Everyone knows what thanksgiving is about, but what is grace giving?
People give for a variety of reasons, because they trust the organization they’re giving too, because they want to meet a need, or to get a tax break. But why do Christians give?
When we look at 2 Co 8:1-9 we discover there's just one reason for Christians to give.
Among the Christians living in Jerusalem in the middle of the 1st. c. there was a famine and as a result the Christians were in need. So Paul writes to the churches and tells them of the need and invites them to give. One of these was Corinth. Now Corinth was a wealthy church. And it turns out they were one of the first churches to say, “Yes count us in!”
But after more than a year the Corinthian Christians still had not given anything. So Paul writes in his second letter and in chs 8-9 and he appeals to them to follow thru and give to help meet this need in Jerusalem. To make this point he gives them the example to follow, a challenge to accept and the reason and power to give generously.
The example to follow. In v.1 We want you to know brothers (and sisters) about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia.
God’s grace has been given to the people of Macedonia. They KNOW God’s grace. They have experienced God’s grace. But notice two other things about these Macedonian Christians: in v.2
1 -they are being tested severely. For In a severe test of affliction. NOT sure what kind of trial they are facing but they are facing some kind of intense, trial that God has brought in their life to mature them in their faith.
2-they are already in extreme poverty. Down to the depth poverty/Rock bottom poor.
They know God’s grace yet are in extreme poverty and a severe trial. How might you expect them to respond when the opportunity to give comes?
These Macedonian Christians are in extreme poverty and in a severe trial and yet b/c they KNOW God’s grace they are full of JOY. AMAZING! So when they hear of the need in Jerusalem they OVERFLOW with a wealth of generosity.
Here’s the biblical principle at work in this passage: Those who know God’s grace are filled with abundant JOY and overflow with sacrificial generosity.
Look at vv.3-4 For they gave according to their means as I can testify and beyond their means of their own accord begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints.
When was the last time you begged to give sacrificially to the LORD’s work?
Notice too how they gave, v.5 in response to the grace of God they gave themselves first to the LORD. This means they surrendered themselves to the LORD. “LORD all I am and have belongs to you.”
And next they gave themselves to us - to the church and the needs. “LORD what do you want me to give?”
Whether it’s a Generosity Campaign or regular giving to the church, follow their example. Give yourself first to the LORD and then to the needs of the church.
Those who know God’s grace are filled with abundant joy and overflow with sacrificial generosity. That’s the example to follow.
Next here’s the challenge to accept. In v.6 Paul sent Titus to Corinth to complete this act of grace. i.e. They had said they would give in fact were the first to say they would give but they have yet to follow thru and give. So in v.7 Paul says Listen you are great communicators and have words of knowledge, and such bold faith to see people healed and delivered. See to it that you also excel in the grace of giving generously to others.
Why does he say this? Not as a command but to prove that their love for Jesus and others is genuine
Of course Paul wants them to help the Christians in Jerusalem in need. But he is more concerned about their heart and wants them to prove that God’s grace has set them free from the love of money.
Giving is the litmus test of our faith. What we do with money reveals what is really in our hearts. Billy Graham said your check book is a theological document – it reveals what you believe in and reveals your priorities. What would someone say you believe in if they only looked at your bank account?
If you know God’s grace then excel in sacrificial giving. Will you accept this challenge?
The example to follow, the challenge to accept the reason and power to give.
Look at V. 9 For you know the grace of our LORD Jesus
What exactly is the grace of the LORD Jesus? The rest of the verse tells us.Though he (Jesus) was rich yet he became poor This means Jesus had an eternal glorious perfect home in heaven and he gave it up to become homeless. Why?
So we who are poor = WE are spiritually bankrupt without Jesus. WE have 0 in our bank account when it comes to being accepted by God.
might become rich. = All that belongs to Jesus becomes ours. Accepted and loved by God eternal life, inheritance in heaven.
Jesus willingly sacrificed the riches and glory of heaven to become like us– poor needy sinners, so we might become like him.
That’s what grace does. IT transforms us so that we are full of joy and overflow with sacrificial generosity. Grace becomes both our motivation our power for sacrificial giving.
Now notice the first part of v.9 says For you know the grace of our LORD Jesus Do you know it? Many people know about Jesus and his grace. Know the facts about him. But knowing facts about Jesus does not result in abundant JOY that overflows in sacrificial generosity.
The other type of knowing is to know God’s grace personally. This is the knowing Paul is talking about. Do you know God’s Grace?
When you know the grace of God you are filled with abundant joy and overflow with sacrificial generosity.