His Greatness - Our Giving

Bible Book: 2 Corinthians  8 : 2
Subject: Christian Living
[Editor's Note: This is a message from a few years ago, but it has great teaching for the church in every generation.]
Introduction

The Lord’s Supper is a reminder of what Jesus did in the past, a symbol of our present relationship with Him, and a promise of what He will do in the future.
The crucifixion of Jesus has a continuing significance to all who have taken up a cross to follow Him.  In the Lord’s Supper, we show that we share in Jesus Christ.  We commune with Him. 

We are united in Him.

The New Testament speaks of our sharing with Jesus in several ways.  We share in His crucifixion (Galatians 2:20), death (Romans 6:4), resurrection (Ephesians 2:6), and life (Galatians 2:20).

The Lord’s Supper symbolizes this spiritual reality.  We live in Christ, and He lives in us.

Today may we look upward, to Christ, and be mindful that true life can only be in Him and with Him.

1 Corinthians 11:28
“But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.”

What do we find in our examination? This helps me with my relationship with Him.

Today may we look outward and around to see if we are treating others as Christ commanded (one another - 55 times).  If you are united with Christ and I am united to Christ, then we are united to each other. We are the Body of Christ.

As Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 10:17 - “For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread.” 

By participating together in the Lord’s Supper, we picture the life of the fact that we are one body in Christ, one with each other, with responsibilities toward one another.

Hebrews 10:24-25
“And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” 

Last week we looked at the Macedonia Church and their

I. EXPRESSION OF GRACE

The Grace of God was OPERATIVE in their lives; it was WORKING.

II. THE EXPERIENCE OF GRACE   2

What has “Grace” taught you?  Do you have a giving story?
Amazing Grace (verse 2)
“T'was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
the hour I first believed.”

A.  Taught The Greatness Of God

How Great is God?
“How Great is our God, sing with me
How Great is our God, and all will see
How great, how great is our God”

This passage, 2 Corinthians 8:2 teaches that His greatness allows us to give generously and sacrificially to His work and it transcends difficult circumstances.  His greatness allows us to consistently give to His works with joy.  His grace is so great that, we are privileged to give and not be hindered by poverty.  During difficult financial challenges the greatness of God makes it possible to give generously, sacrificially and most of all VOLUNTARILY.

1. In Adversity

a. Persecution

“great trial of affliction” – during a season of testing by affliction, trouble experienced.
“great” – much or many; extreme nature of their ordeal.  Refers to pressure, as in crushing grapes.

The Macedonians rose above their trying circumstances.  They did not allow their situation to have a negative affect on their giving.  They put the needs of others ahead of their own.  Their
poverty may have limited the amount they could give, it did not diminish their love.  Devout Christians give no matter what the situation. Others had to be encouraged by the example of gracious giving by the Macedonians; caught not taught!

We at FBCW can be encouraged in that we have lots of room for growth development in GIVING. If the average Christian gives a little over 2% to a charitable cause (including houses of worship) we can pray, teach, inspire, and lead others to being more committed.

Remember:
We have 7,100 family units but 542 units gave 60% of all receipts last year.
1,400 family units gave less than $100 all year.
450 family units did not give at all.

THIS CAN CHANGE!

How?  PRAYER, TEACHING, BEING EXAMPLES.

The GRACE OF GOD AND THE GREATNESS OF GOD AT WORK IN OUR HEARTS.

Remember:
15% of our membership gave over $4,000.00 last year.
My prayer is that others will join us and support God’s work among neighbors and nations through the local church!
If 188 family units would join in we would realize an additional One Million Dollars in giving this year.
If 377 family units would join in we would realize an additional Two Million Dollars.
If 560 family units would join in we would realize an additional Three Million Dollars.
Why? Greater Ministry Opportunities could be embraced. We could address social issues with greater depth. We could fund more church plants. We could revitalize more dying churches. ETC!

If FBCW’s average give of 8,025 givers is $2,482.00 per year.  If it moved to $4,000.00 we would receive an additional $10 million next year.  Average Baptist makes $53,000.00 a year, if
it moved to $5,300.00 per family we would receive an additional $20,000,000.00 next year.

This excites me to challenge us!

From Persecution.

b. Destitution 

“their deep poverty” -  rock bottom destitution, a time of scarcity; word describes a beggar who has absolutely nothing and has no hope of getting anything; the pits.
The Macedonians’ confidence that God would supply all their needs freed them to give generously.  Devout Christians do not wait until they have more money, they give despite their
poverty, like the poor widow (Luke 21:1-4).

Psalms 37:25
“I have been young, and now am old;
Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken,
Nor his descendants begging bread.” 

Philippians 4:19
“And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” 

Giving is not a matter of how much one possesses but is an expression of an unselfish and loving
heart.

Luke 16:10
“He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.” 

2. In Attitude

a. There Is Abundance.

“the abundance of their joy” – speaks of joy, overflow.  They gave gladly, freely, joyfully, knowing that “God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7).

1 Thessalonians 1:6
“And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit,” 

b. They ABOUNDED

“abounded in the riches of their liberality” – overflowed in the wealth of their liberality; even though they were not rich in material possessions, they did possess a wealth in simplicity and
sincerity.  They were not double-minded attempting to find a reason not to give but their concern for others and the Kingdom of God ruled.

Philippians 2:3-4
“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”