ENDURE | Courage in Weakness PART XIV| Enduring Giving | 2 Corinthians 9
Topic: New Testament Passage: 2 Corinthians 9
Christopher Rich – May 9, 2021
ENDURE | Courage in Weakness
PART XIV| Enduring Giving | 2 Corinthians 9
Introduction | We have been Given to Give
Good Morning! Welcome to Mercy Fellowship where we are Saved by Jesus Work, Changed by Jesus’ Grace, and Living on Jesus’s Mission. Today we are continuing our series ENDURE: Courage in Weakness.
If we exist to make Disciples of Jesus Christ who Love God and Love people, we have to talk about what that looks like in each aspect of life. Love is emotion and desire but is also intention and tangible action. We can tell a lot about ourselves and others with how we spend our time, talent and treasure. Specifically, what and who we value. This is intrinsic to how we understand the concept of worship or “worth-ship”. How we spend or what we give show what we see and find worth in. Every dollar we spend, give, invest, is a doctrinal statement about what we believe about God, ourselves, others, and the world around us. While there are great shifts in the culture around us and many issues we can cover and address at any given point, working through 2 Corinthians helps guide and shape what we preach and teach each week. Generosity and giving matter if we’re going to be holistic disciples. Additionally, we are shaped by the character and nature of God.
Who has given first and best? God – God is eternal and infinite in power, etc, but how we have interacted with Him first is at Creator. In the beginning God…. He is the Creator of everything, and He is OUR creator. God is the initiating agent speaking (giving) the Universe into existence and who it the author of all life.
What hast been given? Everything – All that we have, all that we enjoy (even the concept of enjoyment), all that sustains life and makes life worthwhile has been given to us from God. Every resource to steward, talent to cultivate, time to invest, comes from Him to us for a purpose. In part to enjoy the gifts and the giver.
Why would we give? Response to God. Giving, satisfaction, gratitude has been how we’ve responded to God. Our reaction to all God has done, is doing, and will do, which we have received has been to reject His limit believe He is holding out on us or holding us down and that what He has said does not matter as much as what we think we want. This was the fall, where sin entered a perfect garden of abundant joy and purposeful work tainting every person while bringing scarcity, toil, and separation from God. Our motives matter to God as much as our action. We are motivated not to earn God’s favor/blessing, or pay for our sin/guilt/shame, but out a response to already being blessed by GOD who has already giving to us. God’s response to our rejection is to pursue relationship, provide redemption, and promise restoration. This is seen and fulfilled in God giving in and through Jesus Christ, God’s Son coming to us (intentionally), dying for us (sacrificially), and (Cheerfully) purchasing/promising new resurrected life for us now and forever. All of our giving stems from and is a response to the Gospel (Good News) of Jesus Christ.
How do we give? Good circumstances and worthy causes can spur us to momentary generosity. However, when desire and discipline are lacking, we can easily become sporadic or even stingy in our giving. For a culture of generosity to be cultivated, specific habits, attributes, and motivations are necessary for enduring giving. Generosity, in all its forms is an act of faith and courage relying not on what we possess but who we behold and how we understand the blessings we have received and the responsibility we have been given. This courage is birthed from being reorientated to see what we have been given and how we give. Courage and resolve led to action where we seek to embody giving that is intentional, cheerful, and sacrificial.
PART I | Intentional Giving | 2 Cor 9:1-5
2 Cor 9:1-5 |Now it is superfluous for me to write to you about the ministry for the saints, 2 for I know your readiness, of which I boast about you to the people of Macedonia, saying that Achaia has been ready since last year. And your zeal has stirred up most of them. 3 But I am sending the brothers so that our boasting about you may not prove empty in this matter, so that you may be ready, as I said you would be. 4 Otherwise, if some Macedonians come with me and find that you are not ready, we would be humiliated—to say nothing of you—for being so confident. 5 So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to go on ahead to you and arrange in advance for the gift you have promised, so that it may be ready as a willing gift, not as an exaction.
God Gives intentionally, so we can intentionally give. God is intentional; meaning every action He takes is performed with awareness; done deliberately, consciously, on purpose. We may not always know what His purposes are (or always agree with them) but we can rest knowing God is ultimately knowledgeable, powerful, and loving. The plot of Bible reveals from the before creation to the end of days, God’s intention is to be with His people. God is intentional in giving, planning, and relating to His people.
Gen: God the creator gives a promise to bless the world through the family of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
Ex: God the deliverer gives freedom from slavery in Egypt to His people and gives them the Ten Commandments. He also spends nearly a dozen chapters discussing the details of the designs Tabernacle (holy camping gear) priestly garments, and furniture, including how all of it should be paid for by contribution from the congregation of God’s people.
Lev: God the legislator gives out hundreds of laws for us to relate to God, His creation, and each other.
Num:(a whole book!) God the field guide starts with specifics of a military draft and Hebrew seating assignments and parade order for their camp and march. God gives daily food and constant correction.
Joshua: God the General strategically gives His people victory and the promised lands.
Judges: God the judge shows mercy in giving judges to save his people from their own unfaithfulness.
1&2 Sam: God the priest gives Samuel to His people as a priest to renew pure worship and to anoint Saul, then David as kings to lead God’s faithfully.
1&2 Kings: God the King of Kings gives his people numerous human kings to remind them they should seek to God’s kingdom and not the kingdom of men. 1 Kings spends several chapters describing the details of the temple God will dwell in at Jerusalem down to specifics of the furniture and decorations.
Neh: God the restorer uses Nehemiah who gives a specific budget request and purchase order to King Artaxerxes before he returns to Jerusalem to rebuild the city walls.
Psalms: God the poet/musician gives us a window to His head/heart so we can think and feel with Him.
Prvb/Ecc/Songs: God the wise gives wisdom in how to work, live, and love in a way that leads to our joy.
Prophets: God the prophet gives numerous men to remind His people His intentions, plan hasn’t changed. A savior will be given to fulfill the promises made back in Genesis. Isaiah in several places points to Jesus.
Ezekiel, Daniel, point to Revelation with mapped out city where God dwells and Jesus sits on a throne for eternity with His people with no sickness, evil, sin or death. Malachi, the last prophet before 400 years of silence preceding Jesus’ birth, affirms God’s unchanging character while reminding God’s people they are not to be presumptuous on God’s blessing and provision but rather faithful to give intentionally. God’s last words to His people before the incarnation of Jesus are intentional giving.
From the Garden, to desert, to city; By tabernacles, and temples; by promising lands, promising the child Immanuel, to promising Jesus’ return God’s intentional plan to redeem, reconcile, and restore His people is clear. God is intentional about His glory and our Joy because they matter to Him. God is the creator, He is creative, and part of how he is creative is though intentionally, plans, and systems.
We are Intentional – We diligently prepare and plan for what we desire to do. We set up rhythms around what we believe is essential. When the Corinthians understood the missional needs of the church and other people who needed to be blessed they were quick to sign up and pledge to give. Some had followed through and some hadn’t. Paul as leader is intentionally reminding them what they pledged, providing a way for them to fulfill what they resolved to give and is encouraging them to be “ready” (have a plan, be intentional) He stressed both being ready AND willing. Two words are used here “gift/willing gift,” meaning blessing” vs “exaction” (given grungily or expecting a return) In this we see our motives for giving matter. We are to be both ready and willing to regularly give what we have resolved. Am I giving purposefully and regularly? Our giving is consistent and is a planned part of our life rhythms. (Jesus gave intentionally, it was a plan for the full ness of time to unite all things Eph 1:10). Our giving should be on a regular basis, that is, weekly, bi-monthly, monthly, etc. Although there is nothing wrong with spontaneous giving, our giving should not be blind but rather mindful and systematic about our giving. Therefore, giving should not be an afterthought “leftovers”. It should be a result of the first fruits of our labor and intentionally planned as part of our budget.
PART II |Cheerful Giving | 2 Corinthians 9:6-11
2 Cor 9:6-11 | 6 The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 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. 9 As it is written,
“He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.” 10 He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.
God gives cheerfully so we can cheerfully give. – He says, “this is the point!” Your actions flowing from your heart. As he’s talking about being intentional, he talks about what drives our intentionality. It’s desire as a response to what God has done. God’s desire is for our hearts to be glad in Him, not dread our duties for Him. He talks about the principal (not a promise) of sowing and reaping. Little seed spread, little crop, lots of seed spread, bigger crop. We do not give out of fear of what happens when we withhold. Rather we give out of joyful delight of the abundant grace He has already given to us. We bless and we receive blessing. We are not simply containers of God’s blessing and grace but conduits of it to others. God’s grace given to us (v8) for the purposes of us cheerful giving, that leads us to greater gratitude as we’re enriched in EVERY WAY (tangible spiritual) to be generous in EVERYWAY because God is the one supplying our means of generosity. More than just the means of generosity, God has given us all that is good and beautiful. We can see with our eyes the cheerful giving of the LORD in every sunrise and delicious meal.
Cheerful - Our giving is rooted in an understanding of the gospel. Our giving should spring from a cheerful heart which God loves. God is not interested in your money but your heart. Our sacrifices do not mean as much to him as our repentance. We are to do all things, including giving, without grumbling and with joy, we do not give reluctantly or under compulsion so we ask Am I properly motivated in my giving? Our giving is a glad response to what God has given us in Christ. Jesus gave cheerfully (for the joy set before him went to the cross) We’ll be careful understand that our motivation to give is in no way that we are paying back God. What God has done for us in Christ is not something we can pay back. It is a gift. Grace is a gift you don't pay back. It is given to us to use. We've been gifted His righteousness. Because He has given us every aspect of our lives we use those gifts for His glory and our joy so here's what this is not: When Carys was three years old she has pneumonia so bad that she was in Children's Hospital for five days at that time I was unemployed. We had no money except for unemployment insurance we are in for tithing off of and so when it came time to pay her bill Children's Hospital they said this is on us and so I knew that was from the charitable giving from a whole bunch of other people who don't even know me they don't know anything about me but we were blessed by it on so every time I'm at Costco and they ask “Would you like to give a dollar to Children's Hospital today?” every single time I say yes. I only get asked three times a year so I given maybe 15 dollars and in no way am I paying back how much five days in the hospital is. It’s cheerfully but it’s not really sacrificial It’s just a couple of bucks. It’s not intentional, I don’t plan for it. Giving a little is never going to pay back how are you blessed in Christ. God wants our contentment in Him and His provision. Jesus first miracle was to turn water into wine, not to dull the pain of a broken world but to enhance and extend the joyfully celebration of life and love around wedding feast. So let’s remember the character of God who is cheerful in giving good gifts.
PART III |Sacrificial Giving | 2 Cor 9:12-15
2 Cor 9:12-15 | 12 For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. 13 By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, 14 while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. 15 Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!
God gives sacrificially so we can sacrificially give- God is an inexpressible giver. He has given us everything in Jesus. As we hear world like service, submission, confession, and generosity we cannot forget Jesus’ sacrifice. Jesus has all the riches of Heaven and emptied Himself to the point of poverty for a purpose. He did this so we who are spiritually poor might be rich in Him. "looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God." Heb 12:2 Jesus was driven by desire to give and to sacrifice on the Cross. This took him to the discipline of the cross motivated by the great reward of purchasing His people from slavery from sin and selfishness, to be son and daughters, heir to the kingdom who would no longer live self-focus lives but experiencing joy in having lives that are others focused motivated by the new identity in Christ empowered by the Holy Spirit to follow the example of Jesus. He took our poverty of sin on the cross, paid the debt of sin, and gave a direct wealth transfer of His righteousness to us.
Am I giving proportionally? Am giving generously? In order for our giving to be significant it needs to literally cost us something. Our giving is generous and costs us giving something else up. Jesus gave sacrificially (the cross) so we give sacrificially. Our giving should be in accordance with how each of us has been prospered by God; according to our ability. Many of us have been blessed by God abundantly, others have not. Some people can give much more than 10%, others much less. This is an issue that must be worked out in your own heart—but it must be worked out. We are called to give generously, even sacrificially, but not to the point of personal affliction. What is sacrificial? Besides your housing what is your largest monthly payment? How much is your cell phone bill? Car Payment? Sports? Eating out? Trips? Entertainment? Christians are instructed to give cheerfully, regularly, and sacrificially. Our giving is not to earn God’s favor but because we have been granted favor with God in Christ. We give because of the Gospel and we give for the Gospel. What happens when all three of these are not present? Which one of these do you struggle with most? Each of these three (Intentional, Cheerful, Sacrificial) is important for our giving to be faithful. If you take any one away you will fall into giving that don’t lead to greater joy and satisfaction.
If giving is Cheerful and Sacrificial but not Regular than your giving will be inconsistent. Undisciplined stewardship God’s mercies are new every morning, fresh manna and grace come on the daily. We can respond with faithful consistency.
If your giving is Regular and Cheerful but not Sacrificial than your giving will be ineffective. Grace is costly, If we give and don’t “feel” or notice it than it likely doesn’t effectively shape our heart or bless our neighbor.
If your giving is Regular and Sacrificial but not Cheerful that your giving will be incomplete. We a whole people. God doesn’t want (or need) our money He wants our whole lives including our hearts affections.
Money is Mission Ammunition- We have been saved by the Gospel to advance to the Gospel. Gospel mission is advanced through the local church. Living on Jesus’ Mission mean taking resources we’ve been given and stewarding them by investing in God’s economy. We now exist to see the mission of God’s Kingdom advancing. That requires resources and I believe God has granted us the resources to pursue His Kingdom advancing and He's done that through equipping each and everyone of us individually and as families with resources to steward for us to flourish and enjoy and collectively for us to flourish and enjoy God’s economy in providing for the work of the local church is for her members to give cheerfully, regularly, and sacrificially to the local church first than beyond. What is your next step?
Do you need to repent of believing your life is about you and follow the God who has giving you everything in Jesus? That you need to put your trust in him and him alone? Become a Christian find you identity not I yourself but In Christ. Be baptized. Resolve to repent.
Are you a Christian? Do you need to look at your budget and see how you’re spending and begin to live within your means so you can give, save, and steward? What needs to change? Who do you need to get counsel from? Resolve to rely on God for wisdom provision and guidance.
Do you need to have a conversation with yourself, God, and/or your spouse about your giving? Resolve to release what you think is your money and steward His money for His glory and your joy.
Do you need to trust God with your finances for the first time? Do you need to give for the first time?
We don’t give because we don’t trust God. We trust our bank accounts more than the one who took our account of our debt of sin and nailed to the cross. All giving is a trust issue.
“All the difficulty in this matter is in trusting God with what we give, in trusting his promises. If men could but trust the faithfulness of God to his own promises, they would give freely.” -Jonathan Edwards, The Duty of Christian Charity: Explained and Defended.
How we use money matters to God. It displays where our hope, faith and trust is in. Praise God the Father who supplies us with sufficient provision in all seasons. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you how you have been blessed and how you can be a blessing. Thank Jesus for His intentional sacrificial death on the cross motivated by His joyful desire for us so we can give and live as we continue to Trust Jesus!
More in ENDURE: Courage in Weakness | 2 Corinthians
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June 6, 2021ENDURE | Courage in Weakness PART XIX | Enduring Weakness | 2 Corinthians 12:1-19
May 30, 2021ENDURE | Courage in Weakness PART XVIII | Leading out of Weakness and Vulnerability