The Grace of Giving | John Ankerberg Show

The Grace of Giving

By: The John Ankerberg Show
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Tim LaFleur
October 26, 2014

Message, Tim LaFleur, Discipleship Pastor

What a privilege it is for me to be able to share the Word of God with you. I am so thankful to God, so thankful to Pastor Robby for giving me the privilege. And the title of the message today is “The Grace of Giving.” Okay.

Now, don’t freak out on me now. It is okay to talk about giving at church. In fact, I think the Christian life is all about giving. I am convinced as I have meditated on the grace of God this past week that we live life in response to the grace of God for the glory of God.

If you are still a slave who is living under Law, I have got good news for you today. You can be a son that lives under grace and rather than having to, you get to live the Christian life. You get to live life in response to His grace for His glory.

As I thought about the grace of God, I thought about passages from the Word that highlight the grace of God, the grace of God that brings salvation, has appeared to all men, teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and Godly in this present age, looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ (notice) who gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for Himself a peculiar people zealous for good works. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing. It is the gift of God, not a result of works so that no one may boast. But when the goodness and loving-kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness but according to His own mercy by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit whom He poured out richly on us through Jesus Christ our Savior so that being justified by His grace, there it is, His grace. In this is love, not that we loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

You know, every time I think about the grace of God, my mind races toward that old hymn, amazing grace. Do you know it? Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now I am found. I was blind, but now I see.

You know the song, but do you know the story behind the man who wrote it. John Newton was his name. He was only seven years old when his godly mother died. After being turned over to relatives, he soon forgot the scriptures that she had taught him as a young boy. When he became an apprentice seaman, he acquired knowledge of a different kind.

It was said about John Owen that he was a vile and wicked young man. He had his fill of sin. They said about John Newton that he could curse for two hours without repeating a single phrase. Can you imagine that? Talking about cursing like a sailor! When he became an apprentice seaman, he had a knack for the sea. And so he decided he was going to go to Africa to have his fill of sin and maybe get hooked up with some merchant marine operation. He tried to join the British Navy. He said in his memoirs, but he lacked the discipline required. He couldn’t tolerate it, so he escaped. He went to Africa.

While he was there to have his fill of sin, he was picked up by a Portuguese slave trader. And the Portuguese slave trader treated him like an animal for almost two months. Finally, after he escaped from there, he went back to Africa and he was picked up by a ship. And because he was a skilled navigator, he earned the rank of First Mate.

And this is where the story gets good. God, in His grace, begins to work in John Newton’s life. He is sailing along the coast of Scotland when they met up with a great storm. It was a tempest. And during the tempest, as he was manning the pumps, John Newton cried out to God. God heard his cry and miraculously spared his life and changed his heart.

He became a pastor. In fact, he became the chaplain of Parliament and even preached before the King. God, in His grace, saved John Newton. And I want to tell you, if anybody is saved, it is going to be because of the grace and the mercy of God.

It is in this context, the context of grace that the Apostle Paul writes in II Corinthians Chapter 9. And that is going to be our text. But we are going to look at a couple of verses in Proverbs, so you might want to turn there first.

Donald Gray Barnhouse describes grace this way. “Love that goes upward is worship. Love that extends outward is affection. But love that stoops down low is grace.” And that is exactly what God did in every one of our lives who are saved. He stooped down low in the person of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to pay our sin debt and to pay the penalty for our sin. And you and I, through repentance and faith, can come to know Him personally. He will come into your life. He will change you. He will make you to be the person God wants you to be. Amen? That is what God does in His grace.

Now, the Apostle Paul is writing to the believers at Corinth. And here is what he…I want to give you the context of this passage before we get there. Here is what he is saying. He is urging them to give toward the relief effort for the believers who are Jewish…they have a Jewish background…the Jewish believers in Jerusalem and Judea and they are experiencing extreme poverty. And so the Apostle Paul, as he travels on his missionary journey, is taking up a relief effort to give toward these impoverished believers. And in this text, he motivates them in Chapters 8 and 9 in three ways.

The first way he motivates them to give is by holding up the example of the Macedonians. Back in Chapter 8, Paul is on his journey and he is talking about the poor believers in Jerusalem. And the Macedonians step up and they say, we want to give. Paul said, you don’t understand. You are barely making it as it is and even though they, themselves, were experiencing poverty, they gave out of their lack. They gave out of their need and this brought joy, Paul says, to the heart of God.

So what they are doing is, they are wanting to give. They are begging to give. And so Paul holds up the example of the Macedonians and as he admonishes the Corinthians to give, he is saying, Listen, you guys have it made compared to the Macedonians, but the Macedonians have such a heart to give, they want to give so that these believers can find relief and be strengthened.

The second way he does it is by giving several exhortations in Chapter 8 and 9 challenging them, exhorting them, admonishing them to give. But the verses that we are going to look at talk about the benefits of giving.

Now Paul motivates them by holding up the example of the Macedonians. He motivates them by exhorting and admonishing them to give. But then he says, here is the deal. If you give, your lives are going to be enriched. If you give in response to the grace of God for the glory of God, if you participate in what some have called grace giving, you will be enriched by God.

Now I want to say right out of the gate, I am not a health, wealth and prosperity guy. I am not going to teach you today that you ought to give in order to get. If that is your motive, listen, you are only giving to yourself. You are not really giving to God.

But what I am going to challenge you to do and what I want you to see in Scripture is that when you and I give, because we have got a heart to give, giving cheerfully to the work of God, God will enrich your life in proportion as you give. Do you hear me? This is what God’s Word promises. God will enrich your life in proportion as you give.

Paul reminds these believers of a powerful truth and here it is. You can’t out give God. Any questions? There ought to be an amen about right here. You can’t out give God. Amen? God has given us so much. We ought to be thankful to God for all that He has blessed us with. We are the most blessed people in the world. Do you realize that? You have been blessed and it is all because of the grace of God.

Now I want you to see some passages in the book of Proverbs. Turn if you would to Proverbs 19:17 and you might be surprised by what we see here in the Word of God. I was this past week in preparing and studying for this message. And some of the best messages are created when you struggle with a text. And listen, there is no text that I have struggled with more than this one. You know, I thought you must be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect was one that I struggled with and I did, but not as much as this passage.

Look at Proverbs 19:17. Look at it. “Whoever is generous to the poor (notice) lends to the Lord, and He will repay him his need.” Do you know what that is saying? When you and I are generous, especially toward the poor, we, in essence are lending to God. That blew me away. That blew me away! To think that I could lend to the Lord.

But notice the rest of the verse. “He will repay his deed.” Look at Proverbs 11:24. Turn over there for a moment. And this one blew me away as well. This is the wisest man that ever lived, King Solomon quoting these things. Look at it. “One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give and only suffers want.”

Hold the phone for a moment. One gives freely and grows richer, really? One withholds what he should give and only suffers want? That is not what we are taught, right? If you want to make it, you had better get all you can, can all you get and sit on the lid is what we have heard, right? But these passages say give it away. Give it away. And when you give freely, the Bible seems to indicate here, you will grow all the richer.

Look at the rest of the verse in 25, “Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and he who waters will himself be watered.” That is Bible language for listen, the way to acquire wealth is to give it away.

You know, I was encouraged. I think the Lord gave me a gift. I preached at the 8:30 service and after that message an older gentleman with a cane, he called me “young fellow” so he must have been a lot older than I was. I think I am pretty old myself. But he came and he said, “Listen, I want to testify. Come aside over here.” So we went into the Next Step area and he said, “You know, my life was a mess and everything was out of balance. What you preached, Preacher, was so true because the moment I began to honor God with my finances, I never worried another day in my life because God met my every need. He gave me what I need, when I needed it and I believe it is because I was faithful to honor Him with my tithes and with my offerings.”

Isn’t that a beautiful picture. You say, well, that is okay for Solomon. How about the New Testament? Look at Luke 6:38. Turn there. When you get there, say “Word.” Luke 6:38. If you have a red letter edition, you will notice that this is Jesus’ words, okay? Look at what it says. “Give, and it will be given to you; good measure — pressed down shaken together, and running over — it will be poured in your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”

So even the Lord Jesus understands. Obviously He would understand. He wrote the whole Bible. This principle in the book of Proverbs that when we give freely and have a heart to give, God will in turn enrich our lives. You can’t out give God.

I like what John MacArthur said. I couldn’t believe he would say this, but here is what he said. You can see it in God’s plan for prosperity Part IV. John has always got all these parts, but it was in His Grace to You series, Part IV, this passage of scripture that he deals with, here is what he says. He says, “The one who gives sacrificially is investing with God and He pays eternal dividends.” Now here is the part that surprised me. He goes on to say, “When you have a heart to give, God’s got a way of replenishing your supply so that you can give more.” Do you see it? God has got a way of replenishing your supply. God has got a way of enriching your life. God’s got a way of blessing you if your desire is to be a blessing to others. Listen, we are blessed to be a blessing. And that is a principle found all over scripture.

Now let’s look at our text, II Corinthians Chapter 9 and Verse 6. The point is this: “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly. And whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided or purposed in his heart, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

“God is able, (here is the promise), to make all grace abound toward you so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.”

Lets go to God in prayer. Father, we ask that You lead us as we dissect the text. Help us to see it, help us to cut it straight, help us to discern this truth.
I am thinking of that man who shared his testimony. Once we get it, once we get that when we honor You with our finances, all of our lives become balanced and You are glorified through it. I pray it all in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Okay. Several principles I want to share here. My goal would simply be this: I want you to see principles from this text that will unleash God’s abundance in your life. I want you to be blessed. I want you to be blessed. Why? Not for you to get things. I want you to be blessed so that you can be a blessing to others. I want your life to be enriched. I want you to have an open hand before God, not a closed fist. I want you to have an open hand before Him in light of all that He has done in your life, in response to His grace and for His glory when it comes to your finances, I want you to have an open hand.

Let’s look at the principles. The first thing is the principle of increase. And here is the deal. We reap in measure as we sow. Now the old preachers called it the law of the harvest. Look at it in Verse 6. The point is this, “He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly. But he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” The law of the harvest is simply this: you reap what you sow.

Alright, here is the audience participation. If I sow a kernel of corn, what am I going to reap? Alright, provided the weather is right, we have plenty of water, we are infestated by insects or grasshoppers or what have you, provided all the conditions are right, when we sow the seed of a kernel of corn, if it is seed corn, we are going to get not just a kernel of corn, we are going to get ears of corn. We are going to get a plant that will produce ears. And that is the second part of the law is we reap more than we sow. That is the principle of increase. Okay? It works in agriculture. This is an axiom. This is a self-evident truth. If you sow corn, you are going to reap corn, but if you sow a larger amount of corn, you are going to yield (that is the language of agriculture), you are going to yield so much per acre, so many bushels per acre or so many…in south Louisiana, it was rice, so many barrels an acre. If you sowed a lot, you would reap a lot. If you sowed a little, you would reap a little. That is the way it works.

But that axiom is not only true in the area of agriculture, it is also true in the realm of finance. Let me ask you a question. If you invest $100, you will get a certain dividend. But let me ask you this. If you invest $100,000 do you stand to gain more or gain less? More. Now you have the potential to lose more but in God’s economy, the way it works is, the more we give and invest in the Kingdom of God, the more God supplies our need and even supplies more so that we can continue to be a blessing. That is the way it works with Him.

Chuck Swindoll gives us a word of caution. I want you to listen carefully. “Paul is not proposing that if you put a check in the offering plate on Sunday that you will get a check in the mail on Monday. That is erroneous teaching.” Okay, if people are telling you that, turn the TV off, turn the radio off, okay? But what he is proposing is this, the more we invest in the Kingdom of God, God will enrich our lives in proportion to what we invest.

What are you saying? The more you give and invest in the Kingdom of God, the more God will enrich your life. Now I am not just talking about money here. How many of you are in a discipleship group? I hope hands go up all over the place, okay? One of the things I share with my guys and Phil can tell you. Phil was one of the first guys, the first guy I discipled here at Brainerd. The more you put into it, what? The more you will get out of it. That is an axiom, okay? If you are getting up early and spending time with God; if you are reading the Word; if you are memorizing scripture, if you are praying for your brothers or sisters in the group, the more you put into it, the more you are going to get out of it. And that is exactly what Paul is saying here. The more you invest in the Kingdom of God, the more dividends you will receive and God is going to bless the socks off of you. He is going to enrich your life if you get all in and give it all to Him.

You see, one of the erroneous things we feel is we have been called to be stewards, not owners. And so what we have been blessed with, it all belongs to Him! Amen? There ought to be an amen about right there. If you are a steward, guess what? It belongs to God. Everything you have been blessed with belongs to God.

The second principle I want you to see in this text is this: the principle of intent. We reap as we sow when we sow with the right motive. The right motive.

Look at Verse 7. The point is this, “each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion.” If I sow seed…lets go back to the corn. If I sow corn, it really doesn’t matter my attitude when I sow that corn. If the conditions are right, I am going to reap a harvest. But listen, attitude is everything in the Kingdom of God. Attitude is everything. Listen, you don’t give to get, you give because God has been so gracious to you. And you want to be gracious to others. You want to invest in the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God has meant so much to you that you want to see that gospel message brought to neighborhoods and nations so that all peoples might be blessed in the same way that you have been blessed.

And so, what he says is that we shouldn’t give grudgingly, we shouldn’t give because we have been from external pressure coerced into giving. We should give cheerfully. We should give with a glad heart.

I like the way Warren Wiersbe says it. He says, “Listen, you shouldn’t be a sad giver who gives grudgingly or a mad giver because you give because you feel like you have to. You ought to be a glad giver. Give cheerfully to the work of God.”

Is that your mindset? When you put that check in the offering plate a moment ago, did you thank God for giving you the opportunity to give? You know, we have seen some startling statistics here about how there are many who don’t give anything, right here at Brainerd. Is that you? Each one must purpose in his heart what you ought to give.

Listen, he is not saying if you should give, he is saying you need to determine how much you should give. It is not whether or not you should give, it is how much you should give based upon God’s leadership and God’s direction in your life.

Now what Paul does here is something pretty amazing. He moves from the giving of the Corinthians to the ultimate giver and that is God. Look at it in Verse 8. “God is able.” That is huge. You see, whether or not you are going to prove God is going to be dependent upon whether or not you believe in the power of God. Do you believe God is able to do what this verse says? Listen, it says, “God is able.” God is able. Do you see it, “To make all grace abound toward you so that having all sufficiency, in all things, at all times, you may abound in every good work.” You see, this promise is dependent upon whether or not you believe in the power of God. Is God powerful enough to when you give, that He would in turn bless you and enrich your life. Now I am not talking about blessing. We have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in heavenly realms. I am not talking about the blessings we have as a believer. I am talking blessings that flow from God. Why? Because our hearts have been right when we give and when we invest in the Kingdom of God, you can’t out give God, so what God does is He enriches your life.

Now what are the benefits of grace giving? What are the benefits of giving like I said, giving generously and giving with the right motivation. What are the benefits. Now there are several in the text. I want you to look at Verse 7. Notice the last phrase. “God loves a cheerful giver.” God loves the world in a particular way. The Bible says, “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son.” So even there, God is giving. God loves believers in a more intimate, specific way. But listen, it even goes further. The Bible says that God has got a special love for those who give. Now that is not what I said, that is what God’s Word says. A particular kind of believer, the one who gives cheerfully.

Now Paul moves from the giving of the Corinthians to the ultimate giver who is God. Turn in your Bibles to Romans 8:32. We are just about done. Romans 8:32. This is an amazing verse. When you get there, say “Word.” “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not also with Him freely give us all things.” God is the ultimate giver. And here is what that verse says. If God gave us the very best that He had in His Son, why should we ever think that God would withhold anything that would enrich our lives. If God gave you the very best He had in Christ…and let me say a word to you…if you are here this morning and you have never been saved, I want to plead with you, be reconciled to God. You say, Preacher, how do you do that? Well, you do it in response to His grace. God has been gracious to you. God has brought us into this place together so that you can hear the gospel of grace. God is not only allowing you to hear the Word, but listen, the Word is being preached and the gospel is being articulated. Listen, the gospel is giving. God gave us the best He had in His Son. When Jesus walked this earth, He lived a perfect life. He became our sin bearer. He died on a cross. He shed His blood. He was buried, but bless God, on the third day He rose again! Amen! And He is alive.

And so in response to that grace, here is what you do. You turn from sin or whatever it is you are trusting in and you commit your life, you turn your life over to the Living Resurrected Christ. The Bible says He will come into your life. He will save you. He will change you. He will do what He did in John Newton’s life. He will save you. He will change your heart.

And so when you and I give cheerfully, when you and I give hilariously, that is what that word means, when you and I give in response to the grace of God for the glory of God, we receive a special love from God. I will tell you something else, we get to experience His abundant grace. But God is able to make all grace, the scripture says, abound toward you. Your life is going to be flowing and filled with the grace of God. What a way to be. What joy! What greater joy could there be if your life is overflowing and filled to overflowing with the grace of God. Man, you could just rub shoulders with folks and God’s grace would spill all over to them. Wouldn’t that be cool?

And then it says that you will become more Christ like. Look at it in Verse 9. I thought this was talking about God but this is talking about a godly man. “As it is written, he distributes freely, he has given to the poor, his righteousness endures forever.” That is not talking about God. Look at it in Psalm 112 and Verse 9, that is talking about a godly man, one who has committed his way to God, one that God is working through his life. He has enriched his life so that he gives freely. He distributes to the poor and his righteousness, the Bible says, endures forever. Ultimately that is God’s righteousness because He is working through us, but that is what is said of a godly man.

Now let me give you three encouragements. Next week is Harvest Day. You heard it on the video. It is a special day where we come together as a church and we want to give thanks and praise to God. Why? Because He has been so gracious to us.

I want to give you three encouragements. The first thing I want you to do is, I want you to purpose to give. You and your family, get alone and pray together and say, God, what would you have us to give? We want to make a sacrificial gift. We want to give in response to the grace of God for the glory of God. We want to give in thanksgiving to You. This is a thanksgiving, a harvest offering to you, God, so we want to do it.

Now, I told my wife, I said, “Baby, you come up with a figure and I will come up with a figure.” She talked to me and we have already given our gift, but she has talked to me. She said, “Honey, what did you come up with?” I gave her a figure and she said, double it. What? That lets you know who has more faith in our family, amen? Double it.

The second thing I want to encourage you to do is to give generously. Give generously.

And then the last thing I want you to do is expect God to enrich your life. Expect God to enrich your life. Ask Him to teach you about faith. Ask Him to teach you that He has got your life. He has got this. He is going to provide for your needs. My God will supply ALL your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus is what Paul said in the book of Philippians. When the Philippian believers partnered with him in ministry and gave a sacrificial gift, that is what he declared. God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Ask Him to enrich your life with Christ like character. Would you do that?

Tim LaFleur
October 26, 2014

Message, Tim LaFleur, Discipleship Pastor

What a privilege it is for me to be able to share the Word of God with you. I am so thankful to God, so thankful to Pastor Robby for giving me the privilege. And the title of the message today is “The Grace of Giving.” Okay.

Now, don’t freak out on me now. It is okay to talk about giving at church. In fact, I think the Christian life is all about giving. I am convinced as I have meditated on the grace of God this past week that we live life in response to the grace of God for the glory of God.

If you are still a slave who is living under Law, I have got good news for you today. You can be a son that lives under grace and rather than having to, you get to live the Christian life. You get to live life in response to His grace for His glory.

As I thought about the grace of God, I thought about passages from the Word that highlight the grace of God, the grace of God that brings salvation, has appeared to all men, teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and Godly in this present age, looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ (notice) who gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for Himself a peculiar people zealous for good works. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing. It is the gift of God, not a result of works so that no one may boast. But when the goodness and loving-kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness but according to His own mercy by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit whom He poured out richly on us through Jesus Christ our Savior so that being justified by His grace, there it is, His grace. In this is love, not that we loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

You know, every time I think about the grace of God, my mind races toward that old hymn, amazing grace. Do you know it? Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now I am found. I was blind, but now I see.

You know the song, but do you know the story behind the man who wrote it. John Newton was his name. He was only seven years old when his godly mother died. After being turned over to relatives, he soon forgot the scriptures that she had taught him as a young boy. When he became an apprentice seaman, he acquired knowledge of a different kind.

It was said about John Owen that he was a vile and wicked young man. He had his fill of sin. They said about John Newton that he could curse for two hours without repeating a single phrase. Can you imagine that? Talking about cursing like a sailor! When he became an apprentice seaman, he had a knack for the sea. And so he decided he was going to go to Africa to have his fill of sin and maybe get hooked up with some merchant marine operation. He tried to join the British Navy. He said in his memoirs, but he lacked the discipline required. He couldn’t tolerate it, so he escaped. He went to Africa.

While he was there to have his fill of sin, he was picked up by a Portuguese slave trader. And the Portuguese slave trader treated him like an animal for almost two months. Finally, after he escaped from there, he went back to Africa and he was picked up by a ship. And because he was a skilled navigator, he earned the rank of First Mate.

And this is where the story gets good. God, in His grace, begins to work in John Newton’s life. He is sailing along the coast of Scotland when they met up with a great storm. It was a tempest. And during the tempest, as he was manning the pumps, John Newton cried out to God. God heard his cry and miraculously spared his life and changed his heart.

He became a pastor. In fact, he became the chaplain of Parliament and even preached before the King. God, in His grace, saved John Newton. And I want to tell you, if anybody is saved, it is going to be because of the grace and the mercy of God.

It is in this context, the context of grace that the Apostle Paul writes in II Corinthians Chapter 9. And that is going to be our text. But we are going to look at a couple of verses in Proverbs, so you might want to turn there first.

Donald Gray Barnhouse describes grace this way. “Love that goes upward is worship. Love that extends outward is affection. But love that stoops down low is grace.” And that is exactly what God did in every one of our lives who are saved. He stooped down low in the person of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to pay our sin debt and to pay the penalty for our sin. And you and I, through repentance and faith, can come to know Him personally. He will come into your life. He will change you. He will make you to be the person God wants you to be. Amen? That is what God does in His grace.

Now, the Apostle Paul is writing to the believers at Corinth. And here is what he…I want to give you the context of this passage before we get there. Here is what he is saying. He is urging them to give toward the relief effort for the believers who are Jewish…they have a Jewish background…the Jewish believers in Jerusalem and Judea and they are experiencing extreme poverty. And so the Apostle Paul, as he travels on his missionary journey, is taking up a relief effort to give toward these impoverished believers. And in this text, he motivates them in Chapters 8 and 9 in three ways.

The first way he motivates them to give is by holding up the example of the Macedonians. Back in Chapter 8, Paul is on his journey and he is talking about the poor believers in Jerusalem. And the Macedonians step up and they say, we want to give. Paul said, you don’t understand. You are barely making it as it is and even though they, themselves, were experiencing poverty, they gave out of their lack. They gave out of their need and this brought joy, Paul says, to the heart of God.

So what they are doing is, they are wanting to give. They are begging to give. And so Paul holds up the example of the Macedonians and as he admonishes the Corinthians to give, he is saying, Listen, you guys have it made compared to the Macedonians, but the Macedonians have such a heart to give, they want to give so that these believers can find relief and be strengthened.

The second way he does it is by giving several exhortations in Chapter 8 and 9 challenging them, exhorting them, admonishing them to give. But the verses that we are going to look at talk about the benefits of giving.

Now Paul motivates them by holding up the example of the Macedonians. He motivates them by exhorting and admonishing them to give. But then he says, here is the deal. If you give, your lives are going to be enriched. If you give in response to the grace of God for the glory of God, if you participate in what some have called grace giving, you will be enriched by God.

Now I want to say right out of the gate, I am not a health, wealth and prosperity guy. I am not going to teach you today that you ought to give in order to get. If that is your motive, listen, you are only giving to yourself. You are not really giving to God.

But what I am going to challenge you to do and what I want you to see in Scripture is that when you and I give, because we have got a heart to give, giving cheerfully to the work of God, God will enrich your life in proportion as you give. Do you hear me? This is what God’s Word promises. God will enrich your life in proportion as you give.

Paul reminds these believers of a powerful truth and here it is. You can’t out give God. Any questions? There ought to be an amen about right here. You can’t out give God. Amen? God has given us so much. We ought to be thankful to God for all that He has blessed us with. We are the most blessed people in the world. Do you realize that? You have been blessed and it is all because of the grace of God.

Now I want you to see some passages in the book of Proverbs. Turn if you would to Proverbs 19:17 and you might be surprised by what we see here in the Word of God. I was this past week in preparing and studying for this message. And some of the best messages are created when you struggle with a text. And listen, there is no text that I have struggled with more than this one. You know, I thought you must be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect was one that I struggled with and I did, but not as much as this passage.

Look at Proverbs 19:17. Look at it. “Whoever is generous to the poor (notice) lends to the Lord, and He will repay him his need.” Do you know what that is saying? When you and I are generous, especially toward the poor, we, in essence are lending to God. That blew me away. That blew me away! To think that I could lend to the Lord.

But notice the rest of the verse. “He will repay his deed.” Look at Proverbs 11:24. Turn over there for a moment. And this one blew me away as well. This is the wisest man that ever lived, King Solomon quoting these things. Look at it. “One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give and only suffers want.”

Hold the phone for a moment. One gives freely and grows richer, really? One withholds what he should give and only suffers want? That is not what we are taught, right? If you want to make it, you had better get all you can, can all you get and sit on the lid is what we have heard, right? But these passages say give it away. Give it away. And when you give freely, the Bible seems to indicate here, you will grow all the richer.

Look at the rest of the verse in 25, “Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and he who waters will himself be watered.” That is Bible language for listen, the way to acquire wealth is to give it away.

You know, I was encouraged. I think the Lord gave me a gift. I preached at the 8:30 service and after that message an older gentleman with a cane, he called me “young fellow” so he must have been a lot older than I was. I think I am pretty old myself. But he came and he said, “Listen, I want to testify. Come aside over here.” So we went into the Next Step area and he said, “You know, my life was a mess and everything was out of balance. What you preached, Preacher, was so true because the moment I began to honor God with my finances, I never worried another day in my life because God met my every need. He gave me what I need, when I needed it and I believe it is because I was faithful to honor Him with my tithes and with my offerings.”

Isn’t that a beautiful picture. You say, well, that is okay for Solomon. How about the New Testament? Look at Luke 6:38. Turn there. When you get there, say “Word.” Luke 6:38. If you have a red letter edition, you will notice that this is Jesus’ words, okay? Look at what it says. “Give, and it will be given to you; good measure — pressed down shaken together, and running over — it will be poured in your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”

So even the Lord Jesus understands. Obviously He would understand. He wrote the whole Bible. This principle in the book of Proverbs that when we give freely and have a heart to give, God will in turn enrich our lives. You can’t out give God.

I like what John MacArthur said. I couldn’t believe he would say this, but here is what he said. You can see it in God’s plan for prosperity Part IV. John has always got all these parts, but it was in His Grace to You series, Part IV, this passage of scripture that he deals with, here is what he says. He says, “The one who gives sacrificially is investing with God and He pays eternal dividends.” Now here is the part that surprised me. He goes on to say, “When you have a heart to give, God’s got a way of replenishing your supply so that you can give more.” Do you see it? God has got a way of replenishing your supply. God has got a way of enriching your life. God’s got a way of blessing you if your desire is to be a blessing to others. Listen, we are blessed to be a blessing. And that is a principle found all over scripture.

Now let’s look at our text, II Corinthians Chapter 9 and Verse 6. The point is this: “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly. And whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided or purposed in his heart, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

“God is able, (here is the promise), to make all grace abound toward you so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.”

Lets go to God in prayer. Father, we ask that You lead us as we dissect the text. Help us to see it, help us to cut it straight, help us to discern this truth.
I am thinking of that man who shared his testimony. Once we get it, once we get that when we honor You with our finances, all of our lives become balanced and You are glorified through it. I pray it all in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Okay. Several principles I want to share here. My goal would simply be this: I want you to see principles from this text that will unleash God’s abundance in your life. I want you to be blessed. I want you to be blessed. Why? Not for you to get things. I want you to be blessed so that you can be a blessing to others. I want your life to be enriched. I want you to have an open hand before God, not a closed fist. I want you to have an open hand before Him in light of all that He has done in your life, in response to His grace and for His glory when it comes to your finances, I want you to have an open hand.

Let’s look at the principles. The first thing is the principle of increase. And here is the deal. We reap in measure as we sow. Now the old preachers called it the law of the harvest. Look at it in Verse 6. The point is this, “He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly. But he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” The law of the harvest is simply this: you reap what you sow.

Alright, here is the audience participation. If I sow a kernel of corn, what am I going to reap? Alright, provided the weather is right, we have plenty of water, we are infestated by insects or grasshoppers or what have you, provided all the conditions are right, when we sow the seed of a kernel of corn, if it is seed corn, we are going to get not just a kernel of corn, we are going to get ears of corn. We are going to get a plant that will produce ears. And that is the second part of the law is we reap more than we sow. That is the principle of increase. Okay? It works in agriculture. This is an axiom. This is a self-evident truth. If you sow corn, you are going to reap corn, but if you sow a larger amount of corn, you are going to yield (that is the language of agriculture), you are going to yield so much per acre, so many bushels per acre or so many…in south Louisiana, it was rice, so many barrels an acre. If you sowed a lot, you would reap a lot. If you sowed a little, you would reap a little. That is the way it works.

But that axiom is not only true in the area of agriculture, it is also true in the realm of finance. Let me ask you a question. If you invest $100, you will get a certain dividend. But let me ask you this. If you invest $100,000 do you stand to gain more or gain less? More. Now you have the potential to lose more but in God’s economy, the way it works is, the more we give and invest in the Kingdom of God, the more God supplies our need and even supplies more so that we can continue to be a blessing. That is the way it works with Him.

Chuck Swindoll gives us a word of caution. I want you to listen carefully. “Paul is not proposing that if you put a check in the offering plate on Sunday that you will get a check in the mail on Monday. That is erroneous teaching.” Okay, if people are telling you that, turn the TV off, turn the radio off, okay? But what he is proposing is this, the more we invest in the Kingdom of God, God will enrich our lives in proportion to what we invest.

What are you saying? The more you give and invest in the Kingdom of God, the more God will enrich your life. Now I am not just talking about money here. How many of you are in a discipleship group? I hope hands go up all over the place, okay? One of the things I share with my guys and Phil can tell you. Phil was one of the first guys, the first guy I discipled here at Brainerd. The more you put into it, what? The more you will get out of it. That is an axiom, okay? If you are getting up early and spending time with God; if you are reading the Word; if you are memorizing scripture, if you are praying for your brothers or sisters in the group, the more you put into it, the more you are going to get out of it. And that is exactly what Paul is saying here. The more you invest in the Kingdom of God, the more dividends you will receive and God is going to bless the socks off of you. He is going to enrich your life if you get all in and give it all to Him.

You see, one of the erroneous things we feel is we have been called to be stewards, not owners. And so what we have been blessed with, it all belongs to Him! Amen? There ought to be an amen about right there. If you are a steward, guess what? It belongs to God. Everything you have been blessed with belongs to God.

The second principle I want you to see in this text is this: the principle of intent. We reap as we sow when we sow with the right motive. The right motive.

Look at Verse 7. The point is this, “each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion.” If I sow seed…lets go back to the corn. If I sow corn, it really doesn’t matter my attitude when I sow that corn. If the conditions are right, I am going to reap a harvest. But listen, attitude is everything in the Kingdom of God. Attitude is everything. Listen, you don’t give to get, you give because God has been so gracious to you. And you want to be gracious to others. You want to invest in the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God has meant so much to you that you want to see that gospel message brought to neighborhoods and nations so that all peoples might be blessed in the same way that you have been blessed.

And so, what he says is that we shouldn’t give grudgingly, we shouldn’t give because we have been from external pressure coerced into giving. We should give cheerfully. We should give with a glad heart.

I like the way Warren Wiersbe says it. He says, “Listen, you shouldn’t be a sad giver who gives grudgingly or a mad giver because you give because you feel like you have to. You ought to be a glad giver. Give cheerfully to the work of God.”

Is that your mindset? When you put that check in the offering plate a moment ago, did you thank God for giving you the opportunity to give? You know, we have seen some startling statistics here about how there are many who don’t give anything, right here at Brainerd. Is that you? Each one must purpose in his heart what you ought to give.

Listen, he is not saying if you should give, he is saying you need to determine how much you should give. It is not whether or not you should give, it is how much you should give based upon God’s leadership and God’s direction in your life.

Now what Paul does here is something pretty amazing. He moves from the giving of the Corinthians to the ultimate giver and that is God. Look at it in Verse 8. “God is able.” That is huge. You see, whether or not you are going to prove God is going to be dependent upon whether or not you believe in the power of God. Do you believe God is able to do what this verse says? Listen, it says, “God is able.” God is able. Do you see it, “To make all grace abound toward you so that having all sufficiency, in all things, at all times, you may abound in every good work.” You see, this promise is dependent upon whether or not you believe in the power of God. Is God powerful enough to when you give, that He would in turn bless you and enrich your life. Now I am not talking about blessing. We have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in heavenly realms. I am not talking about the blessings we have as a believer. I am talking blessings that flow from God. Why? Because our hearts have been right when we give and when we invest in the Kingdom of God, you can’t out give God, so what God does is He enriches your life.

Now what are the benefits of grace giving? What are the benefits of giving like I said, giving generously and giving with the right motivation. What are the benefits. Now there are several in the text. I want you to look at Verse 7. Notice the last phrase. “God loves a cheerful giver.” God loves the world in a particular way. The Bible says, “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son.” So even there, God is giving. God loves believers in a more intimate, specific way. But listen, it even goes further. The Bible says that God has got a special love for those who give. Now that is not what I said, that is what God’s Word says. A particular kind of believer, the one who gives cheerfully.

Now Paul moves from the giving of the Corinthians to the ultimate giver who is God. Turn in your Bibles to Romans 8:32. We are just about done. Romans 8:32. This is an amazing verse. When you get there, say “Word.” “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not also with Him freely give us all things.” God is the ultimate giver. And here is what that verse says. If God gave us the very best that He had in His Son, why should we ever think that God would withhold anything that would enrich our lives. If God gave you the very best He had in Christ…and let me say a word to you…if you are here this morning and you have never been saved, I want to plead with you, be reconciled to God. You say, Preacher, how do you do that? Well, you do it in response to His grace. God has been gracious to you. God has brought us into this place together so that you can hear the gospel of grace. God is not only allowing you to hear the Word, but listen, the Word is being preached and the gospel is being articulated. Listen, the gospel is giving. God gave us the best He had in His Son. When Jesus walked this earth, He lived a perfect life. He became our sin bearer. He died on a cross. He shed His blood. He was buried, but bless God, on the third day He rose again! Amen! And He is alive.

And so in response to that grace, here is what you do. You turn from sin or whatever it is you are trusting in and you commit your life, you turn your life over to the Living Resurrected Christ. The Bible says He will come into your life. He will save you. He will change you. He will do what He did in John Newton’s life. He will save you. He will change your heart.

And so when you and I give cheerfully, when you and I give hilariously, that is what that word means, when you and I give in response to the grace of God for the glory of God, we receive a special love from God. I will tell you something else, we get to experience His abundant grace. But God is able to make all grace, the scripture says, abound toward you. Your life is going to be flowing and filled with the grace of God. What a way to be. What joy! What greater joy could there be if your life is overflowing and filled to overflowing with the grace of God. Man, you could just rub shoulders with folks and God’s grace would spill all over to them. Wouldn’t that be cool?

And then it says that you will become more Christ like. Look at it in Verse 9. I thought this was talking about God but this is talking about a godly man. “As it is written, he distributes freely, he has given to the poor, his righteousness endures forever.” That is not talking about God. Look at it in Psalm 112 and Verse 9, that is talking about a godly man, one who has committed his way to God, one that God is working through his life. He has enriched his life so that he gives freely. He distributes to the poor and his righteousness, the Bible says, endures forever. Ultimately that is God’s righteousness because He is working through us, but that is what is said of a godly man.

Now let me give you three encouragements. Next week is Harvest Day. You heard it on the video. It is a special day where we come together as a church and we want to give thanks and praise to God. Why? Because He has been so gracious to us.

I want to give you three encouragements. The first thing I want you to do is, I want you to purpose to give. You and your family, get alone and pray together and say, God, what would you have us to give? We want to make a sacrificial gift. We want to give in response to the grace of God for the glory of God. We want to give in thanksgiving to You. This is a thanksgiving, a harvest offering to you, God, so we want to do it.

Now, I told my wife, I said, “Baby, you come up with a figure and I will come up with a figure.” She talked to me and we have already given our gift, but she has talked to me. She said, “Honey, what did you come up with?” I gave her a figure and she said, double it. What? That lets you know who has more faith in our family, amen? Double it.

The second thing I want to encourage you to do is to give generously. Give generously.

And then the last thing I want you to do is expect God to enrich your life. Expect God to enrich your life. Ask Him to teach you about faith. Ask Him to teach you that He has got your life. He has got this. He is going to provide for your needs. My God will supply ALL your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus is what Paul said in the book of Philippians. When the Philippian believers partnered with him in ministry and gave a sacrificial gift, that is what he declared. God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Ask Him to enrich your life with Christ like character. Would you do that?

Tim LaFleur
October 26, 2014

Message, Tim LaFleur, Discipleship Pastor

What a privilege it is for me to be able to share the Word of God with you. I am so thankful to God, so thankful to Pastor Robby for giving me the privilege. And the title of the message today is “The Grace of Giving.” Okay.

Now, don’t freak out on me now. It is okay to talk about giving at church. In fact, I think the Christian life is all about giving. I am convinced as I have meditated on the grace of God this past week that we live life in response to the grace of God for the glory of God.

If you are still a slave who is living under Law, I have got good news for you today. You can be a son that lives under grace and rather than having to, you get to live the Christian life. You get to live life in response to His grace for His glory.

As I thought about the grace of God, I thought about passages from the Word that highlight the grace of God, the grace of God that brings salvation, has appeared to all men, teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and Godly in this present age, looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ (notice) who gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for Himself a peculiar people zealous for good works. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing. It is the gift of God, not a result of works so that no one may boast. But when the goodness and loving-kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness but according to His own mercy by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit whom He poured out richly on us through Jesus Christ our Savior so that being justified by His grace, there it is, His grace. In this is love, not that we loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

You know, every time I think about the grace of God, my mind races toward that old hymn, amazing grace. Do you know it? Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now I am found. I was blind, but now I see.

You know the song, but do you know the story behind the man who wrote it. John Newton was his name. He was only seven years old when his godly mother died. After being turned over to relatives, he soon forgot the scriptures that she had taught him as a young boy. When he became an apprentice seaman, he acquired knowledge of a different kind.

It was said about John Owen that he was a vile and wicked young man. He had his fill of sin. They said about John Newton that he could curse for two hours without repeating a single phrase. Can you imagine that? Talking about cursing like a sailor! When he became an apprentice seaman, he had a knack for the sea. And so he decided he was going to go to Africa to have his fill of sin and maybe get hooked up with some merchant marine operation. He tried to join the British Navy. He said in his memoirs, but he lacked the discipline required. He couldn’t tolerate it, so he escaped. He went to Africa.

While he was there to have his fill of sin, he was picked up by a Portuguese slave trader. And the Portuguese slave trader treated him like an animal for almost two months. Finally, after he escaped from there, he went back to Africa and he was picked up by a ship. And because he was a skilled navigator, he earned the rank of First Mate.

And this is where the story gets good. God, in His grace, begins to work in John Newton’s life. He is sailing along the coast of Scotland when they met up with a great storm. It was a tempest. And during the tempest, as he was manning the pumps, John Newton cried out to God. God heard his cry and miraculously spared his life and changed his heart.

He became a pastor. In fact, he became the chaplain of Parliament and even preached before the King. God, in His grace, saved John Newton. And I want to tell you, if anybody is saved, it is going to be because of the grace and the mercy of God.

It is in this context, the context of grace that the Apostle Paul writes in II Corinthians Chapter 9. And that is going to be our text. But we are going to look at a couple of verses in Proverbs, so you might want to turn there first.

Donald Gray Barnhouse describes grace this way. “Love that goes upward is worship. Love that extends outward is affection. But love that stoops down low is grace.” And that is exactly what God did in every one of our lives who are saved. He stooped down low in the person of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to pay our sin debt and to pay the penalty for our sin. And you and I, through repentance and faith, can come to know Him personally. He will come into your life. He will change you. He will make you to be the person God wants you to be. Amen? That is what God does in His grace.

Now, the Apostle Paul is writing to the believers at Corinth. And here is what he…I want to give you the context of this passage before we get there. Here is what he is saying. He is urging them to give toward the relief effort for the believers who are Jewish…they have a Jewish background…the Jewish believers in Jerusalem and Judea and they are experiencing extreme poverty. And so the Apostle Paul, as he travels on his missionary journey, is taking up a relief effort to give toward these impoverished believers. And in this text, he motivates them in Chapters 8 and 9 in three ways.

The first way he motivates them to give is by holding up the example of the Macedonians. Back in Chapter 8, Paul is on his journey and he is talking about the poor believers in Jerusalem. And the Macedonians step up and they say, we want to give. Paul said, you don’t understand. You are barely making it as it is and even though they, themselves, were experiencing poverty, they gave out of their lack. They gave out of their need and this brought joy, Paul says, to the heart of God.

So what they are doing is, they are wanting to give. They are begging to give. And so Paul holds up the example of the Macedonians and as he admonishes the Corinthians to give, he is saying, Listen, you guys have it made compared to the Macedonians, but the Macedonians have such a heart to give, they want to give so that these believers can find relief and be strengthened.

The second way he does it is by giving several exhortations in Chapter 8 and 9 challenging them, exhorting them, admonishing them to give. But the verses that we are going to look at talk about the benefits of giving.

Now Paul motivates them by holding up the example of the Macedonians. He motivates them by exhorting and admonishing them to give. But then he says, here is the deal. If you give, your lives are going to be enriched. If you give in response to the grace of God for the glory of God, if you participate in what some have called grace giving, you will be enriched by God.

Now I want to say right out of the gate, I am not a health, wealth and prosperity guy. I am not going to teach you today that you ought to give in order to get. If that is your motive, listen, you are only giving to yourself. You are not really giving to God.

But what I am going to challenge you to do and what I want you to see in Scripture is that when you and I give, because we have got a heart to give, giving cheerfully to the work of God, God will enrich your life in proportion as you give. Do you hear me? This is what God’s Word promises. God will enrich your life in proportion as you give.

Paul reminds these believers of a powerful truth and here it is. You can’t out give God. Any questions? There ought to be an amen about right here. You can’t out give God. Amen? God has given us so much. We ought to be thankful to God for all that He has blessed us with. We are the most blessed people in the world. Do you realize that? You have been blessed and it is all because of the grace of God.

Now I want you to see some passages in the book of Proverbs. Turn if you would to Proverbs 19:17 and you might be surprised by what we see here in the Word of God. I was this past week in preparing and studying for this message. And some of the best messages are created when you struggle with a text. And listen, there is no text that I have struggled with more than this one. You know, I thought you must be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect was one that I struggled with and I did, but not as much as this passage.

Look at Proverbs 19:17. Look at it. “Whoever is generous to the poor (notice) lends to the Lord, and He will repay him his need.” Do you know what that is saying? When you and I are generous, especially toward the poor, we, in essence are lending to God. That blew me away. That blew me away! To think that I could lend to the Lord.

But notice the rest of the verse. “He will repay his deed.” Look at Proverbs 11:24. Turn over there for a moment. And this one blew me away as well. This is the wisest man that ever lived, King Solomon quoting these things. Look at it. “One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give and only suffers want.”

Hold the phone for a moment. One gives freely and grows richer, really? One withholds what he should give and only suffers want? That is not what we are taught, right? If you want to make it, you had better get all you can, can all you get and sit on the lid is what we have heard, right? But these passages say give it away. Give it away. And when you give freely, the Bible seems to indicate here, you will grow all the richer.

Look at the rest of the verse in 25, “Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and he who waters will himself be watered.” That is Bible language for listen, the way to acquire wealth is to give it away.

You know, I was encouraged. I think the Lord gave me a gift. I preached at the 8:30 service and after that message an older gentleman with a cane, he called me “young fellow” so he must have been a lot older than I was. I think I am pretty old myself. But he came and he said, “Listen, I want to testify. Come aside over here.” So we went into the Next Step area and he said, “You know, my life was a mess and everything was out of balance. What you preached, Preacher, was so true because the moment I began to honor God with my finances, I never worried another day in my life

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