Summary: The example of the Macedonian our Corinthian churches give us tremendous advice on the sensitive subject of tithing for NT believers today! Advice that is easy to understand requiring very little interpretation!
So much is said about tithing and yet it is probably the most difficult subject for me to speak on. I think it would be actually easier if the church was wealthy. Why is this such a sensitive subject? Or maybe its me, but why is it so hard to preach on?
What about to you? Think about it for a moment; Is Tithing a sensitive subject for you?
Now, let me assure you that I am NOT coming to you today on this subject because of our financial needs. This is not a lesson to make you feel guilty! Instead, as each of the sermons have been in the last few weeks, my goal is that God will use the sermons He has given to me through this series to help prepare us as a church for what we believe is going to be an exciting 2010!
#3 in our series preparing us for the upcoming 2010, deals with not only HOW MUCH WE GIVE, BUT WHY WE GIVE IT and more importantly DOES GOD USE IT?
Week 1: the subject of Open Doors using Revelation 3:7-8.
Week 2: Effective Prayer and the importance of always remaining in an attitude of prayer not only in our personal lives, but maintaining an attitude of prayer for our church and its leaders.
Week 3: Effective Giving
Each of us says we would love to have a closer relationship with God; that we want all He has for us. However, none of us would dare say we can get closer to God without obeying His Word. His word is truth and it is God’s bond with us, so to speak. He wants us to have all He has for us. I say it almost every post lately, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” James 1:17. Why do I say this? Because it is truth. God only wants good for us, however we must obey His word!
So being a NT Believer, “What is required surrounding the subject of Tithing?”
Corinth has started collecting money for the poor in Jerusalem (1 Cor. 16.1-4) but the effort had slowed down (8.10-11)
One of the purposes of 2 Cor is to was to encourage the Corinthians to finish the collection they had started.
Paul uses the generosity of the Macedonia churches to encourage the Corinthian church to finish what they had started.
In order to encourage the Corinthians to continue in what they had started, he tactfully used the example of the Macedonian churches.
Paul says …
1. “we want YOU to know”
2. “out of severe trial” (NLT – ‘they are being tested by many trials and they are very poor, but they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed with rich generosity’)
Though small, poor, and many trials, they are joyful, and overflowing with generosity. This says so much about other small but obedient churches.
1. “testify that they gave as much as they were able”
1 Cor. 16.2 ‘you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income – saving it up’
a. based on their income that decided what they were able
b. they set it aside (1st) - saving it up (MAKING SURE NOTHING ELSE WOULD GET IN THE WAY)
2 Cor 9.7 ‘each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or undercompulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver’
a) 1.16.2 - based on their income
b) 2.9.7 Also, based on ‘his heart’
I think a key in ALL OF TITHING is this phrase ‘in his heart’
We will GIVE based on our love for God!
We will GIVE based on our trust for God!
We will GIVE based on our faith in God!
9.7b “for God loves a cheerful giver”
1) We are asked to give in regularity
2) We are to plan our giving based on our income
3) We are to lay it aside 1ST before anything else
4) We are to give based on our heart
Because the Macedonians gave in this manner, they not only gave what they anticipated to give but beyond what they planned to give!
3- “even beyond their ability” - “entirely on their own”
Their giving was far more than Paul expected. In fact, because of their situation, Paul had even been reluctant to even ask for a donation.
Though these churches were small and poor with no extra money, the pleaded for an opportunity to be involved!
Why? Because of their love for God, their love for fellow believers gave them such a desire to be involved. We cannot realize the love they had for each other and I want us to really take note of that.