LESSON 12 21/2/2016
THE SUPPORTERS OF APOSTLE PAUL
Suggested Hymns: G.H.B. 61, 214
Devotional Reading: Acts 16:11-15
Topic For Adults: Support Your Ministers
Topic For Youths: Your Ministers Need You
Topic For Intermediates: Don’t Be Stingy Towards Your Ministers
Scripture Lesson: Lk. 10:7; 1 Cor. 9:7-14; Acts 16:13-15, 40; 2 Tim. 1:14-18, 4:16; Rom. 16:1-9; Phil. 4:10-19
Memory verse: Whoever goes to war at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its fruit? Or who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk of the flock? (1 Cor. 9:7) NKJV
DAILY DEVOTIONAL READING
Your Gifts To The Ministers Is For Your Account
This was a classic example of a giving church. It was not one of things but something they did regularly as can be seen from our text. They made it a habit to meet the needs of Apostle Paul. Apostle Paul here told the church that he was not really in need because he had learnt contentment but whatever they sent to him was for the credit of their accounts in heaven. Today, people claim Philippians 4:19 without practising what the church did before Paul prayed that prayer. For our benefits, we should make it a consistent habit to give to ministers of God and our rewards will be great.
Point of Emphasis: Make it a habit to meet the needs of ministers.
Prayer Point: Lord, help me to consistently support our members by meeting their
Over the centuries, there have been countless godly men and women who tirelessly have laboured with their hands in order to support themselves so that they could proclaim the Word. Frequently, such has been absolutely necessary. Where would the church be today without such dedicated men and women? We all owe them a vast debt of gratitude.
We must however, concede that this is not the divine ideal. The ideal is that God’s people should support spiritually, morally, materially, financially, etc, those who utilise their time and energies in preaching the Holy Scriptures. In this week’s lesson, we shall consider this ideal from the ministry of Apostle Paul.
NOTES ON THE TEXT
PART 1: THE RIGHT OF MINISTERS (LK. 10:7; 1 COR. 9:7-14)
Right from the time when Jesus sent out the seventy disciples to proclaim the gospel, he admonished them to take no provisions; rather, they were to enjoy the hospitality of their students, the reason being, “the labourer is worthy of his hire”
In our second text, Paul argued at length that gospel preachers should be supported by those whom they teach. Preachers have the “right” (exousia – “authority”) to be sustained in their work (v. 4); the minister’s family has the “right” of support as well (v. 5) and should be well taken care of.
The preacher, if he decides, has a “right” to forebear secular work (v. 6) as a minister Is not required to labour at his “own charges” (v. 7). The Old Testament foreshadowed God’s “care” for his preachers (vv.8b,10,13). Those who “sow” in the spiritual realm should be able to “reap” physical benefits (vv. 11-12) from the followers. The support of faithful gospel preachers is “ordained” of the Lord himself (v. 14).
Paul states that those who are “taught in the word” are required to “communicate” (koinonia – share) with their teacher all good things, i.e., they return material support for the spiritual support received (Gal. 6:6).
As believers, we should begin to see giving to the ministers of God as our responsibility and their own rights. The ministers are not expected to ask from us or complain about their lack before we do what is right. Ministers of God are entitled to our material things.
PART 2: SUPPORTERS OF APOSTLE PAUL (ACTS 16:13-15, 40; 2 TIM. 1:14-18, 4:16; ROM. 16:1-9)
Apostle Paul was very fortunate to have many supporters during his ministry. One will wonder why people were falling on one another to support him. It was either because he affected these ones very positively, adding values to their lives that they could not afford not to help him with their substance as in the case of Lydia. On the other hand, we assume that he taught them to do this thing that was right as seen in the first division of this week’s lesson.
So many names were listed and they all supported him in diverse manners – opening their houses to him, giving him moral support, supporting him with their material possessions, risking their lives for him etc.
We have a lot to learn from this week’s lesson both as ministers and members. If ministers impact the lives of their members and contribute positively to their progress in life, in most cases they will not forget such ministers. As members, we should be seeing it as God’s command for us to support the ministries of our leaders materially, financially and in all other ways possible. We should give encouragement to our ministers, support their families, do all things to make them happy doing the work of God.
PART 3: PRODUCING “FRUIT” IN YOUR ACCOUNT (PHIL. 4:10-19)
As seen from the life of the rich woman in Shunem, all who give to God’s servants are doing it for their own good. The Philippians Church was told that their support of Paul was not merely for his benefit; rather, his labour produced “fruit” that was deposited in their account (Phil. 4:17). The implication is clear — those who refuse to help sustain godly preachers are depriving themselves of spiritual and material resources.
Members should give to their ministers not because they are in need. When you have ministers who are even wealthy in your church, it is your responsibility to take care of them not because of their status in life but because of the position they occupy in God’s work.
Every Church or Assembly should emulate the Philippians church by regularly and consistently providing support to the ministers. As we have seen in the lesson today, the benefits are ultimately for the giver because such giving to the men or women of God are producing fruits in the account of the giver. This means there will be special rewards for all your financial, moral and material support to the ministers of God.
When a congregation loves her ministers, and treats them with dignity and honour, they will repay the members with tenfold in dedication and God will credit their accounts. We are required to support our ministers. Support them generously. It is a shame to keep our ministers at the lowest level of congregational prosperity.
- How is giving to ministers of God their “right”?
- List the factors that qualify ministers to enjoy the “right” of giving.
- Are there any benefits supporters of ministers could enjoy?
- In situation where a minister is even richer than members, what should be their response in giving?