Read 2 Corinthians 9:5-8
I want to show you SEVEN principles of giving:
- 1. The principle of reaping and sowing:
The word for “sparingly” in the Greek is actually “grudgingly”
The word for “bountifully” in the Greek is a compound word, which means “over and above giving.”
Read Luke 6:38
There is a false gospel out there that is called the “prosperity gospel” that makes God your genie and you can “name it, claim it” or call things into being by the power of your words. That is not what this is talking about. Many hucksters are out there appealing to greed and selfishness in people by telling them if they give more to their ministry by sowing a seed, God will give them more money in return. In the context of helping the struggling Jerusalem church, Paul does not appeal to the Corinthians that if they give to Jerusalem they will get more. What Paul is teaching is that generosity to the poor would meet with overflowing blessings that make it possible for people to be even more generous.
- An individual choice to give from the heart (2 Corinthians 9:7, and 8:10)
Giving is between you and God and it must be a conscious and deliberate decision that is made and continues to be lived out—the verb tense is in the perfect tense, which means that a decision was made at one point in the past, but has continuing results into the present. It is a deliberate decision.
It is a matter of the HEART—how do we respond to what God has given to us?
- Giving is to not be reluctant—(9:2, 9:7)
The word reluctantly means “out of sorrow, pain, or emotional suffering”. It should not distress you to give. It should be a natural outflow of the Christian life, not a source of pain, sorrow, or loss.
2 Corinthians 9:2 tells us about giving with enthusiasm—this word is the Greek word “zelos” where we get zealous
- Giving is to not be under compulsion (9:7, 8:12)
We are not to give under duress or out of duty or because someone is forcing us to give. Giving is the one thing that we must freely do out of love and obedience to God.
In 2 Corinthians 8:12—there must be willingness—the Greek word for willingness here means “readiness of mind or focus of mind”
Paul addresses the issue of equal sacrifice, not equal giving. We are responsible for giving out of what we have, not what we don’t have. When we commit to giving to the Lord for the next three years, we should not compare amounts or be concerned with the amount, but look at how sacrificial it is according to what we do have.
- God loves a cheerful giver
We must realize again that we are giving to the Lord, not to the building fund, or even to the church, but to the Lord to be used by stewards who will manage His money for ministry. The word here means cheerful, joyous, and gracious.
Our attitude is what counts—not necessarily the dollar amount. We can tithe and give ten percent of our income and be upset and begrudging and greedy and hate doing it. God wants us to respond to Him the way He responds to us—did He have to give us Jesus?
Was God obligated to fulfill John 3:16? NO! He didn’t have to give His only son, but He chose to out of the sheer pleasure of His will.
- God will provide for all your needs in all things (9:8, 8:9—rich in Christ not necessarily materially)
God has the power to take care of our needs so that we can have CONTENTMENT in all of lives circumstances. The word “contentment” means you have all you need or that which is sufficient.
Many times we have a warped view on what we think we need versus what we think we want. We are greedy to the core as humans and want to amass things for ourselves. In reality, God promises to meet our needs—not satisfy our insatiable, self-centered wants.
- God blesses so that we can be a blessing to others
As we think about “Advancing the Gospel…Trusting His Provision”, we are making eternal investments into people’s lives through the sharing of the gospel, missions, and church planting. In committing to the Lord over the next three years, God will enable us to pay down the debt on our building. As I’ve said over the past years, the building is not the END, but a MEANS to an end. The end is salvation of souls through the advancement of the gospel, but being debt free will enable us to do more ministry, serve as an outpost for the gospel, be a place that can be used for ministries, and enable us to grow. Not so we can hoard it to ourselves, but so that we can bless others.
Tomorrow is the BIG DAY!! Make every effort to be at church so that we can unite as Emmanuel Baptist Church and make our 3-year commitments to the Lord.
I want to worship You in spirit and truth tomorrow at the Celebration Service as I gather with my church family to honor You! Help me to finalize how You may be leading me to commit over the next 3 years above my tithes and offerings. I want to exercise brave faith. I want to advance the gospel. I want to practice financial stewardship. I want to glorify You. I desperately need Your grace and power. Financial stewardship is so crucial to my maturity as a Christian and I want to be obedient to Your Word! Grant me grace and lead and guide me in Your power.
In Jesus’ Name,