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Summary: Giving is an important part of the Lord’s work, because spiritual ministry is carried out in the physical realm. We can give without loving God, but we cannot love God without giving.

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An Earful of Cheerful Givers

(2 Corinthians 8-9)

1. Churches have different ways of doing things. But bulletin bloopers and typos cross denominational lines.

• Bertha Belch, a missionary from Africa, will be speaking tonight at Calvary Memorial Church in Racine. Come tonight and hear Bertha Belch all the way from Africa.

• “Ladies, don’t forget the rummage sale. It’s a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Don’t forget your husbands.”

• "The sermon this morning: ’Jesus Walks on the Water.’ The sermon tonight: ’Searching for Jesus.’"

• The peacemaking meeting scheduled for today has been canceled due to conflict.

• Next Thursday will be tryouts for the choir. They need all the help they can get.

• Thursday night will be a potluck supper. Prayer and medication to follow.

2. When it comes to giving, donating to a church ministry, Christianity has a bad reputation. The television evangelists, constant pleas for money, etc.

3. It is easy to react and over-react to the abuse out there. Our perspective is simple: when the subject comes up in a book we are studying, we deal with it.

4. The subject of giving is not mentioned all that frequently in Scripture, but 2 Corinthians 8-9 are perhaps the most detailed explanation of this subject.

5, Some of Paul’s teaching here is probably based on Psalm 112 (quoted in 9:9)

Praise the Lord! Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in his commandments! His offspring will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.

Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever.

Light dawns in the darkness for the upright; he is gracious, merciful, and righteous.

It is well with the man who deals generously and lends; who conducts his affairs with justice. For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered forever.

He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.

His heart is steady; he will not be afraid, until he looks in triumph on his adversaries. He has distributed freely; he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever; his horn is exalted in honor.

The wicked man sees it and is angry; he gnashes his teeth and melts away; the desire of the wicked will perish!

Main Idea: Giving is an important part of the Lord’s work, because spiritual ministry is carried out in the physical realm. We can give without loving God, but we cannot love God without giving.

I. We Are to Give Graciously, Joyfully, Not Under CONSTRAINT (8:1,6; 9:5b, 7)

A. Law and GRACE are often matters of attitude toward God

1. Many Christians give a tithe (10%) as a way to discipline their giving

2. “The payment of tithes was no novel practice, having been performed for centuries by both biblical figures and pagans alike. It is well attested that the tithe was present in the very earliest of cultures_-…Phoenician, Chinese, Babylonian, Akkadian, and Egyptian--stretching back to the earliest written records of the human race.” [Mark Snoeberger, Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary]

3. Others are led to give less, others more (grace giving, regeneration HS)

4. We all have a “giving ethic.”

5. The Corinthians were probably giving to sustain their ministry, but not beyond their own church…some people that way with missions…

B. In Psalm 112, the righteous man gives BECAUSE he fears God

1. … and delights in his commands

2. the commands of God deal with giving out of compassion and fellowship

3. Philippians is a thank you letter for support sent to Paul…

4. In OT, 2 possibly 3 tithes, every third year one for the poor… Temple

C. God loves a CHEERFUL giver

1. In Psalm 112, the righteous man does not just give, he is generous in disposition… for example, tipping or not trying to take advantage

2. You cannot have a generous disposition if you live close to the financial edge…. You must have margin to be generous…

3. If you spend money as fast as you get it (or faster), you won’t give much

4. Thus good stewardship of all that you have is a spiritual issue

5. Everything we have belongs to God and he wants us to enjoy his blessings, but he wants us to control ourselves and be generous

D. Sometimes the less wealthy are the MORE generous

According to Philanthropy.com, “The rich aren’t the most generous. Middle-class Amer­i­cans give a far bigger share of their discretionary income to charities than the rich. Households that earn $50,000 to $75,000 give an average of 7.6 percent of their discretionary income to charity, compared with an average of 4.2 percent for people who make $100,000 or more... Rich people who live in neighborhoods with many other wealthy people give a smaller share of their incomes to charity than rich people who live in more economically diverse communities…”

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