Sermons

Summary: How do you measure the greatness of a church? Adapted from a sermon by John Maxwell.

Stewardship is a Choice Series

II Cor. 8:1-5; 9: 6-15

January 11, 2004 * Chester’s First Baptist Church, Chester, Illinois

(A message adapted from Dr. John C. Maxwell)

Mike Fogerson, Speaker

Introduction:

The card reads "Stewardship is a Choice: God has given me special gifts and resources to help me become the person He intends for me to be. That is His gift to me. I must choose to manage these gifts and resources for His glory and not my own. That is my gift to Him."

2 Cor. 8

We will read about a church model that was pleasing to God.

Last Sunday we talked about personal models. (2 good & 2 bad)

(Little w/ little, little w/ much, much w/ little, and much w/ much)

Today, Church in Macedonia Paul is writing to. . .good model for a church to model after.

Calvin Coolidge Quote in listing guide:

"No enterprise can exist for itself alone. It ministers to some great need, it performs some great service, not for itself, but for others; or failing therein it ceases to be profitable and ceases to exist." (Calvin Coolidge)

2 Corinthians 8.1-5 (NIV)

2CO 8:1 And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. [2] Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. [3] For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, [4] they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. [5] And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will.

*Background:

Macedonian churches were churches Paul had started during previous missionary journeys. (Philippi, Thesselonica, Beria. All in northern Greece.)

We find Paul on a journey heading AWAY FROM Macedonia, but he was called by God to go back to where he had already been to help churches he had started that were in need of his help. (Philippi, Thesselonica, Beria. All in northern Greece.)

Now Paul in II Corinthians is asking for help.

I helped the church and now the church is helping him!

The church had started out as a baby.

a They started as a group that needed assistance, feed, cleaned up after when things got messy.

b The church in Macedonia had became strong.

To become strong, independent, self-reliant.

They became strong so they could use the gifts God had given them to bless others.

Any church that doesn’t get this concept of Christianity has missed it!

(We are only blessed, prosperous, grow so we can bless others!)

How do we measure the greatness of a church?

a A greatness in a church is not on what it receives, its on what it gives!

We are not a savings & loan institution; we’re a church!

As God bless us, we pass it on to others!

b Preacher, when will we stop taking up offerings for other people? NEVER

Are we ever just going to take care of our needs, and take care of ourselves?

a No. Not at this church.

b If your philosophy of stewardship is to keep everything God has blessed you with and horde it for yourself, not going to fit withing the philosophy of how we do ministry at FBC.

Preacher, why don’t we sell spaghetti dinners? We’re not Marcello’s. Where the Church!

Preacher, why don’t we sell Chicken Dinner? We’re not KFC. Where FBC, the Church!

We don’t sell candy, cook books or calanders, the church is able to do outreach because we are going to GIVE to take care of the needs of others.

If your philosophy of stewardship is to keep everything God has blessed you with, horde it. . .it’s not going to be a good fit at this church.

We’re always going to be giving, reaching, blessing.

(I’m proud to be the pastor of the church that gives things away.)

I There are some outstanding Characteristics about the church @ Macedonia.

1 Gave out of much affliction v.2

(They had had a crisis, trial, hard time. It wasn’t easy for them to give.)

2 Gave out of deep poverty. v.2 (much w/ little)

3 Gave beyond their power v.3

4 Gave willingly and to their own accord v.4

5 Viewed giving as a privilege v.4

6 The first gave themselves to the Lord v.5

From these six characteristics, there is a biblical formula that we use and apply

The right attitude

PRODUCES

the right action

THAT PROVIDED

God’s Blessing

The Right Attitude:

1 Giving is a matter of priorities, not a matter of problems.

v.2 They had problems, but that was not their priority.

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