Concerning the Collection
February 19th, 1956 @ 10:50 AM
1 Corinthians 16:1-4
CONCERNING THE COLLECTION
Dr. W. A. Criswell
1 Corinthians 16:1-4
2-19-56 10:50 a.m.
Last Sunday night we concluded with the fifteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians. I preached eight sermons on that chapter. I suppose, doctrinally, it is the greatest chapter in the Bible. Now this morning we begin with the sixteenth chapter of the first Corinthian letter. If you want to lay your Bible open before you while I bring the sermon, it will do your heart good. Open your Bible at the sixteenth chapter of the first Corinthian letter,
Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye.
Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.
And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem.
And if it be meet that I go also, they shall go with me.
[1 Corinthians 16:1-4]
That’s the passage. Do you notice one thing? To begin with, the fifteenth chapter, I say, is doubtless the most glorious of all the chapters in the Bible. It encompasses the whole revelation of Christian doctrine and Christian truth, and it ends in a peroration, a paean of glory that is beyond what human genius could ever achieve. It is the inspired words of the apostle, lifted up, raised up, until finally he speaks in the power and with the tongues of angels themselves.
Then in the next breath, in the next breath, now, you don’t see that because you’ve got a chapter heading there. You think, "Well, it lops off there at the fifteenth in this glorious paean of praise and adoration and triumph and victory. Then it lops off." Now, we have the sixteenth chapter and that starts over again on something else.
I wish I had here this morning one of those old manuscripts. Back there, when they wrote the Bible, just like you writing a letter today, do you divide your letter into chapters and verses when you’re writing your mamma? Chapter 1, "Dear Mamma, so in so: verse 1, verse 2, verse 3, chapter 2, so and so: verse 1, verse 2, why, the idea is ridiculous. Well, the same thing here. These are letters. It is the letter of the Apostle Paul over there to the church at Corinth. He’s writing a letter to those people there, and there weren’t any chapters in it and there were not any verses in it.
And one other thing: when you look at those old, ancient manuscripts, the words are not even divided; it’s just one solid line after another. There’s no space in between anything. Parchment was too valuable. To put space was to lose part of the writing material. So when they wrote, they just jammed it together, just as close as they could.
Now, this is the way that thing ran. There wasn’t any chapter; there wasn’t any verse; there wasn’t any space; there wasn’t any new introduction.
O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
Thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for as you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
And now concerning the collection – in the same breath.
[1 Corinthians 15:55, 57-16:1]
That’s the way it was. That’s the way he wrote it. That’s the way the inspired Word of God puts it. It’s just as much of the inspired Word of God to talk about the collection as it is to talk about the glorious doctrine of the resurrection. They’re all the same. They’re in the same spot. They’re in the same tenor. They’re in the same vein. They’re in the same breath. They’re in the same Book. They’re in the same Bible. They’re in the same place. They’re in the same letter. It’s right there, the same. So, you just forget about that chapter heading there.
And last Sunday, as the Sundays before, we’ve been preaching about the incomparable hope of the Christian in the resurrection of Jesus Christ and our victory over sin and death and the grave. And now we’re going to talk about the collection, and one’s just as inspired as the other. Do you think now the preacher’s gone off of preaching? Now, he’s doing something. He’s meddling now. No, he’s not. He’s still preaching the gospel. He’s still preaching the Book. And both of them are right here. So we are going to talk about it: "Now concerning the collection." God has an idea about that too. God has a plan. He’s got a program. Be a funny kind of a Lord that would launch this tremendous kingdom work in the earth and the founding of all of His churches and then not say anything about how they ought to be sustained and supported. God just doesn’t do things like that.
I heard C. B. Jackson say in his pulpit one time that whatever God does, He does by a plan. If He’s going to make a universe, He’ll make a universe according to a plan. There’ll be planets swinging in their orbits around a central sun and all of the other things that go in God’s universe. And if the Lord’s going to make a little flower, He’ll make a little flower according to a plan. And if God has a salvation, it’ll be a plan of salvation. And if God has a way to baptize, there’ll be a plan to baptize, a way to baptize. And the same thing about the support of his churches: God has a plan, and that plan is a marvelous thing. It’s like every other revelation in the Bible. You can’t improve upon it.
This is the plan: "Upon the first day of the week, let everyone of you lay by him in store as God hath prospered him." That’s the way; very simple; very effective. Back there in the Old Testament, they said it like this,
Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse,,And prove Me,saith the Lord, If I will not open you the windows of heaven, And pour you out a blessing, that there is not room enough to receive it.
That’s God’s way. That’s God’s plan. On the first day of the week, on Sunday, the Lord’s Day, let each one of us, according to the way God has prospered us, dedicate to Him a proportion of what the Lord hath given to us.
Now, that’s going to be the subject of our sermon today. There’s a wealth of reason for that, and it isn’t what you think it is, either. You think, "Well, God set Him down, and He thought, and He thought of a scheme whereby He could get money from us. Yes, sir, God set Him down upon a day, and He thought and He thought, and He came up with that idea how to shear the sheep."
Listen here to me. God doesn’t need anything you have! Did you know that? Nothing! Nothing. You haven’t got anything God needs! And He doesn’t want it, not as such. You listen to the Lord. Listen to him, "Every beast of the forest is mine, And the cattle upon a thousand hills. If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: For the world is mine, and the fullness thereof." [Psalm 50:10, 12] "If I needed anything," says God, "I wouldn’t ask you for it, little puny, crawling, dying, decaying, feeble worm of a man."
You think God would come to you and say, "I have need," and stick out His hand? God said, "If I were hungry, I wouldn’t tell thee, for the whole world is mine, and everything that’s in it." All of these great treasures that are hid in the bowels of this earth, He knows where every atom of it is! Besides this world, He’s got all the planets above us. And, besides the planets, He’s got the universes above that. And, beside that by fiat, just by saying it, He can create all the gold and silver that mind could ever think of. It’s such cheap stuff with God that He paved the streets of heaven with it.
Any time you think God gave us that in order to get blood out of turnip, it’s a scheme of God in order to fleece his sheep, listen, you don’t know the Lord. He doesn’t need it. Well, then, why does He do it? This is why. I need to give. I do. God needs you, not what you have. And the only way God can personalize the stuff He’s got in this world is to do it through you. He doesn’t need the stuff. If He wanted to run his kingdom without us, all He’d have to do is just choose to run it without us. But God can’t develop you; He can’t develop me unless I learn to be a good steward. And that’s the point. I need to give. I need to give.
For a man to receive, and to receive, and to receive, and never give, and never give is to ruin the man. If you want to ruin your children, you do that. Just give them, give them, give them, give them, and never have them feel any responsibility or do nothing in return for it. That’ll spoil them, spoil them to death. They may not be fit to kill.
And, if you want to spoil the nation, like we tried to do in the days of the WPA and the PWA and all those back there in the Depression, just give people the idea that the government owes them a living, and that’ll ruin the fabric of the whole nation. You don’t need to work. You don’t need to pour into this great community of ours your strength. Why, the government owes you a living.
That ruins you, and it does people in the kingdom in the God. For us to receive and to receive from God and never feel that we owe these things to Him, they come from His bountiful hands, is to ruin us. It ruins us. It isn’t good for us. I say, God doesn’t need what we have, but He put that plan there in the Bible that He might develop us to be strong, spiritual Christians. And that’s why it’s there.
All right. There’s another side to that. There’s a turning around to that. Not only is that good for us, but it’s good for God, good for God. It blesses God. It honors God. It’s good for God’s work. It’s good for God’s church. It’s good for God’s program. This plan the Lord has of sustaining and supporting His kingdom in this earth and the furtherance of his churches and the preaching of the gospel, this plan God has is good for the work. It’s good for God. It’s good for the church.
"Well, what do you mean by that?" I mean this. That when you turn aside from God’s program and God’s plan you dishonor God. You don’t honor Him. You dishonor the church. You don’t honor the church. You dishonor the kingdom’s work. You don’t honor it. Whenever you turn aside you do something else, and you’ll inevitably fall into schemes and practices and in ways that, that finally become ridiculous and silly.
I’ll just show you. I’ll just show you. I tell you, these churches and the ways they have of supporting their work. Oh, they’re multifarious and multitudinous, and sometimes just as silly as they can be. For example, I say, Life magazine, not very long ago, had a fine article in there about a New England church. They were raising money for that New England church. And, the way they did it, so said Life magazine: they had a "kissing bee." I’d never seen a kissing bee and didn’t know what one was. But in this Life magazine article, in that New England church they had a kissing bee. They were raising funds for the people of God, for the church. And, this is the way they did it, in the kissing bee. They had, they had the community bring together, put in the crib, a great load of white corn, bushels and bushels of white corn. And then they had a bushel or two of red corn, the kernels were red. And they scattered those red ears all through the crib of corn of white ears. Then a fellow could pay a little fee, and he could dig in there, and every time that he came across and found a red ear of corn, he could kiss the lady of his choice. And they were all lined up over there on the side. So Life magazine said that a good time was had by all, and the tremendous and magnificent sum of three hundred dollars was raised for the church.
Wouldn’t that glorify God? Isn’t that a magnificent way to raise money for the kingdom of heaven? I’m not against kissing the lady of your choice, and all that sort of stuff. But I say that’s for adolescents at a party, and that’s not a way to raise money for the church.
All right, I’ll tell you another one. They told me, now, I don’t know whether this is so or not, but they told me that there was a community that had a strawberry festival in order to support the church, raise money for the church. And this year there was a sign, and the sign, the placard stuck all around was this: "Strawberry Festival, such and such date and place, for the benefit of the church." Then a little addendum: "On account of the high price of strawberries, prunes will be served instead."
Well, another thing these churches do, they have all kinds of bazaars and suppers and raffles, and bingo which is nothing but gambling. Did you know there are great cities in the United States where you can’t get anti-gambling law passed, no matter how you try, on account of the so-called church there in the city that dominates it? Gambling! All kinds of things.
Why, here in Dallas, there is a friend that took me to a fine dinner in a church here in Dallas. They were raising money for the church. And you go there and the women cook, provide the feast, and you pay a lot for a ticket, way above what it’s worth, and then you go eat, and that’s all given to the church. And then these oyster suppers. I thank the dear Lord for the kind of an oyster supper we have in this First Baptist Church. Once a year the Berachah class gathers down there, all of those men, hundreds of those men, and dear, blessed, sweet D. E. Wicker Sr., with his boy, they bring oysters down here by the gallons and the gallons. And you can eat them raw, until you nearly turn into an oyster, and you can eat them in the soup, and you can eat them fried, and you never saw such amounts of oysters in your life.
And every time I go to that oyster supper, and, I sit and I eat until I nearly think I’m a shellfish myself, every time I go there, I just look around and I say, "Thank God for this church. Thank God for this." For every other kind of an oyster supper I ever heard of was held for the benefit of the raising of money for the church. And this is one down here, is just because we love one another. That’s all. We are not raising money for anything. In fact, they give us the oysters. We are just down here having a good time. But in most churches, that’s the way to raise money: have an oyster supper. And you see, the way they raise the money is this. It’s bereft of oysters. You get a whole of soup, and you just hope maybe you find an oyster in it, and then they make money.
I one time heard of two little oysters that were in a bowl of soup. And one of the oysters said to the other, he said, "Where are we?" And the other oyster replied, "We’re at a church oyster supper." And the first one replied, "Well, then, what are both of us doing here?"
That’s it. That’s it. That’s what you can do. That’s what you will do, if you don’t do this thing like God says. You’ll be sitting around, and there’s some women, well, maybe, that can quilt a quilt, and we sell that. And there’s a bunch of young kids; maybe we can have a raffle and sell them tickets, and that’ll raise money. And it isn’t long until you have dishonored God, I say, and dishonored the church, I say, and dishonored everything that the Lord holds holy and precious in His sight. The church can deteriorate, just like anything else can deteriorate. And that’ll be the first place it’ll start deteriorating, when you turn aside from this way God has of sustaining it.
Well, enough of that. My, that’s not even my introduction. That was just to say something. And, the time’s almost gone. That’s terrible.
This is the Lord’s way. "Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him an store as God has prospered him." Now I want to talk about that for a minute, "as God has prospered him." All material prosperity is from God, all of it. As Moses says in the eighth chapter of Deuteronomy, in the eighteenth verse, "It is God that giveth thee power to get wealth." All physical, material, terrestrial prosperity, all of our gifts, little or big, five talents or ten talents or one, they all come from God, all of it.
Now, there are three groups, as you think of that text, "As God hath prospered him." There is one group that looks at that and they say, "Ah, foolishness, foolishness." And what they have, they don’t think comes from God, and what they do with it is not considered at all in the will of God. That’s the great majority of the people of this world. They think what they’ve got, they’ve just got, and it belongs to them, and God doesn’t have anything to do with it. And they don’t honor God with anything about it. And you know people like that, ad infinitum. That’s one group.
All right, there’s another group. There’s another group that looks at that with great askance, with great questioning. And I’m in that group at first, but I got over it. I got over it. There are lots of people who look at this thing of the distribution of wealth, and they say, "I don’t see how God is in this thing at all." For example, there’s a beggar like Lazarus, who’s one of the holiest, devout, men in this world. And he lies at the rich man’s door, begging for crumbs, and he doesn’t even have a physician to minister to the sores that cover him. And the comfort of the dogs that lick his wounds feel good to him [Luke 19:12-19]. Yes, that’s a holy man. And he’s a starving beggar, eating out of the garbage can.
All right, who’s that other man? Well, the Latin word for him is Dives, and he’s a rich man, and he dishonors God, and he lives sumptuously for himself. And he doesn’t ever think about God or the Bible or the church or the needy or anything at all. And you look at him. He fares sumptuously every day. And so you look at that, and you say, "Well, well, how is God in a thing like that? Now, how is he?"
Well, I say, I used to be that way. I’ve been recently in that way, and I still fall into that way every once in a while. I’ll see one of these rich men down here in Dallas, and God has blessed with millions and millions of dollars, and he’s an old reprobate, and he knows he’s an old reprobate. All he does is to dishonor God with what he has; man, the way that he gambles in the way! And it’s awful. And yet, God blesses him and blesses him and blesses him, and I can point to you people that belong to this church and are all over this city, and they’re God’s people and they’re holy people and they’re devout people. And they don’t have enough money to buy medicine, and they don’t have enough money to pay the utility bill, and they live on the verge of want and penury all the time. Now how’s God in that? How’s God in that?
All right. Here’s what I had to find out. I had to find out that God doesn’t judge worldly possessions like I do, like I judge them. God just doesn’t look on worldly things, possessions, like we look on them. We think, "Oh, marvelous and fine." God: nothing at all. God says the wisdom of this world is foolishness with Him. He doesn’t care the snap of his finger about wealth, about money, about material prosperity. We do, but God doesn’t. And the Lord gives to us what He thinks is best, and His best gifts He gives to His children. "Well," you say, "if He gives the best gifts to His children, why aren’t all of God’s children rich?" Because in God’s sight, richness is not the best gift! Sometimes poverty is the best gift! Sometimes want is the best gift! Sometimes penury is the best gift! And God gives His children the best gifts.
Why, wealth can be a curse, can’t it? There are some of you who are listening to me right now who could stand up and say, "Money is a curse. It’s a curse. It’s a damnation. It’s judgment. It’s a cause of tears of sorrow and heartache." Why, I don’t to need to go very far to show you families that have been ruined by affluence, their children debauched and destroyed. Wealth is not unmixed blessing! You know that. And God gives His best gifts to His children.
Now, you look at this. There’s a third, and that is the one that I have come to: what we do have is of God. The Lord chose it that way. What I have, He gave it to me. I may not have but a can of cold water, and I may not have but a crust of bread, but if I’m a Christian, it came from Him, and I can bow my head and I can thank Him for it. And we pray every day, "Lord, give us this day our daily bread" [Matthew 6:11]. And we bow our heads and thank Him for what it is. It comes from God, whatever it is, as the Lord, as the Lord prospers him. What we have is from Him.
All right. "In that, in that" the Lord says, "I want you to remember Me." The steward, "Occupy till I come" and what I give you, it’ll be different, some of you will have a whole lot. Some of you will have not so much. Some of you will have just a little. That doesn’t make any difference to God. In that parable of talents, did you catch that? "Well done, thou good and faithful servant." Ten talents, "O, enter thou into the joy of our Lord. Well done, thou good and faithful servant." Five talents, "Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord" [Luke 19:12-19]. Both of them, all of them, received there the same commendation. It isn’t how much we have. It’s that thing of: "Am I a good steward of what I have?"
Now, that’s a mandate. You look at this text here. "Now, concerning the collection, as I gave order to the churches of Galatia." It is something we ought to do. It is something God asks us to do. It is something the Lord lays upon our hearts to do. Not to get what we have, I say, but it’s something God puts upon us to grow great, strong Christians who rely upon Him, who take God into their partnership.
Now, that mandate is all through the Bible. "As I gave order to the churches, as I gave order, so do you." Listen to the Word of the Lord: "In all the tithes of the land, whether the seed of the land or the fruit of the tree, it is the Lord’s. It is holy unto the Lord. And concerning the tithe of the herd or of the flock. Even whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the Lord. He shall not search whether it be good or bad, neither shall he change it. It belongs to God" [Leviticus 27:30, 32-33]. No questions, it just is God’s. That’s that.
Look over here in the Book of Proverbs. Right after this marvelous proverb. "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart. Lean not unto thine own understanding." Now, listen to it. "Honor the Lord with thy substance and with the first fruits of all thine increase." How many times do you quote when you pray? As he kneels down here and prays: "Honor the Lord with thy substance and with the first fruits of all thine increase" [Proverbs 3:5, 9]. "Listen to the Word of the Lord: I’ve showed you all things, how that so laboring, you ought to support the weak. And, remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He said, "and it is more blessed to give than to receive" [Acts 20:35].
Listen to the Word of the Lord,
This I say, He who soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
Every man, according as he purposeth within his heart, so let him give, not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a halleluiah giver.
[2 Corinthians 9:6-7
That’s what it says actually, "God loveth an overflowing, abounding, happy glorious, cheerful giver." Just glad to do it, glad to do it. Be taking a privilege away from me if I couldn’t do it. God loves a fellow like that.
"Working with his hands that which is good, that he may give to him that needeth" [Ephesians 4:8]. "Here, men that die receive tithes, but there he receiveth them of whom it is witnessed that he liveth" [Hebrews 7:8]. That’s the Lord’s mandate. That’s how God wants us to do it. And, it’s a blessed thing, every one of you, every one of you.
Now, I’m going to leave out all that I prepared, and come to this one final thing and quit,
Now, when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring liberality unto Jerusalem.
And if it be meet that I go also, they shall go with me.
[1 Corinthians 16:3-4]
And, when you read the eighth chapter of the second Corinthian letter, there you find those same meticulous directions about how it is to be cared for,
And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, then will I send to bring you liberality in Jerusalem.
And if I ought to go along with them, I’ll go along with them.
What Paul is doing there is, he is saying, "Now, you carefully keep track of every bit of that money, every piece of it. And, you carefully extend every penny of it, just according to the way that it is supposed to go. And, you’re to have brethren; you’re to have brethren to take care of it. And if you want me to go with those brethren to deposit your liberality, why, I’ll go with them. We’ll all go together."
Now, when we bring our tenth and our offering to the Lord’s house, as in the Bible, they laid it down at the apostles’ feet. And that’s one reason I like to see them bring the offering and put it right down here in front of the pulpit. That’s the way they did in the Bible. They gathered it together, and they laid it down at the apostle’s feet. Now when we bring our offering and we dedicate it to God, according to the Word of the Lord, very carefully, every penny of that money belonging to God, every penny of it ought to go right where the people say it ought to go, right where the church commits it, right exactly like God Himself in heaven would keep the book.
Now, Dean, that’s where you come in. For a generation, in this church, Brother Doff Johnson kept this record, didn’t he, Brother Cooper? Just exactly. When that man landed in the gates of heaven, and God showed him his books, they were just like the angels themselves had kept them. Just true, every penny accounted for, every little, every little gift faithfully, faithfully accounted.
That was done in this church for a generation. When you go over there to the activities building, you’ll find all of our financial offices designated by Brother Zachary, given by him, all of them dedicated to Doff Johnson. That was a gracious thing to do. Then Brother Doff died, after he’d served this church over forty years, keeping faithful track of all of those gifts. Then he died, and God’s got a great reward for him in glory. Then we prayed, and we asked God, "Lord, we need somebody in whom our church can have infinite confidence, and committees to work with him, and the deacons carefully to look after all of these things." And the Lord sent us that boy there. The Lord sent us Dean Willis.
There’s one thing you can always be assured of, everything we dedicate to God, when we bring it down here to this church, it is faithfully cared for. And every time you designate an offering, right there does it go. Everything you bring down here is used for the building up of the kingdom of God and the hearts of men, or for the extension of His gospel in the earth. And dear people, I’ve seen lots of places where people dedicate their gifts, but there’s not any place in this earth like this place, not in this earth.
Part of what you bring here, of course, is used for this church. Build a lighthouse for Jesus, teaching these children down here, preaching the gospel, this church. Some of this you bring down here is for these missions that you see here in the city of Dallas. The last time they had a mission meeting down here, had it in Coleman Hall, had a dinner and brought in the leadership of all of our missions. Usually when you have a gathering that way, a banquet that way, usually, why, you have a speaker. You know, a man gets up and he delivers an address on some subject. Well, they never had any certain speaker that night. What they did that night: Brother O. C. Robinson, who heads our mission work, Brother O. C. Robinson had those mission people themselves stand up there behind that microphone, before that jam-filled Coleman Hall, and those people, one after another, got up there and said things like this. They said, "Six months ago", here’d be a man talking, "six months ago, I’s in the gutter. I’s in the gutter. When I’d come home, my children would run away because I beat them. When I came home, my wife dreaded to see me. Six months ago, I’s in the gutter, taking all of the money that I made and spent it on liquor and spent it on getting drunk. Six months ago, I’s in the gutter. Six months ago, this love pastor," pointing over there to one of our mission pastors – we have six of them – pointing over there to one of those men, "six months ago, that love pastor sought me out, and he prayed with me, and he taught me the Bible, and I found the Lord, and I was saved, and I’ve been baptized."
And by that time, after six months, he may be the treasure of the church. Or, they may have ordained him a deacon, or he’s teaching Sunday class. And he says, "And now, when I come home, my children run to greet me. And when I come home, my wife is glad to see me, and I’m a new man. I’m a new man."
That thing went on for about an hour, for about an hour, one after another like that. And then Brother O. C. Robinson said, "Now, now, Brother Criswell, our pastor, we want him to come here and say a word of exhortation and to dismiss us in prayer." So I got up there and you can know what happened. I couldn’t say a word. I’d been crying for a solid hour, for a solid hour. It just moved my soul to hear those men talk like that.
Did you know, every Lord’s day, there are more than a thousand in Sunday school in those six missions. You know that? More than a thousand. They’re growing, and growing and growing and growing and every one of them, almost every one of them, are people that have been picked up outside of this new church we’re beginning out here at Shiloh Terrace. Almost every one of those people are picked up out of the gutter and off of the street, more than a thousand of them every Lord’s day.
There’s just one little thing, just one. Ah when time comes for me to take what I have and give a part of it to God, I don’t begrudge it. I wish I had that for a new coat for a new car or a something else. Nah. I’d rather bring it here. I’d rather give it here. Oh, a thousand times rather.
When you have these meetings, and Dale Moore is back from Africa, our girl we sent out, and Dr. and Mrs. Wayne Logan, our blessed couple whom we sent out to Nigeria, oh, I’m glad I’m alive. I’m glad I’m a Christian. I’m glad I belong to this wonderful church. I’m glad it’s missionary-hearted. I’m glad it’s filled with people who love God and who take what they have, dedicate a part of it to Him.
That’s what Paul says. And, that’s the way to do it, just like you’re doing it. Keep it up. God bless you and may those windows of heaven pour out upon you and us such blessings our very hearts almost burst trying to receive them. God’s so good! The Lord’s so good!
All right. Let’s sing our song. Let’s sing our song. And, while we sing it, while we sing it, anywhere, somebody you, give your heart to Jesus. You step into that aisle, down here by my side. "Pastor, here I come. I have taken the Lord as my Savior, for I want to put my life here in this church." As the Lord shall say the word and make the appeal, anywhere, anywhere, in that top balcony, anywhere, somebody you. "Here’s the whole family of us, pastor. We’re all coming this morning." To give your heart to Jesus, or to put your life here in the church, while we sing the song, you come, while we stand and while we sing.
CONCERNING THE COLLECTION
Dr. W. A. Criswell
1 Corinthians 16:1-4
A. To speak concerning it is a part of God’s revelation and work
1. Chapter 15 greatest chapter in the Bible
2. Chapter 16 is in the same breath – originally no chapter headings
B. God has a program, a plan, for His people, His churches
1. He has in everything else
2. A plan for how the kingdom work is to be sustained and supported(1 Corinthians 16:2, Malachi 3:10)
II. It is for our good
A. God does not need anything we have(Psalm 50:10, 12)
1. But God can use it for spiritual ends only as it becomes personalized through us
B. Receiving without giving ruins the soul
C. Our response honors God, the work of God, the churches
1. Turning aside to other things leads to every ridiculous scheme
III. Responding according to the will of God
A. "As the Lord hath prospered him" – all temporal prosperity is conferred by God(Deuteronomy 8:18)
1. Some feel no indebtedness to God at all for what they have
2. Some question realities of poverty and fortune in this world
a. Lazarus and Dives(Luke 16:19-24)
b. God gives His children the best gifts
c. Wealth can be a curse
3. Some know that what we do have is of God(Matthew 6:11, Luke 19:12-19)
IV. Observations on the text
A. It is a privilege, a duty we ought gladly to assume(1 Corinthians 16:1, Leviticus 27:30, 32-33, Proverbs 3:5, 9, Acts 20:35, 2 Corinthians 9:6-7, Ephesians 4:28, Hebrews 7:8)
B. Paul’s instructions for the gifts(1 Corinthians 16:3-4, 2 Corinthians 8)
1. Laying it at the apostles’ feet
2. Making sure the gifts go where the church has committed them to go
a. Our missions