Summary: A healthy church is a giving church. God is the owner. We are just the stewards.
SERIES: “GOD-GIVEN GUIDELINES FOR GROWING A GREAT CHURCH”
TEXT: 2 CORINTHIANS 9:1-15
TITLE: Guideline #9: “GIVE GENEROUSLY OF GOD’S RESOURCES”
(Bulk of material from Bob Russel’s When God Builds A Church and a sermon on this text also by him)
INTRODUCTION: A. Ten Reasons Why I Never Wash
1. I was forced to wash as a child
2. People who wash are hypocrites – they think they’re cleaner than others
3. There are so many kinds of soap, I could never decide which was right.
4. I used to wash, but it got boring.
5. I wash only on Christmas and Easter
6. None of my friends wash.
7. I’ll start washing when I’m older.
8. I really don’t have time.
9. The bathroom is too cold
--(Or too hot)
10. People who make soap are only after your money
B. Those excuses sound pretty silly when you’re talking about washing your body.
1. But to be honest with you, I’ve heard every one of those excuses used by people
who don’t attend church.
2. And #10 is a very popular excuse: The church doesn’t care about me. They only
want my money.
C. I’ve been preaching since I was 15.
1. I’ll admit in those early years that I didn’t preach very often
--Maybe once or twice a year
2. But the one thing that remained consistent through the years is that I have rarely
preached on money and finances.
D. Giving is a “dreaded subject” for several reasons:
1. The reputation of Television evangelists
--Television evangelists have a reputation for exploiting people financially.
a. That statement is not universally true, but it doesn’t really matter.
b. The media has so stereotyped televangelists that we want desperately to
disassociate ourselves from them.
c. Wayne Smith tells about a farmer who called the office of Southland
Christian Church in Lexington, KY where he was senior minister for 40 years.
The farmer asked to speak to the Head Hog at the Trough.
The receptionist said, “If you’re referring to our senior minister, you may
call him Brother, Pastor, even Reverend if you feel so inclined. But it would
not be proper to refer to him as the Head Hog.”
The farmer said, “I’m sorry. I’m just an old pig farmer and I just sold a few
pigs out of my herd. I was going to donate ten thousand dollars to the building
fund at your church, so I was hoping to catch him in the office.”
The receptionist said, “Oh….just a minute…I think I hear the Big Pig
coming down the hall.”
d. Since some preachers, especially televangelists, are perceived to be always
focusing on money, many preachers go to the opposite extreme of not wanting
to talk about money at all.
2. The fear of offending people
a. Sometimes preachers are afraid to talk about money because they’re afraid of
turning off any visitors in attendance at the services.
b. People have said: “I worked for months to get my friends to come to church
with me, and wouldn’t you know the day they came, you preached on money! I
tried to tell them you don’t preach often on money, but they haven’t come
c. I hate to hear that. I don’t like to lose anyone.
d. However, if they said, “You preached on the resurrection, and they didn’t
believe it,” or “You preached on disciplining your children, and they disagree
with you,” I wouldn’t stop preaching those biblical truths.
E. Several reasons why we should address this important subject:
1. God’s Word speaks often on the subject of stewardship
a. Acts 20:27 – “I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God.”
b. We need to do the same thing – proclaim the whole counsel of God
c. Jesus talked about stewardship more than any other subject.
(1). He talked more about handling your money than he did about heaven, hell, or
even loving your neighbor.
(2). He knew that “where your treasure is, there you heart will be also.”
--That’s what he said in Mt. 6:21.
(3). Brian Sluth, former president of the Christian Stewardship Association:
“There are 2,350 passages in the bible dealing with money and material
possessions – more than on any other subject – but it’s the least talked-about
subject in the church. The church has been silent for so long that people
don’t understand the responsibilities that undergird a generous lifestyle.”
2. Generosity Transforms People
--I have literally seen generous giving transform the lives of people.
a. There’s an old illustration about a technique they use in Africa to capture
monkeys. They put a banana in a small-mouthed jar chained to a tree. The
monkey will reach in to get the banana, and get his hand stuck in the jar.