Summary: Before we can give of our time, treasures, talents, etc... we must give ourselves to God!
THE MOST IMPORTANT GIFT
1. We are in the midst of stewardship emphasis month.
2. How many want to be a poor steward in any area of your life? Hopefully not any!
3. We all want to be good stewards–how do we learn?
4. By studying other good stewards!
5. Here in II Corinthians we find Paul congratulating the Corinthian church for their willingness to go out of their way to help struggling brothers and sisters in Christ!
6. This is the essence of steward–using what God has entrusted me with to meet needs of other people!
7. It takes time, money, education, talents, every other aspect of building relationships with people to help people out on their long journey to their final home!
8. Let us learn from the example of stewardship found in the passage at hand!
I. The Potential of Giving (v. 1-4)
A. This church had the opportunity to see what their giving could accomplish for God–“to their power”!
B. This church had the opportunity to see what God could accomplish through their giving–“beyond their power”!
1. When you really get involved in stewardship–you will begin to see things happen that are far beyond human comprehension!
2. God gets involved in our giving and does more through us than we could even come close to accomplishing on our own!
3. So you can sit their and hoard your little stash and that is all you will ever have!
4. I would much rather use what I have for God’s glory and get to experience His thrilling will for my life!
5. Illustration–my talent of singing and playing piano–from Arkansas–been to 4 foreign countries singing and playing piano!
II. The Purpose of Giving (v. 7-8)
A. So We Can Progress Spiritually on All Levels (v. 7)
1. I Corinthians 15:58 tells us to grow.
2. Here Paul is telling us that as we grow in other areas of our Christian life, we should grow in the grace of giving as well.
3. Without proper stewardship of our lives, we will grow in some areas and backslide in other areas.
4. We will be having series over various themes in this church every so often—this is not so I can get some things off my chest—this is to help us to grow equally in all areas as much as is possible!
B. To Prove the Sincerity of Our Love (v. 8)
1. Jesus said in Matthew 6:21, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
2. We spend our time, thoughts, treasures, etc. on the people we love and the things we enjoy doing.
3. How is it that we claim that we love Christ, yet we spend very little time thinking about Him?
4. How can we say we love Jesus, yet never contribute to His work?
5. How say we love Jesus and the church for which He died, yet we will not use our talents for Him?
6. If we love Jesus, truly, would we not organize our schedule in such a way as to be as faithful to His house as possible?
7. Here, Paul says that he was addressing this situation because of the forwardness of others—in other words, because of the eagerness and earnestness of some to dedicate their lives to God, Paul is challenging us to prove our love by our willingness to rearrange our lives around God’s priorities and principles!
8. We need to dedicate ourselves in this matter of stewardship so that others can see Whom we love! Amen?!
III. The Pattern for Giving (v. 8; 9:15; Philippians 2:5ff)
A. God the Son gave up His status for us (v. 8)
1. Remember the words in Philippians 2:5-11? “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
2. That is the pattern for stewardship!
3. Christ gave His very life to save us from sin!
4. He became poor so we could be rich—we should be willing to go without some small pleasures to enrich the lives of others through spreading the Gospel, Godly Fellowship, praying for one another, etc…!