Summary: Our giving as an act of worship flows from the grace we have received as redeemed people.

“I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.” [1]

We want to worship in a manner acceptable to God. We want to glorify His Name and honour Him. Nowhere is this more important than when we administer the goods of this earth. Endeavouring to instruct the congregation in this neglected facet of worship, I initiated a series of expositions through the eighth and ninth chapters of Paul’s second letter to the Corinthian church. Those studies addressed the misunderstood and frequently ignored aspect of worship that we know as giving.

In order to ensure that we share a common foundation in worship through giving, I invite you to join me in reviewing the components of grace giving we have already discovered from previous messages covering these chapters. Grace giving is first of all worship. Underscore in your mind that the act of giving is an act of worship which transforms mere duty to the highest act expected of any mere mortal. Grace giving is the expected outflow of the heart which has been set free by the love of God in Christ and which recognises the loving sacrifice of Jesus our Lord. As to the components defining grace giving, we have seen that grace giving is voluntary giving akin to providing a firstfruit offering. Before the harvest is complete, before the result of the harvest is known, in faith the one making the offering gives the first portion of the harvest to God as an act of faith. Before we make any payments, before making any purchase, our gift ought to be set aside to present before the Lord.

Grace giving is sacrificial giving, revealing a heart which is not overly attached to possessions. Grace giving is always generous. Grace giving reveals a heart in love with Christ because the one giving has received the gracious gift of life. How can one in love with Christ be anything other than generous? Grace giving is giving which is thoughtful and responsive. In grace giving, we are to think about the amount we will give and determine how we will give. We are responsible to know that those receiving the donations administer the funds wisely and in accordance with the will of God. This is the reason I encourage members to study the budget of the church and to voice their desires. The budget is in reality a spiritual document providing guidance for the growth and the progress of the congregation. We are also responsible to respond to needs as they develop.

Grace giving is to be systematic, proportionate and faithful. We are to give regularly and consistently, as often as we receive income and in such a manner that those dependent upon the gifts can know that needs will be cared for. We realise that the more Christ entrusts to us the greater our responsibility to give generously. I do not expect an individual on a fixed income to give the same percentage of an individual with a growing income. I do not expect an individual with income barely sufficient for daily survival to give the same percentage of one who has more than sufficient income. I do expect all who know Christ and who seek His glory to give! Thus, grace giving reflects spiritual maturation. The spiritually mature understand that how we handle money speaks volumes about our relationships. We are stewards over all that God has given into our care and we are responsible to answer to Him for our administration of those goods.

Reviewing what has been presented, we know that grace giving is an act of worship. Such giving is voluntary, sacrificial and generous. It is giving that is thoughtful and responsive; and it is systematic, proportionate and faithful. Grace giving reflects spiritual maturity.

The concept of grace is essentially foreign to the human mind—not that we do not long to receive grace from others. Though we may attempt to practise a pale imitation of mercy and though we each wish to receive grace from others, our fallen condition conspires to ensure that the consistent practise of grace is difficult if not impossible. Nevertheless, not a single Christian can deny that she has received grace from the Lord God.

Most any child of God can define grace and most are able to give a standard definition of sorts in an effort to explain this divine characteristic. Most of the people of God expect to grow in grace, to progress toward fuller understanding of grace and to reveal a richer expression of the grace of God through life; however, the concept of grace is more easily experienced then it is explained. One area in which grace is experienced regularly within the Body of Christ is through the act of giving. In past messages I have introduced the concept of grace giving, attempting to demonstrate that through implementing such a concept to control our giving we worship the God of grace and at the same time step toward fuller expression of His grace as we so act.

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