Summary: Have you ever wondered whether tithing was in the New Testament? You might be surprised at the answer. Find out the 11 qualities of true giving to God as we continue our study of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians.
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The Grace of Giving
Pastor Tom Fuller
One of the advantages of going through the Word verse by verse is that the Bible itself sets the topic for the day. I don’t hunt through the Word looking for something to back up a topic that I really want to speak on – though there is nothing wrong with that. The problem is that sometimes you don’t know if it’s the Lord or you coming up with a particular subject.
Today we are continuing our study in 2nd Corinthians. In chapter 8 Paul deals primarily with one subject and one subject only – giving. I don’t usually teach on it – and I think for obvious reasons. The point of this teaching is NOT to get you to give to this church.
God has always provided for us – never too much, but never too little. We trust Him to provide for our needs. Too many ministries today put too great an emphasis on money – and it’s given a bad name to the church and put a dark cloud over the whole subject.
The goals of today are to:
a) To show you that giving to the Lord is a good thing and that
b) It should be a regular part of your walk with the Lord
There are 11 points I want to make – you might want to jot them down as we go or go to our website and pick up these notes.
8:1 And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches.
First – some background.
The time is in the mid 40’s A.D. For whatever reason, and we’re not sure why, the Christians in Jerusalem experienced economic hardship. It could be result of persecutions mentioned in Acts 11 or because of a famine. Whatever the case – Paul wanted the churches to collect money for economic relief. Because of the problems in the Corinthian church, the collection had been put on hold. Now was the time to get it together and send it with Paul and Barnabas on to Jerusalem.
Some people argue that this and chapter 9 don’t belong in the book because of the extreme shift from chapter 7 talking about repentance. Actually, it flows quite nicely.
Giving should be a further outcome of the repentance from Godly sorrow – the next step. Sometimes we put on a good show on the outside. We cry, we come forward, we give our lives again to God’s grace – but when it comes to emptying our wallet – that’s where the rubber meets the road. Shedding a tear is one thing, but parting from money, that’s another thing altogether.
So Paul starts out by creating a bit of friendly rivalry between the Corinthian churches and those in Macedonia.
And Paul is really putting us to the test to see just how genuine our faith is. Remember, this giving is above and beyond their normal gifts – but it’s a good lesson on the principal of giving in general.
2 Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.
1. The worst times can bring the most giving (vs 2)
What happens when the bills pile up? We say “Oh I just don’t have enough to give to the Lord this week or this month.” If we make giving a priority – it’s the first thing we pay each month in our household – you’d be surprised how easy it becomes. The money we have to pay bills is what’s left over after we give to God.
Giving out of your need is such a beautiful thing because then it comes so much more from the heart.
"I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything-all she had to live on."
This is where real faith is born – when you give even if you don’t know if you’ll have enough – then watch God work. That leads to the 2nd point:
3 For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own,
2. Give out of what you have, not what you think you need (vs 3)
1 Cor 16:2 On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income
God knows what He’s provided for you. He’s not looking down on you because you can’t give a million dollars. But giving shouldn’t stop because we can’t give a ton of money.