Memory Verse: Matthew 4:19-20
4:12-17 Jesus, The Great Light
- 4:12-13 When Jesus heard that John was cast into prison, He left Nazareth and departed for Galilee. He lived in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim. Matthew doesn’t record everything that Jesus did before He came to Galilee, but we know there was more from the other Gospel accounts. Therefore, we are told, “Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison,” so that we know where in the timeline of events that the following story took place.
Matthew 14:1-12; John 1:29-4:42; Luke 4:14-30
- 4:14-16 Jesus moved to this specific location to fulfill scripture. Isaiah (Esaias) the prophet said, “The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; The people which sat in darkness…”—This area had suffered from an invasion by Syria (their time of darkness). But the prophet continues saying they “saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.” Even though they had suffered in the past, there was hope in their future. Matthew tells us that this hope is going to be fulfilled in Jesus. Jesus is the Great Light. Just as light causes darkness to cease, Jesus will cause the captive to be free. If today you are living in a “dark” place, there is good news for you because Jesus brings the light of change. He is here to free you from your chains of bondage.
Isaiah 9:1-2; 2 Kings 15:29
- 4:17 The light was Jesus Himself and the message that He brought. From that time, Jesus began to preach. He came with a message for mankind, saying, “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” This is the same message John the Baptist was preaching. Repentance is the change of mind that produces a change in behavior. The reason they needed to repent was because the kingdom of heaven—God’s rule over the life of believers is at hand. Jesus was here to establish God’s kingdom in the hearts of mankind. He is preaching salvation and the victorious life. Will you listen?
4:18-22 Jesus’ Call To Full-time Discipleship
- 4:18-20 Jesus is walking by the sea of Galilee when he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and Andrew. We know from the Gospel of John that Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist. Therefore, we know that these men have heard of Jesus. They know that He is possibly the promised Messiah. We can assume that they received John’s baptism and their hearts are ready for the Christ according to all that John the Baptist taught. These two men were also fishermen. As they were casting a net into the sea, Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Jesus had greater plans for their lives than they did. He called them out of their profession to “follow Him”. Every disciple of Jesus is called to follow Him wholeheartedly, but some will be called to leave their profession to serve Him full-time. Jesus’ plan for their lives is to make them “fishers of men” instead of “fishers of fish”. He is going to train them to take the message of the “kingdom of heaven” to the world. These two brothers immediately left their nets and followed Jesus. These men didn’t take the time to consider the implications of leaving their full-time occupations to follow Jesus, but they exemplified the faith needed to step out and follow the calling of God. God is calling some of you men to do the same.
- 4:21-22 Jesus went on from there and He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John. They were mending their nets in a ship with their father Zebedee. Jesus called them. He probably called them in the same way that He called the two other brothers. These two brothers immediately left the ship and their father, and followed Him. Not only did these two brothers leave the family business to follow Jesus, but they left their father. Jesus didn’t ask if their parents approved of them being in full-time ministry, but as men He knew they were to make a decision of their own. Today, the calling is the same, every man must make the decision about serving Jesus. It will cost you leaving your occupation. It will cost you leaving your parents. There is a price to pay, but it is worth it. God is looking for men today to give their lives to serve Him full-time. Will you?
4:23-25 Jesus’ Full-time Ministry
- 4:23 Jesus went about all Galilee doing three things: (1) Teaching in their synagogues—these were places where the Jews congregated for worship and instruction, therefore Jesus would go there and cause them to understand the true meanings of the Old Testament Scriptures. (2) Preaching the gospel of the kingdom—Jesus would publicly proclaim the good news of the kingdom. Everything was going to change because of everything He was going to do and He was preaching this new way. It was a message for all to hear. (3) Healing all manner of sickness and disease among the people—Jesus also preformed works of compassion and mercy. He didn’t just focus on the rich and comfortable, but His message and healing power reached the lowest of the low among societies order of importance.
- 4:24 Jesus fame went throughout all Syria, therefore, the people brought all the sick people that were taken with divers diseases, torments, possessed with devils, lunatics, and those who had the palsy unto Him and He healed them. Jesus didn’t turn away those who society would deem as crazy and not worthy of the time of such a leader who is quickly becoming famous. Jesus took time to minister to these people. He performed miracles that couldn’t be denied. The sick people were immediately healed every single time. It wasn’t like today’s false teachers who claim to heal people and it doesn’t work or the person wasn’t really sick and they claimed to be healed to cheat others into believing something false. The power for Jesus to heal also wasn’t based on the faith of the people He was healing, but was based on Him, the Healer. Today’s false teachers do the opposite, blame their failures on the lack of faith of others.
- 4:25 The response to Jesus’ constant teaching, preaching and healing caused great multitudes of people from Galilee, Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judaea and from beyond Jordan to follow Jesus. Things were really happening and people were responding to Jesus. They wanted to know more about who this person was. I am sure their mind was filled with questions: Was He really performing miracles? Where did His wisdom of the Scriptures come from? What was this gospel of the kingdom He spoke of? Could this really be the Christ? They followed Jesus to find these answers and we will find them out as well.
- Why was it important for Jesus to go to Galilee?
- Who is the great light?
- What did the first two brothers have to give up to follow Jesus?
- What did the second two brothers have to give up to follow Jesus?
- What three things did Jesus do as full-time ministry?
4:1-11 Jesus Resists The Temptation Of Satan
Memory Verse: Matthew 4:4
4:1-2 Temptation: Darkness That Follows The Light
- 1:1-3:17 So far, everything we have studied about Jesus has been glorious. We studied His genealogy that pointed to Him having the right linage to fulfill the prophecies of the coming Christ. We then studied His miraculous virgin birth as He was declared the One who would save His people from their sins. Wise men brought presents to worship Him—the only one worthy of worship. The king was threatened by this young child who was born in a manger, and tried to have Him killed, but He was protected. He grew older and at the right time He found John the Baptist and received His baptism to fulfill all righteousness. Finally, the heavens opened, He received the Spirit of God and God declared, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
- 4:1 Now, the glorious story turns dim and Jesus is tempted to do wrong. We have heard that He is the Son of God, and now we will find out as Jesus is led by the Spirit up into the wilderness (a desolate place) to be tempted of the devil. God does not tempt anyone, but He allows it to happen and uses it in our lives. God does test us. The difference between the two is in the motivation: one who tempts another hopes that he will fail and do wrong. The one who tests another hopes that he will succeed and do right. For believers, we need to realize that our salvation is a glorious experience, but there will be a time after we are saved that our new reality will be tempted and tested. Just like Jesus, we have the Holy Spirit to help us. We also have the promise from God that He will not allow us to be tempted above what we are able to bear and He will make a way to escape.
James 1:2-6, 12-15; 1 Corinthians 10:13
- 4:2 Jesus fasted for forty days and forty nights. Fasting is when you choose not to eat or drink for a certain period of time so that you can focus on spiritual disciplines like praying. When He was done fasting, He was hungry and physically weak, but spiritually strong
4:3-4 The First Temptation: “Prove Your Identity”
- 4:3 The First Temptation: The Devil, who is the tempter (hoping people fail), came to Jesus and said, “If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.” The Devil might have been there when God from heaven declared Jesus as His Son, because now he is challenging Jesus’ identity. He says, “If” which introduces a condition clause and cast subtle doubt on what was already stated. The Devils point is that Jesus turning stones into bread would prove His identity as the Son of God. He also knew Jesus is physically weak and hungry, so he uses food or nourishment to tempt Him to prove His identity. The devil will use things in our life that we crave or when we are weak to cause us to doubt our identity in Christ.
- 4:4 The First Reply: Even though Jesus was physically weak and hungry He was confident in His identity as the Son of God—because of the very Word of God. Jesus answers the Devils temptation saying, “It is written” and then quoting the following scripture: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Jesus didn’t need to prove who He was by doing a miracle to provide Himself bread at the Devils beckoning, but could rely on the very word of God that proceeds from God’s mouth—meaning everything from the declaration of heaven to the entirety of scripture. Thus He is rejecting the miracle as needed proof and trusting in God’s Word as proof. Physical food is important, but so is trusting God at His word.
4:5-7 The Second Temptation: “Prove Your Trust”
- 4:5-6 The Second Temptation: Next, the Devil took Jesus up into Jerusalem (the holy city), and set him on a pinnacle of the temple. He then said to Jesus, “If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.” Since Jesus quoted scripture and declared its importance, the Devil decided he would try to use scripture to tempt Jesus this time. It is like the Devil is saying, if you really live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God, then prove it. He knew that if he was really the Son of God that the angels would take care of Him and He should test it to prove His trust in the scriptures. The devil will even use the Bible (out-of-context) to cause us to doubt our trust in God and His Word.
- 4:7 The Second Reply: Jesus knew the scripture that the Devil used was true, but that He used it out-of-context and for Jesus to needlessly throw himself of the top of the temple just to test if God would save Him was unnecessary and wrong. Jesus quoted scripture back, that counteracts the devil’s motive, which says, “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” We are not to tempt God and put Him to the test. It shows our lack of faith, trust and dependence on Him and His word. Jesus knew this and would not play the Devil’s games. This scripture was given to protect Jesus, not for Him to live a reckless life.
4:8-11 The Third Temptation: “Prove Your Allegiance”
- 4:8-9 The Third Temptation: Again, the devil took Jesus, this time up to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them. Then the Devil tempted Jesus saying, “All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.” It’s as if the Devil concludes that Jesus isn’t going to do a miracle at his bidding, and so he ask for something more subtle, yet more costly. He wanted Jesus to pledge His allegiance to Him as God by falling down and worshiping him in exchange for an earthly kingdom. The devil will try to tempt you with fame, wealth, power, authority etc in exchange for your allegiance to God.
- 4:10-11 The Third Reply: Jesus quickly replies to the Devil, “Get thee hence, Satan.” He refers to Him as Satan (adversary, accuser), tells him to be gone and then quotes the following scripture: “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” Jesus knows that only true worship and service should be given to God—the Supreme Being. Satan wants to be God. He wanted Jesus to treat him like He would treat God. Jesus was unwilling to trade His allegiance in for anything. He pledged His allegiance to God. Finally, the devil left Jesus and angels came and ministered unto him.
- What happened before Jesus went to the wilderness?
- How many days did Jesus fast?
- What was the first temptation? Jesus’ response?
- What was the second temptation? Jesus’ response?
- What was the third temptation? Jesus’ response?
3:1-17 Repentance, Baptism And The Kingdom Of Heaven
Memory Verse: Matthew 3:2
3:1-6 Repent, The Kingdom Of Heaven Is Near
- 3:1-2 When Jesus was grown (around age 30) there was also a man named John. He went around preaching in the wilderness of Judaea. He called for people to repent. Repentance is a change of mind that produces a change in behavior. It is more than feeling sad for doing something wrong or getting caught doing something wrong. It is realizing the truth, agreeing with the truth and choosing to live out the truth. The reason they needed to repent was because the kingdom of heaven is at hand. This refers to God’s rule over the life of believers. It meant that Jesus was coming to establish God’s kingdom in the hearts of mankind. It foreshadows the future eternal state when all believers will live in the eternal kingdom of God. The time for this is near, the Christ, Jesus, is coming.
Luke 17:20-21; Romans 14:17
- 3:3 John’s preaching was another prophecy and fulfillment of the coming Christ. The prophet Esaias, prophesied saying, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” This means: (1) The Voice—the message being proclaimed is the important part, not necessarily the messenger himself. His message is that of repenting because the rule of God is about to be made known through Jesus. (2) Preparation—in old times they would send someone to make a path for the important person to travel on, making sure the road was straight and smooth. This is exactly what John was doing spiritually. He was preparing the way for Jesus. (3) The Lord—In the Old Testament, this verse refers to Jehovah, but Matthew uses it to refer to Jesus, making Jesus equal with Jehovah.
Isaiah 40:3-5; Luke 1:16-17
- 3:4 John’s appearance and lifestyle to us may seem strange, but to those who knew the Old Testament, he seemed like a prophet (similar to the prophet Elijah). John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair. He wore a leather belt around his waist. He ate locusts and wild honey as his food. He lived simply and didn’t try to impress anyone through elaborate dress or fancy foods. He focused on the message and task at hand.
2 Kings 1:8; Malachi 4:5
- 3:5-6 John’s appearance as a prophet and the message he proclaimed caused a lot of people from Jerusalem, Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan to go out where he was. Many responded to John’s message by confessing there sins and being baptized in the river. We need to note four things: (1) John’s baptism and believers baptism are different. Believers baptism (what we do today) represents when a person has believed in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus for salvation. John’s baptism represented repentance and a desire to life a righteous life while anticipating the coming of the Christ. (2) Baptism originated when the Jews had the Gentile proselytes baptized as a type of ritual cleansing ceremony—probably getting the idea from Old Testament laws about cleansing. John used this ceremony of baptism to show the Jews it wasn’t just the Gentiles who needed to turn to God, but even the sinful unrepentant self-righteous Jews. (3) Therefore, the initial action following repentance was baptism—an outward symbol of the inward repentance—an action of sincerity. (4) Today, the initial action of a person who repents and believes in Jesus is baptism—identifying with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus for salvation and their desire to live for Him.
Leviticus 15:13; Acts 19:4; Romans 6:1-10; 1 Peter 3:21
3:7-12 True Repentance Will Produce Good Fruit
- 3:7-10 John noticed there were some people who weren’t getting baptized: the Pharisees and Sadducees. The Pharisees (legalist) are a religious sect who hypocritically try to follow the law, making their own rules and regulations, and who are proud of their own righteousness after the tradition of man. The Sadducees (liberals) were also a religious sect who denied supernatural things. John scolds them and we learn several things. (1) Vipers—He calls them a deadly snakes because of their message and hard hearts can only kill. (2) He warns there is wrath coming for them and all who live unrepentant lives like them. (3) He calls them to truly repent, the kind of repentance that will produce fruit. Their works were proof that they never repented. Repenting is not a work, but it will produce works. (4) It doesn’t matter who you are related to, your heritage can’t save you. Just like them claiming Abraham as their father couldn’t do anything to save them, our Christian parents or family can’t do anything to save us. (5) Judgment is coming (the axe is laid unto the root of the trees) and those who don’t produce good fruit as a result of repentance will be like a tree that is hewn down and cast into the fire.
- 3:11-12 John continues to explain the truth to the religious hypocrites and uses three types of “baptism” to explain it: (1) John baptized those who repented with water as a sign of their repentance. But there is one, the Christ, that will come after John and is mightier than John. John is not even worthy to bear His shoes. It is the Christ, and (2) He will baptize those who repent with the Holy Ghost. Today, every believer is baptized with the Holy Spirit at salvation. (Although John doesn’t mention it here, believers’ baptism is when a new believer is baptize in water as a symbol of their salvation—this shouldn’t be confused with the others.) (3) The Christ will also baptize with fire—which represent the final judgement for those who don’t repent—they will be immersed with fire. The Christ has a fan in his hand which is used to throughly purge his floor, separating the wheat (believers) from the chaff (unbelievers). He will gather his wheat into the garner but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.
3:13-17 The Only One Who Doesn’t Need To Repent
- 3:13-17 Jesus came from Galilee to be baptized by John in the Jordan River. At first, John forbade baptizing Jesus, realizing He was the Christ—thus sinless and not needing to repent. John felt Jesus should baptize him instead. Jesus responded saying let it be because it will fulfill all righteousness. Therefore, John baptized Jesus. We aren’t really sure what Jesus meant, except He was being obedient to God’s plan. Nonetheless, we can note a few things: (1) It is possible Jesus who was sinless was baptized to identify with the sinners He came to save. (2) It marks the start of Jesus ministry because he received the Spirit of God. (3) It confirmed Jesus as the Son of God, because God from heaven, said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (4) It testifies to the trinity—God was speaking, Jesus was being baptized, and the Holy Spirit was descending. (5) It authorized all that John said and did as a prophet. (6) It could represent Jesus mission to come, died, be buried and rise again so that He could make us righteous.
- What was John the Baptist preaching?
- What was John’s appearance and lifestyle like?
- True repentance will produce what?
- John baptized with water but Jesus will baptize with what?
- Why did Jesus get baptized?
2:1-23 The Search For The Only One Worthy Of Worship
Memory Verse: Matthew 2:11
2:1-2, 7-12 Seeking To Worship: The Wise Men
- 2:1-2 In the days when Herod was king in Bethlehem of Judaea (a small village south of Jerusalem) Jesus was born. After He was born there came wise men (not sure how many) from the East to Jerusalem. These men were believed to be a type of magician or astronomers of their time period—those who were searching for answers and curious about the world around them. As they scanned the sky looking for answer, they saw a supernatural star in the East. With their knowledge of the Old Testament scriptures, they somehow believed this star to be the star of Him whom would be the King of the Jews, and the Christ promised in the Scriptures. It was a star announcing that He was born—we don’t know much more about this star than what is recorded here in Matthew. Thus, these wise men who were looking for answers came to the city of Jerusalem searching for and asking anyone they came across where this baby could be found. They had come to worship Him, Jesus the Christ—the only one worthy of worship.
- 2:7-8 Herod called the wise men who entered his city to a secret meeting where he found out what time the star had appeared to them (he will use this information later). Then he sent the wise men to Bethlehem to search diligently for the young child. He also requested that when they did find him that they should return to tell him so that he could also go and worship the child. Two thing need to be noted: (1) Instead of referring to Jesus as a “baby,” they started to refer to him as a “young child” which would mean that some time had passed and this wasn’t immediately after Jesus was born. (2) Therefore, many “manger scenes” that we see around Christmas that include the baby Jesus, a star, wise men and shepherds all together are wrong in their timeline of events.
- 2:9-11 After the wise men heard the kings orders they departed. Then all of the sudden the star they originally saw in the East appeared again. The star actually went before them leading them to the young child they were searching for, eventually standing still over the house where Jesus was. At this point they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. Next, they entered into the house and they saw the young child Jesus with his mother. Upon seeing him, they fell down and worshipped him. Finally, they opened the treasures they brought with them and presented to Jesus gifts of: (1) Gold—the currency of a king’s treasury; (2) Frankincense—incense used to worship God in the temple; and (3) Myrrh—used to anoint a human corpse before burial. Each of these give us a glimpse into who this young child really was. It represents Jesus as King and God, but also as one who was born to die; born to save us through His sinless life and sacrificial death; born that we might have life. Are we worshipping Jesus for who He really is? What gifts are we giving him?
- 2:12 Before the wise men left, they were warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod because he had evil plans instead of plans to worship. Therefore, they departed into their own country another way and didn’t return to tell Herod the king.
2:3-4 Seeking To Be Worshiped: Herod The King
- 2:3-4 When Herod, the reigning king at the time, had heard that these wise men came searching for a baby that was born to be King of the Jews he was troubled. Even the whole city of Jerusalem was troubled with him. Apparently, the search by the wise men was very public and believable—otherwise why would a baby cause a king to fear? Herod the king decided to gather all the chief priests and scribes of the people together (these were the spiritual leaders of the Jews), so that he could find out where Christ would be born. He wanted to find the Christ, not because he wanted to worship him, but because the Christ threatened people from worshipping him. Herod wasn’t seeking to worship the One worthy of worship, but instead he thought that he himself was worthy of worship and was seeking to be worshipped. His motives were the complete opposite of the wise men. He was blinded by pride, like many of us today. Mankind was created to worship, we will worship something or someone. What or who are you worshipping?
2:5-6, 13-23 The Only One Worthy Of Worship: Jesus The Christ
- 2:5-6 The rest of the story tells of the fulfilled scriptures that all points to Jesus as the promised Christ of the scriptures—the only one truly worthy of worship. The first prophecy and fulfillment of the Christ (Micah 5:2): “And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.”
- 2:13-15 When the wise men left the house of the child Jesus the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream telling him to get up and take the young child Jesus and his mother, and flee into Egypt. They were to stay there until the angel brings him word again. The reason for the departure to Egypt was that Herod the king is going to seek the young child Jesus to destroy him. When Joseph got up he did as the angel said—staying in Egypt until the death of Herod the king. The second prophecy and fulfillment of the Christ (Hosea 11:1): “Out of Egypt have I called my son.”
- 2:16-18 Herod was an evil king. When he realized that he was mocked of the wise men—meaning they didn’t return to tell him where they found Jesus, he was extremely angry. He wanted Jesus killed. He didn’t know Jesus exact age so he calculate an age range based on the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men (from two years old and under). Also, he knew the location of Jesus birth was in Bethlehem so he order all male children in this age range to be killed there and in all the coasts thereof. It is hard to image, but even this was foretold. The third prophecy and fulfillment of the Christ (Jeremiah 31:15): “In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.”
- 2:19-23 Finally, time passed and Herod died. Then the angel of the Lord appeared again in a dream to Joseph who was still in Egypt. This time he told him to get up and take the young child Jesus and his mother, and go into the land of Israel because those who sought the young child’s life had died. Joseph obeyed the angel and went to Israel with his family. But he heard that Archelaus reigned in Judaea in the room of his father Herod. This caused Joseph to be afraid to go here, plus God also warned him about it in a dream, therefore he went to Galilee and lived in a city called Nazareth. The fourth prophecy and fulfillment of the Christ (Isaiah 11:1): “He shall be called a Nazarene.”
- Why were the wise men seeking Jesus?
- What were the gifts the wise men brought? What did they symbolize?
- Why was Herod the king looking for Jesus?
- What did all the prophecies being fulfilled point to?
- Who are you worshipping?
1:1-25 The Genealogy And Birth Of Jesus
Memory Verse: Matthew 1:21
1:1-17 The Genealogy Of Jesus According To Joseph
- 1:1, 16c The gospel record of Matthew opens with “the book of the generation of Jesus.” Matthew wants us to know that Jesus is a real person with a heritage that is traceable. His Jewish roots will help us identify who Jesus really is. First, Matthew says he is the Christ—the anointed One, the Messiah, the promised Saviour of the World. Second, he says Jesus is the son of David—meaning He is the promised son of David who will establish an eternal kingdom. Third, he says Jesus is the son of Abraham—meaning he would be the Blessing by which all families of the earth would be blessed. Matthew is going to reveal to us that it is Jesus alone who can fulfill the promises of God, all other human efforts (King Solomon, Israel, etc.) have failed, but God will remain faithful to His word.
Genesis 12:1-3; 2 Samuel 7:25; Acts 2:29-36
- 1:17 Matthew gives us the list of forty-two generations to show that Jesus is of true Jewish lineage. He breaks it up into three sections with each including fourteen generations. The list is not to show an unbroken line of ancestors, but to show Jesus is of the lineage of the Jews founder, Abraham, and the great king David. The list includes women, which is isn’t normal for Jewish culture, and people who committed great sins, or didn’t have a good reputation—showing that God will accomplish His will even though man has failed.
- 1:2-6 The first group—from Abraham to David: Abraham (1) begat Isaac (2) whom begat Jacob (3) whom begat Judas (4) and his brethren. Judas begat Phares (5) and Zara of Thamar. Phares begat Esrom (6) whom begat Aram (7) whom begat Aminadab (8) whom begat Naasson (9) whom begat Salmon (10) whom begat Booz (11) of Rachab whom begat Obed (12) of Ruth whom begat Jesse (13) whom begat David (14) the king.
- 1:7-11 The second group—from David until the carrying away into Babylon: David the king whom begat Solomon (15) of her that had been the wife of Urias. Solomon begat Roboam (16) whom begat Abia (17) whom begat Asa (18) whom begat Josaphat (19) whom begat Joram (20) whom begat Ozias (21) whom begat Joatham (22) whom begat Achaz (23) whom begat Ezekias (24) whom begat Manasses (25) whom begat Amon (26) whom begat Josias (27) whom begat Jechonias (28) and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon.
- 1:12-16 The third group—from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ: After they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias (29) begat Salathiel (30) whom begat Zorobabel (31) whom begat Abiud (32) whom begat Eliakim (33) whom begat Azor (34) whom begat Sadoc (35) whom begat Achim (36) whom begat Eliud (37) whom begat Eleazar (38) whom begat Matthan (39) whom begat Jacob (40) whom begat Joseph (41) the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus (42), who is called Christ.
- 1:16b Before the list concludes with Jesus, we are introduced to Jesus’ parents. But the list never says that Joseph begat Jesus like it does with the other father and son relationships. This is because Jesus’ birth was supernatural. Joseph never had sexual relations with Mary to produce the child Jesus. Instead, as we will learn in the coming verses, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. This means Jesus was not Joseph’s literal, physical offspring—but Jesus was Joseph’s legal offspring because Joseph was Jesus’ step-father, making Jesus part of this important lineage (thus fulfilling prophecy).
1:18-25 The Birth Of Jesus From Joseph’s Perspective
- 1:18 After presenting Jesus’ royal and important lineage, Matthew now turns to explain how Jesus was born. Mary, Jesus’ mother, was espoused to Joseph—which in Jewish culture was a one-year engagement only breakable by divorce. During this time they were not permitted to sexually come together, but must wait until after the official marriage ceremony had taken place. Therefore, it was during this time of the engagement and before they came together sexually that Mary was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Mary was a virgin (as noted in Luke’s Gospel)—meaning God supernaturally caused Mary to become pregnant with Jesus without the natural means of procreation between humans.
- 1:19 Joseph was a just and righteous man. He believed, worshipped and served God. Thus, when Mary told him the news of her miraculous conception he had to be shocked and confused. The news was that an angel told Mary she was going to supernatural conceive a child who would be the Son of God. Knowing he never had sex with her and not understanding how his wife could become pregnant except for the only other option he could think of which would mean she had sexual intercourse with another man, he decided to divorce her. The third, and supernatural option, of her conception was unthinkable. He loved her, but how was he to believe her? Joseph knew the punishment for adultery according to the law was death by stoning, but he didn’t want to make her a public example or put her to shame, so he decide he would just do a private divorce.
Luke 1:28-38; Deuteronomy 22:23-24
- 1:20-21 While Joseph thought about everything the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream. The angel addressed Joseph by name and as the “son of David”—emphasizing his royal lineage. He told Joseph not to fear but to take Mary as his wife. He took away all doubts about how Mary conceived the child, explaining that the baby in her womb truly was conceived of the Holy Spirit. Mary was still a virgin and had never committed adultery, this truly was a miracle. The angel then explains the baby will be male and they are to name him JESUS, which means “God Saves,” and as the angel reveals, that is exactly what He is going to do “save his people from their sins.” Jesus’ virgin birth would mean he would the first person born in human history without sin. This was required for salvation to be possible, which is Jesus’ mission in coming to earth.
- 1:22-23 Everything that was done fulfilled what was spoken of the Lord by the prophet Isaiah: (1) A virgin will be with child, (2) she will bring forth a son, and (3) they will call his name Emmanuel, which means, “God with us.” God’s word is the authority from which we know truth. He promised a Saviour would come. This birth marked His coming. His word verified how he would come. Everything points to Jesus as the Saviour of the World.
Isaiah 7:14; Philippians 2:5-11
- 1:24-25 Joseph woke up and did as the angel said. He took Mary as his wife instead of divorcing her. Also, he did not have sexual relations with her until she gave birth to the child (probably to keep anyone from doubting). Finally, Joseph named the child, “JESUS.”
- Why is knowing Jesus’ genealogy important?
- What is the difference when we are introduced to Jesus’ parents in the genealogy?
- Why was Joseph going to divorce Mary?
- Why didn’t Joseph divorce Mary?
- Why was Jesus birth a miracle and what does it point to?
What Is Our Responsibility Towards The Poor?
Our responsibility towards the poor is to do whatever we can to help relieve their affliction. As believers, we are to have compassion for believers in need but also towards our neighbors—those whom we come across that are in need and we are able to help. We should consider the reasons for their situation and help accordingly.
Compassion For The Household Of Faith
- The Bible teaches that an evidence of (or fruit of) true conversion is brotherly affection and love—meaning showing true compassion towards “the least of these my brethren” or other believers whatever their “rank” (especially those who suffer because of serving Jesus) and it is equal to doing it for Jesus Himself. This compassion should be evident within the body of Christ and we should be willing to care for each other. This compassion within the body of Christ includes: providing food for the hungry; providing drink for the thirsty; being hospitable to the homeless and foreigner; to clothe the unclothed; to check on the sick; to visit those in prison; to check on the fatherless (orphans) and widows in their affliction. We are to do good unto everyone, but especially unto them who are of the household of faith. We do this in love and our motivation for this love comes from Jesus laying down His life for us, thus we ought to lay down our lives for the believers.
Matthew 25:31-46; Galatians 2:10; 6:10; James 1:22-27; 2:14-18; 2 Peter 1:3-15; 1 John 3:16-24; 1 Corinthians 13:3
- God’s people have always been responsible to helping the poor and it has always been characteristic of one who loves and obeys God. The Israelites were commanded by God to give one-tenth of their agricultural produce for that year and store it up in their cities to feed the Levites, the strangers (foreigners), the fatherless children or orphans and the widows that lived in their cities. This was only to be done once every three years. Also, there were rules to govern how to make payment back to others who suffered loss in interpersonal relationships or to keep people from taking financial advantage of others or the poor. They would leave the corners of the field for the poor and stranger to glean freely. They were to “open their hands wide” to the poor and in certain situations they were to furnish others liberally from what God had blessed them with. The year of jubile (every fifty years) was instituted to liberate the people from all kinds of indebtedness and enslavement. This included property, indentured slaves, etc., and it helped moderate the economy and those with financial hardships.
Exodus 22:1-17; 21-30; 23:3-6; 8-11; 16-19; 25-26; Leviticus 19:9-10; 25:1-55; Numbers 18:20-24; Deuteronomy 12:17-19; 14:22-29; 15:1-23; 26:10-16; Isaiah 58:6-10; Jeremiah 22:16
Compassion For Our Neighbors
- The Bible says that we are to love God with all thy heart, soul, strength and mind, and we are to love our neighbour as ourselves. A man asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbour?” Jesus responds by telling a parable about a man who ran into thieves who stole his clothes and injure him to the point of almost being dead. Two men passed by the man and didn’t help him but one man had compassion on him by immediately helping the man’s physical condition, taking the man to an inn and caring for him and paying the cost for his immediate and continual care until he recovered. Jesus then tells them “Go, and do thou likewise.” Believers have a responsibility to show compassion to all in need. To be compassionate is to be generous and we shouldn’t just be generous to those who can be generous back to us, but we should purposely be generous to those who can’t be generous back to us. Nor should we have respect of persons based on status: rich/poor.
Luke 10:25-37; Luke 14:12-14; James 2:1-13
- Being poor means lacking the wealth (money and possessions) needed to live at the normal standard of your community (this has varying levels) with the destitute being those without the basic necessities of life (this is the lowest of the levels). The poor will always be in the world. There are legitimate and illegitimate reason for a person being poor. Our responsibility to care for the poor is towards those who reasons are legitimate, such as: victims of some kind of affliction; an inability to work because of a handicap; the result of a natural disaster; famine; being orphaned, etc. As believers, we are to help those within our communities that are poor or destitute as we are able to—meaning we use our wealth (money and possessions) to show compassion on them. The Proverbs gives us many principles concerning the care for the poor:
Deuteronomy 15:11; Mark 14:7
- The righteous are aware of the “the cause of the poor”—meaning the just treatment due to the poor (by God’s command), but the wicked is not concerned with it. If we despise our neighbors we sin, but if we show mercy on the poor we are happy and blessed. We are to have a bountiful eye and give from our own food to those in need.
Proverbs 14:21, 31; 22:9; 29:7; 31:9
- When we show gracious kindness to the poor we know that we are lending to God and He will repay. We don’t have to worry about becoming poor becomes we give to the poor, we are promised to that we “shall not lack” but whoever closes their eyes to the needs of the poor “have many a curse” or afflictions.
Proverbs 19:17; 21:13; 28:27
- If we oppress the poor we reproach or insult our Maker—the God who created the heavens and earth, the God who created us. But if we honor God, we will have mercy on the poor. Therefore, honoring God means actively caring for the poor and destitute.
Proverbs 14:31; 17:5; 22:2
- There are also “illegitimate reason” for a person being poor—meaning our responsibility to care for the poor isn’t towards those who reasons are illegitimate, such as: laziness or negligence; overindulgence in pleasure; borrowing money or debt; selfish and oppressive decisions against God, etc. These are all decisions that a person makes and their “state of being poor” is a consequence of their wrong decisions. The person is reaping what they sowed. This person should be exhorted to repent and correct the situation. If the person is willing to be restored, then we should be willing to help them accordingly.
Proverbs 10:4; 19:15; 21:17; 20:4; 22:7; 22:16; 22:22-23; 24:30-34;
- Exhort to work: The Bible says, “If any would not work, neither should he eat.” Therefore, if they are undisciplined, irresponsible, able but unwilling to spend any time working to earn money then they should be exhorted to work to fix their situation (especially if they are a believer). If they don’t obey the Bible’s command to work, then they should be noted and avoided—meaning other believers shouldn’t have anything to do with them, hoping, they will repent and be restored.
2 Thessalonians 3:6-15; Proverbs 16:26
- Consider a person’s reason for their current situation and respond with the proper type of compassion and help. We don’t want to “enable” wrong behavior, nor do we want to ignore the needs of the poor, thus if the situation is uncertain, it is better to be considerate than inconsiderate. It might be wise to have a process to determine who is really without resources, just like that of determining who is a true widow in need.
1 Timothy 5:3-6
- What does compassion for the household of faith mean?
- What are some Old Testament examples?
- What does compassion for our neighbors mean?
- What are legitimate and illegitimate reasons for being poor?
- Are you fulfilling your responsibility towards the poor?
Why Should A Church Financially Support A Pastor?
A church should financially support a pastor so he can be fully engaged in ministry. A pastor has the right to be supported by those he ministers to. Thus, the church should be willing to generously give to financially support their pastor if he is worthy of support.
Pastors Should Be Financially Supported
- Paul uses his unique position as an apostle to help illustrate that even though all things are lawful not everything edifies. One of the evidences of Paul’s apostleship was the fact that the church in Corinth existed because of his preaching and work among them. He then goes on asking more rhetorical questions to show that he also has the right to be financially supported (power to eat and to drink) and to be married (power to lead about a sister, a wife). He wanted them to know that he has the right to refrain from working for a living because He is a minister of the gospel and thus has the full right to receive his “living” from the churches he is ministering in. The principle is: you should earn your living from your work.
1 Corinthians 9:1-6; 10:23
- Examples from life: He shows this principle is a normal pattern in life: (1) a soldier who goes to war doesn’t do it at his own expense; (2) a farmer who plants a vineyard also eats of the fruit from it; (3) a shepherd who tends to and feeds a flock also eats of the milk from the flock.
1 Corinthians 9:7; 2 Timothy 2:1-7
- Example from the law of Moses: Then he show that a part of the law about “oxen” was actually written for our sakes and not just for the concern of oxen. He says, “Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn.” An ox would either pull a threshing sledge or trample over stalks of corn and they were not to muzzle its mouth so that it couldn’t eat, but allow it to eat as it worked. Paul continues to apply this saying that it was written to teach us that we should plow and thresh “in hope” so we can be partakers of this hope. Thus, a pastor works in the church “in hope” by sowing spiritual things, hoping to reap material things for his livelihood.
1 Corinthians 9:7-11; Deuteronomy 25:4
- Examples from the temple: Next, he points to those who worked in the temple to “minister about holy things” also lived of the things of the temple and those that served at the altar also partook from the sacrificial offerings of the altar.
1 Corinthians 9:13 (Compare: Genesis 2:15 to Numbers 3:7-8; 18:7 and the words “dress” and “keep”.)
- Example from Jesus: Finally, Paul says that even the Lord Jesus has ordained that, “They which preach the gospel should live of the gospel”—meaning that full-time ministers of the gospel should earn their living or have a right to be financially supported by this “gospel-work” alone.
1 Corinthians 9:14
- But Paul didn’t exercise his right to receive financial support from the church at Corinth (and Thessalonica). Instead he worked as a tentmaker and would minister every sabbath (and most likely other times). He did this because he didn’t want to hinder the gospel of Christ by people thinking he was financially motivated while He was “in the regions of Achaia.” Also, it allowed him to undermine his opponents, the false teachers, who were claiming they had the same authority as Paul and were greedily seeking money for their “false ministries.” But eventually Paul became poor enough to need help from others. Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia giving him money from the church(s) at Philippi or those in the region (even though they weren’t receiving direct ministry from Paul at this time). So while Paul was at Corinth He did receive support from other churches and this allowed him to become fully engaged in testifying that Jesus was the Christ.
1 Corinthians 4:11-12; 9:12; 2 Corinthians 11:7-15; Philippians 4:15-20; Acts 18:1-5; (1 Thessalonians 2:9)
- Paul’s motivation for ministry was because “necessity” was laid upon him and that a “dispensation of the gospel” was committed to him—meaning the task of preaching the gospel was entrusted to him and thus his reward was that he could boast that he preached “the gospel of Christ without charge.” He also exemplified that believers should work hard, help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
1 Corinthians 9:15-18; Acts 20:32-35; (2 Thessalonians 3:6-9)
- In response to what seems to be a charge against Paul, he asked the church at Corinth in what were they inferior or less fortunate than other churches. The only thing was that he himself was not “burdensome”—meaning he did not freeload off of them. He ironically but sincerely asked for their forgiveness if they were offended by this, but continues to stand by his decision not to accept financial support from them because of his original reasons and also affectionally explains He is their spiritual father and was willing to spend and be spend for their souls—he didn’t want what was theirs but he wanted them. He didn’t want money to change their relationship.
2 Corinthians 12:11-18
- After Paul finished teaching the Galatians that we are to help cary the heavy burdens of others as we carry the load of our own personal responsibilities that God has given us individually, he continues to encourage that there is teamwork and fellowship that takes place between believers. One of the areas where there should be sharing is between the “teachers of the word” and the “learners of the word”—all believers should fall into this category because every believer should be in a local church under the guidance of its leadership. The learners should share (communicate) their financial means (all good things) to support the teacher so that he can do his work full-time (help guard against false teaching). This is a fellowship that benefits both sides. The teacher will have adequate time to study and teach the word, while the learner benefits from the teaching. This could also indicate serving where it is needed so that the teachers have enough time to study, pray and teach the Bible. God wants full-time pastors—teachers of the word.
How Much Financial Support Should A Pastor Receive?
- Paul tells timothy the elders—(pastors who oversee an assembly of Christian believers) that rule well—(pastors who fulfill their roles in a good and satisfactory way that meets the high standards of the Bible’s requirements) be counted worthy of double honour—(receive twice as great the compensation), especially they who labour (particularly those who work very hard) in the word (preaching) and doctrine (teaching). Paul then quotes scripture to prove his points:
1 Timothy 5:17-18; (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13; Hebrews 13:7, 17)
- First, he applies part of the law from the Old Testament saying, “Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn.”—meaning a pastor can partake from his ministry.
1 Timothy 5:18a; Deuteronomy 25:4
- Second, he quotes Jesus in the New Testament as saying, “The labourer is worthy of his reward.”—meaning a pastor who ministers is deserving of financial support.
1 Timothy 5:18b; Luke 10:7
- Does a pastor have a right to be financially supported by the church he leads?
- What are the four examples that Paul used?
- Did Paul exercise his right to receive financial support at Corinth? Why?
- What two scriptures does Paul use to prove his points?
- Are you giving to help support your pastor?
What Is The New Testament Paradigm for Giving?
The New Testament paradigm for giving is that of generous grace giving—meaning that believers are to give freewill offerings to supply the needs of the church and its outreach to the community (including the poor) and the world—to accomplish its mission here on earth. Giving is a Christian virtue or grace that all believers are to abound in.
2 Corinthians 8:7
The Paradigm Of Generous Grace Giving
- The local church started with Jesus and His disciples, and it was established when they received and were filled by the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Pentecost was part of the “festival of weeks” in which the Israelites were required to come to Jerusalem. So when Peter preached His sermon at Pentecost there were many people present to hear it and they “added unto them about three thousand souls.” Also, “the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” Presumably, many of those who became believers that day were living away from home and, understandably, they wanted to continued steadfastly in all they were learning about Jesus. Thus, as the church was in its infancy and having a great need before them, the believers sold their possessions and goods, and then distributed the proceeds to anyone who had a need, so that all who believed had all things in common. Through Acts, this becomes characteristic of the church, that is: generous grace giving.
Acts 2:44-45; 4:32-37; 9:36, 39; 10:4; 17:9-10; 21:23-25
- As the church continues to grow and spread, the giving within the church (as presented in the rest of the New Testament) doesn’t fit the Old Testament patterns of the four different “tithes,” but it does resemble the freewill offerings to the Lord. These offerings are characterized by: (1) giving with a willing heart; (2) giving to God and for His work; (3) giving according to what a person had and what they wanted to give; (4) giving was done by expressing great joy before the Lord; (5) giving expecting it would be blessed by God.
Exodus 25:1-9; 35:4-9, 20-29; 36:1-7; Deuteronomy 16:9-12, 16-17; 1 Chronicles 29:6-9; Proverbs: 3:9-10; 11:24
- The believers and the church at Jerusalem exemplified generous grace giving in there specific situation, but they eventually suffered “great persecution” and there was a great famine throughout all the world. They became in great need financially. Believer’s from Galatia, Macedonia, Achaia determined to send relief unto the believers in Judaea/Jerusalem to help meet their needs. From these examples, we can learn principles about how God wants us to meet needs through generous grace giving. Today, believers should continue to grow in this Christian virtue of giving. First, we give ourselves to God—meaning we make a personal commitment of our lives to God. Second, we earnestly desire to give generously as we have opportunity because of the grace of God in our lives and strive to abound in this area, knowing: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
Acts 8:1; 11:25-30; 20:4, 35; 24:17; Romans 15:25; Galatians 2:9-10; 1 Corinthians 16:1; 2 Corinthians 8:4-7
Principles Of Generous Grace Giving
- Giving should be complementary—the spiritual and material workings within the church should be characterized by “equality” or “balance”. This means things should be equally sufficient or that one’s abundance in an area meets the needs of another where he is lacking in that area and vice versa. For example, at this time the Corinthian church (Gentiles) could financially help the Jerusalem church (Jews) and the Jerusalem church (Jews) could spiritually help the Corinthian church (Gentiles). This principle also overflows into pastors having the privilege to work in the ministry full-time and to be supported by the church, thus refraining from working for a living outside of their ministry. They sow “spiritual things” among the people they are ministering to, thus in return they have the right to reap “material things” from them.
2 Corinthians 8:13-15; Romans 15:27; (1 Corinthians 9:1-18; 1 Timothy 5:17-18; Galatians 6:6)
- Giving should be proportional—the amount we are to give should be: (1) within our financial ability and how God has prospered us—meaning our ability to give is based on what we have (if we have much, we give much; if we have little, we give little). This also means there is no required amount that we are to give, but it is proportional to what we are able to financially give within our means; (2) beyond our financial ability—meaning we are to make sacrifices so that we can give more than what would be comfortable. (3) below our financial ability—meaning we are able to give more than we are but we don’t.
Acts 11:29; 1 Corinthians 16:2b; 2 Corinthians 8:1-3; 1 Timothy 6:17-19
- Giving should be regular—the process of giving should be routine or have a pattern to follow so that we can excel in our giving. Paul told the church at Corinth to store up the amount they were to give every Sunday (this amount could be different each week based on their occupation etc). This way the collection of money they were going to give to the church at Jerusalem would be ready and there wouldn’t be any last minute pressure on the church to give (often results in giving little). We might be very eager and enthusiastic to give but we have to be intentional about our preparation and execution to give so that it can be done joyfully and generously and not covetousness or have to be coerced.
1 Corinthians 16:2a; 2 Corinthians 9:1-5; 2 Corinthians 8:10-12
- Giving should be cheerful—the process of giving should be a delight or joy and not a burden. Everyone must give as they purpose in their hearts. It is a privilege and not an obligation. It should be voluntary and not involuntary. It should be deliberate and not impulsive. Thus, we need to have the following motivations when giving: (1) To emulate Jesus—He was rich but became poor for us that we might be made rich. (2) To trust in God’s abundant provision—if we sow sparingly we will reap sparingly, but if we sow bountifully we will reap bountifully—meaning there are temporal and eternal rewards for giving based on how we give. (3) To glorify God—God loves a cheerful giver and we want to please Him—thus we don’t give grudgingly or with a sad heart, nor because we are forced to, but because we want to worship God. (4) To testify of grace—our giving gives evidence of the exceeding grace of God in us and our confession of the gospel of Christ; (5) To give thanksgiving to God—many people will give thanks to God because of our giving just like we have given thanks unto God for His unspeakable gift—salvation by grace through faith in Jesus alone.
2 Corinthians 8:8-9; 9:6-15; Romans 15:26-29; Hebrews 13:15-16; (John 10:18; Romans 8:32)
- Giving should be honest—the process of dealing with money that is given through the church needs to be done in a way that is accountable so that it can be done with honesty before God and men. When they were going to send the money to Jerusalem, the churches chose people they judged to be commendable to deliver the money so there would be no reason for criticism. Also, we should be honest personally—meaning that we shouldn’t be deceptive about how much we give or give just to be praised by others. We should strive to be honest in all financial matters.
1 Corinthians 16:3-4; 2 Corinthians 8:16-24; Acts 5:1-11; Matthew 6:1-4
- What did giving look like at the establishment of the church?
- Does the giving in the church look like the Old Testament tithes or freewill offerings?
- What are five principles of generous grace giving?
- What are five motivations for giving cheerfully?
- Are you excelling in the Christian virtue of giving?
What Are Wise Ways To Handle Money?
Wise ways to handle money means that by biblical “understanding and knowledge” we give generously, save reasonably and spend strategically.
- “Giving” is freely transferring a portion of our money or possession to someone else for their benefit. The dangers of wealth is becoming high-minded and trusting in our money and possessions instead of God. To guard against this, we are to first give ourselves to God and trust in Him above all else and, secondly, do good to others and being “rich in good works”—which includes willingly and generously giving and sharing our wealth.
1 Timothy 6:17-19; Matthew 5:23-24; 6:1-4; 26:6-13
- The blessing of giving—we can’t out give God. There are two main blessings we can partake in from giving: (1) For with the measure we give, in the same way it will be measured back to us again or we will reap what we sow—meaning that God will supply all our needs as we are obedient to Him. (2) Fruit will abound to our accounts—meaning as we use our money and possessions to support God’s work in this world we are laying up for ourselves treasure in heaven. For example, if you give to support a preacher of the gospel and someone gets saved through his ministry, then you partake in that fruit too.
Proverbs 19:17; Luke 6:38; 2 Corinthians 9:6; Philippians 4:17-19; Matthew 6:19-21
- The Biblical understanding of tithing—that God commanded the children of Israel to give multiple “one-tenths” of their agricultural produce and/or livestock as a way to support the Levites, celebrate festivals, to help others in need and worship God—has been fulfilled in Jesus and does not apply to believers today. One of the great dangers of misunderstanding the “tithe” is believing that God only owns 10% of your income and you get to own the remaining 90% and use it as you desire. On the contrary, God owns 100% of everything we have, including all of our income, and we are to be faithful stewards.
(Matthew 5:17-20; Romans 10:4; Colossians 2:16-23; Ephesians 2:11-22)
- The New Testament paradigm for giving is generous grace giving. This resembles the Old Testament freewill offerings. Its principles are as follows: complementary—a balance between the spiritual and material workings within the church; proportional—the amount given is “within” and sacrificially “beyond” our financial ability; regular—a pattern to follow so that we can excel in our giving; cheerful—a joy because it is a privilege and not an obligation; honest—the process of dealing with money that is given through the church needs to be done in a way that is accountable so there would be no reason for criticism.
2 Corinthians 8:1-3; 8-24; 9:1-15; 1 Corinthians 16:2-4
- Making giving a priority—choosing to give first. Giving goes against our sinful nature of selfishness, but believers are to be selfless and generous givers. Thus it seems wise to make giving a financial priority. This means as God prospers us (as we receive our salaries etc) we should first take a portion of it and give it or lay it aside so that it can be given when needed. This protects against spending everything and having nothing left to give or only having a little left over to give. Giving to God should be a priority.
1 Corinthians 16:2
- Question: “How much should we give?”—this seems to be a question that many believers ask, but it can’t be answered with a percentage or specific amount because the Bible doesn’t permit us to do so. Everyone must give as they purpose in their hearts. But also we know that God wants us to be generous—and generosity is not measured by “how much you give” but by “how much you have left over” after you give. Jesus told His disciples that a poor widow who put “two mites” into the offering box had given more than all the rich people who put money into the offering box because she gave “all her living” and they only gave out of their “abundance.”
Mark 12:41-44; 2 Corinthians 9:7
- “Saving” is setting aside a reasonable portion of money or possessions for future use. This allows a person to have resources in the future when they are needed for foreseen or unforeseen reasons. The Bible teaches that it is wise to have “savings” and foolish to “devour” everything that we have so there is nothing left. It even tells us to look to the ant to know how to plan ahead in a responsible manner—for an ant prepares and gathers its food in the summer and harvest because it knows that winter is coming.
Proverbs 6:6-11; 21:20; Genesis 41:25-57
- Hoarding is stockpiling away unreasonable or large portions of money or possessions for future use. This is usually motivated by: (1) greed—we are wanting to build great wealth for ourselves at the expense of others; (2) fear—we are fearful about the future and we start building a great reserve incase of a shortage or emergency; (3) selfishness—we don’t want to have to trust in God for our continued provision, so we accumulate enough so that we don’t have to daily rely on God. Whatever the motivation, hoarding usually leads us to breaking the great commands of loving God and loving others.
Proverbs 11:28; Luke 12:16-21; James 5:1-6; Exodus 16:16-20
- Question: “How much should we save?”—there seems to be a balance or tension in scripture about what is reasonable and unreasonable “savings”. Thus, we need to evaluate our motivation about our savings. When we are considering how much to save (including retirement and insurance), we should ask the following questions: What is my motivation for doing this? Does this prevent me from seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness? Does this prevent me from loving others like myself? Is there a better investment of this money or possession? Am I avoiding today’s “known needs” to provide for tomorrow’s “unknown needs”? Is this rooted in greed, fear or selfishness?
Matthew 6:25-34; 22:36-40; Haggai 1:1-11; Isaiah 30:1-2; Deuteronomy 8:13-14
- “Spending” is using money or possessions for current use. The Bible expects us to use the money that we obtain to provide for ourselves and our relatives. We are to be content in God and enjoy the things He blesses us with. We are allowed to purchase possessions for our needs and enjoyment. This spending also includes paying taxes to the government as required, distributing to the necessity of saints and showing hospitality.
1 Timothy 5:8; 6:17; Ecclesiastes 5:18-20; Romans 12:13; Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 4:9; Matthew 17:24-27; 22:15-22
- If the Bible instructs us to provide for our families, be generous givers, save a reasonable amount and not go into debt, then we need a wise financial plan or a budget. A budget is an estimate of our income and expenditures that we wisely plan in advance so that we can: (1) live within our means—reduce the chance of making unwise decision and going into debt (or a plan to get out of debt); (2) live a strategic lifestyle—meaning limiting our lifestyle to a certain “amount” and not living above it, even if our income allows, so that we can maximize our giving potential.
- Question: “How much should we spend?”—as believers, we don’t live for this world, but for the world to come, thus when we spend money we need to ask several questions: Will owning this be a hinderance to me? Will owning this steal too much of my time maintaining it? Will spending money in this way prevent me from helping someone I know in need? Am I deceiving myself by trying to rationalize this purchase?
- How should we give?
- Should giving be a priority?
- What is the difference between saving and hoarding?
- What does strategic spending or lifestyle mean?
- How much should we give, save and spend?
What Is The Biblical Method To Obtain Money?
The biblical method to obtain money is work. God has designed mankind to work in order to provide a living for themselves and their families. Believers should diligently work hard as unto the Lord and avoid the dangers of obtaining money by those means that appeal to our sinful and greedy desires to be rich.
Work Is The Way To Obtain Money
- God has designed mankind to work. It was part of the “goodness” of His creation. He created a garden and placed Adam (the first man) in it “to dress it and to keep it.” He created man to work. Adam was expected to exert physical and mental effort to maintain the garden. Adam was also granted to partake of the vegetation as food (at this time all mankind and animals were vegetarians). Therefore, work should be a normal way of life.
Genesis 1:29-30; 2:8-17
- Everyone needs food, clothing, etc., to live or they need to earn money to exchange for these necessities. Work is the primary way for us to earn these necessities or the money to purchase them. The Bible presents two kinds of people: a person who is inclined to work and a person who is disinclined to work. They have two very different outcomes. The person who works is “better off” because he will profit and be satisfied with honest gains. The person who doesn’t work is “worse off” because he lacks understanding and ends up with nothing. This type of person desires to have money, chases vain pursuits of money, talks about ways to get money, boasts about his own greatness but he is poor in reality. Therefore, work is the normal way of life to earn money.
Proverbs 10:4; 12:9-11; 13:4; 14:23; 20:4
- As believers, we are to work with our “own hands”—meaning that we shouldn’t avoid work and take advantage of the generosity of rich believers (or others, government, etc.), but we should earn a living for ourselves and families. All believers have the responsibility to exert physical and mental effort to obtain money so that they can provide for their own families. Hard work, continually increasing in brotherly love, aspiring to live peaceably and minding our own affairs—allows us to “walk honestly” or live in an honorable way towards unbelievers. Therefore, hard and honest work is a part of our Christian testimony.
1 Thessalonians 4:9-12; 1 Timothy 5:8
- Believers who refuse to diligently work to earn money are being disobedient to the biblical tradition as laid out in the Bible and commanded by Paul. Paul reminds us that, “If any would not work, neither should he eat.” In the church of the Thessalonians, there were believers that were exploiting the generosity of other believers. They were characterized by the following: “walking disorderly”—meaning they were undisciplined and irresponsible; “working not at all”—meaning they didn’t spend any time working to earn money; “busybodies”—meaning they spent their time meddling or interfering in the lives of others. Believers who have these characteristics should be exhorted to work peaceably and become financially independent. If they don’t obey the Bible’s command to work, then they should be noted and avoided—meaning, in brotherly love, other believers shouldn’t have anything to do with them, hoping, they will repent and be restored.
2 Thessalonians 3:6-15
- Believers are commanded to have a strong work ethic—to work with all our might. We are not to be dishonest, like stealing for gain, but instead we are to do “honest work” and be willing to give to those who are in need. Our motivation is rooted in the fear of God. He is our ultimate employer. Therefore, whatever we do, we work heartily, as for the Lord, knowing that we will receive the inheritance from God as our reward.
Ecclesiastes 9:10; Ephesians 4:28; Colossians 3:22-24
Dangerous Ways To Obtain Money
- Schemes—devious systematic plans that promise to make you rich quick with a minimal amount of work required. The dangers of these schemes should be obvious to us but we often overlook them because they appeal to our “desire to be rich” or greed. This greed temps us to do wrong, traps us, and leads us to many other foolish and hurtful lusts. These get rich quick schemes are dangerous because: (1) they avoid honest, faithful, and hard work instead of promoting it; (2) they make riches the goal instead of honoring God; (3) they promote rushing to get rich—but the Bible says this type of person will not go unpunished.
1 Timothy 6:9-10; Proverbs 28:20
- Gambling—paying money to play a game for a chance (often very small) to win a large amount of money in return. The reason we gamble is because we “desire to be rich” quick instead of diligently working and gathering little by little. This too avoids the biblical tradition and spends money on “chance” to earn more money instead of work. This is dangerous because it misplaces our priorities and mostly leads to poverty.
Proverbs 13:11; 21:5
- Borrowing—an agreement to take and use money from someone else with the intention of eventually paying it back according to the terms agreed upon. The reason we have to go into debt is because there is something that we want/need now but we don’t have enough money to buy it now (thus obtaining money that we haven’t earned yet). Therefore, instead of working hard and saving up money for it, we borrow money from a lender. The motivation for this often comes from that same “desire to be rich” or greed within us, thus leading us down a dangerous path. One of the greatest dangers of debt is that “the borrower is servant to the lender”—meaning the borrower looses a certain amount of freedom over his income and decisions because he has bound himself to the lender until his debt is repaid. As believers, we were bought with a price and we should not be the servants of men. Thus, debt can hinder our service to God by enslaving us and denying us the freedom to serve as we are needed. Debt is also dangerous because it causes us to presume on our future financial circumstances, but truly we have no control over it. Finally, the interested on the borrowed money often makes the deal very foolish.
Proverbs 22:7; James 4:13-15
- As believers, we should repay all our debts and strive to live debt free. The Bible says to “owe no man anything”—meaning we are not to let any debt remain outstanding. We should avoid debt if the circumstance allows it and only borrow after we have considered the risks, sought wise counsel, considered the cost of the repayment plan and if the thing being purchased can by used as collateral for the money borrowed.
Psalm 37:21; Romans 13:8; Matthew 5:25-26
- As believers, we should not guarantee (co-sign) a debt for someone else. This means that we shouldn’t promise to pay someone else’s debt if they default on their loan. This is unwise, dangerous and usually only required when the lender feels the borrower won’t repay his loan. Guaranteeing for someone else means you are equally going into debt with them and if both of you can’t repay what was borrowed, they will take everything from you too as payment towards the debt.
Proverbs 6:1-5; 17:18; 22:26-27; 27:13
- Sinful Activities—exerting physical and mental effort in a sinful manner to obtain money. For example, the wage of a prostitute is an abomination to God. In the book of Acts, some new believers who used “curious arts” refused to obtain money by selling their “books” because they were evil and instead burned them—loosing a great some of money.
Deuteronomy 23:18; Acts 19:18-20
- God designed mankind to do what to earn money?
- What is the danger of a person who is disinclined to work?
- What is the motivation of the Christian work ethic?
- What are three dangerous ways to obtain money?
- As believers how should we feel about debt and co-signing?