CHRISTIAN STEWARDSHIP [PART 4]: PASTOR MENSA OTABIL – SPECIAL SUNDAY SERVICE, 7TH NOVEMBER, 2021
SPECIAL SUNDAY SERVICE BY DR. MENSAH OTABIL (GENERAL OVERSEER INTERNATIONAL CENTRAL GOSPEL CHURCH (ICGC) CHRIST TEMPLE, ACCRA GHANA)
TOPIC: CHRISTIAN STEWARDSHIP – PART 4.
DATE: 7TH NOVEMBER, 2021
TEXT: 2 CORINTHIANS 8:1-5
Amen and Amen! Let’s keep Standing, as we make our DECLARATION OF FRUITFULNESS in this Year of Fruitfulness:
Are you ready? Well say with me:
The Eternal God is our Refuge. He opens Rivers in desolate Heights.The Lord makes the wilderness a Pool of water.
The LORD God is my Sun and Shield; The LORD gives Grace and Glory.
Therefore, I delight myself in Him. Those who are Planted in the House of the LORD shall be Fresh and Flourishing.
Though the Earth be shaken; the Name of the Lord is my Strong Tower. By Faith I affirm that: In Christ alone is my Salvation. In Him I live, and move and have my Being.
It is written: The Righteous are like trees Planted by the waters; bearing Fruits in its Season.
So I boldly declare: As for me, my God has made me Exceedingly Fruitful.
In this Season, my Spirit bears Fruits of Righteousness, my Talents make Way for me. With my hands, I will Plant, I will Build, I will Harvest – Day by Day, Step by Step.
In Jesus’ Name – Amen!
Today I am speaking on CHRISTIANS STEWARDSHIP – PART 4. The Sub-title is – HOW SHOULD WE GIVE TO GOD?
I am trying to answer the Basic Questions about Giving, so that we can focus well.
DMC NOTES: Kindly avail yourself access to the Full Text of the first 3 Parts by accessing this Links;
The Focus today will be on our Attitude – How do we Practically Give to God?
We will look at a Story in the New Testament concerning the Church in Macedonia.
And the Text is 2 Corinthians 8:1-5 – I am going to focus my Teaching today on this Passage.
Let me give a background to this: The Early Church as you know, started in Jerusalem. But Pretty soon, the Church moved away from Jerusalem – When it was in Jerusalem it was all Jews.
Because Jesus was not a Jew, His early Disciples were Jews. But as the Gospel spread, it went to Samaria, and it went to a Place called Antioch.
In Antioch a New Mission started for the Church, led by Apostle Paul and Barnabas.
The Ministry of Paul and Barnabas was taking the Gospel beyond the Jews to a Non-Jewish world.
And so it went to the Gentile world. Places like Philippi and Colosea – And all of these Places heard the Gospel.
But then, a Problem developed; because the Jews felt the Non-Jews were not Proper Christians. They felt that to be a Proper Christian, you have to be circumcised as Jews, before you become a Christian.
So there was a big gap between the Christian Church of the Jews and the Christian Church of the Non-Jews (The Gentiles). So at that time something happened – There was a very big famine.
And in that famine, there was scarcity and the Church in Jerusalem was affected. That the Jewish Church was in need. People were dying in Jerusalem, because of famine.
And so Paul who was leading the Non-Jewish Churches, decided that, in order to bridge the gap between the Jewish Church and the Non-Jewish Church – the Non-Jewish People should raise an offering to go and give to their Jewish Brethren, to show the love they have for them.
This was the important Assignment that Paul had.
So he told all the Non-Jewish Churches to raise money because they were taking it to Jerusalem.
As it happens all the time; some Churches gave, other Churches did not Give.
And in this instance, Paul is writing to the Church in Corinth – A highly Spiritual Church but a very Stingy Church.
They are very Spiritual but doesn’t Give.
Paul is writing to them to emulate the example of the Churches in Macedonia – The Churches in Macedonia were Churches like the Philippi, the Thessalonica and the Church in Berea.
These were the Macedonian area. And Paul is telling them: You People in Corinth, you speak in Tongues more than everybody, you Pray hard and you operate in the Gifts of the Spirit. You are Prophesying everyday in Church but you don’t Give!
With that background, let us read what he says in 2 Corinthians 8:1-5 (NKJV):
1 Moreover, Brethren, we make known to you the Grace of God bestowed on the Churches of Macedonia:
2 That in a Great trial of affliction the Abundance of their joy and their deep Poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality.
3 For I bear Witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely Willing,
4 Imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the Gift and the Fellowship of the Ministering to the Saints.
5 And not only as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the Will of God.
… Paul is talking about the Macedonian Churches ànd their example of Giving.
I am going to talk about Seven (7) Characteristics that we see about the Macedonian Churches:
That Paul commend you the Corinthian Church – And I believed to all other Churches as well.
- We start giving by first – Giving our Heart to the Lord.
This is what the Macedonian Churches did first – ‘They gave of themselves to the Lord.’
… That is where Christian Worship starts.
It doesn’t start with our money; it starts with us Giving ourselves to the Lord.
God wants us – He wants our our Heart, Soul and Might. He wants us to Give ourselves to Him.
If we don’t Give ourselves to Him, then we can’t Give anything else to Him.
Giving starts with Giving your Heart to the Lord.
There are People who sometimes, want to Give their money to God, but not their Heart.
In those days, Parents would not go to Church, but they sent their money to Church.
And they would tell their children: ‘Take this money and put it in the Collection Box for me.’ But they themselves don’t commit themselves to the Lord.
The Macedonian Churches didn’t start by sending money – They started by Giving their hearts.
If you don’t have a relationship with God, then Giving becomes extremely difficult.
We Give ourselves to the Lord by inviting Jesus Christ into our hearts, to be our Lord and Saviour.
So, the first thing that Paul says about the Macedonian Churches is that, they gave First, their hearts to the Lord.
And if we are going to be Good Givers, that’s where we start!
- We understand Giving when we commit ourselves to God’s work.
After Giving their hearts to the Lord, the Macedonian Churches also gave themselves to the Mission or Pay.
He said in 1 Corinthians 8:4, that they Participated in the Mission of the Ministry to the Saints. They saw Giving as a Part of their Ministry.
When People commit to God’s Work, they Give to God’s work.
For example if you are in Church and all you do is just attend Church: You don’t belong to any Department, you are not in any Ministry and you are not really committed to the work of God – You don’t win Souls, you don’t Pray.
You don’t really get involved in anything about the work of God, it is going to be difficult for you to Give – You give your heart to God, but you must also be committed to the work of God. The work of God must be important to you. You must see yourself as a Partaker of the Ministry of God.
If all you do is: Go to Church, listen to the Pastor, say Amen I receive it and go home; then your Giving will also be Limited.
Because First, your heart is not with the Lord. And secondly, you are not committed to the work of God.
When the work of God has to be done, you don’t get involved.
If your heart doesn’t burn for the work of God, to say: Let’s see the Missions go on; let’s see Bibles Printed; let us see the Gospel Preached. Christ must be Lord, People must hear the Gospel – If you don’t see this as the work of God, and that you have to be involved; then Giving money is going to be difficult.
The Macedonian Churches saw the Money they were raising for Jerusalem Church as Ministry and that is why they gave.
… They gave their hearts to the Lord, they were committed to the Lord.
- We Practice Giving when we Give Faithful according to our Ability.
… The Practice of Giving starts when we Faithfully Give according to our Ability.
Note what 2 Corinthians 8:3 says: For I bear Witness that according to their Ability.
They didn’t just say: Oh, we have given our heart to the Lord, we are committed to the work of the Lord – But the Practically demonstrated it.
That means they gave based on what they are able to; according to what they had. And that is how consistent Giving starts – You Give according to your Ability.
If your Ability is much, you Give much. If your Ability is small, you Give small. If God blesses you a lot, you Give a lot. If what God blesses you with is small, you give small. You give according to your Ability, Faithfully.
- We grow our Giving when we give beyons Ourselves.
Paul says about the Macedonian Churches, that they gave according to their Ability, and beyond their Ability – They gave of their Time, gave of their Talents and Treasures to God.
The Macedonian Churches were not doing one tenth; they were giving beyond their Ability. And there are times when you decide to give God fifty Percent (50%) because He has blessed you so much.
If God blesses you with a Billion Cedes, you can live on a hundred Million – So you can Give God nine hundred million easily.
We don’t give one tenth, we give our best!
And the Macedonian Churches gave according to their Ability (as much of us do). But they gave beyond their Ability – That’s very instructive to note, as we Give.
… So the fourth (4th) thing we know about Giving – We grow big when we Give beyond ourselves.
- We rise above our Poverty when we Give regardless of our Needs.
… When we give inspite of our Needs; despite our Needs
Poverty is hard!
If you have been Poor before, you know what I mean. It is a very, very crippling condition to be Poor.
When you are poor, it’s almost like you are in a hole.
HOW FO WE RISE ABOVE POVERTY?
I want you to listen to what Paul said about the Churches in Macedonia – 2 Corinthians 8:2: That in a Great trial of affliction the abundance of their Joy and their deep Poverty abounded in the riches of their Liberality.
Look at how he talks about their Poverty – ‘Their Deep Poverty.’ Out of their Deep Poverty they abounded in riches.
Now, “Deep Poverty” and “Abounding Riches” don’t dwell side by side.
When you are in Deep Poverty, you are not abounding in Riches. And when you are Abounding in Riches, you can never be in Deep Poverty.
Paul is saying to the Corinthians: By the way, these Macedonian Churches, they didn’t give because they were Rich. They were in Deep Poverty.
But when they gave out of the depth of their Poverty, it created Riches for them – It abounded them in Riches.
If you want to break the back of Poverty, you do it through Giving.
They had Deep Poverty – And the word ‘Deep’ means something that swallows you up!
And to ‘Abound’ is something that causes you to Exceed.
How were the Macedonian Churches able to climb out of Deep Poverty?
They did it when they started Giving out of their Needs.
When it comes to Giving, God does not watch what you do when you have Abundance. He watches what you do when you have Nothing.
Do you remember the Widow with the two mites? Jesus was sitting at the Offering desk; and He saw People Giving their Offering. And He saw this woman put in two mites.
And I like how the Passage puts it – It says in Mark 12:42: And there came a certain Poor widow, and she threw in two mites. Jesus said, this woman has given everything she has!
The logical thing for Jesus to do, would have been to say to Peter: go and call the woman, she has given everything she has; give her the offering back.
But you know, two mites – Whether in the Offering Box or in your Pocket, is two mites – it won’t help you in any way.
Jesus still allowed the woman to give an offering; though she has given everything. Why? – Because Jesus also knew – The only way to abound in riches was through what she has done. And if He stops her from Giving, He will stop her from abounding.
We don’t wait till the day we proper to Give; we give right where we are – In our Deep Poverty. Because that’s how we climb out of Poverty!
… If you are waiting for Riches to Give, you would never Give.
- We Excel in Giving when we operate through the Grace of Giving, working in us.
They gave according to their Ability; they gave Beyond their Ability; they gave through the Grace of God.
This is how Apostle Paul puts it in 2 Corinthians 8:1-2 – Moreover, Brethren, we make known to you the Grace of God bestowed on the Churches of Macedonia: that in a great trial of affliction the Abundance of their joy and their Deep Poverty abounded in the riches of their Liberality.
They had the Grace of Giving!
Romans 12:6-8, talking about the various Gifts that People have, this is what it says:
Having then Gifts differing according to the Grace that is given to us, let us use them: if Prophecy, let us Prophesy in Proportion to our Faith; or Ministry, let us use it in our Ministering; he who teaches, in Teaching; he who exhorts, in Exhortation; he who GIVES, with Liberality; he who leads, with Diligence; he who shows Mercy, with Cheerfulness.
So Giving is a Gift. It is apparent that the Macedonian Churches has the Gift of Giving upon the whole Church.
Every Christian has an Obligation to Give to Support the work of God. And also to support those who are in Need. That is what we do when we give our Offerings, first fruit, Alms, and so on.
However, there are Christians who have the Gift of Giving, they have the Grace of Giving and sometimes we call such People, Kingdom Financiers. They have the Grace of Giving and they do things that are Big and Mind bugging.
I was in the United States not many years ago, and I visited a Christian Project. And this Christian Project was in a very Expensive area – It wasn’t a Church; just a Project to honour God.
I went to Pay visit to the Project and a tour of the Facility. And when you look at the Adjacent Facilities around it, you know that the land alone, based on the City it was in and the Location of the City; you know the land alone would cost Probably hundreds of Millions of dollars – Just the Land!
The guy who owned the Facility took me around and I saw it and the splendour of it. And there were People from all over the United States who were visiting this Facility.
There were People coming from other Parts of the world – visiting this Christian Facility.
But the guy who had the dream to build this Facility was a very humble guy. He is slightly older, very humble. He took me around. I looked at what he had built, I looked at him, and I said: how could a Man build that – This is big!
So I asked him the obvious Question. I said – How could you raise money to build this? He said God put it in my hear to build this for Christians.
And he said: I went to a Particular Christian Businessman, I shared my Vision with him. And the Businessman said, this is Good for the Kingdom. The Kingdom of God needs this!
He said, I am going to support you.
He said, the Businessman wrote the first cheque for the Project – four hundred Million Dollars ($400,000,000)..
I said, four hundred Thousand? – He said No, Millionaire Dollars.
And he said, the Businessman said, this is just for the beginning. And he wasn’t his Church Member, he was in another Part of the United States.
As a matter of fact, I knew about the Businessman, not directly, but I knew about him because he had given something similar to support another Christian Facility somewhere.
What was he looking for?
He wasn’t looking for anything! – He just believes that Christianity must be represented in this City well.
Now, that is not Tithe and Offering, that is not First fruit, that is what the Macedonian Churches had – The Grace of God upon them to Give. And that is why this Church was commended by Paul.
Paul said, watch them, there is a Grace of God upon them – They don’t just do calculation about their Giving; they are mindful of the Kingdom impact. The impact of their Giving on the Gospel, and they do it.
May the Lord cause the Grace of Giving to be bestowed upon Men and Women who would do Big things for the Kingdom of God – Amen.
Not counting Pebbles but counting the Value to the Kingdom of God; the Witness to the Kingdom of God, in Jesus’ Name – Amen!
- We enjoy God’s continuous Supply when we Give Willingly and Cheerfully.
When we enjoy Giving to the Lord, He also enjoys Giving back to us.
The Businessman who gave for that Christian Facility I mentioned earlier; if he didn’t know God, he wouldn’t give it. It would be a loss to him.
And he knows the Faithfulness of God – That God would give back to him: Good Measure, Pressed down, shaken together and running over (Luke 6:38).
2 Corinthians 9:6-8; this is to the same Church within the same scope. It says –
But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one Give as he Purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of Necessity; for God loves a Cheerful Giver. And God is able to make all Grace abound toward you, that you, always having all Sufficiency in all things, may have an Abundance for every Good work.
May the Lord bring us to this Point, that in our Giving, we would Give of ourselves; we would Give because we are committed to the Ministry of God; we would Give beyond ourselves; we would Give by the Grace.of God that is bestowed upon us – Amen
And may God cause His Grace to be multiplied over us, that in every situation, we will Give beyond what is expected of us – Amen.
May God bring you to a Place where there will be no Project you want to undertake, that you cannot finance – Amen.
May God bring you to a Place where there will be Nothing you dream of, that you cannot Finance – Amen.
May God bring you to a Place where there will be nothing you Pray about, that you cannot achieve – Amen.
May God bring you to a Place where there will be Nothing that you desire, that you cannot buy – Amen.
May the Lord bring you to that Place where the act of Poverty is broken over you, in Jesus’ Name – Amen.
Like the Macedonian Churches, may we be a Blessed People, with a Testimony of Giving, in Jesus’ Name – Amen.
If you believe that and you have received that, give the Lord a mighty Shout!
And be a Doer of the Word of God, in Jesus’ Name – Amen!!!
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