Summary: In 2 Corinthians 8:6-15 we notice an exhortation to grace-oriented giving by the Apostle Paul.
Today I would like to continue my four-week series titled, “Guidelines for Grace-Oriented Giving” from 2 Corinthians 8-9. These two chapters give us some of the clearest and most explicit teaching on giving throughout all of Scripture.
Last week we looked at “An Example of Grace-Oriented Giving” from 2 Corinthians 8:1-5.
Today, I would like to examine 2 Corinthians 8:6-15 in a sermon titled, “An Exhortation to Grace-Oriented Giving.”
So, let’s read 2 Corinthians 8:6-15:
6 Accordingly, we urged Titus that as he had started, so he should complete among you this act of grace. 7 But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you—see that you excel in this act of grace also.
8 I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine. 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. 10 And in this matter I give my judgment: this benefits you, who a year ago started not only to do this work but also to desire to do it. 11 So now finish doing it as well, so that your readiness in desiring it may be matched by your completing it out of what you have. 12 For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have. 13 I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness 14 your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness. 15 As it is written, “Whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack.” (2 Corinthians 8:6-15)
It is our privilege and joy this morning to continue in our series of sermons which I have titled, “Guidelines to Grace-Oriented Giving” from 2 Corinthians 8-9. These two chapters are rich in teaching about the issue of Christian giving. They teach us so much about how we are to give the resources that God has entrusted to us for the advancement of his glory and his kingdom. Properly understanding and applying the teaching of this part of God’s Word can have profound effects on each one of us as we learn from the Apostle Paul what God has taught us about giving.
Now, I know that having said that, some of you are wishing that you had scheduled a trip to dear old Aunt Beatrice. Maybe some of you are opening the bulletin to check if you are not really scheduled to work in the nursery this morning! Or maybe you are wondering why your dentist doesn’t schedule root canals on Sunday morning, because surely that will be less painful than listening to a sermon on giving!
I think it is fair to say that most of us feel some level of guilt about our giving, or should I say, our lack of giving!
I was quite surprised to learn some specific details this week about our giving to the Forward by Faith capital stewardship campaign. For example, I learned that for the first 9 months of the Forward by Faith campaign, which represents 25% of the campaign duration, 25% of all people who made a pledge to Forward by Faith have not yet given a single cent!
Now I know that a few people are planning to give their pledge at the end of the campaign. I also know that some people have fallen on hard times financially.
But, I suspect that the majority of the 25% have just not paid attention to their pledge to Forward by Faith. To that end, I have asked that the 3rd Quarter Financial Statements go out this week so that we can all see what we have pledged, and how are giving in relation to our pledge.
By the way, if you have fallen on hard financial circumstances, please let us know. For one thing, we want to pray with you and for you. You recall that no-one is obligated to give to Forward by Faith, but it does help us to know your situation so that we can not only pray with you but also plan our budget better.
I should also mention that if every one of the 25% people who made a pledge had given a proportionate amount to Forward by Faith, which happens to be at the 25% point in terms of the duration of the campaign, we would have approximately $26,000 more in the Forward by Faith fund.