"Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written: "He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever." Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God." (2 Corinthians 9:6–11, NIV84)
Friends and former members of Faith Bible Church made beautiful use of this term as they named their Elmer, NJ Candle company, A Cheerful Giver. They now live in Panama near their daughter and her family, who operate an orphanage in Panama. I always admired the name of their company - a name that reflects the attitude of the Christian regarding giving.
Today we are going to speak about the importance of honoring God with our money, and the blessings that come when we put the Lord first in our finances.
As a pastor, there are several factors that make this a difficult subject on which to speak.
1) Many people turn away from the gospel, because they think that all the church wants is their money.
2) I don’t want to manipulate anyone.
3) I receive my income from the church, and I don’t want anyone to think that I am appealing for money for selfish reasons.
THAT BEING SAID, our finances are a MAJOR part of our lives!
David Giuliano, "Clergy Journal." Sep 2006. "There are 500 verses in the Bible address prayer. 500 verses in the Bible address Faith. But there are 5,000 verses in the Bible address money or possessions."
In his book, A Bib Theo of Material Possessions, Gene Getz writes:
Jesus spoke about finances. 1/4 of Jesus parables deal with money. In His earthly ministry, Jesus spoke about investment, saving, indebtedness, hiring procedures, wage structure, leasing, banking, interest, building of barns, finding lost money, paying taxes, bad financial management, rich men, poor men, tithing. Jesus spoke more about money than He did about heaven!
Background of 2 Corinthians 8-9
For several years, Paul had been collecting funds for the Jerusalem church. Rom 15:25-28 "Now, however, I am on my way to Jerusalem in the service of the saints there. For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem. They were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews’ spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings. So after I have completed this task and have made sure that they have received this fruit, I will go to Spain and visit you on the way." (Romans 15:25–28, NIV84)
The churches in Macedonia had given generously (Philippi, Thessalonica and Berea)
"And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity." (2 Corinthians 8:1–2, NIV84)
But the Corinthians were neglecting to fulfill their earlier commitment. "There is no need for me to write to you about this service to the saints. For I know your eagerness to help, and I have been boasting about it to the Macedonians, telling them that since last year you in Achaia were ready to give; and your enthusiasm has stirred most of them to action. But I am sending the brothers in order that our boasting about you in this matter should not prove hollow, but that you may be ready, as I said you would be. For if any Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we—not to say anything about you—would be ashamed of having been so confident. So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to visit you in advance and finish the arrangements for the generous gift you had promised. Then it will be ready as a generous gift, not as one grudgingly given." (2 Corinthians 9:1–5, NIV84)
Paul’s exhortation provides important lessons on Grace Giving
Giving is a Grace. (2 Corinthians 8:7, NIV84) "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."
Grace Giving results in Spiritual Reward.
(2 Corinthians 9:6, NIV84) "Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously."
(2 Corinthians 9:8, NIV84) "And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work."
(2 Corinthians 9:11, NIV84) "You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God."
How to Practice Grace Giving
1) WORSHIPFUL (2 Corinthians 8:5, NIV84) "And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will."
(2 Corinthians 9:6–7, NIV84) "Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."
FBC finances are based on the individual acts of worship.
We don’t determine the things we want to do and then try to figure out how to pay for them.
The giving of our people directs the financial extent of our ministry
The opposite of sporadic and impulsive
(2 Corinthians 9:7, NIV84) "Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."
(2 Corinthians 8:10–12, NIV84) "And here is my advice about what is best for you in this matter: Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so. Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have."
3) REGULAR. (1 Corinthians 16:2, NIV84) "On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.
4) PROPORTIONAL. "In keeping with his income"
Grace giving is determined by our INCOME, not something we do when we "go to church."
Our giving should be based on a decision that we make in light of our income. For many of us, we connect giving to something that we do when we go to church. But on the Sundays that we miss church, or when church is cancelled, we forget to give of our income to the Lord. Here is an example that backs that statement up, at least for some of us here at Faith Bible Church:
on 2/15/2015 attendance was 114 because of snow. 2/22/2015 attendance was 204 because of cold/ice With the following Sunday, the average was $-3587. In other words, many of those who were not hear because of the weather did not give of their income to the Lord.
This year, we had the blizzard of 2016, which hit on a Saturday. Church was cancelled and none of us were able to give on that day. The following Sunday our offering was higher than normal, but only about 50% higher, not twice of what it normally is.
My encouragement to you is to prayerfully consider what the Lord would have you to give, based on your income, and give that amount to the Lord as an act of worship.
We utilize the online program or mobile app "Pushpay" to make this even easier. The bottom line is whether you write a check or do you giving online, make sure it is regular, consistent, and based on your income. This is a good application of Paul’s words to the Corinthians, "as each one has decided in his heart."
5) LOCAL Grace Giving is given to and distributed by the local church.
Paul was collecting this gift from the CHURCH, not specific individuals.
The church is God’s plan for this dispensation
"Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood." (Acts 20:28, NIV84)
The New Testament pattern is that the believers entrusted the Apostles with the distribution of funds for the needs of the church. This pattern continues today, with the pastors as the ones given oversight of the church. The Greek word "episcopos" means Overseer, one of the three primary terms used to describe pastors.
"There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales" (Acts 4:34, NIV84)
"sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet." (Acts 4:37, NIV84)
"With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet." (Acts 5:2, NIV84)
6) CHEERFUL. "For God loves a cheerful giver" (2 Cor 9:7)
Application: What happens When I become a cheerful giver?
Freedom from possessiveness. RYRIE QUOTE: The use of our possessions shows us up for what we actually are
Fruitfulness as a result of my giving
Joy for me
Blessing to others