Three Things the Church Is Called to Support

| Fri, Sep 9, 2011 | Set 1 Week 36

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John Piper (1992) writes,

Alongside everything else that the apostle Paul did in his amazing ministry of spreading the gospel, he also taught the churches to give money regularly—and to support at least three things by their giving.

1. Taking Care of the Poor

One was to help take care of the poor. For example, when Paul shook Peter’s hand to agree that he would go to the Gentiles and Peter would go to the Jews, Peter reminded Paul (in Galatians 1:10) that in all his ministry he remember the poor. And Paul said he was eager to do that very thing. So for example in Romans 15:25–26 he wrote, “At present I am going to Jerusalem with aid for the saints. For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make some contributions for the poor among the saints at Jerusalem.” And today’s text in 2 Corinthians 8–9 is an example of how he tried to motivate the churches to give to support the poor Christians.

2. Supporting Missionaries

Second, Paul taught that the churches were to give to support missionaries who go from place to place and plant churches. For example, in 1 Corinthians 9 he says to the church, “Who plants a vineyard without eating any of its fruit? . . . The Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel” (vv. 7, 14).

3. Supporting Ministries of the Local Church

Third, Paul taught that the churches were to give to support the ministries of the local church. For example, In 1 Timothy 5:18 he said, “The scripture says, ‘You shall not muzzle an ox when it is treading out the grain,’ and, ‘The laborer deserves his wages.'” And he was referring to the elders of the church who make the ministry of the Word their vocation.

So Paul taught the churches to give to sustain the poor, to send missionaries, and to support the vocational ministers of the Word.

Excerpted from Enough for Us.

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