Sunday, November 1, 2015

Paul's Epistles - 2 Corinthians Part 12 – Giving to Receive

Paul's Epistles - 2 Corinthians
Part 12 – Giving to Receive
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |

Paul's second letter to the church in Corinth began with letting the church know that Paul was happy to hear that the church had received and responded correctly to his first letter.

Remembering James 5:19, 20 " My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins."  

Paul explained why he didn't visit them and that he was pleased they had responded well to his first letter, even though not all had repented.

Last week we looked at Paul encouraging the church to allow the offender of incest return to the congregation, because he had truly repented and turned away from his sin, therefore he had been forgiven. Paul said that his punishment by the church forcing him to leave the congregation was enough, and that since he had repented and was forgiven, they must allow him back.

Paul reminded them that it was not that long ago, they too were not living as God wanted them, and they repented, and were forgiven by Paul.

Paul reminds the church in Corinth, and us as well, that forgiveness to those who have repented is essential, not only because we are commanded to do so by Christ, but because when we forgive, we keep Satan from having a way to outwit us.

Satan will use our unforgiveness as a weapon against us in his schemes.

As long as we have unforgiveness against someone who has repented, we are being disobedient to the Lord, which in turn allows a foothold for Satan to work against us.

Satan is always looking for an area of our lives where we are being disobedient, which allows him room to work his schemes against us.

This week Paul speaks of Giving Materially to receive Spiritually

And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us. So we urged Titus, just as he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part. But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.

I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.
10 And here is my judgment about what is best for you in this matter. Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so. 11 Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. 12 For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.

13 Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. 14 At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality, 15 as it is written: “The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.”

a. and even beyond their ability

b. entirely on their own

c. They first gave themselves to the Lord
                                                     i. then, by the will of God, gave to us

                                                  ii. The Church in Corinth had Faith, Speech (preaching the Gospel), knowledge and diligence

                                               iii. Now excel in the Grace of Giving!
1. Evidence you are hearing from the Will of God to give to the ministry and work of the Lord

a. The Grace of “Giving” cannot be a commandment, or it is no longer giving.

                                                     i. The Lord was rich, but for your sake became poor, so that you, through His poverty could become rich

1. Jesus, King of Kings, left His Kingdom, so that you could receive this Gospel message that saves you, and gives to you the riches of heaven eternal!

2. When we give to the Lord’s ministry, we are helping the Gospel reach those who are poor in spirit, discover the richness in Christ and Salvation. Thus, through our financial poverties (Grace of Giving), we are increasing the Spiritual richness of others.

3. We also receive Spiritual Blessings in trade for giving of material things “to the work of the Lord”.

a. Not just giving material/financial possessions to anything or any cause, but specifically to the Work of the Lord!

b. Paul compares the church to other churches
                                                     i. Because churches in worse situations were giving far more

                                                  ii. Even beyond what they should have been able to do

                                               iii. Because they were being led by the Holy Spirit to do so

1. So why was the Corinthian church not doing so as well from their material richness?

2. Because they were not listening to the Spirit.

3. Material possessions can cloud our Spiritual mind

                                                iv. Paul tells them to “finish the work you started!”

c. If the Willingness is there, the gift is acceptable
                                                     i. 2 Corinthians 9:7 “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

                                                  ii. Matthew 6:2 Jesus says, “When you give...” not if you give.

                                               iii. 1 Corinthians 16:2 tells us that giving is an act of worship

                                                iv. 2 Corinthians 9:6 and Matthew 6:4 show that the liberality of God’s blessings to us are connected to the liberality of our Christian giving.

1. Why? Because when we give we;
a. Worship God
b. Further the ministry of the Gospel
c. Help those in need who are materially poor
d. Show obedience to the Gospel
e. Show our trust in the Lord’s provision

2. In doing so, we will receive Spiritual blessings equal to our material surrender to the work of the Lord

                                                   v. Is it 10%?
1. That was the Old Testament

2. 2 Corinthians 9:7 “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

a. While you are hard pressed
                                                     i. This giving of material possessions was not so others did not have to work

                                                  ii. It was to help balance the churches out so that none would have to close

                                               iii. It was to help take care of the ministers of the Gospel so they could take care of their families.

                                                iv. It was so the Word of God and the Ministry of the Gospel could continue to reach the lost and save souls!

b. Your PLENTY (Material/Financial) will supply their need
                                                     i. So IN TURN their PLENTY (Spiritual Blessings) will supply your need

                                                  ii. Direct connection between ones material possessions and spiritual need

                                               iii. Luke 16:19-31 The rich man who would not help Lazarus hoarded material possessions, and lost his soul.

1. Mark 8:36 “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?”

                                                iv. Matthew 19:24 Jesus says it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God.

                                                   v. Mark 10:17-31 The rich man asked Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life, but went away angry when Jesus told him he needed to sell all his belongings and give the money to the poor.

1. Material possession can never be hoarded, or come before God

2. However, it’s not about how “much” you have, rather what you do with what you do have.

c. Am I a hoarder?
                                                     i. Some may say, “Well I’m not rich, I can’t really afford to give anything to the Work of the Lord.”

1. Luke 21:1-4 The widow had 2 pennies and gave them to the church.

2. What did Jesus say about her?
a. “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.”

                                                  ii. Genesis 12:2 “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing to others.”

CONCLUSION - Giving to the work of the Lord guarantees blessings

In the Old Testament, tithe was about giving God your “First Fruits”, which began at 10%, and could be more.

In the New Testament, we received God’s “First Fruit”, Jesus Christ, and all things now belong to the Lord.

It is no longer, “How much of my possessions am I going to give to the Lord.”, rather, “How much of the Lord’s possessions am I going to keep.”

Acts 20:35
“In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.' “

Because when we give materially to the Work of the Lord, we receive, not materially back as some claim, but Spiritually, which is a far greater blessing than anything material can ever offer us.

Want to learn more about Salvation and Getting Saved?    CLICK HERE!

No comments: