Benevolence is a disposition to do good, an act of kindness, a gift of money, for support of the poor. Benevolence is not to all those in need, every where, benevolence from the church is limited. It appears in the New Testament to be limited to those in the church.
In Acts 4:34-35 we see at the beginning of the church (in the first century) contributions were made from the Christians present and distributed to each, as any had need.
Acts 4:34-35 (KJV)
- 34 Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,
- 35 And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.
In Romans 15:26-27 we see that Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem.
Romans 15:26-27 (NASB)
- 26 For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem.
- 27 Yes, they were pleased to do so,and they are indebted to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in their spiritual things, they are indebted to minister to them also in material things.
In Philippians 4:15-18 Paul writes to the church about the gifts they sent him and he being a Christian serves as an example of gifs (items that may be needed) being sent to a Christian.
Philippians 4:15-18 (NASB)
- 15 And you yourselves also know, Philippians, that at the first preaching of the gospel, after I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone;
- 16 for even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs.
- 17 Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account.
- 18 But I have received everything in full, and have an abundance; I am amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God.
In 1 Timothy 5:16 Paul writes If any woman who is a believer and has dependent widows, let her assist them herself, in other words a woman believer that is assisting (helping) dependent widows. Note these dependent widows might not be Christian members, the church can assist those women who are Christian widows only.
1 Timothy 5:16 (NASB)
- 16 If any woman who is a believer has dependent widows, let her assist them, and let not the church be burdened, so that it may assist those who are widows indeed.
A work of the church is spreading the gospel, in a church sermon and through individual members teaching and spreading the gospel on their own.
Also Edification, edifying one an another, through a sermon or individuals.
The third work of the church, Benevolence, the church helping other members in a local or another local church only.
Of course individual Christians can help those whom they choose. There are many good charitable organizations that do beneficial caring helpful work.
Christian oriented churches have added so many works of the church that they have went far beyond what the scriptures teach.
Special events like, quires or musicians entertaining the audience, morning or evening functions. Bingo games, special lectures on a variety of subjects, Camping events for the young in other areas, pot luck dinners, retreats where members go away for a week to a designated place involved in functions like listening to a speaker speaking on a variety of subjects, singing or reflecting on church beliefs.
The main function of the church is to spread the gospel, all of what’s mentioned in the preceding paragraph can be obtained from outside sources and the church can go about functioning as the scriptures dictate.
Unscriptural functions taught by Christian oriented churches, cults, etc can be eliminated by study the New Testament as simple as that.
Here Paul explains to Timothy to study, rightly dividing the word of truth, 2 Timothy 2:15-16 (KJV). What Paul writes here also applies to Christians.
- 15 Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
- 16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.
There is much to learn reading the articles on this site. Start with the Introduction, to learn how to become a Christian read the article Salvation under the category Church of Christ Doctrine.
If you obey the scriptures, the truth, you can be comforted in the fact you will have eternal life.