Summary: This sermon was given to teach the blessings of being a generous giver.
An Attitude Adjustment About Giving
January 15, 2006
Intro: How do you view giving?
Some view it as an obstacle, burden, punishment. (this is seen in how some get uncomfortable even when a preacher mentions it)
Some of us need simply to change our attitude about giving. Althouth the Bible is speaking here about special offerings to help the needy, it is interesting to note that only 9% of Christians tithe (though 17% say they do)[http://www.barna.org/]
It’s not just the non-tithers that need an attitude adjustment but those who do tithe need to have their attitudes adjusted as well.
We need to be transformed from attitudes of greed to attitudes of generosity, from attitudes that give grudgingly to an attitude of giving liberally, from an attitude of stinginess to an attitude of sharing.
The context of this passage is concerning the poor saints in Jerusalem and the generosity of the Macedonians believers who had given generously to an special offering Paul was arranging for them.
Ironically, those who began the fire of the Good News going into all the world were now the ones in desperate need.They were at the center of the most severe persecution during those days….Jerusalem, the center of Jewish life.These saints were outspoken believers at a great cost. They suffered economically, politically, socially, and emotionally.
I want to remind you of the poor saints in Turbe, Haiti. We have 8 people leaving on a mission trip to this orphanage in 2 weeks. They are going to build a wall to provide for these orphans of the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere some physical security while they minister to them spiritually. We have an opportunity to be a part of what they are doing by sending them with our prayers and financial support.
3 Attitude Adjustments
Attitude Adjustment #1: Giving is not a punishment it is a privilege (vv.1-4)
It is a privilege to have God work through us (v.1) God was moving powerfully among the Macedonian churches.(v.2) There was a great ordeal of affliction, but an abundance of joy. There was severe poverty but a wealth of generosity.
When you are put to the test (ordeal) of affliction, how you respond is who you really are. The Macedonian believers passed with flying colors.
It is a privilege to help meet the needs of the needy (vv.3-4) The Macedonians begged to be a part of the collection and went above and beyond their ability and considered it a favor to have the opportuinty to help.
Attitude Adjustment #2: Giving is not an obstacle it is an opportunity (vv.5-9)
It is an opportunity for worship (vv.5-6) It’s just another way to give yourself to Jesus.
It is an opportunity for growth (v.7) The Corinthian church was known as the “happening/charismatic” church with lively worship services, gifted believers, miracles and wonders, they were sophisticated and probably well-funded for a church of that day since it was located in the prosperous city of Corinth. It was definately the church to be a part of. Yet they needed to grow in their giving! When you truly give yourself totally to God, you will have little problem giving your substance to God.
ill. C. H. Spurgeon preached once a each year for his orphans. At that great meeting many would come to hear the famous preacher, and an offering would be received for the orphanage. After one of these meetings he was leaving the sanctuary when one of those "super spiritual," narrow-minded, nitpicking individuals accosted him with the charge, "Why, Mr. Spurgeon, I thought you preached for souls and not for money!"
Spurgeon gravely replied, “Why, Mr. So-and-So. Normally I do preach for souls and not for money. But my orphans can’t eat souls and if they did, my brother, it would take at least four the size of yours to give one of them a square meal!"
Brett Blair www.eSermons.com
Our generosity in giving material blessings says alot about the size of our spirituality.
It is an opportunity to be like Jesus (vv.8-9)
16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.
17 If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?
18 Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.
There is not a greater opportunity in the world! What a wonderful example to follow…if I could be like anybody, I want to be like Jesus! If you ask who I want my kids to be like, I say without reservation "I want them to be like Jesus!" If you ask me what I want our church to be like, I want us to be like Jesus! To have a heart like His. To be concerned about the things He is concerned about, to be passionate about what He is passionate about, to be involved in what He is involved in. We are being like Jesus when we give what we have to help someone in need.