"Grace Giving"

True New Testament Giving

by Gerry Phillips

While we appreciate the support of our brethren, before anyone decides to give please consider our position on “New Testament Giving”. We are not “Tax Exempt” nor do we have any plans to be, unless the Lord should direct otherwise. These are the last days. As the end of the age approaches we can see the prophecies unfold regarding government encroachment of religious liberties. We know a single national crisis could fully implement “The Beast” system. We live in a time when many naively believe we can reconcile this system with God's word. It is evident to the spiritually discerning that for as long as possible, we should do our part in maintaining that God given “High Wall” of separation between church and state. One day the “The Beast” system will demolish that wall; that is if the church doesn't foolishly demolish it first. Then we will know how valuable that "High Wall" was to us, why God gave it to us, and we will very likely wish it were still there.

Our lives should be consumed with building The Kingdom and serving The King. The early church could serve as a “litmus test”. Hold the typical lifestyle of church folks today against the typical lifestyle of first century believers. But I warn you, be prepared to be shocked. Early believers poured their lives and resources wholly into building The Kingdom and serving The King. Look at all the one another" passages. In early church history we see how believers were often faced with execution for not denying Jesus Christ. It was not uncommon for another believer to jump in front of them and ask to die in their stead. Know them who labor among you is not saying know them before you allow them to labor among you, as it is often applied today. Once God vindicated a preacher as a servant of Jesus Christ, believers were to supply all their needs. Because they had forsaken everything to serve, and were fully engaged in The King's work. Not so today.

In the first century, they would lay down their lives for one another. Today, church folks don't even want to be inconvenienced for one another. Early believers gave everything to serve, and held nothing back. Today, it's en vogue to search and find loopholes to avoid unnecessary sacrifice. Ananias and Sapphira stand as examples of what God thinks of those who hold back, while proclaiming to the congregation they had given all. There is no place where this is more evident than in the area of financial support of the unknowns who are serving God in ministry, i.e., giving.

Further, the scriptures teach that everything in a believer's life should be Holy Spirit Led. Therefore, a Tax Deduction will never be a consideration in Holy Spirit Led giving. People I love disagree with me. They say it doesn't matter where you sow as long as you're sowing. That if you have two similar ministries and only one has the exemption, they will give where they receive the deduction. That is not Holy Spirit Led giving. The one with the tax exemption may not have a need that week, the other may be faced with no food, or a needy widow in the congregation, or paying ministry bills. If you do not understand why it is not Holy Spirit Led giving, we encourage you to pray that the Lord will help you to see it, and then follow His Still Small Voice according to John 10:27. Following their logic, a postman could deliver a package to any address in an apartment building, if two apartments were equal but one was in closer proximity.

Throughout scripture, giving is often likend to a famrer sowing seed. In the 1850's, one of my great-grandfathers owned over 5,300 acres of prime Georgia land. Some of it was prime old-growth forest, with trees that had never been affected by anything but nature. Some of it was cultivated. But some what we called "old scrub-land". Imagine my g-grandfather had used the foregoing principal of sowing on his plantation. He certainly had the liberty to order his workers to sow anywhere he wished. He could direct them to sow in the old-growth forest, but his seed would get very little light under the forest canopy. He could make them sow in the old scrub-land, but his seed would be choked out by weeds. Be could also have them sow in those cultivated tracts. Which sowing principal would make more sense?

The only one with the authority to issue the directive for sowing is the owner of the field, the Husbandman, our heavenly Father. He directs the laborers (us) into which fields He wants us to sow His seeds, to produce His desired crops, in His time. He does so either by His written orders (The Word) and by His direct field commands (Rhema). Both come by His Holy Spirit.

Truly saved, "Holy Spirit" filled people have as their one primary mission in life, to "Serve the King and Build the Kingdom". They are not looking for breaks, loopholes, and capital gains. They realize they are merely stewards over the Father's resources, which He entrusted to their control. They will account to the Father for what they did with those resources. If they do right, they will be very pleased at the judgment. If they do wrong, they may be eternally heartbroken. It is that serious an issue!

As it is written, "God is not being mocked!" What ever a man sows he will certainly reap. Sowing nothing is sowing poverty! One can be financially wealthy and still be impoverished. 

Crying out to God in anguish for deliverance of ourselves, or someone we love, is poverty of soul. When we have systematically disobeyed His statutes and turned a deaf ear to the cry of the poor, we should anticipate a lot of poverty of soul. God has warned that he who turns a deaf ear to the cry of the poor, WILL cry out, and NO ONE will listen; NO ONE INCLUDES THE LORD HIMSELF! He might just as well have said, that THE OFFENDER WILL CRY OUT FOR DELIVERANCE one day, and I WILL NOT LISTEN TO HIS CRY! If you read the original text, you'll find the inference of no repentance available for this willfull offender.

This is what I sometimes tell people who are in a life and death struggle, before I will pray for them. I ask sometimes themsomething like, "what would you do if you knew you had only one day left to live?" Not what they wish they could do, but what they know they can do and would definitely do if they knew they would face their maker on the morrow. Then I might ask, "when we are done praying, will you commit to Him to go as directly as you can and begin doing that?" They feel really blessed that they got a second chance to do that. Many people go to their graves without that warning. We will not just be judged for what we've done in this life, we will also be judged for what we should have done, but failed to do as well.

This is how I live and have lived for many decades. With very few exceptions, every day I do what I would do if it were my last day on earth, based on my physical and financial abilities. God knows that's the truth! It is unwise to live any other way. Giving is no exception. Keeping a man of God in the poorhouse via non-support is unconcionable, and an eggregious willfull offense before God. One day these offenders will learn that lesson.

Anyway, didn't intend to get into all that. God must have a purpose in it. But I am persuaded of better things for you brethren.

In "Grace Giving", we should eagely and zealously give the best we can afford where, God has spoken to us to do so either by His word, or by His Spirit. We should view it as an opportunity to demonstrate the prodigal grace of our God. When He has spoken by His written word He shouldn't need to also speak by His Rhema. Once He has spoken, there will be no ambiguity as to when, how much, and to whom we should give. There exists a deficiency in scriptural teaching on hearing God’s voice, knowing His will, and grace giving. This departure from God's word has produced the fraud, deceit, and deficiency we see today regarding Christian's finances. We have some churches that wreak of teh parable of "The Rich Man's Barns"; and others to poor to remain in operation. That is diametrically opposite what we see in scripture, under the Law and under Grace.

God’s will is clear from the Old testament to the New Testament: "that everyone have all sufficiency and no one lack anything". We believe when the Holy Spirit leads, the obedient believer will obey, and no other consideration is needed or accepted. Any other consideration is an interferrence with the Holy Spirit's directive. If you do not agree, you are certainly invited to go elsewhere to give, and to be fed.

Giving is to be an expression of worship, and a demonstration of God's Grace. Believers are to teach the angels in this dispensation. If we pervert or corrupt that teaching by our willfull actions, or by our willfull failure to act as directed by the Spirit, we will give an account for that. I am writing a book on that very subject. This is one of the surest ways for a believer to miss the promised land.

We also know that God loves a Cheerful Giver, II Corinthians 9:7. The Greek word translated “cheerful” here is “hilasterion”. Our English word “hilarious” is derived from the same Greek root. The televangelists have nearly worn that out with their oft schemes. The principle being espoused here is that God wants us to be pleased to generously give, even if it is sacrificial. Well any selfish motives notwithstanding, they are at least partially correct. We are to be excited about the opportunity to demonstrate God's grace principles, both to the seen and the unseen world. And the contrast here is “Joyfully Pleased” as opposed to “Grudgingly”; and “Voluntarily” as opposed to “by Compulsion”. I love to give and I generously give, probably some would say more than I can afford. However, my life could be Exhibit A in a case to prove one cannot out-give God. Being as honest as I know how to be with myself, and with others, I truly wish I had more to give.

The Biblical principle we embrace, and that is set forth in scripture for believers to follow is what we call “Grace Giving”. Grace Giving is the only form of giving that purely glorifies God. It is the only form of giving that commemorates the Grace of God through the finished work of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is one of the most effective demonstrations of God's grace to the lost. According to the oldest record available, it is the prescribed form of giving that was practiced as part of the Communion Service in the early church.

In Grace Giving, the size and quality of the gift is measured by the character of the giver and not the worthiness of the recipient. In fact, the recipient need not deserve the gift at all. The recipient's only prerequisite is to have need of the gift. Everything about the gift is based solely on the character of the giver, and the need of the recipient. The gift comes with no strings attached. The recipient owes the giver nothing in return. Their response to the giver is contingent solely upon their own volition.

Just as when The Ultimate Giver, our Father God, who gave us the Ultimate Gift, His only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. We were in no way deserving, or worthy of His gift. The size and quality of the gift was solely based upon the character of The Giver. Our only role was that we desperately needed the gift. We didn't even know we had need. There were no strings attached. We could reject the gift, accept it without any appreciation, or accept it with a grateful heart and surrender our lives to Him. Our response was contingent solely on our own volition. That form of giving reveals the Grace of God through our Lord Jesus Christ; to the unbelieving world; to the power of darkness; and to the church. Grace Giving is Holy Spirit Led Giving.

How many times have we heard someone say, “...he owes me BIG TIME!; after all I've done for him....” You can be sure that person did not give anything in that scenario. He or she merely made an investment, for which they intended to redeem at some point in the future. That is not Grace Giving. That does not even remotely resemble the Grace of God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

We are grateful for support. We believe in the principles of sowing and reaping. We pray that each sower reaps a bountiful harvest from their seed. But we oppose the last days chicanery we see at every hand. Like any work of God, it takes money to operate. But no one needs to compromise their integrity, or dishonor the Lord, in order to execute His will. In serving the Lord Jesus Christ, the end does not justify the means.



- GERRY PHILLIPS - 1955-2015