Summary: 3 things required for generous giving
Woodlawn Baptist Church
January 28, 2007
As we turn our attention to the message at hand, I want to remind you of the great task God has given us. Jesus said that “the harvest was great but the laborers are few. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He would send forth laborers.” Then at the end of His earthly ministry He said, “As the Father hath sent me, even so send I you.” You and I are the laborers God has chosen to reach our world for Christ. You and I are God’s chosen instruments through which He wants to communicate His love and grace and mercy. It is this church, this people who have been called at this time to carry on the Lord’s work!
As we go about that work we must think of it in terms of two fields of labor. There is the local field for which we are personally responsible. No amount of money will harvest this field, for it is in the local field that you and I must roll up our sleeves and do the work. But then there is another field of labor in which we cannot work. It is the field that lies outside of our local field, the field that you and I cannot harvest, but to which God has called men to go and do His work. Those are the fields where God has placed His men like Brent Rosendal and David Helmick and Vladimir Robles. Though we cannot work those fields, God gives us the privilege of helping those men as they do carry out the work – and we join together in that privilege by means of Faith Promise giving.
Our mission is to make disciples of all people. Jesus said in Matthew 24:14 that “the gospel of God’s kingdom will be preached throughout all the world as a witness unto him.” The gospel of the kingdom is about the kingdom of God. It is about the reign of God. It is about the triumph of King Jesus over sin and death and judgment and Satan and guilt and fear. It is good news not that we reign as kings but that our God reigns.
The aim of preaching this “gospel of the kingdom” is that the nations might know King Jesus and admire Him and honor Him and love Him and trust Him and follow Him and make Him shine in their affections. We must come to see that God is passionately committed to upholding and displaying His name and His reputation in the world.
Over and over the Bible declares that God does what He does so that His name might be proclaimed in all the earth. Isaiah 12:4 sums up the central theme of missions. “Make known his deeds among the peoples, proclaim that his name is exalted.” You mark it down and don’t ever forget that God is passionately committed to His fame. God’s highest priority is that He be known and admired and trusted and enjoyed as an infinitely glorious King.
Why do we join together to support the work of men we don’t know so they can reach people we don’t know in places we don’t know? So those people will know the glorious fame of God! I want to submit to you today that it is our great privilege to proclaim that fame and to support the missionaries who are also proclaiming that fame. As we support them we are making an investment in the kingdom of God.
In 2 Corinthians 8 we are going to look at another group of churches that also made that investment, and though it may seem difficult to see how you can give to missions when money may already be tight, I believe you can. In fact, as we look at the people of Macedonia in 2 Corinthians 8 I aim to demonstrate that only three things are required for you to join God where He is at work in the harvest; three things that were present in the people of Macedonia, and none of them require any certain amount of money.
In 2 Corinthians 8:1-7, we read…
“Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; Praying us with much entreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God. Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also. Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.”