Summary: Growing in the area of sacrifice
Building a Life of Sacrifice
"Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also." 2 Cor. 8:7 (KJV)
A church member of Rick Warren's tell the following story. Bob McKuen took his young son to McDonald's recently, ordered him an order of large french fries. You know how good McDonald's french fries smell. He says as he sat down and was watching his son eat them, he instinctively reached over and grabbed one to eat. His son slapped his hand and said, "Dad, you can't have one. Those aren't your fries."
Bob said three thoughts immediately went through his mind. One, "I realized my child has forgotten that I'm the source of his fries. I'm the one who brought him to McDonalds. I'm the one who walked up to the counter. I paid for the fries with my own money. He doesn't realize that without me he would have no fries. I am the source of fries." He said the second thing he thought was, "My son has forgotten that I control the fries. I could take them away from him instantly and say, `All right, that's it! No more fries for you.' On the other hand, if I wanted to, I could buy him a truck load of fries. I could bury him in fries if I wanted to because I have the means to do that.' He said, number three, "I realized I don't really need his fries. I could buy my own. I could just as easily walk back up to the counter and buy myself some more fries. What I really want is for my son to learn to be unselfish."
Those are the three reasons God wants us to learn to be generous. Did you know generosity is the most talked about value in the entire Bible. Statistics:
The word "faith" or its variations is used 246 times in the Bible.
The word "hope" which is another important word in our Christian life, is used 185 times.
The word "love" which is obviously an important word to those of us who are believers is used 733 times.
The word "give" or "giving" is used 2,285 times in the Bible.
The Bible talks more about give and giving than all of those other issues combined. Why? Because giving is the expression of faith, hope, and love.
Karl Menninger the distinguished psychiatrist who founded the world renown Menninger clinic says, "Giving is an important criteria of mental health. Generous people are rarely mentally ill."
First Free Will Baptist Church is the most generous church that I know of. You don't need a message on generosity but we all need to be reminded over and over of how generous God has been to us. Let's examine our text to see what the Bible has to say about this subject. First, write this down;
1. The ____gift____ from the Sovereign.
A. The presentation of this grace
"Moreover, brethren we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed...." v 1
B. The paradox of this grace
"How in great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy...." v 2a
C. The practice of this grace
"....and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality." v 2b
Charles Spurgeon and Joseph Parker both had churches in London in the 19th century. On one occasion, Parker commented on the poor condition of children admitted to Spurgeon's orphanage. It was reported to Spurgeon however, that Parker had criticized the orphanage itself. Spurgeon blasted Parker the next week from the pulpit. The attack was printed in the newspapers and became the talk of the town. People flocked to Parker's church the next Sunday to hear his rebuttal. "I understand Dr. Spurgeon is not in his pulpit today, and this is the Sunday they use to take an offering for the orphanage. I suggest we take a love offering here instead." The crowd was delighted. The ushers had to empty the collection plates 3 times. Later that week there was a knock at Parker's study. It was Spurgeon. "You know Parker, you have practiced grace on me. You have given me not what I deserved, you have given me what I needed.
During the building of the Golden Gate Bridge over San Francisco Bay, construction fell badly behind schedule because several workers had accidentally fallen from the scaffolding to their deaths. Engineers and administrators could find no solution to the costly delays. Finally, someone suggested a gigantic net be hung under the bridge to catch any who fell. Finally in spite of the enormous cost, the engineers opted for the net. After it was installed, progress was hardly interrupted. A worker or two fell into the net but were saved. Ultimately, all the time lost to fear was regained by replacing fear with faith in the net. As we paid nothing for God's eternal love and nothing for the Son of His love, and nothing for His Spirit and our grace and faith, and nothing for our eternal rest...What an astonishing thought it will be to think of the unmeasurable difference between our deservings and our receivings. O, how free was all this love, and how free is this enjoyed glory...So then let "Deserved" be written on the floor of hell but grace on the door of heaven and life.