Faithlife Sermons

God's Grace Through Generosity

Light of the Gospel  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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INTRODUCTION

WELCOME

Good Morning CrossPointe
I am super excited for today’s message because the application is an exciting initiative that we will partner in together through June 7.
To get to the application though, we first need to allow God’s Word to do some work in our hearts this morning.

HOOK

TRAILS EXPOSE OUR TRUE COLORS
Heat brings impurities to the surface
In the same way, the fire of Trials have a a way of revealing impurities in our own hearts
That is a general statement
Here’s a specific statement
CONNECT
What does our present economic uncertainty (trial) expose about out view of money and God?
Response: Hoarding
Toilet paper, Milk, Eggs, Meat
Get what I need and don’t worry about other.
Jack up the prices
Response: Hope
Sharing Resources
Generosity
Good news

CONTEXT

FAMINE IN JERSUSALEM
Famine that was impacting the church in Jerusalem. This led the Apostle Paul to collect financial resources for the people being impacted by the famine.
People from different regions had offered to contribute but now was the moment they had to act on those initial intentions and words of generosity.
DIFFERENT REGIONS / DIFFERENT MEANS
Macedonia
Population that wasn’t wealthy but participated in collecting funds for those in need.
Corinth
Was know. to be wealthy
Corinth had promised to give in the past but now was the time for them to fulfill that promise.
Good intentions vs Good Action
Have you ever thought about what you would do if you won one of these massive lotteries?
Who you would help and who you give money to?
We assume that if we won 100 million dollars we would give 10 million to the church but when God gives us $10 dollars do we give $1. When God gives us $1,000 what do we give?
Good Intentions are not the same as good actions.

PASSAGE

2 Corinthians 8:1–15 ESV
We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints— and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us. Accordingly, we urged Titus that as he had started, so he should complete among you this act of grace. But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you—see that you excel in this act of grace also. I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. And in this matter I give my judgment: this benefits you, who a year ago started not only to do this work but also to desire to do it. So now finish doing it as well, so that your readiness in desiring it may be matched by your completing it out of what you have. For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have. For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness. As it is written, “Whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack.”

TITLE: GOD’S GRACE THROUGH GENEROSITY

“We want you to know about the “grace of God...”
Our purpose this morning is that same purpose the Apostle Paul had for the believers in Corinth.
We are sharing in something together with Christians who have long gone before us.

MACEDONIAN EXAMPLE (8:1-7)

TRAILS EXPOSE THE HEART

Look at the church in Macedonia (Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea)
GRACE OF GOD given among the church
This is an important phrase that stood out to be multiple times through this passage.
Imagine this is the edge of a thread and let’s begin to pull on it and se what unravels.
(1) SEVERE AFFLICTION EXPOSED ABUNDANT JOY
The fire of trial from affliction exposes what is in their heart
For the Macedonian church - their severe affliction (trial) exposed heart of abundant joy.
This displayed / evidenced the grace of God at work in their lives.
(2) EXTREME POVERTY EXPOSED WEALTH OF GENEROSITY
Not just poor but extreme poverty
Not just generosity but abundant generosity.
I’ve been privileged to see something like this with my own eyes and it changed me.
I visited a place called Garbage City in Cairo, Egypt
Street were paved with the dung from donkeys while kids ran through the street barefoot and barely clothed. I rolled up the hem of pants in protection.
Walls were made from heaps of trash. Imagine the going to dump, the smell, the trash and saying we have to build out house here. We will raise our kids here. We will pick through the trash, recycle what we can and try and survive.
This was extreme poverty like I have rarely seen since
Here’s the thing - I’m disgusted, trying not to vomit from the stench, watching where I step and in shock that people live here. Then I look into their eyes. The smiles on their faces and I realize they have an abundance of something I am lacking - JOY!
How can this be? Me, with my gadgets, and family, and stuff - how are they happier than me?
To my shock, their response - we have Jesus. Standing in the shadow of one of the largest mosques in Cairo yet they said their joy was Jesus. They walked us through the mounds of garbage to their church - hewn in the side of a stone to form a cave. It is the largest church in the Middle East - seating 15,000 people.
I’ll never forget that day as long as I live - extreme poverty yet displaying the grace of God.

COMPELLING GENEROSITY

Paul is using the the Macedonian Church as an example for the Corinthians because I believe he knew something instinctively that scholars would have to research years later.
Paul Piff is a professor at the University of California, Berkley and he has done extensive research that shows that poor people are 44% more generous than the wealthy.
Paul Piff and Michael Krause of Yale University both agree that the poor are more compassionate and more accurately empathize with the hardships of others and therefore respond with generosity. Those with less give more.
SO - they Apostle Paul wants to encourage the wealthy Corinthians to also excel in this ACT OF GRACE - Generosity toward those in need.
Give according to their means
Gave beyond their means
Begged for the favor of giving
Order:
Gave themselves first to God
Then - by the will of God - to this need.
GENEROSITY - is first about God, then about other. Our thinking does not begin with the needs of others and then try to muster up the effort by looking at Jesus
RATHER - Generosity begins (first of all) by dedicating ourselves to God. This then produces in us the desire and motivated for generosity.
CONCLUSION - when trials expose a hoarding heart we need to first look to be transformed by Jesus
This is exactly what the Apostle Paul instructs of the Corinthians.

JESUS’ EXAMPLE (8:8-10)

GRACE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST

YOU KNOW the Grace of our Lord Jesus
There’s that word again, “GRACE”
GRACE OF GOD in Macedonia
ACTS OF GRACE
Know the GRACE OF JESUS
MOTIVATION for GENEROSITY
NOT GUILT - Look at these needs, pull on your heart stings, make you feel bad about buying a cup of coffee
NOT GREED - saying, “whatever you give to God, he’ll give you 10x back.” I met a young man once who had $10,000 of credit card debt because his pastor convinced him that if he gave then God would pray him back 10-fold and this young man felt called to the mission field.
We don’t give out of guilt
We don’t give out of greed
We give because of what WE HAVE ALREADY RECEIVED
GRACE - ALREADY RECEIVED

HE WAS RICH, YET FOR OUR SAKE HE BECAME POOR

Jesus was wealthy
In writing to one of the churches in Macedonia, the Apostle Paul encouraged them by saying,
The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language Chapter 2

Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.

5–8  Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.

He became poor
Jesus did not cling to his divine privilege,
He laid aside those divine priviledges
The eternally existent, divine Jesus emptied himself and became human.
The Creator became a servant to his creation
He paid the ultimate price - his life - dying in the worst way known to man at the time.

WE WERE POOR, BUT MADE RICH IN JESUS

WHY
Why did Jesus do this?
For you!
WE WERE POOR
“Wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23)
Your sin left you indebted to God and the payment demanded was your life.
Jesus voluntarily laid down his life to pay your debt.
WE’VE BECOME RICH
So, you can either…
Pay that debt on your own and live in eternal seperation from God when you die.
(or) you can trust on Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection
You are made rich
You are clothed in the perfect rightness of Jesus.
Exchange of clothing
GRACE - ALREADY RECEIVED
You are not being told to be generous to GET GRACE
You are not being told to be generous by GUILT
You are being told to be generous because you have already received the abundant wealth of undeserved grace so now act like it.

YOUR EXPRESSION (8:11-15)

“SO NOW FINISH IT...” (8:11)

You started down this road
You desire to go down this road
DO IT! - Finish! No more talking about, no my hypotheticals.
You want to be a generous person
Then be a generous person

CONCLUSION

COMMUNAL COMMAND

This isn’t written to a person - it is written to the church, a group of people made up of individuals.
“ACTS OF GRACE”
“Grace of God...” (8:1)
“Act of grace...” (8:6)
“Act of grace...” (8:7)
“Grace of Jesus...” (8:9)
QUESTION
How do we as a Church ENCOURAGE & EQUIP a communal response as we study 2 Corinthians 8 & 9?
Problem: Churches say, you be generous and give us money
Plan: We are generous for the glory of God
What does it look like for us together to be generous with our finances to demonstrate the grace of God through our Acts of grace
3 -Week Campaign Called : ACTS OF GRACE
CrossPointe Church wants to financially partner with you in the ‘Acts of Grace’ God has laid on your heart. We believe that God’s Spirit is leading some of you, individually and as groups, to love and serve our community. We as a church want to come alongside you to empower and equip you with multiplied impact for the work of the ministry. We are offering a matching grant up to $500 for you or a group of people. We want to serve together for a multiplied impact of demonstrating the Gospel in our community.
Combine efforts and resources
Families - ask your kids who they want to help. Give then chores and let them know the church will match whatever they give.
Community Groups - Get together this week, pray about how you can invest in demonstrating God’s grace to someone in need and then apply for a matching grant and we will help double your impact.
Student Ministry, Mens, Womens
Individuals / Groups - Join together
DETAILS:
Join efforts and Pray!
Submit an application
Elders will decide on the application on the Tuesday morning follow your submission.
Ends June 7
www.xpointe.com/actsofgrace
GIVING
The church is giving from our general fund - not the Pandemic Relief Fund. This funds were given for those in need and we are continuing to use those funds for that purpose
We feel compelled to respond as a church in the same way we are encouraging you - through sacrificial giving according to our means.
If you don’t have a strong sense as to where God is leading you personally then you can still participate but giving to our general fund.
Our hope is to share stories over the next three weeks as the where God is leading us as a congregation.
MOTIVATED BY GRACE - DEMONSTRATE THAT GRACE THROUGH ACTS OF GRACE
Get praying and let us know how God is leading and how we can come alongside you.
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