Power in Weakness Series – Part 5

Excel in the Grace of Giving!
Preached by Chris Adams, March 10, 2008

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Remember who gave ALL she had to live on?

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In 2 Corinthians 8:4-5, Paul shares how impressed he was by the Macedonian’s faith and heart to give . . . not just contributing to Paul’s ministry efforts but by responding to God’s grace by uniting with Paul’s heart for as many as possible to be saved!

Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will.

Paul then “went there” with the Corinthians, not doubting the sincerity of their faith but comparing the earnestness of how they were living out their faith. Wouldn’t it have been much easier for Paul to avoid this touchy issue of finances, especially with the Corinthians pulling back and doubting Paul’s leadership? If you compare yourselves with Paul and the way he gave, then are you excelling in the grace of giving?

“Excel in the grace of giving” preached by Chris Adams
Sunday, March 9, 2008

2 Corinthians 8:7
• Paul spent two entire chapters addressing the Corinthians’ heart to give financially.
• Giving is so clear . . . when you do it.
Question: Do you know when you are totally giving?
Question: Do you know when you are not giving?
Question: Are you singing to God?
Question: Are you connecting to God when you are singing?
• Giving is not about giving something of yourself.

2 Corinthians 2:7
• You need God to give back everything to Him.
• You need to be refreshed by God.
• When you pull back, it is a heart issue.

Philippians 2:5
• Jesus emptied Himself on the cross.

Acts 2:41-47
• Many of the Jews who became the first disciples of Jesus Christ stayed in Jerusalem.
• They were being persecuted heavily.
• After 8-10 years (Acts 11), there were no homes left to sell.
• They had thousands upon thousands of Christian mouths to feed.
Question: Can you imagine the financial needs of the church in Jerusalem back then?
Question: Why was the contribution to the poor (Jerusalem disciples) so important to Paul?

Acts 11:27-30
• On a prediction of a famine, they started collecting a poor contribution.
• They trusted that these men were prophets and that they were speaking the Word of God.
• They did not even see the need(s) . . . and we SEE the needs!

Galatians 2:7-10
• Paul spoke about the disciples of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem.
Question: How did they recognize the grace of God in Paul?
• They recognized the grace of God in Paul because of Paul’s ministry.
Question: Why was Paul so eager?
Question: What compelled him?
Question: What was the reason?
• Spiritual needs and physical needs go hand in hand.
• Paul’s whole heart was that of gratitude.
Question: Why did Paul go through what he went through?

1. Give more than you can.
2 Corinthians 8:1-7
• Paul’s salvation came from the Jewish brothers in Christ, who didn’t give in to men like Paul himself who thought they were obeying God as they sentenced Christians to death.
Question: Why did the Macedonians give so much?
• Giving is an act of grace.
• There are so many people who say: “I have been saved by grace.”
• God gave them this grace so that they could give.

Acts 26:17-18
• Forgiveness in the Greek language means pardon but also: “Release from imprisonment.”
Question: How did Jesus give himself and his grace to the Macedonians?
• Though rich, He made Himself poor.
Question: How much are you relying on God to give?
Question: How much are you praying to God to give?
Question: Do you look around and see disciples of Jesus Christ giving and say, “That’s Jesus’ heart! That’s why I’m here!”?

2 Corinthians 8:8
• Jesus Himself had to totally empty Himself.
Question: Why did he say: “I am not commanding you”?
Question: How were the Macedonians able to give more than they were able?
Question: Are you being like Jesus if you are not giving more than you are able?
• Paul lovingly went there with the Corinthians.
Question: What is earnestness?
• Earnestness makes you want to do something for God.
• Earnestness is every single person in the Bible Talk every month asking who will we baptize this month.
• It is all about faith.
Question: Who are you following up with?
Question: Who are you reaching out to?
Question: Are you putting yourself in a situation where you have faith to be able to give more than you are able?
• Family time is about giving and worshiping God.
• Walk with God.
• Do not try to do things by yourself.

2. Give from the inside out.
Question: What would happen if you did not give to one of your family members for a week or for a month?

2 Corinthians 12:14
• When you get discipled and an issue is brought up, it is not about those things, it is about you being unified with God.
• Otherwise you will misread people’s intentions and project that onto other people.
• You need to change in the relationships with other people.
• To be more open than you are able to.
• It is alright to say: “I am weak,” but you need to say it.
• There are people in the church working so hard for you that they have a hard time getting into their homes from their cars after work.
Question: Are you giving your heart?
• You cannot remain un-giving and not affect the family adversely.
• If you are not giving your heart and taking the initiative by being honest (after focusing on this as a family since January), then you should be scared about the hardness of your heart.

3. Give stirringly until thanksgiving overflows.
2 Corinthians 9:1-2
Question: Do you want to stir someone else up?
Question: Where had their hearts ended up?
• Paul reminded the Corinthians that they had originally inspired the Macedonians.
Question: Are you stirring it up?
Question: Aren’t you as stirred when you have a great talk to a brother in Christ?
• In the June 20, 2004 bulletin of the Central New York Church of Christ (then called the Syracuse Church of Christ) published an article called “Using your gifts for God’s Glory” as well as the following information on the back of the bulletin:
Great North: Mike & Pam O’Donnell – Mission Focus: Watertown
Wild West: Roger & Kama Parlour – Mission Focus: Rochester
Big East: Bob & Mary Thomas – Mission Focus: Utica/Rome
Downtown: Pat & Pam Boea – Mission Focus: Ithaca/Binghamton
• Also, in the aforementioned bulletin the following information was published:
Missions Contribution Pledge: $28, 220
• In addition, the reason why the Missions Contribution pledge was so low was because people had pulled back from giving.
• When you are discipled by someone who inspires you, after that, you repent.
• When you are stirred by discipling and relationships, that motivates you to repent.
• As a church, everyone needs to start dreaming about Central New York being evangelized.
• God has given a vision for you.

2 Kings 13:14-19
“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” – Edmund Burke
• Heart and soul giving.
• You got to be united in heart and soul with all of the brothers and sisters around the world.