These last two articles of faith are somewhat different that the previous eighteen we have looked at. These simply contain a collection of Scripture verses with very little comment. I believe that the two are connected because there can be no mission work accomplished through the local church apart from our faithfulness to give financially that others might hear the gospel. There are many passages of Scripture to which we could turn to find truths about the grace of giving. Many myths exist in believers' minds concerning giving. Tonight, I want us to consider a somewhat familiar passage of Scripture and see some principles that we can learn concerning giving.
Note: 2 Corinthians 8:1-9
I. One's ability to give is NOT dependent upon the size of their bank account.
A. The believers in the churches of Macedonia were extremely poor. v2-3
1. Not only were they poor, but they had experienced persecution because of their new-found faith in Christ.
2. The mathematical equation in this verse doesn't make sense to the world or to the carnal-minded Christian.
3. Affliction + Poverty + Joy = Liberality in Giving
B. They had received the grace of God upon them.
1. God bestows many kinds of "grace" upon His children:
a. Saving grace
b. Strengthening grace
c. Giving grace
2. We can see another of God's equation: Grace + Obedience + Faith = Abundant Life.
3. These believers received God's grace, they were obedient to His Word, and
4. By faith they went beyond their own resources that others might hear the Gospel.
II. God's giving to us is often directly proportionate to our giving.
A. Note: 2 Co. 9:6-7
1. Here we see the principle of sowing and reaping applied to our giving.
2. The question we must ask ourselves is this: What kind of a harvest do we want to see?
3. Galatians 6:7, "...For whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap."
B. Note: Luke 6:38
1. Here the Lord commands us to give, and it shall be given unto us.
2. The motivation should not be give to get, but rather, give to get so that we can give again!
3. Once again we see from this verse that our receiving will be in proportion to our giving. "For with the same measure..."
C. Note: Malachi 3:10
1. Sometimes folks try to excuse themselves from tithing by convincing themselves that God doesn't want them to tithe anymore.
2. However the tithe has never been done away with, only expanded upon.
3. God still challenges us to try to outgive Him, of course it can't be done, but it is wonderful to try!
III. All true giving begins with the giving of ourselves. v5
A. It isn't easy to give of ourselves.
1. It is much easier to give of our substance rather than ourselves.
2. It is easier to hire a staff person to do the ministry rather than to find our ministry and give of ourselves and our time to perform it.
B. It is really a matter of Lordship.
1. A person will always have difficulty accepting the biblical principle of giving until he has first given himself completely to God!
2. We must acknowledge the Lordship of Christ over ourselves and all of our possessions.
3. We can never know the joy the Macedonian believers experienced until we are willing to give ourselves and all that we have to Christ.
4. Note: Luke 14:33
a. "Forsaketh" doesn't mean that we have to throw everything away.
b. It means that we must release control and allow Christ to be Lord of all!
IV. What we give proves how much we love.
A. Note: v8 "...prove the sincerity of your love."
B. The opposite of love is not hate, it is selfishness.
1. John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that He gave..."
2. In giving His Son on the cross, God proved the sincerity of His love.
3. In giving His life a ransom for many Jesus Christ proved the sincerity of His love. cf v9
C. If God measures my love for Him by what I have given to Him, how great is my love?
1. The grace of giving allows us to demonstrate and give evidence of our love.
2. Note Jesus' soul-searching questioning of Peter in Jn. 21:15-17.
3. Jesus wants more than lip-service from us...we need to show our love to Him by what we do!
4. We can give without loving, but we cannot love without giving!
Conclusion: Consider these principles again:
1) Our giving is not dependent upon how much we have.
2) God's giving to us is often proportionate to our giving.
3) We must begin by giving ourselves.
4) Our giving proves our love.
We believe that God's Word commands us to take the Gospel to all the world. Our outreach in missions is only limited by our giving. Our giving is only limited by our faith and obedience to God's Word! Tonight, have you received God's gift of eternal life through His Son Jesus? You can receive Christ tonight! Come now and someone will show you from God's Word how you can know for sure that you have eternal life. Believers, we have received the priceless gift of eternal life, what are we doing with it? Are we sharing it with others? Are we giving that others might know Christ? How much do we love the Lord?