Know Well the Condition of Your Flocks

Sheep at sunset

Our country is in the midst of a recession. The economic outlook for the future is uncertain. Unemployment continues to rise. The national debt is ballooning at an astronomical rate. Naturally, people are worried about their financial situation, both for the present and the future.

Despite all of this, we have the responsibility to provide for ourselves (2 Thessalonians 3:10), our families (1 Timothy 5:8), and be able to help those in need (Ephesians 4:28). Paul told us of the importance of working hard so as to not be a burden to anyone (1 Thessalonians 2:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:8). But how can we do this if the economy collapses?

Christians ought to first consult the Bible to see what instructions are contained there that would relate to this economic crisis. The proverb writer has a very important reminder for us that we should notice, particularly with the current progression we are seeing in this country.
Continue Reading

Let Not the Church Be Charged

Walking with Elderly Woman

If any man or woman that believeth have widows, let them relieve them, and let not the church be charged; that it may relieve them that are widows indeed” (1 Timothy 5:16, KJV).

This verse comes at the end of a section dealing with the care of certain widows. Paul had given Timothy instructions about which widows were to receive continual, ongoing support from the local church and which ones were not. In the case of widows who had family to care for them, the church was not to be charged with their care.

The idea of the church not being charged with something can certainly extend in application beyond just the care of certain widows.
Continue Reading

Money Matters

Money in Pocket

Money is a matter of priority to many people in our society. As the economy is a concern in many places around the country, there is a tendency to worry about financial matters. As Christians, we must take heed to what God has instructed with regard to money. The Bible actually has quite a bit to say about the subject. We will consider some of God’s instruction that relates to our finances in this article.
Continue Reading

Be Ready

We spend our lives getting ready for what is coming in the future, both short and long term. We get ready to go to work, cook a meal, get married, retire, etc. In addition to things like these, we must also get ready and be ready for certain things that are of a spiritual nature.

What does it take to be ready? First, we have to know what needs to be done. Second, we must prepare ourselves to do what needs to be done. Finally, we must be willing to do what we have prepared ourselves to do. These will be true whether we are talking about spiritual or earthly matters. For this article, let us consider a few things for which we must be ready that are mentioned in the word of God.
Continue Reading

“Now Concerning the Collection” – Part 4: Institutionalism and the Sponsoring Church Arrangement

Collection Plate

As we noticed in the previous section, there are many who use funds from the church treasury for things other than just the works of the church – evangelism, edification, and limited benevolence. Some use money from their treasury for these works, but they do so by sending funds to another organization (either a human institution or another congregation) so that organization can carry out these spiritual works. We often refer to this practice as either institutionalism or the sponsoring church arrangement, depending on the nature of the organization to which the funds are sent. Does God authorize this in His word?

First we need to be sure we understand what exactly is being done before we can compare the practice with Scripture. Institutionalism refers to the forming or use of organizations separate from the church to carry out the works of the church. The sponsoring church arrangement has to do with one or more churches sending funds to another church that collects funds from these various churches and uses that money to do the work of the church. Much could be said about these issues; but so as to not divert too much attention away from our topic of the collection, we will briefly compare these concepts with the word of God.
Continue Reading

“Now Concerning the Collection” – Part 3: Use of the Treasury

Collection Plate

Some question whether we even have Bible authority for a church treasury. While the term “church treasury” is not used in the New Testament, the concept certainly is. In Acts 4:32-35, aid was provided for those in need using funds that had been pooled together. This collection of donations was, for all intents and purposes, a treasury. We clearly see that the church in Jerusalem had a treasury into which individual Christians deposited money. The apostles then used this treasury to distribute to those in need.

The concept of a church treasury is also found in Paul’s instructions to the Corinthians. Paul was coming to take money they had raised to Jerusalem to benefit needy saints (1 Corinthians 16:3). In order that the “gift” would be ready and that “no collections be made when I [Paul] come” (1 Corinthians 16:2), the church was to take up a collection “on the first day of every week.” These funds that were collected every week were saved so they would be ready when Paul arrived. Where were they saved? In the church treasury. Again, the term “church treasury” is not found in the New Testament; but as we have noticed, the concept certainly is. Congregations have Bible authority to have a treasury into which they can collect funds for safe keeping until the time when these funds are to be used.

But do we have authority to use the church treasury for just anything or are there certain things to which we must be limited? That is certainly an important question. We have authority for a treasury, but do we have the right to use that money for anything we choose? No! Ultimately, the money in the church treasury belongs to the Lord. After all, the church itself belongs to Christ. He “purchased [it] with His own blood” (Acts 20:28). He is the “head over all things to the church” (Ephesians 1:22). He possesses “all authority” (Matthew 28:18) – we possess none. Therefore, we must use the funds from the treasury of His church in the ways He has authorized.
Continue Reading

The All Sufficiency of the Church

Country Church

When we speak of the church being “all sufficient,” what do we mean? The claim that the church is all sufficient means that the church is fully capable of doing all the work God gave it to do. It does not need the aid of institutions to carry out this work. Christians do not need to look to other institutions or organizations to do the work that can be done through the church.

The Bible speaks of the church in two different ways – the universal church and the local church. Which way are we using the term “church” when we say the church is all sufficient? Is the universal church all sufficient? Of course. The universal church is composed of all the believers who have been baptized into the body of Christ (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:47; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Galatians 3:27). But what about the local church? To say the church is all sufficient universally, but not locally, could lead one to accept the “sponsoring church arrangement.” But the New Testament teaches that the local church is all sufficient, fully capable of doing the work God gave for it to do.
Continue Reading