Sermon Notes – Generous
The ultimate test of your faith is: Are you Generous?
“Well sure, I am giving a ton of gifts this year.” Is there a difference between giving gifts and being generous? You can give gifts without being generous.
Typical Christmas Gift Giving
- It is expected of you. Tradition
- You are returning a favor from last year’s present
- You give first in order to get
Questions to Ponder:
- How much of the money you are spending is giving from a generous heart vs. obligatory heart?
- What if you only gave from generous perspective? Would it change WHO you give to? If it were totally generous, would it include a different group?
Generous – liberal in giving or sharing; unselfish: Giving with no concern for recompense. There is nothing about the definition of generosity that says you have to be rich to be generous. It is a heart condition.
2 Corinthians 8: 1 We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, 2 for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty (bad economy) have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.
3 For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord…
7 But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you—see that you excel in this act of grace also. (Generosity) 8 I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine. 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. …
We are similar to Corinth because of the stability of the Texas economy. Diversified. We do have struggles. However, we have it fairly well compared to others.
Macedonians – severe affliction and extreme poverty. They responded with abundant joy and overflowing generosity. The only way this happens is when your God is not money. If your God is Jesus, then your source of joy and generosity is alive and well.
Many of us have a completely wrong view of money. Our view of money is not gospel oriented. Not Christ centered.
In this day and time they had NO banks and NO social agencies or government. Instead there were private benefactors, and they were Humiliating. You would become their taker and become indebted to them. They are superior and you are inferior. You would go on PR campaign for them and tell everyone about them. Speak well and praise them in public. Do favors. Etc.
We, as Americans, with our money often subconsciously consider ourselves the benefactor and those poorer than us as the beneficiaries.
Paul tells Corinthians that they (we) are not the benefactor (God is), they are the beneficiary. Everything is given from the Grace of God. They are put in the inferior position. We help others not in a benefactor position. (wanting favors or our name in the paper).
Everything we have belongs to God. It does not belong to us. WE are stewards over these possessions. Paul completely inverts our view on money.
We don’t have the authority to give OUR money to those less fortunate. Instead, God is a giver. God is a generous giver. God wants us to understand that all we have is his and we would participate in his plan by being generous. (in the midst of economic troubles). We want you to have a vision of who God is. Having a vision of WHO God is, changes our perspective of everything (including money)
Jesus left the streets of gold to enter into human history. He left all the pleasures of heaven to live on earth. Born into poverty to a teenage mom. Born in a barn. To a working class, construction, adopted father named Joseph.
Grew up in Nazareth (that was not a big deal). He spent the first 30 years of his life as a carpenter. Then spent 3 years as a minister with no actual pay. Living and eating in strangers homes. When it came to pay taxes, they went fishing to find money in fishes mouths. Jesus was poor. HE was broke.
He was generous to be born as a human. He was generous to live in poverty. He was generous to go to the cross. To pay our debt for sin. To give us the generous gift of the salvation. To give us the gift of the Holy Spirit. To give us the gift of eternal life. His greatest gift was to give himself for us. To pay our debt. He is a huge giver.
It seems that all other false Gods are takers. What can you give me to satisfy my cravings or to be in my good graces? Instead, God gives unconditionally.
Generosity reflects the cross and God’s generosity. Money reflects our faith perfectly. It reflects our theological convictions. What does my money have to do with my spirituality? Everything. IF god has these giving attributes, then we should too.
Statistics show that the poorest Americans are the most generous. Statistically, the richer you are the less percentage you give. (though it is more money). For some giving 1% of your income is an enormous sacrifice. To others, giving 10% is nothing. You feel no effect at all. Christianity Today article stated that 1 in 4 Christians give $0 per year.
3 Ways to be Generous
- 1. Forgive Someone – John 3:16
- Give to Local Church – we are passionate about advancing the Gospel, and while there are lots of great causes, we make no bones about our belief that the local church is of the utmost importance. There are a lot of things we can give to this time of year that will give us the warm fuzzies…but we want to be focused as a church on giving to something that makes an eternal impact. And that is the local church!
- Spend time with someone who needs a friend. Emmanuel- God WITH us.
Posted on December 2, 2012, in Sermon Notes, theology and tagged 2 Corinthians 8:1, 8:2, 8:3, 8:7, christmas, generosity, guilt giver, obligatory giver, ways to be generous. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.