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Summary: Part 2 showing Paul’s reasons for giving in II Corinthians.

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Stewardship Series Part 2

The Grace of Giving

I Corinthians 16, II Corinthians 8 & 9

SCRIPTURE READING: II Corinthians 9:6-8

INTRODUCTION:

Last week and this week, we’re talking about The Grace Of Giving. Stewardship is a topic that we should probably address more often, because --- according to scripture --- it’s an essential part of the Christian walk.

Martin Luther said, “When a person is converted, 3 conversions are necessary: Head, heart, and purse. And then he concluded: “Purse is the hardest.”

In fact, if you really want to know how truly “converted” you are --- then turn in your Checkbooks to your last month’s ledger. Maybe you never thought of it this way, but your checkbook is actually a theological document. It tells what you really care about. It tells what you put first. It tells who you worship.

This week, you received a letter from me with a pledge form in it. There is also a pledge card in your bulletin. Last Sunday I gave some background on the challenge we took on over 5 years ago to build this new Worship Center. (If you weren’t here and want more information, sermon tapes are available in the church office.)

Let me review briefly, what I shared with you last week: We have come a long way toward paying off our indebtedness on this new Worship Center. In fact, we are about 70% of the way toward paying off our entire loan. Furthermore, even though we have not talked much about the project in the last year, about 30 of you have contributed towards our building fund to the tune of about $1,200 each month. Our monthly mortgage, however, is $3,900 per month. Because of that $2,700 gap, we have had to divert general giving from the budget into debt reduction.

Now, the amount given by each person last year varies. But if you average it out, it comes to about $40 per person per month. Looking at it that way, if about 90 more of you would give at that level, we could support the entire mortgage each month. This would free up our general giving to meet our budget needs and help us pay off our indebtedness as soon as possible. Of course, some can give more than others, but for every one of you, your participation makes a difference.

I heard a story about two men who were marooned on an Island. One man paced back and forth, worried and scared, while the other man sat back and sunned himself.

The first man said to the second man, "Aren’t you afraid we are going to die out here?"

"No," said the second man, "I make $100,000 dollars a week, and I tithe faithfully to my church every week. --- My Pastor will find me!” (Sermon Central: Daniel Henrill)

Now, the truth is that I make a point of NOT knowing what any individual gives in our church. So if you get stranded on a desert island, don’t hold your breath waiting for me to rescue you! The way I look at it, your giving is between you and God. And that’s the real point here. God wants every Christian to grow in the Grace of Giving.

Today we are taking a second look at Paul’s words in II Corinthians. The Corinthian Christians had pledged to give an offering for the needy Christians in Jerusalem. Paul was writing to urge them to complete the offering they had promised. Last week we looked at two reasons Paul gave for excelling in the Grace of Giving.

· He described the example of the Macedonian Christians who gave generously in spite of extreme poverty and hardship.

· He then gave the supreme example of Jesus Christ who gave up the riches of heaven to put on flesh and come to earth as Savior.

Today we’re going to look at three other motivations to grow in the Grace of Giving. Look at II Corinthians 8:10: Here is my advice about what is best for you in this matter: Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so.

Paul told the Corinthians to LOOK TO THEIR OWN PAST RECORD.

1. Look to your own past record II Corinthians 8:10

In other words, “live up to your own standards.” The Corinthians had a past they could be proud of. They were the first to step up to the plate when they saw a need. They excelled in the Grace of Giving.

Everybody is good at something. And every church has some kind of ministry they can do better than anyone else. Whatever we do well, we should be doing with all our might!

· Our congregation has always been strong in the areas of youth and children’s ministry. For our size, we have a tradition of excelling in ministry to young people. Rocky has done tremendous work for the past 5 years. His influence on our youth that will continue well into the future. We’re going to miss him! There’s no one like Rocky! But I’m confident that God will lead us to the right person to build on the foundation Rocky has laid.

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