Faithlife Sermons

God Owns It All

Matters of the Heart  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Intro:
2 Corinthians 8:8–9 NKJV
8 I speak not by commandment, but I am testing the sincerity of your love by the diligence of others. 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.
Tonight as we continue our series on 2 Corinthians, entitled, [Matters of the Heart], I want to speak on the subject of [God Owns It All].
There is a song most every child raised in church likely knows, “He’s got the whole world in His hands. He’s got the mommies and the daddies in His hands. He’s got the little bitty babies in His hands. He’s got you and me brother/sister in His hands. He’s got the whole world in His hands.”
It is a peaceful feeling to know that God has everything under control. He promised many times, I own it ALL!
Exodus 19:5 NKJV
5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine.
Deuteronomy 10:14 NKJV
14 Indeed heaven and the highest heavens belong to the Lord your God, also the earth with all that is in it.
Job 41:11 NKJV
11 Who has preceded Me, that I should pay him? Everything under heaven is Mine.
Psalm 24:1 NKJV
1 The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein.
Psalm 50:10 NKJV
10 For every beast of the forest is Mine, And the cattle on a thousand hills.
The knowledge of this is wonderful, but it seems that the closer this truth gets to home, it sometimes hard to comprehend or fully believe.
Sure we can declare with confidence: the problems in Middle East, God has it under control. The problems in Washington DC, thank God He is in control.
But when the problem or possibility comes close that’s when our faith is tested. Sometimes it is easier to believe for someone else, but a little harder to truly live out the truth, God owns it all.
Let me share a story that conveys this truth:
An old farmer owned a cow that gave birth to twin calves. At lunch he told his wife, “Ol’ Bessy had twins today. (before I moved to Vulcan, I would not have appreciated the importance of twins calves!).
You know honey, we only expected one calf, but the Lord blessed us with two. So we’re going to give one of the calves to the Lord and we will keep the other one to ourselves.
The farmer determined he would give 50% of his profit to the Kingdom. A few days later he went to lunch, appearing sad. After a time of silence he pushed his plate away and couldn’t eat.
His wife asked, “What’s wrong?” He answered, “Well, I have some bad news. I went to the born this morning and found the Lord’s calf died.”
Many times this typifies the mindset of believers. God owns it ALL, until it comes to our schedule, our pain, our sickness, our hurts, our resources, or our lives.
But when we hear the truth, God OWNS it ALL, that sums up what belongs to God. Everything. Including our lives, our time, our talent, and our treasures.
By the time we arrive to chapter eight Paul discussed the state of the Corinthians. After two letters and visits from Titus, the Corinthians repented of their backsliding.
Now, Paul turns his attention to the area of giving. The city of Corinth was a wealthy city. Corinth was a port city and earned the nickname “Wealthy Corinth” because of their revenue from trade.
The wealth of the city spilled over into the church. The Corinthian church was not on the other side of the tracks. They had arrived. They had means to further the Kingdom of God.
Paul discussed this with them in his first letter.
1 Corinthians 16:1–2 NKJV
1 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: 2 On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come.
What was the collection of the saints? It was an offering that was sent to the Christians in Jerusalem. As the gospel spread to new regions of the world, the church in Jerusalem suffered.
Jerusalem was the headquarters of Judaism. The religious leaders, many who were alive when Jesus was on earth, were still in power. They loathed the Christians.
Therefore, when people would come to Christ they lost their jobs and their ability to survive. For a while this wasn’t a problem because there were wealth Jews who had retired to Jerusalem.
They converted to Christ and supported the less fortunate Jewish Christians. But intense persecution came to the church in Jerusalem. Who led the persecution? Saul of Tarsus. He was part of the reason the wealthy Jewish Christians fled Jerusalem.
Now, the church in Jerusalem struggled, so churches as far as Rome and Corinth would give to the Christians in Jerusalem to help them.
When the Corinthians first heard of the opportunity to give, they were excited to help. However, the excitement wained and their commitment to give to church in Jerusalem decreased.
Paul shows, knowing God owns everything, it enables us to be generous to His work and His Kingdom. I have three points, [Examples in Giving], [Equality in Giving], and [Expectations in Giving].
Let’s begin
1. Examples in Giving
2 Corinthians 8:1–5 NKJV
1 Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia: 2 that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality. 3 For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing, 4 imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. 5 And not only as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God.
Notice Paul calls them brethren. He shows that the Corinthians are part of the family of God and that giving in the responsibility of God’s people.
The Lord does not expect unbelievers to fund His work. Instead He calls us to help extend His Kingdom. Paul then complimented the churches in Macedonia.
These churches include the Thessalonians, the Bereans, and the Philippians. These churches has some similarities. They were faithful churches that readily accepted Paul’s ministry.
Another similarity, they were poor churches. The Macedonian region had been wrecked by civil war and poverty was commonplace.
Another similarity, when they heard of the need in Jerusalem, they quickly gave. Despite their personal struggles, these churches wanted to give and help God’s people.
Paul did not coerce them or beg them. Instead, they gave freely and willingly. Verse four shows us that they were emphatic, they wanted to give.
They couldn’t wait to give to God, knowing He owns it all. Paul showed the reason for their generosity: they gave themselves to the Lord and then to the will of God.
They give us an example. When we are in true relationship with God, we will WANT to give because we know He owns it all!
2 Corinthians 8:6–7 NKJV
6 So we urged Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also complete this grace in you as well. 7 But as you abound in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us—see that you abound in this grace also.
2 Corinthians 8:6–7 NKJV
6 So we urged Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also complete this grace in you as well. 7 But as you abound in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us—see that you abound in this grace also.
Paul told them he was sending Titus back to them. He trusted that they would return to their previous state of generosity and help the churches.
He pointed out to them that unlike the Macedonians who had little, the Corinthians had a lot. God had given the Macedonians the grace to give. Therefore, He would give the Corinthians the grace to give!
2 Corinthians 8:8–9 NKJV
8 I speak not by commandment, but I am testing the sincerity of your love by the diligence of others. 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.
2 Corinthians 8:8–9 NKJV
8 I speak not by commandment, but I am testing the sincerity of your love by the diligence of others. 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.
Though the Macedonians was a great example of giving, nothing compared to the greatest example, Jesus. When in heaven, Jesus had everything, but He left all of that to come to this earth.
He lowered Himself to come in the flesh, becoming poor. He never owned a home. He never kept a large bank account. When He was crucified, they took the only thing He owned, the clothes off of His back.
Paul showed, through His poverty, we might become rich. Rich is not just about money. There are wealthy people in this world who are poor.
Their marriages are poor, their lives are poor, their reputation is poor, and their futures are poor. Sure God blesses those who give, but being rich also means living in abundance, in our relationship with Him and with others!
Paul displayed two examples of giving to show the...
2. Equality in Giving
2 Corinthians 8:10–15 NKJV
10 And in this I give advice: It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring to do a year ago; 11 but now you also must complete the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to desire it, so there also may be a completion out of what you have. 12 For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have. 13 For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened; 14 but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may supply their lack, that their abundance also may supply your lack—that there may be equality. 15 As it is written, “He who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack.”
2 Corinthians 8:10–15 NKJV
10 And in this I give advice: It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring to do a year ago; 11 but now you also must complete the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to desire it, so there also may be a completion out of what you have. 12 For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have. 13 For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened; 14 but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may supply their lack, that their abundance also may supply your lack—that there may be equality. 15 As it is written, “He who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack.”
Paul then gave them sound advice. One year before when Paul was with them, the Corinthians were eager to give. They wanted to be faithful to God in their finances.
Overtime, their faithfulness in this area dwindled. Paul encouraged them, return to the right path of generosity. But the Corinthians had to be willing.
A prerequisite to giving is a willing mind. They had to be willing to give regardless of where they were in their lives. Then their giving would be consistent with what they had.
They had to give based on what they had. Paul paints a picture of inequality. The Macedonians had little, but where willing to give sacrificially.
The Corinthians had much, but were not willing to give generously. They were proud of their gifts, but in comparison to their possessions, it was very little.
If they stayed on this path they would develop a religious spirit and mindset, like that of the Pharisees.
Luke 21:1–4 NKJV
1 And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, 2 and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites. 3 So He said, “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; 4 for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.”
Paul wanted them to be humble in their giving, doing it as unto the Lord and not for credit or notice. They needed to remember, God owned it ALL. Therefore, as they gave, God would honor them and bless them in return.
Chuck Swindoll explained the Corinthians struggled in three areas, procrastination, hesitation, and exception. They were slow in their response to give.
When it was time to give they were hesitant, indecisive in how much. Then some thought they were an exception, either they had too much or too little.
But in God’s eyes, we are all equal in giving. He owns it all. He will bless all who participate in Biblical stewardship.
Paul provided examples in giving, showed we are all equal in giving...
3. Expectations in Giving
2 Corinthians 8:16–24 NKJV
16 But thanks be to God who puts the same earnest care for you into the heart of Titus. 17 For he not only accepted the exhortation, but being more diligent, he went to you of his own accord. 18 And we have sent with him the brother whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches, 19 and not only that, but who was also chosen by the churches to travel with us with this gift, which is administered by us to the glory of the Lord Himself and to show your ready mind, 20 avoiding this: that anyone should blame us in this lavish gift which is administered by us—21 providing honorable things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men. 22 And we have sent with them our brother whom we have often proved diligent in many things, but now much more diligent, because of the great confidence which we have in you. 23 If anyone inquires about Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker concerning you. Or if our brethren are inquired about, they are messengers of the churches, the glory of Christ. 24 Therefore show to them, and before the churches the proof of your love and of our boasting on your behalf.
Remember part of Paul’s problems with Corinthians was the false teachers called, Judaizers. They wanted to stop Paul at all costs. Therefore, they used whatever tactic they could.
They attacked his doctrine, his word, his teaching, and now they attempted to attack his character. Paul outsmarted them though. He knew the Corinthians were found of Titus.
Therefore, when he collected the offering for the church in Jerusalem, he would not take the money on his own. Had he not had Titus there, he would not have had the necessary accountability.
Paul knew if God expected the Corinthians to give, God also expected Paul to handle God’s money with excellence and integrity.
Not only was Titus involved, there was an unnamed man who accompanied them on this journey. We do not know his name, but the Corinthians knew him.
Notice who Paul selected. These men were not selected because they were business-minded, polished, or wealthy. No, they were selected because they were good, honest men who had integrity.
I thank the Lord for that in my time as pastor, God has given me deacons who have financial integrity. I know when I stand before our church and say it is offering time, those who give can trust their giving will be stewarded in a Biblical and generous manner.
We do as Paul did and establish policies for handling the giving. Having these parameters in place, we honor by God by stewarding His resources.
Paul expected that giving would partner with stewardship and generosity. Having enough to keep the church going, but also looking for places to invest in the kingdom.
These expectation go beyond church, God desires that His people be good stewards in every area. Stewardship goes beyond
Close:
God owns it all. Isn’t it a freeing feeling to know that God is ALWAYS in control. Furthermore, everything we have really belongs to Him.
I remember my first trip to Costa Rica, I complimented the missionary’s home. His wife told me something that forever changed my thinking.
She thanked me, but followed, I don’t consider this my home, it is God’s home, He has loaned it to me. I have to take care of it and keep it nice. But everything we have belongs to God.
I have never forgot that. God owns it all. I came into this world with nothing and I will not be able to take anything with me when God calls me home.
Having this perspective makes giving easier. It is not a struggle to return God’s 10% or give above that, why? Because all of it is His anyways.
Paul wanted the church in Corinth to understand, should they trust in what they had more than they trust in God, what they have may soon disappear.
I understand that tonight I am teaching those who likely already know this. In fact, it has been that way for the past few weeks. I did not select these chapters. Instead, in our effort to study verse-by-verse through Paul’s writings here is where we are.
What I have felt in my spirit the last few weeks is God will take this information and then help us teach and train it to others!
The last two weeks we discussed sin, holiness, and living a life of repentance. I shared that I am not worried about each of you in that regard.
At our altar service, we prayed that the Lord would help us and give us the wisdom to share with those in our family who need to hear about sin, holiness, and repentance.
Tonight and next we will week we discuss giving. I did not come in tonight thinking, I will show them something new about giving. Instead, I pray that the Lord will help US teach and train those younger in the faith about the importance understanding God Owns It All.
These expectation go beyond church, God desires that His people be good stewards in every area. Stewardship goes beyond
My grandpa always told me whenever he gave me a dollar, make sure you put in ten cents tomorrow at church. Did the church need my ten cents? No, my grandpa knew that. Instead, he wanted to be an example and show me how to live in such a way where I truly trust that God owns it all!
Let’s be an example to our families and show the the blessings of faithfulness to God in EVERY area of our lives.
Let’s show them that everyone is equal in giving. God expects it from those with much and those with little.
These expectation go beyond church, God desires that His people be good stewards in every area. Stewardship goes beyond
Let’s live the expectations of stewardship and show they go beyond church. God desires that His people be good stewards in every area, to church, but also our management of our resources, our paying the bills, and every area of our lives!
Remember, Jesus became poor so that we might become rich in Him. Let’s humble ourselves and ask for the Holy Spirit to help us keep the Lord first in EVERY area of our lives, knowing, God owns it all!
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