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Summary: God's plan to live debt free!

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What motivates you to give to certain people, charities, causes, ministries? Some reasons could include: Compassion for needy people, investment opportunities, to avoid feeling guilty, you just want to help a friend in need, etc.

When the topic of giving is brought up in church some people react:

(1) With DISGUST. “All they are after at that church is my money.”

(2) With DISSAPPOINTMENT. “I’m not even coming to church when they talk about giving and tithing. That topic should never be mentioned from the pulpit.” Yet, Jesus Christ spoke more about money and possessions than any other topic in the Bible.

(3) With DISTRUST. I’m not surprised. The way so many TV preachers live their lives and spend the money people give into their ministries on themselves. This is why I’m so thankful for Mary Lou Kennerly, the Finance Team at our church.

(3) With DELIGHT. You have come to know and experience the blessings of learning to give to God’s work generously. Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).

A family was returning home after the Sunday morning church service. The father criticized the sermon, the daughter thought the choir sang off-key, and the mother found fault with the organist's playing. The whole discussion came to an end, however, when the little boy of the family said, "but it was still a pretty good show for a nickel, don't you think, dad?"

In out text today, God gives us four key principals in His plan for debt free living.

1. REALIZE GOD IS A GRACIOUS GOD (V 1)

It would probably be best for me to set the context of chapters eight and nine in their proper perspective.

One of the main things the Apostle Paul did on his third missionary journey was to collect a special offering from the Lord's churches for the relief of the poor Christians in Judea due to a severe famine.

In Paul's first letter to the Corinthians he gave them instructions concerning the collection of this offering.

1 Corinthians 16:1-4, "Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatia, so do you also. [2] On the first day of every week let each one of you put aside and save, as he may prosper, that no collections be made when I come. [3] And when I arrive, whomever you may approve, I shall send them with letters to carry your gift to Jerusalem; [4] and if it is fitting for me to go also, they will go with me."

Before collecting this special offering from the Corinthians, Paul had also visited the churches of Macedonia and received an offering from them.

In verse 1 he says, "Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia,"

As Paul describes the way these churches responded, he is giving to us principles for Christian giving today.

The first principle in giving is to realize God is a gracious God. He is the God of all hope, the God of all grace, the God of all comfort, the God of all power.

God has poured out upon us His:

(1) SAVING GRACE (Ephesians 2:8-9). God in His love and mercy has made us alive, even when we were dead in our sins. How often do you praise God for His saving grace? Before Christ – dead, deceived, doomed, empty, guilty, fearing death, judgment, etc. Received Christ – Christ died, buried, risen. Present with Jesus. He’ll always be with me. “I will fear no evil, for YOU are with me.”

(2) SERVING GRACE (Romans 12:3-8). God has gifted you by His Spirit to make an impact on others for His kingdom. No where does the Bible teach the pastor is the only minister. The Bible teaches all Christians are Christ’s representatives and are called into the ministry to build the body of Christ in love.

(3) SUFFICIENT GRACE (2 Corinthians 12:9). The false gospel says, “Come to Jesus and He’ll never let you have one day of sickness and pain. If you are not healed you don’t have enough faith.” The true gospel says, “God will be with you no matter what you go through. He will comfort, strengthen, help you no matter how you feel or how bad you are suffering.”

I met a new pastor friend this week and he was broken over the issues he’s going through with his church. What’s the answer? Get yourself out of this mess. You don’t have enough faith. God must not be with you. NO! The answer is Jesus is even now, holding you, making you, strengthening you. When you enter that doctors office, have that child that is in rebellion, don’t know where you next paycheck is coming from, etc.

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