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Be a Liberal

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ss=MsoNormal align=right style='text-align:right'>1) 11-23-08…AM…SBC – Thanksgiving Service     2) “Be a Liberal”

2 Corinthians 9:6-15

Introduction:   Humor

1)      Two men were shipwrecked on a desert island.  One was a churchgoer and the other wasn’t.  The minute they arrived on the island, the non-churchgoer began screaming and yelling, “We’re going to die!  There’s not food! No water!  We’re going to die” The other man was calmly propped against a palm tree, which drove the other guy crazy.  “Don’t you understand?  We’re going to die! What’s wrong with you?”  “You don’t understand” said the churchgoer, “I make one hundred thousand dollars a week.”  What difference does that make?” asked the non-churchgoer.  “We’re on a desert island.  We’re going to die.”  The churchgoer smiled, “You just don’t get it.  I make one hundred thousand dollars a week and I tithe.  My Pastor will find me!”[1]

Ø      Pastor’s have been known to get really creative when it comes to challenging God’s people to give

2)      There was a Pastor who once had a problem.  He had to ask the congregation to pledge more money for church repairs than they anticipated.  On his way to the pulpit he asked the organist to be ready to play something suitable for pledging.  At the appropriate time, the Pastor announced, Brothers and Sisters, we are in great difficulty.  Our roof repairs have run $5,000 over the estimated cost.  That means we must raise that amount this morning.  Any of you who are willing to increase our original pledge, please stand up.”  At that very moment the organist tore into “The Star Spangled Banner” and the whole congregation stood.[2]

Ø      Giving can be a difficult subject to address in the context of the church

Ø      Many circumstances have muddied the waters of giving money to the church

·         Pastors have emotionally manipulated people to give

·         Leaders in the church have embezzled money from the church

·         Congregations have agreed to purchase large ornate facilities and assets to the chagrin of non-churchgoers

·         Faithful people have given and given only to be continually asked to give more for this project or that project

Ø      this has led to many adopting the view that the church is only after your money

Ø      many have chosen not to give based one or all of the previous reasons

Transition:  This morning we want to look at a text that challenges us about giving.  The text specifically teaches us…

Proposition:   Giving is a gracious act that provokes thanksgiving to God

Background:   Epistle = a letter arising out of and intended for a specific occasion[3]

1-      2 Corinthians

·         This book builds on and follows up on the occasion of 1 Corinthians

·         Paul rejoices over the report of the Corinthians repentance by Titus

·         Paul stirs the Corinthians to give to the Saints in Jerusalem due to their suffering (1 Cor. 16:1)

Ø      In 2 Corinthians 8-9 Paul emphasizes the spiritual dimension of giving


Transition:             Paul begins this teaching on giving with an illustration in v6

1)  The Illustration of Giving           v6

A-    Every farmer recognizes that the size of the harvest is directly proportionate to the amount of seed sown.

-          In the spiritual realm, the principle is that giving to God results in blessing from God;

-          Generous givers will reap generous blessings from God,[4]

Quote:  Jim Elliot - “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”[5]

B-    The one who gives by praising God will in turn reap a harvest for which he thanks the Lord.[6]

Transition:  Now Paul gives a description of the harvest that will result if the Corinthians will give to God

Ø      The setting of giving here is an appeal to the individual members in a local church to give over and above

2)The Attitude of Giving                  v7                    What God wants = cheerfulness

A-    God’s Omniscience – God sees our motives even when we can fool everyone else

B-    Heart Issues – you must evaluate your personal attitude behind your giving

1-      “What does my attitude have to do with it, you’re getting you’re money aren’t you?”

2-      Because God knows our heart’s motivation

C-    Reluctantly – unhappiness marked by regret of what has been done – (buyers remorse)

D-    Compulsion – necessary obligation

E-     Cheerfulness/Joy – comes when we see giving as an act of obedience that glorifies God


Transition:  Paul makes clear in what follows that God rewards generosity with material abundance to make it possible for people to be even more liberal givers.[7]

3)The Source of Giving                    v8-10             What God supplies = harvest of righteousness

Ø      God has always expresses his love through His power – OT theocracy, virgin birth, resurrection, rapture

A-    Summary of v8-10

·         It is by God’s initiative of love that you and I experience God’s grace – physical and spiritual blessings

·         Regardless of how desperate your situation is, you can always give in dependence upon God-δυνατός

·         God gives so liberally to His children so that they will lack nothing – have all you need – Phi. 4:19

(Harvest must be of the same nature as the seed sown)

·         God will provide our needs not to store up treasures for ourselves but to minister to others in need

Ø      Reluctance to sow generously, then, reflects a refusal to trust that God is all sufficient and all gracious.[8]

1)  The Result of Giving                     v11-15            What you can provoke in others = thanks

A-    God provides so that the cycle of giving and ministering will continue and that God will increase our righteous acts of love towards one another

B-    A generous spirit of giving results in more and more people giving thanks to God          v11-12

C-    Others will glorify God because of your giving     v13

Illustration:      Pastor Birkholz ($930 offering) all he could do was glorify God for our giving

                        We have seen missionary wives break down and cry because of our giving

                        Seminary students and their families have praised God because of your giving

                        We have experienced the truth of this passage – not that our experience makes it true


D-  Others will be praying for you – which one of us doesn’t need more people praying for us?       v14

E-     be motivated by reflecting on God’s gift (Christ) that cannot be completely and full communicated

·         God’s liberally giving of His Son to us in need is reason for us to liberally give to others in need


1-      How cheerfully are you when you write your tithe check or give over and above for that love offering?

2-      Prosperity in this ever declining economy will come by giving liberally to those in need – not accumulating

3-      The next time you go to give check your heart for the right motivation

4-      Remember you can provoke thanksgiving to God in others by giving to them in their time of need

5-      This thanksgiving - when we are accustomed to thinking about all that God has done for us

·         provoke thanksgiving in someone else by giving to them in their time of need


7-      If you are struggling to give – remember what God gave to you in your time of need

8-      Lack of giving like this will cause our church to die

·         not primarily in finances although that would eventually come

·         we will lose our spiritual vitality

·         we will gain selfishness, pride and be saturated with materialism


What God wants = cheerfulness  

What God supplies = harvest of righteousness

What you get = all your needs supplied plus more to keep giving to others

What you can provoke in others = thanksgiving directed toward God

Ø      The point of these verses is clear: Be a liberal giver because the more one gives, the more God gives back in return.[9]


[1] World’s Greatest Collection of Church Jokes, p82-83.

[2] Ibid., p87.

[3] Fee and Stewart – How to Read the Bible for All It’s Worth, p48.

[4]John MacArthur, 2 Corinthians (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2003), 314.

[5]Simon J. Kistemaker and William Hendriksen, vol. 19, New Testament Commentary : Exposition of the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, Accompanying Biblical Text Is Author's Translation., New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953-2001), 311.

[6]Simon J. Kistemaker and William Hendriksen, vol. 19, New Testament Commentary : Exposition of the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, Accompanying Biblical Text Is Author's Translation., New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953-2001), 311.

[7]David E. Garland, vol. 29, 2 Corinthians, electronic ed., Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001, c1999), 406.

[8]David E. Garland, vol. 29, 2 Corinthians, electronic ed., Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001, c1999), 407.

[9]John MacArthur, 2 Corinthians (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2003), 314.

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