Sunday, November 15, 2015

Paul's Epistles - 2 Corinthians Part 14 – Generosity Encouraged

Paul's Epistles - 2 Corinthians
Part 14 – Generosity Encouraged
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 encouraging generosity  

There is no need for me to write to you about this service to the Lord’s people. For I know your eagerness to help, and I have been boasting about it to the Macedonians, telling them that since last year you in Achaia were ready to give; and your enthusiasm has stirred most of them to action. But I am sending the brothers in order that our boasting about you in this matter should not prove hollow, but that you may be ready, as I said you would be. For if any Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we—not to say anything about you—would be ashamed of having been so confident. So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to visit you in advance and finish the arrangements for the generous gift you had promised. Then it will be ready as a generous gift, not as one grudgingly given.

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 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. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good workAs it is written:

“They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor;
    their righteousness endures forever.”

10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13 Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. 14 And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. 15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

Paul continues to speak of the offering promised by the Corinthian church, an offering they used to give, and promised to give once more, for aid to the poor Saints in Jerusalem.

This promise is made from their abundance, and would be easily given.

Paul understands that the falling away the church experienced caused them to stop their aid, but they were eager to resume to upholding their promises.

Paul also wants the Corinthian church to understand that offerings do not just bless the poor, but bless the giver as well.
Although God abundantly blesses the giver, our giving should always be to prove the sincerity of our love, and not a matter of greed.

We give to the poor Saints because they have a need, we do not give to the poor because we want to “get” a blessing in return.

a. Sparingly
                                                     i. Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly

                                                  ii. If we give little to the Lord, He will bless little

                                               iii. The context here is Corinth giving monetarily from their abundance to the poor Saints in Jerusalem, and receiving Spiritual blessings from the Lord for showing their love and concern for their brothers and sisters.

b. Generously
                                                     i. whoever sows generously will also reap generously

                                                  ii. If we give generously, He will bless abundantly

c. Abound in every good work
                                                     i. 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. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

                                                  ii. They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor;
    their righteousness endures forever

a. What is seed?
                                                     i. The Word of God
1. Matthew 13:3-9 “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”

2.  Matthew 13:10-11 “The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?” 11 He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 

3. Matthew 13:18-23 “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. 23 But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

                                                  ii. Who “ministers seed” to the sower? the Lord

b. Who is the sower?
                                                     i. The one who preaches that Word

c. Bread for food
                                                     i. Meaning, the Lord supplies the “seed” to the sower, Spiritually speaking

                                                  ii. and through believers offerings, the Lord supplies “bread” to the sower, Naturally speaking.

                                               iii. The Lord provides and meets the spiritual and natural needs of the Sower.

a. Overflow of expressions of thanks to God
                                                     i. The giver is to continuously thank God as well, for giving the abundance to them to begin with

b. Others praise God for your obedience that accompanies your confession of Christ
                                                     i. Paul is saying what the Corinthian church is doing will be an example to other churches

c. Their prayers and hearts will go out to you because of your generosity in sharing with them and everyone else

CONCLUSION - Giving abundantly to show love and concern for others in need

These verses address specifically giving to believer’s who have natural needs.

In return for the Corinthians giving from their abundance, they will in turn receive for their Spiritual needs.

This return will be in direct relation with their giving.

Blessing others will cause them to praise God that your actions match your professions of love and faith in Christ, but should also bring praises to God from you for being blessed by God to begin with.

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