The following post is based on my Bible study notes taken from my pastor's sermon titled "The Greatest Giver."
One of my pastor's opening statements was this and I think it's something we need to remember. "A church should not be known for its SEATING capacity, but for its SENDING capacity." Our churches should be sending people out to share the gospel of Jesus with others. We, as Christians, should be giving to others, because God first gave freely to us.
The Greatest Giver
Let's look at 2 Corinthians 8:1-9.
Now, brothers and sisters, we make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia, that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality. For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave voluntarily, begging us with much urging for the favor of participation in the support of the saints, and this, not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God. So we urged Titus that as he had previously made a beginning, so he would also complete in you this gracious work as well.
How can we receive all God has for us if we haven't giving our all back to God? God loves to give, but He wants us to be open-handed. Let's ask ourselves these questions . . . What have I not given back to God today? What do I need to release into His hands? How is God about to move in my life? Am I willing to be a giving Christian?
What is my vision of God? How we view God determines everything. Our vision of God influences all of our decisions in life.
God is a gracious giver. When we give to others, we are reflecting God's grace.
We know that times are hard today. Things are expensive. Have you noticed your grocery receipts lately? Grocery prices are skyrocketing. Other things are expensive too. Our budgets are tight, so talking about giving can make us feel guilty. On the flip-side, we can sometimes be stingy. When we are stingy with our finances, we also feel guilty when we hear a sermon preached on giving.
It is normal for Christians to give. When we are not giving to others in some capacity, something might be wrong in our hearts.
The Macedonians were in a test of affliction. They were being ostracized. They were being martyred, but they were still giving. They were in extreme poverty, yet they were still giving. (2 Corinthians 8:1-2)
The Macedonians gave on their own accord. They were not forced. No one should be forcing you to give. Giving is a matter of the heart. Paul did not beg the Macedonians to give. They begged Paul to receive their gifts. (2 Corinthians 8:3-4)
The Macedonians gave themselves first to the Lord. God had their hearts. When God has our hearts, He has all of us. (2 Corinthians 8:5)
What are you struggling with today? Instead of wringing our hands in worry, let's lift up our open hands extended to God and be willing to receive His grace. Then, let's share that grace with others. We need to release to God the things that are holding us back. Resentment? Greed? Anger? Worry? Grief? Give it all to God.
When we begin a relationship with gracious giving Jesus, we become gracious givers to others.
Jesus was rich. Jesus came from Heaven, but He became poor. He had all the riches of Heaven, but He came to earth born to a poor family. The infinite became an infant. Of all the honor He had in Heaven, He had none here on earth. He gave up His divine attributes. He became sin for us so that we might know the righteousness of God. Put you name in this sentence. For ______________ sake, He became poor.
Is our own identity in our stuff or is it in Jesus?
Giving is an outflow of the grace of God in our lives. Giving is a matter of gratitude. A grateful Christian is a grateful giver. Giving is proof of love. Giving is the fruit of salvation. We are not saved by our giving, but being saved through a relationship with Jesus makes us gracious, loving, and giving.
The order is this: Grace . . . Gratitude . . . Giving.
The greatest gift from God is salvation through Jesus. To not receive such a beautiful gift is a great tragedy. Have you received the gift of salvation? If you haven't, learn how to receive that gift here.
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. 2 Corinthians 8:9
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