Summary: Paul teaches us that giving in an act of grace. God’s grace motivates a heart to give.
THE GRACE OF GIVING
INTRODUCTION: When it comes to giving, some people stop at nothing! Is your pocketbook converted? You can tell a lot about a person just by the way they handle their money. It is grace that births giving. How’s grace working in you?
The Corinthian church had promised a year earlier to take a love offering for the church in Jerusalem, but they failed to follow through. What was the problem? The church had been at a low spiritual level. When a church is not spiritual, it is not generous.
Paul teaches us that giving in an act of grace. God’s grace motivates a heart to give. Allow me to draw three ideas from this section.
I. The Best Argument for Tithing is a Tither (v.1-5,9)
Look at Paul’s two examples.
A. The Christians in Macedonia (1-5): How had they given? Sacrificially (1-3) – “severe trial” = affliction, deep poverty, rock bottom destitution. It describes a beggar who has nothing and has no hope of getting anything. They were generous even in their poverty. Their circumstances didn’t prevent them from giving. In v.3-5 you will see that they gave themselves and they gave of their substance well beyond their ability. Nobody had to beg them. They just obeyed God.
B. Christ Himself (9): He was rich, but He became poor in order to make us rich. Christ was a giver.
II. Pledges are Easier to make than Payments (v.6-8, 10-15)
Many are there that start projects but never finish them. They make commitments but don’t follow through. Such was the case of the Corinthians. Paul reminded them what was at stake.
A. Integrity (6,10-11): You gave your word, now keep it. Be honest. Don’t put your promise on the back-burner.
B. Sincerity (7-8): Paul places giving on the same level as faith and love. Giving is a manifestation of your love for God.
C. Ability (11-12): God sees the “heart gift” not just the “hand gift”. Give according to your ability.
D. Equality (13-15): God is not asking us to become poor just so the poor can become rich. He’s asking us to help meet the needs of others. See v.15 – gather what you need, share what you can, and don’t hoard God’s blessings.
III. There is no Substitute for Honesty (v.16-24)
Money is to be handled in:
A. Holiness (16-17): A person who handles the Lord’s money must have a heart that is right with God.
B. Honor (18-19): The offering was not to honor the church or the donor, but God.
C. Honesty (20-22)
D. Harmony (23-24)
CONCLUSION: Ask God to give you the gift of grace and then you will have the grace to present a gift. Go on, I dare you!