Summary: Being a cheerful giver involves practicing the right principle, having the right perspective, and trusting in God's promises.
A. Today we are continuing our sermon series “Learning to Lean on God” a study of Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians.
1. Last week, we worked our way through chapter 8.
2. I mentioned that chapters 8 and 9 are two of the best chapters in the NT on giving.
3. I also mentioned that I’m not preaching these two sermons on giving because our congregation is in financial need, or because the church needs to be chastised for not giving as we should.
4. Rather, I’m focusing on this subject, because the text is focusing on this subject.
5. Nevertheless, I never shy away from teaching on giving, because if we learn to be graceful givers and cheerful givers, we will be blessed and we will be a blessing!
B. Last week, I summarized what we learn about giving from chapter 8 as the following:
1. Our financial giving should be prompted by grace.
2. Our financial giving should be based on what we have.
3. Our financial giving should naturally follow the giving of ourselves to God.
C. Just like last week, let’s start with a few cartoons that speak to some of our fears about giving and some of the stereotypes we have to battle against.
1. You notice that the letters on the backs of the people standing before the congregation spell the word tithe (which means 10%).
a. The husband says to his wife, “I think it’s called subliminal advertising.”
b. This illustrates the manipulation that sometimes occurs surrounding fundraising.
2. Don’t you hate it when you go as a group to a restaurant and they take away your privilege of tipping at 15% or more by adding it to the bill as a charge?
a. Look at this second cartoon. “Giving is up at First Church since they adopted restaurant tipping guidelines – 15% tithe required for families of 5 or more.”
b. Imagine churches doing that – 10% giving for individuals and small families. 15% giving for families of 5 or more!
3. Look at this next cartoon: “Great steward ship sermon, Pastor. I’m going to increase my giving by 100% - from one dollar to 2 dollars!”
a. That’s a good news/bad news scenario. Good news…I’m going to double my contribution! Bad news…usually I only give a dollar!
b. Obviously, if a dollar is all you can afford, then a dollar is the right amount to give.
4. Here’s one more cartoon: “We only give when we feel led. The last time we felt led was 1979.
a. Hopefully, we feel led a little more often than that!
D. Let’s work our way through the text of 2 Corinthians 9 and see what lessons we learn about being cheerful givers.
I. Understanding the Word
A. Let’s start with verse 1: There is no need for me to write to you about this service to the saints.
1. I find this verse a bit humorous – How many times have you said something similar as you sought to remind someone of something?
2. You might say, “I know I don’t need to remind of this, but do you remember you said…”
3. Or “I’m sure you already know this, but, let me mention it anyway…”
4. So, Paul said to the Corinthians, “There is no need for me to write to you about this…but I’m going to do so anyhow!”
B. In verses 2-5, Paul revealed one of the reasons he felt compelled to remind them: 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 Cor. 9:2-5)
1. Do you see what was going on here, and what Paul was concerned about?
2. It becomes clear that Paul had been encouraging the Corinthians to generosity by pointing to the example of the Macedonians, and at the same time, he had encouraged the Macedonians to give by pointing to the example of the Corinthians.
3. There’s nothing wrong with spurring one another on toward love and good deeds by pointing to the example of others, and that’s what Paul had done.