3. a. Exodus 25:2 — God said they should receive contributions “From every man who gives it willingly and ungrudgingly with his heart.”
b. If we do not want to give toward a building project or some other fund-raiser, we should ask the Holy Spirit to show us why we feel that way. If the project is God-inspired as it clearly was in this case, our reluctance to give could be selfishness, greed, or a lack of trust in God’s provision.
What if the project is not inspired by God? Is it motivated by leadership’s ego or ill-advised for some unknown reason? Perhaps an economic famine is coming. Perhaps the pastor is involved in sin that will come to light before the project’s completion.
That actually happened in our area—twice in one year (2009, I believe). Two huge unfinished buildings went into foreclosure when scandal caused most of the congregation to scatter. Donors were understandably outraged when their banks withdrew funding. Another church bought one building as a second campus at a substantial discount. The other building remains unfinished and vacant.
Soapbox moment: For this reason, as stewards of God-provided resources, we should be sensitive to where we give. In the New Testament, contributions were not spent on buildings but on taking care of each other. In my opinion, the body of Christ should not have destitute single mothers, widows, and disabled people while multi-million-dollar building projects proliferate. I think each of us could and should have someone under our wing who needs emotional, financial, godly counsel, or other support. What better way to share the love of Jesus? “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:35 *Stashes soapbox under desk*
If the project is God-inspired, we should ask Him to change our hearts.
c. What gifts please God?
- A true gift is something of value to us. 1 Chronicles 21:24
- Our highest form of worship is to give ourselves as a living and holy sacrifice. Giving him our dreams and desires. Our life in complete devotion to Him. Romans 12:1 I get on the altar, but first thing I know, I’m off again.
- Regardless of our lack, we are moved with compassion to help someone less fortunate than ourselves. It takes the focus off our own needs. 2 Corinthians 8:2-5
4. a. God told Moses to have the people build a sanctuary “so that I may live among them.” Exodus 25:8
b. These verses show the same eternal purpose of God:
- Matthew 1:23 — “Immanu El. The name means ‘God is with us.’” (Complete Jewish Bible)
- John 1:14 —”So the Word became human and made his home among us.” (New Living Translation)
- Ephesians 2:19-22 — “…Together, we are his house“; “becoming a holy temple for the Lord.; “ Through him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit.” (New Living Translation)
- Revelation 21:1-3 — “See! God’s Sh’khinah is with mankind, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and he himself, God-with-them, will be their God.
I love when a question brings all these verses together! I know we’ve all read them, but so more exciting this way. Matthew 28:20 also comes to mind—”I will be with you always…”
c. The atonement cover/mercy-seat represents this purpose—