“In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
Commentary from the sermon “A Farewell Address” by Alistair Begg:
“Giving is better than getting. … The principle is this: it is better for the person who can do so to give to help others rather than to amass further wealth for himself.”
“The love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.”
Commentary from the sermon “Giving, God’s Way — Part Three” by Alistair Begg:
“He died so that I who live should no longer live for myself but for Him who died and rose again. That is the radical import of biblical Christianity.
“And that is the foundational principle of giving—an unreserved self-commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ. God does not want from us, frankly, one nickel until, first and foremost, in our thinking and in our planning, we know ourselves to be unreservedly committed to Jesus Christ. And you show me a church in which that is foundational, and I’ll show you a church that will do things which the world will look on and say, ‘There is no human explanation for that at all.’ And they will be perfectly right. It would only be explained in the revolutionary impact of a Galilean carpenter, now King over all the earth, who has come to reign in their hearts.”
“The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof,
the world and those who dwell therein,
for he has founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the rivers.”
Commentary from the sermon “Giving God’s Way —Part Two” by Alistair Begg:
“Everything in the universe and everything we own is stamped with His seal of ownership. So we may have a drawer at home in which we hold title to all these different bits and pieces. My friends, maybe what some of us need to do, in practical terms, is to go into that drawer and take out all of those titles and write another phrase all across them: ‘Owned by God Almighty, the Creator.’ … All the things I own and possess, all of my bank balance, all of my savings, all of my securities, all of my antiques, all of the things that I hold dear: owned by the creator God.
“Now, you see, if we do not get ahold of this, we can talk dollars and cents till we’re blue in the face, but we’ve missed the fundamental issues. When man is gripped by this foundational truth, then his funds will begin to be released.”
“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”
Commentary from the sermon “A Summary of Christian Duty” by Alistair Begg:
“God didn’t give me all this stuff so that I could sit around and be a fat cat. He didn’t give me all this stuff so that I may sit around with my friends and party, so that I might congratulate myself on how well I’ve done, so that I may tear down my barns and build bigger and say, ‘Take life easy. Eat, drink and be merry, because you’ve done a tremendous job’ (Luke 12:19, paraphrased). No! He gave it to us in order that we might use it, in order that in our moral responsibilities, living as citizens in the community and living as brothers and sisters in the family, we would not forget to do good—that we would be do-gooders.
“Evangelicalism has got a horrible record when it comes to doing good. You say, ‘We’re not do-gooders.’ Yeah, I understand we’re not. But we’d better start being do-gooders! Because we’re supposed to be—not so that we might gain acceptance with God as a result of doing good but in order that by our good deeds we might declare the Father’s glory. …
“The ceremonial offerings that were part and parcel of Judaism are no longer pleasing to God. That old order had come to an end. The sacrifices of oxen and all that stuff, that’s all gone now. But the sacrifice of genuine care, practical support, selfless love—these are the sacrifices which testify to God’s grace in our lives. And note carefully: the incentive for this behavior is not that it brings acceptance with God, for that, we have seen, only comes by way of the sacrifice of Jesus. But the incentive is that God is pleased.”
“Now concerning the collection for the saints: as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you also are to do. On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come. And when I arrive, I will send those whom you accredit by letter to carry your gift to Jerusalem.”
Commentary from the sermon “Pattern for Giving” by Alistair Begg:
“The sense of the importance of it all was in the regularity of it. And I think there is something there for us to pay attention to. The needs of people are regular needs, and if giving is not regular in its approach, then there will be an irregularity in the way in which funds are provided and therefore, perhaps, a discrepancy in the way in which needs are being met. For myself, I just find it very, very helpful to—I speak both for myself and for my wife—I just find it helpful to operate in this kind of way. Because I am by nature rather poorly disciplined; I operate very easily on a subjective basis. And so it’s a helpful rod for my back to say that in this way and at this time this is what I will endeavor to do. And whether that is weekly, or monthly, or whatever it is, nevertheless, the instruction was for regularity.
“Secondly, it was to be proportionate. It was to be ‘in keeping with [their] income’ (1 Cor 16:2 NIV 1984) …. Well, that, of course, you see, leaves the burden very much with the person, doesn’t it? I don’t know what your income is, and you don’t know what mine is, and it’s probably best left that way. God does. And God really is the one with whom we need to deal, because He’s the one who searches our hearts, and He knows whether my giving is in keeping with my income. It may appear good to some; it may appear bad to others. Your giving may appear to be quite spectacular—unless, of course, we knew your income, and it wasn’t in keeping with your income.
“This, of course, is where the idea of a starting point comes in, and when people come and ask me a question: ‘What is in keeping with my income, pastor? Where would I start?’
“I say, ‘Well, you know, in the Old Testament the pattern was a tenth, and that is a good starting point. If you’ve never given regularly and proportionately to God, here is a good way to begin: take a tenth part of what you have and set it aside for God. But set it aside first. If you don’t—if you wait till the end of the month—there’s no guarantee that you’ll do it. And if you do it on a weekly basis, then you will be able to do it, perhaps, far more consistently.’”
“Every tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the trees, is the LORD’s; it is holy to the LORD.”
Commentary from the sermon “Pattern for Giving” by Alistair Begg:
“The New Testament does not—and you must check for yourselves—lay down the principle of the tithe. But neither, it must be said, does it set it aside. In other words, you can’t find a verse that says, ‘And by the way, the tithe is out of here forever and for good.’ So it doesn’t establish it as a principle, but nor does it, in any overt and straightforward way, set it aside. … Therefore, it is not unreasonable to assume that the New Testament presupposes that the giving of God’s people would be more than equal to the standard pattern under the old covenant. … But that’s all that can be said. And when you set it in those terms, you realize how important it is, as I mentioned this morning, that nobody adopts a legislative position in relationship to this or lays any stricture on the back of any of God’s people’s necks in relationship to their own personal giving.”
“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
Commentary from the sermon “Our Money Matters — Part One” by Alistair Begg:
“True giving will be biblically constrained and will be personally determined. …
“Now, notice the phrase: he ‘should give what he has decided in his heart to give’ (NIV 1984, emphasis added). And then there are two modifiers: he’s not to do that ‘reluctantly,’ and he’s not to do it because someone is standing behind him prodding him in the back.
“In other words, his decision-making, then, is to be framed by all these other factors. In other words, when he decides what in his heart to give… And some people, you have used that as the great escape clause: ‘Well, I decided in my heart. I didn’t decide too much; I’m going to tell you that straight.’ But you see, the deciding in our heart begins first with a true giving of ourselves to the Lord; is in the light of the response to God’s generosity; is to be generous and not grudging; is to be regular, systematic, and without fuss. And within the framework of that, then it is to be personally determined. So, it is not a free-for-all, but rather, it is in light of the teaching of Scripture.”
“Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.”
Commentary from the sermon “Principles in Giving” by Alistair Begg:
“Be very, very careful about taking this in a wooden way, you know: press button a, put x in, get y out. This is not a categorical promise; this is a proverbial statement. But in guarding against excessive literalism, we need at the same time to recognize that generous giving brings its own rewards. Generous giving brings its own rewards. The stingy never know. The stingy can’t know. Only generous people know, ’cause only the generous are on the receiving end of what God supplies.”
“While he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head. There were some who said to themselves indignantly, ‘Why was the ointment wasted like that? For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.’ And they scolded her. But Jesus said, ‘Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me.’”
Commentary from the sermon “Wholehearted Devotion” by Alistair Begg:
“Anybody who tries to interpret this as Jesus’ saying, ‘You don’t have to worry about the poor; there always will be poor people; therefore, don’t worry about it’—that’s not what Jesus is saying. Remember, Jesus is the poor. He doesn’t have a house. Birds have nests; He’s got no place (Matt. 8:20; Luke 9:58). He’s the one who ‘became poor’ in order that we ‘might become rich’ (2 Cor. 8:9). He’s the one who’s just commended the poor widow at the end of chapter 12. He’s actually really quoting here from the law of God from Deuteronomy 15, which in Deuteronomy 15:11 tells us very clearly that the poor will always be present. In fact, to quote it exactly, ‘There will never cease to be poor in the land.’ The fact that ‘there will never cease to be poor in the land’ is to serve as a reminder of both the obligation and the opportunity to care for the poor. It’s not saying, ‘There will always be poor, and therefore, we don’t have to worry about it.’ It’s ‘There will always be poor; therefore, the opportunity and obligation to deal with the poor remains. It will never go away.’
“‘But,’ He says, ‘in this instance, this opportunity that this lady has seized is a one-off. You won’t always have me. Therefore, she either did it now, or she never did it.’ And He says, ‘What she’s actually done is something beautiful, something significant. She’s done what she could’—in contrast to the critics, who haven’t actually done anything at all.”
“Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, “Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban”’ (that is, given to God)—then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down.”
Commentary from the sermon “Giving, God’s Way — Part Three” by Alistair Begg:
“The great danger in any kind of talk like this, any kind of sermon or series of sermons, is that people somehow get caught up in a sort of emotional hype, and on the basis of emotion, they decide to do things that they really ought not to do; and that God’s Word doesn’t come to us in a vacuum, but all of us, because we live in the country we live in, have duties—economic obligations.
“Obviously … to the state. Matthew 22:21, Jesus says, ‘Render … unto Caesar the things [that] are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s’ (KJV). So, we have a responsibility to pay our taxes, to be law-abiding citizens, to live under the authority à la Romans 13.
At the same time, if we are living in a family life—we are perhaps husbands and fathers—we have a responsibility for the nurture of our children, for the care of our home. It is a God-given responsibility to provide a roof under which our family may live, to provide clothes that they might wear, to provide food that they might eat. Those are God-given economic duties. Therefore, we will not set aside those God-given obligations in order to build a building or to do whatever it is in the work of God. Why? Because God never asked us to. In fact, He asked us to do the reverse.
“The same thing follows as life continues, and now the youngster has grown to adulthood. Now the mom and dad have gone on a little in years. Now the balance of life has changed. Now the young couple or the single person is wrestling with this phrase, ‘Honour [your] father and … mother: that your days may be long upon the land’ (Ex. 20:12 KJV). … For some of us that means paying the rent for our parents to live in their apartment. For some of us it means making an input to the lives of those who are now responsible to us in peculiar ways. … Don’t come to your folks and say, ‘I can’t give you this because God has a prior claim upon it.’ If it is in the realm of financial duty, your loved one has the claim upon it.”