The Grace Way of Giving, No. 2 - BD33-02
We pick up the story concerning
stewardship with the subject of the grace way of giving.
This is number two. It
is crucial that we as believers in the
church age thoroughly understand the grace principle of stewardship. Human viewpoint giving will degrade us. Divine viewpoint giving will ennoble us. Giving under grace is a very specialized kind
of activity and it does not come to us naturally. It
is something that we have to learn on the
basis again of the revelation of the Word of God. Out
of the Bible we find the principles by
which we are to function in this, just as we find the principle by
which we are
to function in all the other areas of our Christian life.
But giving is essential to our understanding
because it is part of the exercise of our Christian priesthood. We never fully enter into the fact that we
ourselves are independently the priests of God until we learn how to
the grace technique.
We looked last week at tithing, and we
pointed out that that
is not Christian giving. The use of
tithing may be something that you come to by personal choice, and
alright. The problem, however, is that
you may fall into the trap of thinking that after you have given God
your income, you have nine-tenths to do with as you please. Tithing from an expanding income is generally
an indication that you are withholding God’s money from Him. In other words, if you have been tithing over
the years, and God has expanded your income, and you’re still
you’re probably out of line with what God expects you to do. If you think of your income as an expanding
cornucopia with the wide end just overflowing with God’s
what you’re trying to do is to justify increasingly enjoying and
comes out of that wide end of cornucopia and blessing while giving God
10% which becomes less and less in comparison to what you yourself keep.
So tithing is something you may choose
to do but it is a hazardous
position to maintain over the years because as our incomes increase,
giving, in all likelihood, God would expect us and lead us to give as
well. We are not forever to justify
using the abundance of the wide end of the cornucopia of financial
blessing. We are not forever called upon
that by buying more things, by making more investments, by securing the
we think we’d like to have or should have, and therefore justify
that we have
these expenses to pay for.
1 Timothy 6:10
Please turn in your Bibles to 1
Timothy 6:10. I want to look at a verse
that is a very
important revelation from God about money.
In this verse, God the Holy Spirit says that an
emotional attachment to
one’s money is expressed in the words “love of money is the
root of all kinds
of evil.” The word “love of
from a compound Greek word that connotes an emotional attachment. So an emotional zealous attachment for money,
God says, is the root of all kinds of evil.
When it speaks here of the love of
money, this refers to a
weakness in the spiritual maturity structure of our souls.
We spoke about the spiritual maturity
structure in terms of a pentagon because it has five basic sides. God says that we are to grow in grace. We are to grow in the knowledge of the Lord
Jesus Christ. Spiritual maturity is the
goal of the Christian life. We studied
Bible doctrine as the basic building materials by which to build this
maturity. A who lacks a mastery of the
details of life is going to be a person who has an emotional strong
attachment to his money and everything that his money has purchased for
is able to purchase him. Remember from
our study of spiritual maturity that the details of life are important,
money is important, because is the means by which we do things. But the point is that we are not slaves to
our money; that we are not slaves to these necessary details of our
lives. Instead, it is the Lord, and it is
that bears our supreme allegiance, and toward which we direct our
affection. We are slaves to the Lord
Jesus Christ. We are slaves to His Word,
not to these details that He will supply in His grace.
Now the “love of money” is
the cause of all kinds of
evil. In the Greek, the word
which comes later in the English sentence, “for the love of money
is the root
of evil,” in the Greek sentence stands right at the very first of
sentence. In Greek, whenever you want
emphasize something you put it first in the sentence.
This is the word that the sentence begins
with: “root of all kinds of evil is
emotional attachment to money.
What this is saying is that we can
trace back our
wrongdoings to an emotional attachment to money. Our
human viewpoint thinking which has led us
to oppose the will of God can be traced back to our emotional
money. Our money obsession will destroy
this facet of our maturity—the grace orientation in our souls, so
become dependent upon ourselves. We are
preoccupied with self rather than Christ.
It neutralizes our love for God.
Matthew 6:24 says, “No man can serve two
masters; for either he will
hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and
the other. Ye cannot serve and
Now that’s a basic principle of
life. When we have this emotional
money, it is the beginning of every kind of imaginable evil in our
our feelings, in our expressions, and in our conduct.
This attitude toward money, 1 Timothy 6:10
says, leads us to the sin of covetousness.
“For the love (the emotional attachment to) of
money is the root cause
of all kinds of evil, which while some coveted after…” And that’s what happens.
We begin coveting. We
develop a frenzy for a growing bank
account and for security for some anticipated economic disaster. When we get that kind of love for money, our
thinking becomes extremely distorted.
In Matthew 6:33, we read the principle
that the Lord Jesus
lays down instead of this kind of a frenzy for a growing bank account
security: “But seek ye first the
of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto
you. Be therefore not anxious about
tomorrow for tomorrow will be anxious for the things of itself,
the day as its own evil.” How often
we fail to live for the day that is before us, for the opportunity of
before us, and for the investment of our funds that is today? Instead the pattern proves to be the
purchasing of things without rhyme or reason relative to you our needs
the use of the things. We see it, so we
buy it. Somebody else has it, so we have
to have it.
Luke 12:15 says, “And He said
unto them, take heed and
beware of covetousness, for a man’s life consisteth not in the
abundance of the
things which he possesses. Yet we
constantly act as if our lives consist of what we own, what we possess,
what our money will secure for us.
Covetousness is the result when you have an
emotional attachment for
money. This is turn, 1 Timothy 6:10
says, causes us to err from the faith.
“They have erred from the faith.”
That is, we begin to deviate from God’s
thinking—from what Bible
doctrine has to teach us. It is amazing
how people get attached to some thing.
This becomes the crux. This
becomes the testing point between them and God of the mastery of the
life. It is fantastic how hell bent and
determined they will become to hanging onto this thing is so
self-evident. It should be to them. It obviously is to others around them that
this is leading them on a destructive course.
This is serving to neutralize their spiritual
effectiveness. If somebody sounds off
about it, they go
negative to him, even though he may be just as right and true in what
saying as can be, but they strike out him because they will defend this
that they covet so fondly. The emotional
zeal for money, the things that we can buy with it, has a built-in
because it leads, I have seen, to Christian retirement.
Somebody mentioned to me the other day
the bulletin from the
American Board of Mission to the Jews.
One of their executives getting up in years wrote an
the practice of Christian retirement from active participation in the
service. He made it clear in his article
that his years being as they may were not to him a signal to start
from what he had been doing all the years that he’d been in the
service. I think that’s right. But when we get this emotional zeal for
money, what do we do? We go to
and covetousness causes us to err from the faith. The
first thing we’re doing is that we have
something that in order to hang onto that thing, we’re going to
have to start
retiring from the Lord’s service. It
causes some kind of conflict or problem, and pretty soon we’re
ourselves in effectiveness in the way the Lord can use us, and
pathetic. Now we may continue doing all
these junk things in the Lords work that Christians do under the guise
Christian service, but many a faithful Christian warrior has slipped
God’s plan because of some temporary thing that he possessed,
that he coveted,
that he became deeply attached to, such that he became resentful of any
suggestions that maybe this is not the best thing in the world to have
pursue. Then he gritted his teeth and
bit in hard and hung on, and the result was neutralizing himself in the
service. For what? For
a temporary thing that he’s going to die
pretty soon and leave behind to somebody else to take anyhow.
Matthew 6:19 says, “Lay not up
for yourselves treasures upon
earth where moth and rust doth corrupt and where thieves break through
steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven where neither most
doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through or steal, for
treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
My dear friend, whether you like it or not, whether
or I like it or not,
if something that money can buy, or money itself, is our treasure,
our heart is going to be. Your treasure
will be with that thing that is precious to you and it will not be the
service or the sacrifices or the demands or the inconveniences or
that’s involved in serving the Lord.
The ultimate consequences of this
emotional attachment to
money at the end of 1 Timothy 6:10 is personal grief:
“and have pierced themselves through with
many sorrows.” Here’s the
chain: We begin with an emotional
money and the things it buys. The result
is that we begin coveting after things that our money can make
us. We hang onto those things and
consequently our covetousness for things leads us to err from true
practice, and then we pierce ourselves through with many sorrows. This is the Greek word “odune.” It means “pain” or “a
consuming grief.” The sorrows and
pain of our souls can be
traced back to our love for money.
What sorrows and pain have you born in
your life? What griefs do you look back
upon? What regrets?
If you think carefully enough, you can trace those
back to your love,
your emotional attachment to money.
Matthew 6:22 says, “The lamp of
the body is the eye. If therefore thine
eye be healthy, the whole
body shall be full of light. But if
thine eye be evil (that is, defective), thy whole body shall be full of
darkness. If therefore the light that is
in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness.”
Now it is sad that a Christian should find
himself in the position where he is filled with darkness.
When you start violating what the Word of God
has to say about material things and our relationship to them and our
things and our use of money, you are inviting darkness into your soul,
will result in grief. The sorrow and the
griefs that we suffer can be traced back to this love.
We have three great illusions about
money that we need to
get over. Number one is that we have the
delusion that money is essential to happiness.
But a Christian’s happiness is built on a
spiritual maturity structure
in the soul and his relationship through that to the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s what makes us happy.
There is no lasting happiness from these
details of life that often so dominate us.
Luke 12:23 says, “The life is
more than food, and the body
is more than raiment.” Ecclesiastes
says, “He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied silver, nor
he that loveth
abundance with increase. This is also
vanity. When goods increase, they are
increased who eat them. What good is
there to the owners thereof saving the beholding of them with their
eyes? The sleep of a laboring man is sweet
he eat little or much, but the abundance of the rich will not suffer
sleep. There are griefs which come to us
as we become wealthy, but it does not mean happiness.
The rich man has sorrows and concerns and
problems that the man with less never faces.
Your money will not give you happiness.
Another delusion we have is that money
but it is the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ that provides security. When that woman walked up to that temple
treasury and she put in all that she had, all of her possession
those two mites, do you think that she was destitute when she walked
away? Do you think she went home and went
supper that night? I doubt it. What she still had left was her orientation
to the grace of God. Because she had
grace, she had the provision and the care of God. She
was not destitute.
Money does not provide security, but
the grace of God
does. This was the rich fool’s
mistake. In Luke 12:16, we read,
spoke a parable unto them saying, ‘The ground of a certain rich
forth plentifully. He thought within
himself saying, ‘What shall I do because I have no place to
crops?’ And he said, ‘This
do: I will pull down my barns and I will
build greater, and there will I bestow all my crops and all my
goods.’’” This is the
old barn-building technique—the
old adding another segment to the structure device that we love to
follow in order
to justify keeping what we have rather than giving out of the wide end
cornucopia which has long since passed what we need to keep the blood
in our veins and the breath in our bodies and our bodies clothed and
Verse 19 says, “And I will say
to my soul, ‘Soul, thou has
much goods laid up for many years. Take
thine ease. Eat, drink, and be
merry.’ But God said unto him,
fool, this night shall be required of thee.
Then whose shall those things be which thou hast
provided?’ So is he that layeth up
treasure for himself
and is not rich toward God.” Now
what I’m trying to say—that the Bible takes a very dim view
of anybody who is
not rich toward God. I’m not trying
condemn wealth that God may have brought to you. I
am trying to alert you and caution you to
the use of the wealth that I hope God has brought or will bring to you. But if you are rich in things and in money
and not rich toward God (and that money can make you rich toward God if
the right way), then you’re in a bad way.
It is an illusion to think that money is essential
to happiness. It is an illusion to think
A third delusion is that money buys
whatever we want. It will not buy you
salvation. It will not buy you
someone’s love. It will not secure
peace for you nor make
stability in your life. That’s not
divine viewpoint. That’s human
viewpoint. It will not secure rewards for
you in heaven
just because you have money with which to buy it.
That’s a very important
revelation in 1 Timothy 6:10. I would
suggest that we read that through
several times and see where that emotional attachment for money will
to the end of the verse which is piercing yourself through with many
sorrows—sorrows perhaps that you’ve experienced that you
can never undo again,
that you would have been happy now to have ignored and to have laid
love for the money in return for the love for doctrine or for what
held your affections that would have brought happiness instead of the
2 Corinthians 8:1-2
Now turn to 2 Corinthians 8.
We’re going to begin looking at these two
chapters this morning which
are the core of the doctrinal instruction in the New Testament
Christian giving. We’re looking at a
group of Christians who lived in Macedonia.
We have described for us, first of all, the
circumstances of their
giving. In 2 Corinthians 8:1 Paul says,
“Moreover brethren, we make known to you the grace of God
bestowed on the
churches of Macedonia.” He uses the
“brethren” because he is instructing Christians. Giving under grace applies only to
Christians. Giving in the church age is
part of our Christian priesthood.
Hebrews 13:16 says, “But to do
good and to share forget not,
for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”
It is pleasing to God that you walk up to that
offering box under the
condition of being filled with the spirit, and guided by Him with the
distribution of your funds. It is
pleasing to God that you should do this, and it is viewed as a
your Christian priesthood. A priest who
does not bring his sacrifices is a priest who is under the judgment of
So only a Christian can give to the
Lord’s work. It’s an
expression of worship and unbelievers
cannot worship God. A local church
should never seek funds from unbelievers.
A local church should never try to secure offerings
out of those who are
unbelievers. As a matter of fact, you
should make it very clear to unbelievers that you are not inviting them
give. For this reason it is important
that a local church has some system of giving which removes the
be making appeals to unbelievers for financial aid—that is, to
put anybody on
the spot within the service. That’s
here a Berean we don’t pass an offering plate.
That’s why we put boxes at the door so that
you can exercise your
Christian priesthood in perfect privacy and in perfect freedom.
I was reading through one of the
volumes of Dr. Chafer’s Systematic
Theology that I used when a student at Dallas Seminary when Dr.
still alive, and I noticed a note that I had written in on one of the
under the subject of tithing. Dr. Chafer
had said in class, “Passing a plate is a pious holdup.” That’s exactly what it is.
Some of you have gone to churches and
have come out of
denominations where everybody had to give.
I did this as a child. It
unthinkable that the plate should come by and you should not put
it. One day I was sitting in church away
from my parents and it was time for the offering and I discovered to my
that I had no money whatsoever. I was in
a panic as I watched those ushers come down those aisles with those
their hand. Well, I did something. As the plate passed by I just jabbed my hand
toward the plate pretending like I was putting something in. The usher looked at a little
think he thought I took something out.
That was a traumatic experience—sitting in
church with the plate coming
down. I could see it getting closer. Its big mouth got bigger and bigger as it
approached me and I had nothing to put into it.
Dr. Chafer was very sensitive about
giving under grace, with
no pressures, and that only believers should give and they should give
perfect privacy and freedom. He told us
on one occasion when he was an evangelist he would make this clear to
pastors in whose churches he would run evangelistic meetings. He said that he came to the last night of one
service of one evangelistic campaign. As
he sat on the platform the pastor got up and, in spite of what he had
began making a strong appeal for a love offering for the gifts with
pay Dr. Chafer for his week of services as an evangelist.
Dr. said he was so infuriated at this public
promotion and appeal that he got up out of his chair on the platform
stormed down the steps, and there was a little door right at the bottom
steps and he opened the door and walked through it and slammed the door
him to leave. He said, “In a few
I came back out because I discovered it was the janitor’s closet
and I had no
place to go.” So your indignations
your championing of grace can be embarrassing sometimes.
But it is better than embarrassing people
with a plate under their nose and carrying on a pious holdup.
Now Paul is writing to the Corinthian
Christians here in
this book, and the Corinthian Christians were pretty well off
financially. Corinth was a great
commercial center, and
the Corinthians by and large were well off, whereas the Macedonians of
Paul speaks here were comparatively poverty-struck at this time. There were three churches particularly that
we know about in the Macedonian area, this area above Greece. Macedonia included the church at Philippi,
the church at Thessalonica, and that splendid church at Berea.
Now Paul says to these people,
“You who are Christians, you
who are my brethren, to you I make known.”
The Greek word is “gnorizo,” and it
means simply to give
information. It is in the present tense
and Paul is saying, “I continually am stressing the fact of what
God has done
with the Macedonian poverty-struck Christians relative to the matter of
Christian stewardship. He said,
“Wherever I go, I fondly remind people of the fact of what the
grace of God has
done among you people. It is an
inspiration throughout the Roman world of my travels.
In Romans 15:25, for example, he
refers to them. He says, “But now I
go unto Jerusalem to
minister unto the saints, for it hath pleased them of Macedonia and
make a certain contribution for the poor saints who are at Jerusalem. It hath pleased them verily and their debtors
they are, for if the Gentiles had been made partakers of their
their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things.” Paul says, “This is a good thing that
Macedonian Christians were doing in their giving to relieve the
the famine and the results that the Judean Christians, the Jerusalem
Christians, were living under.” He
“That’s right. These are the
whom all of their spiritual heritage came from in the first place, and
who are the source of our spiritual heritage under the hand of God
material care, not our browbeating.”
So Paul says, “Everywhere I go,
while it is right that they should
do this, yet I do commend the fact of what the Macedonians are
doing.” This verb is in the active
voice which means
that Paul freely himself is delighted to choose to commend them. It’s in the indicative mood which means
a statement of fact of what God has done with these churches relative
Paul says, “I make this
information known to you,” which in
the Greek is the dative of advantage.
It’s advantageous for these Corinthians to
know about what this church
is doing. “I make known to you the
of God.” Now this is the dynamics of
Christian giving. It is this facet of
our maturity spiritual structure we call grace orientation. If you do not have this developed in your
life to any degree, I can tell you right now you don’t know the
about giving under grace. You can hardly
approach that offering box and even begin to give under grace. Grace orientation is the directive
power. It is part of this spiritual
maturity structure, and it is recognizing that everything we have
God. Everything we own is his. We don’t deserve anything of His
kindness. He is everything and we are
nothing. It is recognizing that what
we accomplish is the result of the power of God in us.
It enables us to give to the Lord without strings
attached. Unless you have grace
orientation in your
soul, you will give with strings attached, and your strings will be
certain phrases you may use. The concept
of grace, if there’s anything that grace means, it means no
strings. When God treats you and me in
grace, we don’t
deserve it, we can’t pay for it, and we don’t owe Him
anything after He has
given it to us. Please don’t go up
the offering box and say, “I’m going to give this this
morning because I owe it
to God,” because that’s blasphemy and it insults the God of
grace. Grace means we don’t
deserve it, we can’t
pay for it, and we don’t owe Him anything for it, because God
entirely of what I’m going to do for you.”
Until you get hold of that,
you’ll be running around giving
with your little strings, and you’ll say to somebody,
“After all I’ve done for
you… After all I’ve done for
church, is that how you’re going to act?
After all I’ve done, aren’t you going to
pay attention to me and my
opinions?” But grace doesn’t
add up what
it gives in order to prove a point of merit.
You won’t be adding up and proving yourself by
your past performance
because you’ll have long since forgotten everything that you did
Lord. That’s grace giving, and
is giving without strings, there’s no reward for you for what
given. You have squandered your money.
I’m amazed how I can see
Christians who are very frugal and
very careful with their money on this earth who squander it when it
eternal rewards that could be theirs for the use of that money, and
it here. It’s terrible to blow a big
of money on this earth when you need it for something else, but
it’s even worse
to blow it when it comes to eternal reward because of the condition
you gave it here. God’s grace gives
the most with no strings attached.
The big contributors among us as
believers in Christendom
today, I’m afraid, tend to think in terms of strings that they
have a right to
pull because they are the big givers. If
you cut the strings, the giving stops. A
certain type of pastor is very tempted to soothingly stroke the big
the money men in his congregation, and he does this with a certain
Spaniel-like expectation of what they’re going to give him in
return for his
soothing petting. But nobody has any
money except what God has provided by grace.
He hasn’t given you this because you have some
persona merit, because
you’re a sharp businessman or a sharp investor, because you have
yourself, or because of your diligence.
None of that is true. Now
that is worthy and all of that has merit, but you could have done all
God, unless He chose to open the doors of blessing, could have kept you
poverty-struck as the day that you began applying your diligence, your
application, all of your talents, and all of your gifts.
Now you can see that only a
spiritually mature Christian is
going to be able to give in a grace way.
It’s easier for pastors to ride on tithing. The money is there that way, and everybody is
happy. The same people who are happy to
have the bills paid should also be the people who say, “Wait a
minute. I want to know how this money came
in here to
pay the bills. I’m as equally
that this money came here by God’s grace provision and technique
to pay these
bills as I am that the bills get paid.
In fact, I’m a little more interested in how
it got here than I am that
it is here. When you get oriented to
grace, that’s the first thing that will come into your mind. That will be the supremely guiding and
So Paul says, “Moreover
brethren, we give you this
information concerning the grace of God which was
bestowed…” The word
“bestowed” in the Greek is perfect
which means that it’s the grace of God that the Macedonians
experienced and it
continued on. Perfect is something that
begins in the past and its effects continue on.
To this very day we are delighted to read about
Christians and all that God has been doing through them.
What these believers did in Paul’s day
resulted in great blessing. It resulted
in blessing for those impoverished Jerusalem saints.
It’s a great inspiration.
It has lasting effects upon us today.
It’s passive which means that the Macedonians
didn’t just decide to do it, but God the Holy Spirit moved them. It’s in the participle which means
it’s a law
of God. It says that how He bestowed on
the churches. This is by means of the
churches. It refers to the churches of
Philippi, Berea, and Thessalonica of Macedonia, this Roman province up
Verse 2 says, “How that in a
great trial of
affliction.” What God did with the
Macedonian Christians was a seeming contradiction.
In a great trial of affliction, the abundance
of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their
liberality. It seems that these people
were poor and yet giving liberally. “In
great trial” means in the midst of great trial.
The word “trial” is
“dokime,” and it means “a testing that they were
approved.” It was a testing to show
merit and the value of these grace oriented Christians.
They were tested when they were under poverty
to show what kind of grace orientation they really had.
These people were tested by a trial of
affliction. The Greek word is
“thlipsis.” This word is an
word because it means “pressure.” Here
the thought is pressure by their circumstances.
The idea is something which burdens a person from
without. At this time, the historians tell
us that the
Roman army had devastated all of Macedonia.
These churches found within this Roman province had
gone through a
considerable economic disaster, and that’s why they were so poor. Now these were the circumstances that
surrounded them. These people were
struggling for a livelihood. This was
the pressure that was upon them, and now they hear about what’s
people way over in Jerusalem, their fellow believers, who are starving. And they say, “We have to do something
So we have this translation, in
effect, that in the midst of
much testing of pressure—testing in the form of pressures that
without. “The abundance of the
joy.” In the midst of their severe
of all things, they’re happy. Now
can that be? Abundance.
And this word “abundance” means super
abundance. In the Greek it is
“perisseia.” This word means
abundance. These Macedonian Christians
were overloaded with happiness. That is
an inner happiness. Now what is
that? As part of the spiritual maturity
structure of their souls they had developed inner happiness. What is their inner happiness built on? It’s built on the Lord.
It’s not built on people.
It’s not built on possessions.
It’s not built on circumstances.
What they had was joy. The
Greek word is “chara,” which means
Now this is a happiness that is based
on Bible doctrine in
our human spirits, which God the Holy Spirit has taught our human
that from within us swells up this happiness.
This is happiness based on doctrine.
If you’re ignorant of doctrine, you’ll
never be happy. 1 John 1:3-4 says,
“That which we have seen
and heard declare we unto you (Bible doctrine), that ye also may have
with us, and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son
Christ, and these things write we unto you that your joy may be full
happiness may be complete).”
In John 13, the Lord is preparing His
disciples for His departure. John 13:17
says, “If ye know these things
(the doctrine He has taught them), happy are ye if ye do them (positive
volition toward doctrine). John 15:11
the Lord says, “These things have I spoken unto you (Bible
doctrine) that my
joy might remain in you and that your joy might be full.” Jeremiah 15:16 says, “Thou words were
and I did eat them, and thy Word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of
heart, for I am called by thy name, O Lord God of Hosts.” Now if you want happiness, it starts with
knowing the truth of the Word of God, and you will never be happy
it. This happiness is not affected by
external circumstances. You’re happy
you have money, and you’re happy if you don’t have money. You cannot build your happiness, and I cannot
warn you enough about this: You cannot
build your happiness on a person, on a thing, or an event.
It’s not on something we do, something we
seek, something we have, or something we create. Yet
for the person out in the world, all of
the advertising you hear on TV, it’s happiness built on just that
person, an event, a circumstance, or something you possess. The person, the thing, or the event that
makes you happy today can also make you very unhappy tomorrow. You’ll be bored by that person, by that
thing, or by that event tomorrow. Or you
may be downright miserable by the absence of that person you love, by
thing, or by that event.
Hebrews 13:5-6 says, “Let your
manner of life be without
covetousness, and be content with such things as ye have, for He hath
will never leave thee or forsake thee,’ so that we may boldly
say, ‘The Lord is
my helper’ and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” Now man can take away all of these things
that make for happiness, and then you will be unhappy.
Inner happiness is not delirious one day and
then depressed the next day. If you try
to build your happiness on money, you are really asking for trouble. That’s what the Bible is trying to say.
Well, what makes us happy on the
inside? How do you develop this spiritual
maturity? Well, this is a subject in
itself. You can listen to it on one of
the tapes, but in brief, it has three factors:
Inner happiness comes from meeting certain
conditions: 1) You must have the habitual
filling of the
Holy Spirit. There is no inner happiness
outside of the inner circle of confessed sins.
2) You must have the daily functioning under this
grace system of perceiving
spiritual things that God has provided.
Day by day taking in doctrine. 3)
You must breathe out full knowledge toward God and toward man from all
facets of your soul—from your mind, from your emotions, and from
will—breathing out what doctrine has taught.
And finally, developing all these facets of your
structure. If you have a weakness in one
of them you will not be as happy.
Maximum happiness is the result of having this
structure firm and
Now the Macedonian Christians were
under severe pressure,
but they had a great inner happiness because they had not built it upon
circumstances that were bringing pressure upon them from the outside. That’s how they gave.
They gave as people who were under poverty
but just as happy as they could be in their giving.
So what Paul says is that in the midst
of much testing of
pressure, the super abundance of their happiness, “and their deep
poverty.” Actually the Greek says
deep down poverty that they experienced.”
Things were really bad for them because of what they
had experienced. “That in the midst
of much testing of
pressure, the super abundance of their happiness, and their deep down
abounded unto the riches of their liberality.”
The word “abounded is the Greek word
“perisseuo,” which means super
abounded. It means an exceeding measure,
above the ordinary. It’s to be
abundantly furnished. It’s aorist: on the specific occasion of their giving to
the Jerusalem saints they were delighted.
It’s active which means they generously chose
to do it, and they were
happy to choose to do it. It resulted to
the riches of their liberality. The
result of their grace orientation was wealth.
The word we have is a wealth that is described as
their liberality. The Greek word for
“liberality” is “haplotes.”
This is a word that means “simplicity,”
the sense of a purity of mind, or as we’ve been saying, “a
no-strings attached mentality.” This
is the kind of giving that they
had. It was a liberality that is grace
generosity. If we were going to try to
find a word to describe this, we would perhaps use the word
“lavish.” They were lavish in
their giving relative to
the condition of poverty in which they found themselves.
There were no strings attached to it.
It was a purity of mind. It
was mental attitude grace expressed in
generous unselfish giving.
So Paul says that in the midst of much
testing of pressure,
because of the circumstances outwardly surrounding them, the super
their happiness, which was an inner happiness based upon doctrine and
maturity in their souls and not a person or a thing or a situation, and
deep down poverty super abounded to a wealth of generous giving.
So we sum up what these two verses,
introducing us to
Christian giving, tell us. That is that
the basic factor in grace giving is your mental attitude.
The mind of the soul has to be oriented to
grace. The mind of the legalist is
oriented to tithing. It is more
important to be oriented to grace, to have the right attitude of mind,
amount that you give. The first concern
of you and me as believers is not having money to give, or the
give, but being oriented to the grace of God so that we can give in the
way. What good does it do to have money
to give and you can’t give in a way that God can honor, prosper,
I realize that pastors find it a lot
easier to impose
tithing on Christians than to teach doctrine so that these Christians
become grace-oriented. If they get
enough members coming through with 10%, the bills are paid and
happy, but nobody is pleasing God. The
place that we begin in our giving is concern with our own hearts. Am I oriented to grace? Perhaps
you never give. Until you are oriented to
grace, better so. God’s work will be
taken care of without your
misgiving. Until it begins to concern
you, worry about the structure maturity structure status of your soul. Perhaps it’s because you yourself have
realized how dependent you are entirely upon God, and that giving, even
you are poor, is God’s way.
You might say, “Well, I
don’t have too much, so that’s why I
don’t give. When things get better
to do more.” No.
That’s what I’ve noticed over the years: When things get better they don’t do
the Lord’s work. The people who are
doing more for the Lord’s work are the people who did a lot when
poor. And that’s the Macedonians,
Paul said they were a delight: “Everywhere
I go I tell people, ‘Now here is giving under grace.’ When I want to teach you how God wants you to
give, I can point to the Macedonians and say, ‘There it is. Just follow their example.’”
Dr. John E. Danish, 1971
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