Nick Duffy at Ivy Manchester
CALLED to be Generous
2 Cor 9:7-15
You should each give what you have decided in your heart to give. You shouldn’t give if you don’t want to. You shouldn’t give because you are forced to. God loves a cheerful giver.
8 And God is able to shower all kinds of blessings on you. In all things and at all times you will have everything you need. You will do more and more good works. 9 It is written,
“They have spread their gifts around to poor people.
Their good works continue forever.” —(Psalm 112:9)
10 God supplies seed to the planter. He supplies bread for food. God will also supply and increase the amount of your seed. He will increase the results of your good works. 11 You will be made rich in every way. Then you can always give freely. We will take your many gifts to the people who need them. And they will give thanks to God.
12 Your gifts meet the needs of God’s people. And that’s not all. Your gifts also cause many people to thank God.
13 You have shown yourselves to be worthy by what you have given. So people will praise God because you obey him. That proves that you really believe the good news about Christ. They will also praise God because you share freely with them and with everyone else. 14 Their hearts will be filled with longing for you when they pray for you. God has given you grace that is better than anything.
15 Let us give thanks to God for his gift. It is so great that no one can tell how wonderful it really is!
Paul’s challenging the Corinthians to help people who are in need, that they’ll not personally benefit from. To help the suffering church. The Macedonian church had already stepped up (and they were SKINT), so should they.
Generosity is a matter of the heart, not of the head.
The head looks at the economic situation, and says, ‘What if?’
A cheerful, trusting heart says, ‘Why not?’
God sees the reason of the heart.
Generosity is second nature
Have you had that new nature yet?
Not to let your left hand know what your right hand’s doing.
Giving makes you cheerful.
It comes from knowing where it all comes from. GOD is our generous provider. Seed and Bread. Enough for you and to share. (vs 7 & 8)
We think about what we’ve not got.
Rather than that we have so much!
Much will be required of everyone who has been given much. Even more will be asked of the person who is supposed to take care of much. what we have got.
God will give you everything you need.
Anything on top of that – is to be generous with.
We get dependent on our pay cheque, rather than him. Who do you look to?
When you go shopping, ask – ‘Do I really need this, or have I already got it – in a different colour.’
Step back from consumerism – and ask, pray – ‘Do I really need to spend this – on myself? Could this go elsewhere?’
We live in a world of poor extremes – there are more obese people in the world now than starving.
A man is not determined by what he earns, or what he owns.
When we surround ourselves by stuff, we don’t see the need or the people around us. God’s given us what we need, focus on the need around us.
What lasts forever?
People are the most precious thing on this planet.
There won’t be an updated and improved version of you – God made you unique and precious as we are.
People are the only investment that lasts for eternity. Be generous with sharing your time, treasure, your words – your faith.
God is calling us into a deeper place of ministry with the poor and vulnerable at this church, in our city. So much is already being done. We’re going to be a CAP centre. 33% of those CAP are in contact with have considered suicide. We get to practically share the love of Jesus. That glorifies God! (vs 11). They see HIS heart, in your heart.
Generosity enables more people to be reached, touched, loved, connected to HIM.
Vs 13 says if you really get the gospel, you’ll get this.
Martin Luther, ‘The last place to be converted is our wallet.’ What you spend on, shows who or what you really worship.
Vs 15 celebrates the greatest gift – Jesus on the cross. It’s really true you can’t outgive THAT! God is outrageously generous.
Once you understand John 3:16, you see God is a giver not a taker. Grab hold of the gospel and it will grab you. Giving becomes second nature, because you have that new nature. Remind yourself of what God has done for us, for free, in Jesus. Give yourself first to him – and let him transform you. Let him add to you, a harvest of righteousness!