Summary: Sermon #3 of "Give" series. One of the great blessings that comes with giving is joy.
“The Joy of Giving”
2 Cor. 8: 1-12
February 21, 2016
Intro: Comedian Flip Wilson told a story about a preacher and his church. A preacher was trying to get his people to be more enthusiastic about their church. The preacher said in his sermon: "If this church is going to get anywhere, it has to learn to crawl."
-The people said, "Let it crawl, Rev., let it crawl!" Then he said, "And after it learns to crawl, it has to learn to walk." And the people said, "Let it walk, Rev., let it walk!" The preacher got excited and said, "After this church learns to walk, it has to learn to run!" The people shouted back, "Let it run, Rev., let it run!"
-Then he said, "And if this church is going to run, it’s going to take money!" And the people said, "Let it crawl, Rev., let it crawl.” There’s a lot of truth in that story! We like the idea of running as a church. We like the idea of making an impact; of being a people of faith. But when you find out that there’s a cost that comes w/it, we start finding out how bad we really want to run.
-It’s like exercise. I like the idea of being in shape. I like the idea of having 6 pack abs. But when I find out the cost that comes w/it I start thinking, “You know, it’s really not that bad having a marshmallow body.” Today we’re concluding our series “Give.” By the way, if this is your first time at VillageChurch, I want you to know I don’t preach on this every week.
-We normally dedicate 3 Sundays a year on this subject. But for many people, this can be an uncomfortable subject. And many times it’s uncomfortable b/c it’s a subject that hits us where we all live, which is being faithful to God’s commands in ALL areas of our life, and this includes the area of our finances.
Sermon Idea: Today in our passage of Scripture the Apostle Paul points out the positive side of giving, the positive side of generosity. He shared w/the church in Corinth that there is JOY that comes w/giving; that there is JOY in generosity. Jesus said in Acts 20:35, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
-The question is this: Is that actually true? In our text Paul shared w/us how we see joy in our giving.
TEXT: 2 CORINTHIANS 8: 1-12
Bckgrd: The background to this story is interesting. The church in Corinth had made a promise to give an offering to assist the Xians back in Israel. But the Corinthians hadn’t followed thru on their promise. Why? My guess is they were like many of us. It’s a whole lot easier to talk a big game than it is to actually perform in it! It’s easy to make big promises, but when it comes time to fulfill those promises it’s easier just to skip over them.
-So Paul, instead of beating the Corinthian church up for not following thru on their giving, inspired them. I really believe people are more motivated to give when they’re inspired than when they’re being guilt-tripped.
-How did Paul inspire the Corinthians. He shared how the church in Macedonia gave. And he basically told them that their motivation for giving was love. And real giving, giving that carries w/it power and influence, alway involves love. Let’s look at a few examples of how love plays out in our giving.
-First, love is demonstrated in our giving when:
DIV. 1: WE GIVE IN SPITE OF CIRCUMSTANCES (vv. 1-2)
Exp: Why does it take love to give? B/c when it comes down to it, everything hinges on $. The house you live in, the car you drive, the food on your table, requires money! And when you take away from those things, then it means LESS $. And a lot of people are living w/LESS $ these days.
A.Last week I mentioned the average American carries a debt of $225,000. And if you’ve been watching the stock market over the last month you’ve probably thought, “I’m going to have to work until I’m 200 before I can retire!”
1.So when it comes to giving, it’s very easy to start making excuses as to why we CAN’T give. But Paul pointed out a church in Macedonia that didn’t allow their circumstances to interfere w/their giving.
a.You might think, “Then their circumstances must not have been that bad!” If you look in v. 2 Paul said they went thru a severe testing by affliction. We’re not specifically told what affliction they were going thru, but we might get a hint of it when Paul wrote @ his journey to Macedonia in 2 Cor. 7: 5.