Sunday, July 19, 2015

Paul's Epistles - 1 Corinthians Part 32 – THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK

Paul's Epistles - 1 Corinthians
Part 32 – THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | www.PS127.org | www.TruthDigest.org



INTRODUCTION
Paul, having received word in the form of a letter from the church in Corinth, is responding to that letter, as well as to information he has received from trusted sources about the condition of the Corinthian church. Adultery, members suing each other, married couples abstaining from physical relations in order to gain a more "spiritual" relationship with God, as well as the misuse, or abuse in the realm of Spiritual Gifts.

Paul addresses these issues in his letter to the Corinthian church and urges them not to go beyond what is written.

He warns them about their sexual immorality, as well as not becoming a stumbling block to those who are weaker in faith. He explains for those who think some foods are not permissible, or that they are not allowed to drink wine, or one day is holier than another, if they believe this for God's sake, then let it go, do not fight amongst yourselves. 

Paul tells them to be self-disciplined, and warns that when the Israelites sinned against God and did not repent, they did not receive forgiveness, and never made it to the Promised Land. Look at them as examples. There MUST be repentance if there is to be forgiveness. Paul then warned the church that communion was to be taken together as a body, not for eating and getting drunk. The congregation must be one, looking out for each other.

The last few weeks we have been looking at Paul explain certain Spiritual Gifts. This points to the notion, since only a few are mentioned, that these may have been the gifts which they were abusing, or exploiting.

Paul explains that all parts are important, no matter the size or number of gifts. He explains that it is OK to desire and even pray for certain gifts, but there was a way greater than the gifts for bringing people to Christ, rather than use the gifts like parlor tricks, Paul says use I Corinthians 13. Love is the greater way. Then in Chapter 14, Paul explains prophecy, tongues and the importance of intelligible words being greater than tongues.

Over the last couple weeks we have looked at the Resurrection of Christ and of the dead, and today, the resurrection body. Paul now addresses the first day of the week, Sunday.


SCRIPTURE REFERENCE I Corinthians 16:1-4
Now about the collection for the Lord’s people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made. Then, when I arrive, I will give letters of introduction to the men you approve and send them with your gift to Jerusalem. If it seems advisable for me to go also, they will accompany me.


    I.      THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK
a.      What does scripture say the first day of the week is?
                                                                         i.      Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:2; Mark 16:9; Luke 24:1; John 20:1
1.      All make it clear that Sunday is the "First Day of the Week", taking place after the Sabbath, which is the seventh and last day of the week, Saturday.

                                                                      ii.      We see from these scriptures that Jesus rose after three days, on the first day of the week, Sunday. We know this because the scriptures tell us.


b.     Why do we worship on Sunday?
                                                                         i.      John 20:19 tells us that the Disciples gathered on Sunday "The First Day of the Week", for a service together, and that Jesus First appeared to the entire group at this time, on Sunday, the day of His resurrection.

                                                                      ii.      So this practice of holding service on the first day of the week, Sunday, started with the disciples, and continues today.


c.      What about taking communion and offerings?
                                                                         i.      Acts 20:7 we see Paul gives us instruction that on the "First Day of the Week", Sunday, the disciples gathered to break bread (Communion), and on this day, they also heard a sermon, which Paul preached until midnight.
1.      Some say this Breaking bread is just a regular meal.

2.      We know this is Communion, because this event takes place AFTER I Corinthians 11:17-22. 34 where Paul instructed the church no longer have regular meals at worship service, which takes away from the meaning of communion.

3.      If this "were" a regular meal, Paul would be breaking his own instruction to the church...which is highly improbable.

                                                                      ii.      I Corinthians 16:2 we see in scripture that on the first day of the week, Sunday, Paul instructed that believers have their offerings already set aside, so that when he arrived for the service, they would not have to take a special collection.


d.     So we can see scripture clearly establishes that the First Day of the Week is Sunday, and that the disciples gathered on Sunday to worship, sing praises, give tithes, and receive communion.
                                                                         i.      Matthew 26:26; Mark 14:22; Luke 22:19; Acts 2:42; I Corinthians 10:16; I Corinthians 11:23,24



II.      TITHE, ALMS AND OFFERINGS
a.      What is Paul collecting here?
                                                                         i.      This "collection" is for Jerusalem who was in need
1.      The Jerusalem church was struggling because the Jews were keeping followers of Christ from holding good jobs, owning land, etc.

2.      So they financially struggled
a.      The meeting places cost money
                                                                                                                                                 i.      This church costs us monthly
                                                                                                                                              ii.      We have monthly gas, electric, water bills
                                                                                                                                           iii.      Plus maintenance costs

b.     Mission trips are not "free"
                                                                                                                                                 i.      Missionaries and Pastors have needs too
                                                                                                                                              ii.      If they work for the Lord, Paul says they should make a living from the Lord's work.
                                                                                                                                           iii.      However, if a church is small or struggling, the pastor may work outside the church as Paul did, so as not to be a burden to the church.
c.      Missionaries and Pastors need to eat and be clothed, and pay for their house and bills.

d.     Some missionaries had families, which Paul said earlier in I Corinthians, the preacher's family needs are to be taken care of too.

3.      I Timothy 5:17-18 "Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.”


b.     Shouldn't the church be taking care of the poor?
                                                                         i.      You are the "church"

                                                                      ii.      You are responsible to take care of the financial needs of the "church"


c.      What is the difference between Tithe, Alms and Offerings?
                                                                         i.      In the Old Testament 10% was the "least" that was required to give.

                                                                      ii.      In the New Testament, we are given the following instructions on Tithe;
1.      2 Corinthians 9:7 "Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."

2.      Luke 21:1-4 "Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”

                                                                   iii.      Alms is for the poor
1.      This is what Paul was telling the church in Corinth to do for the church in Jerusalem, set aside money, and on Sunday when we meet for the service, I won't have to take a collection for them, it will already be set aside.



                                                                     iv.      Offerings
1.      Sometimes called "love gift", "love offering", etc...is money given to a person because God has laid it upon your heart to do so, whether they appear to be in need or not, for only God knows that persons situation, and why they are in need.

2.      Sometimes it is not for the actual possession of receiving the money, but to teach a lesson to the receiver, that others are generous.

3.      Or perhaps, it is a lesson to the giver, either way, this is different than tithe, which is required by God, or Alms which is given when possible.



III.      WHAT IS THE COLLECTION FOR?
a.      In scripture;
                                                                         i.      Tithe is required of God's people, according to scripture, to take care of the missionaries, preachers and teachers of God's Word.

                                                                      ii.      Alms is collected when possible for helping the poor, whether a church, missionary, or other person in need.

                                                                   iii.      Offerings are gifts for known or unknown reasons impressed upon your heart by God to be given to a ministry, or individual.


b.     In modern times;
                                                                         i.      Many abuses have taken place by ministries to acquire money, using tactics that the Bible has forbidden;
1.      Performing Spiritual Gifts for money

2.      Holding "meetings" under the guise of preaching to collect "tithes"

3.      Creating foundations, or boards claiming to be "officially representing" God and His word, and selling products, services or "certifications" for profit.


c.      Where many go wrong
                                                                         i.      Evangelists, TV preachers, mega-church leaders, etc., collecting millions (billions in some cases) in the name of the Lord, then using it for the wrong reasons.
1.      Purchasing multiple million dollar homes
2.      Buying thousand dollar suits
3.      Buying gold, silver and jewels, which they proudly wear
4.      Buying multiple cars costing tens-of-thousands of dollars each
5.      Buying Jets, planes helicopters...

                                                                      ii.      The money they are using belongs to God.

                                                                   iii.      The money they collected was from God loving, trusting people, who believed their money was going to further the Kingdom of God, not the property and possessions of man.

Isaiah 10:1-4
Woe to those who make unjust laws,
    to those who issue oppressive decrees,
to deprive the poor of their rights
    and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people,
making widows their prey
    and robbing the fatherless.
What will you do on the day of reckoning,
    when disaster comes from afar?
To whom will you run for help?
    Where will you leave your riches?
Nothing will remain but to cringe among the captives
    or fall among the slain.













CONCLUSION

The first day of the week is when we, the followers of Jesus Christ gather together for worship as the disciples did, on Sunday, singing praises to God, giving our offerings to the church, hearing the message, and participating in the Lord's Supper, or communion, as Paul said, not a typical "meal", but as the Lord wanted, for a moment of reflection, and an outward expression of a Spiritual Truth, that you have accepted the covenant with God through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ to pay for your sins and accept the New Covenant.

When we sing our songs, they are to the Lord.

When we give our offerings, they are for the Lord's work.

When we hear the message, they are about the Lord and His Word.

And when we participate in the Lord's Supper, it is for our commitment to Him.

All of which took place on the First Day in scripture, Sunday.

This is why we do what we do on Sunday.





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