Summary: Grace has symptoms. When we have genuinely experienced God’s grace in Christ we become generous givers.
“The Grace of Giving”
Mililani Community Church
September 18, 2005
Pastor Rick Bartosik
When the subject of stewardship is mentioned, some people immediately think of tithing. There is nothing wrong with tithing. Tithing was the Old Testament way of giving. However, in the New Testament there is a much higher standard of giving.
I. The First Essential in Giving (1-7)
First essential in giving is the giving of OURSELVES to the Lord.
“Grace has symptoms: People who have genuinely experienced God’s grace will demonstrate liberality in their giving.” (Joel Belz – “Giving Less, believing less?”, World, Dec. 27, 1997)
II. Supreme Example of Giving (8-9)
1. The Extent of His Grace (9a)
2. The Results of His Poverty (9b)
III. Guidelines for Christian Giving (10-12)
1. The principle of personal willingness (11)
The acceptability of the gift depends not on the amount but the personal WILLINGNESS of the giver.
2. The principle of proportionate giving (12)
The one who has more will be able to give not only a greater amount but a greater PROPORTION.
Please open your Bibles this morning to the book of II Corinthians 8.
We are in a message series this month on the topic of biblical giving. II Corinthians 8-9 is the longest passage in the NT on the subject of giving. And it is the central passage on the subject.
It is also a very exciting passage of Scripture. I believe that when we discover the principles that God gives us here and begin to apply them in our lives it will result in “overflowing joy” in giving.
For the next two weeks we are going to discover these wonderful principles – in a two part series, “The Grace of Giving”
When the subject of Christian giving is mentioned – many people immediately think of tithing. And there is nothing wrong with tithing.
But we are going to find that in the NT there is a much higher standard of giving than the tithe.
Under the Law of Moses the children of Israel acknowledged God’s ownership of their lives and property by payment of the tithe.
The tithe was not an offering in the strict sense of the term. It was an obligation placed on everyone under the law. An Israelite did not decide whether he should pay the tithe or not. He had to pay the tithe or become a lawbreaker.
Actually there were three tithes commanded by the law:
1) First, Israel was commanded to pay tithes to the Levites for their service on behalf of God in the Tabernacle (Lev. 27:30-32; Num. 18:21).
2) Second, there was a tithe for the feasts and sacrifices, which the offerer himself and his family were to eat in the presence of the LORD at the tabernacle (Deut. 14:22-26).
3) Third, there was a tithe every third year for the poor – aliens fatherless and widows (Deut. 14:28-29).
So the tithe was an obligation on every Israelite. But in addition to the tithes, godly Israelites also gave offerings to God (Deuteronomy 12:11).
In the OT we find that many Israelites disobeyed God and did not bring the tithe as they had been commanded.
Malachi delivered a message to the people of Israel that they had robbed God (Malachi 3:8-10). READ.
Many seek to apply these passages directly to the Christian today.
We can definitely glean principles from these OT teachings, but in the dispensation of grace our giving is not based on a legal obligation as it was for Israel in the OT.
There is no commandment in the NT from Jesus or the Apostles that says the Christian must tithe. We live in the dispensation of grace not the dispensation of the law. Paul says in Romans 6:14: “You are not under law but under grace.”
If a believer decides in his heart out of love for the Lord Jesus Christ that he will give a tenth of his earnings to the Lord, he is at liberty to do so and God will bless him. But we should not do it as though it is a legal obligation.
Many believers use the tithe as a convenient measuring stick – believing that we ought to be willing under grace to do at least as much as an Israelite was required to do under the law.
J. Vernon McGee: “I can’t believe that any Christian today who has a good income should give less than a tenth.”
The big question then is: What is the standard for Christian giving under grace?
Let’s turn now to II Corinthians 8 for …
I. THE FIRST ESSENTIAL IN GIVING (Let’s read the first seven verses).
HERE WE LEARN THAT THE FIRST ESSENTIAL OF CHRISTIAN GIVING IS GIVING OF OURSELVES TO THE LORD.
When Paul was on his third missionary journey one of his main projects was a collection for the poverty-stricken saints in Jerusalem.