This past Sunday we were encouraged together to consider our contentment and our giving. Our small groups have been talking about it all week and we hope you have been praying and considering how you too can grow in grace through giving.
From the practical side we have launched the use of a new app called Elexio Community that allows you to give and connect with the church all from your smart phone. It’s quick and easy. You can learn how to get connected to Elexio Community here.
On the spiritual side will you allow me to take a few minutes and share with you how grace makes us givers. Consider with me this passage:
2 Corinthians 9:6-15
The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. As it is written,
“He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever.”
He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!
If you want to be a giver instead of a taker in this life, you have to see all of life differently. You have to see yourself as God sees you. And you have to see what God has done in and for you. The more we understand grace, the more generosity will naturally flow from us as it did Christ.
This is why God loves a cheerful giver. Shouldn't God just be happy that I gave at all? Nope. Because God cares more about WHY you do something than he does about what you do. God wants your life to reveal his grace. We are image bearers of the grace of God. God's grace is abounding to you, and it gives youall sufficiency in life (v8). This grace is what allows you to abound in every good work (v8).
Generosity is only a good work if it comes from grace. Giving to help the poor, or tithing, or putting money in the offering plate is not a good work if it comes from guilt, pride, or apathy. These are only righteous acts when they flow from God's imputed righteousness to us in Christ.
v9. As it is written, "He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.”
This quote comes from Psalm 112. It is a Psalm that is fulfilled by Christ. Jesus distributed freely. Jesus gave to the poor. Jesus' righteousness endures forever. This verse is not about you being righteous IF and WHEN you give to the poor. It is about you being righteous BECAUSE Jesus gave to the poor - you and me. This is a statement of our imputed identity. Christ's righteousness, proven by his faithful giving to the spiritually poor, is now our righteousness in Christ. That is the grace of God.
2 Corinthians 9:10-15 then describes what it looks like when God's great grace takes hold of our life:
v10. He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.
This is a quote from Isaiah 55 describing the New Creation. God's great harvest is alive in us spiritually today. There is a never ending supply of righteousness available to you. Keep sowing seeds of righteousness by being generous. There is no shortage. There is no lack. Go nuts. Keep giving. The harvest of righteousness is coming.
v11a. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way
God's grace, which has declared us to be righteous, will bring an outlook and attitude of generosity to our hearts. We have nothing to lose and nothing to gain. We are crazy rich Christians. Every spiritual blessing is ours in Christ. This kind of freedom allows us to live for the blessing of others.
v11b. which through us will produce thanksgiving to God
Our righteous generosity blesses others. God will be thanked. And thankfulness is the launching pad for experiencing the joy of God.
v14. while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you
The giver and the receiver will develop a beautiful relationship of mutuality through the meeting of physical and spiritual needs that comes by sharing and praying for each other
v13. By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ
The gospel is proven once again to actually work. Your generosity proves the gospel. Giving that pleases God flows from our confession of the gospel - your faith. Those who truly believe the gospel of grace will simply be more and more naturally generous as they allow the gospel to take a greater hold of their heart.
Has the gospel of grace made you a giver?