Even the Cambridge dictionary is teaching people worldwide to give generously – not coercively – of their money, time and best efforts! That is, there is no excuse for not giving something to someone! The church ought to do better than coercion, to encourage believers be united through giving as part of discipleship!
Due to the nature of my job in academia for about 20 years, I had to move to different places, and do fellowshipped at several churches. I don’t know about you but to date I have heard calls to give using these and other scriptures Indeed they are all God’s Word from the Bible, and hence truth. However, are they always applied correctly to give God glory? I am sure many of you have had experiences in this space. What I would like to do today is for us to go through what the Bible teaches about Giving, and together learn the Giving nature of God that ought to be part of us for our discipleship and fruitfulness in the work of the Kingdom of God.
Unfortunately some world church leaders have used abuses and manipulations of such Biblical teaching on giving for their own interests (I have experienced it) (2) Ex: a recent trend in Zimbabwe is that people are now choosing a career as a “pastor” because they can get more money. In most such cases it is because of such manipulations and coercion of people to give. You can easily hear a statements like the following in Zimbabwe: “How can you drive a car that is more expensive than your pastor’s car?”, “Blessings have to come to the man/woman of God first before you can receive any”, “If you don’t tithe then your pockets will develop holes and your income will just disappear from you without being useful to your family”, etc. (3) This is not what the Bible teaches, and is thus not Biblical truth. It is a human plan to misuse Giving, and sadly deprives believers of experiencing the blessing that comes through joyful giving (4) Like some other places, I think at Grace we've often backed away from this topic to ensure we never coerce people, but in the process, we have neglected a very basic part of Christian Discipleship - Giving! We desperately need this part of our discipleship, just as we need to be actively pursuing preaching the Word to make disciples. You and I need to give, and we need to go on this journey as a community.
Sow into spending time with God; understand the nature of God receive God’s love, be filled with His love to be able to give Sow into the work of the Kingdom of God enlarge the harvest of your righteousness; reap the fruits of the Holy Spirit (3) The measure with which we give ≈ the measure with which we receive from God ≈ the measure with which we make ourselves available to receive from God
The ultimate example of generous giving is shown in Father giving us His Son Jesus Christ to die on the Cross Father God unsparingly gave His Son to save us from our sins
Maybe a similar and closer example of this is the love a mother has for their baby child A mother sows through loving their baby child, and reaps through the joy of seeing their child smile back to them, be able to crow around, walk, start going to school, etc. Special: I’d want to honour all mothers … particularly on a day like this = Mothers Day! Mothers were created in the image of God. We men may need to learn closely from mothers; to learn from them the unique nature of God that enables them to give generously, better than us! Generously = not counting the cost; sacrificial love; giving best efforts
The natural order of things is that having sown in spending time with the Father received of the abundance of His love and drank of the infinite water of life (Rev 21:6) we should freely give. Sadly for most believers there is need to overcome mental battles! Illustration: For years I struggled with fighting the mental battles of looking at my income, budget, responsibilities and having the voice in me that said you can’t give. Remember any times in your life when you’d see the offering bucket and struggle to decide how much to give? I had those before. Example: After we got married, Rumi and I decided to pray and decide to commit to a dollar figure to give for the work of the Kingdom at Grace. Furthermore, we decided to do that electronically so that we do not have to fight the mental battles each Sunday/each time! This has freed us, and we are rejoicing in having made that decision.
The Kingdom of God operates on the principle of giving in order that the needs be met, and God is glorified He wants your needs to be met, so that you may be able to do good works that glorify Him, and produce disciples that make disciples He wants the needs of the Body of Christ (church) to be met, so that the church can fulfil it’s purpose of making disciples and bringing the Kingdom to every part of our community
When a church, a body of believers, rises to a financial challenge they get opportunity to tell a story TOGETHER that will become part of their journey and will stand as a testimony to encourage them and other as they continue. E.g. see how the Israelites were able to tell and retell the story of the Exodus as encouragement to trust God at all kinds of later challenges. It stands as a testimony and encouragement to others - they see the group rising to be faithful to God and to meet a need and other groups are encouraged to be generous and trust God like the first group. It will be something that creates a bond between groups of people - a bond that is not just about thankfulness, but that produces a willingness to pray for one another - so the whole spiritual “water level” increases. The purposes of God everywhere are boosted by what has happened. The whole situation produces something that genuinely “looks like Jesus” - it doesn’t just reflect generosity itself, but when people encourage one another to “give like God gives” people get to participate in something that tangibly expresses the very nature of God. It is not just giving to meet the need, or giving to be generous, but it is giving to reflect the character of God.
Take time daily to be quiet and bask in the presence of God receive His love let your needs be met in Jesus give to others out of that overflow Grace Canberra as a church has a need at the moment to be able to operate and continue its mission of bringing the Kingdom to every part of our community: We are currently operating at a budget deficit of $1000 every week I believed the Lord has enriched us enough to be able to all decide in our hearts and give so that this need is met I would like to ask you to decide how much you would like to give on an ongoing basis in order to meet this need I will be sending Letters to every one of us asking for your response to this need that we have as the Body of Christ. I believe God wants to meet this need through us. I ask everyone to reply to that Letter in response For those already committed to giving financially, I would like to ask you to (i) consider doing so electronically, and (ii) increasing your gifts by $20/week For those not yet committed to giving, I would like to ask you to do so I would like us to believe God and give so that this needs goes away from us from as soon as we all respond, and next month at the latest.
Giving Sunday 8th May 2016
2 Corinthians 9 : 6 - 15
.. to offer something
to someone, or to
.. to give your
money, time, or best
efforts, especially in
a way that seems
Cambridge Dictionary … Giving?
6Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also
reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will
also reap generously. 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. 8 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. 9 As 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.
2 Corinthians 9:6-15 (NIV)
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!
2 Corinthians 9:6-15 (NIV)
(1) “Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. ..‘In
tithes and offerings.’” Mal. 3:8
(2) “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, ... Test me
in this, “says the Lord Almighty,” and see if I will not
throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so
much blessing ...” Mal. 3:10
(3) “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35
(4) “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and
whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” 2
(5) “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.” 2 Cor. 9:7
(6) … etc
1. You’ve Heard it Said and it is True that ..
I want each of you to take plenty of time to think
it over, and make up your own mind what you
will give. That will protect you against sob
stories and arm-twisting. (vs 6 – 7, MSG)
2. Abuses and Manipulations
6 Remember this: Whoever sows
sparingly will also reap sparingly,
and whoever sows generously will
also reap generously. 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. (2 Corinthians 9)
3. Sow Generously to Reap Generously
“I want you to have all the time you
need to make this offering in your
own way. I don’t want anything
forced or hurried at the last minute.
… I want each of you to take plenty
of time to think it over, and make up
your own mind what you will give.”
(2 Corinthians 9:5-6, MSG)
4. Apply Energy to Think .. Heart’s Decision
5. Giving to Meet the Needs
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.
(2 Corinthians 9, NIV)
6. Generosity of Believers as Church
The generosity of a group of
believers in a church produces a:
• Stepping stone to collective
• Testimony and encouragement
• Bond between groups of
• Genuinely “Jesus-looking”
group of people
7. So what ….??
• Sow in time with God each day to be
filled with His love
• Grace Canberra needs $1000/wk
• God wants to meet this need through
all of us either committing to give, or
increasing by $20/wk: electronically
• Tithe 10% a starting guide, increase
• You’ll receive Letters in the mail