Bible Study C Sunday School

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Bible Study C Sunday School

Postby Dea » Mon Jun 09, 2014 8:07 pm

Dr. Robert S. Hallett, TLC Ministries

Scripture Focus: II Corinthians 8:1-15, 24, 9:1-2

Key Verse: “But just as you excel in everything - in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us - see that you also excel in this grace of giving.” (II Corinthians 8:7)

Lesson Aim: To grasp and experience the joys of graceful giving.

Related Scriptures: II Corinthians 8 and 9
I Corinthians 16:1-4
Acts 11:27-30


Giving is a grace that is essential to the Christian life. It is not an extra or special quality reserved for a few “super saints,” for it is the grace that ties us most closely to our Lord.

Giving generously with the proper attitudes shows that we have embraced the principles of Christian stewardship, recognizing God as the owner and provider of all we have and are, and recognizing that our assignment is to faithfully use and distribute His resources at His direction.

Giving at its best and highest is seen in our Lord’s example in John 13:1 & 15. Jesus gave Himself for us, and the Father gave the most precious thing to His heart, His Son, to redeem the world. Our Lord’s concern is that we pass along to others what we have so generously received from His hand, as seen in Matt. 10:8. One way to do that is to give generously, with the proper attitudes and motives.

To excel in this grace of giving is to find our attitudes and actions brought into conformity with the will of the Father, to prove our love for God and man, and to bring us such rich rewards of inner satisfaction that no man can limit or control. God wants all of us to excel in our giving.

(II Corinthians 8:1-5)

“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.”

The grace of giving is not something we do entirely on our own. It is giving our full consent to God, allowing Him to accomplish His purposes through us.

In this grace of giving, we have the power of God enabling the Christians to fulfill in a monetary way the desires of our hearts. It is also the Christian keeping those desires consistent with God’s will and God’s ways.

There is nothing about poverty itself that makes us generous. And there is nothing about having an abundance that makes us generous. Generosity is an attitude of the heart, not a condition of the checkbook.

They were willing to do without some of the essentials of their standard of living in order to help others.

People have learned to trust God with everything they have except their wallet. Somehow people feel that their wallet is too personal.

When we give money, we are giving of ourselves.

Money is coined personality. Where you put your money is where you put your life.

Giving frees us from the tyranny of money. What we give away can never master us. Their giving was their joy – they wanted to give.

(II Corinthians 8:6-9, 24, 9:1,2)

6-9 – “So we urged Titus, since he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part. But just as you excel in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us – see that you also excel in this grace of giving. I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.
24 – “Therefore show these men the proof of your love and the reason for our pride in you, so that the churches can see it.
9:1-2 – “There is no need for me to write to you about this service to the saints. For I know your eagerness to help, and I have been boasting about it to the Macedonians, telling them that since last year you in Achaia were ready to give; and your enthusiasm has stirred most of them to action.”

Paul was re-establishing the credibility of Titus as an esteemed man of God, which is important for a collection to be effective.

We can measure our growth by examining our giving. For example, many Christians use tithing as a minimum standard of their giving to God. Then they give offerings beyond that for special needs.

True generosity cannot be commanded or mandated, but it can be tested. And it needs to be tested in order to be proven valid.

The “proof of your love” is in the doing, not just the saying. There comes a time to go beyond talking to doing, and this was the time.

Love is an emotional attachment to someone or something, expressed in a positive way by doing for them. Anything significant we accomplish in life is because of that emotional attachment.

People tend to pick up a vision from someone else before they will develop and grasp one of their own.

EQUALITY (II Cor. 8:10-15)

“And here is my advice about what is best for you in this matter: Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so. Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have. Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality, as it is written: “He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little.”

Our promises are only as good as our track record is in fulfilling them. They had promised to give. Now to maintain their integrity and to develop their character, they must bring it to full completion. And it also will bring major benefits to those on the receiving end.

The church has suffered too often by those who start in a flurry of good intentions, and then falter by the wayside when the extent of their character runs out.

We would be anchorless without our commitments to and relationship with God.

Our means will certainly affect the extent of our giving. But an even greater influence on our giving is our willingness to do so. It is the willingness to give, not just our ability to give, that will determine the acceptability of our giving.

It is wise to let our hearts be stirred by the things that stir the heart of God. And when we give accordingly, then our support will be acceptable.

Those who give the most seldom think about the equality of giving, for they want to give their best.
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