Title: I have something to give
Text: 2 Cor. 8:5
NJKJ: And not only as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God.
The Message: This was totally spontaneous, entirely their own idea, and caught us completely off guard. What explains it was that they had first given themselves unreservedly to God and to us. The other giving simply flowed out of the purposes of God working in their lives.
Antithesis: Most people think that they don’t have anything to give. They say that I am poor I don’t have any money. I am stretched and strapped. I have nothing left. Thesis: But fact of the matter is we all have something to give if we would just sacrifice. Sacrifice means to give up some cherished or desired object, idea or person for the sake of something else. For example, maybe I need to stop working so much so I can spend more time with my kids. Maybe I need to stop partying so much so I can perform better on my job. Maybe I need to stop being everyone’s mother Teresa and take care of myself. Maybe I should stop buying the latest trends that end up on the shelf and give the money to people who can really use it. That’s sacrifice!
Relative Question: What do I have to give?
If we all look within ourselves, we can all see how we all got something to give. It maybe time, money or talent but I have something to give!
Apostle Paul is writing to the church of Corinth defending his apostleship from false teachers. He was accused of using the ministry money to enrich himself. This caused the church at Corinth to stop giving to the ministry. He was writing to clear his name and encouraging them to return their commitment in giving to the poor. In chapters 8&9, Paul discusses the proper giving procedures for the believer on the how and why they ought to give. He uses the Macedonian churches as a model. We learn from Paul how giving is connected to our spirituality. This is a wake up call for people who think they are a spiritual giant but are more of a midget in Christ because they don’t give what they are able. The Spirit of God has to touch your heart to be a godly giver. Mat. 6:21 tells us that were your treasure is, there you will find you heart. I don’t know about you but I don’t want my heart to be at the BMW dealer. I don’t want heart to be at Neimans or Macy’s I want my heart to be with God that is why I have to give right.
Macedonia was area in Paul’s time under Rome rule north of Greece which was once a country land known for its gold, silver and trade. After the Roman invasion the churches were left barren. The Macedonia churches were Thessalonica, Philippi and Berea. If these churches were a model for giving to the poor, how were they able to give money when they were so poor? The answer is in verse 1 of our passage. The text says that the “grace of God was bestowed…” on them.
Point: In order to be a giver, you first have to be a receiver, as receiver of God’s grace. It is a gift. Grace is a gift to the believer. Grace is God’s favor toward a believer. It is God’s blessings despite an individual’s imperfection. It is unmerited. You can not earn it. God just does it. Grace comes to those in need and humbly approach God. Grace is the essence of the believer’s ability to give because there is no good thing in us that would want for us to give. Every good and perfect gift comes from God. That is grace! I have good news for somebody today! Grace is available for you! The churches of Macedonia had qualities that affirm and confirm the grace in your life. The church of Thessalonica was known for their suffering. The church of Philippi was known for being loving and thoughtful to the saints. The church at Berea was known for being open to God’s word. Therefore, if you have been through some stuff, have been thoughtful and loving to people and remained open to the Word, God is saying Grace in available for you today! It is made perfect in your weakness. You have to be a receiver before you can be the giver God wants you to be.
Next, the Macedonia gave sacrificially. v. 2
They gave during great trials, hard times and a state of poverty. This challenges believers today because we let our suffering hinder us from giving. The Macedonians did not take on the stance of a welfare recipient trying to get over. They had joy in the midst of pain and gave the little they had to bless somebody in need. They did what Jesus did. Out of his pain He somebody like me got blessed. The Macedonians ran on empty to fulfill a need. That is sacrificial giving. Give what you have as long it from the heart. This reminds me of the widow in Luke 21, when you give your all, Jesus takes notices! When you give, Jesus is watching. I ask you what do you want him to see?
They gave voluntarily. v. 3
They did not need a preacher to call a blessing line. The Macedonians giving was an inward response to an outward need. They did it because it was in them to do. We don’t give the way we should because it is not in us. This is why we need his grace.
They gave more that they could afford to give. v. 3
They stretched in their giving. They are an example of going deep in your pockets and going the extra mile for a cause. They did it because the ministry need was bigger than their immediate need.
They gave enthusiastically with readiness. v.4
They were looking for an opportunity to give. This challenges us as believers today because we are so busy looking on how we can receive a financial blessing instead of looking to be a financial blessing.
Transition: The Macedonians gives us a model on how to give. But how they got so fanatical about giving is found in our highlight verse tonight. It makes all the abovementioned characteristics possible to give in a godly way.
In order to give the way God wants us to give have to do what he Macedonia did in verse 5.
I. Give yourself to the Lord first.
The Macedonians gave themselves first the Lord. There are a lot of believers today who have not wholeheartedly given themselves to the Lord. They come to church every Sunday and Tuesday. But still haven’t given them selves to the Lord. You see them in ministry meeting but still have not given them selves to the Lord. You see them leading, but still the have not give themselves to he Lord. We give ourselves first to other things. But we have to remember God is jealous God.
Good or bad, you have to give yourself to the Lord. How do I that preacher? You got to present yourself a living sacrifice holy and acceptable to the Lord. You have to deny yourself and pick up your cross until the Lord takes it away. You have to humble yourself to the Lord knowing in due season He will exalt you. When my desire is God’s desire for my life, it is only then that I know I gave myself to him. I have to release who I am now into how God want me to be now!
II. Next, you have to give yourself to the Leaders.
In order for us give they way God wants us give, we have to give ourselves to leadership. What does that mean? We have to submit to the authority of our leaders in our local congregation i.e. the pastor and boards etc. The Macedonians recognized who Paul was and benefited from his anointing. Therefore, when he asked them to give it was no problem because they knew his anointing, integrity, and his mission. Also, because of his relationship with them, they supported him. They submit to his leadership. The problem is many vowed that in church “I aint listening to no man”. They ain’t God. He put on his pants one leg at a time just like me. Who does Jamal think he? The Bible in I Pet 2:13-17 and Titus 3:1 tells us that we should submit to those over us. But many of us have still a problem elsewhere with submitting to authority. We don’t submit at work. We are defensive and out of order by rebuking demons before we face the fact that we are not responsible in being a good steward on our jobs. Stop embarrassing Jesus and do your job! Let God remove those insecure managers. He will fight for you. Do want you have to do. Bite your lip. Scream in the bathroom but be humble. That may be your cross. Pick it up until God takes it from you!
When you submit your due season is coming! When you do this you are putting yourself in a position to be blessed. The reason why some many people don’t get blessed is because they are out of position. You are too high and God can’t see you! But somebody in here tonight has been submissive and faithful and is about to be blessed because you gave yourself to leadership and did not complain, God is going to bless your leader and all you have to do is receive the overflow because of your faithfulness. With faithfulness comes favor!
III. Next, Give to something larger than we are.
In order of us to give the way God want us to give we have give to something larger than we are. The Macedonians saw the vision which was to give to the poor Christians. They saw where the money was going. They knew that Paul was not going pimp out his chariot. Unlike the Corinthians, who allowed the false teachers to tell them that Paul was stealing the money. I believe that there are some false teachers in this church!
Empowerment Temple you know where our money goes! From Sunday to Sunday, you see first hand how this church helps people. Weekly, we help hundreds of people. City funded programs and other churches call us for help. So you don’t have to question the integrity of this ministry. You see the vision! I understand you may be from Missouri. Ok then just look around!
· Look at the #1 elementary school in city
· Look at the people who are being help and lives changed
· Look at the sanctuary
· Look at how the Lord been blessing you since you been apart of this ministry
When you give to something larger than you, you exemplify Christ. He gave himself for something larger than Himself. My salvation meant more to Him than His life.
Transition: When we give ourselves to the Lord, leaders and something larger, God give us the grace to give. When we become godly givers, He has a promise for us.
In chapter 8&9, Paul tells us about the principles of giving (2 Cor 8:1-6), the purpose of giving (2 Cor 8:7-16), the policies of giving (2 Cor 8:16-9:5) and I want close on the promises of giving. He tells us that grace abounds meaning we have favor.
Paul is speaking metaphorically in chapter 9:6 in terms that the Jewish culture can understand in his time. He uses the language of a farmer to describe the promise that is tied to godly giving. God has promised for those who give bountifully they are going to reap bountifully. To those who have a good cheerful attitude, He loves them and is going to give grace to make you prosper for giving money. Not only will you prosper financially you are going to prosper in your spiritually life, your righteousness will increase! Look at verse 2 Cor 9:10.
The one who created the seed and who does not let you go hungry is going give you back what you sown and multiply it! He is going increase the harvest of you righteousness which is you status with God. God is going to call me holy, kind, loving because I know how to give. That is my harvest! Money is good but I so glad he calls me righteous! And I am right with God I got favor! I found that favor is better than money because favor brings money! All I have to is be like farmer and release my seed into a need and watch my increase!
Somebody here may not have money yet but you got favor. Now release yourself to God and the money will come. When get the money release that and more favor will come. When favor comes God grace, money will come because you sown a seed to a need! You get blessing pressed down shaken together and running over! Give what you got and God will bless you!