture is similar in some ways, but with a different result.