"Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also." - 2 Cor 8:7
What is this grace that Paul is talking about? Note the context of this verse. (read v1-6) Paul is talking about the example of the churches of Macedonia. In this passage he deals with many of the excuses that people attempt to use when they do not give.
This grace = giving. Notice the context gives us the importance of our abounding or going beyond the norm. It is given equal importance with faith (trusting in God), utterance (preaching the Word of God), knowledge (studying the Word of God), diligence (working for God) and love (essence of God in our lives). Abound in this grace also! Or in the same way.
A. Why Give?
1. Giving makes me more like God.
(John 3:16a) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son…
a. Can we deny this fundamental truth about God?
b. As Christians, we are to emulate God to those around us. Christian = Like Christ
c. Growing more like the Lord, means growing in His grace.
(2 Peter 3:18) But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
2. Giving draws me closer to God.
(Matthew 6:21) For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
a. If giving wasn't important to God, why would He spend so much time in His Word talking about it?
b. Our attitude about giving reveals much about our spiritual growth.
c. We come into this world as selfish little human beings. (ex. Baby cries: doesn't care about mom or dad)
d. As we mature, we learn that life isn't about us.
e. The same is true of Christians. We are born again by receiving. (God loves me. Jesus died for me. God wants to bless me.)
f. As we mature, we discover that the Christian life isn't all about us either. (we begin to look around us and see the need of others)
g. As we grow in grace, we learn to give because we become closer to God's heart.
3. Giving is the antidote to materialism.
(1 Timothy 6:17) Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;
a. Materialism is destroying families.
b. Focusing on things instead of people.
c. Money is not the root of all evil; but the love of money is!
4. Giving strengthens my faith.
(Malachi 3:10) Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
a. Faith is taking God at His Word.
b. Believing the promises…
c. What are some other promises God gives us concerning giving?
5. Giving is an investment for eternity.
(1 Timothy 6:18-19) That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
a. Things do not last! They aren't meant to.
b. Every 'thing' is meant to be replaced.
c. More and more we are living in a throw away society.
d. What have you thrown away recently?
e. Did it surprise you?
f. Only the souls of men, women, boys, and girls will last for all eternity.
g. Are we making eternal investments?
6. Giving brings personal blessings.
(Acts 20:35) I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
a. Interesting that this is the only place this is recorded, but it is still true!
b. There benefits to a life characterized by giving.
(Proverbs 11:25) The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.
(Luke 6:38) Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
c. We certainly should never give in order to get, but there are blessings that God promises if we will give.
d. Our lives will be blessed beyond measure.
"…Prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it." Mal. 3:10b
B. How to Give
1. Give willingly.
(2 Corinthians 9:7a) Every man according as he purposeth in his heart,
a. Willing hearts giving to the Lord is what Paul is talking about here.
b. Ungodly men have twisted this to say, whatever you decide to give, that will be fine with the Lord.
c. Paul isn't talking about the amount here; he is talking about the attitude of our hearts toward giving.
d. Note: 1Chronicles 29:1-9
(1 Chronicles 29:9) Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the LORD: and David the king also rejoiced with great joy.
2. Give thankfully.
(Psalms 116:12) What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me?
(Matthew 10:8) Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.
a. Our giving should be with an attitude of thanksgiving for all that God has done for us.
(Psalms 107:21-22) Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing.
b. Refusing to give indicates an unthankful heart.
c. Are we thankful for what the Lord has done in our lives?
3. Give cheerfully.
(2Corinthians 9:7b) "…So let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity for God loveth a cheerful giver."
a. Not grudgingly = not with sorrow or grief
b. Of necessity = in distress or against our will
c. God is looking for those who will give with an attitude of joy.
d. Cheerful = Gr. Hilaros e. Example of Pastor Gray
4. Give expectantly.
(2 Corinthians 9:6) But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
a. Expecting a harvest.
b. Again, this isn't give to get…like the name it and claim it crowd…but expect God to do what He said He would do.
c. This is what Paul meant when he wrote about 'purposeth in his heart'.
d. When we give, we need to give with purpose expecting God to take it and use it to be a blessing to others.
Giving is an important value to build our lives upon. Giving is getting close to the heart of God. The Scripture is filled with examples of great givers, but none so vivid as Jesus Christ. As we seek to grow in our relationship to Him, and to develop or build our lives on biblical principles and in accordance with biblical values, we need to be reminded of the importance of 'this grace'.