Title: Divine Principles of Generous Giving
Text: 2 Corinthians 9.6-15
CIT: And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.
CIS: The goal of this message is to challenge the congregation to give above and beyond their normal tithes to give sacrificially toward the Mission we’ve accepted to our UUPG.
Caveat: Because of the nature of this message, I’m going to ask you to record; however, toward the end, I’m going to ask you to stop the recording so that I can speak freely. Ok?
We concluded last week with a challenge to give sacrificially to our UUPG. Some of you may be caught off guard this morning. Maybe you didn’t make it last week and aren’t sure even of what I’m talking about. Let me catch you up.
I’m in the midst of a sermon series on giving. Don’t panic, this isn’t about tithing. Indeed, this passage is all about giving above and beyond the normal tithe. From what Robyn tells me, our church is a giving church. The only way we can really improve our giving – that is through the normal tithe – is to grow as a body. Few members of Calvary don’t give. So, if you’re sitting here today and know that you don’t tithe, you’re in the minority.
Now as a practice I have no idea who gives and who doesn’t. I’ve instructed Robyn and the girls in the office that I don’t want to know. It’s just easier that way. I’m not fond of certain people because they give a lot and I don’t hold grudges against those who don’t give. And that’s because I’m ignorant of both. Intentionally!
But again, that’s not what this message is about. The context in 2 Corinthians concerns the offering Paul had challenged the Corinthians to give toward in relief of the poor believers in Jerusalem. In our opening sermon to this series, I gave a detailed outline of Paul’s passion to bring relief to the poor. It was something that was always on his mind and always in his heart. The Corinthians had committed to this special offering; however, their passion had subsided over time. That’s the context.
Now Paul moves to a positive stance in encouraging the Corinthians to finish what they’ve started – to fulfill their commitment. He does this by telling them 4 principles to generous giving. And, not only does he give us 4 principles for Generous Giving, but he also gives us 6 benefits for generous giving. That’s 10 points! Let me tell you how I’ll present this, so you don’t get lost.
1st, I’ll go verse by verse. I won’t skip and I won’t go backward. That should help. I’ll start in 9.6;
2nd, I’ll present three of the four principles.
3rd, then, I’ll present all 6 benefits.
4th, Finally I’ll present the 4th and final principle. Ok? So, let’s get started. These principles are already written out in your text. Let me quote them:
1. Principles for becoming a generous giver:
- Principle # 1: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. (6)
exp.: According to Paul, that’s the point – he wants to clarify what he’s getting at. So, Paul uses A Farming Analogy; But what exactly does he mean? It sounds like – you reap what you sow: a little seed, a little harvest; A lot of seed, a bigger harvest. I think he’s saying that no farmer worries about putting out too much seed when he’s sowing. He doesn’t hold back because he’s wants to make sure that he has seed left in his barns. The seed is a necessity to his crop. He wants an abundant harvest, not a bunch of seeds. No farmer considers sowing a loss of seeds.
ill.: Paul is only teaching what was common to Jewish thought; Prov 11.24f: 24One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. 25Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered. And most of you are aware of Malachi 3.10: 10 Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.
app.: The farmer willing sows every seed he can with what land he has available with the faith that God will bless and grant an abundant harvest. What sane farmer will hold back seed to cheat himself? An abundant harvest will result in more seed next year.
t.s.: Principle #1: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
- Principle # 2: God loves a cheerful giver. (7)
exp.: rd v 7; I don’t think Paul is being negative here by trying to make them feel guilty and spurred into giving for all the wrong reasons. Philip Hughes (NICNT): the true measure of the gift isn’t its external weight but the internal state of the giver’s heart. Which matches Jewish thought and teaching; Deu. 15.10: 10 You shall give to him freely, and your heart shall not be grudging when you give to him, because for this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake.
ill.: The Gk word here is: ἱλαρός; Do you remember Zacchaeus? A wee-little man; he was a changed man; he said in Lk 19.8: Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold. I picture this happening at Zach’s house, actually giving away as he’s talking. It must have been authentic as Jesus said: Today salvation has come to this house.
app.: Listen to Philip Hughes again: Genuine, free, unremorseful giving is, however, as Paul reminds his readers here, distinguished by the mark of cheerfulness.
t.s.: Principle #3…
- Principle #3: God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. (8)
exp.: David Garland, from the NAC says: Paul refers to God’s readiness to provide all that is necessary for generosity. Here’s his point: God is ready, willing and able, which is what he’s called them to be. And, added to this is granted all access to his power. That’s the way grace works! God is lavishly generous and abundantly supplies us with everything necessary to have enough for our needs and to be generous with others. V 9 clarifies for us that He freely distributes to us in order that we might have an abundance to distribute to others in need.
app.: So in review, here are our three principles:
- Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
- God loves a cheerful giver.
- God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.
t.s.: There is a 4th principle, but I’d like to wait until we get there in Scripture to share it you. Let’s look now at the benefits a generous giver experiences, as Paul outlines them in the text.
2. Benefits of Being Generous Giver:
- Benefit #1: It will cause you to abound in what others need for the purpose of supplying their need. (9-10)
exp.: Paul first quotes Scripture in v 9; and then clarifies in v 10; look at v 9; 9 As it is written, “He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.” He’s quoting from ps 112; Rd Psalm 112 – this is the habit, practice of the righteous and in so doing, God will cause you to abound, so that you can bless those in need. If you are blessed with financial blessing, it just might be so that you’ll be a blessing to others.
- Benefit #2: It will make you spiritually rich (11)
exp.: Don’t gloss by this like you’ve heard it before. Is that important to you? Really? Would you trade the riches of this world for spiritual riches? Do just glibly say yes. Think about this for a moment. Would you trade all of your earthly, material riches for the riches of God?
ill.: Balaam and Balak; Numbers 22.31f: 31 Then the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way, with his drawn sword in his hand. And he bowed down and fell on his face. 32 And the angel of the Lord said to him, “Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out to oppose you because your way is perverse before me.
app.: You and I can stand here today and claim that we want and act like we want, but our hearts are known to the Lord. Picture this, you standing now to declare you desire – and an Angel of the Lord is standing before you with a sword in his hand to strike you down if you heart doesn’t match your words. Would you still stand?
t.s.: I know, I’m so dramatic! However, it causes you to do an internal search, doesn’t it? #3
- Benefit #3: It will result in an outpouring of Thanksgiving to God (rd 11b-12)
exp.: which is the goal, isn’t it? We’re grateful for your gifts; however, we understand we’re dependent on God and he’s the one who is ultimately supplying our need. I think of this often times from a recipient’s point of view. After all, I’m called of God and depend on his grace for my supplies. So, I can and do identify with the missionaries. But, let me change this for a moment, because my wife and I are considering committing to this. We have already, actually. So, and I say this now, not for your benefit, not so that you’ll be impressed with me, but rather to identify with you. I don’t want your thanks. It’s nice, but ultimately, my hearts desire is to bow with you and pour out my gratitude to God – as we pour into a bank account the amount needed to send these missionaries.
- Benefit #4: It will bring glory to God (rd v 13a)
Exp.: that’s really the ultimate goal here anyway, right? – to glorify God and enjoy him forever?
- Benefit #5: It will increase your witness to the World. (13b)
exp.: Your contributing to a missionary – above and beyond your tithe – is a witness to those who will be receiving our missionaries.
ill.: Our missionaries will be somewhere with someone or a group of someones represented by our UUPG. A question will be asked: How are you guys able to do this? You name will not be mentioned, but your witness will be. Your submission (here today – that) comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ (that’s the witness), and the generosity of your contribution for them (our missionaries) and for all others (in our UUPG) that’s a witness to them.
- Benefit #6: The recipients will respond with prayers for you (14); God’s surpassing Grace upon you. That’s why you’ve been blessed. That’s why that Grace abounds to you.
3 Principles and 6 Benefits; however, v 15 offers us one last Principle – Principle #4
3. One Last Principle for becoming a generous giver:
- Principle # 4: God has given us an example to follow. (15)
exp.: rd v 15; God isn’t asking us to do something unlike him. As I was preparing for this message, I thought about how God has set this example. We’re like our Father when we give sacrificially. Just recording this thought made me think I’ve heard this before. Sure enough, John MacArthur said: We are never more like God then when we forgive; A little different but really, very much the same. God’s indescribable gift has brought us forgiveness.
- For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.
- In Galatians Paul says of Jesus: 4who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father…
- And, later in that same letter: 20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
- And to the Ephesians he said: 5 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
- To the Thessalonians he said: 16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, 17 comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word. That applies to us here!
- To Timothy he said: 5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.
- And to Titus he said: 11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.
app.: We are called to be like God – to be holy as he is holy – to give sacrificially, as he gave. For when we, for the Gospel’s sake, give – we are like our Father in heaven.
Challenge for Giving to Missions