Second Mile - Part 3

Bible Book: 2 Corinthians  8 : 4-5
Subject: Christian Living; Commitment; Stewardship; Worship
Series: Shoe Leather Christianity
[Editor's Note: This is part 3 of the Second Mile sermon. Find part one on SermonCity. This third sermon contains points IV. and V. - points I. II. and III. are found in the first and second sermons entitled Second Mile and Second Mile - Part 2]
Introduction

We have dealt with the first-hand Experience of the Macedonians generosity to the Lord’s work. They undoubtedly shared their Expression of grace, which served as a display of God’s activity in their hearts. Last week we began to talk about the Enthusiasm of Grace, now picking up on that theme.

Remember, the Macedonians gave Proportionally with enthusiasm. Note that they also gave

1. Sacrificially with Enthusiasm

“yes, and beyond their ability” – over and above; sacrificial giving. No prompting or reminding.

Here, grace (still the subject) is manifested in the fruit of a large and self-denying liberality.

They gave according to what they had but in proportion they were sacrificial. They were compelled by the needs of others.

Question: What would a SACRIFICIAL gift to the Lord’s work look like from you? What do you give? What do you have left?

2. Voluntarily With Enthusiasm

“they were freely willing”- giving in the context of grace at work in our hearts is seen as a privilege instead of a duty. Their giving was on their own initiative; it was self-motivated and spontaneous.

freely willing (on their own accord) refers to those who choose his own course of action. The Macedonians were not coerced, manipulated, or intimidated, but gave freely.

My giving is not to be based on an Old Testament principle but on a New Testament person

(2 Corinthians 8:9).

IV. THE ENCOURAGEMENT OF GRACE 4

A. A Serving Heart

“imploring us with much urgency” - begging insistently for the privilege. Giving was viewed as a privilege, not a requirement. Not an obligation, but an opportunity. One must open their heart to receive His grace and, in return, He opens our hands.

The Paradox of Generosity – Smith and Davidson found that giving based on social pressures with no connection to the organization, did nothing to encourage more giving or generous giving.

QUESTION: What does encourage generosity? Supporting a cause that carries personal importance to you. When you feel a sense of satisfaction, knowing your money will help someone, you will likely give more generously.

Luke 16:9 - "And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon, that when you fail, they may receive you into an everlasting home.”

The unjust steward used his master’s money to buy earthly friends. Believers are to use their Master’s money in a way that accrue friends for eternity, by investing in the Kingdom gospel that brings sinners to salvation, so that when they arrive in Heaven (an everlasting home) those sinners will be there to welcome them.

B. A Sacred Trust

“that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministry to the saints” – seen as a partnership.

“gift”- grace; this fruit of God’s work within them. They passed it on us as a favor to them to take and convey this grace-prompted collection.

They did so not out of a sense of obligation but out of the generosity of their transformed hearts.

QUESTION: What does “Grace” do in one’s heart? Make them OTHERS focused.

“STOP GIVING SELFISHLY”

Yes, giving makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside. But here’s the tricky part: giving money away with the intention of feeling better about your own life doesn’t work.

“The main reason why generosity makes us happier and healthier is because it allows us to shift our focus away from ourselves. Research found that giving with no expectation of a reward can decrease the number of negative emotions we feel and even boost our immune system and cardiovascular function.” Smith and Davidson-Paradox of Generosity

V. THE EXAMPLE OF GRACE 5

They were at God’s disposal. The basis for their actions was more impressive to Paul than the generous gift.

No gift can be in any sense a gift unless the giver gives with it a bit of himself.

All financial giving should be preceded by self-giving.

Romans 12:1-2 - “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

A. Giving Was Viewed As A Privilege

I don’t have to do this, I get to do this.

2 Corinthians 9:7 - “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.”

B. Giving Was Viewed As A Priority

“and not only as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord”

“first” - meaning here not of first in time, but of first in priority. The Macedonian’s first priority was to give themselves wholeheartedly to the Lord, and giving generously to the church followed.

SUPREME ACT OF WORSHIP - IT’S not giving money, attending church, or singing, but giving oneself; (all in). Generous giving follows personal dedication.

ILLUSTRATION: Missionary witnesses to tribal leader. The chief of a very primitive tribe tried to impress the missionary with gifts of horses, blankets, and jewelry. But the missionary said, “My God wants the chief himself.” Then the chief smiled and said “you have very wise God, for when I give Him myself He also gets horses and blankets and jewelry.”

“and them to us by the will of God” – to Paul, Titus and Timothy; they submitted to the leadership of their pastors.

Hebrews 13:17 - “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.”

– If we give ourselves to God, we will have little problems giving our substance to God.

– If we give ourselves to God, we will have little problems giving ourselves to others.

– It’s impossible to experience grace and ignore the needs of our neighbors.

– You can give without loving, but you can’t love without giving.

– There was a total commitment to God in response to grace (not the need).

– We will never raise money by impressive statements concerning the needs of the world or the shortness of funds.

– Jesus placed our relationship to money at the core of our spiritual health and our relationship with Him.

– How we relate to money directly affects the degree to which He has our heart.