Faithfulness Pt 6 The Cheerful Giver

Faithfulness Pt 6 The Cheerful Giver

 

The Cheerful Giver

What a wonderful joy and privilege it is to preach the WORD of the Lord Jesus Christ! What a blessing it is to see his word come alive in our lives. 

This morning will certainly be more encouraging than challenging, the passage before us is not one that is dealing with unfaithfulness but faithfulness. 

Last week the Lord was addressing the unfaithful in the congregation of God, and the tone of the sermon was to purposefully reflect the tone of the passage in the book of Haggai respecting giving to the Lord.

We see an incredible consistency with the Lord in the Bible when God deals with both  unfaithfulness and ingratitude. 

God never speaks in soft and smooth tones when addressing those who are rebellious in his congregation, saying in the first chapter of Isaiah.

Isaiah 1:2–4

2 Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me.

They knew who he was talking to, they took the rebuke personally and understood they were the reference of the passage, as a result, tradition tells us Isiah did not have a good end to his life.

Some receive the rebuke in humility, others harden their hearts in rebellion. Those two outcomes have always been before the Lord.

Hagia, like all the prophets of the Lord, did not coddled the congregation of the Lord, like many do today, quite to the contrary;

 As a result, Jesus rebuked the Jews for the blood that was shed “of all the prophets”, 

Luke 11:51

51 From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple: 

I pray you may be careful beloved, with how you receive the rebuke of God in the scripture, be careful that you first identify if the teaching is biblically sound. If so, our task then is to humbly ask ourselves HOW AM I REFLECTED in the scriptures presented by the preacher! 

In false teaching we address the preacher, in sound teaching we address our hearts!

Nevertheless, Paul wrote of the last days saying;

 2 Timothy 4:3–4

3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

If that is what you are looking for beloved, there are plenty of them out there today that will accomodate you. 

Psalm 34:18

18 The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.

As promised last week, this morning’s message is to those who are doing their best to be faithful to the Lord and truly desire his blessings all the more in their lives. I pray it is an encouragement to you especially as you look to become a CHEERFUL GIVER.. 

Again, as the tone of the passage is, so too I desire to preach to you that the effect of Gods words will affect you as he intends.

We read all of chapter 9, and we could truly have begun in chapter 8 for that is where this discourse on the subject concerning the giving of the churches of Corinth begins. Nevertheless we shall settle on the last ten verses only and try to expound only the few that time allows, as we consider THE CHEERFUL GIVER. 

2 Corinthians 9:6–15

6 But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: 9 (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever. 10 Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;) 11 Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God. 12 For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God; 13 Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men; 14 And by their prayer for you, which long after you for the exceeding grace of God in you. 15  Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift. 

PRAY

 

Loved of God

First we see that the cheerful giver is “Loved of God

2 Corinthians 9:6–7

6 But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

Notice that it is not the grudging giver that is loved of God in this portion, it is not the one who gives of “necessity” that is identified as loved of God, but “God loveth a cheerful giver”.

It is not to say none else are loved, but it is to say that there is a particular blessed reception of God for those who give to his work “Cheerfully”. 

Who know the VALUE of the work, are grateful to have been the recipients of the work and so give to support the furtherance of the work.

Before we ask how one comes to give “Cheerfully”, we should first take a quick look at the manner in which we are NOT to Give.

NOT GRUDGINGLY.

There is no doubt those among the gentiles in this worldly church of Corinth whom Paul addresses, have at times given “Grudgingly”.

The gentiles, just like you and I, are not really used to this doctrine of giving to the ministry of the Lord for the sake of supporting the gospel of Christ, the Jews had understood it for millennia, but not the gentiles, and so there are invariably those who give grudgingly rather than Cheerfully.

They give, but feel they are forced to give.

They give, but do not see the value of their giving as God does.

They give, but in their heart are unwilling to give.

These are those who give Grudgingly, and God clearly does not value the gifts given to him in such fashion. The grudging heart taints the gift, it makes it imperfect, so too those who GIVE OF NECESSITY. 

Our gifts to God, just like our love for God, are to be VOLUNTARY and from a cheerful heart. It is tainted otherwise. The gift is not measured by the gift, but by the heart that gives the gift.

In the Old Testament days, the Lord was displeased with the “GRUDGING” giver of their flock, who spared to give of the BEST, but of the lame.

Turn to Malachi 1

Malachi 1:7–8

7 Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the LORD is contemptible. 8 And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the LORD of hosts.

More and more we see that it is not the amount that concerns the Lord, it is the state of the HEART that he desires. Those who give “Grudgingly”, or of “NECESSITY” do not please the Lord, it is not a gift “unblemished”, but one that feels an INJUSTICE is IMPOSED ON THEM, or are COMPELLED TO GIVE, and so they give. 

It is the HEART that pleases the Lord AND THE tainted heart defiles the GIFT.

“Value” in God’s economy is NOT identified by PRICE beloved! 

Turn to 

Mark 12:41–44

41 And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.42 And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. 43 And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: 44 For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.

Everyone has heard of The Widows Mite. You can go to Israel today and they have on sale in every store, one of the genuine original coins the widow gave into the treasury. 

 Compared those who gave of their “abundance”, the Love of Jesus extended more to this widow who gave of her “Want”, “all that she had, even all her living”.

There was no expectation of a widows pension beloved, a fortnightly deposit mysteriously appearing into her account was not something she looked for to be “reimbursed” of her gift. 

She had no husband to provide for her, no attested expectation of another source of income, with likely only the generosity of others while resting in the LORD for all her provision. 

You and I have an expectation, however frequently, but there were no WELFARE payments in the days of Israel 2000 years ago. Family love and provision was all she could potentially depend upon.

God was PLEASED with her, more so than the rich who gave of their abundance.

THE UPPER LIMIT

It is in the widow also that we have the UPPER limit to the amount we could give in the New Testament economy of God. When people ask, “how much shall we give”, the upper limit is simply “All that you have”.

Easy to identify an upper limit of our giving; easy it seemed in the first century church when many sold all their possessions and gave cheerfully, But it seems much more difficult in this last century in the prosperous west. What has changed?

The heart has changed.

It is the Cheerful Giver the Lord Loves most.

 

That Grace Abounds To Abundance

2 Corinthians 9:6–8

6 But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. 7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:

Beloved, this is an experience that only those who are the Cheerful Giver of 2 Corintians 9 can testify to.

Those who were willing to give even their lives to the ministry of the Gospel. 

Those who, would even choose “rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season” (Heb 11:25), a passage referring to Moses, brought up in the home of the King of Egypt, with all that affords him of the glory of that earthly kingdom, yet “refused to be called the son of Pharaohs daughter”.

The “CHEERFUL GIVER”, Has experienced the grace that abounds, and now having all sufficiency in all things; NOT rich with possession, but rich with sufficiency in the possessions he has, is truly living the blessed life filled with joy.

PERSONAL TESTIMONY

I never want to go back to loving money as I did. 

Never content. Always fearful of the next bill. The Next big cost. Watching my pennies and failing to give to those in greater need than I was. 

To be content in whatever state and trusting in the Lord alone is THE KEY TO JOY and money has ALWAYS been the obstacle for me….sorry, THE LOVE OF MONEY was always my obstacle. 

Turn to;

1 Timothy 6:5–10

5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. 

6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content

But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

The passage is 100% True. I know it, I knew it for some 20 years. 

Temptation, snare, hurtful lusts, through which I was truly drowned in destruction and perdition. 

Coveting this evil more than anything else, dreaming of money while awake and asleep. 

Reading books, listening to recordings, filling my mind day in and day out on how to get more of it, UNWILLING TO ALLOW A CENT TO PASS through my fingers without a ready account.

I knew the PRICE OF EVERYTHING but the value of NOTHING.

And was “pierced through with many sorrows”.

I don’t refer to my lost condition. This continued another 7 years into my salvation before I volunteered it up, and laid it at his cross.

What changed?

Really? What changed?

Hagia chapter 1.

My bag had more holes than lining.

God blew upon that which I had.

I had to sell tools just to put food on the table and pay my mortgage. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong. 

A car that was given to me broke down on the Calder Hwy near Taylors Lakes….and I just left it there. I had no money to fix it.

Were you giving to God?

10% every week.

How was this possible?

My heart still loved Money, and I chose to believe a lie. I was not “a cheerful giver”, I was a SPECULATOR and expected a return on my investment!

There you have the fourth way you can give; and the third way that is wrong and that testifies to God desiring your motive more that your money.

Not Grudgingly, not or necessity, nor as James 4:3 puts it, “that ye may consume it upon your lusts”.

The Cheerful giver is no longer in love with money and he testifies to it by action and not word. 

He is satisfied, filled with the grace of God in his life, and his life (as well as his ministry) abounds.

It is a matter of interest for us to consider something beloved respecting the Love of Money.

A few weeks ago brother Cody preached on the choice we have respecting the masters we serve, and there are only TWO noted. Money (Mammon) and God.

Have you ever thought about this? Have you ever given consideration as to the competing interests respecting these two options. 

From the Love of one stems “the root of all evil”

From the love of the other comes “grace and life abounding

Though the ACTUAL ends differ diametrically, it is the expected ends we desire that is the same;

That which we seek for in money, we find in God.

We love money because we THINK it will bring happiness.

We love money because we THINK it will bring security.

We love money because we THINK it will bring all sufficiency

We think it was provide for all our needs.

Give us comfort.

Fill our hearts.

Bring contentment.

Build in us confidence in life.

Make us feel successful.

Able to show off our “blessings” to others.

Gives us something to talk about.

To teach about.

Makes us enviable.

Bring us friends and popularity.

Open doors that would otherwise be shut (or so it seems).

Money. Lots of money, will provide for everything we think we need.

What a fascinating competitor to God. 

We looked for much and it came to little, (Hag 1:9)

We look at the promises of Money and readily accept its deception and are willing even to comparatively hate our father, mother, wife, children, brethren and sisters (Lk 14:26) in the hope of its absolute attainment….

But for the CHEERFUL GIVER who chooses to serve the Lord

 God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:

Money (mammon) takes, while God gives!

And Multiply Your Seed Sown

2 Cor 9:8-12

8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: 9 (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever. 10 Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;) 11 Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God. 12 For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God; 

A few weeks ago, when giving consideration to the topic of Faith, I thought I would settle in one night in reading some of the accounts of the famous George Muller in the late 18th century England. The book was called;

“A Narrative of Some of the Lord’s Dealings with George Muller, Vol 4”.

If you don’t know anything about George Muller, and you really desire to grow in your faith, I suggest you begin with his Autobiography.

Anyhow, On the first page of this volume I stopped reading when I read this passage of the account on May 4th, 1874 respecting his record of the receipts that came to him by a person who referred to himself as “Needy”.

April 1. £100. from a shipowner, instead of insuring his vessels.—£100. from a servant of the Lord Jesus, who, constrained by the love of Christ, seeks to lay up treasure in heaven.—From Wales £100., with £36. for the support of the Orphans, being the receipt on New Year’s Day in a house of business, carried on on the ready money system.

May 4. From “Needy,” £6. 4s. 1d. This donor gives month by month similar amounts, as God prospers him. About eight years ago he sent a few shillings, I think 4 or 5, but continued to send, under the name of “Needy,” these small amounts. After some time they were somewhat enlarged, and after a year or two they became much larger. Now he sends about £60. a year, in monthly instalments, always varying; no doubt as God prospers him.[1]

What we have here in the May 4th account is a perfect reflection of what we also have as a fulfilment of our passage in 2 Corinthians 9:10-12.

Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;11 Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God. 12 For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God; 

Does it not seem reasonable to you that, if God were able to find a man (or woman) who’s heart is inclined to be a CHEERFUL GIVER, and give “as God hath prospered him”, that he would not also have him abound all the more KNOWING that he will continue to give that same portion?

Now here we have two other parts to add to our understanding of Giving and that which pertains to our being a “Cheerful Giver”, and adding to what we already learned conserving that “Upper limit” we spoke of.

1. It is a portion of our income, “as God prospered”, verse 7 again says, “ Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.”.

2. That those who “minister seed to the sower, is able to multiply your seed sown”, in other words, God is able to “increase the fruits of your righteousness”.

Does it seem an incredible thing that God is, not only ABLE TO replace to you that which you HONOUR TO HIM FIRST, but also PROSPER YOU FURTHER that you may then give all the more????

Beloved, Until you are willing to think differently about the economy of God, until that day comes that you will finally stop thinking as the world thinks and realise that Gods words are TRUE and you are not only READING the Bible, but TRUSTING the Bible; such ABUNDANCE WILL NEVER COME YOUR WAY. 

This all abounds to the CHEERFUL GIVER who’s “is not conformed to this world, but has been transformed by the renewing of his mind” (Rom 12:2).

You who do give, (for this message is addressed to you as you are doing all you can to be faithful of the Lord), do you do so GRUDGINGLY, OF NECESSITY OR COVETOUSLY, OR DO YOU TRULY GIVE CHEERFULLY?

Beloved, when you come to give cheerfully, know that you become the object of his love in this matter, and all the fullness of satisfaction, contentment, grace and all sufficiently abounds to your account. 

Know that you are indeed the blessed of the Lord and should truly expect him to provide all your needs.

WHY? Because you cheerfully choose to honour him first. 

You have the same expectation as did that famous Pastor of the late 19th Century, George Muller. He was NEVER let down and had written copiously of his blessing to pass down to our generation.

 

Sowing and Reaping

Here we go, here we go in answering the final question of all. 

How much shall we Give to the work of the Lord?

We have our upper limit, do we not? “All that ye have”. 

We see this exampled also in the New Testament with both the widow’s mite; the selling and then giving of all the goods of the people together; the statement of Jesus to the Rich young ruler together with his promise of eternal riches (Jesus seemed more than a little confident that this was a reasonable exchange).

2nd: We have a knowledge also that it should be a proportion of how God has prospered us. We also know it ought to be set aside accordingly. It ought to be in honour to God FIRST, rather than our left overs. In other words, it should not be based on what we perceive to be from our abundance.

Thirdly: We recognised its principal in both proportion and faith, that is “a tenth” in the Old Testament. And so we glean from that the truth of “as God prospered him” as well as a genuine step of faith and trust, a tenth is not an insignificant amount. 

1/100th takes no faith, but 10/100 certainly takes some faith.

And so we come to answer that final question as discover that the Lord has left to us a FREEWILL choice and also a promise, that you may determine for yourself.

2 Corinthians 9:6–7

6 But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. 

What do we do with that??????

We know the passage is speaking of Giving for the work of God, we see its context even in the next verse that forms the title of the sermon this morning;

7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

All of chapter 8 and chapter 9 is speaking of the same subject, so it is without question that the sowing and reaping refers to the sowing of our money and the reaping refers to all the blessing that is described as provided to him who is a cheerful giver.

You will note that is is not limited to money, but everything identified to in the passage.

As for me, I am even more happy with Grace and contentment, and having food and reinment, “always having all sufficiently in all things, that I might ABOUND TO EVERY GOOD WORK. O, give me this only and the money to another and I am in pure bliss and joy!

(We have seen through the years the development of GOVERNMENT to replace the BENEVOLENCE OF GOD. Just as the LOVE of Money anticipated all the blessings only God gives, so too many people now rely on GOVERNMENT to provide “all sufficiency in all things”) 

It is not beloved that we should not be paid for our work, for a labourer is indeed worthy of his wages”, but we truly wish more that we would be content and have need of nothing.  

Take a look at Paul’s writing to the church of Philippians as he speaks of their provision to HIS Labours;

Philippians 4:10–14

10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. 12  I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. 14 Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction.

We ought to remember that Paul wrote this from a prison cell!

Beloved, like the people of Philipi, you ought to Give to support the work of the Gospel, to “communicate” your love of Christ through your physical provision for the work of Christ.

IF YOU BELEIVE THIS CHURCH IS MINISTERING THE WORK OF THE GOSPEL FAITHFULLY, if it is providing to you as much opportunity as possible to grow in the Lord, if it is active in the preaching of the gospel, if it is doing so both within and without, if it is doing all it can to build up and challenge its congregation to attend diligently to their prophesied “first Love”, and if the preacher is seen as faithful, labouring in the word of God…THEN YOU OUGHT TO BE A CHEERFUL GIVER IN THIS PLACE.

IF NOT, then please, find a Church that is and communicate to them your love and faithfulness to the Lord. 

BUT PASTOR, this still does not answer the question of HOW MUCH SHOULD A CHEERFUL GIVER GIVE?

The answer is found ONLY in this question; What is the value of the Gospel to you?

Maranatha


[1]. Müller, G. (1886) A Narrative of Some of the Lord’s Dealings with George Müller. London: J. Nisbet & Co., p. 1.

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