18th NT Vista – 8 remaining – will take us into July, for those who can bear with the heat that long.Uncomfortable topic – Giving.Uncomfortable for you – affects your pocketbook. Before baptism, man removing wallet from trousers. Preacher: “We want to baptize that, too.”Uncomfortable for me. Judges “shall not personally participate in the solicitation of funds or other fund-raising activities, except that a judge may privately solicit funds for such an organization from other judges (excluding court commissioners, referees, retired judges, and temporary judges). – Code of Judicial Ethics, Canon 4C(3)(d)(i).That is the reason that, even when I lead the meditation at the Lord’s Supper, I never lead the Contribution, as well. I don’t want there to be any appearance that I am soliciting funds.Breathe easy. This is not a solicitation of funds. This is a very generous congregation, as it is.Rather, it is a look at what the Bible says about our individual giving – whatever that amount may be.
“Grace” - χάρις: “God’s goodness—to those who do not deserve it”Undeserved blessingUnmerited favor*Acronym: God’s Riches At Christ’s ExpenseTwo kinds of grace:* 1. God’s grace that Saves—familiarWe deserve nothing but judgment and hellGod, in his goodness, treats us with grace and saves us — * Ephesians 2:8-9
2. God’s grace that Sustains—less familiarAfter conversion, you and I continue to deserve nothing from GodDon’t somehow become worthy because God has now saved usBut God, in his goodness, continues to treat/uphold us with sustaining grace.Sustaining grace is the power to live lives of holinessSustaining grace is God’s willingness to forgives us 70x7 when we failOften combined — * Titus 2:11-12Sustaining grace is a radical way of thinking—counter-culturalOur tendency is to approach life as a patchwork quiltOne square, we acknowledge our need of God’s saving graceI will go on living in the other squares of my life oblivious to my ongoing need for God’s graceForget that if God were to withdraw his sustaining grace from me, I would crumbleNo matter how strong, smart, and clever—I can’t make itI desperately need the ongoing power of God’s sustaining gracePaul: “Grace be with you”Why all this talk about grace?
Primary NT passage on giving is 2 Cor 8-9End of third missionary journeyCollecting offering from the Gentiles for the Jewish/Jerusalem churchEncouraging the church in Corinth to give by reflecting on what the Macedonian church had already given.Dominant note is that of “grace” — “act of grace” (v. 6); “Grace of Giving” (v. 7)* If you hear anything this morning:Giving is God’s gift of grace to undeserving sinners. It frees us from the materialism of this world by calling us to give generously and cheerfullyWe often apologetically approach topic of wealth, possessions, & giving“I apologize, but I need to speak this morning about adultery”“Adultery week”Adultery committee asks me to preach on this once a yearFor those of you committing adultery — bear with me — not until next yearSnicker, but isn’t this typical of preaching on stewardship?15% of NT is about money and possessionsIn a series on the 52 major events of the Bible — negligent/sinful to omitMy goal is to preach the full gospel — here it comes, without apology
Sets the stage with 8:1God has given his grace to the Macedonian churches* Saving Grace: Grace that saved unworthy sinners* Sustaining Grace: Grace that sustains unworthy, redeemed sinners, enabling them to give“I want you to know about the grace of God in Macedonia”Gift of God’s grace has enabled the Macedonians to give!* “Grace” and one NT word for “gift” come from the same basic word
2 Corinthians 8:2-4* Macedonian Christians were being severely tested“Most severe trial” — religious persecution (2 Tim 3:12)2 Timothy 3:12 NIV In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,“Extreme poverty”—far below our definition of povertyEveryone in this room is in top 10% of the wealthy in history of the worldVisit third world countries to see the extent of the Macedonian poverty* Passed the test — Proved by their actions that their faith was realProved that God’s saving grace was alsosustaining them1. “Overflowing joy” — in the midst of suffering, persecution, and poverty2. Giving “Rich generosity”Their overflowing joy, that flowed into their generous giving, can only be explained by seeing it as the result of God’s s/s grace in their lives.
Should be no surprise that Paul tells the Corinthians — and usThat we too must “prove” the genuineness of our faith — 8:7b-8 (also v 24)Also v. 242 Corinthians 8:24 Therefore show these men the proof of your love and the reason for our pride in you, so that the churches can see it.* Reaction: “I don’t got to prove nothing to nobody. This is my business.” Private.Reaction of our sinful, individualistic, western cultureBible says, “prove God’s grace through your generous and joyful giving”Show that God’s grace is in fact active in your lifeOur giving is proof of God’s saving/sustaining grace—freeing us from the materialism of this worldSpecific application of the general principle in John 15:8John 15:8 NIV84 This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
How were they able to give so generously? 8:5* Macedonian Christians, first and foremost, gave themselves to God—God’s saving grace* God’s sustaining grace transformed them — enabled them to give* This is why giving is an “act of grace” (v 6)
How is giving a matter of grace? (“excel in this grace of giving”)* God’s Grace gives us the :* 1. Desire to give* 2. Ability to give — even to the point of helping us earn the money * 2 Cor 9:8,10Gives the seed to plant, and in fact multiplies the seedGod also gives growth to the seed for the harvest of breadMacedonian Christians understood that God is the Giver at both ends
Crucial to see the flow of theology - 2 Cor. 9:13* Corinthians experience God’s saving grace—“confession of the gospel of Christ”Submit to God’s sustaining grace that enables us to give—“service by which you have proved yourselves”Results in God being glorified—primary goal of all believers
Macedonians understood that everything belongs to God — 1 Cor 6:19-20We are stewards of God’s wealth, to be used for his purposesOne purpose is to care for ourselves/familiesAnother purpose is to give away God’s wealth to further God’s purposes* Not given God’s wealth to raise our standard of living, but standard of giving
What is our ultimate motivation?* Motivation: In response to what Jesus gave us — 8:9Incarnation: just as Christ gave graciously to us, so we are to give to othersGoal: Bring glory (honor; praise) to GodWhole life (1 Cor 10:31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.)
I don’t care about your moneyGod will be faithful — accomplish his purposes at PDCOC, either with your gifts, or without them.Those who give will be blessed — 9:6I do care about your heart* Jesus: the location of your treasure IS the indicator of the location of your heartPaul: a person who has truly experienced God’s grace toward undeserving sinners will giveWhat does your giving say about you? Do you spend more at Starbucks than giving?
All of us: “Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift” (9:15)Grace that saves undeserving sinnersGrace that sustains redeemed sinnersGrace that leads and enables us to give to the advancement of God’s kingdom for the sake of God’s glory alone.Show God and one another and the world that we have experienced God’s graceGiving is God’s gift of grace to undeserving sinners that frees us from the materialism of this world by calling us to give generously and cheerfully*2 Cor 9:8
120429 nt vistas 18 the grace of giving - 2 Corinthians 8-9
G od’s R iches At C hrist’s SAVING E xpenseEphesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved,through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the giftof God – not by works, so that no one can boast.
Titus 2:11-12 For the grace of God that brings salvationhas appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” toungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age … SUSTAINING
Giving is God’s gift of grace to undeserving sinners.It frees us from the materialism of this worldby calling us to give generously and cheerfully.2 Corinthians 8-9GRACE SHOWS ITSELF IN GIVING
Setting the Stage 2 Corinthians 8:1 And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. Grace Gift χάρις χάρισμα
Generosity Out of Need2 Corinthians 8:2-4 Out of themost severe trial, theiroverflowing joy and theirextreme poverty welled up in Severely Passed therich generosity. For I testify that tested testthey gave as much as they wereable, and even beyond their • Most severe • Overflowing trial joyability. Entirely on their • Rich • Extremeown, they urgently pleaded poverty generositywith us for the privilege ofsharing in this service to thesaints.
Generosity Proves Faith 2 Corinthians 8:7-8 But just as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us—see that you also excel in this grace of giving. I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others.
Why They Gave Generously2 Corinthians 8:5 And theydid not do as we Savingexpected, but they gave Gracethemselves first to theLord and then to us in Giving iskeeping with God’s will. an “act of grace” Sustaining Grace
Giving – a Matter of Grace? 2 Corinthians 9:8-10 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. … Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.
Theology of Giving2 Corinthians 9:13 Becauseof the service by which youhave proved yourselves, menwill praise God for theobedience that accompaniesyour confession of the gospelof Christ, and for yourgenerosity in sharing withthem and with everyone else.
Everything Belongs to God 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
2 Corinthians 8:9 For you know the grace of ourLord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet foryour sakes he became poor, so that you throughhis poverty might become rich.2 Corinthians 8-9OUR MOTIVATION & GOAL
It’s About Your Heart2 Corinthians 9:6Remember this:Whoever sowssparingly will alsoreap sparingly, andwhoever sowsgenerously will alsoreap generously.
Giving is God’s Gift of Grace 2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace 2 Corinthians 9:15 abound to you, so Thanks be to God that in all things at for his indescribable all times, having all gift! that you need, you will abound in every good work.