Summary: Sermon 21 of our series on the Baptist Faith and Message
Stewardship (BFM #21)
If You’re Happy and You Know it, Give a Tithe!
Text: 2nd Corinthians 8:9-15
By: Ken McKinley
Today, we’re looking at article 13 of the BFM which is on Stewardship, so if you will take your BFM and follow along as I read article 13 to you we’ll go ahead and get started (Read). Now if you’ve never had the privilege to sit through a 2 hour sermon before, it will help you to be aware that I will be using a couple of different scriptures this morning, but I will repeatedly be coming back to our text… (Just Kidding… It’s not going to be 2 hours long. We may go a little over time today, but not by much).
Now I have to confess; that I really don’t like the majority of sermons I’ve heard on money. I don’t like to hear them, and I’m really not fond of preaching them. And that’s because there are so many sermons out there that are teaching the wrong things about it. I’m sure you’ve all seen various TV televangelists standing behind a massive pulpit in a multi-million dollar sanctuary, waving his Bible around telling you to claim your right to riches. “God wants a new Mercedes Benz and He wants me to drive it!” Or something similar. And that’s why I don’t like it. It turns my stomach. You see, anytime someone try’s to make God subservient to the whims and will of man, what they have done is exalted themselves to the position of God. It’s the same sin that caused Satan’s fall. “I will be like the Most High.” Well when you hear someone tell you that you have the power to manipulate God through a positive confession, or even positive thinking… it’s really no different. And so; I don’t like sermons on money, but the fact of the matter is that money is addressed in the Bible, just like a number of other things are, and if I’m going to preach the full counsel of God’s Word, I have to address these issues, and it is an important issue.
The Bible has a lot to say about money and material possessions, and about how we use them, and so today, I want us to look at several truths that the Bible lays out for us concerning our stewardship, concerning the gifts that God has given to us.
Now in our text; Paul is speaking to the Corinthians in a very practical situation. Some time before this; they had come together and made a decision to give financially to their Christian brothers and sisters in Palestine, but when the time came close, they started having second thoughts about it. You see they had made a commitment to give, but some of them were backing out on their commitments. So Paul had to remind them of a couple of things here.
So what he does is point them to Jesus, and to Jesus as their example in giving. Verse 9 – Jesus was rich, but He became poor, for your sake, so that you might become rich. Jesus gave up the glory of heaven, the splendor of heaven, the perfection of heaven and He became a man, born in a manger. He lived as a man in this sin infested world, and He died as a man, all for our sakes. He gave Himself. So Paul’s saying, “Hey if you want to understand Christian giving; if you want a concise theology of how Christians should give, look at Jesus.” We could go back to John 3:16 and look at God. The Almighty Maker of heaven and earth, giving His only begotten Son in order to redeem mankind. In other words, God the Father and God the Son saw humanities need. We all were in desperate need. We were sinful and hell bound, and in desperate need of a Savior.
So God gave.
But look what else Paul says, in verse 10 he says, “It’s to your advantage…” And in verses 13 and 14 he says, “Look, I’m not saying you should give so that these saints who are in need can kick back and live in luxury, while you all have to suffer because you gave away your possessions.” He’s not saying that. He’s saying, “You give to those saints in need, because THEY HAVE NEED. And don’t sweat it, because there will come a day when those saints are no longer in need, you might be the one who needs help.”
I recently heard about a church in Florida that just got a $30 check from Christians in Africa to help out with the Haiti relief fund. That’s a tremendous sacrifice for those African Christians; $30 is a huge amount of money. But they sent it to a church in Florida that is heavily involved in the Haiti relief efforts. I think that’s a perfect example of what Paul is talking about here. And don’t forget; it was the generosity of the Christians in Antioch that allowed Paul to come to Corinth and preach the Gospel and plant a church in the first place.