The Next Step in Giving

Dr. Steve Viars November 17, 2019 Matthew 6:1-4; 2 Corinthians 8:1-9:15
Outline

4 Key Principles of Stewardship

1. God owns everything, you own nothing.

2. God entrusts you with everything you have.

3. You can either increase or diminish what God has given you—He wants you to increase it.

4. God can call you into account at any time—it may be today.

“Someone who sees the pattern of your spending can fairly well discern the moral direction of your life.” John MacArthur, Whose Money Is It, Anyway?

2 approaches to giving that lead to entirely different results

I. Worldly Giving to Exalt Self

A. Its location

Matthew 6:1 - …before men…

Matthew 6:2 - …sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets…

B. Its motivation

Matthew 6:1 - …to be noticed by them…

Matthew 6:2 - …so that they may be honored by men…

C. Its result

Matthew 6:1 - Otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven…

Matthew 6:2 - …they have their reward in full…

II. Grace Giving to Exalt Our God

A. God’s grace is the source

2 Corinthians 8:1 - Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia…

B. Grace is the defining characteristic

2 Corinthians 8:6 - …complete in you this gracious work…

2 Corinthians 8:7 - …abound in this gracious work…

2 Corinthians 9:7 - ...not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.

C. Grace is the model

2 Corinthians 8:9 - For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.

D. Grace giving is an evidence of our faith

1. Faith that transcended their circumstances

2 Corinthians 8:2 - …in a great ordeal of affliction...

2 Corinthians 8:2 - …in deep poverty...

2. Faith that demonstrated they really were redeemed

2 Corinthians 8:5 - …they first gave themselves to the Lord.

E. Grace giving is a matter of mission

Matthew 28:19 - Go therefore and make disciples of all nations...

Acts 1:8 - But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

1. They begged to be involved

2 Corinthians 8:4 - …begging us with much urging…

2. They saw it as God doing them a favor

2 Corinthians 8:4 - …for the favor of participation.

F. Grace giving is a matter of growing

1. This is an area in which we should seek to excel

2 Corinthians 8:7 - …see that you abound in this gracious work also.

2. We can be overflowing

2 Corinthians 8:2 - …overflowed in the wealth of their liberality…

G. Grace giving is a matter of finishing

2 Corinthians 8:6 - So we urged Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also complete this grace in you as well.

2 Corinthians 8:11 - …but now you also must complete the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to desire it, so there also may be a completion out of what you have.

- have you ever been in a situation where you just had to get by with something that was old, damaged, or barely functional…because that’s all you could afford or even realized was available on the market…

- and then for some reason—maybe even unexpectedly, you were able to acquire a new one that was so far superior that you can hardly believe you ever survived with the old thing you had before?...

- our long-time church members will remember that when our family first rolled into town…we were driving a blue 2-door Honda Civic hatchback…

- we haven’t talked about that car for a long time…but people used to give me grief about the blue Honda for all sorts of reasons…

- Pastor Goode really did not like that car…he didn’t think it was very pastoral plus he liked to tease me whenever he could…

- then we had a series of used cars that were OK but just barely…

- like we had a white Buick sedan that really leaked oil…

- so, Mark Cochrane, who can do just about anything with sheet metal, made a pan that I could fill with cat litter and keep in my garage at night…

- so, the dripping oil didn’t stain the floor but instead was absorbed by the cat litter…problem solved…

- then he noticed that the fabric on the ceiling of the interior was drooping down and so if you were driving behind me, there was my head and each week the fabric was dropping lower and lower…[you’ve heard us talk about progressive sanctification – that was progressive rooftop degeneration]…

- so Mark cut these thin bands of bendable sheet metal for me to insert in the trim pieces over the doors [like the interior framework of a covered wagon] to keep the fabric from hanging down…

- by the way – can I just pause and recommend our long-time member Mark Cochrane for all your specialty sheet metal fabrication needs?...

- but look – I don’t like spending money on cars…it was the best we could do…so you live with it…

- until our daughter Karis during her senior year of high school earned a trustee scholarship to Purdue and all of a sudden, the funds we had previously been saving for college were available for a different use…like buying daddy a brand-new Jeep…

- [as I was preparing this introduction – I wondered why that didn’t result in Karis or my wife Kris getting a new car, or perhaps Andrew getting some new bears instead me getting a new Jeep – truthfully, my memory is hazy on those details…]

- you talk about a different day…there was that new car smell [a lot better than the aroma of burning oil]…

- it was amazing – the levers for the window controls actually worked…

- it started when you turned on the key…

- there’s nothing like enjoying something new when you’ve been used to having something that was old…

- with that in mind, I’d like to invite you to turn to two passages of Scripture…Matthew 6 on page _____ in the back section of the Bible under the chair in front of you, and 2 Corinthians chapters 8-9…(pages 143-144 in the back section of the Bible under the chair in front of you)

- we’re in the middle of stewardship month…which is a marvelous time of year…because we get to pause and consider all that God has entrusted to us, and whether we’re being faithful to the trust…

- this year we decided to locate all of our stewardship messages in the sermon on the mount…which contains so much delightful truth directly from the teaching ministry of our Lord…

- let me remind you of the 4 principles of stewardship that we would encourage every person in our church to commit to memory…

Four Key Principles of Stewardship

1. God owns everything, you own nothing.

2. God entrusts you with everything you have.

3. You can either increase or diminish what God has given you; God wants you to increase it.

4. You can be called into account at any time, and it may be today.

- now, I realize that often when people hear the word stewardship, they think that it’s only about money or giving when it’s not…

- stewardship involves hundreds of hundreds of areas of life because our gracious God has entrusted us with much…but on the other hand, it does include our money, so generally about one Sunday a year I talk about that, and by God’s grace, that happens to be today.

- now, let’s just take a minute and have an honest chat before we launch into all of this…

- there are at least some reasons why pastors don’t really like to talk about this topic, and why parishioners don’t really like to hear about it…so let’s just tackle them head on, shall we?...

- why don’t pastors like to discuss this subject?...[many reasons I’m sure]...

1. There’s the possibility of being lumped together with people or groups who seem to be talking about this constantly...people here know that I speak about this topic generally about once a year...but I realize for some folks, this will be their first Sunday...

2. there’s also the possibility of folks believing that the subject of stewardship is really all about money, when it’s not...it just one aspect of the discussion...stewardship is a lot bigger than $...

3. there’s the possibility of people thinking that our church is really only interested in people for their money...which is patently untrue and certainly contrary to the facts...

- I’m saying there are some reasons why some pastors might be tempted to avoid this topic altogether…

- now, if you wonder, why don’t parishioners like to hear about this...I’m sure there are a variety of reasons there too...

1. perhaps they have been exposed to teaching on this subject in other places that was less about the Bible and more about man’s opinion...and they found that troublesome or distasteful…

- and here’s my commitment to you this morning---my goal is simply to help all of us evaluate ourselves in light of the Word of God...nothing more, nothing less

2. if I could be rather direct with you a moment, another reason I think some folks might be uncomfortable around this topic is because there is such a thing as the precision of math...

- here’s what I mean...many topics in the Christian life are fairly subjective...pretty squishy...

- i.e., do you love the Lord?...how do you quantify that?...and many of us would probably rate ourselves higher than perhaps is really the case because it is subjective...

- giving to God is much more precise...open the checkbook...or in this day and age, look at the electronic deposit register...it is what it is...

- I agree with John MacArthur when he said:

Someone who sees the pattern of your spending can fairly well discern the moral direction of your life. John MacArthur – Whose Money Is It, Anyway?, p. 4.

- so this topic has a way of turning on the lights in the spiritual room rather brightly, some folks like that…some folks don’t…

‑ I know everybody hearing this message loves the bright light of God’s Word – so let’s jump into this, shall we?...

- Read Matthew 6:1-4

- Read 2 Corinthians 8:1-9:15 [or selected sections]…

- let’s organize what we’ve just read into Two approaches to giving that lead to entirely different results.

- that’s essentially what we have here…in the Sermon on the Mount, an old, worn out version like my blue Honda or white Buick…and in 2 Corinthians a brand new approach, entirely different, like my shiny new Jeep…

- and then the question is – which one do you prefer?....

- so let’s work our way through what we have…asking God to guide us in this all-important area…

I. Worldly Giving to Exalt Self

A. Its location

  • 6:1 – before men
  • 6:2 – sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets

- so these are people who want to draw attention to themselves by what they do…

B. Its motivation

  • 6:1 – to be noticed by them
  • 6:2 – so that they may be honored by men

- and I’m not suggesting that if naming rights are ever secured in any way, shape, or form – it’s wrong…

- the issue is the motivation of the heart…

C. Its result

  • 6:1 - Otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven
  • 6:2 – they have their reward in full

- in other words, you might as well burn your money in the fire…

- and the opposite is giving quietly for the purpose of loving others and trusting God to deal with the issue of rewards…

- now, what’s the “new Jeep” version?...what happens when you become a follower of Jesus Christ?...

- here’s what’s going on in II Corinthians 8...this was written by the apostle Paul about 51 AD to the church in Corinth..

- a famine was occurring, especially back at the church in Jerusalem which of course was comprised primarily of people who were Jewish who had placed their faith and trust in Christ...

- and so some of the other churches [and please keep in mind that the church is only about 20 years old at this point]...but some of the other churches comprised of predominantly Gentiles who had trusted Christ were in the process of taking a love offering to send back to their Jewish brothers and sisters in Christ...

- so Paul is going to talk to the Corinthians about what had been occurring in the churches of Macedonia...that would include Philippi, and Thessalonica, and Berea]...

- and Paul was thanking God for what the Macedonian churches had done, and was encouraging the Corinthians to live in a similar way...

- all of this gives us tremendous insight into what God thinks about giving.

II. Grace Giving to Exalt Our God

- this passage is one of the reasons you hear Christians speak about “grace giving”...

- these verses, from beginning to end, place a heavy amount of emphasis on grace...

- for example...

A. God’s grace is the source.

- this is one of those places in the Bible where even the order of the words is important...

- 2 Corinthians 8:1 - Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia,

- what is the focal point of verse 1?...it is not on what the persons did, but on what the grace of God allowed persons to do...

- that is why Christians aren’t interested in receiving credit or public applause...

- I often hear things like, “boy, your church is really _____”...

- for one thing, it isn’t my church...but I always try to quickly turn those statements around to things like...The Lord has been very good to us...The Lord has been very gracious...we are very thankful for what God is doing...[The Lord is leading, guiding, supplying, helping, direction...]

- because we all understand that to whatever degree we are doing anything right, it is only because of God’s grace...

B. Grace is the defining characteristic.

- you may have noticed that several times giving financially to God was referred to as a gracious work or an act of grace...

- verse 6 – complete in you this gracious work

- verse 7 – abound in this gracious work

- and one of the questions that each of us would have reason to ask this morning is, could we look at the way we handle the issue of giving financially to God and honestly use words like “gracious” to describe it?...

- not because of arm twisting, not grudgingly, not by compulsion...

- but by God’s grace...and done in a way that is gracious...that’s why Paul would say a few verses later of our giving that is to be done...

- 2 Corinthians 9:7 - ...not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.

- where grace is the defining characteristic...a gracious work...an act of grace...

- now, of course for men and women apart from Christ, none of this would make a whole lot of sense...that is why it is so important to think about how...

C. Grace is the model.

- don’t you love verse 9?...

- 2 Corinthians 8:9 - For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.

- there are all kinds of people around this church who have developed patterns of generosity where they give in a way that is faithful and sacrificial...how did they get to that place?...

- one of the fundamental answers is that they decided long ago that their model [the One they were trying to be like] was Jesus Christ...

- He’s the standard...He’s the example...

- and if the grace of Christ would motivate Him to become poorer so that someone else could become spiritually rich...then they want to let that same characteristic of grace impact them in a similar way...

- for Christians one of my concerns as a pastor is how many persons who would call themselves followers of Jesus Christ...or even in some cases members of our church...have never really let grace impact the way they use their finances...and maybe therefore don’t “know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ” the way Paul is explaining in this text...

- that’s why I said a moment ago that some people don’t like this topic because of the precision of mathematics...you can say you know about the grace of Jesus Christ all you want...but one of the questions today would be...does your checkbook suggest that you know the grace of Jesus Christ?

D. Grace giving is an evidence of our faith.

- the only way the men and women in these Macedonian churches would have behaved this way is if they really believed that God could be trusted...

- that He was who He said He was in His Word...

- that is why we are using the phrase “biblical giving”...

- faith isn’t an ethereal feeling conjured up out of mid-air...

- faith is choosing to take God at His Word...

1. Faith that transcended their circumstances.

- the words in verse 2 are incredibly counter-intuitive...

- verse 2 – in a great ordeal of affliction...

- verse 2 – in deep poverty...

- there’s a great socio-economic condition for the church to launch its first capital campaign...

- but that is what God allowed them to do...and that was used as the prescribed model for the Corinthian church, and by implication to people like you and me...

- and I think we have to ask ourselves...what was going on in their hearts/minds that would allow them to do this?...what were they thinking?...

- the point is, Giving is a matter of faith...the faithfulness of your giving demonstrates the depth of your faith…

2. Faith that demonstrated they really were redeemed.

- now, we have to be very careful here, but the Scripture would teach us that the way a person’s handles money is often a test of whether they genuinely know the Lord.

- verse 5 – they first gave themselves to the Lord.

- now, I hope we all understand that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone...

- if anybody walked away from here thinking money had something to do with coming to Christ, I would be horrified...

- but the other side of that is, if anybody walked away from here thinking that you can genuinely come to Christ and it won’t affect the way you give, I would be equally horrified...

- this comes up in many ways in Scripture --- [as time allows, develop...Christ’s statement to the rich young ruler---Good master, what can I do to inherit eternal life...why do you call me good?...keep the commandments (I’ve kept them all from my youth)…go sell all you have...Matt 19 ---- contrast Zacchaeus – Luke 19:8-9 - Then Zacchaeus wstood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham;

- in your bulletin, there’s a stewardship commitment card…

- we’re asking everybody, member or non-member [anybody who’s hanging around here]...to complete the commitment card between now and November 21st...[develop the kinds of commitments we are requesting...]

- my encouragement to you would be...make that commitment in light of Scripture...read II Cor. 8-9 and then complete it...

- [also, deal with the issue of if you are married, the impact you are having on your spouse on this issue...]

- We have always viewed this time of year as an audit...I would encourage all of us to think back over this past year...or maybe even go back home and examine the way you have given over the last year...and ask...does this represent biblical giving?...has it been a matter of grace, and has it been a matter of faith?

E. Grace giving is a matter of mission.

- there’s an important historical detail that explains why all of this was so significant in the development of the church...

- our Lord made it clear that He wanted His church to be multi-ethnic...

- Matt. 28:19 – Go therefore and make disciples of all nations...

- Acts 1:8 - But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

- imagine the task of bringing Jews and Gentiles together in one body called the church...

- that is a significant emphasis in the NT...

- well, how do you do that?...provide an opportunity where one group is in need, and the other group gives [not because they are that much better shape themselves]...but because of their commitment to the mission...if that is the heartbeat of Jesus---that is exactly where I want my money to be...

- and did you notice...

1. They begged to be involved.

- verse 4 – begging us with much urging

- please…pretty please…pretty please with sugar on top…

2. They saw it as God doing them a favor.

- verse 4 – for the favor of participation.

- as time allows, walk through some of our various ministries and consider what a wonderful privilege it is to be involved…

- let me also encourage you to get your free tickets today to our Stewardship Celebration on November 24 – develop – celebrating the mission….]

F. Grace Giving is a Matter of Growing.

- I am sure you saw this emphasis as well...but several times Paul told the Corinthians...

1. This is an area in which we should seek to excel.

- verse 7 – see that you abound in this gracious work also.

- now, one of the questions that often comes up is...how much?...

- ultimately you will have to determine that between yourself and the Lord, but there are certainly guidelines through the sweep of Scripture...

- the Bible says a lot about tithing...many of us see tithing as a starting point for our giving...

- some say – but that’s OT law...actually not – develop Gen 14 – Abraham and Melchizedek...

- [dev. Net/gross?...what about benefits package?...]

- now, you might say, PV...I don’t see how we could do that...some folks have developed such a consumptive lifestyle...it might take a while to get there...but if the other issues we are seeing in this passage are in place...the rest will follow

2. We can be overflowing.

- verse 2 – overflowed in the wealth of their liberality

- now we said at the beginning that we weren’t going to be bringing in any of man’s opinions...we just wanted to let the Word of God help us evaluate ourselves...but can I ask you – are you doing that?...

- [could develop – this is why the Bible even used the metaphor of thief to describe a person who would not let God’s Word and God’s grace impact the way he/she handled their money...cf. Malachi 3:9-12]

G. Grace Giving is a Matter of Finishing.

- this offering the Corinthian church was taking had actually been a year long project...

- and is the case even today...it is often easier to start something than it is to finish it...

- the Christian life is a lot like a marathon...God isn’t interested in sprinters, in quarter milers...

- 2 Corinthians 8:6 - So we urged Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also complete this grace in you as well.

- 2 Corinthians 8:11 - but now you also must complete the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to desire it, so there also may be a completion out of what you have.

Dr. Steve Viars

Roles

Senior Pastor - Faith Church

Director - Faith Legacy Foundation

Bio

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and three grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video