Summary: When it comes to Christian Giving we are misinformed, confused, and have mixed emotions. This is a basic look at Christian Giving.
Scripture: 2 Corinthians 8: 1-15
Message: Christian Giving - Christian Confusion
Anthony Perry Jr.
Every Sunday I grab two little golden plates and I walk to the center aisle as I say, “It is time to receive our tithes and offerings.” What is a tithe? What is an offering? Are we required to give? And why do we give?
I know what you’re thinking, “Oh, no! The preacher’s going to talk about money. Hold on to your wallets and purses. It seems like all anyone wants these days is money, money, money!”
To tell you the truth I’m getting tired of hearing about it, so even though I feel God wants me to talk to you about this subject I am thinking? “Oh no! God is making me talk about money again. Oh God how I hate the subject of Money.
Whenever we hear a message about giving from the preacher we sometimes think, “What’s the preacher’s angle? Is the church in need again and the board wants him to make us feel guilty so we will give more?”
It’s a shame that we live in a day when the glorious privilege of giving as Christians is overshadowed by suspicions like this. It is suspicion that has been caused by con artists who have entered into Christianity and have taken advantage of willing givers.
I felt that what we need is an unbiased Christian look at giving. This is why I turned to 2 Corinthians chapters 8 and 9.
I. The Grace of God is the Basis of Christian Giving
Paul begins in II Cor. 8:1 by writing, "We wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia."
Paul seems to be saying that giving is God’s activity through God’s people.
To help us gain the right perspective we have to start with the notion that everything belongs to God anyway.
The Bible says, "Every beast of the forest is Mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. ...everything that moves in the field is Mine. ...the world is Mine, and all it contains" (Psalm 50:10-12). “The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine declares the Lord of hosts” (Haggai 2:8). “Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights” (James 1:17).
God is the owner of all things. This makes Him the giver of all things. What this makes us are trustees, managers, and stewards of Another’s goods.
Did you know that the God who is at work in me is a giving God? His work of undeserved giving is called "grace." So when we give, as Paul explains, it is an expression of God’s character, because God is a giving God. In other words it is God’s grace expressed through His people that Glorifies Him as the Giver of all good things.
What this means is that Christian giving is not merit-giving. It is not something we do to please God so God will be nice to us. Our giving does not earn us brownie points with God, but our lack of giving will certainly be counted against us. Why? Because we have been unfaithful as stewards and managers of God’s property, everything in the world given to us for the good of all God’s people, God will hold us accountable.
The church a long time ago asked people to give in order to buy special favors from God. Today, people are being asked to give in order to buy answered prayers, or to receive a blessing. If was wrong then, and all of Christianity thinks it was wrong then, then why is not wrong now. Neither one has anything to do with Christian giving, because Christian giving is God at work in His people according to His character and for His glory, so that people will learn to be thankful to Him.
II. The Godly Character of Christian Giving
Christian giving is Godly because it allows the character of God, the God who gives, to be expressed in our lives, through the God who dwells in us. The motivation behind God’s giving is God’s Character of Love. Christian giving should always be displayed and pursued with the motivation of God’s Love for others.
Paul tells the Corinthians that by giving they can "prove...the sincerity of their love." (II Cor. 8:8). Later he encourages them to "openly before the churches demonstrate the proof of their love..." (II Cor. 8:24).
The genuine act of Christian love is God’s love living in us and through us, because "The love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." (Romans 5:5)
Christian giving is Godly in character, because the Will of God is displayed.