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Pastor Jerry Locke
by Pastor Jerry Locke

5 Sermons On Stewardship
4445 Hodgkins Rd. Fort Worth, TX 76135
Sermon 1 - The Exhortation On Giving
Sermon 2 - The Example of Giving
Sermon 3 - The Excuses for Not Giving
Sermon 4 - The Eminent Giver of All
Sermon 5 - The Elements of Giving


(The Macedonian Churches)
II Corinthians 8:1-7

For those of you who were here last Sunday we looked at the "Exhortation on Giving" found in I Corinthians 16:1-4. It concerned the needs of the believers in the church at Jerusalem. Their region had a severe famine that had affected the economic landscape for more than 10 years.

Paul gave a clear command to help in this need by giving. Giving is a Christian obligation like prayer and worship and fellowship.

Many church growth gurus are telling pastors across the country not to talk about money or stewardship. Avoid the subject like the plague. I make no apologies when it comes to teaching Biblical stewardship. Pastors are actually doing their people a major disservice in failing to address clearly what the Bible addresses clearly.

Paul’s letter in 2 Corinthians will get around to what he wants the Corinthians to do, but first he bring to them the example of the Macedonian churches. It had been Paul intention to go into Turkey and Asia, which would have taken the gospel to the east. But a midnight vision of a man from Macedonia saying, “Come over into Macedonia and help us,” Acts 16:10, changed the course of the gospel to spread to the west and eventually to Europe and later to us.

The Macedonian Christians were those of the city of Philippi, Berea, and Thessalonica, Acts 16-17. These precious believers heard of the Jerusalem need and gave.

Let’s look at their example today. What is an example for?

1. Their example is for Celebration.

Paul hails those of Macedonia as examples. They were role-models when it came to stewardship. They were celebrated for their giving. Notice how they gave.

They gave congregationally, v. 1. “Morever, brethren, we do you to wit (that is, to know) of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia.” Now pay attention. That is very interesting. It does not say that the Macedonians were recognized for their giving as Christians but as churches. I had not paid attention to that before. It was not individual giving that was celebrated - it was institutional giving.

Let me illustrate the difference. If a Christian gives a nice offering then that Christian would be recognized. “Bro so-in-so gave such- and-such.” But when Christians give in and to the church, our individual offerings, small or large, lose its personal identities and then the church receives the recognition.

Just the tabernacle and the temple were the storehouse for giving in the Old Testament, God’s local Baptist churches are God’s storehouse for giving in the New Testament. “Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen,” Eph. 3:21.

Real exemplary giving is congregational giving - giving that is done in and through one of the Lord’s churches.

* All tithes are to be given through the church.

* The spiritual gift of giving is to be exercised under the authority and supervision of the local church.

The gave sacrificially, v. 2. “How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.”

Many people have the idea that only people with considerable money should give. Let John or Mike do it.

People give you the impression that they are exempt from giving because they do not have vast sums of money. “If I have their money I would give; I would tithe.”

These Macedonians gave out of what? Stock reserves? C.D’s? Savings? No, out of “great trial” and “deep poverty.”

* “Trial” = purging. The word is used for the purification of precious metals with intense heat. The heat was on these people. Yet, in there great trial they gave.

* “Affliction” = Their livers were fun and games.

* “Poverty” = abject poverty. These folks were at the bottom; they were destitute.

The greatest givers I have known are often those with little to give. This is because it is not what we give, but how we give, that matters most to Christ.

They gave amazingly, v. 3a. “For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power...” Some people look at their resources and believe that is where the level of their giving begins and ends. That is a myth. The truth is we can all do more than we ever imagined we were able to do.

The giving of the Macedonians was not natural - it was supernatural!

Some try to give in a way that is destined to fail. They sit dow. Add up all their bills. Pay then all. Set aside extra money for incidentals. Put money back for their monthly nights out of eating and entertainment. Then at the end of the month if anything is left over, they give it to the Lord Jesus and His church. And without a bit of personal conviction they say, “Here is what I am able to do.”

This type of individual and family never tithes and never benefits from God’s plan of economy.

Giving is not about your ability. It is about what God can do and it is always more than you can imagine.

You are seriously mistaken if you believe you are to do only what you can do. That leaves God out of the equation of life.

One of the wealthiest men who ever lived, King David, had a handle on this. “But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee,” 1 Chron. 29:14.

They gave willingly, v. 3b. “They were willing of themselves.

Some say you can’t get people to give without putting pressure upon them. Some use gimmicks. Others use guilt. Some try to make us feel like we have to give, while others make us feel like we ought to give. But that’s not true.

Christian stewardship is absolutely voluntary. Christian stewardship is a privilege.

They gave urgently, v. 4. “Praying us with much entreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.”

Do you see what happened with the Macedonians saints? These people got excited about their opportunity to give to this need. The grace of giving will open our hearts, but it will also open our hands.

True giving is seen as a grace - a privilege. They weren’t trying to get out of giving. They wanted to get in on giving. You are a giving people here at LWBC, but I’ve yet to be begged to receive the offering again so people can give more!

They saw their stewardship as a “fellowship” opportunity.

Some people say they are in fellowship with other believers, but one of the truest tests is in the giving our our material possessions.

They gave personally, v. 5a. “And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves...” As a point of clarification, this was giving done through churches - but ti was giving done by individuals. Some people want the church to do all the giving. The only way for a church to give is for the people in the church to give personally.

They gave spiritually, v. 5b. “But first give their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.”

The giving of the Macedonians was not about legalism but about Lordship.

This is what makes Christian giving different from any other kinds of giving. Some people give to...

the United Way...Salvation Army...Mooses and Gooses and the ones that got Loose.

All resources come from God. So giving is directing God’s resources back to God for His distribution. Giving is a part of our worship of God.

If our priority is to give ourselves over to the Lord then we will have little problems with giving our resources. When personal disciples and devotion is high, then giving in a church will be high.

2. Their example is for Motivation.

Paul had ever intention that the mentioning of the generosity of the Macedonian churches would be a motivation to the church at Corinth.

I’m thinking about a wise, old rooster who rolled an ostrich egg into the chicken yard one day. As all the hens gathers around in amazement the rooster said to them, “Ladies, I don't mean to put down anything you’ve done before. I just want to show you what other people are doing in other parts of the world!”

Now that’s motivation!

This motivation should...

...convict us if we are not giving like we can and should.

...constrain us to keep giving throughout all the days of our lives.

...comfort us in considering even if we can only give a little, little is much when God is in it!

3. Their example is for Celebration.

Paul takes us to the Macedonians again in 2 Corinthians 9. You can see them mentioned in verse 2 and again in verse 4. There is more celebration and motivation from the Macedonian example of giving.

This section of stewardship ends in 2 Corinthians 9:15 with a great spontaneous verse. “Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift.”

Real giving may celebrate Christians and churches, but all the glory belongs to God and God alone!

May I introduce you to the One who loves you and has provided for your greatest need - the gift of His Son.

Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Romans 8:32 “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”

Philippians 4:19 “But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

The example of the Macedonians is not about a great people, but about a people who knew a great God! What a great God, a gracious God, a generous God we have. The only question is, “Does He have you?”

If He truly has you, then He also has your’s. If He has your person, then He also has your possessions.