Summary: Part 8 in a study of the church covenant
A COVENANT WITH GOD
THE CHURCH COVENANT
“The Cheerful Giver”
Date: August 4, 2002
Place: Allendale Baptist Church
Text: 2 Corinthians 9:6-15
Someone asked me several days ago, what is next on our study of the Church Covenant? I replied, “Contributing cheerfully to the church/ tithing.” They looked at me and said with a grin on their face, “I can’t wait to see how you make that an evangelistic message?”
Some will always question the motive of a Pastor for preaching on tithing & stewardship. Let me tell you upfront, I don’t care how much or how little money you have. My desire this morning is to help each one of you understand what it means to be a good steward of the resources God has given you. I am not preaching on stewardship this morning because the church is hurting financially. We are not. I am not preaching on stewardship to bless the church budget; I am doing so that you might be blessed and that you might be a blessing.
Some ask this question what does it mean to tithe? A tithe actually means a tenth. In biblical terms when a person gave a tithe they were saying they recognized all they had was from God. It all belonged to Him.
Some will say that we are not required to tithe because that was O.T Law.
Actually, the first act of tithing was Abraham who gave a tithe to Melchizedek, the high priest in Gen 14: 18-20. And he did so freely and willfully.
Devout Jews gave nearly 1/3 of their income to religious purposes, by the command of the Law. A tenth to the Levites (this was usually in property); a tenth for the sanctuary (Primarily in cattle and grain); and finally a tenth to the poor.
But let me repeat I am not preaching so you will give to this church. I am preaching this message so you might be faithful and obedient stewards; that you might receive a blessing but also you might bless others.
I say as Paul said in Phil 4:17; “Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account.”
This morning I would like to look at a church that was a giving church. Not only a giving church but also they gave cheerfully.
Read Text Here 2 Corinthians 9: 6-15
I would like to show you this morning 4 principles of stewardship that are given by example of the church at Macedonia in 2 Corinthians 8: 1-5
1. Giving is not about Problems but Priority- (v. 2) “That in great trail of affliction”
When these people became believers in Christ they gave up all they had. But also they were in trying times. Their faith was tested over and over again.
2. Giving is not about Wealth But Willingness- “and in their deep poverty” This was a poor church. If anyone had reason not to give it was them. Some people say if I had a million dollars I’d give half of it. First where are you going to get a million dollars? The Texas Lottery? You have a better chance of getting struck by lightning.
3. Giving is not about Obligation but Opportunity- This church begged Paul to take their gift. Let me say this Allendale is a wonderful giving church, but I have yet to hear anyone of you say, “Preacher can we please take up another offering today?”
4. Giving is not Legalism but Lordship- If you don’t hear anything else today please hear this; When Jesus becomes Lord of your life you will be a good steward .
I. Stewardship is a Choice (v.6)
B. We are all stewards. Someone once said “God did not place us on the earth to own it but to be stewards of it.”
C. The choice is do you want to be a good steward or a bad steward? The question is do you want to reap sparingly or do you want to reap bountifully?
D. This verse is often called “The Law of the Harvest.” The more you sow the more you reap. God leaves how much we plant up to us.
E. C.H. Spergeon once said he did not have enough time in the day to do all he needed to do as a pastor. So he decided to pray 3 more hours each day. That may sound strange but it God’s law of mathematics less is more & more is less.
II. Stewardship is to be Cheerful. (v.7)
A. We are all “each one” to give as “he purposes in his heart.”
B. We are not to give grudgingly or selfishly. I heard of a church the other day where you can decide where you want you money to go. So all the Senior Adults decided they wanted all their money to go to the Senior Adult ministry. I have to ask what happens those who cannot give; the pre-teens; and the children of the nursery.