Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Kind of Giver God Loves

Sunday Sermon
May 16th 2010
Rhema Community Church

Sermonic Skeleton

Sermonic Pericope: ESV 2 Corinthians 9:6-15 6 The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 Each one must give as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all contentment in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 9 As it is written, "He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever." 10 He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way for all your generosity, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. 12 For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. 13 By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission flowing from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, 14 while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. 15 Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!

Sermonic Theme: Give (Giving money is a spiritual act.)

Sermonic Subject: Stewardship (The Ministry of Generosity)

Sermonic Tension: Your mind must be made up in order for you to sow generously into people. (You need a generous spirit.)

Sermonic Sentence: Generously sow into people knowing that God is able to make all grace abound toward you.

Sermonic Question: God is so generous toward you why aren’t you generous toward others?
(A stingy Christian is an oxymoron and a disgrace to grace.)

Sermonic Help: GRACE: New Testament Noun: charis (charis), GK G5921 (S 5485), 155x. charis is “grace, favor”—the acceptance of and goodness toward those who cannot earn or do not deserve such gain. As in the OT, “finding favor in the presence of God” (Lk. 1:30) means that God has an attitude of kindness toward someone, wishing to prosper them. Being “highly favored” highlights God’s decision to bless and use that person for his good purpose (of Mary, Lk. 1:28; even of Jesus, 2:52; cf. also Stephen, Acts 6:8). Paul acknowledges that God’s “grace” has called and equipped him to be the authoritative apostle of Christ’s gospel (Rom. 15:15).

Jesus’ mission to the world is seen as the appearance of “grace and truth” (Jn. 1:14, 17), even “grace upon grace” (1:16). The gospel of Jesus Christ can rightfully be called “the word of his grace” (Acts 14:3; 20:32) and “the gospel of the grace of God” (20:24), and being sent out to preach the gospel is seen as “being handed over to the grace of God” (14:26; 15:40).

In the NT, God’s grace manifests itself most clearly in the sacrificial, substitutionary death of Jesus Christ (Rom. 3:24–26; Heb. 2:9). By nature gifts of grace cannot be earned (Rom. 11:6), for a gift earned is the opposite of a gift of grace (4:4). Grace, Christ, and salvation are so connected that those who attempt to earn righteousness have “fallen away from the grace” (Gal. 5:4; cf. 2:21). Salvation is “by grace through faith, and not of yourselves; it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8).

The undeserved blessings of grace are numerous. Jesus gave up the riches of heaven, making himself poor so as to make sinful humans rich—that is “grace” (2 Cor. 8:9)! Every step of God’s salvation (from eternity past to the everlasting future) is accomplished through grace: his precreational choosing of the elect in Christ (Eph. 1:4–6), his inner call to the gospel (2 Tim. 1:9), his regeneration of dead sinners (Eph. 2:5), his gift of saving faith (Acts 18:27), his redemption of sinners (including justification, Tit. 3:7; forgiveness of sins, Eph. 1:7), his sanctification of believers (2 Cor. 9:8; 2 Thess. 2:16–17), his preservation of the saints (1 Cor. 1:4, 8), and his glorification of believers (1 Cor. 15:57; 2 Thess. 1:12). God saves “in order that in the coming ages he might show the surpassing richness of his grace in kindness on us in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:7).

Grace is a new domain in which and by which Christians live (Rom. 15:15; 16:20). In this realm sin no longer rules (6:14). By his grace, God affects Christians’ personal lives, giving them the ability to obey the gospel from the heart (Rom. 6:17), the ability to work hard (1 Cor. 15:10), and an increase of joy in severe trials (2 Cor. 8:1–2). God graciously affects Christians’ interpersonal relations, giving them care in their hearts for others (2 Cor. 8:16) and different spiritual gifts that cause the body of Christ to function together (Rom. 12:6).

The believer is motivated to show practical grace to others. Jesus applies charis (translated “credit,” “benefit,” or “thanks”) to the act of doing something kind for someone who has not earned and does not deserve it (Lk. 6:32–34). The Christian knows that no matter the level of suffering or weakness in life, Christ’s grace toward them is sufficient (2 Cor. 12:9), allowing them to “approach the throne of grace with confidence in order that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Heb. 4:16). Dependence on Christ’s power and grace causes an overflow of thanksgiving (2 Cor. 4:15).


Sermonic Structure:

I. God generously loves people who cheerfully sow (Verses 6-7)

II. God generously supplies seed to the cheerful sower (Verses 8-11)

III. God generously graces us for service (Verses 12-14)

IV. God generously gave us His son (Verse 15)

Monday, May 10, 2010

She Gave More than all of Them

Sunday Sermon
May 9th 2010
Rhema Community Church

Sermonic Skeleton

Sermonic Pericope: ESV Luke 21:1-4 Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, 2 and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. 3 And he said, "Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. 4 For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on."

Sermonic Theme: Money (Do Not Be Deceived: Notice the generosity of this poor widow woman’s volition.)

Sermonic Subject: Stewardship (Divine Judgment: True value is not what you have it is in what you give.)

Sermonic Tension: If I give my all to God who will take care of me? (This poor widow woman shows no anxiety for her life.)

Sermonic Sentence: Give your all to God today. (She gave all she had while Jesus in a few chapters will give all He has, His life.)

Sermonic Question: Why did this poor widow woman do it? (I argue that she could not resist)

Sermonic Help: Stewardship. The principle of stewardship is closely linked to the concept of grace: everything comes from God as a gift and is to be administered faithfully on his behalf. There is thus both stewardship of the earth and stewardship of the gospel (cf. J. Goetzmann, TDNT II, pp. 253–256); stewardship of personal resources of time, money and talents, and stewardship of the resources of church and society. Along with questions of mission strategy and support there are issues of personal and corporate lifestyle, just wages and fair prices, poverty and wealth all related to explicit or implicit theologies of the kingdom of God, work and nature.

The theme of stewardship as a recognition of the unity of creation and the consequent need to care for the whole earth can be traced in Eastern Orthodoxy and in Western theology down to Calvin. Nevertheless it can be argued that in practice a more prevalent understanding of ‘dominion’ (Gn. 1:28) as domination rather than stewardship has been a justification, if not a cause, of much exploitation. However, international consciousness of the relationship between ecological and political exploitation and the need to seek what the World Council of Churches has called a ‘just, participatory and sustainable society’ has grown steadily since the publication of Only One Earth by Barbara Ward and RenĂ© Dubois (London, 1972) and the Brandt Commission report North-South: A Programme for Survival (London, 1980), with much attention inside and outside the churches paid to the arms race and nuclear disarmament.

More recently, at least in Western Europe, the stewardship of human resources has become a major concern as churches seek to respond at a personal, community or national level to the social consequences of unemployment and technological change in industry. From the Greek oikonomos, which refers to the manager of a household or estate. Stewardship is management of all God has entrusted. God bestows many things, yet the most important gift a Christian must invest wisely is his own life his abilities to think and to love: A Christian’s body and mind are to be a “living sacrifice” dedicated to God (Romans 12.1-2). A Christian should invest his time in study and service to God, seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness (Matthew 6.33). Once a Christian learns to be a good steward of mind and body then he will use all other gifts from God wisely. See: Luke 12.42; 16.1-8; I Corinthians 4.2; Galatians 4.2; Romans 16.23. 1 Corinthians 4.1, of preachers of the Gospel and teachers of the Word of God; Titus 1.7, of elders in churches; 1Peter 4.10, of believers generally.

Sermonic Title: “She Gave More than All of Them”

Sermonic Subtitle: “Going broke for God”

Sermonic Structure:

A. Jesus saw the rich people putting in their gifts
B. Jesus saw this poor widow woman putting in two small copper coins

A. Jesus speaks about how much she gave (more than all of them)
B. Jesus speaks about where their offering came from (out of their abundance)
C. Jesus speaks about where her offering came from (out of her poverty)