How the Father's and Christ's view of money is totally different from the world's view.
Sermon: God’s View of Money (New Living Translation)
One definition of a Christian is “One who is like Christ”. How many here would truly love to be like Christ? Do you really have any concept of what you are saying you are willing to do? Really? In this two part sermon I want to just look at one aspect of the way Christ thinks, and let’s see how we measure up.
Matthew 19:16-30 Matthew 19:16-30  And, behold, one came and said to him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
 And he said to him, Why call you me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if you will enter into life, keep the commandments.
 He said to him, Which? Jesus said, You shall do no murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness,
 Honor your father and your mother: and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
 The young man said to him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?
 Jesus said to him, If you will be perfect, go and sell that you have, and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.
 Then said Jesus to his disciples, Truly I say to you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.
 And again I say to you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
 When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?
 But Jesus beheld them, and said to them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
 Then answered Peter and said to him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed you; what shall we have therefore?
 And Jesus said to them, Truly I say to you, That you which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, you also shall sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
 And every one that has forsaken houses, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundred times, and shall inherit everlasting life.
 But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.
American King James Version×(NLT) “Someone came to Jesus with this question: “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” 17 “Why ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. But to answer your question—if you want to receive eternal life, keep the commandments.” 18 “Which ones?” the man asked. And Jesus replied: “You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. 19 Honor your father and mother. Love your neighbor as yourself.” 20 “I’ve obeyed all these commandments,” the young man replied. “What else must I do?” 21 Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 22 But when the young man heard this, he went away sad, for he had many possessions. 23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is very hard for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. 24 I’ll say it again—it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” 25 The disciples were astounded. “Then who in the world can be saved?” they asked. 26 Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.” 27 Then Peter said to him, “We’ve given up everything to follow you. What will we get?” 28 Jesus replied, “I assure you that when the world is made new and the Son of Man sits upon his glorious throne, you who have been my followers will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for my sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then.”
I Tim 6:10-11 (NLT) “For the love of money is the root of all evils, and some people in their desire for it have strayed from the faith and have pierced themselves with many pains. 11 But you, man of God, avoid all this. Instead, pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness.”
Let’s see if we can discover what the mind of Christ is concerning money. To learn to think as He thinks and feel as he feels.
Notice a wonderful and heartwarming example in Mark 12:41 Mark 12:41And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.
American King James Version×–44 (NLT) “Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. 42 Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans. 43 So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; 44 for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.” You can tell from reading this that this widow’s example really touched Christ. The Greek text in Mark 12:42 Mark 12:42And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.
American King James Version×says that she dropped in “two lepta, which is a kodrantes.” Mark even gives us a clue by telling us that two lepta (Jewish coins) are equal to a kodrantes (a Roman coin). But most of us would still have to reach for a Bible dictionary to make sense of those terms. In the first century, a kodrantes was equal to 1/64 of a denarius, and a denarius was considered fair pay for a day’s wage. If today’s wage for a laborer in the USA is $15 per hour, that comes to $120 for an 8-hour day. At this rate, 1/64 of a day’s wage is $1.88. Round it up to $2.00, and we could say that the widow dropped two dollar-coins into the collection box. That feels very different from “two coins worth only a fraction of a penny.” That was everything that this poor widow had.
Developing the mind of Christ comes with a great cost and sacrifice. Let’s examine how He addressed this subject with His disciples. What were His thought regarding money?
This is not an easy thing for us to accept. We are so under the influence of the world around us, that the fear of becoming just like Christ in this world seems utterly unpractical. Let us not be afraid; if we really desire to find out what is His mind, He will guide us to what He wants us to think and do. Only be honest in the thought: Do I really want to have Christ teach me how to possess and how to use my money?
Here Jesus was for a moment sitting watching the treasury, watching the people putting in their gifts. Jesus sits and watches the collection. And as He does it, He weighs each gift in
the balance of God, and puts its value on it. I think He still does this at God’s throne today. Every gift, whether great or small given to God’s Church Christ notices it and He still puts value on it for the blessing it will bring in eternity.
Giving money is a part of our religious life and is watched over by Christ, and must be regulated by His word. In the world money is the standard of value. The world loves it, seeks it above everything else and often worships it. No wonder that it is the standard of value not only for material things, but for man himself, and that a man is too often valued according to his money.
The world asks “what does a man own?” God asks “How does he use it”. The world thinks about the money getting – Christ thinks more about the money giving. Even when a man gives, the world still asks “How much does he give?” Christ asks, “how does he give?” The world looks at the money and its amount, Christ looks at the man and his motive and attitude. We see this in the story of the poor widow. Many that were rich cast in much; but it was out of their abundance; there was no real sacrifice in it; their life was as full and comfortable as ever, it cost them little or nothing. There was no special love or devotion to God in it; it was just part of an easy and traditional religion. They felt commanded and obligated to give it plus most of it was given as a show of vanity.
On the other hand, the widow cast in a farthing. Out of her want she cast in all that she had, even all her living. She gave all to God without reserve, without holding back anything, she gave all. How different our standard from Christ's. We ask how much a man gives. Christ asks, how much he keeps. We look at the gift. Christ asks whether the gift was a sacrifice. The widow kept nothing over, she gave all; the gift won His heart and approval, for it was in the spirit of His own self-sacrifice, who, being rich, became poor for our own sakes. They—out of their abundance—cast in much: She, out of her want—all that she had.
But if our Lord wanted us to do as He did, why did He not leave a clear command? That would make it easy wouldn’t it? How gladly then would we give it. Ah! there you have it. You want a command to make you do it: that would just be the spirit of the world. And that is just what Christ does not want and will not have.
Deut 16:16-17 “Each year every man in Israel must celebrate these three festivals: the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the Festival of Harvest, and the Festival of Shelters. On each of these occasions, all men must appear before the Lord your God at the place he chooses, but they must not appear before the Lord without a gift for him. 17 All must give as they are able, according to the blessings given to them by the Lord your God.”
God wants the generous love. Oh, How different our standard from Christ's. God wants an offering that is unbidden, un-commanded. He wants every gift to be a gift warm and bright with love, a true free will offering. If you want the Master's approval as the poor widow had it, remember one thing: you must put all at His feet, hold all at His disposal. And that, as the spontaneous expression of a love that cannot help but give, just because it loves. Wow, to give all my money—what a test of character! We need to pray that God will help us love Him intently, so that we may know how to give.
Christ called His disciples to come and listen while He talked to them about the giving He just witnessed there. It was for the purpose to guide their giving and ours. Our giving, if we listen to Christ with the real desire to learn, will have more influence on our growth in Faith than we have ever known.
God’s Holy Spirit teaches us to use money for spiritual purposes, for what will last for eternity, for what is pleasing to God. Galatians 5:24 Galatians 5:24And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
American King James Version× "They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh and its lusts." One of the ways of manifesting and maintaining the crucifixion of the flesh is never to use money to gratify it. As much as money spent on self, may nourish and strengthen and comfort self. Whereas money sacrificed to God may help in the victory that overcomes the world and the flesh.
Our whole life of faith may be strengthened or weakened by the way we deal with money. Many men have to be engaged continually in making money—by nature the heart is dragged down and bound to earth in dealing with what is the very life and meaning of this world. It is faith that can give a continual victory over this flesh.
Isn’t it a living principal that the money you give provides more joy than monies spent on yourself. And those on the receiving end receive more joy because they know that you love and care for them or you would not have given to them. What we give away is a source of greater pleasure that what we spend on ourselves.
The gifts of faith and love go not only into the Church's treasury or into the account of an individual’s treasury but into God's own treasury, and are paid out again in heavenly rewards. And that not according to the earthly standard of value, where the question always is, How much? but according to the standard of God.
Christ has immortalized a poor widow's farthing. With His approval it shines through the ages brighter than the brightest gold and of more value. It has been a blessing to tens of thousands in the lesson it has taught. It tells you that your farthing, if it be your all, that your gift, if it be honestly given (as you all ought to give to the Lord), has His approval, His stamp, His eternal blessing.
The less I can spend on myself, and the more on my Lord, the richer I am. And we shall see how, as the widow was richer in her gift and her grace than the many rich, so he is richest who truly gives all he can. You know how often our Lord Jesus spake of this in his parables. In speaking of the unjust steward He said, “Make friends of the Mammon of unrighteousness, that they may receive you in the eternal habitations.” In the parable of the talents He said, "Thou oughtest to have put my money." The man who had not used his talent (money), lost all. In the parable of the sheep and the goats, it is they who have cared for the needy and the wretched in His name, who shall hear the word—“Come, ye blessed of my Father”. We cannot purchase the KOG. But in your money giving, your love to God, and love to men, and devotion to God's work, are cultivated and proved.
Oh! how many there are who if the KOG and holiness could be bought for a thousand pounds would give it. No money can buy those. But if they only knew, money can wondrously help on the path of holiness and heaven. Money given in the spirit of self-sacrifice, and love, and faith in Him who has paid all, brings a rich and eternal reward. Day by day give as God blesses—it will bring you closer to God. The Christ who sat over against the treasury is your Christ. He watches your gifts. What is given in the spirit of whole-hearted devotion and love He accepts and He Loves.
Christ will teach me how to give—how much, how lovingly, how truthfully.
Acts 2:44 Acts 2:44And all that believed were together, and had all things common;
American King James Version×–47 “And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. 45 They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. 46 They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity—47 all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.”
Acts 4:34 Acts 4:34Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,
American King James Version×–37 “There were no needy people among them, because those who owned land or houses would sell them 35 and bring the money to the apostles to give to those in need. 36 For instance, there was Joseph, the one the apostles nicknamed Barnabas (which means “Son of Encouragement”). He was from the tribe of Levi and came from the island of Cyprus. 37 He sold a field he owned and brought the money to the apostles.” Without any command or instruction, in the joy of the Holy Spirit, the joy of the love which Christ had shed abroad in their heart, the joy of the heavenly treasures that now made them rich, they spontaneously parted with their possessions and placed them at the disposal of the Lord and His servants.
Money is the great symbol of the power of happiness of this world; one of its chief idols, drawing men away from God; a never-ceasing temptation to worldliness, to which the Christian is daily exposed. It would not have been a full salvation that did not provide complete deliverance from the power of money. The story of Pentecost assures us that when the Holy Spirit comes in its fullness into the heart, then earthly possessions lose their place in it, and money is only valued as a means of proving our love and doing service to our Lord and our fellow men.
The true secret of Christian giving, the secret, in fact, of all true Christian living— is the joy of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit makes use of all these elements of our nature in stirring us to give. There is a great need for inculcating principles and fixed habits in regard to giving. But what we need to realize is that all this is but the human side, and cannot suffice if we are to give in such measure and spirit as to make every gift a sweet-smelling sacrifice to God and a blessing to our own heart. The secret of true giving is the joy of the Holy Spirit. Of God’s Spirit working in you and through you.
Our first lesson we need to realize is: The Church of God needs money for its work; the Spirit provides money; money may be at once a sure proof of the Spirit's mighty working, and a blessed means of opening the way for fuller action. But there is a danger ever near. Men begin to think that money is the great need; that abundance of money coming in is a proof of the Spirit's presence; that money must be strength and blessing.
Our second lesson dissipates these illusions, and teaches us how the power of the Spirit can be shown where there is no money as well. The Church must yield herself to be guided into this truth; that Jesus Christ claims all its money; and yet Christ’s mightiest works may be wrought without it. The Church must never beg for money as if this were the secret of her strength.
Acts 3:5-6 Acts 3:5-6  And he gave heed to them, expecting to receive something of them.
 Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.
American King James Version× “The lame man looked at them eagerly, expecting some money. 6 But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!" You see these Apostles, Peter and John were penniless in their earthly poverty, and yet by virtue of their poverty they were mighty to dispense heavenly blessings. "Poor, yet making many rich." Where had they learned this? Peter says, "Silver and gold have I none; in the name of Jesus Christ, walk." It points us back to the poverty which Christ had enjoined upon them, and of which He had set them the wonderful example. By his holy poverty He would prove to men what a life of perfect trust in the Father, is how the possession of heavenly riches makes independent of earthly goods, how earthly poverty fits the better for holding and for dispensing eternal treasures. The inner circle of His disciples found in following the footsteps of His poverty the fellowship of His power. The Apostle Paul was taught by the Holy Spirit the same lesson.
Our third lesson is: Jesus Christ is still judging & testing the money. All the money that is given is not always given under Christ’s inspiration. But it is all given under His holy supervision, and He will from time to time, to each heart that honestly yields to Him, reveal what there may be wanting or wrong. Listen: "Barnabas having a field, sold it, and brought the money. But Ananias sold a possession and kept back part of the price, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the Apostles' feet." Ananias brought his gift, and with his wife was smitten dead. What can have made the gift such a crime? He was a deceitful giver. He kept back part of the price. He professed to give all, and did not. He gave with half a heart and unwillingly, and yet would have the credit of having given all. The Holy Spirit and Christ was the author of the giving: his sin was against the Holy Spirit & Christ. No wonder that it is twice written: "great fear came upon the whole Church, and upon all who heard it." If it is so easy to sin even in giving, if the Holy Spirit watches and judges all our giving, we may well beware and fear.
And what was it that led Ananias to this sin? Most probably the example of Barnabas, the wish not to be outdone by another.
Are there not many who say they have given their all to God, and yet prove false to it in the use of their money? Are there not many who say all their money is their Lord's, and that they hold it as His stewards, to dispose of it as He directs, and yet who, in the amount they spend on God's work, as compared with that on themselves, and in accumulating for the future, prove that Stewardship is but another name for ownership. Who owns your money? Who owns you? Who paid a tremendous price for you? Who has the right to everything you have?
May the Holy Spirit teach us to make every gift part and parcel of a life of entire consecration to God. This cannot be till we be filled with the Spirit: this can be, for God will fill us with His Spirit.
There is still a lesson, no less needful, no less solemn than that of Ananias (Acts 8:9 Acts 8:9But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one:
American King James Version×). The Holy Spirit rejecting Money.
Acts 8:9 Acts 8:9But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one:
American King James Version× “A man named Simon had been a sorcerer there for many years, amazing the people of Samaria and claiming to be someone great. 10 Everyone, from the least to the greatest, often spoke of him as “the Great One—the Power of God.” 11 They listened closely to him because for a long time he had astounded them with his magic.
12 But now the people believed Philip’s message of Good News concerning the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ. As a result, many men and women were baptized. 13 Then Simon himself believed and was baptized. He began following Philip wherever he went, and he was amazed by the signs and great miracles Philip performed.
14 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that the people of Samaria had accepted God’s message, they sent Peter and John there. 15 As soon as they arrived, they prayed for these new believers to receive the Holy Spirit. 16 The Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them, for they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then Peter and John laid their hands upon these believers, and they received the Holy Spirit.
18 When Simon saw that the Spirit was given when the apostles laid their hands on people, he offered them money to buy this power. 19 “Let me have this power, too,” he exclaimed, “so that when I lay my hands on people, they will receive the Holy Spirit!”
20 But Peter replied, “May your money be destroyed with you for thinking God’s gift can be bought! 21 You can have no part in this, for your heart is not right with God. 22 Repent of your wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive your evil thoughts, 23 for I can see that you are full of bitter jealousy and are held captive by sin.”
24 “Pray to the Lord for me,” Simon exclaimed, “that these terrible things you’ve said won’t happen to me!”
25 After testifying and preaching the word of the Lord in Samaria, Peter and John returned to Jerusalem. And they stopped in many Samaritan villages along the way to preach the Good News.” The attempt to gain power or influence in the Church of God by money brings perdition.
Here was a case where Christ rejected the money because it was given in an evil attitude. Your attitude in giving makes all of the difference to God. Two people can give the identical amounts and one God may despise and the other God will bless.
You vividly remember the example of Cain and Able – Able’s offering God accepted and Cain’s was rejected.
Here, more than with Ananias, it was simple ignorance of the spiritual and unworldly character of a man that knew nothing about the Kingdom of Christ. How little Simon understood the men he dealt with. They needed money; yes, they could well use it for themselves and for others. But the Holy Spirit, with the powers and treasures of the unseen world, had taught them, and so filled them, that money was as nothing. Let it perish rather than have anything to say in God's Church. Let it perish rather than for one moment encourage the thought that the rich man can acquire a place or a power which a poor man has not.
May we all have the attitude of Barnabas, and be willing to lay our money all at the feet of Christ, and hold it all at His disposal. Do we really have that kind of faith and trust in God? Really???
Could we rejoice in the poverty that teaches us to prove our trust in the power of Jesus Christ. Am I saying you should give everything you have to the Church? No not at all but our attitude must be that if God challenges us to do so we must be willing to give all. If you haven’t given all then don’t pretend that you have.
II Cor 8:3-8 “For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford, but far more. And they did it of their own free will. 4 They begged us again and again for the privilege of sharing in the gift for the believers in Jerusalem. 5 They even did more than we had hoped, for their first action was to give themselves to the Lord and to us, just as God wanted them to do. 6 So we have urged Titus, who encouraged your giving in the first place, to return to you and encourage you to finish this ministry of giving. 7 Since you excel in so many ways—in your faith, your gifted speakers, your knowledge, your enthusiasm, and your love from us—I want you to excel also in this gracious act of giving. 8 I am not commanding you to do this. But I am testing how genuine your love is by comparing it with the eagerness of the other churches.”
The next verse is particularly interesting.
"9 You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich.” In this and the following chapters we have Paul's teaching on the subject of Christian giving. In connection with a collection he wishes the Corinthian Christians from among the Gentiles to make for their Jewish brethren, he opens up the heavenly worth of our earthly gifts, and unfolds principles which ought to animate us as we offer our money in God's service. He does this specially as he cites the example of the Macedonian Christians and their abounding liberality, and makes them for all time the witnesses to what God's grace can do in making the ingathering of money the occasion of the deepest joy, of the revelation of the true Christlikeness, and of abounding thanksgiving and glory to God. Let us gather up some of the principal lessons; they may help us to find the way by which our money can become increasingly a means and a proof of the progress of the Godly life within us.
The Grace of God always teaches us to give. "We make known to you the grace of God which hath been given to the churches of Macedonia." In the course of the two chapters the word grace occurs eight times. Once of "the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, who for our sakes became poor." Once of "the grace which God is able to make abound to us." The other six times talks about the special grace of giving. We all think we know what the word means. It is not only used of the gracious disposition in God's heart toward us, but much more of that gracious disposition which God bestows and works in us. Grace is the force, the power, the energy of the Christian life, as it is wrought in us by the Holy Spirit.
If you did not hear the Sermon last Sabbath, I strongly urge you to get a copy and listen to it. I began the Sermon last Sabbath by asking: “How many here would truly love to be like Christ? Do you really have any concept of what you are saying you are willing to do?” I mentioned that I only was going to cover one aspect of the life and example of Christ and let’s see how we measure up to His example. That one aspect was money – How God the Father and Jesus Christ view money. I have nine points I want to cover today – so put on your track shoes because here we go.
1) The Father’s and Christ’s viewpoint of money is completely different from ours
In Part 1 we learned about Jesus’ view of the Widows mite and how He honored her because she gave all – she gave everything – she withheld absolutely nothing. We saw how Christ was touched by her sacrifice. We learned Christ’s attitude regarding money is totally different from ours. We learned that developing the mind of Christ comes with a great cost and sacrifice. Christ said this widow who put in her total possessions of the equivalent of $1.88 in today’s money, put in more than the rest even though they contributed large amounts of money. He said she contributed out of her need where they contributed out of their abundance. There was not real sacrifice in their offering whereas the Widow sacrificed everything she had, just as Jesus sacrificed everything for us.
2) The Grace of God teaches us to give liberally.—2 Corinthians 8:2 2 Corinthians 8:2How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded to the riches of their liberality.
American King James Version×"They (The Church in Macedonia) are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity."
Let us learn here that the use of our money for God’s Work and to help others is one of the ways in which grace can be expressed and strengthened. The reason is clear. The Grace of God is His compassion on the unworthy. His grace is wondrously free. It is always giving, without regard to merit or what an individual deserves. God finds delight in giving; it is His way of life, it is His way of Love. And when God’s grace enters the heart grace loves and rejoices to give. I believe God’s Spirit teaches a man to look upon the chief value of his money as the power of doing good, even at the cost perhaps of enriching others by impoverishing ourselves like the Macedonians did. If we have God's Holy Spirit in us it will show itself in giving. And what a proof of the power of God’s Holy Spirit that true giving is!
We learned that these newly converted Gentiles in Macedonia heard of the need of their Jewish brethren in Jerusalem—and at once were ready to share with them what they had. Of their own accord, they so give beyond their power that Paul refuses to accept their gifts: with much entreaty they implored and persuaded him to accept the gift. "Their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality." So often, it is remarkable how much more liberality there is among the poor than the rich. The deceitfulness of riches had not hardened those Christians at Macedonia; they have learned to trust God for to-morrow in everything. Have we deeply learned that lesson? Do we exhibit that kind of deep faith and trust in God?
God has chosen the poor in this world, as they give out of their deep poverty, to teach the rich what true liberality is. "Far beyond their power gave they of their own accord, beseeching us with much entreaty that we would receive the gift." If this spirit of giving were to pervade our Church and men of moderate means and of large possessions were to combine with the poor in their standard of giving, and the Macedonian example became the law of Christian liberality, it would be difficult to know what God’s Church could accomplish in this world.
3. God teaches us to give joyfully.
"The abundance of their joy abounded unto the riches of their liberality." (2 Corinthians 8:2 2 Corinthians 8:2How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded to the riches of their liberality.
American King James Version×.) In the Christian life, joy is the index of spiritual health and whole-heartedness.
Last week I came across a startling statistic - According to the research, more than 1 in 4 churchgoers give $0 to their church each year. 25% of those who attend Church give nothing to the Church. I certainly know that is not the case here but it is shocking. And even here I wonder how many are faithful in their tithe? I wonder how many are faithful in saving their 2nd tithe? I really wonder. I wonder how many have faith that God really is in charge and will take care of everything, or do we rob from God because we have physical needs and we lack faith that He really can and will take care of us? I do wonder. Do we put the transmission ahead of God? A true Christian is one who does not hold back. He is one who gives in faith, one who gives liberally, one who gives joyfully and one who truly sacrifices to give.
And as we give bountifully and joyfully, it becomes itself a new fountain of joy to us, as Christ said "It is more blessed to give than to receive." The blessedness of giving: Oh if we only believed how sure this way to unceasing joy really is, to be ever giving as God lives to give.
On the day when Israel brought its gifts for the temple, it is said "Then the people rejoiced, for they had offered willingly, because with a loyal heart they had offered willingly to the Lord; and King David also rejoiced greatly." (I Chron 29:9) That is a joy we can carry with us through each day and through life. The unceasing dispensing our gifts of money, our lives or our service all around gives us joy. It is not just the matter of money, but of our time, service, sacrifice and life. Let us get our hearts filled with the faith of the joy of giving so that we can experience the joy of our liberality like the Macedonians: "and the abundance of their joy abounded to the riches of their liberality."
4. The Grace of God makes our giving part of our surrender to our Lord.
Paul says of their giving (2 Corinthians 8:5 2 Corinthians 8:5And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and to us by the will of God.
American King James Version×), “ They even did more than we had hoped, for their first action was to give themselves to the Lord and to us, just as God wanted them to do." In this sentence we have one of the most beautiful expressions for what is needed for salvation. A man who has given himself to the Lord: that comprises all our Lord asks of us – is everything – our all. This expression is nowhere else found in Scripture. It tells us that giving money will have no value, except we first give ourselves; that all our giving must just be the renewal and carrying out of the first great act of self-surrender. It is only this thought that can lift our giving out of the ordinary level of Christian duty, and make it truly the manifestation and the strengthening of the grace of God in us.
So much of our giving, whether in the Holy Day Offering, or giving Tithes and offerings, or giving on special occasions, is done as a matter of course, without thought of the direct relation to our Lord. A truly consecrated life is a life which moment by moment is motivated by God’s love; and it is this love that will bring us to what appears to be so difficult, to always give in the right spirit and as an act of worship and given in the spirit of sacrifice.
5. The Grace of God makes our giving part of the Christlike life.—2 Corinthians 8:9 2 Corinthians 8:9For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that you through his poverty might be rich.
American King James Version×"You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich." Every branch and leaf and acorn of the mightiest oak derives its life from the same strong root that bears the trunk. The life in the tiniest bud is the same as the life in the strongest branch. We are branches in Christ the Living Vine; His very life lives and works in us. Do we know and understand what Christ’s life really is like so that we may intelligently and willingly yield to it.
Here we have one of its deepest roots of His life laid open; “Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich." To enrich and bless us, He impoverished Himself. That was why the widow's mite pleased Him so; her gift was of the same measure as His: "She cast in all she had." This is the life and grace that seeks to work in us; there is no other mold in which the Christ-life can be cast. Christ is our mold, He is our model, He is our example that we follow and emulate.
"See that ye abound in this grace also; for ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus, that he became poor." How little did the Macedonian Christians know that they were, in their deep poverty, because of the riches of their liberality, giving beyond their power, were just acting out what the Holy Spirit and grace of Jesus Christ was working in them and through them. How little would they have expected that the simple gift of these poor people would become the text of such high and holy and heart-searching teaching.
How much we need to pray that God will master our purses and our possessions, and that the love in our giving shall, in some truly recognizable degree, be the reflection of our Lord's giving. We need to bring our giving to God so that the world and its possessions can witness the power in us. “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” So will we make others rich through our poverty, and our life be somewhat like St. Paul's: "poor, yet making many rich."
6. The Grace of God works in us not only the willingness to give, but also in the doing of it. (v. 10.)
2 Corinthians 8:10-15 2 Corinthians 8:10-15  And herein I give my advice: for this is expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago.
 Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which you have.
 For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man has, and not according to that he has not.
 For I mean not that other men be eased, and you burdened:
 But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality:
 As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.
American King James Version×“Here is my advice: It would be good for you to finish what you started a year ago. Last year you were the first who wanted to give, and you were the first to begin doing it. 11 Now you should finish what you started. Let the eagerness you showed in the beginning be matched now by your giving. Give in proportion to what you have. 12 Whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly. And give according to what you have, not what you don’t have. 13 Of course, I don’t mean your giving should make life easy for others and hard for yourselves. I only mean that there should be some equality. 14 Right now you have plenty and can help those who are in need. Later, they will have plenty and can share with you when you need it. In this way, things will be equal. 15 As the Scriptures say, “Those who gathered a lot had nothing left over, and those who gathered only a little had enough.”
Philippians 2:13 Philippians 2:13For it is God which works in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
American King James Version× “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” How many who have the means, and intend doing something liberal, yet hesitate, and the large donation during life, or the legacy in the will, is never carried out. How many count themselves really liberal, because of what they will, while what they do is not what God would love to see. The message comes to all: "Now complete the doing also; that as the readiness to will, so the completion also, out of your ability."
"For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him."; let us beware of hindering God by unbelief or disobedience, and resting in the to will, without going on to the to do will.
7. The Grace of God makes the gift acceptable according to what a man has. (v. 12.)
2 Corinthians 8:12 2 Corinthians 8:12For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man has, and not according to that he has not.
American King James Version×“Whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly. And give according to what you have, not what you don’t have.”
God Loves a Cheerful Giver. Let us refuse to give what appears to satisfy us: let us pause, and rejoice in God's call to give, and in His Spirit that teaches how much and how to give in the deepest joy of giving then the Father will be well pleased.
8. The Grace of God through the giving works out the true unity and equality of all saints. (v. 13.)
2 Corinthians 8:13 2 Corinthians 8:13For I mean not that other men be eased, and you burdened:
American King James Version× “Of course, I don’t mean your giving should make life easy for others and hard for yourselves. I only mean that there should be some equality. 14 Right now you have plenty and can help those who are in need. Later, they will have plenty and can share with you when you need it. In this way, things will be equal”
Further lessons of chapter 9. Let me just mention them:
(v. 6.) Let the giving be bountiful: it will bring a bountiful reward.
(v. 7.) Let the giving not be grudging or of necessity: the cheerful giver receives God's love.
(v. 8.) Let the giving be trustful: God will make all grace abound.
(v. 11-13.) Your giving brings glory to God by the thanksgiving of those you bless.
(v. 15.) Your giving reminds others of God's giving, and calls them to give God thanks for His unfathomable gifts.
What powerful examples are opened up to us by the gifts of the widow’s mite and the Macedonians and Corinthian converts!
9. The Poverty of Christ.
1 Corinthians 8:9 1 Corinthians 8:9But take heed lest by any means this liberty of your's become a stumbling block to them that are weak.
American King James Version×“You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich.”
What does it mean “by or through His poverty….”
Does it mean that He dispossessed Himself of all heavenly and earthly possessions that the riches of earth and heaven might be ours?
Or that He so took our place, as in our stead to walk in the path of earthly poverty, that we in comfort and ease might enjoy the riches He has won for us?
Or has that "THROUGH HIS POVERTY" a deeper meaning, and does it imply that His poverty is the very path or passage that He opened up through which all must go who would fully enter into His riches?
Does it mean that, just as He needed in poverty of spirit and body to die to the world that He might open for us the way to the heavenly treasures, so we need to walk in His footsteps, and can only through His poverty working in us, through fellowship with His poverty, come to the perfect enjoyment of the riches He came to bring? In other words, is the poverty of Jesus something for Him alone, or something in which His disciples are to share?
There is scarce a trait in the life and character of Christ in which we do not look to Him as an example—what are the lessons His Holy Poverty has to teach?
Is the right to possess and enjoy the riches of earth as it is now everywhere practiced in the Church part of what Christ has secured for us?
Or, is it possible that the lack of faith in the beauty and blessedness of the poor life of Christ Jesus is part of the cause of our spiritual poverty; our lack of Christ's poverty the cause of our lack of His riches? Is there not a needs-be that we not only think of the one side, "For your sakes He became poor"; but as much of the other, "For His sake I suffer the loss of all things?" Like Paul said in Philippians 3:7 Philippians 3:7But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
American King James Version×–8 “But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ.”
We must first of all see what the reason—the needs for the earthly poverty of Christ.
He might have lived on earth possessed of riches, and dispensing them with wise and liberal hand. He might have come in the enjoyment of a moderate competency, just enough to keep Him from the dependence and homelessness which was His lot. In either case He might have taught His people of all ages such precious and much-needed lessons as to the right use of the things of this world.
There was a Divine necessity that His life must be one of entire poverty. The work the Father wrought in Him, as He perfected Him through suffering. Hebrews 5:8-9 Hebrews 5:8-9  Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation to all them that obey him;
American King James Version× “Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered. 9 In this way, God qualified him as a perfect High Priest, and he became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey him. 10 And God designated him to be a High Priest in the order of Melchizedek.”
Christ's poverty is part of His entire and deep and perfect humility—His willingness to descend to the very lowest depths of human misery, and to share to the full in all the consequences of sin and yet not sinnng. The poor have in all ages been despised, while the rich have been sought and honored: Christ came to be the despised and neglected of men in this, too. Christ's poverty has ever been counted one of the proofs of His love.
Love delights in giving, perfect love in giving all. The poverty of Christ is one of the expressions of that self-sacrificing love which held back nothing, and seeks to win us for itself by the most absolute self-abnegation on our behalf. Christ's poverty is His fitness for sympathizing and helping us in all the trials that come to us from our relation to this world and its goods.
The majority of mankind has to struggle with poverty. The majority of God's saints have been a poor and afflicted people. The poverty of Christ has been to tens of thousands the assurance that He could feel for them; that, even as with Him, earthly need was to be the occasion for heavenly help, the school for a life of faith, and the experience of God's faithfulness the path to heavenly riches.
Christ's poverty is the weapon and the proof of His complete victory over the world. Wealth is the power and prestige of this world. As our Redeemer, Christ proved by His poverty that His kingdom is not of this world. But these reasons are more external and official; the deeper spiritual significance of Christ's poverty will be disclosed as we regard it as part of His training as the Son of Man, and His exhibition of what the true life of man is supposed to be. Christ's poverty was part of that suffering through which He learned obedience and was perfected by God as our High Priest. To human nature poverty will always be a trial. We were created to be kings and possessors of all things. To have nothing costs a great deal of suffering.
Christ's human nature was not a mere appearance or show. Poverty implies dependence on others; it means contempt and shame; it often brings want and suffering; it always lacks the means and power of earth. Our blessed Lord felt all this as man. And it was part of that suffering through which the Father worked out His will in His Son, and the Son proved His submission to the Father, and proved His absolute trust in the Father.
Luke 12:13-34 Luke 12:13-34  And one of the company said to him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me.
 And he said to him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you?
 And he said to them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consists not in the abundance of the things which he possesses.
 And he spoke a parable to them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:
 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?
 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.
 And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have much goods laid up for many years; take your ease, eat, drink, and be merry.
 But God said to him, You fool, this night your soul shall be required of you: then whose shall those things be, which you have provided?
 So is he that lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.
 And he said to his disciples, Therefore I say to you, Take no thought for your life, what you shall eat; neither for the body, what you shall put on.
 The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment.
 Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them: how much more are you better than the fowls?
 And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit?
 If you then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take you thought for the rest?
 Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say to you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
 If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith?
 And seek not you what you shall eat, or what you shall drink, neither be you of doubtful mind.
 For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knows that you have need of these things.
 But rather seek you the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added to you.
 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
 Sell that you have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that fails not, where no thief approaches, neither moth corrupts.
 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
American King James Version× “Then someone called from the crowd, “Teacher, please tell my brother to divide our father’s estate with me.” 14 Jesus replied, “Friend, who made me a judge over you to decide such things as that?” 15 Then he said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.” 16 Then he told them a story: “A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. 17 He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.’ 18 Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. 19 And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!” 20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’ 21 “Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.”
Teaching about Money and Possessions
22 Then, turning to his disciples, Jesus said, “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food to eat or enough clothes to wear. 23 For life is more than food, and your body more than clothing. 24 Look at the ravens. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than any birds! 25 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? 26 And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things?
27 “Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 28 And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? 29 “And don’t be concerned about what to eat and what to drink. Don’t worry about such things. 30 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world, but your Father already knows your needs. 31 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need. 32 “So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom. 33 “Sell your possessions and give to those in need. This will store up treasure for you in heaven! And the purses of heaven never get old or develop holes. Your treasure will be safe; no thief can steal it and no moth can destroy it. 34 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” Tough, Hard teaching. Christ's poverty was part of His school of faith, in which He Himself first learned, and then taught men, that life is more than meat, and that man liveth "not by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." In His own life He had to prove that God and the riches of God can more than satisfy a man who has nothing on earth; that trust in God for the earthly life is not vain; that one only needs as much as it pleases God to give.
We want to know what our share in the poverty of Christ is to be, whether and how far we are to follow His example. Let us study what Christ taught His disciples. When he said to them, "Follow Me," "Come after Me, I will make you fishers of men." He called them to share with Him in His poor and homeless life, in His state of entire dependence upon the care of God and the kindness of men. He more than once used strong expressions about forsaking all, renouncing all, losing all. Their understanding of Christ’s call was manifest by their forsaking nets and customs, and saying, through Peter, "We have forsaken all and followed You."
Christ separated for Himself a band of men who were to live with Him in closest fellowship, in entire conformity to His life, under His immediate training. These three conditions (Fellowship, Conformity & Training) were indispensable for their receiving the Holy Spirit, for being true witnesses to Him and for the life which He had lived and would impart to men.
In some cases, poverty became only a new source of self-righteousness, entering into covenant with wealth, and casting its dark and deadly shadow over those it promised to save. Wealth will not and cannot save anyone.
At the time of the Reformation, poverty had become so desecrated as a part of the great system of evil teaching error, it cast out a part of the truth with them. Since that time it is as if Protestant theology has never ventured to enquire what the place and the meaning and the power is which Christ and the Apostle really gave poverty in their teaching and practice. Now we have entire religions based on “The Gospel of Prosperity”
During the three years of His public ministry, Christ gave Himself and His whole time to direct work for God. He did not labor for His livelihood. Prior to His Ministry, he was a carpenter. He chose for Himself disciples who would follow Him in this, forsaking all for direct work in the service of the Kingdom. For admission to this inner circle of His chosen ones, Christ demanded more from them than from those who only came seeking salvation. They were to share with Him in the work and the glory of the new Kingdom; they must share with Him in the poverty that owns nothing for this world.
From what has been said above it is clear that no law can be laid down as to an amount. It is not a question of law, but of liberty. But we must understand that word "liberty". Too often Christian liberty is spoken of as our freedom from too great of a restraint in sacrificing our own will, or the enjoyment of the world. Its real meaning is the very opposite. True liberty asks to be as free as possible from self and the world and the way of Satan to bring its all to God.
Instead of the question, How far am I, as a Christian, free still to do this or the other? The truly Holy Spirit asks, How far am I free to follow Christ to the uttermost? How can I sacrifice and give all? Does the freedom with which Christ hath made us free really give us the liberty to forsake all and follow Him?
Christian giving will not only be more liberal in amount, but more liberal in spirit, in the readiness and cheerfulness in the forethought and the actual self-sacrifice by which it will be given. Through their poverty and through Christ's poverty in them, many shall be made rich.
Be not afraid: you surely cannot fear giving yourself up to God's perfect love to work out
His perfect will in and through you. The Throne of Riches and Honor and Glory to which the Lamb of God has been exalted is surely roof and shelter enough that there is no surer way for us to riches and honor than through His poverty. The soul that in simplicity yields to the leading of Christ will find that the fellowship of His suffering brings the fellowship of His glory.
II Cor 9:1-15 The Collection for Christians in Jerusalem
“I really don’t need to write to you about this ministry of giving for the believers in Jerusalem. 2 For I know how eager you are to help, and I have been boasting to the churches in Macedonia that you in Greece were ready to send an offering a year ago. In fact, it was your enthusiasm that stirred up many of the Macedonian believers to begin giving.
3 But I am sending these brothers to be sure you really are ready, as I have been telling them, and that your money is all collected. I don’t want to be wrong in my boasting about you. 4 We would be embarrassed—not to mention your own embarrassment—if some Macedonian believers came with me and found that you weren’t ready after all I had told them! 5 So I thought I should send these brothers ahead of me to make sure the gift you promised is ready. But I want it to be a willing gift, not one given grudgingly.
6 Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. 7 You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” 8 And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. 9 As the Scriptures say, “They share freely and give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will be remembered forever.”
10 For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity* in you. 11 Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God. 12 So two good things will result from this ministry of giving—the needs of the believers in Jerusalem* will be met, and they will joyfully express their thanks to God.
13 As a result of your ministry, they will give glory to God. For your generosity to them and to all believers will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ. 14 And they will pray for you with deep affection because of the overflowing grace God has given to you. 15 Thank God for this gift* too wonderful for words!”
Someday God will require all from you! Whether it will be through the Great Tribulation. Whether it will be in captivity of the Beast Power. Or whether it be in the Place of Safety you will have to give up all and surrender all in Faith to God. Are you ready for that? Are you preparing for that? I have said all along that I believe that one of the hardest decisions you will ever have to make – the one decision that will require more faith than any other decision you will ever make is whether you have the self-sacrifice & faith to make the choice to go to the Place of Safety.
It might entail walking out of your home knowing you will never be back. It might mean losing a job when you are up for a promotion and raise knowing they will never hire you back because you quit. It might mean leaving elderly parents, or leaving an unconverted mate or leave children or grandchildren behind. Do you have that much faith and trust in God?
Do you have the ability and the strength to sacrifice it all for God? You can know if you are ready by what you are doing now. Are you giving? Are you serving? Are you truly surrendering all to God in Living Faith now?
I want to close with this thought: 2 Corinthians 8:9 2 Corinthians 8:9For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that you through his poverty might be rich.
American King James Version×“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich."