The Use of Money in the Work of the Church
Money is a dead thing; so, in itself it is neither good nor bad. However, we are going to heaven or hell by the use or misuse of money (Luke 19:12-26). So, we must be good stewards of all our possessions, even of all our abilities (Acts 17:22-31).
Jesus died for all men. He paid a terrible price. "We are not our own, we are bought with a price" (I Cor. 15:1-4). Then, we are to present our bodies as a living sacrifice. That is the will of God, that is the perfect will of God (Rom. 12:1, 2).
The love of money leads to the worst kinds of sin (I Tim. 6:10). It causes people to be led away from the faith. Judas betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver (Matt. 27:3-5). Because of his love for money, his name will go down into eternity in ignominy and shame. The dollar you have may have been in the hands of a gambler yesterday. So, Jesus says, "Make to yourselves friends by means of the mammon of unrighteousness that when it shall fail, they may receive you into the eternal tabernacles" (Luke 16:9). Jesus goes on to say in the 10th verse, "He that is faithful in very little, is faithful also in much and he that is unrighteous in very little is unrighteous also in much." Further, Jesus says, "If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches." Also, "If ye have not been faithful in that which is another's who will give to you that which is your own?" Note the conclusion: "Ye cannot serve God and mammon."
Jesus said that every one who sins is the slave of sin (John 8:34). Now the Holy Spirit tells us, "But thanks be to God that whereas ye were servants of sin, ye became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching whereunto you were delivered, and being made free from sin, ye became servants of righteousness. I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh, for as ye presented your members as servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity even so now present your members as servants to righteousness unto sanctification. For when ye were servants of sin, ye were free in regard of righteousness. What fruit then had ye at that time in the things whereof ye are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto sanctification, and the end eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom. 6:17-23).
We are the servants of Jesus Christ by obedience to Him (Rom. 6:16). We put on Christ in baptism (Gal. 3:17). We are to be obedient children (I Peter 1:14). We are not to owe any man anything except to love one another (Rom. 13:8). We are in debt to the world because He paid the price of sin for us (Rom. 1:14). We are to take this obligation very seriously (Phil. 2:12; Heb. 5:9). To covet was one of the sins of the Decalogue (Ex. 20:17). Under the New Testament, covetousness is called idolatry (Col. 3:5). We are to put it to death. One definition my dictionary gives for idolatry is 'immoderate attachment or devotion to something'. Because of covetousness, false teachers made merchandise of their teaching (2 Peter 2:2,3). Paul says that he coveted no man's silver or gold when he preached at Ephesus. He went to work. He said he gave us an example (Acts 20:34, 35). Many men have followed his example.
After Alexander Campbell had heard the idea of restoring the church to the N.T. pattern, he said that he would study his N.T. to find out what it actually said. Then, he was to preach it the rest of his life, and he would never take one cent for preaching. That no doubt had a profound effect on his religious neighbours.
A man by the name of T.B. Larimore, one of the most successful preachers, said, "I do not need much money and I will not need it very long."
James A. Harding was probably the most successful preacher of his time. As he got invitations for meetings, he marked them down, and he held them in order. If they did not pay him, that did not matter. One of his sons told about a time when they were getting short of money. He said to his wife, "I guess we are not giving enough." What does Luke 6:38 say?
We have a living hope because of the resurrection. We have an inheritance that is incorruptible and that is undefiled, but it is guarded by faith (I Peter 1:5, 6). We may have to endure hardship as a good soldier of Christ Jesus (II Tim. 2:3). Here is His promise (II Cor. 4:17).
This is what the church is. "We also, as living stones are built a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. But ye are an elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession; that he may show forth the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light, who in time past were no people but now are the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy" (I Peter 2:5, 10).
By faith and obedience we shall make our calling and election sure (II Peter 1:10). All by the grace of God.
J. C. Bailey, 1992, Weyburn, Saskatchewan
Published in The Old Paths Archive