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Stewardship Sermons (Generosity)

Below are sermons that explain what biblical generosity is, why we should care about it, how it should be done, and what the possible results of it are. (Continued on page 2.)


A Biblical Model For Giving: Part 1
John MacArthur. A Biblical Model For Giving sermon series, no. 1. Sermon preached 1997.
Pastor John MacArthur explains from 2 Corinthians 8:1-3 that it is more blessed to give than to receive. Do we want to know what it means to be blessed? We should give. What does it then mean to give? Many converts traveled to Jerusalem in the time of the early church. Their conversion meant that they would become poor, if they were not already so. Oftentimes they no longer could hold their affluent positions in society, nor could they return to the homes they had left behind. For these early believers, converting to Christ meant that they were in effect giving up all that they had. MacArthur explains that this was especially the case among the Christians in Macedonia. Those who remained in their native land were under intense persecution. It was in the midst of this hardship that they gave to the needy church in Jerusalem, even beyond their ability to give. MacArthur presents this as a model for our own giving today: self-sacrificial and unconditional.

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A Biblical Model For Giving: Part 2
John MacArthur. A Biblical Model For Giving sermon series, no. 2. Sermon preached 1997.
Pastor John MacArthur opens this sermon on 2 Corinthians 8:1-2 by explaining why the apostle Paul wrote his letter to the church at Corinth: to implore them to give to their poor brothers in Jerusalem. Highlighting Paul’s reference to the Macedonian churches, MacArthur extracts several characteristics of their sacrificial giving: (1) Their motivation for giving was the grace of God in their lives. (2) Their giving transcended their turbulent situation. (3) They gave with joy and happiness. (4) Their extremely poor conditions did not hinder them from giving sacrificially. (5) They gave generously. The Macedonians gave in faith, putting the kingdom of God first ahead of anything else.

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A Biblical Model For Giving: Part 3
John MacArthur. A Biblical Model For Giving sermon series, no. 3. Sermon preached 1997.
Examining 2 Corinthians 8:3, pastor John MacArthur continues his description from a previous sermon of the sacrificial giving of the Macedonian Christians: (6) They gave proportionately according to their ability. (7) They gave in sacrificial proportions. (8) They gave voluntarily. MacArthur finds sacrificial giving incompatible with the traditional notion of the tithe. He spends a considerable amount of time explaining the nature of tithes in the Old Testament, arguing that this antiquated system of giving does not continue apart from the temple system in the New Testament age. Surveying the Old Testament, MacArthur explains that a required amount for giving was not introduced until the Law of Moses. There were several tithes: one tithe in the form of taxation to fund the religious responsibilities of the Levites and the priests; another tithe for festivals, feasts and national celebrations; and still another tithe to be given every third year to support the stranger, the fatherless and the widow. Beyond these God called his people to freewill giving: People gave voluntarily out of thanksgiving and gratitude to God. While the New Testament certainly expects us to pay taxes to human government, our giving to the Lord is no longer as prescriptive as it once was, but freewill, not according to any set percentage.

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A Biblical Model For Giving: Part 4
John MacArthur. A Biblical Model For Giving sermon series, no. 4. Sermon preached 1997.
Pastor John MacArthur argues from 2 Corinthians 8:4-8 that giving principally is the same in both the Old and New Testaments. It is simply not the case that people today are required to give one-tenth of their incomes, nor has anyone ever been required to give merely this tithe: Rather, the law required the Israelites to give roughly 25 percent of their incomes for the maintenance of the government and community. Anything beyond this was considered freewill offerings to the Lord. Christians today still must pay taxes for the maintenance of our civil government, and our giving to the Lord beyond what is required is considered freewill offerings as well. The tithe, argues MacArthur, has never been about gifts to God but taxes to human authorities. On the other hand, giving to the Lord is a generous, spontaneous and joyful act in response to the grace that God has done in our hearts. In closing, MacArthur concludes his description from a previous sermon of the giving patterns of the churches in Macedonia; how the grace of God turned them into voluntary, sacrificial and joyous givers: (9) Their giving was a privilege, not an obligation. (10) Their giving was an act of worship. (11) They gave in submission to their pastors. (12) Their giving was in concert with other Christian virtues. (13) Their giving proved their love.

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Money Matters: Part 1
Stephen Davey. Money Matters sermon series, no. 1. Sermon preached at Colonial Baptist Church, Cary, N.C., n.d.
Pastor Stephen Davey surveys the Old and New Testament approach to giving in three time periods: (1) before the Law, leading up to the Exodus, (2) during the time of the Law, while Israel established itself as a nation, and (3) after the Law, the time of the New Testament church. Davey begins by discussing the few instances of the tithe involving Abraham and Jacob prior to God’s giving of the Mosaic Law. He proceeds to describe the multiple tithes, tax tithes and freewill offerings required of the Israelites under the Mosaic Law. Davey further teaches that the New Testament approach to giving—grace giving—is not defined by a specific percentage. Rather, it focuses on the amount that we withhold from God, not the amount that we give to him. Even so, God expects his redeemed people to give systematically, sacrificially and cheerfully as he directs us, in addition to paying taxes faithfully. The practice of New Testament giving, then, is evidence that we are in fact growing in grace. Note: No downloadable text or audio is available at this time.

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Money Matters: Part 2
Stephen Davey. Money Matters sermon series, no. 2. Sermon preached at Colonial Baptist Church, Cary, N.C., n.d.
Pastor Stephen Davey covers the biblical teaching on giving, beginning briefly with the Old Testament and explicating on the New Testament understanding. Ancient Israel’s theocratic system of government required a series of tithes and tax tithes, totaling about 25 percent of the people’s income, on top of freewill offerings that were to be given according to how the Lord moved a person’s heart. Davey moves from there to describe the New Testament system for giving: not only are God’s people to pay taxes to the civil government, but they are also to give to God out of the joy that is in their hearta. Davey then outlines and explicates wrong motivations for giving (e.g. giving to avoid personal mission involvement) and the consequences that follow from poor stewardship practices (e.g. refusing financial counsel). Note: No downloadable text or audio is available at this time.

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Money Matters: Part 3
Stephen Davey. Money Matters sermon series, no. 2. Sermon preached at Colonial Baptist Church, Cary, N.C., n.d.
Pastor Stephen Davey opens his sermon by briefly covering wrong motivations in giving and consequences of poor stewardship. He follows by giving guidelines for godly uses of money (e.g. caring for the needs of our families, investing in the ministry and mission of our churches). He concludes by explaining two major principles to stewardship: principle of priority (e.g. seeking first the kingdom of God) and the principle of submission (e.g. giving ourselves first to the Lord). Note: No downloadable text or audio is available at this time.

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The Claims of Love
J. Gresham Machen. Chapter in God Transcendent and Other Selected Sermons. Ned B. Stonehouse, ed. Grand Rapids, Mich.: W.B. Eermans Publishing, 1949.
Taking as example the women pouring the expensive oil over the head of Christ in Mark 14:3-8, Presbyterian theologian J. Gresham Machen (1881-1937), describes the nature of a love to Christ that is free and unhindered. No doubt we are to do services for the needy and poor, to care for the orphans and widows among us. But what must accompany these actions? Are these merely ends in themselves? Machen explains that we are to devote ourselves to Christ, to keep communion with him, that we may do these acts out of gratitude and love for him. Machen closes with a discussion applying this to the activity of the church. Certainly the church must have order and organization, but it must never find itself in a place where the organization is separated from proclaiming the message of the cross of Christ.

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Good Works
D. James Kennedy. Chapter in Truths That Transform. Old Tappan, N.J.: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1974.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:8-10). Pastor Kennedy explains that though we are made righteous by the vicarious work of Christ, we still must live a life pleasing unto the Lord. Kennedy expounds upon two requirements for what constitutes a “good work” pleasing unto the Lord: (1) The work must be commanded by God, agreeable to his law. (2) The work must be done with a changed heart as the Holy Spirit empowers us to live by faith. Only in this way can our “good works” be glorifying to God. These good works do not make us more justified than we already are; rather, they are a heart’s grateful response to the internal work that the Lord has done in us.

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Sacrificial Generosity: Part 1
Mark D. Roberts. Sermon preached at Irvine Presbyterian Church, Irvine, Calif., January 16, 2005.
For the church to expand, it needs resources and funds as well as individuals who are willing to give themselves to support the church. To support one another in the church, sacrificial generosity is needed. Pastor Mark D. Roberts preaches from Acts 2:41-45, focusing on verse 45: “Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.” Roberts explains what value there is in sacrificial giving. He gives examples of how this type of giving has deeply affected people in his own congregation. He also teaches that this type of giving is essential and healthy for the whole body of Christ. He does not claim that all people are required to give extraordinarily all the time, but he maintains that we should not ignore promptings that the Lord has placed upon our hearts.

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Sacrificial Generosity: Part 2
Mark D. Roberts. Sermon preached at Irvine Presbyterian Church, Irvine, Calif., January 23, 2005.
Pastor Mark D. Roberts takes a penetrating look at the captive role that material possessions has in our culture. Statistics have shown that money has not bought happiness, yet the desire for accumulating possessions is constantly on the rise. Are we, even as Christians, held captive at times to Mammon (money)? How can we be set free from the power of this false god? Citing Acts 2:41-45, Roberts calls us to examine ourselves in the midst of our affluent and consumerist culture. Even if we are troubled by our present situation, we still live in the midst of it. Roberts explains that it is by Christ’s sacrificial generosity that we are set free. Freedom from Mammon involves giving generously. Christ sets us free that we may give generously and freely.

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Graced by a Provision beyond Ourselves
Mark D. Roberts. Sermon preached at Irvine Presbyterian Church, Irvine, Calif., October 31, 2004.
In 2 Corinthians 8:1-5 the apostle Paul tells us of the generosity of the Macedonian Christians: “And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will.” Pastor Roberts explains that giving generously comes from a heart that does not fear money but, rather, fears the Lord. The Lord is steadfast in his promises, providing for our needs even when it seems that provision is unavailable. In the Old Testament the Lord provided for Abraham when he trusted the Lord, even when he called Abraham to sacrifice his own son. Pastor Roberts recounts several instances in his own church in which God greatly provided for the church when people gave in the fear of the Lord. Read also how the Lord provided financially for Irvine Presbyterian Church’s building and for a recent minister in the congregation.

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Kingdom Economics: Being Rich toward God
Joseph M. Stowell. Sermon preached at Generous Giving’s Texas regional conference, San Antonio, Texas, November 5-6, 2004.
Luke 12 gives the account of a man who calls out to Jesus, hoping that He will instruct the man’s brother to divide an inheritance with him. Jesus responds with his most comprehensive teaching on possessions, wealth and the hunger for stuff. In this passage Jesus teaches us that the most important thing in life is to be rich toward God. In this two-part sermon, Moody Bible Institute president Joseph Stowell teaches that there are several steps in becoming rich toward God: (1) Live our lives to pursue Christ as the true satisfaction and fulfillment in our hearts. (2) Embrace contentment as the liberating option to the cancer of covetousness. (3) Get a grip on what life is not about. (4) Acknowledge God as the source of all that we have. (5) Actively pursue goodness, generosity and hospitality. (6) Draw a line at enough. In the sermon’s epilogue, Stowell continues: (7) Respond to the ramifications of immediacy. (8) Manage our wealth in the light of accountability.

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We Need to Give!
David P. Nolte. Sermon preached at Shasta Way Christian Church, Klamath Falls, Ore., n.d.
“You will never out-give God. You can shovel in and keep shoveling in. You will find that God shovels back and keeps shoveling back. And the blessing is: He has a bigger shovel.” In this sermon on Acts 20:32-35, pastor David P. Nolte shares in a down-to-earth manner the practical truth that it is truly “more blessed to give than to receive.” Through our giving, God blesses both us and the recipients, while bringing glory and honor to Himself. When we give ourselves to him, all that we call ours will naturally follow; and to be completely possessed by God is indeed the greatest blessing imaginable.

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The Principles of Proper Giving!
David P. Nolte. Sermon preached at Shasta Way Christian Church, Klamath Falls, Ore., n.d.
Pastor David P. Nolte asks us what kind of givers we are. Are we flints, that have to be struck repeatedly to get a small spark? Are we sponges, that have to be squeezed before God can get anything out of us? Or are we honeycombs, that overflow freely with what is within us? Using the example of a painting of a dying church (which was beautiful and well kept outwardly, but inside the treasury was bare and dusty), Nolte encourages us in this sermon on 2 Corinthians 9:6-9 to embody the principles of proper giving that will stimulate life and growth, both in individuals and in churches.

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Unexpected Giving
David P. Nolte. Sermon preached at Shasta Way Christian Church, Klamath Falls, Ore., n.d.
In this sermon on 2 Corinthians 8:1-5, 9:7, pastor David P. Nolte examines the three ways that the Macedonian church gave to the church in Judea. Their generosity was all the more evident given the dire poverty that they were in. They gave willingly, urgently pleading with the apostle Paul to share their resources with the saints; they did not need to be “guilted” into giving. Most importantly, the Macedonians gave themselves, both to the Lord and to his saints. The Macedonians went beyond what was expected, setting an example for all Christians to follow.

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Three Vital Experiences
Gene Getz. Sermon preached at Foothills Bible Church, Littleton, Colo., September 19, 2004.
As a professor at Dallas Theological Seminary in the 1970s, Gene Getz underwent a study of what the church ought to be, rereading the descriptions in Acts of the early church. His study resulted in a book entitled Sharpening the Focus of the Church, from which this sermon is drawn. Here, Getz speaks of three vital experiences that characterized the church of Acts 2:42-47: devotion to the word of God, fellowship with God and one another, and unbelievers coming to Christ. Getz says that these three qualities are vital for every church. Unfortunately, modern evangelical churches often allow one experience to overwhelm the others. What is important for generous givers is Getz’s description of the early church’s fellowship, which was characterized by praying, praising and eating together as well as sharing financially with one another. Getz asserts that generosity is “the hallmark of Christianity.” A church not characterized by generosity sadly “does not understand the grace of God and the gift of eternal life.” This resource is available in streaming audio.

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Purpose-Driven Generosity
Rick Warren. Sermon preached at the annual Generous Giving Conference, Colorado Springs, Co., April 21-23, 2005.
Rick Warren, the pastor who brought us five life purposes, now explains that money “is a tool to help me fulfill God’s purposes for my life.” He asks us to invest in five innovative funds: the treasure fund for worship, the mutual fund for fellowship, the growth fund for spiritual maturity, the equity service fund for ministry, and the global fund for outreach. Now is the time to invest: Our dollars will be worthless in the next life, but they still have value now. We can use them to provide hospitality, attend a life-changing seminar, and take the good news around the world. Warren speaks personally on this issue, for giving has done more to increase his faith than any other discipline. Hear how he became a “reverse tither” and what he is doing to fight the “five global giants.” This resource also is available on compact disc.

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Generous Giving: Part 1
John MacArthur. Sermon preached at the annual meeting of The Gathering, Scottsdale, Ariz., September 27-30, 2001.
When the Jerusalem church began to suffer from poverty, the apostle Paul seized the opportunity in order to demolish the hostility between the Gentile and Jewish churches. When he asked the Gentile churches he had founded to aid their Jewish brothers in Jerusalem, the response in Corinth was enthusiastic. Yet false teachers had undermined Paul’s authority, and the Corinthians had failed to follow through on their promises to give. Paul, then, wrote a letter to reestablish his credentials and, in 2 Corinthians 8:1-8, addressed once again the topic of the Jerusalem offering. He used the example of the poor Macedonian churches to encourage the wealthy Corinthians’ own generosity. The Macedonians’ giving exhibited several characteristics: (1) Their giving was launched by God’s grace. We hunger and thirst after righteousness, not because of emotion, but because of God’s grace. (2) Their giving transcended their financial affliction. The Macedonian region had suffered from civil war and oppression. Yet often, the less we have, the more we trust in the Lord; and the more we trust in the Lord, the closer we draw to Him and live as He would have us live. (3) Their giving was done in joy. The Macedonians’ joy rose above their pain, because they knew that they were storing up treasure in heaven. (4) Their giving was not hindered by their poverty. Just as the church in Third World regions today lives in excited hope of heaven, so the Macedonians, having nothing here, looked ahead to when they would have everything. Author and pastor John MacArthur speaks insightfully, encouraging the church today to pursue joyful generosity. Note: No downloadable text or audio is available at this time.

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Generous Giving: Part 2
John MacArthur. Sermon preached at the annual meeting of The Gathering, Scottsdale, Ariz., September 27-30, 2001.
In this continuation of his message on 2 Corinthians 8:1-8, author and pastor John MacArthur continues to examine the characteristics of the Macedonians’ giving: (5) Their giving was generous. “Liberality” signifies single-minded focus and serious commitment. The Macedonians’ one objective was the advancement of the gospel; they were generous out of their devotion to Jesus Christ. (6) Their giving was according to their ability. We are called to give whatever we want to give. Though the Old Testament tithe existed as an obligatory payment in theocratic Israel, the church has no prescribed amount for voluntary giving. Yet 2 Corinthians 9:6 does provide a principle concerning quantity of gifts: “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” Thus, we look forward to the offering as an opportunity to invest in heavenly blessing. (7) Their giving was beyond their ability, or sacrificial. (8) Their giving was an act of participation in the fellowship of the saints. The Macedonians begged to be allowed to give, that they might engage in a partnership of ministry, for the support of the saints. (9) Their giving was an act of worship. The Macedonians first gave themselves to the Lord, after which act, everything they had came, too. Long-term faithful giving is in direct proportion to the sanctification of the heart. The ultimate example of generosity is the Lord Jesus. He first suffered death that separated Him from the Father in order that we might inherit the spiritual riches of God now and all the riches of God in heaven. Again, MacArthur speaks insightfully, encouraging the church today toward joyful generosity. Note: No downloadable text or audio is available at this time.

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The Grace of Giving
Adrian Rogers. Getting on Top of Your Finances series, no. 6. Sermon, n.d.
All giving is wrapped in grace: We give in response to Jesus’ own gift of Himself. Pastor Adrian Rogers finds that generosity exists for the purposes of magnifying Jesus and His name, for moving believers toward maturity and for making Jesus known to others in our community and world. 2 Corinthians 8:1-9:15 teaches three major points concerning grace giving: (1) The obligation of grace giving: Grace giving is not eliminated by poverty. The Macedonians had nothing yet still gave joyfully. Nor is grace giving energized by pressure from external sources, excused by performance in other areas of spiritual growth, or enforced by power from a leader. Rather, we must be motivated by love for the One who died at Calvary. (2) The operation of grace giving: Grace giving is marked by performance, in which we act out what we profess, and by providence, in which we give according to how God has blessed us. Grace giving also is managed by prudence, as we allow our gifts to be handled by men of compassion, consecration, character and competency. (3) The opportunity of grace giving: Grace giving allows us to encourage the saints, to enrich the soil of our harvest and to exalt the Savior. When we give richly because of the salvation we have received, we bring great glory to God. This resource is available on compact disc.

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Generosity: Willing Hearts, Stirred Within
Charles R. Swindoll. Sermon preached 2000.
When Moses asked the Israelites for gifts with which to complete the building of the tabernacle, the response was so great that he later had to restrain the people from giving. Pastor Charles Swindoll examines Exodus 25:1-9, 35:1-29 and 36:4-7 for principles of what prompts a congregation to give superabundantly. People give generously when their hearts are stirred, and Moses’ call to the Israelites was marked by four characteristics: (1) A clear directive: God commanded the people to raise a contribution for Him. Though God had provided everything else for His people up to this point, now their turn had come to participate by responding to God. God didn’t need the money; the people simply needed the opportunity to give. (2) A call for specific gifts: God provided a grocery list of the precious metals, textiles, wood, spices, precious stones and incense needed for the project. (3) A stated objective: This tabernacle was going to be so stunning and significant that people passing by would know it was for God. The proportions of this building were not haphazard but were specified down to the last detail. (4) The requirement to rest and reflect: God chose to emphasize the Fourth Commandment from among the ten. The people did not give immediately to the work of the tabernacle, but they returned to their tents to consider what they might be able to give joyfully to God’s work. The quiet reflection resulted in willing, not manipulated, giving. Swindoll’s teaching provides good material for promoting voluntary and enthusiastic generosity. Note: No downloadable text or audio is available at this time.

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The Corner Office
Andy Stanley. Taking Care of Business series, no. 3. Sermon preached 2002.
In his third sermon on applying biblical principles to the workplace, Andy Stanley, pastor of North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Ga., addresses those who are in positions of leadership, asking how faith affects a leader’s responsibility as owner, manager, boss or supervisor. In other words, how does one both love people and get things done? Applying Christian values to the workplace does not mean watering down the office environment; rather, it involves implementing the directive in Colossians 4:1: Masters are not only to be fair but also to follow the example of the Master in heaven. Thus, God has called the Christian to give more to his employees than others in his particular industry would offer, going beyond the simple paycheck and benefits. Stanley exhorts managers to make two commitments: (1) Commit to practicing an uncompromising character: Those working for us want to follow a leader who is worth following, one devoted to treating everyone fairly by a standard that transcends the company bottom line. Integrity creates a culture of trust, fostering the chance to develop relationships. (2) Commit to advancing the personal development of our workers: Philippians 2:3-4 tells us to look to the interest of others. Whether his workers stay for one year or 30, a Christian tries to help his employees benefit from having worked at his company. Note: No downloadable text or audio is available at this time.

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The Grace Principle
John Meador. Treasure Principles: Jesus on Giving sermon series, no. 6. Sermon preached at Woodland Park Baptist Church, Chattanooga, Tenn., July 14, 2002.
In the sixth sermon of his series on Jesus’ principles of generosity from Matthew 6:19-34, pastor John Meador turns further to 2 Corinthians 8:1-9:15 to examine the principle of grace. Grace giving is not simply one Christian meeting the needs of another person but rather God working through that Christian in order to produce his desire to give. Since generosity is a test that proves one’s spiritual maturity, God does not ask us to give because He needs our money, but because we need to give in order to promote growth. Though the Macedonian Christians are an excellent example of joyful giving, our ultimate example of generosity is the Savior, who gave all He had for us. The apostle Paul’s letter to the Corinthians provides several principles of grace giving: (1) We need to follow through on initial enthusiasm to give. (2) Church leaders need to be full of integrity when they manage church funds. (3) God leads us to give to particular needs. (4) God liberates us in our giving. The natural man is not excited about giving, but God stirs our hearts. (5) God blesses us in our giving. We will have an abundance in order to be liberal in our generosity. We are able to give abundantly beyond the tithe because God creates in us the attitude of grace-filled giving. Note: No downloadable text or audio is available at this time.

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Making Good Sense with Our Dollars
Charles R. Swindoll. A Minister Everyone Would Respect sermon series, no. 1. Sermon preached 1987.
Pastor Charles Swindoll looks at 2 Corinthians 8:1-9 for biblical principles of generosity. Giving must be based upon the grace of God; the Macedonians had given themselves to God prior to their sacrificial generosity. Yet grace received from God results in the release of our treasure for God’s work, along with everything else we have. God owns everything already, including our lives. Those who give sacrificially probably experience the most happiness. Swindoll urges Christians not to calculate percentages such as the tithe but simply to keep giving more, for grace-filled generosity gives beyond 10 percent. Christ gave 100 percent for us at the cross, becoming poor for our sakes. Overall, Swindoll provides a solid basis for joy-filled generosity that flows from a life transformed by Christ’s gracious gift of salvation. This sermon is available on audiocassette.

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Fanning the Financial Fires
Charles R. Swindoll. A Minister Everyone Would Respect sermon series, no. 2. Sermon preached 1987.
Pastor Charles Swindoll continues his series on money, examining 2 Corinthians 8:10-24 for biblical principles of generosity. Several famous wits have noted the importance of money to our culture. We are enslaved to its power. Yet one simple truth will bring financial freedom: God owns it all. Even a Christian’s life was bought with the blood of Christ. The apostle Paul exhorted the Corinthians to stop and consider the blessings of God, to listen to the testimony of others and to look at the grace of Christ. Yet four hindrances often obstruct the generous intentions of Christians motivated by such compelling incentives: (1) Procastination: The cure for this hindrance is to simply do one’s giving right away. (2) Hesitation: To overcome hesitation, one should be ready and eager to give. (3) Overreaction: We think we have to give as much as the next man, but we do not need to have vast resources in order to be able to give generously. (4) Exception: The call to generosity applies to everyone, including those who don’t think they have enough to share. Paul’s strategy in fund-raising demonstrates two principles of church money management: that only qualified people should handle financial matters and that money matters should be handled by a team. Finally, generosity frees us from the dominion of money, releasing us from its hold on our hearts. Swindoll provides a solid basis for joy-filled giving that flows from a life transformed by Christ’s gracious gift of salvation. This sermon is available on audiocassette.

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The Trip to Bountiful Giving
Charles R. Swindoll. A Minister Everyone Would Respect sermon series, no. 3. Sermon preached 1987.
Pastor Charles Swindoll recounts what the apostle Paul’s request for money (2 Corinthians 9:1-6) and a recent experience of the march of the ducks at Memphis’ Peabody Hotel have in common: Both examples demonstrate what the four principles of group labor can accomplish. (1) Active participants must be involved. Paul could not aid the Jerusalem church without generous believers, just as the duck trainer needs ducks in order to have a parade. (2) The objectives must be clear. People must know exactly what needs to be accomplished; the ducks also need to know exactly where to walk. (3) Strong enthusiasm adds fun and momentum to the task. Participants must be willing; neither were the ducks forced along the parade route. (4) The promise of reward keeps the participants persevering. The giver anticipates a reward for generosity; the ducks also knew that food lay just behind the curtain marking the end of the parade. Indeed, the right people added to the right goals and multiplied by enough enthusiasm and direction results in accomplishment. Paul is convinced of the Corinthians’ readiness and confident of their involvement, but he exhorts them to live up to his expectations. He demonstrates his trustworthiness and ability to affirm those under his direction. Jesus performed all four principles during His earthly ministry: He became an active participant among us, followed His objective to death on the cross, lived and died without complaining and looked ahead to the reward promised beyond the cross. Swindoll exhorts us to live these principles in giving to the work of the church as we begin to actively give to ministries we can trust, with enthusiasm and with the expectation that God will honor our obedience. This sermon is available on audiocassette.

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Giving by Grace
Charles R. Swindoll. A Minister Everyone Would Respect sermon series, no. 4. Sermon preached 1987.
Pastor Charles Swindoll tells the story of a man who ran from God, sinking lower and lower into depravity, until he was touched by the grace that would later form the subject of one of his greatest hymns. The life of John Newton, author of Amazing Grace, demonstrates how God’s grace stoops to our level and raises us to God. Grace also softens the harshness of the law, revealing that someone else (Christ) has fulfilled its demands for us. Finally, grace becomes our guide in responding to God and others. We are able to give out of the abundance that has been first given to us. 2 Corinthians 9:6-15 teaches that bountiful sowing will result in bountiful reaping. We are to give cheerfully and purposefully, not merely reacting to external circumstances, but acting from inward resolve. Grace giving results in thanksgiving and praise to God because He has used His people to meet the needs of others. Receiving abundant grace inspires further generosity in our hearts toward others. Overall, Swindoll reminds us well of the great gift of salvation we have received in Christ and the freedom that grace provides us in order to give generously to others. This sermon is available on audiocassette.

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Cross-Centered Giving
C.J. Mahaney. Sermon preached at Covenant Life Church, Gaithersburg, Md., October 21, 2001.
After delivering a lengthy, heartfelt and emotional expression of gratitude for the generosity of his congregation, C.J. Mahaney proceeds in the second half of this message to examine 2 Corinthians 8:8-24 for biblical principles of generosity. The apostle Paul never wants us to act without a theological basis; nor does he ever want us to hold a theology without practically applying it. Thus, Mahaney develops three principles of cross-centered giving: (1) Cross-centered giving creates personal participation. Good intentions are insufficient but must be acted out concretely. When everyone works together, they can accomplish much. (2) Cross-centered giving is careful to display integrity. If a church does not have financial integrity, it loses its credibility to preach the gospel. (3) Cross-centered giving is conscious of its effects. The generosity of one church can challenge and inspire the generosity of other congregations. Note: No downloadable text or audio is available at this time.

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The Graceless Servant
Robert Johnson. Money Matters series, no. 3. Sermon preached at Hixson (Tenn.) Presbyterian Church, November 19, 2000.
The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant (Matthew 18:21-35) illustrates the series of grace, gratitude and generosity that ought to follow each other in a progressive chain reaction. The apostle Peter’s inquiry into how many times he ought to forgive his brother reveals a desire that most of us share: We want to know the exact location of the line in order that we might perform the minimum level of obedience necessary for maintaining God’s favor. But Jesus sets the line so high that reaching the limit of righteous living is impossible on our own. Robert Johnson finds from this Scripture passage that the life of grace is marked by several characteristics: (1) The life of grace consists in grace received. The king forgave his servant and canceled his debt, roughly equivalent to $3 trillion today. To demonstrate the enormity of the debt and the extent of the king’s graciousness, Jesus described the debt using the largest weight and the largest numerical value of which first-century Jews could conceive. Similarly, all of us carry the weight of sin debt that we could never repay on our own. (2) The life of grace consists in the grace we have experienced, or taken to heart. Though the servant had received incredible generosity, his heart had not been touched. Instead, he failed to extend grace to a fellow servant, demanding repayment on a trifling debt. (3) The life of grace consists of the gracious heart. The kingdom of God must enter into us. The gospel must precede generosity, but, as the unmerciful servant’s ultimate punishment indicates, generosity must follow the gospel. Overall, Johnson provides an excellent analysis of the relationship between grace and generosity. Note: No downloadable text or audio is available at this time.

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Seven Secrets to Teach about Biblical Giving
Brian Kluth. Christian Stewardship Association.
Martin Luther once said: “People go through three conversions in the Christian faith: their head, their heart and their pocketbook—unfortunately, not all at the same time!” From all studies being done in churches today, it would appear that very few people know first hand the joy and excitement God wants them to experience in their Christian financial giving. Here are seven secret keys that can unlock the door of biblical faith in this area of people’s lives.

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The North Is Inspired by the South
Johnny Hunt. Sermon preached at First Baptist Church, Woodstock, Ga., July 25, 2004.
In this sermon preached on 2 Corinthians 8:1-9, Johnny Hunt shows from Scripture that “giving is more of an opportunity than an obligation.” In his exegesis of the passage, he highlights the grace of God and the response of man to that grace as the basis for generous giving. Giving “commences with God’s generosity” because it is God’s grace that moves us to give, both through Christ’s work on the cross and through the Spirit’s work within us. God’s grace produced in the Macedonian Christians, whom Paul holds up as an example, an “abundance of joy” which overflowed in giving “beyond their ability.” They not only gave willingly but also pleaded for the opportunity to give more because their joyful response to the grace of God made giving into a privilege, not an obligation. This resource also is available in streaming media.

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Jesus, the Christian’s Example
Harold J. Ockenga. Sermon preached at Park Street Church, Boston, Mass., 1958.
Was Jesus’ life unique, the work of a Holy Redeemer, or standard, the perfect example for us to follow? As perfect God and perfect man, Jesus demonstrated both aspects in His life. 1 Peter 2:21-25, while affirming the redemptive nature of Christ’s work, also confirms our calling to follow Christ’s example. The purity of Christ’s character stemmed from three sources: Scripture, prayer and the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, in following Christ’s example of a pure life, we must practice patience and humility toward men and total trust in and commitment toward God. However, the ability of sinful humans to follow a sinless Master can only come from the redemptive aspect of Christ’s work: We can only follow the Master after He has set us free. Any attempts to follow Christ apart from salvation will fail. Thus, having given us the means to do so, Christ calls us to follow Him.

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Giving Guidelines
George O. Wood. Sermon preached at Newport-Mesa Christian Center, Costa Mesa, Calif., n.d.
How would the Corinthian Christians responded to the Apostle Paul’s call to give an offering to the saints in Jerusalem? Assemblies of God pastor George O. Wood examines 1 Corinthians 16:1-4, drawing guidelines for giving from this epistle. Wood challenges his congregation to (1) take the collection for God’s people, (2) participate in systematic or regular giving, (3) involve every member, (4) predetermine what you are going to do through a faith promise, (5) give proportionately—not in equal amounts, but in equal sacrifice—out of a sense of grace, (6) entrust the offering to responsible administration, (7) do not force or pressure giving, but let it come from a natural response to the blessings of God. This resource is available on streaming audio.

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The Ministry of Giving
George O. Wood. Sermon preached at Newport-Mesa Christian Center, Costa Mesa, Calif., n.d.
In 2 Corinthians 8-9, the Apostle Paul describes to the church of Corinth how they should give. George O. Wood, general secretary of the Assemblies of God, looks at this passage to describe the ministry of giving. According to this sermon, (1) our true motive for giving should always be the grace of God; (2) the example of others is a legitimate inspiration for our giving; (3) our concern for excellence should include our giving; (4) giving is patterned after the example of Christ, who gave out of love; (5) we should give what we can even if it is not all we desire to give; (6) there should be equal sacrifice throughout the body of Christ; (7) we need assurance that the offerings we give will be properly accounted for and administered; (8) our enthusiasm in giving is catching; (9) those who sow bountifully will reap bountifully; and (10) our giving should result in praise being given to God. This resource is available on streaming audio.

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Lord, Teach Us to Give
George O. Wood. Sermon preached at Newport-Mesa Christian Center, Costa Mesa, Calif., n.d.
Have you ever thought to yourself, “I can’t afford to give”? Have you been encouraged to give for the wrong reasons? Are you disappointed with the return? There are many excuses Christians cite for failing to give to the Lord’s work, yet the Bible commands it. In this sermon, Assemblies of God pastor George O. Wood looks at the three types of giving in the Bible—tithing, giving out of abundance, and giving sacrificially—encouraging believers to experience the joy that comes through being a faithful steward. This resource is available on streaming audio.

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The Gift of Giving
George O. Wood. Sermon, n.d.
God has given us many gifts through which we can serve Him: gifts of teaching, serving, encouraging, etc. What about the gift of giving? In this sermon, Assemblies of God preacher George O. Wood looks at Romans 12 and explains how the gift of giving blesses both those who receive and those who give. Our motivation in giving should never be to get but, rather, to obey our Father. Giving involves trust and faith in God’s provision, living a surrendered life followed by the blessing of the Lord. This resource is available on streaming audio.

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The Collection
Neil Chadwick. Sermon preached at Crossroads Church, Hamburg, N.J., n.d.
This sermon on 1 Corinthians 15:58-16:3 looks at the Apostle Paul’s instruction to the church at Corinth to take up a collection among God’s people on the first day of the week. Chadwick, an Assemblies of God pastor, challenges believers not to be robbed of the blessings that come through giving to the Lord by withholding what already belongs to God.

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Give is a Four Letter ‘G’ Word
Neil Chadwick. Sermon preached at Crossroads Church, Hamburg, N.J., n.d.
Assemblies of God pastor Neil Chadwick examines 2 Corinthians 8-9 in this sermon on giving. “ ‘Give’ is associated with God’s grace, gathering and gaining according to our true needs, and so that we may bless others. We give generously and gladly, providing whatever guarantees are necessary to produce confidence, and we seek to grow in the gift of giving so that righteousness may prevail.”

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How Should We Then Give?
Neil Chadwick. Sermon preached at Crossroads Church, Hamburg, N.J., n.d.
Two-hundred fifty years ago, the great revivalist preacher John Wesley preached, “Gain all you can; Save all you can; Give all you can.” Like Wesley taught, Christians should focus on giving. In fact, the Bible commands us to give. But, how should we give? In this sermon drawing liberally from both Old and New Testaments, Assemblies of God pastor Neil Chadwick combs the Scriptures to answer this question. According to Chadwick, the Bible tells us to give intentionally, cheerfully, confidently, liberally and selfishly—selfishly as we look forward to the great rewards in store for those who give.

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Untitled
George Foreman. Sermon preached at the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ, Houston, Texas, April 25, 1999.
Preaching this brief sermon on Luke 6, former heavyweight boxing champion George Foreman teaches that giving was a central theme to Jesus’ teachings. Jesus modeled his teaching for us by feeding the hungry and healing the sick. In doing so, Jesus was showing us that the only way to live a blessed life is through giving. We have been given abundant opportunities to help people by giving of our time and money, so we should obey the Bible’s commandment to love through the act of giving.

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The Black Middle Class and Responsible Christian Stewardship: Giving As We Have Received
Marvin A. McMickle. Chapter in Preaching to the Black Middle Class: Words of Challenge, Words of Hope. Valley Forge, Pa: Judson Press, 2000.
Traditionally blacks have identified with the plight of Lazarus in Jesus’ parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man (Luke 16). Yet many blacks today are experiencing great financial prosperity, and Dr. McMickle, African-American pastor of Antioch Baptist Church in Cleveland, Ohio, believes it is time for middle-class black Christians to recognize their responsibility of biblical stewardship. In this sermon on Titus 3:1-7, McMickle reminds his congregation that stewardship is best understood in the context of the grace of God. We give not out of obligation but, rather, in response to what we have been given.

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Give Where You Live
Anonymous. Sermon preached at Britton Christian Church, Oklahoma City, Okla., December 8, 2002.
In this sermon taken from 1 Samuel 30:21-31 and 1 Chronicles 29:10-20, the unnamed speaker argues that the amount of money and possessions that we have has nothing to do with godly stewardship and generosity. The key to becoming a good steward and experiencing an attitude of generosity toward all that God has entrusted to us begins when we gain a proper perspective on God’s rich gifts given to us—no matter where we are on the economic ladder of life. God calls us to give where we live. We may live in the hood or we may live on the hill—it really doesn’t matter because God calls us to give for His glory and the blessing of those around us. We will use the abilities God has given us to help others when we recognize that those abilities have come from God to bless those who cannot pay us back.

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On the Words of the Gospel, Matt. XIX. 21, ‘Go Sell That Thou Hast, and Give to the Poor,’ Etc.
Augustine of Hippo. Sermons on Selected Lessons of the New Testament, no. 36.
Early Church father St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430) exhorts his listeners to do as the Lord commanded the rich young ruler, to “give to the poor.” In this excellent sermon, Augustine teaches that giving comes from a right heart attitude toward God, and that in giving, God will give back to us even greater blessings than those we have bestowed upon others.

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Homily XX
John Chrysostom. From “Saint Chrysostom: Homilies on the Epistles of Paul to the Corinthians,” vol. 12 of “A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church.” Philip Schaff, ed. Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1889.
This ancient sermon by the patriarch of Constantinople still offers much wisdom for believers today. Focusing on 2 Corinthians 9, the early Church father teaches that when we give to a person in need, we are laying sacrifices upon the altar of God and offering up to Him our thanksgiving for the abundant grace He has shown.

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A Cheerful Giver
Bob Coy. Sermon preached at Calvary Chapel, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., May 22, 1988.
In 2 Corinthians 8-9, Paul teaches that giving in God’s economy is not just a matter of dollar amounts and percentages. The kind of giving that pleases God is done from the heart. As he says in verse 7, “God loves a cheerful giver.” In this sermon Coy exhorts believers to bring their giving into conformity with what God teaches us in scripture about generosity. The starting point for generosity is the truth that our God is a generous God. Christ freely gave His life that we might be redeemed. In the same way, our lives should be living sacrifices for the love of God and the love of our neighbor. Coy also reminds us that we must give freely of all that we have—because all that we have ultimately belongs to God. Finally, this “grace of giving” of which Paul speaks is so important because the way in which we steward God’s possessions affects our relationship with our Creator, our fellow believers, and every other area of our lives. The Christian should not be known for his occasional acts of charity done out of a desire to be a good person. Rather, the Christian should be known for living a life of gratitude that overflows in cheerful generosity to the glory of God. This resource is available on streaming audio.

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Love Always Gives: Responding to Christ’s Work
Jim Cymbala. Sermon preached at the annual Generous Giving Conference, Pasadena, Calif., February 28-March 2, 2003.
Jim Cymbala, pastor of Brooklyn Tabernacle in New York, examines the early church’s stance on giving in 1 Thessalonians. The biblical model follows God’s pattern of giving. Not only does God give us every good gift (James 1:17), including abilities, but He also gave His Son to provide us with a salvation we did not earn. The motivating force behind God’s giving is love. Paul, too, gave himself to the Thessalonians out of love. But the selfless nature of giving doesn’t preclude reward. In eternity, Christ Himself will evaluate not our possessions but, rather, our gifts to people. This resource is available on compact disc.

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Love Always Gives: Responding to the Spirit’s Leading
Jim Cymbala. Sermon preached at the annual Generous Giving Conference, Pasadena, Calif., February 28-March 2, 2003.
How do we work out the specifics of giving? While the Bible certainly gives us foundational principles for life, it is not so clear on details such as when to give or where. In addition to the Bible, inquiry of the Lord and obedience to the promptings of the Holy Spirit are necessary for ascertaining God’s specific plans for your life (Acts 16:6-10 illustrates the Holy Spirit’s intervention in the apostle Paul’s own ministry). Misunderstandings about the current work of the Holy Spirit have led to extremes of fanatic emotionalism and dead rigidity. Yet, while both these extremes are erroneous, the Holy Spirit does remain active in leading the believer’s life today. This resource is available on compact disc.

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Charity Disposes Us to Do Good
Jonathan Edwards. Sermon 5 in “Charity and Its Fruits: Christian Love Manifested in the Heart and Life.” Tyrone Edwards, ed. N.p., 1851; reprint, Carlisle, Pa.: The Banner of Truth Trust, n.d.
What kinds of acts fulfill the command to do good unto others? Upon whom should we bestow our acts of mercy? In what manner should our good deeds be performed? The fourth in a series on 1 Corinthians 13, this sermon by the great Puritan theologian Jonathan Edwards (1703-58) encourages Christians to “do good” and explains how this looks in light of Scripture’s revelation. Our giving and other acts of charity, Edwards shows, should be given freely, expecting nothing in return. Although we are to expect nothing, we will be rewarded by God for the acts of righteousness done in His name as we store up treasures in heaven.

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All That Can Be Done or Suffered in Vain Without Charity, or Love
Jonathan Edwards. Sermon 3 in “Charity and Its Fruits: Christian Love Manifested in the Heart and Life.” Tyrone Edwards, ed. N.p., 1851; reprint, Carlisle, Pa.: The Banner of Truth Trust, n.d.
This sermon by Puritan theologian and preacher Jonathan Edwards (1703-58) addresses an issue at the heart of giving: motivation. Part of a series preached on 1 Corinthians 13, Edwards expounds upon verse three, “If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.” Even our best acts of righteousness and our greatest acts of charity are nothing if they stem from anything other than a deep heartfelt love for God, Edwards explains. Although our duty of helping the poor is insisted upon in Scripture, our generosity must spring from our relationship with Christ, or else all is in vain.

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Stewardship: Opportunity and Obligation
Jerry Falwell. Giving at a Higher Level, no. 3. Sermon preached at Thomas Road Baptist Church, Lynchburg, Va., March 16, 2003.
Preaching from Galatians 6:1-10, Falwell teaches that stewardship is about two words: opportunity and obligation. While some people think that money and spirituality have little to do with one another, the preacher points out how mistaken this view is. In fact, “Stewardship is an opportunity to do great things for God, and stewardship is an obligation to give to God.”

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A 30 Percent Faith Step Forward
Jerry Falwell. Giving at a Higher Level, no. 4. Sermon preached at Thomas Road Baptist Church, Lynchburg, Va., March 23, 2003.
Falwell examines 3 John for an example of a generous giver. In his first two epistles John already had instructed: “Love one another.” In this third letter he demonstrates in the person of Gaius how it should be done.

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The Proof of Love
Ian Garrett. Sermon preached at Jesmond Parish Church, Newcastle, England, January 25, 1998.
How do you motivate giving without being open to the criticism of manipulation? Leaders need to be above reproach when handling the church’s finances. However respectable one person may be, it is important to have several leaders keeping one another accountable in the oversight of funds: For example, the Jesmond Church has a financial committee of eight members. Following in Paul’s example (2 Corinthians 8:19-20), there needs to be not just trustworthy people handling the money but also a trustworthy structure that ensures integrity. Also essential is the question, “Is our money being spent on gospel-centered activity?” When financial promises are made, the church needs to follow through with the keeping of these promises. And, finally, the leadership should encourage the people to give not out of a response to them but, rather, as a response to God and His grace. Faithfulness in generosity is a matter of both action and attitude. This sermon examines 2 Corinthians 8:16-9:5.

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Concerning the Collection
John Henry Jowett. In Classic Sermons on Stewardship. Warren W. Wiersbe, comp. The Kregel Classic Sermons Series. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Kregel Publications, 1999.
There is no way that we can live an enduring life of beneficence and generosity by doing so out of a personal sense of duty. True beneficence for our neighbor and for society at large can never well up on its own. Congregational pastor John Henry Jowett (1864-1923) strongly believed that generosity among Christians is only possible as a response to the profound spiritual blessings we have already received in Christ. Preaching from 1 Corinthians 15:55-16:1, Jowett highlights the fact that in his letter Paul goes directly from proclaiming Christ’s resurrection to talking about taking up a collection in the church. The transition from Christ overcoming death to a basket passed around the pews is certainly jarring to our modern minds. However, Jowett wants us to realize that for Paul there is a deep and completely natural connection between Christ’s resurrection and our giving. Christ’s resurrection has opened the gates of eternal life for us. This rich truth opens our eyes to the fact that every part of our life is a gift, entrusted to us by God. Therefore, because of what God has given us, we are now able to give. We can love, not because we feel a duty to do so, but because He first loved us. In the same way, we can give because of all that He has already given unto us: eternal life in Christ Jesus.

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Radical Generosity
Tim Keller. Sermon preached at Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York, November 10, 1991.
Keller delivers this message on generosity taken from 2 Corinthians 9:6-15: “There can be no significant spiritual growth unless you put your money and your attitude toward it into God's hands.” It is too big and too pivotal an issue to ignore, Keller instructs his Manhattan congregation. The mark of a real Christian is radical generosity. This resource is available on streaming audio.

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Paul’s Letter to American Christians
Martin Luther King, Jr. Sermon preached at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, Montgomery, Ala., November 4, 1956. From “A Knock at Midnight: Inspiration from the Great Sermons of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.” Clayborne Carson and Peter Holloran, eds. New York: IPM/Warner Books, 1998.
In this fascinating sermon by the American civil rights leader, King (1929-68) reads a letter “from the Apostle Paul,” addressing American Christians. Nestled amongst criticisms of segregation, lack of unity in the church, and the need for Christian love, King addresses the materialism that has infiltrated the church and calls for a spirit of love and generosity in the lives of believers.

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Secrets to Hilarious Giving for Special Needs
Brian Kluth. Sermon preached at First Evangelical Free Church, Colorado Springs, Colo., September 14, 2003.
When you think about hilarity, does being generous with your money come to mind? Pastor Brian Kluth draws five principles from 2 Corianthians 9:1-13:13 on developing an excitement for special offerings, the type of giving that goes beyond the tithe: (1) Give enthusiastically: Find the motivation. Money flows to vision, as any home remodeling project demonstrates. (2) Give preparedly: Find the means. Cash is not our only asset. The Hebrews gave their earrings for the work of God’s tabernacle. (3) Give willingly: Find the motive. Consecrate yourself to the Lord. (4) Give expectantly: Find the magnitude. As Christians we give not in order to get but, rather, because we already have been blessed. However, God does promise eternal rewards for generosity and often does bless generous givers materially. Yet the additional blessings are meant to promote even greater generosity. (5) Give obediently: Find the maturity. Generosity results in rejoicing and praise to God. This resource also is available on streaming audio.

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On the Fast of the Tenth Month
Leo the Great. Sermon 17 in “Leo the Great: The Letters and Sermons of Leo the Great Bishop of Rome: Translated, with Introduction, Notes, and Indices, by the Rev. Charles Lett Feltoe, M.A., Late Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge,” vol. 12 of “A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, 2d Series: Translated into English with Prolegomena and Explanatory Notes.” Philip Schaff and Henry Wace, eds. American reprint. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1894.
Pope Leo the Great (c.400-61), the great defender of the Christian faith in an age of heresy, challenges believers to be faithful in giving: “Be steadfast, Christian giver: give what you may receive, sow what you may reap, scatter what you may gather. Fear not to spend, sigh not over the doubtfulness of the gain. Your substance grows when it is wisely dispensed. Set your heart on the profits due to mercy, and traffic in eternal gains. Your Recompenser wishes you to be munificent, and He who gives that you may have, commands you to spend, saying, ‘Give, and it shall be given to you.’ ”

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The Generous Life
Gordon MacDonald. Sermon preached at the annual Generous Giving Conference, Sarasota, Fla., February 28-March 2, 2002.
Christ Jesus lived the life of a giver. Though God, He came to the world and lived the life of a servant and died the death of a criminal. Looking at Philippians 2, Gordon MacDonald challenges his hearers to live the life of a generous giver in emulation of Christ. He recommends three important disciplines of the giver’s life: Sabbath, community and discernment. In observing the Sabbath, the generous giver looks back and remembers, recognizing how the Lord has been at work in him and the world. The giver also surrounds himself with a diverse community that can rebuke and affirm him, pushing him and challenging him toward Christ and generous living. Finally, the giver sets out to sharpen his mind and be thoughtful as to what the Lord is doing and how He may best be served through the giver’s resources. This resource is available on compact disc.

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Giving and the Believer
Iliya Majam. Kenya Church Growth Bulletin, July 1, 1994.
This concise sermon outline provides a helpful framework for those who desire to give a clear and focused sermon on giving by the Christian. Taken from 2 Chronicles 31:1-10 and 2 Corinthians 8:1-21, the purpose of the sermon is to show that disciplined and planed giving is a responsibility of every believer. While the introduction asks the congregation how it feels when asked to give, the body of the sermon addresses proper motives when giving. Also addressed is the topic of church finance management—who should oversee the church budget and how the leadership should seek to be above reproach.

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Love’s Wastefulness
George H. Morrison. In Classic Sermons on Stewardship. Warren W. Wiersbe, comp. The Kregel Classic Sermons Series. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Kregel Publications, 1999.
Scottish preacher George H. Morrison (1866-1928) ponders the story of Mary’s gift to Jesus during the last days prior to His crucifixion. Mary, smashing an alabaster jar full of expensive perfume and pouring the contents on the Lord’s feet, was criticized for her extravagant waste (Matthew 26:8). However, though some forms of wastefulness are selfish, heedless and overabundant giving is an integral part of love. God is love, and He is not frugal. In nature, He sends rain on rocks as well as on the plant life that actually needs the nourishment. In providence, He provides us with gifts and talents that we so often fail to use fully. In salvation, His Son’s death on the cross was sufficient to save the whole world, and yet only a few enter Heaven. Thus, Mary’s act of abundant self-giving simply mirrored God’s own gracious love. Unless we are willing to ask for a weaker god, we must question God’s liberality no longer.

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The Giving of God’s People: A Purposed Stewardship
Joseph V. Novenson. Stewardship Series, no. 3. Sermon preached at Lookout Mountain (Tenn.) Presbyterian Church, November 11, 2001.
Restrained in giving? Sounds too good to be true. Novenson examines passages describing Israel’s abundant offerings to God in the building of the tabernacle (Exodus 25:1-9, 35:4-9, 36:2-7). What could possibly have made them need to be restrained from giving? When we understand God’s ownership, that God gives gifts particularly, and that incredible purpose is to be shown in our giving, we are on the right track to becoming faithful stewards. Novenson ends will an interesting application: the giving away of money and a challenge to honor the Lord with this gift. This resource is available on streaming audio.

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Humanity’s Astonishment Expressed at Christ’s Coming
Joseph V. Novenson. Sermon preached at Lookout Mountain (Tenn.) Presbyterian Church, December 16, 2001.
Does the gospel astonish you or has it become old hat? In Scripture and throughout history, God’s people have responded to a saving encounter with Jesus by expressing their gratitude in an extravagant manner. Novenson preaches from the first chapter of Luke, showing how the songs of Mary and Elizabeth were beautiful, poetic expressions of their astonished humility that resulted from the sudden awareness of God’s saving work that was taking place in their midst. Throughout history, God’s people have responded to the gospel this way, funding great works of artistic expression and literature promoting God’s glory, for example, or by supporting the spread of the gospel to remote areas of the world. A true encounter with Christ and His gospel, says Novenson, is like being hugged by a hurricane, or kissed by an earthquake. It blows you away and transforms you to go beyond what is normal or commonly understood. “Christianity is not a manageable religion. It is not a little religious experience that fits well in a palm pilot or day timer. It is an invasion of the living God into your reality that utterly transforms it.” Re-connect with the dynamite of the gospel and watch God lead you to the astonished, extravagant response of gratitude and generosity that always accompanies it. This resource is available on
streaming audio.

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The Prayer of an Old Saint
John Piper. Sermon preached at Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minn., August 27, 1989.
What is God’s calling for an older saint? Is it the same call that insurance companies, pension plans or retirement communities offer? Scriptures respond with a resounding “No.” We find in Leviticus 19:32 that the elderly are to be prized. God commands that respect and honor be given to the “face of an old man.” The elderly also are to be mobilized. In Psalm 71:18 we hear the prayer of an old saint: “So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, till I proclaim Thy might to all the generations to come.” The call for the older saint is to faithfully complete his days in service to his Savior. “Well, if my society says that my profession is finished at age 65 but my God says that my ministry is finished when I die, then between 65 and 95 I am on call full time for God.” Not all older people are called to be missionaries or evangelists. But we are all called to minister, and the more time we have free, the more ministry we are called to do. In closing, Piper offers several illustrations of what that ministry might look like: praying with those in nursing homes, writing missionaries, helping youth choirs, raising money for the church projects, and volunteering time to work in the church ministries. And, of course, there are some who are called as missionaries or evangelists.

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Rich Generosity
Jonathan Pryke. Sermon preached at Jesmond Parish Church, Newcastle, England, January 25, 1998.
There is probably a big difference between how generous we think we are and how generous we actually are. What we do with our money is related to our response to the gospel call, and the Apostle Paul does not treat it as a matter of indifference in 2 Corinthians 8. “What we do with our money shows whether we have understood and responded to the gospel.” The Macedonian church gives us a great example of care and concern for fellow believers, as “out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity” (1 Corinthians 8:2). Generosity is also a test of love: Martin Luther said that we need two conversions, one for our hearts and one for our wallets. Finally, giving should flow from those who have much to those who have little.

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Grace Abounding
Jonathan Redfearn. Sermon preached at Jesmond Parish Church, Newcastle, England, January 25, 1998.
In this sermon based on (2 Corinthians 9:6-15), Redfearn argues that Christians need to know the “why” as well as the “how” of giving. Christians are called to provide for the needs of God’s people, serving as partners both locally and globally in the gospel mission. Giving is an obligation, but a practice that should not be done out of reluctance but out of graciousness, for God Himself provides graciously and freely. One practical consequence of habitual giving is that “we are freed from materialism” and learn to serve rather than to be served. God promises to provide for people who share with others, as “The greater the giving, the greater the enrichment.” Giving provides a spiritual connection between the giver and receiver, and increased prayer for one another happens as a result.

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Paul’s Plan for Raising Money
Archibald Thomas Robertson. In Classic Sermons on Stewardship. Warren W. Wiersbe, comp. The Kregel Classic Sermons Series. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Kregel Publications, 1999.
Archibald Thomas Robertson (1863-1934), professor of New Testament interpretation at Southern Baptist Seminary for nearly 40 years and noted scholarly author, justifies the importance of sermons on the topic of generous giving by examining Paul’s own fund-raising message in 2 Corinthians 8-9. The apostle was not ashamed to ask the church for money, and eight particular reasons support his exhortations to give: (1) The poor Macedonians had already given in abundance (were the wealthy Corinthians going to let themselves be outdone?). (2) The Corinthians needed to fulfill their earlier pledge to help. (3) The act of giving is a concrete demonstration of love. (4) Giving generously follows the pattern of Jesus Christ, who first gave Himself for us. (5) Giving under grace should exceed the minimum amount of the tithe. (6) The Corinthians’ gifts will be managed honestly. (7) Those who sow generously will also reap generously. Finally, (8) the act of giving generously will elicit gratitude to God in the hearts of both givers and recipients. Since Paul was not afraid to preach generosity, why should the church hesitate today?

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Giving until It Lowers Our Lifestyle: 2 Corinthians 8:1-9
Dennis Rupert. Sermon preached at New Life Community Church, Stafford, Va.
2 Corinthians 8 deals with an offering Paul was receiving for the believers in Judea. While this chapter focuses primarily on a special relief offering, Paul’s words help us grasp some of the principles and promises of all Christian giving. Paul’s fund-raising methods have much in common with those of today. But notice that although he has plenty of intelligence about practical matters, he brings everything—the gift itself, the motivations for giving, the remarks about the “fund-raising committee,” the allusions to the reactions of the recipients, even the “Jewish mother guilt trips” which he lays on the Corinthians—into the service of glorifying God. Here are eight principles for Christian giving from 2 Corinthians 8.

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Giving: Mission and Ministry
Michael Scanlan. Sermon preached at the Generous Giving Conference for Catholics, Naples, Fla., November 8-10, 2002.

2 Corinthians 8:7 says, “Now as you excel in everything—in faith, in utterance, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in your love for us—see that you excel in the grace of giving also.” It is often difficult, however, to know how to prioritize in our giving strategies, and Scanlan offers helpful directives: (1) Like the good Samaritan, we should respond to immediate needs when they come. (2) We should provide for our families and give to our local churches and their ministries. (3) Our attention must then turn to worldwide ministry. It is this that often causes the most confusion since there are so many needs to be met. Some questions to consider on this front include: Does the ministry conform to God’s published will? Is it bringing people into the kingdom, to a closer relationship with God? Does your heart say “yes?” In considering where to put our treasure for Kingdom advancement, we should follow our heart’s lead. This resource also is available on compact disc.

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Ten Principles of Christian Giving
John R.W. Stott. Sermon preached at All Souls Church, Langham Place, London, September 19, 1999.
“It is well known that the apostle Paul organized a collection from the Greek churches of Achaia and Macedonia for the benefit of the impoverished churches of Judea. It may seem extraordinary that he should have devoted so much space in his letters to this mundane matter, referring to it in Romans 15, 1 Corinthians 16, and 2 Corinthians 8-9. But Paul did not see it as a mundane matter. On the contrary he saw it as relating to the grace of God, the cross of Christ, and the unity of the Holy Spirit. In fact, it is very moving to grasp this combination of profound Trinitarian theology and practical common sense.” Noted teacher Dr. John Stott goes on to expound 2 Corinthians 8-9, highlighting 10 important principles of giving (from the text) which provide helpful teaching on this crucial issue for the contemporary church: (1) Christian giving is an expression of the grace of God, (2) Christian giving can be a gift of the Spirit, (3) Christian giving is inspired by the cross of Christ, (4) Christian giving is proportionate giving, (5) Christian giving contributes to equality, (6) Christian giving must be carefully supervised, (7) Christian giving can be stimulated by a little friendly competition, (8) Christian giving resembles a harvest, (9) Christian giving has symbolic significance and (10) Christian giving promotes thanksgiving to God. Do you want your practice of giving to be challenged and shaped by sound biblical teaching? Understanding and applying these basic principles from Paul’s writing can help to raise our giving to another level as it grounds us in a more thoughtful, more systematic, and more sacrificial approach to generous giving. An edited version of this sermon was published as a booklet, Stott on Stewardship: Ten Principles of Christian Giving. This resource also is available on audiocassette.

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The Supreme Gift to Jesus
George W. Truett. In Classic Sermons on Stewardship. Warren W. Wiersbe, comp. The Kregel Classic Sermons Series. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Kregel Publications, 1999.
The prominent Southern Baptist preacher George W. Truett (1867-1944) uses Paul’s commendation of the Macedonian Christians in 2 Corinthians 8:5 to illustrate exemplary giving. Two principles dominate the Macedonians’ spirit of giving: (1) They put Christ’s cause in its proper primary position. (2) They gave not simply fragments of themselves but, rather, all of themselves. Obedience to the first principle leads to application of the second; when one recognizes that obedience to Christ must take precedence over all else, then he understands that nothing can be held back. Our money, time and gifts must all be devoted to God’s service. Yet more important than any one of these multiple components is the gift of the whole: God wants our very lives.

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The Good Steward
John Wesley. Sermon 51. Edinburgh, Scotland, May 14, 1768.
In this sermon, based on Luke 16:2, the great evangelist develops four points: (1) In what respects are we now God’s stewards? (2) When he requires our souls of us, we “can be no longer stewards,” (3) We will need to “give an account of our stewardship,” and (4) There is no employment of our time, no action or conversation, that is purely indifferent and we can never do more than our duty.

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The Great Duty of Charity Recommended
George Whitefield. Sermon 47. In “The Works of the Reverend George Whitefield, 1771-2.” London.
Although a preacher in the 18th century, Whitefield remains one of the most dynamic preachers ever to preach in America and England. In this sermon on 1 Corinthians 13:8, Whitefield exhorts his listeners to live up to their calling in Christ by being charitable to the poor. Not only is God glorified through this act, but dignity and honor are bestowed upon both the one who receives the gift and the one who gives.

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A Modell of Christian Charitie
John Winthrop. Sermon preached aboard the “Arbella” over the Atlantic Ocean, 1630.
When the Puritans sailed to America in search of a new life and religious freedom, Gov. Winthrop wrote and delivered this address to his fellow settlers during the course of their voyage, reminding them of their responsibility to model Christian charity. Winthrop challenged the Puritans to live as the body of Christ, caring for one another in the unity of their Lord, giving freely of all they have. “For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill,” says Winthrop, “The eyes of all people are upon us. So that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a by-word through the world.”

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Created for Significance
Ravi Zacharias. Speech delivered at the annual Generous Giving Conference, Pasadena, Calif., February 28-March 2, 2003.
Because of the Father’s great love, we have been made sons and daughters of God. Even more, we have been given the awesome privilege of worship, which allows us to experience the reality that we are God’s children. In light of these truths, Christian philosopher Ravi Zacharias asks us to consider how we should live in response to the significance and privileges given to us as heirs of the kingdom of God. Since we have been given the highest responsibility of using our time and money for His kingdom, we should seek to become better stewards of all the gifts that God has entrusted to us. This resource also is available on compact disc.

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