The Grace Of Giving
Giving Series #2
The Grace Of Giving
By Bill Denton
A preacher paid a visit to a farmer and asked, "If you had 200 dollars, would you give 100 dollars to the Lord?
"Sure would," said the farmer.
"If you had two cows, would you give one cow to the Lord?"
"Yeah, I would."
"If you had two pigs, would you give one of them to the Lord?"
The farmer replied, "That's not fair. You know I have two pigs."
There is no other time for giving but now. It will never be easy.
-- Kent Hughes, Preaching Today #205
B. We continue our series on giving today
1. Last week we focused on attitudes
a. your attitude will shape how you receive what scripture says about giving
b. your attitude will determine what you do with that teaching
c. your attitude will determine how you respond, growing as a giver
2. I would remind you that the Bible contains more instruction on money, possessions,
and the subject of generosity to others than almost any other topic
a. that much space given to something ought to tell us it's important
b. so, I hope you will take these lessons seriously
C. Today, I want to talk about the grace of giving
1. I thought for a long time that the phrase, "grace of giving" was a strange one
2. Frankly, it didn't make much sense to me, and I suppose the only explanation I have
for that is that I didn't understand some important things about both grace and giving
3. You might feel the same way, and so I want to encourage you to try hard to expand
your thinking and deepen your understanding of how grace connects with giving
4. If you do, you cannot help but to grow in your generosity, regardless of where you
might be right now
I. Some Background On New Testament Giving
A. Most of the passages in the New Testament dealing with the subject of giving are actually
passages that encourage caring for needy Christians, or supporting those who preach
1. We might infer from this that caring for the needy and enabling men to preach should
be high on the priority list for the church
2. However, we might be surprised to know that what motivated a lot of what is said
about giving is that people were not giving as they should
B. Giving to help needy Christians is by far the subject that motivated most of what the New
Testament says about giving
1. Acts 2:44-45
44And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; 45and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. NASB95
2. Acts 4:32-37
32And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them. 33And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all. 34For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales 35and lay them at the apostles’ feet, and they would be distributed to each as any had need. 36Now Joseph, a Levite of Cyprian birth, who was also called Barnabas by the apostles (which translated means Son of Encouragement), 37and who owned a tract of land, sold it and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet. NASB95
3. Acts 5:1-11
1But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, 2and kept back some of the price for himself, with his wife’s full knowledge, and bringing a portion of it, he laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land? 4“While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.” 5And as he heard these words, Ananias fell down and breathed his last; and great fear came over all who heard of it. 6The young men got up and covered him up, and after carrying him out, they buried him. 7Now there elapsed an interval of about three hours, and his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8And Peter responded to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for such and such a price?” And she said, “Yes, that was the price.” 9Then Peter said to her, “Why is it that you have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out as well.” 10And immediately she fell at his feet and breathed her last, and the young men came in and found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11And great fear came over the whole church, and over all who heard of these things. NASB95
4. Acts 6:1-6
1Now at this time while the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint arose on the part of the Hellenistic Jews against the native Hebrews, because their widows were being overlooked in the daily serving of food. 2So the twelve summoned the congregation of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables. 3“Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task. 4“But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” 5The statement found approval with the whole congregation; and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch. 6And these they brought before the apostles; and after praying, they laid their hands on them. NASB95
5. Acts 11:27-30
27Now at this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28One of them named Agabus stood up and began to indicate by the Spirit that there would certainly be a great famine all over the world. And this took place in the reign of Claudius. 29And in the proportion that any of the disciples had means, each of them determined to send a contribution for the relief of the brethren living in Judea. 30And this they did, sending it in charge of Barnabas and Saul to the elders. NASB95
6. Romans 15:25-27
25but now, I am going to Jerusalem serving the saints. 26For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem. 27Yes, they were pleased to do so, and they are indebted to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in their spiritual things, they are indebted to minister to them also in material things. NASB95
7. 1 Corinthians 16:1-2
1Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatia, so do you also. 2On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come. NASB95
8. 2 Corinthians 8:1-6
1Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia, 2that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality. 3For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord, 4begging us with much urging for the favor of participation in the support of the saints, 5and this, not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God. 6So we urged Titus that as he had previously made a beginning, so he would also complete in you this gracious work as well. NASB95
II. Churches Of Macedonia Demonstrate The Grace Of Giving
A. The kind of giving that pleases God must be a giving that springs from grace
1. Grace = the undeserved, unmerited favor of God
a. it is God's gift to those who don't deserve it and who could never earn it
b. it is freely given, and thus grace became Paul's best way to describe giving
2. If we understand grace as a recipient of God's bounty, then we must understand grace
to be a giver who gives as he has received from God
B. Some characteristics of grace-giving
1. It is giving regardless of the circumstances
a. 2 Corinthians 8:1-2 -- 1Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the
grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia, 2that in a
great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty
overflowed in the wealth of their liberality. NASB95
b. too many people think their own circumstances must be excellent before they
Gary Waddingham, rector of St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Billings, Montana, tells this story:
Several years ago, when I was ministering in a small rural community, we had extra food left over from our Christmas basket. I happened to think of a poor family who lived at the edge of town. I packed up the food and drove to their house.
I am never sure how one goes about "doing charity" while preserving the dignity of those who receive the charity. When the woman, surrounded by her several children, answered the door, I thought of a subtle way to offer the food to her.
I asked, "Do you know anyone who could use some extra food?"
"You bet," she said and got her coat, headed toward her car saying, "Follow me."
She took me to people who were poorer than she, people who desperately needed food. Even though she herself needed food, I remember clearly that there was absolutely no hesitation on her part.
For some people, giving is second nature.
2. Grace-giving is enthusiastic giving
a. 2 Corinthians 8:3-4 -- 3For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond
their ability, they gave of their own accord, 4begging us with much urging for
the favor of participation in the support of the saints, NASB95
b. do you consider it a favor to you when you give, or do you think of yourself
as doing the favor when you give
c. a few times, I have seen people really get excited about giving to something
they believed in, and it was an extraordinary thing
d. this is why the giving of the Macedonian churches is such an example to us
3. Grace-giving is giving the same way Jesus gave
a. 2 Corinthians 8:9 -- 9For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that
though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through
His poverty might become rich. NASB95
b. grace is the thing that marked Jesus' gift to us, and sacrifice is the best way
to think of how he gave
c. how many of us give from a base of sacrifice?
d. how many of us possess the grace to give instead of lining our own pockets?
4. Grace-giving is more than a promise, it is an action
a. 2 Corinthians 8:10-11 -- 10I give my opinion in this matter, for this is to your
advantage, who were the first to begin a year ago not only to do this, but also
to desire to do it. 11But now finish doing it also, so that just as there was the
readiness to desire it, so there may be also the completion of it by your ability.
b. there is a great difference between the promise and the action
c. Paul urged people to do what they knew to be a good thing
5. Grace never demands what one does not have
a. 2 Corinthians 8:12 -- 12For if the readiness is present, it is acceptable
according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have.
b. it is impossible to be gracious with what you don't possess
c. it is entirely possible to bless others through your giving of what you do have
A. It is not easy to experience the grace of giving
1. If it were easy, Paul would not have written two chapters in 2 Corinthians urging the
Christians in Corinth to learn about it
2. Nor would the example of the Macedonian churches been so outstanding
B. The truth is that it requires a person to possess some things in abundance
1. Faith - that he/she might learn to rely on God
2. A deeper understanding of grace
a. grace received
b. grace to give
3. Unselfishness, non-materialistic point of view