19 Oct 2013 Service – Phil Pringle

2 “Enlarge the place of your tent,
And let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings;
Do not spare;
Lengthen your cords,
And strengthen your stakes.
3 For you shall expand to the right and to the left,
And your descendants will inherit the nations,
And make the desolate cities inhabited.
Isa 54:2-3

8 Now I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters,what God in his kindness has done through the churches in Macedonia. 2 They are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity.

3 For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford, but far more. And they did it of their own free will. 4 They begged us again and again for the privilege of sharing in the gift for the believers in Jerusalem.5 They even did more than we had hoped, for their first action was to give themselves to the Lord and to us, just as God wanted them to do.
2 cor 8:1-5 [NLT]

We need to enlarge ourselves! Our giving, our generosity, stretch our capacity!

8 Reasons To Give Substantially To The Lord
#1 Others have given and begged to be involved
3 For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford, but far more. And they did it of their own free will.

Our heart follows our giving!
#2 The Responsibility Of Leadership
7 Since you excel in so many ways—in your faith, your gifted speakers, your knowledge, your enthusiasm, and your love from us—I want you to excel also in this gracious act of giving.
8 I am not commanding you to do this. But I am testing how genuine your love is by comparing it with the eagerness of the other churches.

The impact that the leaders of the church have on the body is Christ is huge!
Giving happens because they decide they’ll do it.

#3 The Example Of Christ
9 You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich.

Here we are talking about literal riches not spiritual riches. How can Jesus be spiritually poor but yet raise the dead and heal the sick? Definitely not, so it is referring to material wealth.

The spirit of poverty is a demon that is intimidating the church to be the blessing that she’s meant to be.

18 Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind Col 2:18

God intended you to be a big person!

Job, King David, Solomon and Moses, were all rich and prosperous people!

#4 Integrity Of Promise
10-20 So here’s what I think: The best thing you can do right now is to finish what you started last year and not let those good intentions grow stale. Your heart’s been in the right place all along. You’ve got what it takes to finish it up, so go to it. Once the commitment is clear, you do what you can, not what you can’t. The heart regulates the hands. This isn’t so others can take it easy while you sweat it out. No, you’re shoulder to shoulder with them all the way, your surplus matching their deficit, their surplus matching your deficit. In the end you come out even. As it is written,

Nothing left over to the one with the most,
Nothing lacking to the one with the least.

I thank God for giving Titus the same devoted concern for you that I have. He was most considerate of how we felt, but his eagerness to go to you and help out with this relief offering is his own idea. We’re sending a companion along with him, someone very popular in the churches for his preaching of the Message. But there’s far more to him than popularity. He’s rock-solid trustworthy. The churches handpicked him to go with us as we travel about doing this work of sharing God’s gifts to honor God as well as we can, taking every precaution against scandal.
V10-15 [MSG]

Unfortunately most churches are held together by committees not commitment.
Don’t just start something but complete it!

#5 The Power Of Testimony
Your giving stirs others to be generous!

2 For I know how eager you are to help, and I have been boasting to the churches in Macedonia that you in Greece were ready to send an offering a year ago. In fact, it was your enthusiasm that stirred up many of the Macedonian believers to begin giving.
3 But I am sending these brothers to be sure you really are ready, as I have been telling them, and that your money is all collected. I don’t want to be wrong in my boasting about you. 4 We would be embarrassed—not to mention your own embarrassment—if some Macedonian believers came with me and found that you weren’t ready after all I had told them! 5 So I thought I should send these brothers ahead of me to make sure the gift you promised is ready. But I want it to be a willing gift, not one given grudgingly.
#6 The Laws Of Giving
6 Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. 7 You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” 8 And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.

Remember, you reap what you sow!

#7 God will supply seed to the sower
10 For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you.

Once we make a commitment to be a sower, then God will give the provision.

Sower is indicative of character!
Eg if you keep telling lies (sowing lies)  you become a liAR. It becomes your character and you’ll find it hard not to lie.

There will always be enough,there is no limit to what God can provide!

6 “For thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Once more (it is a little while) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land; 7 and I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations, and I will fill this temple with glory,’ says the Lord of hosts. 8 ‘The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine,’ says the Lord of hosts. 9 ‘The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘And in this place I will give peace,’ says the Lord of hosts.”
Haggai 2:6-9

#8 The Glory Of God

Every time we give extravagantly, it’s for the glory of God!
12 So two good things will result from this ministry of giving—the needs of the believers in Jerusalem will be met, and they will joyfully express their thanks to God.
13 As a result of your ministry, they will give glory to God. For your generosity to them and to all believers will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ.

You don’t go to dinner at your friends’ place and show up with nothing. And even then, you can’t just bring anything, but something that’s appropriate. You don’t bring a half eaten pizza to a party, or bits and pieces of leftovers from yesterday’s dinner.

But hey, don’t we do that with God sometimes? Giving him nothing, or our leftovers, and bits and pieces of giving. In fact, we should be giving him 5 pizzas instead! Not a half eaten one.