Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: We look at how our giving habits ought to reveal How the Gospel has gripped our hearts and our wallets.

• This May I will mark the beginning of my fifth year of ministry at NBBC

• That means I have preached four years worth of sermons. And as I have looked at what to preach about in the next few months, trying to discern the needs of the congregation and what counter cultural perspective might be needed to live lives with a difference in our context. I was very aware of one topic that I have intentionally avoided since I have been here. It is the topic of money

• Part of the reason was that I didn’t want to put off those who may be checking us out for the first time and have their preconceptions affirmed in their minds that the church is just after your money

• The other reason is that money for many people is a very personal and private matter it is not open for discussion or scrutiny.

• A third reason is that we live in Burlington, and Burlington is not poor. Did you know that the average earning of all persons in Burlington is just over $7,500 more than the provincial average and $11,000 more than the national average? Did you know that the Halton region has the second highest median family income in all of Canada? And that Burlington, Oakville, Milton, and Puslinch are in the top 35 highest income communities with 5000 or more people in all of Canada? And I would go so far as to say that in my observation our city is very materialistic and because of that I am quite sure that a series that deals with finances will step on some toes.

• It was for those reasons that I didn’t want to preach on finances… until I had enough “trust chips” in the bank that I might be able to cash in a few should they be needed, enough tenure with the congregation that they would know my heart should they be tempted to question my motives.

• So now that I have been here four years, I have decided now would be a good time to preach this series. And the reasons why we need to look at it is because I’ve been hear so long and we’ve never taken an in depth look at this particular topic. Because many people believe that money a personal and private matter which is not true, it may be personal but it is not private, what your drive, where you live, what you where reveals all kinds of public information about your financial priorities. Further, because it is personal it is often kept hidden from others, including the one we call Lord and that is not an option open to one who desires to be a follower of Jesus Christ.

• And finally, because the lure of materialism is so great in Burlington I think it’s time to do some teaching on the topic of financial faithfulness and today I’d like to talk about your attitude and your assets.

• We often talk about talk about taking the next step in discipleship and perhaps for some here today you’ve never really allowed God to look to deeply into that part of your heart about your finances, and maybe that is the next step for you.

• If you are a visitor here today, let me just say my intention is not to make people feel guilty, or for you to feel uncomfortable, I know that talking publicly about finances is a very counter cultural activity. So let me just explain why I am doing that today. You see the church is those people who have said they want their lives to follow the example of Jesus and the teaching of God’s word.

• And the Bible has an awful lot to say about money, and so while it may not be the most comfortable of topics it is a very necessary topic, and so even though I am not an expert nor claim to be the best of examples of all that is in this book, I do have a responsibility to address those topics that are in it.

• Allow me to set up the text before we read it. The church in Jerusalem has fallen into a condition of extreme poverty, so Paul set up a collection that would take place with the churches that he founded to help the poorer Christians in Jerusalem. At first, the Corinthian Christians had provided funds which they had promised but now their enthusiasm seems to have waned. It is into this situation that Paul is now writing. In 2 Corinthians 8:1 – 12 (read text)

• Paul uses the example of the Macedonian church as a model for the Corinthians to imitate and I want to look a little more in depth at that example, but before I do I first want to pull out a couple of important principles that Paul makes about a person’s attitude towards giving that will help us in understanding the Macedonian example a bit better.

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