This week’s study take a closer look at the principles of godliness and the standard for godliness. We will discover that godliness is a process, not a product and the only standard is Jesus Christ Himself.
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This is our new study for men that takes place on Wednesday mornings and Thursday nights at our church. We’re looking for a few good men ready to get serious about their walk with Christ. The series is designed to take a back-to-basics, gut-check approach to spiritual transformation that’s going to stretch you, train you, and equip you for service as a soldier of Jesus Christ. You’ll be challenged and changed.
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When We Give, Everyone Gets More
“This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.“ – Vs 12 NIV
Paul has been talking about giving. He is encouraging the Corinthians believers to take part in raising financial support for the church in Jerusalem where the people are undergoing financial hardship and religious persecution. He has used the Macedonion believers as examples of what it means to give. Now he continues to exhort the Corinthians to be a part of this vital ministry by reminding that this is about more than just giving money. Ultimately, this is about God’s glory. Our giving goes beyond the meeting of some other person’s financial need. That is just the beginning. First of all, when we give, we allow God to give back to us. “You must each make up your own mind as to how much you should give. Don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. For God loves the person who gives cheerfully. And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others” (Vs 7-8 NLT). When we give cheerfully, willingly, and generously, we give God the opportunity to give back to us. This is not the reason we give. In other words, we don’t give to get. God is not some kind of investment strategy for financial security. No, we give because it is a characteristic we have as one of His followers. We give and God gives back to us so that we might be able to give again. We meet the needs of others and he meets our needs. It is the law of sowing and reaping. “Remember: A stingy planter gets a stingy crop; a lavish planter gets a lavish crop” (Vs 6 MSG). We can’t out-give God. He will give us all we need to give and to live, and even more beyond that in the way of righteous living. “For God is the one who gives seed to the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will give you many opportunities to do good, and he will produce a great harvest of generosity in you. Yes, you will be enriched so that you can give even more generously. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will break out in thanksgiving to God” (Vs 10-11 NLT). The end of verse 11 tells us of someone else who benefits from our generous giving. It’s God. When we give to meet the needs of others, they are blessed and respond in thanksgiving to God. Paul says that our giving is evidence of our obedience to God. It is an outward act that shows what is going on inside us. “For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God. Because of the proof given by this ministry, they will glorify God for your obedience to your confession of the gospel of Christ and for the liberality of your contribution to them and to all” (Vs 12-13 NASB).
We give and others get. The ones in need get much-needed financial support. We get the blessings of God in the form of a miraculous sufficiency in everything. He gives us what we need to meet our own needs, but also to continue meeting the needs of others. He makes sure we can continue being generous and not run out of resources. So those we support get and so do we. But then the most important recipient is God, because He gets praise and glory for being the One who made it all possible. He gets the honor of being the One who gave us the heart and the capacity to give in the first place. He gets the recognition for being the One who supplies all the resources to meet the needs of His children all across the world. God gets the glory!
So why don’t we give more? I guess because we don’t believe the law of the harvest. We live as if the seed we have is all we have. We are afraid to sow it because we don’t trust that it will come back to us. There is a great deal of trust involved in this process. Those in need are having to trust God to meet their need. Those of us who are being led by God to meet that need are having to trust Him that He will meet any needs we might have as a result of our giving. But Paul reminds us that our God can be trusted. If we sow, we will reap. He will multiply our seed for sowing and increase the harvest of our righteousness. We will never run out of seed. Do you believe that? Are you willing to put it to the test? Jesus Himself said, “If you give, you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use in giving––large or small––it will be used to measure what is given back to you” (Luke 6:38 NLT).
Father, I want to be more of a giver. Forgive me for not trusting You to meet my needs if I meet the needs of others. I can’t out-give You. Give me the boldness to step out in faith and begin to live a life of generosity. So that you might receive glory. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men