The Grace of Giving
Sermon Title: The Grace of Giving
2 Corinthians 8:1-15; 9:6-15
Many of the 18 million Angelenos live for self-interest and pleasure. Yet God’s good news sets us free from self-consumption, puts us right with Him, and places us into a church family that supports and helps us grow. The church is God’s plan to redeem and to help the world. When done well, gospel-informed giving profoundly affects us and those around us. Christians give because Christ gave Himself up for us.
Point 1: Grace of Giving: Where It Come From
The apostle Paul encourages the Corinthian church to excel in the grace of giving (8:7)--that is, a Christ-centered generosity established in our hearts because
The grace of giving is a deposit placed in us of God’s wild generosity. It is natural for Christians to give; we have freely received, so we freely give. A generous Father + a sacrificial Son = grace of giving.
Point 2: Grace of Giving: How to Give
In today’s passages, a church of means expresses generosity by relieving the suffering of a poor, famine-ravaged church (8:1-6). Paul celebrates the cheerfulness of their giving (9:7) rather than numbers. (Note: the Greek word cheerfully here is similar to hilariously.) To make giving a command spoils God’s testimony (8:8). The question we should ask ourselves is not, “How much must I give?” but rather, “How much can I give?” (9:7) The Old Testament practice of tithing ten percent (affirmed by Jesus in the New Testament) is a helpful guideline for Christians to assess gospel-driven generosity. Do we give according to our means? Do we give regularly? (8:3)
Point 3: Grace of Giving: The Result of Giving
Christ-centered giving causes the gospel to be affirmed as it spreads to the nations (cementing the Jewish and Gentile congregations as one church family), promotes equity (8:13-14), and increases the harvest of righteousness (9:9-10). The “sowing and reaping” analogy (9:6) refers to the obtainment of the fruit of righteousness, not monetary gain (more seed). Needs met, increased thankfulness, God glorified, gospel confirmed to have changed lives, the church unified, praying for one another, amazement at God’s surpassing grace--these are the fruits of righteousness (9:11-15).
Christians are called to lead Christ-centered, unusually generous lives, seeing the gospel spread and fruits of righteousness reaped.