“NEW TESTAMENT GIVING”
(A Sermon Series from 2 Corinthians)
Westgate Chapel 10-28-07 2 Corinthians 8-9
Proposition: The New Testament principles of giving are based on grace and an overwhelming sense of gratitude for all that God has done for us.
- I DOUBT that there is a subject involved with the Christian life that is as used and abused as our subject for today from 2 Corinthians.
- AND based on what the apostle Paul has to say about this subject, it doesn’t take any prophetic insight to discover that the subject was used and abused in his day also.
- THEY say that all of the problems of the world revolve around three subjects: power, sex, and money.
- AND it is one of those three subjects that is the center of the passage of 2 Corinthians that we have arrived at for the message today.
- HERE is the backdrop!
- IN 2 Corinthians 2:17 Paul uses a word that is found nowhere else in the New Testament.
- HE is defending his apostolic authority that has been challenged by false teachers who have infiltrated the church in Corinth. They were trying to turn the church against Paul….for one very important reason!
- THEY wanted the money.
- THE Corinthian church represented a profit center for the false teachers.
- THIS was why Paul wrote early in this epistle,
“For we are not like many, peddling the word of God, but as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God.” (2 Corinthians 2:17)
- SOME of Paul’s opponents were in the ministry for the money.
- MONEY has power and it was a problem for the Corinthian church.
- MONEY can be a huge problem….if you have it or if you don’t.
* It divides friends.
* It distorts motives.
* It skews perspective.
* It blurs priorities.
* It drives ambition.
- IT is not evil in and of itself.
- BUT the Bible says that there is one big problem with money,
“For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (1 Timothy 6:10)
- IN this verse it is the longing for money that causes some believers to wander away from the faith.
- BUT there is another verse where the problem is what you do with the money you have. Jesus says that these are the Christians who…
“…have heard the word, 19 but the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.” (Mark 4:18-19)
- IN spite of all that I have just pointed out from Scripture concerning money, money also does an enormous amount of good….which is the only reason I can think of that God gives it to His people.
- CAN we all agree this morning that whatever we have comes from Him?
“Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” (James 1:17)
- THAT would include money.
- CAN we also agree that we are blessed in order to be a blessing to others?
- IN fact, it is also in the Book of James that the apostle writes,
“You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.” (James 4:3)
- THE Greek word for spend in this verse in James means to expend…to waste it all on your own pleasures.
- SO, the God of heaven has given us varying abilities and giftings that enable us to earn a living….what would be pleasing before the Lord concerning how we handle that living?
- HOW does the Christian and the church navigate these potentially treacherous waters of finances that have been so used and abused in church history….and especially today?
- PAUL covers a lot of ground in 2 Corinthians 8 and 9 on the subject.
- I BELIEVE that some of the most basic principles of what you and I do with the money God gives us is covered by Paul in this passage.
- AND I am going to use the Amplified Bible for this sermon.
- PASTOR Bill V says that the Amplified gives the best reading on the verses that cover this subject.
- AND rather than go verse by verse, I am going to cover the subject based on the topics concerning finances covered within the two chapters.
- THE context of these two chapters is an offering that Paul is going to receive from the churches in Greece and Asia Minor for the Christians in Jerusalem because they have been hit by severe drought and famine.
ii. motivation for giving
- AND the first thing that Paul tackles in the subject of money and giving has to do with our motivation.
1. GRACE OF GOD
- IN 2 Corinthians 8:1 Paul writes,
“We want to tell you further, brethren, about the grace(the favor and spiritual blessing) of God which has been evident in the churches of Macedonia [arousing in them the desire to give alms];” (2 Corinthians 8:1)
- MACEDONIA (Philippi) is where Paul is during the writing of 2 Corinthians, and he says that the desire to give in the Philippian church was motivated by the grace of God in them.
- GOD’S favor, and spiritual blessing in them is what motivated them to give to the offering for Jerusalem.
- LOOK at this same motive in chapter 9:8-11,
“And God is able to make all grace (every favor and earthly blessing) come to you in abundance, so that you may always and under all circumstances and whatever the need, be self-sufficient—possessing enough to require no aid or support and furnished in abundance for every good work and charitable donation…. 10 And [God] who provides seed for the sower and bread for eating will also provide and multiply your [resources for] sowing, and increase the fruits of your righteousness 11 Thus you will be enriched in all things and in every way, so that you can be generous…” (2 Corinthians 9:8-11)
- ISN’T it interesting that in both of the passages we have looked at here, the motivation for giving is the grace and blessing of God.
- THAT is the #1 motivation….grace motivates giving.
- THAT is a far better motivation than what gets played out on much of Christian TV, where we are told to give SO THAT grace will get poured out for us.
- FOR Paul it is precisely BECAUSE of grace that we give.
2. BOND OF FELLOWSHIP
- THERE is another motivation for giving that I must confess I was not prepared to find when I started sermon preparation on these chapters.
- LOOK at 8:4 with me. Paul says of the Christians in Philippi that they were…
“Begging us most insistently for the favor and the fellowship of contributing in this ministration for [the relief and support of] the saints [in Jerusalem].” (2 Corinthians 8:4)
- BEFORE I comment on this, look at 9:14. This is what Macedonia’s generosity did for the believers in Jerusalem,
“And they yearn for you while they pray for you, because of the surpassing measure of God’s grace (His favor and mercy and spiritual blessing which is shown forth) in you.” (2 Corinthians 9:14)
- THERE is a bond of fellowship the springs up between two groups of believers that is the result of giving…..uniting the hearts and lives of the givers with the receivers.
- THAT is an exciting motivation for giving!
3. ENCOURAGMENT OF TESTIMONY
- THERE is one more motivation for giving that I found in these two chapters.
- LOOK at 9:1-2 with me,
“Now about the offering that is [to be made] for the saints—God’s people [in Jerusalem]—it is quite superfluous that I should write to you; 2 For I am well acquainted with your willingness—your readiness and your eagerness to promote it—and I have proudly told about you to the people of Macedonia, saying that Achaia [most of Greece] has been prepared since last year for this contribution; and [consequently] your enthusiasm has stimulated the majority of them.” (2 Corinthians 9:1-2)
- THIS is the motivation of testimony.
- GOD was writing an amazing story in the lives of the saints in Corinth in the matter of their generosity…and that story was being used as an encouragement to the churches in and around Philippi.
- WHY is testimony an important motivator? Because your testimony, your story, is really God’s story being written in you and me.
4. THANKSGIVING TO GOD
- ONE last motivation!
- LOOK at 9:11-13,
“For the service the ministering of this fund renders does not only fully supply what is lacking to the saints (God’s people), but it also overflows in many [with cries of] thanksgiving to God. 13 Because at [your] standing of the test of this ministry, they will glorify God at your loyalty and obedience to the Gospel of Christ which you confess, as well as for your generous-hearted liberality to them and to all [the other needy ones].” (2 Corinthians 9:12-13)
iii. object of the giving (for part 2)
iv. spirit of giving (For part 2)
V. amount of giving (for part 2)
- CAN I just review these four motivators for giving with you?
1. The grace of God already at work in you.
2. The bond of fellowship.
3. The encouragement of your (God’s) story to others.
4. The thanksgiving that is given to God on your behalf.
- LISTEN to how Paul ends these two chapters on giving,
“Now thanks be to God for His Gift, [precious] beyond telling—His indescribable, inexpressible, free Gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15)
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