"THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS" Concerning The Collection (16:1-2) INTRODUCTION 1. Among many churches of Christ, visitors are often surprised to find... a. That there is not a lot of passing the plate to "take up an offering" b. A collection is taken only once on Sunday, the first day of the week c. No collection is taken during other times, such as midweek services, or special events like gospel meetings (what some may call revivals) 2. The practice reflects a desire to follow the New Testament pattern... a. Not just in giving, but in every aspect of church worship b. To allow the example and principles found in the early church to guide us [What exactly is revealed "Concerning The Collection" in the New Testament? With 1Co 16:1-2 as the text for our study, let's first review the...] I. HISTORY OF THE COLLECTION A. EARLY CHURCH NOTED FOR ITS LOVE FOR ONE ANOTHER... 1. In the church at Jerusalem, the charity of its members was remarkable - Ac 2:44-45 2. Their liberality continued for sometime - Ac 4:32-35 3. Granted, there were extenuating circumstances that may explain why selling everything they had did not become normative for the church 4. But they demonstrate the extent to which brethren were willing to go B. SUCH LOVE WENT BEYOND THE LOCAL CONGREGATION... 1. The church in Antioch took up a collection for the needy saints in Judea - Ac 11:27-30 2. The churches in Greece took up a collection for the saints in Jerusalem - Ro 15:25-26 C. A SYSTEMATIC COLLECTION WAS ESTABLISHED... 1. Paul gave instructions to churches in Galatia and Corinth - 1Co 16:1 2. A weekly collection, gathered on the first day of the week - 1Co 16:2 [Thus began a practice that remains to this day among churches of Christ. Note carefully now the...] II. PURPOSE OF THE COLLECTION A. TO PROVIDE FOR NEEDY CHRISTIANS... 1. It was "the collection for the saints" - 1Co 16:1 2. It was "for the poor among the saints" - Ro 15:26 3. It concerns "ministering to the saints" - 2Co 9:1 4 It "supplies the needs of the saints" - 2Co 9:12 B. BOTH LOCALLY AND ABROAD... 1. As the church in Jerusalem cared for its own - cf. Ac 2,4,6 2. As the churches in Antioch, Macedonia, Achaia, and Galatia cared for those in Jerusalem and Judea - cf. Ac 11, Ro 15, 1Co 16 C. INCLUDING PREACHERS OF THE GOSPEL... 1. Who were certainly worthy of their support - 1Co 9:3-14 2. Paul received support from various churches - 2Co 11:8,9 3. One can infer that such support came from the church treasury for needy saints 4. As individuals who devoted their full service to the Lord, becoming dependent on others for support, they would certainly qualify as "needy saints" [For the work of benevolence and evangelism, it has become customary for the weekly collection to support what is the proper work of the church (including edification). Now consider the...] III. BLESSINGS OF THE COLLECTION A. THE GIVERS ARE BLESSED... 1. For it is more blessed to give than receive - Ac 20:35 2. Cheerful givers who sow bountifully will reap accordingly - 2Co 9:6-7 3. That they might have an abundance for even more good works - 2Co 9:8-11 B. THE RECIPIENTS ARE BLESSED... 1. The needs of the saints are supplied - 2Co 9:12a 2. They are filled with praise to God and longing for their brethren - 2Co 9:13-14 C. GOD IS BLESSED... 1. Such liberality abounds with many thanksgivings to God
- 2 Co 9:11-15 2. By the beneficiaries and those who witness it - ibid. [Thus the collection for the saints has great potential for much good! Lastly, let's review some...] IV. GUIDELINES FOR THE COLLECTION A. WHEN TO GIVE... 1. On the first day of the week - 1Co 16:1 2. The day in which disciples came together to break bread
- Ac 20:7 B. HOW TO GIVE... 1. Proportionately - as one may prosper - 1Co 16:2; 2Co 8:12-13 2. Willingly - with a willing mind, according to what one has - 2Co 8:12 3. Purposefully - with thought, as one purposes in his heart - 2Co 9:7 4. Cheerfully - not grudgingly, or of necessity - 2Co 9:7 C. EXAMPLES TO INSPIRE... 1. The Macedonians - who gave sacrificially, beyond their ability - 2Co 8:1-7 2. The Achaians - whose zeal stirred up many others to give
- 2 Co 9:1-2 3. Jesus Christ - who though rich, became poor, that we might be rich - 2Co 8:9 CONCLUSION 1. The practice of a weekly collection continued after the apostles died... "On the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things. Then we all rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, and the people assent, saying Amen; and there is a distribution to each, and a participation of that over which thanks have been given, and to those who are absent a portion is sent by the deacons. And they who are well to do, and willing, give what each thinks fit; and what is collected is deposited with the president, who succors the orphans and widows, and those who, through sickness or any other cause are in want, and those who are in bonds, and the strangers sojourning among us, and in a word takes care of all who are in need. But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Savior on the same day rose from the dead." - Justin Martyr, First Apology (110-165 A.D.) 2. There is certainly good reason for it to continue today, for it is a practice... a. With apostolic approval b. Free from coercion that often accompanies an appeal to give c. Sufficient to supply the church with the funds to do its work When one properly understands what is revealed in the Scriptures "Concerning The Collection", a Christian will truly give as they have been prospered, with a cheerful heart and willing mind...
Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016