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Giving Is the Only Antidote to Materialism

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2/25/07 Giving Is the Only Antidote to Materialism

1. Motivate
In what ways does the Internal Revenue Service play a role in Christian giving?

  • people give to get a tax advantage

  • at the end of the year there is an increase in giving to all charity

  • some people wait until then to see how their taxes are going to turn out, then give to put themselves in a lower tax bracket

  • if it were not for this strategy, some people might not give at all

Note there is nothing wrong with taking your charitable giving as a tax deduction … the problem comes with our motivation for giving.

2. Transition
My motivation in giving can easily become what I get out of it.
 Today we want to look at how we can be motivated by God’s grace to us.
3. Bible Study
3.1 Grace, the Supreme Example”
"Grace" can be defined as "God’s completely undeserved favorable attitude

toward us."

Listen for the example of how Jesus demonstrated grace.
2 Cor. 8:9 (NIV) For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.
What example of grace did Christ set for us? (8:9)

  • He was rich

  • for our sakes He became poor

  • through His poverty you became rich

How was Jesus rich?

So then in what ways did he become poor?

  • gave up the sinless environment to live here on sinful earth

  • limited himself to time, space, a physical body

  • took upon himself the sin of all mankind and the punishment/judgment of death

How can Christ’s grace, his blessings to you undeserved, motivate you to give?

  • the blessings should be shared

  • I didn’t deserve them to start with, I didn’t earn them, I shouldn’t even expect them

  • I should respond to them in kind, becoming “poor” for the sake of others

How can the fact that Christ became poor on your behalf, and was later exalted by God, motivate you to follow His example?

  • one who shares liberally of his or her resources will be blessed by God

  • God values such actions and will honor them

  • God’s blessings to me are undeserved, to share them means I’ve not lost anything at all since I didn’t have them to start with

3.2 Principles of Grace Giving

Listen for principles of giving in this passage.
2 Cor. 9:6-11 (NIV) Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. [7] Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. [8] And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. [9] As it is written: "He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever." 10] Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. [11] You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
What principles of giving are stated here?

  • you reap in the same proportion that you sow

  • think about what you give

  • don’t give out of a sense of compulsion, like you are forced to give

  • give with joy

Why is the comparison of our giving to farming so appropriate?

  • when we give of our resources to the Lord we should consider that to be the sowing of seed

  • the more we sow, the more God can cause to grow

  • if we are stingy with our “seed” then we see few results

Imagine a wide, fertile field with only four cornstalks growing in it. What does the field suggest about the farmer?

  • foolish

  • wasting good land, potential

  • stingy with seed

  • he will end up with small harvest

Note how this illustrates Paul’s words … Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly

What examples can you cite of spare and generous sowing in churches today?

Spare Sowing

Generous Sowing

  • not enough SS teachers for children

  • 80% of work in the church done by 5% of the members

  • nominating committees must beg

  • some faith missionaries must travel far and wide to acquire full support

  • large percentage of participation in the Bridge Campaign

  • helping needy families in community

  • willingness to aid one another in practical ways

  • giving to foreign missions

Think about when you pay your bills. Why are you not usually cheerful after a bill paying session?

  • bills are high, income is barely able to cope

  • you regret some of the things you spent money on

  • you feel like you didn’t get your money’s worth

  • you don’t like the way prices are going up all the time

The passage says that God loves cheerful giving to His Kingdom. Why do you think God would enjoy for us to be cheerful when we write a tithe check or put our cash into an offering envelope?

  • shows our love for God

  • demonstrates we are trusting God for our needs

  • shows we are not being coerced, not thinking of it as another pesky bill to be paid

  • you are excited to see how God uses your gift to accomplish His work

What could a reluctant giver do to become a more cheerful giver?

  • talk to God as you make out that check or stuff the envelope

  • pray about the use of the funds

  • pray God’s blessing on the funds you give

  • pray God’s blessing on the people who will be ministered to through the gift

Consider verses 8 and 11, let’s list the uses of the words “all” and “every”

  • all grace

  • all things

  • all times

  • all you need God does all of these

  • abound in every good work

  • rich in every way

  • be generous on every occasion  This is what God calls us to?

Which of these does God supply and which are our actions?

What does God provide, according to verse 10?

  • seed to the sower

  • bread for food

  • increase of your store of seed

  • enlarging of your harvest of righteousness

  • made rich in every way so you can be generous on every occasion

  • your generosity results in thanksgiving to God

If you tithe and give some beyond that, your spendable income is lowered 10% or more. What do these two verses have to say about the missing funds in your budget?

  • you will have no lack

  • whatever you need, God is sufficient to fulfill the need

  • God makes up the difference … and more

  • God enriches you so you can be more generous

3.3 Grace Giving Experienced by Jesus

Listen for an amazing thing a woman did while Jesus was visiting Bethany.
Mark 14:3-6 (NIV) While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head. [4] Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, "Why this waste of perfume? [5] It could have been sold for more than a year's wages and the money given to the poor." And they rebuked her harshly. [6] "Leave her alone," said Jesus. "Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me.
What reaction did the woman’s actions get? Why?

  • they said it was excessive

  • it was a waste of money, a waste of perfume

  • the same amount of money could have been put to better use

Jesus rebuked them and praised her for her “excess.” What do you think was her motivation?

  • love for Jesus, devotion

  • gratitude

  • wanted to do something nice for Jesus

  • the amount of the excess showed the amount of her love and gratitude

How can we demonstrate our love and devotion in excess? How can we response to God’s abundant grace to us?

  • give excessively of our resources

  • give so much that it might even invite rebuke by some

  • give sacrificially

4. Application
4.1 Spend some time this week enumerating different ways in which you have experienced God’s blessings, even though you don’t deserve them

  • financially

  • kept safe during dangerous times

  • a good job

  • the joy of a happy home

  • many material blessings in our culture, in contrast to other areas of the world

4.2 Practice cheerful giving

  • Not to say that we should wait to give until we feel particularly cheerful about it.

  • Obedience in giving can be hard work.

  • The joy might only come during or after the act of obedience.

  • The same God who loves the cheerful giver promises to give us the grace we need to give cheerfully

4.3 The woman with the perfume was frantically extravagant and wasteful.

  • Consider that God’s grace to us is like that

  • The good things He does for us, the blessings He sends are extravagant

  • When people take His blessings for granted or ignore them, some might consider that wasteful

  • Ask God how you could give to Him extravagantly

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