Faithlife Sermons

The Delight of Giving

Stewardship Sunday  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 84 views
Notes
Transcript
Sermon Tone Analysis
A
D
F
J
S
Emotion
A
C
T
Language
O
C
E
A
E
Social
View more →

Introduction

Few things cause anger and guilt in the church like the subject of giving. And, few things bring greater joy into the life of the church and Christians like giving. After all, it was Jesus himself that said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” It’s an interesting paradox. But, I find it to be remarkably true. I know that whenever I preach on what the Bible says about money and giving that there are some that take offense, or in the least, are overcome with guilt. And then, I know that there are others that want to stand up and testify because the Lord has taught them so much and given them such delight through giving that they are anxious for other Christians to discover this glorious, life-giving truth.
And, if I’m honest that’s my desire here this morning. My desire is not to add to your guilt, but to open up for you a whole new world of delight in Christ. I want to increase your joy and increase you Kingdom impact and strengthen your faith in God the Father, the Provider of all things. So, please turn with me in your Bibles to .

God’s Word

Read

God Blesses Through the Church

“so that it may be a willing gift, not as an exaction” Paul is here following up on issue that he has already invited the Corinthian church to be a part of and of which they have apparently agreed. They are even zealous to do it. A financial need has arisen in the Jerusalem church and Paul has called on the church at Corinth to meet that need. And his primary concern here is that they do this with the right motive and right heart. In verse 5, he says that he wants to talk with them so that their gift, their offering would be a willing gift, not an exaction. That is, that they would give it as a willing offering to God, not as a financial loan to another local church for which they would expect some type of retribution from that church. So, the context here is giving within the life of the local church for the purpose of building the Kingdom of God THROUGH the local church. I believe there are other responsibilities that a Christian has in their lives with their money, but it all begins with the local church. So, this is not talking about charities or outside ministries or even individually giving to those in need. All of those things are good, and none of those things are unbiblical. But, they all rank behind the work of the local church, and it is the repeated teaching of the NT that the local church family is responsible for financially supporting the work of their local church, both locally and abroad. And, here we're given this fascinating glimpse into the concern that this local church is called to have for another local church.
APPLICATION: God has created the church to be a blessing to the world and to be a glimpse into the Kingdom of God. Out of all of the organizations on earth that we can give to and support the work of, only one of them can be found in the Bible and this is the church. It's really an amazing thought. That we are standing should-to-shoulder with these saints from 2000 years ago to continue on with Kingdom work so that we might, too, be a blessing to the world.

Harvesting Righteousness, Not Selfishness

“whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly” To prepare the Corinthian church for a God-centered offering, he starts by stating a principle that is found frequently in the Bible. It is a proverb that is given to us on more than one occasion and is often applied to money. It says that the more that you sow, the more that you will reap. This is a nerve-wracking principle for so many of us, and if I'm honest, for myself. And, it is so because we have seen this so abused in our day by the prosperity Gospel preachers that we have heard. I detest the prosperity Gospel because it cheapens Christ and his cross while at the very same time it preys upon people, often the poorest of the poor. I detest it because there are "preachers" right now "preaching" on this very morning in West Anniston that if the people there will give them all of their money as a "seed" then God will pour out lottery winnings on their lives like they can't even imagine. And so, single mothers are handing over their checks to these wolves a while their children don't have good food to eat or clothes to wear. I detest it because this morning there are preachers in Swaziland, Africa that are preaching to poverty-stricken, HIV infected people that if they will turn over everything that they own to the church then God will make them better and make them wealthy enough to give money to the generations that follow. Meanwhile, he drives a luxury car while the people perish. So, when I say that I detest the prosperity gospel, I mean it.
"that you may abound in every good work" But, though this text may be nerve-wracking for us, this is not its intention. The intention of this text is not to be nerve-wracking but life-giving. And, it is wonderful and true and life-changing to discover. Here's what the prosperity gospel preaches: Sow bountifully in the Kingdom of God and reap bountifully in the kingdoms of the world. This perspective says that if you invest in the Kingdom of God then you will reap rewards in the kingdom of man. And, I think this is exactly the opposite of what Jesus and his apostles teach us in the NT. Instead, they teach us: Invest whatever you have on earth into God's Kingdom, and you will reap a reward that far outlasts this world. If you sow bountifully in the Kingdom of God, then you will reap bountifully IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD. And, I think that is what Paul is teaching here. He says that God 'will make all grace abound' to you SO THAT 'you may abound in every good work.' In other words, God will reward your generosity by his grace to ensure that you always have exactly what you need to do the 'good work' that He has called you to do. And, sometimes, often times even, that means that He will reward your generosity with even greater opportunity for generosity. In other words, He gives you money and resources, you use them for His glory, and so He replenishes those resources, perhaps to an even greater amount, so that you might do it again. But, I am convinced that it is short-sighted to see this as being primarily what Paul is talking about here. He goes on to say that 'He (God) will increase your seed.' And, many prosperity preachers say, "See! God is going to take your one seed and give you many seeds! God is going to take your $100 seed and give a $1000 harvest! God is going to take your $1000 seed and give you a Bentley harvest! But, what does Paul say the harvest will be? He says that He's going to 'increase your harvest of righteousness!' Maybe that involves him increasing your giving capacity and going capacity. Maybe that's him giving you an effective and fruitful ministry in a third world country where you have to filter the water you drink. The goal here is not to give to that which is eternal so that you can gain that which is temporary. Instead, the glory of what Paul is teaching us and what Jesus has taught us is that if I follow Christ, if I live as He lived, if my goal is his glory that I can actually take that which will not last very long in a way that allows it to impact that which will last forever. A dollar doesn't last very long, but if I use that dollar to help someone hear about and know the Lord, then the impact of that dollar will last forever! A minute doesn't last very long. In fact, it's only 60 seconds. But, if I use those 60 seconds to help someone see Christ or grow in Christ then the impact of those 60 seconds endures forever! My life doesn't last very long. Whether I die at 30 or 130, it is but a mist in the scope of eternity. But, if I use those fleeting years to be an active ambassador for Christ, then the impact of those years lasts forever!
"that you may abound in every good work" But, though this text may be nerve-wracking for us, this is not its intention. The intention of this text is not to be nerve-wracking but life-giving. And, it is wonderful and true and life-changing to discover. Here's what the prosperity gospel preaches: Sow bountifully in the Kingdom of God and reap bountifully in the kingdoms of the world. This perspective says that if you invest in the Kingdom of God then you will reap rewards in the kingdom of man. And, I think this is exactly the opposite of what Jesus and his apostles teach us in the NT. Instead, they teach us: Invest whatever you have on earth into God's Kingdom, and you will reap a reward that far outlasts this world. If you sow bountifully in the Kingdom of God, then you will reap bountifully IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD. And, I think that is what Paul is teaching here. He says that God 'will make all grace abound' to you SO THAT 'you may abound in every good work.' In other words, God will reward your generosity by his grace to ensure that you always have exactly what you need to do the 'good work' that He has called you to do. And, sometimes, often times even, that means that He will reward your generosity with even greater opportunity for generosity. In other words, He gives you money and resources, you use them for His glory, and so He replenishes those resources, perhaps to an even greater amount, so that you might do it again. But, I am convinced that it is short-sighted to see this as being primarily what Paul is talking about here. He goes on to say that 'He (God) will increase your seed.' And, many prosperity preachers say, "See! God is going to take your one seed and give you many seeds! God is going to take your $100 seed and give a $1000 harvest! God is going to take your $1000 seed and give you a Bentley harvest! But, what does Paul say the harvest will be? He says that He's going to 'increase your harvest of righteousness!' Maybe that involves him increasing your giving capacity and going capacity. Maybe that's him giving you an effective and fruitful ministry in a third world country where you have to filter the water you drink. The goal here is not to give to that which is eternal so that you can gain that which is temporary. Instead, the glory of what Paul is teaching us and what Jesus has taught us is that if I follow Christ, if I live as He lived, if my goal is his glory that I can actually take that which will not last very long in a way that allows it to impact that which will last forever. A dollar doesn't last very long, but if I use that dollar to help someone hear about and know the Lord, then the impact of that dollar will last forever! A minute doesn't last very long. In fact, it's only 60 seconds. But, if I use those 60 seconds to help someone see Christ or grow in Christ then the impact of those 60 seconds endures forever! My life doesn't last very long. Whether I die at 30 or 130, it is but a mist in the scope of eternity. But, if I use those fleeting years to be an active ambassador for Christ, then the impact of those years lasts forever!
APPLICATION: So, we must think of Gospel generosity as a means to harvesting righteousness, not selfishness. I am not giving you this morning a principle for greater delight in the world. I am not giving you a principle this morning to help you obtain a higher standard of living. I am giving you a principle that will give you greater joy in the Kingdom of God! Greater impact and influence in the Kingdom of God. Use all of this stuff that won’t last in a way that allows its impact to last forever! Only a God as great as ours could take something as worthless as paper and use it to win souls that will enjoy Him forever! Only a God as great as ours could take a few measly dollars and use them to harvest righteousness around the world! Randy Alcorn says, “You can’t take it with you, but you can send it ahead.” Brothers and sisters, let’s send it ahead!

Giving Cheerfully from a Cheerful Heart

“God loves a cheerful giver” Now, in verse 7, Paul really just tells us his main point in all of this. It is not worship, and it is not Christ-honoring to give to the work of the church and Kingdom of God with anything less than a willing, eager, and cheerful heart. He says specifically that we must give what we have decided in our hearts to give, not something we are going to give "reluctantly or under compulsion." That is, the motive of our giving matters. The attitude of our giving matters. Reluctantly here means ‘to give with regret or to give with grief.’ In other words, it an offense to you to give. You resent the fact that you are giving. Under compulsion means that you are giving out of guilt. And, why is this? The only reason for reluctant, guilt-ridden giving is that you don’t have faith that God will be enough for you. You don’t have faith that God will supply your need. You don’t have faith that God will continue in his kindness and mercy toward you.
APPLICATION: So, if my heart is reluctant and begrudging and unwilling, should I not give? No! You should repent! You should confess the wickedness of your heart to God, seek his forgiveness, and ask the Holy Spirit to change your attitude and spirit. If you were reading the Bible and it was not bringing you delight and you were doing it begrudgingly, it does not mean that you should stop reading your Bible. How else will you know God? How else will you know God's will? How else will you have the promises of God to hold onto in suffering? No! You should repent, and plead with God to open up your heart and eyes to truly see, understand, and love his word. If your heart is reluctant to tell the truth, should you not tell the truth? Of course, you should! Your heart is what needs to change; your attitude needs to be reformed by the Holy Spirit. Greed and self-centeredness are not reasons to avoid giving; they are sins from which we must repent!
APPLICATION: Here’s the power of this passage: Be delighted in giving, and God will be delighted with you! Not often in Scripture do we read that God explicitly loves something, but Paul says it audaciously here: God loves a cheerful giver! That is not to say that God loves a cheerful giver more because He gives; it is to say that God finds particular delight and glory and pleasure in the heart of his children when they are happy to be generous and joyful in their generosity. “God loves a cheerful giver because that is precisely what God is, a cheerful giver.” (David Garland) So, do you see, there is a cycle of joy here!

Is God the Giver or the Taker?

Not often in Scripture do we read that God explicitly loves something, but Paul says it audaciously here: God loves a cheerful giver! That is not to say that God loves a cheerful giver more because He gives; it is to say that God finds particular delight and glory and pleasure in the heart of his children when they are happy to be generous and joyful in their generosity.
“He who supplies the seed to the sower” You see, the main issue that I think that we have we giving joyfully rather than begrudgingly is that we miss who the supplier is of what we have. Throughout the passage, Paul is driving home that the source of all that you have and own and use is God himself. He says in verse 8 that “God is able to make all grace abound to you.” In verse 10 he says, “He supplies seed to the sower.” I don't know if there is a single thing that is so universally accepted in speech and at the same time so universally rejected in action as this: Everything that you have, every dollar you've touched is a gracious gift of God to you. Therefore, what you have is not fundamentally yours, but God's to begin with. How guilty are we of saying that God has given us everything by his mercy but living as though we are entitled to what we have based on our own merit?
This reminds me of what James writes in in rebuke of wealthy, Christian merchants. He says to them: "You presume that you will be alive tomorrow. You presume that you will go where you want to go. You presume that you will be successful. What you should say is: If God wills, then I will ___________." We believe that we are entitled to our paychecks to do with as we please. And, I do believe that the Lord gives us some flexibility to both give away and enjoy the good gifts from Him. But, let me ask you: Do you have any control over whether or not you are healthy enough to work to earn that paycheck? Do you have any control over whether or not you will be t-boned and killed while commuting back and forth to your job? Did you give yourself the mental and physical capacity to do what you do the way that you do it? How much control do you have over the economy or over whether or not your company/employer will even exist a year from now? You see, even the very ability to get to your job and the availability of that job itself is a result of the sovereign mercy of an Almighty God. You shouldn't just see your money as a gift from God; you should see your ability to drive to work and stand at work and think at work as a gift from God himself. God supplies the seeds that turn to grain by which we make bread. In other words, God doesn't just hand you a loaf of bread. He's goes far beyond merely giving you bread or money. God, by his grace, give you what you need mentally and physically to obtain the things that you need.
APPLICATION: Is God the giver or the taker? Your perspective will determine your heart. "What makes the difference, then, between the sparing giver and the bountiful giver is their relation to God. For one He is an incessantly demanding, draining Taker. For the other, He is an inexhaustible giver.....And so, THE big issue for our lives this morning is how we see God." Piper

Gratitude —> Submission —> Generosity

“And God is able to make all grace abound to you” I think our text gives us a cycle that supposed to great a steady stream of joy and thankfulness in our lives. I want you to notice verse 8. It says "And God is able to make all grace abound to you." Now, there's something cool here that I don't want us to miss. In verse 15, you'll notice that it says "Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!" And, what's really cool is that the word that is translated 'grace' in verse 8 is the very same word that is translated as 'thanks' in verse 15. As matter of fact, in , it's translated as 'thankfulness.' Here's what I want you to see: Through his grace, God is, in a sense, not just giving you the provisions that He’s giving you; He’s literally giving you thankfulness. That is, his generosity to you is for the purpose of giving you the gift of thankfulness. After all, a thankful heart is a joyful heart and peaceful heart and content heart. And, then out of that thankful, content, cheerful heart comes submission to Christ. And, out of our submission to Christ we give with generosity and sacrifice and joy.
So, the cycle goes like this. God gives to you, and you are filled with thankfulness to God for what He has given. Filled with gratitude, you submit your life to Christ so that your life all about his glory, compelling you to give away what you were given for his good. Then, you are filled with both the joy of giving and the astonishment that God has been generous yet again, leading you to start the process all over again. In other words, ‘you are being enriched in every way’ that is in faith, in joy, and in resources ‘to be generous in every way’ for the glory of Christ! Man, do you see this?! God gives to you. His giving creates joy and thankfulness. You give to the Kingdom, and God just starts it over again! You become a conduit, a channel for the glory of God and the work of God for the purpose of creating thankfulness across the nations for God’s glory!
I think our text gives us a cycle that supposed to great a steady stream of joy and thankfulness in our lives. I want you to notice verse 8. It says "And God is able to make all grace abound to you." Now, there's something cool here that I don't want us to miss. In verse 15, you'll notice that it says "Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!" And, what's really cool is that the word that is translated 'grace' in verse 8 is the very same word that is translated as 'thanks' in verse 15. As matter of fact, in , it's translated as 'thankfulness.' Here's what I want you to see: Through his grace, God is, in a sense, not just giving you the provisions that He’s giving you; He’s literally giving you thankfulness. That is, his generosity to you is for the purpose of giving you the gift of thankfulness. After all, a thankful heart is a joyful heart and peaceful heart and content heart. And, then out of that thankful, content, cheerful heart comes submission to Christ. And, out of our submission to Christ we give with generosity and sacrifice and joy.

Landing

I want to challenge you. If you have found yourself on autopilot with your giving or if you're under the conviction of the Holy Spirit this morning and realize that you have not given with cheerful, sacrificial generosity, would you start now? And, here's what I want you to pray through doing. Ask the Lord and seek his word to see if this would not bring joy to your heart: Give a one-time offering that would be the largest offering you've ever given as a marker that from this day forth, things will be different. For some, that amount may be $10, and that's okay. There must be a starting point for this type of living. For some, that amount may be $500 and for some $5000 and for others $50,000. And, whether your amount is a little or it's a lot, it does not matter so long as you give it in earnest to the Lord. It is to say that, from this day forward, I will give from my thankfulness, not from my obligation.
Related Media
Related Sermons