WHEN GIVING YOUR GIFTS TO GOD AT THE CITY
When paying your tithes and offerings or giving other gifts to God's work, please make all checks payable to Philadelphia City of Praise.
Your deeply appreciated and generous love gifts to God's work 1) help offset current expenses and 2) serve as a building fund to allow our ministry to build and grow five-fold-spiritually, numerically, physically, fiscally and globally allowing us to reach the world for Jesus Christ.
Become a faith partner with us through giving and give today. We accept and deeply appreciate all gifts to God's glory!
Biblical Principles that Guide Giving from the Apostle Paul to the Church at Corinth
But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you[a]—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.
2 Corinthians 8:7, NIV
6 Now [remember] this: he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows [a]generously [that blessings may come to others] will also reap [b]generously [and be blessed]. 7 Let each one give [thoughtfully and with purpose] just as he has decided in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver [and delights in the one whose heart is in his gift].
2 Corinthians 9:6-7, Amplified Bible (AMP)
A Study in Stewardship
In the Old Testament, teaching people about giving financially to the Lord’s work was simple—there were express commands dictating when to give and how much to offer, and all the funds went to maintaining temple worship and supporting the Levites. But that system went away with the temple veil, and in its place stands a church that is supported by the generous and sacrificial giving of those that attend.
Which means that it is a basic part of worship to give financially to the church you attend. This is evident in Acts, where corporate worship had giving as a central feature, and it is confirmed throughout the Epistles as well. Thus, giving is a basic discipline of Godliness and the New Testament teaches fundamental principles that should guide how we give. Here are ten of them:
1) Everything you have belongs to God (Psalm 24:1). Your view of your finances is grounded in your view of your own position in Christ: namely, Christians are slaves (Matthew 18:21-35, Mark 10:43-45, Luke 12:43, 19:17, John 13:16, etc. ). Our lives were formerly in bondage to sin, but we were purchased by Jesus, and then acquired by the Holy Spirit. We, along with everything we have, belong to God. We are his slaves, and all we have is his. Thus, when you give to a church or an organization, you are not “giving back to God.” All you have is his already!
2) God is using our possessions to advance the gospel in the world (Luke 16:1-12). While we are slaves of Jesus, our master is not idle. Instead, he is using his servants to do two primary things: build his church, and evangelize the lost. We should view all of our resources through that perspective.
3) In that sense, we are stewards of our master’s resources. We are not anonymous slaves on the fringe of the master’s plan; rather we are all stewards to whom much has been given (Luke 12:48; 1 Cor 4:1-2, 9:17, 1 Pet 4:10). We have a limited freedom (limited by the prohibitions of scripture—in other words, we are not to sin with our money), and we can use our freedom to invest our master’s resources however we see fit. But we know that the money we spend is not really ours, and the day is coming when we will be called to give an account for how we spent it. Remember, what we have is God’s, and he is working through us by how we use it.
4) Thus, our giving should be viewed as investing (Luke 16:1-12; Rom 14:10, 2 Cor 5:10). Knowing that we will be called to give an account for how we spend our money, we should give to ministries that show a return on their investment. We should not fund ministries with vague missions and nebulous results. Rather, we should use our money to make friends in heaven by advancing the gospel on the earth.
5) Our primary giving should be to our local church. In this age of world history, God is advancing his gospel through the work of local congregations. Christians are called to be part of congregations, to use their gifts in those congregations, and to minister to one another in their local church (here are 40 verses that explain that). With that in mind, a believer’s primary ministry is in and through the local church.
6) Giving to the church funds the work of the church. Pastors, especially those who preach and teach, should be paid by the congregation for their ministry (1 Tim 5:17-18). Moreover, the needs of the poor in the community (the church community!—1 Tim 5:3-16) are met by giving to the church. In this way, the congregation partners with the church in the preaching of the word and the ministry to the poor.
7) Giving to the church is the biblical model for mercy ministry and for missions. Paul’s missionary journeys were funded by individuals through their church (1 Cor 9:6-11; Phil 4:16) . In fact Paul makes a point that he never took funds from any individual (2 Cor 11:9). The same is true with mercy ministry. Paul commanded churches to take offerings on the first day of the week (Sunday) for the purpose of ministering to the poor in other churches (1 Cor 16:2-3, 2 Cor 9:5; As a side note, too many American churches abdicate their responsibility to missions, which of course drives Christians to start funding all kinds of missionaries directly—thus the proliferation of mercy ministry networks and missionaries who are doing all kinds of things except being under the authority of a local church).
8) Giving is part of the weekly corporate worship of the church. From the first week of its existence, the church in Acts met for worship by singing, praying, studying the scriptures, keeping the ordinances, and giving (Acts 2:45,4:32, 5:2). This helps us understand how Paul viewed the principles from 1 Corinthians 9 and 1 Timothy 5 being applied. In both of those passages Paul argues at length for how the church should support the poor who are faithful members of the congregation, and how the church should financially support the pastors. But how? He doesn’t dictate who the offerings should be taken or where the funds come form. But the book of Acts describes the weekly giving of the church, and this explains his command in 1 Corinthians 16:2-3 that an offering should be gathered every week when the church meets.
Giving in the New Testament was obviously expected to be both systemic (through the church), and sacrificial. And when it is both, it prepares you well for the judgment seat of Christ, where you will be rewarded for how you used your money in this life (2 Cor 5:10; cf.Luke 19:12-26).