Summary: When we hear the word giving in church, we often think, here we go again. The church or pastor only wants us to give because he gets more money or looks more successful. The reality is that God wants us to give so we dont trust in money or stuff ahead
P90X for the Soul
Well, we are continuing today in a series we have been calling P90X for your Soul, because P90X is an intense physical workout, and we are seeking to learn and implement some spiritual disciplines into our lives se we can put ourselves in a place to grow in godliness, to get stronger spiritually.
Over the past 4 weeks we have talked about many disciplines that are internal in nature: Bible study, fasting, prayer, and meditation.
Those disciplines are essential to preparing us for the external disciplines.
Today, we are going to be talking about the discipline of giving or sacrifice.
Now, I know that sometimes people think that pastors talk about giving all the time, especially the ones you see on TV. And quite frankly there are some that do talk about financial giving a lot saying that if you would just give financially, that you would be blessed financially.
I am certainly not of the health and wealth persuasion, meaning that if you become a Christian and are living as the Lord wants, that you will be rich and healthy.
The disciples were obedient to the Lords call in their life and they were not financially rich and nearly all of them died because they were being obedient to the Lord. Paul had some kind of thorn in his flesh that the Lord would not remove but was something that God used to help keep Paul humble and useful for the kingdom.
Now while these obedient followers of Christ did not get rich or necessarily stay healthy, they were used by the Lord and were provided for in their needs and experienced joy in the Lord here and are experiencing it in eternity.
We have got to remember that we are not living just for the 70 or 80 or 90 years we have here, but for the infinite number of years we have in eternity.
So, while we dont subscribe to give your money now to get rich here, we do believe that the Lord wants us to give and that he will provide for our needs and draw us into deep relationship with him as we rely on Him and not on other things.
And it is a topic that Jesus talked about often and that Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, talks about, so we are going to talk about it.
Turn with me to 2 Corinthians 8:1-7
This morning we are going to look at church that Paul used as an example to others because their giving was a model of sacrificial love and trust in the Lord, the same love and trust that the Lord wants us to have and to express.
So lets learn how we might honor the Lord in our giving.
8:1 And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. 2 Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. 3 For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, 4 they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. 5 And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with Gods will. 6 So we urged Titus, since he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part. 7 But just as you excel in everything-in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us-see that you also excel in this grace of giving.
Ok, Paul in the passage here is using the Macedonian church as a model for the Corinthians to encourage them to complete what they said they were going to do.
They had pledged help to the poor in Jerusalem and now Paul was going to be visiting them with some other men that would be going to Jerusalem with the gift and it would be embarrassing if they showed up and they had not prepared to give what they had promised.
So Paul writes to them ahead of his coming and encourages them to be true to their promise and encourages them with what the Macedonian churches did.
What examples of the Macedonian churches can we follow in our giving to honor God?
Well, to honor God in our giving,
We need to Give Sacrificially
The Macedonians gave sacrificially and we need to as well.
2 Corinthians 8:2-3 - Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. 3 For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability.