2021-05-16 – 2 Corinthians 9:1-15 – God’s Indescribable Gift!
2021-05-16 – 2 Corinthians 9:1-15 – God’s Indescribable Gift!
Good morning everyone. It is so nice to be able to spend some time with you all in fellowship with the Lord. Thank you and God bless you for being with us today.
What a beautiful Sunday morning it is today. We are truly blessed indeed. Yesterday I got to thinking about how God has been directing our paths. I was reflecting back upon my children’s lives and how much they have grown both physically, mentally and spiritually. But time is really just a whisper, isn’t it?
I love what is written in Psalm 39:4-5, it says: “Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered – how fleeting my life is. You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand. My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath.”
I am happy that you are here today, I consider your presence a gift. Thank You. We are going through the Bible book of 2nd Corinthians together, where the apostle Paul wrote this letter to the Corinth church that he started back in the year AD 50 towards the end of his second missionary journey.
Please turn now to 2 Corinthians 9:1, page 1027 in your pew Bibles, which is God’s Holy Inspired, Infallible and Living Word. Prayer..
As we talked about last week, Paul was endeavoring to collect some support monies for the Christians back in Jerusalem. For they were under extremely difficult circumstances and needed much help. Paul was attempting to put the Corinthian believers to the test, to prove out their love for the Lord through their charity. He continues in that thought starting at verse one of chapter nine here.
9 Now concerning the ministry to the saints, it is unnecessary for me to write to you. 2 For I know your eagerness, and I boast about you to the Macedonians,
“Achaia has been ready since last year,” and your zeal has stirred up most of them. 3 But I am sending the brothers so that our boasting about you in this matter would not prove empty, and so that you would be ready just as I said. [SLIDE] 4 Otherwise, if any Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we, not to mention you, would be put to shame in that situation. 5 Therefore I considered it necessary to urge the brothers to go on ahead to you and arrange in advance the generous gift you promised, so that it will be ready as a gift and not as an extortion.
Again, Paul had seen much enthusiasm in the churches he was visiting in Macedonia for sharing what God had blessed them with. They were most eager to give their charity, even to the point of sacrifice, and now he wished that the Corinth church members would consider doing likewise. Enthusiasm is contagious, and Paul knew that, He was capitalizing on the idea that it truly is a privilege to share in God’s provisions. The apostle Paul saw the way the Holy Spirit was working in these people and he wanted to capitalize on that enthusiasm.
We too should catch on to that enthusiasm. Last week we had the privilege of giving a small pile of provisions and some monies to the Baptist Children’s Home and Family Services, and specifically to Angels Cove. Mrs. Paula Joy and her husband visited us and gave us an update on their operations. It brings much joy to see where and how our offerings are being used. We received a message from Paula upon her arrival back at BCHFS. [Read SLIDE] What joy this brings, yes? You should know that at the same time we were giving to her, she also left us a small offering here as well. I love partnering with such wonderful saints, don’t you?
These first verses suggest that the Corinthians had promised an offering, and Paul was reminding them of that promise. We too should not only fulfill our promises but also hold each other accountable so that we might maintain our dignity and honor, especially as it relates to our Christian walk. Mathew 5:37 says, “Simply let your yes be yes and your no be no”. We must endeavor to be a people of good character both in side and especially outside the church, Amen?
Paul continues at verse 6:
6 The point is this: The person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each person should do as he has decided in his heart—not reluctantly or out of compulsion, since God loves a cheerful giver. [SLIDE] 8 And God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work. 9 As it is written: He distributed freely; he gave to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.
Over the past three weeks we have continued in this theme of verses, on both individual giving and also corporate giving. I think Paul, and thus God, is trying to drive home this topic so that it does not become a stumbling block for us, but instead that it is clearly understood as an essential part of our faith-walk journey. We generally don’t preach too often on this financial giving mechanism. It isn’t that I don’t believe it is important, but that it is not THE most important issue that we deal with on our Christian walk. I would instead consider it a compliment to the main thing, which is leading others to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Great Commission that Jesus gave us Himself, to “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost”. That is what Paul was really about doing, and that is what the disciples were about doing, and that is what we should be endeavoring to be about doing as well.
Having said that, I will borrow a few words from Pastor John McArthur who suggests that “the harvest is directly proportionate to the amount of seed sown”. When a generous believer gives by faith and trust in God, along with the desire to produce the greatest possible blessing, that person will receive a harvest of blessings. God truly gives a return on the amount one invests with Him. Invest a little, receive a little; and vice versa.
Do you want to reap generously? Then you should be sowing generously.
That isn’t just a good Bible principle, that is a simply a good principle in itself.
You have heard the old saying “you get out of it what you put into it”. That saying is also true in our faith walk. In these verses though, Paul uses a few words that you might not be familiar with unless you are a farmer. The word sow (or zaw-rah in Greek) means “to scatter seed” according to my concordance. And the word reap (or kaw-tsar in Greek) means “to harvest”. So where you scatter or plant your seeds seed, there you will enjoy an eventual harvest. And ideally, for each seed you plant, with God’s help, you will harvest much more.
Paul is trying to get the readers to understand that God is paying attention, and God loves a cheerful giver. We don’t own it in the first place, God does, but we are given the privilege of managing it. And God wants us to manage it well, in a way that brings Him glory. When we do that well, He will most assuredly bless us, or increase our harvest. That same idea is carried forward in these next verses.
10 Now the one who provides seed for the sower and bread for food will also provide and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way for all generosity, which produces thanksgiving to God through us. 12 For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. [SLIDE]
13 Because of the proof provided by this ministry, they will glorify God for your obedient confession of the gospel of Christ and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone. 14 And as they pray on your behalf, they will have deep affection for you because of the surpassing grace of God in you.
15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! [pause]
You might know that one of God’s many names is Jehovah Jireh, meaning: “The Lord Will Provide”, and these verses here convey that He will also reward us for our generosity shown towards others. Now God’s rewards may come in many different forms. It may be money, it may be blessings, it may be grace, or joy or love, or maybe even treasures stored up in heaven. I hope you believe this? And maybe like me, you have already realized that you have been a recipient of some of those gifts already. As the old hymn says, “Count your blessings” dear saints.
In my own life I can tell you with no reservation that God has blessed me in so many ways. And most all of it, I know that I truly do not come close to deserving. Before I accepted God’s calling on my life, it seemed as if I had a hole in my pocket. I was spending much faster than I was earning. But since I have accepted the Lord and started to live like I believed it, my life and my personal finances have completely turned around. I finally started exercising a more generous and trusting relationship with my church and the ministries that God had led me to. And in that, I also started managing my own finances in a way that I thought God would be pleased. As a result, I have found much joy, contentment and security.
[SLIDE] I love what Doctor Luke wrote in Luke 6:38 “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” Isn’t that a great verse? Paul also conveys in these verses today that for that Christian, even the privilege of giving emanates from what God has first planted in us. That His wonderful Holy Spirit that He gifted to us with, should be naturally overflowing out of our character for the benefit of others. And when we don’t squelch that Spirit, and then display that type of overflowing love for one another, God then sees that and will reward us even more in return. Isn’t that just a beautiful amazing indescribable dynamic? I don’t know about you, but I want that in my life. I truly want to be a cheerful giver.
The title of this message today comes from the last sentence of this chapter nine, where it says “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” God’s Indescribable Gift. So now, I am going to attempt for you to describe that for which Paul refers to here as Indescribable. Chris Tomlin has a song by that name Indescribable, in the refrain he sings, “Indescribable, uncontainable. You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name, You are amazing God.” That Indescribable God gave us the Messiah-Savior, Jesus Christ, God incarnate, who in-turn gifts us the opportunity for Salvation. Salvation meaning Jesus saves us from the penalty of our own sin, so that we can go to heaven and be with God for all eternity.
And that place we call Heaven, is a place of unparalleled beauty and truly an indescribable joy indeed. So that indescribable gift that Paul makes reference to, I would argue, is all of what we receive through God’s amazing grace.
You can see that yourself in the verse that proceeds it. Paul wrote: “as they pray on your behalf, they will have deep affection for you because of the surpassing grace of God in you”. So that indescribable gift is not only the promise of heaven when we die, but it is also God’s amazing grace, His true joy and His “deep affection”, along with His bountiful provision, peace that surpasses all understanding, and the love He offers in abundance. All of which we can have now.
When a person accepts Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, they are actually tapping into an amazing host of dynamics that will turn their life around for the good. In my own life, when I was young, I thought I would find joy by taking the tiger by the tail. I thought my happiness would come from living the life of Riley, experiencing all the things that the world had to offer. But like Solomon, I found out that what the world has to offer is just folly. Jesus was the real answer I was searching for. Jesus, although He was God in the flesh, He still chose to spend time with us, to love on us, to show compassion, to teach us the way we should live. Not only through His words, but even more so by His actions. The amazing gift we receive through God’s grace is something that Is Truly Indescribable.
As Christ-followers, when we first accept God’s gift of salvation, we are excited, we are joyous, we may even be giddy sometimes. Knowing that We Are Saved, should naturally be very impactful to our spirit and our overall demeaner. People will notice that you are not the same person you once were. That realization might even cause some friends to get closer, and some others to start pulling away, and that’s okay. When you are truly “Born-Again”, it ushers in a whole new perspective and lifestyle. It may not happen overnight, but the Holy Spirit comes inside you and gives you a new heart and a new outlook on life. Again, it truly is indescribable.
Do you remember when you first truly accepted the Lord and the joy that it brought to your soul? Well I am here to tell you brothers and sisters, that joy is really still there. As we mature in our faith, it is easy to take things for granted. That is sadly part of our human condition. But do you really think that that God’s will for you? Absolutely not. God wants you to stay in the groove. To be constantly reminded of the joy of His salvation. That is why it is so important for us to consistently put ourselves in the path of others who hold these same priorities. In this letter today, Paul is reminding the Corinth believers that their joy can be made afresh and anew again. That through their giving and through their active participation with one another for the sake of Christ, that they too can find much real joy.
The Macedonia churches were extremely grateful to God, to the point of even pleading with Paul for them to be able to contribute. Paul was excited to see them excited and he wanted to share in that joyful experience with the Corinth believers and with us here today. Please know that God is most glorified when His people are most excited in Him.
Psalm 37:4 instructs the believers to “delight yourself in the Lord,” Allow your gratitude for God’s Indescribable Gift to be evident in your lifestyle. So that when others see what you do and why you do them, and the joy that it brings you, would cause them to want the same for themselves.
Time is fleeting dear brothers and sisters, it is but a whisper.
So, let us be about Glorifying the Lord together, Amen?
Would you please stand now and let us close with prayer.
God be with you all.