Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Using guilt to get people to give money to the Lord’s work is wrong, but it is a temptation because 37% of regular church attenders give nothing to the church, 33% of them engage in at least some form of gambling.

Part I

Purpose: To lay out God's parameters for giving.

Aim: I want the listener to examine how they give to God and make any changes that are contrary to God's design for giving.

INTRODUCTION: Joey Mimbs and Ralph Travis of Ellenton, Florida wrote this following song to be sung to the tune of "Ol' Mac Donald had a farm." This song pokes fun at using the guilt method to get people to give money to the church. I substituted the name of our church where they had the name for their church:

Bethel Chapel has a fund;

So give us all your dough.

We'll take your check, your credit cards,

Your cash, CD's and gold.

There's a missionary here,

Carpet fund there,

Here a roof; there a van--

Give us all your money man.

Bethel Chapel has a fund;

So give us all your dough!

Bethel Chapel has a fund,

So we can pay our bills.

So when your money has run out,

Please write us in your wills.

There's a budget need here,

A building fund there--

Sewer, water, lights, and all;

Don't forget the fellowship hall.

Bethel Chapel has a fund;

So give and give it all!

Using guilt to encourage people to give money to the Lord's work is wrong, but it is a temptation because [according to a survey by "Empty Tomb" 2003-2004] 37% of regular church attenders give nothing to the church, 33% of them engage in at least some form of gambling like buying lottery tickets.

Another hindrance to giving is the way most Americans spend money. According to an MSN article by Kim Khan:

* About 43% of American families spend more than they earn each year.

* Average households carry some $8,000 in credit card debt.

* Personal bankruptcies have doubled in the past decade.

All of this helps explain why "Just 6% of born again households tithed to their church in 2002.... Among the groups most likely to tithe are people over 55, college graduates, evangelicals, Republicans, conservatives, and residents of the South - but there was no segment among which at least 10% tithed." (Barna Research 5/19/03)

The solution is to go to Scripture and learn how God looks at giving.

By the way, most Bible believing pastors rarely preach about giving (and I am no exception, it has been five years since I devoted a whole sermon to the topic of giving) but this is probably not the best policy. The Bible commands preachers to declare "...the whole purpose of God" (Acts 20:27, NAS) and there are 30 verses in the Bible about baptism, 225 verses about prayer, and 2,300 verses about money.

Before we get into today's text, I want you to notice that Paul had just finished congratulating the church members for extending forgiveness to a member of the church who had repented of his sin. It almost like Paul was saying, "OK, now that this sin problem in the church has been solved let's talk about money."

Paul was in the midst of his third missionary journey and as he travelled he was collecting an offering for the poor Christians living in Judea. Earlier he had collected an offering for the poor Jews who were in Jerusalem. So, Paul dealt with money a lot during his ministry. It is interesting that Paul is the one who remembered a beatitude of Christ's that was not recorded in any of the gospels: "In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive' " (Acts 20:35, NAS).

In the 8th chapter of 2 Corinthians I see eight principles that should guide our giving. Today we will look at the first four.

Vs.1-3 I. Give Freely even When it's Hard to Give "in a great ordeal...great poverty"

Paul talks about giving as a gift (or grace) from God. Notice this theme in verses: 1, 4,5,6,7,9,19, & 20. So the ability to give is a gift FROM God before it is a gift TO God.

Paul begins his appeal by pointing out how the Christians in Macedonia were giving.

"Macedonia was the northern Roman province of Greece. Paul's reference was to the churches at Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea (cf. Acts 17:11). This was basically an impoverished province that had been ravaged by many wars and even then was being plundered by Roman authority and commerce." [1]

"They were in deep poverty, which means 'rock-bottom destitution.' The word describes a beggar who has absolutely nothing and has no hope of getting anything. Their difficult situation may have been caused in part by their Christian faith, for they may have lost their jobs or been excluded from the trade guilds because they refused to have anything to do with idolatry." [2]

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